Munich-Hamburg-Frankfurt arrangements

Mar 4th, 2004, 10:52 AM
  #1  
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Munich-Hamburg-Frankfurt arrangements

I am seeking advice about how best to make reservations/arrrangements for our trip this summer. Maybe someone does of a travel agency who specializes in Germany? We are a family of 5 (mom,dad, 3 teens) who are planning a trip to Germany in July. We are tacking it on to a larger family trip in Italy so right now we plan:
(1) to travel by train from Venice to Munich.
(2) then spend 3 days in Munich (need hotel suggestions) with a day trip to see Ludwigs castles (are there tours from Munich or should we do on our own by train or car?)and maybe other day trips suggestions.
(3) then we go (by train or car) to Hamburg (need hotel)for 2 days in that area to see family homesites (we'd rent a car to drive out to Kolheim and Worpswede)
(4) then go to Frnkfurt (train or car) (need hotel) and stay for 4 days. We'd take day trips to Rhine Valley (pkg tour or on own ?) and Strasbourg (to visit my daughter's exchange prgm host family from last year).
Any suggestions on travel by train (we'd get a Eurail 3 country pass) vs. renting a car would be helpful now. And tour, hotel ideas would be appreciated. Again, maybe a company who would take care of arrangements ?Thanks!
erg45 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 03:53 PM
  #2  
yk
 
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erg45-

Bringing your post back to the top. I hope some of our Germany experts (such as Russ) can answer your questions.

If you decide to travel by train, hold off buying a train pass. Very often point-point tickets are cheaper. Also, children under age of 14 travel for free. The german rail website lists many deals as well. One of them is the Happy-Weekend ticket. If you travel on a weekend, your whole family can travel for only 30E total to anywhere within Germany on regional trains.
www.bahn.de

You can also go to railsaver.com and plug in your routes and see if a railpass will save you $ or not.
yk is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 05:37 PM
  #3  
 
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erg- Despite the good deals with "Happy Weekend" tickets they restrict you to weekend travel which might not fit into your travel plans. As IMO the real pleasure of Germany is the countryside and the smaller towns I would opt for car, and with a family of five it might be the most economical. Just a few thoughts. Definitely plan to stay 1 night (rather than a day trip)in the Neuschwanstein area - either Garmish, Fussen, or Oberammergau. If you drive from Munich to Hamburg (8 hrs by Autobahn) consider a stop-over in Goslar, a delightful medieval town in the Harz Mountains. For the Rhine Valley I would suggest basing yourself in Boppard, Bacharach, or St. Goar, with day trips or a Rhine cruise. Then drive down to Strasbourg through Alsace before returning to Frankfurt where I assume you will connect with a flight home. Have a wonderful trip!
CharlieB is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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Yes, there are bus tours to Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau castles. But if you have a car, it's an easy, pretty, and interesting drive. I agree that it's worth an overnight stay.

2 summers ago, we stayed in the village of Hohenschwangau where the castles are located. http://albrecht-neuschwanstein.de/preis_engl.htm this place was 64 euros a night double with breakfast, free parking, Neuschwanstein castle right overhead, and walking distance to the castle ticket center.

We drove from Munich down to Linderhof palace. Spent a couple of hours there. Then drove into Austria and along the Plansee (lake). Had lunch along the lake, then on into Hohenschwangau. We still had time to visit Hohenschwangau castle that afternoon, and then visited Neuschwanstein the next morning.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 07:34 PM
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Erg: It's probably not a good value to get the 3-country Eurailpass if you are using up 2 countries (Italy and Austria) traveling only between Venice and Munich. It might be better to just purchase regular tix for that leg, then either purchase a German railpass or point-to-point train tix for the remainder of your trip. The cost for a car for a week will probably be comparable to the train, but it's hard to say without a few more details.

If you got a Eurailpass, would you be planning to use it prior to Venice? If so, how many travel days before leaving Venice?

Are you flying out of Frankfurt after your stay there?

Can you provide the ages (in July) of your teen travelers?

Do you know the exact dates you'll be making the journeys you mention?

Where is Kolheim?

Will you be traveling lightly enough so that you could either carry your own luggage on train trips or NOT overload a minivan if renting a car?

Do you have a compelling reason for staying in Frankfurt and Hamburg, specifically? Or are these arbitrary spots you've selected as bases? Worpswede is much closer to Bremen than Hamburg, really, and staying in Frankfurt proper is expensive if you don't really want to be there - and most travelers don't (you'd also have time and cash outlays getting in and out of Frankfurt and the additional nastiness of driving in that metropolis.) Are you open to staying along the Rhine instead, as CharlieB suggests?

If you stay in the smaller towns in Germany, there's usually a good chance of finding a vacation apartment for a few days where you could set up and feel a bit more at home (and all stay in the same unit, and save some serious $ over hotels.) Are you interested in that option for the Hamburg and Frankfurt regions?

I don't mean to hammer you with questions, but these specifics are needed, I think, to make some solid rec's.
Russ is offline  
Mar 5th, 2004, 12:59 AM
  #6  
hsv
 
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If you make some indications on your budget, I will be happy to provide some hotel suggestions for Hamburg, where I am based.

I would rent a car in your case, as it gives you so much more freedom of movement. Especially so as Worpswede is a considerable distance from Hamburg (approx. 115 km). It is easily reachable by car though in roughly about an hour.
Have never heard of a place called Kolheim. You might want to check the spelling.

When in Frankfurt do include a trip into Rheingau region, where there are some lovely Wine-Villages like Assmannshausen and Eltville. You could combine this with a trip to Wiesbaden, which actually you might consider as your base as it will locate you even more conveniently to the Rhine Valley. In addition, downtown Frankfurt is not that pretty, IMHO.
Enjoy your trip and do not hesitate to post- I will try to provide info if you get a bit more specific.

hsv is offline  
Mar 8th, 2004, 03:11 PM
  #7  
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Thank you everyone for your helpful suggestions. We are just now planning this trip and all your ideas are great. To give more details, Russ:
(1) we will not use/need Eurail Pass in our Italy portion (we will be with about 28 family members traveling by bus Milan-Genoa-Venice to see my ancestral homes)
(2) yes, we are flying out of Frankfurt after 11 days in Germany
(3) My kids are 18,16,14 years old in July
(4)We leave Venice on July 4, thnking of training to Munich. We thought 3 days in Munich/Bavaria area. Then July 8 going North to the Hamburg/Bremen area to see my husbands' ancestral homesites (worpswede and Kolhiem -- about 10 miles apart)staying 2 days there. Then July 11 heading down to Frankfurt/Rhine area and staying till July 15 (departure day). We'd like to visit Rhine area and perhaps get to Strasbourg for aday.
(5) Kolheim is about 10 miles NE of Worpswede. May not even still be there!
(6)Yes, we always try to travel lightly. A minivan won't be a problem.
(7) No compelling reason to stay in cities. Actually would prefer not. Just thought to use them as "bases" especially if travelling by train. one goal: Would like to minimize moving from place to place and changing hotels too frequently. (We originally also had Berlin and "Luther" sites like Wittenberg on the itinerary too but just thought we couldn't cover that much territory in 10-11 days -- so we got it down to 3 "bases")We would consider vacation apartment -- although wonder if 3 night rentals are possible (vs. per week).
IF this info helps with anyone making suggestions as to accomodations, itinerary, sites to see, car vs. train -- we are open to all ideas!
Thank you!
erg45 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2004, 09:04 PM
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I would suggest visiting Dachau, the concentration camp just a short train ride outside Munich. My 16 year old son regards it as the most meaningful experience he's had in traveling many countries in Western Europe.
mkdiebold is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 10:24 AM
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Hi, erg.

Here's what I'd suggest on transport:

Minivans at Autoeurope - like the VW Sharan, which should be large enough to handle your group - are running around $1200/week (about what you would need just for within-Germany travel on your Munich-Hamburg-Kehl route - Kehl is near Strasbourg.) It's an insane price, especially when you figure in gas; even if you get 20/mpg and can find gas for $4/gal, you'll need to figure on at least $200 for the 1000+ or so miles you'd be driving. The trip from Venice to Munich runs about $65 each, so unless there are some good 1-week bargains on minivans out there, you're looking at about $1725 total to get from Venice to Strasbourg.

Do the train instead. Railsaver.com shows roughly $40/per for Venice to Kufstein at the German border. For within Germany, I'd suggest getting German Rail twinpasses (4-day version, $135/per person, to cover border-Munich, Munich-Hamburg, Hamburg-Rhine, Rhine-Kehl.) The same Venice-Kehl route by train for all 5 should run about $875. Regular point-to-point tickets will run you slightly more than the passes, so the passes provide both convenience and the assurance that the falling dollar will not make your ticket purchases there even more expensive. You'll need a car for a couple of days in Hamburg or Bremen; you can probably find a mid-size vehicle for outings for under 100 Euros/day with Avis, Europcar, Sixt, etc., so with this plan I think you can keep your transport to around $1000 total and have a much more comfortable and relaxing trip over the long distances you?ll be traveling. For daytrips in the Rhineland, your family can have unlimited use of the regional trains for 21 Euros weekdays (?Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket?) or 28 Euros on Sat or Sun (?Happy Weekend Ticket?) - total price for 5.

I have some thoughts on your accommodations, etc. but will have to get back to you later on those.
Russ is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 02:32 PM
  #10  
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Russ,
Thank you for your transport comments. The cost of minivan vs. train as well as the couple long distances, made us think train would be better too.(also fuel and parking issues!) I appreciate the info on the rail passes -- wasn't aware of any besides the Eurail passes. Will investigate The german rail site. Any accomodation ideas would be wonderful, too!
Thank you. Thank you.
erg45 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 02:36 PM
  #11  
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One other question re:train, especially within Germany. Is there a big difference 1st class vs. 2nd class. If so, what are they? My husband and sons are tall (6' to 6'2) so "leg" room is a concern. Is it an issue only on longer trips ?
Thanks again!
-erg
erg45 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 07:57 AM
  #12  
 
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erg: you shouldn't worry about leg room in most long-distance trains, I don't think. Most 1st and 2nd class cars have the same basic configurations - only first class might have slightly more comfy upholstery and fewer passengers. There is a large variety of equipment out there, so it's hard to generalize, but I've never heard complaints from anyone using modern 2nd class cars that leg room was insufficient. Perhaps taller people can add their 2 cents (I'm 5'9".)

There is no train to Worpswede; take the train to Bremen and either continue by bus or rental car. Europcar is having a special on the Touran mini-van - 66 Euros/day for bookings of 2-4 days, all km included. I would suggest taking the train to Bremen on 7/8 for your tour of the area; overnight there, then pick up a car on 7/9 for two days. There is a Europcar location conveniently located near Bremen's main train station for easy pick-up and drop-off. There are a few rentals that might work for you there; a good number of them rent for as few as 2 or 3 days. You can go to the following page and click on "Privatzimmer":

http://www.bremen.de/besucher.html

A list of links to B&B's and apartments will appear. Anything with "Ferienwohnung" next to it is an apartment. I would suggest contacting the Bremen tourist office by phone or e-mail to ask them to book something for you that meets your requirements. There are some pages in English available via the uninon jack flag on the homepage and contact info too.


Or, you might want to pick up the car on the 8th and drive yourselves out to Worpswede for 7/9 & 7/10 overnights. There are a number of rentals there that run from 40-60 Euros/night. Go to http://www.worpswede.de/navi/besucherinfo.htm and click on "Ferienwohnungen"; a clickable list of rentals will come up with links to pages mostly in German. You can at least get an idea of what's available there. Try to contact the TI for help with booking.

Gotta go for now - back in a while.

Russ
Russ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 10:54 AM
  #13  
 
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There are many towns you might look into in the Rheinland as you look for a base town there - Boppard, Bacharach, Oberwesel are all nice. My personal favorite and the best for train travel IMO is St. Goar - it has a ferry across the river, 3 castles visible from town, lies within the prettiest part of the Rhine Gorge, is centrally located for trips to other towns, and there are good walks in the area. We have stayed at the Rheinblick apartment:

http://www.loreleytal.com/st.goar/fe...tz/english.htm

Great view, comfortable place, friendly owner who speaks English and responds promptly to e-mail inquiries, a block from the train station, bikes and cheap drinks in cellar, no complaints.

You can find some other places - hotels, apartments, private B&B's - at the following website; be cautious when reading and inquiring that the locations will not put you too far from the train stations:

http://www.tal-der-loreley.de/ukv/ukv.hotel.en.php

I believe the above site has an e-mail link if you want assistance with booking.

Many things to do in the region, and 4 nights is about right. You can purchase daypasses (Happy weekend ticket - 21 Euros, Rheinland Pfalz ticket - 28 Euros) for group travel on the regional trains at any station in Germany, in advance if you like, in Munich or Bremen from a manned counter (Most small Rhine towns have only a ticket machine on the tracks which dispenses these tickets with a credit card.)

On the Rhine, visit Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Peace Museum (WW II) at the site of the old Luddendorf bridge in Remagen, Boppard (Roman ruins, cool chairlift ride to viewpoint, nice old town), Bacharach and/or Linz (half-timbered buildings); on the nearby Mosel, you might want to hit Burg Eltz Castle (best castle tour anywhere, IMO), Cochem (also an interesting castle with a great falconry show, beautiful old town center), and Trier (Germany's oldest city, many Roman ruins, well-preserved churches.)

To daytrip to Strasbourg, your German railpass within Germany will get you as far as Kehl and back; from there, you'll need additional point-to-point tickets to Strasbourg and back to Kehl, I believe. You can get these at any station within Germany (might be easier at the manned stations.)

Please feel free to repost with questions.

Russ

Russ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 11:03 AM
  #14  
 
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I neglected to mention that there's a wine festival in Bacharach on 7/11 beginning at 11 am that you might want to get in on after checking in wherever you stay.
Russ is offline  

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