Is Bavaria family-friendly?

Jun 30th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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Is Bavaria family-friendly?

Our German friends tell us that Americans drag their kids around more than Germans do and we may find that our October trip will be difficult. First of all because we have 4 kids and then there's their ages: 3,8,11,12. Will the kids like it? Can we get around OK?
Momof4boys is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 12:46 PM
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I think they will love it if they enjoy traveling and seeing new things. My 8 year old loved Germany..but I tried to even things out with some sightseeing and then an activity that he'd enjoy, whether it was a park, a pool, an amusement park...too much of just looking at stuff was boring...We took buses and trains everywhere and it was fine. Have a blast and try to plan it like a trip here at home.
gregeva1 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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The kids really enjoy history and are thrilled at the prospect of traveling to Europe. What part(s) of Germany have you visited?

What did your 8-year old enjoy the most?
Momof4boys is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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If the kids don't end up falling in love with Rothenburg..the city walls, the moat, the cobblstoned streets, etc., there's no hope!
Dukey is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:40 PM
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Good ages for all (well, the 3 year old will be happy anywhere).
My kids were fascinated with castles (of which Neuschwanstein is most famous, but by no means the most castle-like), suits of armor (there are several small Bavarian museums with excellent collections), the olympic ski jump in Garmish-Partinkerkin (sp), seeing the Alps, remnants of WW2. They also enjoyed spending several hours playing with German kids. It was amazing how kids could overcome the difference in language and somehow communicate enough to play. While that isn't easily arranged, they still remember those times, many years later.
tomboy is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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It seems that I should put castles high on my list of "must sees". Is it hard driving in Germany or communicating with the natives? I'm also concerned that my kids will turn up their noses at the foods.
Momof4boys is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Hi mom,

coming from england, i always found Germany much friendlier to kids than it was at home. places seems to expect us to have them with us, which was a great start, and prepared to tolerate them behaving like kids, which also helped.

so i anticipate that you should have few problems.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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The last time I was in Germany (incl. Bavaria) was in 1992, so maybe things have changed. We were there in February, so there weren't a lot of tourists around. We had a baby that we left at grandma's and we were glad we did.

While we'd see moms with their kids in parks, we saw almost no kids in restaurants - and these were "ordinary" restaurants-nothing fancy. The one slightly upscale restaurant at which we ate not only had no kids, there were hardly any women. Just groups of men.

The birth rate in Germany is quite low. If they like kids, they sure don't HAVE as many of them as many others do.

Whatever....I love Germany and I'm taking my kids there in a couple of weeks. I'll let you know how it goes.
missypie is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:36 PM
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I think your boys would enjoy the Salt Mines in Berchtesgaden. My boys were 4 & 7 when we visited and the tour had everything they could possibly desire - a train ride, a slide into the mine and a boat ride across an underwater lake. My husband and I found the tour interesting as well as fun.

The boys did well during the castle tours, but I think they had more fun discovering the giant slugs while walking through the gardens of Linderhof.

As for food, as long as there was a sausage on the menu they were happy.
wtm003 is online now  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:37 PM
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I would love to hear about your trip. What is your itinerary? How many kids do you have and how are you getting around?
Momof4boys is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:44 PM
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The Salt Mines sound like a fantastic outing. I'll have to look up where that is. Thanks for the great tip!
Momof4boys is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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Missypie: The way you describe no kids being in restaurants is very much like the picture our friends paint for us. It has me all weirded out. Nothing like getting dirty looks because we have children
Momof4boys is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:08 PM
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Driving in Germany is easy - drivers are fast - but more skilled than in the US - and take tules of the road seriously - no dawdling in the left lane please.

You will have to rent something very large to have room for 6 people and luggage - and if I were you I would go for automatic transmission - unlese you;re used to a standard.

You will have no trouble communicating about basics - since Germans are required to learn English in school.

As for your kids turning up their noses at the food - it's an opportunity for them to learn to like new things (although you might not want to push them toward blutwurst). You can get very basic meals in Germany (although not a lot of "kids menus" - it;s assumed they'll eat the same things as adults.) Also- be aware that soft drinks are very small and very expensive. A good idea to buy large bottles of water (and soda if you must) in supermarkets and carry in the car. You can always get them tap water in restaurants.

If nothing else they can always get a veal or chicken schnitzel with fries and a salad (lettuce, shredded carrots, tomato etc).
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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...and pizza is always an option.

pja1 is online now  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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nytraveler: We'll try to pack light. I want to encourage the kids to try new things but don't look forward to having to encourage them at every meal. I'm sure we'll do OK. We travel a bit and the boys have learned to be very flexible about things. They are also used to ordering water in restaurants. We'll probably eat often from food vendors on the streets. Hopefully, people are out and about on the streets in early October as they would be in the summer.
Momof4boys is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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In San Francisco, I hear German spoken by all ages, they do travel with the children. Find new friends in Germany
FainaAgain is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 03:54 PM
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Pop/soda is expensive there, so tap water is advised.
There may be few kids in restaurants because, comparatively speaking, it's more expensive. And I don't recall seeing any "kinder-karte" at the base of any menus. If they're flexible, they'll do fine. If they insist on Big Macs everywhere, hunger can break down barriers that persuasion can't.

From what I experienced, Germans often dote on their kids; they just don't dine out often with them.
tomboy is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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My kids were older than yours (13, 14) went - but they loved it. Now, we were there the week before Xmas so we had all the Christmas markets to enjoy.

I don't ever remember having problems in restaurants. We generally "suspend" our normal, healthy dinner requirements when we travel. So, if the kids are happy with french fries - hot diggity. But, as they have gotten older, they are more likely to order more food than we do! And my younger one has the annoying habit of picking out the most expensive thing on the menu. They loved the weiner schnitzel in Germany and ate that frequently.

We were also quite surprised at the number of American tourists/young families in Germany -but then we soon realized many of them were from the various military bases.

Where exactly are you planning on going?
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 06:08 PM
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Just returned yesterday from a 2 week trip which incl. time in Bavaria (trip report coming soon!). Our kids are 12 and 16 and we really enjoyed it. Others have given you good suggestions of the salt mines, and castles. I would also recommend the sommerrodelbahns. They are tobaggan runs set up for the summer ( I checked one and it is open through early Nov. so I suspect several will be open in Oct.) My 12 yo son absolutely LOVED this!

If you are going to Salzburg I would strongly recommend the Fraulein Maria's Sound of Music Bike Tour. It was easy and a lot of fun seeing the SOM sites but also a fun way to see Salzburg. They had one of the those "trail behind" bikes for the younger kids, but it recently got stolen apparently, so would need to check on that for the 3 yo.

As long as your kids are well behaved, I don't think you have to worry too much about eating out. Frankly, I don't pay too much attention as to whether there are other kids eating out or not. My kids are well behaved, so I don't worry pay too much attention as to whether other kids are there. My daughter is a very adventurous eater, but my son a bit less, however, he loves fish, so will order that, and it was pretty easy just to get pizza or pasta for him. He also really enjoyed the soups there.

We were traveling with my parents so there were 6 of us and we rented a van and had no problems. We picked it up in Munich and drove throughout the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany. It was very easy to drive everywhere (we did have a TomTom GPS system which was extremely helpful).

Also, lots of good ice cream in Germany!!
jgg is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 11:18 PM
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"Our German friends tell us that Americans drag their kids around more than Germans do"

Actually, I understand this statement. In Europe, we don't do road trips with our kids. We go to a resort or hotel for 1-2 weeks and do day trips (if at all) from there. Road trips are too stressful for most European families.

We also do lots of day trips from home.

There's a lot more at our doorstep and we're a bit more "gas" conscious than Americans, which may explain the reason for the difference in thinking.
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