Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

HELP with transportation & accommodation!

HELP with transportation & accommodation!

Mar 2nd, 2014, 04:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 10
HELP with transportation & accommodation!

Hello! My husband and I are leaving soon on a 7 day trip to Germany and then Ireland after. We already have our Ireland trip planned and we are renting a car. For Germany, we land in Frankfurt and fly out of Dublin. We keep going back and forth over the train vs car situation and can NOT decide what to do! We are hitting the big cities (Frankfurt, Cologne, Heidelberg, Freiburg im Bresigau (Black Forrest), Munich, Dresden, Berlin). I know it seems like a lot but who knows if we will be back and we are the kind of people that need a vacation after our vacation plus our Ireland trip is pretty laid back.

We love the flexibility of having our own vehicle plus we can stop at places on the way to our next city but everyone suggests trains for the larger cities because of parking. Is it possible to stay just out of the city and bus into the cities so we don't have to pay for parking? We are worried what we will do with our luggage when we are at attractions (ie going from Cologne to the Black Forrest but stopping at Heidelberg first).

What do you suggest?
makows24 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
You're going to 7 locations in 7 days? That means you'll have less than a day in each place since it takes time to get from one place to another. What can you possibly hope to see in half a day.

It doesn't seem like a lot...it is a lot!!

You should seriously check driving/train schedules to determine how long it will take to get from one place to another. Then add some time for packing/unpacking, checking in and out of hotels, traveling to and from train stations or finding parking and getting to your hotel. Then you have to acclimate yourselves to a new location every day.

And if driving, you want to stop between locations and stay outside the cities. Hopefully for you the buses will run late so you can see something of the city.

Then you have to use one of your 7 days to get to Dublin (or at least half a day).

You'll be lucky to see even 1 major sight in each place. With stopping en route most sights will have closed for the day by the time you arrive so you're traveling to have dinner in a different city each night.

It's your trip but I would not do this.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Do I understand that you are planning on visiting 8 places in Germany plus heading off to Dublin in a week? Frankly, this seems like madness either by train or by car.

Have you looked at driving times and/or train times

I can't imagine how you think you will have ANY time to "stop at places on the way to the next city".

PLEASE lay this out day by day - listing where you will start, where you will travel to and where you will sleep. I think you will find you don't really have time to see any sights anywhere.

And how do you plan on getting to Dublin - presumably by air? I hope this isn't part of the 7 days.
Don;t misunderstand - we often do road trips in europe - but your schedule would probably take at least 19 or 20 days - even at a very rushed pace.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:20 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,431
I agree with Adrienne, completely!!!!

Car vs. train: If to take the train, you have to get from the station to your hotel and back to the station with your luggage. If you go by car, you have greater flexibility where you can/want to stay, and which place to drop on short notice.
treplow is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 10
Thank you for your feedback, I'm very sorry I was not clear. We will be in Germany for 7.5 days and Ireland for 7.5 days.

1st day: fly into FRA early (7 AM) the first day and sight see
2nd day: train to Cologne and back to Frankfurt at night
3rd day: pickup rental car to Black Forest (2.5 hr), stop at Heidelberg
4th day: rental car from Black Forrest to Munich (4 hours)
5th/6th day: Munich and travel to Dresden by train
7th day: Train to Berlin
8th day: Fly to DUB around noon

I have not booked 4 of the 7 nights because I don't want to hinder our experience if we want to stay somewhere an extra night and skip a town. Is it pretty easy to find accommodation in March?
makows24 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,209
Sorry, but I am wondering if this is a sincere post. Your itinerary just makes no
sense in your time frame.
violetduck is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 10
This is a VERY sincere post, we unfortunately do not have the money to stay longer due to work.... and we want to see as much as we can.

We are from Michigan and we travel 4-5 hours on a Friday for just a trip up north for the weekend plus I travel 3 hours for work each day so I guess our idea of travel might be a little different than yours. The longest distance would be from Munich to Dresden which would be 6 hours by train. We only want to see a couple things in Berlin and we are only stopping in Heidelberg to see the castle. With that said, we will be in the other cities for a day or more
makows24 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 06:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 10
Out of the cities mentioned, which are your favorite and do you recommend?
makows24 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,790
This is a very expensive way to see as "little" as you can. What you would see are a few of destinations spread far apart. You can easily itemize the way the itinerary is currently set up vs. less locations to see just how much more it costs to move around and how little number of destinations you would be seeing.
Staying in the city center vs. staying outside is a trade-off of cost vs. time. However, you don't have time to do trade-off. I think if you want to see with what little time you have at each destination, you would have to find accommodations in the center of whatever you are interested in seeing and pay the stiff parking prices to go with them.
In the U.S., destinations are often spread far apart. One has to drive hours from one attraction to another. There is often nothing interesting in between. This is not the case in Europe. There are treasure trove of things to see at many locations.
greg is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
<< With that said, we will be in the other cities for a day or more >>

You'll be in Frankfurt for half a day. By the time you get to your hotel and unpacked it will be about noon. Don't forget that arrival time is wheels down time (that's how airlines are measured for on time performance), not the time you actually get your luggage and can get on the train into town.

Cologne will be less than a day.

Berlin will be less than a day.

<< and we want to see as much as we can >>

Your travel style is very different than mine. I prefer to spend more time in each location; prefer depth over breadth.

Seeing as much as you can does not mean spending lots of time getting from place to place. This method of travel is seeing as many locations as you can and seeing very little in each location.

To determine if you should rent a car or take trains you first need to figure out if you want to stop places between cities. That means less time in the cities.

If you want to stick to your itinerary, above, you should take trains since this will minimize travel time - you will be able to relax on the trains, read your guide books and maps and be set to explore when you arrive. You'll also arrive in the city center and near the sights.

Find hotels near the main train stations. You don't need to stay next to train stations but near enough to take public transportation to easily get to the stations. German public transportation is wonderful and efficient.

When you arrive at the Frankfurt airport, go to the lower level to catch the train to the main train station. There are trains every 15 minutes and the ride is 10 minutes. You buy your ticket from machines on the platform.

For train travel, grab a lunch when you get to the station so you can eat on the train (if you're traveling during lunch time). You'll find better food at the stations than on the trains (if there are buffet cars) and cheaper too. You can even bring alcohol on the trains.

Enjoy your trip!
adrienne is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 06:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 10
Thank you Adrienne and Greg for your advice! I wish I had more time to spend in this beautiful country!
makows24 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I want to see more of a lot of places!!

The first time I went to Frankfurt I had a day there and did a walking tour that was supposed to be 3 hours but turned out to be 5 hours! We had a great time on the tour and had lots of extra time to talk with the guide. I see now that it's listed as a 3 to 4 hour tour.

I don't think you'll be able to make the start time of 10:30 but if you can it's a good way to get a history of Frankfurt and see some of the main points.

It starts at Romer (main square) where the guide gives a brief overview and then goes to the Dom. Even if you can't make it for 10:30 you could perhaps catch up with the group and get most of the tour.

adrienne is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I've been thinking about this itinerary. I haven't been to all these cities but if I were to do a whirlwind trip to Germany based on your itinerary I would forgo Cologne and Frankfurt, head directly to Heidelberg and do the trip in reverse to get some time in Potsdam. One trip I want to do is Berlin, Potsdam, and Dresden. Do some reading about Potsdam (an hour from Berlin) and see if it appeals to you.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 10
We would definitely love that tour! I will look into it!

Unfortunately our trip is booked and we are leaving very soon. I feel obliged to visit Frankfurt for a couple days as my cousin lives there and we are staying with him. I have been to Cologne and LOVED it! My husband has never been out of the country (except Mexico and Canada) and I knew he would live it too!

I do wish I could change our flight to Ireland so it flew out of Munich or Dresden though, not sure we will be too interested in Berlin.

Have you been to the Black Forest?
makows24 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,303
My initial thoughts.
Forget about getting into Frankfurt and spending the night. It is an OK place, but not a special place to visit with your short time.

Cologne is pretty far North, so I would not include it with Southern Germany, but you must have a reason for wanting to go, so instead of Frankfurt, from the airport, catch the train straight on to Cologne. Tour Cologne. Spend the first night there.

Skip the Black Forest - seen one tree, seen them all, plus much of the Black Forest has been decimated in recent years by storms.
Use your time for your other three destinations and actually see something.

Just looked. It seems Adrienne also says skip Frankfurt and Cologne. Good advice.
Sassafrass is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,239
>>. . . and we want to see as much as we can.<<

Your plan guarantees that you will see next to nothing. Dashing from place to place doesn't mean you see more sites . . . It means you see more train stations and little else.

Pick 3 places (max) in Germany - that will give you 2 full days in each one after deducting all the travel time.

(I SURE hope your Ireland plan isn't this crazy -- Travel is much MUCH slower in Ireland)
janisj is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,209
makows I apologize if I was rude, did not mean to be. Your speedy itinerary overwhelmed me, I suppose. We were in Freiburg am breisgau last year for three nights. It is a charming German city with a beautiful Gothic Munster and beautiful architecture. There is a college there and it has a nice youthful spirit. I believe it is on the edge of the Black Forest and we only saw the city. In Heidelberg a few years ago for three nights. Heidelberg was near the end of our trip and being vegetarians we were thrilled to find a much greater variety of restaurant offerings than much of Germany and even a Starbucks. Enjoyed the
Philosopher's Way, a walking trail across the river with great views of city, castle etc. organ concert in Cathedral and the almost mile long pedestrian friendly shopping street with lots of restaurants and outside cafés. I hope you can find the time to experience some of the places you want to visit and not just have a vague memory that you were there. Have a great trip!
violetduck is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:27 AM.