munich or nuremberg christmas market?

Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 09:49 AM
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munich or nuremberg christmas market?

First of all I would like to thank everyone who has helped me plan my trip. I only have a total of 3 nights in Germany. I arrive on 21 Dec morning in Frankfurt. With 3 kids in tow, I have 3 options:
1) stay put in Munich. Do day trip to Nuremberg's market. If go by latest ICE, is the train fare a lot? One way trip only takes 1 hour so it is do-able. On second and third day I can visit Mad King's castle and see Munich's Christmas markets as well.

2) Stay put in Munich and do not bother with Nuremberg. If you think Munich's market is nice enough, then I would skip Nuremberg altogether and spend more time exploring Bavaria.

3) Fly straight from Frankfurt to Nuremberg and stay a night there. Next morning take train to Munich for 2 more nights. This option allows more time to explore the market of N. However, I am not sure how easy or convenient for us to get from N. airport to hotel Agneshof (downtown) and for us to get to the train station the next day to catch train to Munich. Bear in mind with 3 kids and our luggages. My husband not keen on this option. He thinks too much travelling involved.

I might consider skipping N. altogether and just enjoy the Munich's markets. What do you think? How about any other quaint markets closer to Munich by train than N,?

Appreciate greatly any input. After Munich we go to Salzburg to spend 2 nights there. I chose Salzburg because of the fodorites' recommendation. Thereafter fly to Paris for 4 more nights before returning home.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 10:24 AM
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Since you landing in Frankfurt, can you stop in at Nuremburg on the way to Munich via train. (making a long day) You could leave you luggage at the train station and visit Nuremburg and make it to Munich that night. Otherwise stay in Munich. You will be fighting jet lag and having three tired kids will make it a bit tougher. If not on the way to Munich, I would stay put and consider the market in Augsburg. I have heard very good comments about the market there. I was on my way there last time and made a last minute change to Regensberg instead. This is a short trip and in case weather isn't so nice, not a big struggle.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:15 PM
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You'll be doing a lot of moving around on this trip, and my vote would be to stay all 3 nights in Munich. It's a great city, and the markets, ice skating, etc. are really fun around Christmas. Be sure to check out the market devoted to Christmas nativity scenes. Walking in the markets in the evening is truly magical with the lights, smells and sounds.

If you really want to see more Christmas markets, I'd be tempted to go to a smaller town. Augsburg might be good, but I don't have any personal experience with it. I can, however, highly recommend the town of Regensburg and its markets. It is a fairly short train ride from Munich.

We spent 2 nights in Munich before going to Regensburg this past Christmas. (We were also in Regensburg for Christmas of 2002). Regensburg is a beautiful city on the Danube (the oldest stone bridge in Europe). The medieval cathedral is stunning and the town has retained its medieval streets and many of its very old towers. You can even see parts of the old Roman walls.

There are several Christmas markets in Regensburg's old town, including the traditional Christkindlmarkt (http://www.christkindlmarkt-regensbu...php?newlang=en)
the Lucrezia market (http://www.lucrezia-markt.de/), and a "romantische" market on the grounds of the Turn & Taxis palace - with craftspeople working on their wares as you watch, and everything is handmade.

There are lots of Christmas markets in southern Germany. Many of the smaller towns only have markets on the weekends, and some stop before the 24th, so you will want to check this out. For example, Regensburg's markets go through December 23. Here's a link to information about Germany's markets:
http://www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk/index1.htm

Aside from the markets, you will find that everything pretty much closes up at noon on Dec. 24.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:08 PM
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Thank you very much. How do I get from Munich to Regensberg by train? I am staying at Munich City Hilton. There is a train station below. Is that the station I should be taking train from?
So it is Ok that I skip Nuremberg? I think in that case I will focus on Munich and Regensberg's markets.
Also, to get from Munich to Mad King's castle, how easy is it to take train and how easy to go by train to Garmisch?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 09:11 PM
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It looks like the Hilton is situated over the Rosenheimer Platz station. It looks like you'd take a 5 minute subway ride to the Hauptbahnhof - main train station - and take the train to Regensburg from there.

We had rail passes, but generally you'd go to the information window at the train station and obtain the schedule and buy your tickets. We were not able to reserve actual seats because the train is considered a 'local'. We traveled on the 23rd and found the train to be full of people going home for the holiday. We were glad to have first class tickets and were able to find a first class compartment that was empty. There were lots of people standing in the hallway outside our compartment. The ride was around 90 minutes.

I can't help you with Garmisch or Ludwig's castles. A search on this forum ought to turn up lots of information, as these are popular destinations.

My sense is that with just 3 nights in Germany, you are going to have to choose what you can do. Getting yourself from Frankfurt to Munich and getting settled will take a good bit of the 21st. Visiting Regensburg's markets would likely be most of a day, including travel from Munich and the return trip.

So, do you travel to Salzburg on the 24th? Salzburg's own Christmas market goes until 3:00 pm on the 24th. You might want to get a morning train from Munich to Salzburg so you can see that market as well.
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Old Sep 4th, 2006, 04:34 AM
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Thank you noe 847 for your detailed reply. We plan to leave for Salzburg on 24th for 2 nights because I read in Fodors' threads that Salzburg is the best place to spend X'mas. For foreigners like me, Christmas in Europe can be very quiet so I need to pick a city that is christmassy and hopefully has snow on christmas day. I am sad that I might have to skip Nuremberg and Rothenberg and take Munich instead. Nuremberg was the main attraction for me. I thought of staying in N and skip Munich but not sure if it would be as much fun being stuck in a smaller town. Sigh....So hard to make a decision. Afraid that Munich's market might not be as authentic and we travelled all the way to Germany and settle for a not so authentic market experience. Due to time constraint, I have not choice.
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Old Sep 4th, 2006, 07:24 AM
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It sounds to me as though you have a case of "want to see it all"! It can get confusing to read about all the wonderful things to see in Europe and try to devise an itinerary with limited time. Three days is just not enough time to see all the cool things in Germany that you've read about, especially when you've just landed after an international flight.

You have taken a short trip and split it into three really short pieces (Germany, Salzburg and Paris). That can be a source of frustration but you can also see it as inspiration. You will get a taste this trip that will make you excited about coming back.

Given your realities, I think you need to think about your (and your family's) priorities for Germany. If Nuremberg is your dream, you should probably make it work. I can tell you that I found Munich's markets are lovely and festive - and authentic - but chances are you will always be left wondering about Nuremberg's.

Nuremberg is not so small that you would feel "stuck" there, especially for a day or so. At the same time, the market will not take you countless hours to explore.

Here's an itinerary you might consider:
Take the train from Frankfurt to Nuremberg. The ICE will get you there in a little over 2 hours. Drop your bags at the hotel and wander the market until your room is ready. Possibly take a SHORT nap (assume you're flying from N. America), then do some more market, eating your dinner from the vendors, seeing the lights, etc., then bedtime.

The next morning, you can see a bit more of Nuremberg before hopping a midday train to Munich (about 1 1/2 hours). Check in your hotel, and spend the rest of the day exploring Munich, ice skating, seeing the toy museum, etc.

The following day could be your castle day (you could probably find a day tour for this?). Back to Munich in the evening for some last walking around the downtown, and then off to Salzburg the next morning (under 2 hours by train).

There are other ways to split up your 3 nights. They all involve some sacrifices and some benefits. I'd have each member of the family list the top 3 things they'd like to do in Germany, and see if you can get at least everyone's first choice.

Salzburg should be a good choice for Christmas. Your chances of snow are 50/50, but the city is beautiful with or without it. The Fortress Hohensalzburg is open on the 25th, so I'd do that then. You might want to consider making your dinner reservations for the 24th and the 25th in advance.

With the kind of traveling you are doing, one key is to pack very light. One small suitcase each (expandable 21 inches) and one bookbag backpack (that is your plane carry on). Pack a folding duffle in the outside pocket of each suitcase - you can fill as you buy things and clip to the rolling suitcases. I have used this system with for our family's two winter trips (2 weeks each time, no laundry done) to Germany/Austria/Prague and it worked quite well for the train and for walking from the train to hotels, etc.
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 12:52 AM
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Thank you noe847. You are so helpful. Since you know so much about Munich, may I ask whether it makes sense to skip Salzburg altogether and stay at Munich Hilton for all 5 nights. This would be the least hassle for us and the kids but we would have to take day trips. I am thinking of day trips to Regensberg or Zugspitze on X'mas day while everything is closed. Do you know whether trains operate on Christmas day to either places? If we go to Alps, would restaurants be opened and without a car to explore would we be ok? we just want to take the cable car to go up to the top but not sure whether it operates on X'mas day. Would it be as enjoyable as going to Salzburg if we spend all 5 nights exploring Munich and its surroundings? Where would you recommend a nice X'mas dinner? My husband thinks we should just take day trip to Nuremberg but I would take your recommendation to experience Regensberg instead of Rothenberg. Again, without a car in Regensberg is it ok? We are not keen to drive in a foreign land and with snowy road conditions. If you think Munich is also very nice to stay over the X'mas eve and X'mas day then we might just give Salzburg a miss. Hilton is just so convenient for us to catch a flight in and out of Munich that staying put in Hilton might save us a lot of travelling stress.
Appreciate your insight.
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 04:17 PM
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I would keep Salzburg. It is a very fairy-tale city in appearance, and will be a great place to spend Christmas. It is a very compact city, and you can explore the "old" and the "new" sides by foot. I prefer to be within walking distance of the downtown. We have stayed on each side of the river and enjoyed both experiences.

There will be some things open on in Salzburg on the 25th - this will be a perfect time to see the fortress, which your children should enjoy. I'm not sure when the skating is set up in the Residenzplatz (it's there for New Year's). I'd also consider bundling up and doing a carriage ride. The horses are the shaggy ones that look a bit like shetland ponies, and the carriages are rustic with plaid blankets. We did a carriage ride in Vienna and my girls loved it.

I don't think that for a first trip to Germany I'd spend 5 nights in Munich. You could do Nuremberg as a day trip from Munich. It's between Frankfurt and Munich, so it's a bit of a backtrack. The good thing is that if you do it as a day trip, you can decide once you are
in Germany. The markets really only take a couple of hours to see. And your family may tire of them if that is all you do for your time in Germany. The markets can be fun to go at the end of a day of sightseeing before you head to the hotel.

You do not want to take a day trip to Regensburg on Christmas Day. Everything is closed. In fact, in 2005, things closed up at midday on the 24th (a Saturday), were closed on the 25th (a Sunday), and were also closed on Monday the 26th. (There were wonderful church services on each of these days featuring the amazing boy choir.) If you're going to see Regensburg, I'd do it before the Christmas markets close on the 23rd.

The trains do run on the 25th (we traveled from Regensburg to Prague on Dec. 25, 2002.)

Be sure to stop at the little cart in the middle of the Munich train station for the wonderful Nuremberger sausages - they come 3 or 4 on a roll and are really delicious.

fyi, Neuschwanstein (Ludwig's) Castle open except on December 24 and 25.
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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The skating rink was operating the first week in Dec. last year. I, also, would not miss Saltzburg. It is magical that time of year. Have a great trip. CJ
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 05:54 PM
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oh, a few more random thoughts/answers to your questions:

Regensburg is easy to access by train and you can walk everywhere. A car would be a hindrance actually, as you'd just have to find somewhere to park it, and then you'd walk around anyway.

A restaurant we enjoyed in downtown Munich is Ayinger's which is associated with a brewery but it not quite the 'experience' that the Hofbrauhaus is. Very comfortable and cozy with good, traditional food. It is right across the street from the Hofbrauhaus, so you can get a look around there. Hofbrauhaus was mobbed and loud when we were there - even my college aged girls didn't wish to stay.
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Old Sep 6th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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Almost every town and villiage has a Christmas market and once you've tasted the gluhwein at one of them you will find them to be pretty much the same. I have nver been to the Nuremerg market. I understand it is the biggest next to Zurich.

For my money I would split my time for this trip between Munich and Salzburg. There is a lot to see in both places and if you wanted to day-trip for a day I would go to Neuschwanstein rather than N'burg.. I don't know the age of the kids but they would probably enjoy the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Marionette Theater in Salzburg.

If they are teen they might enjoy having a very Bavarian meal at the Augustiner in the fussganger zone in Munich. Nymphenburg Palace with the carriage house full of cinderella coaches is fun too.

Have you looked into flying in and out of Munich. That would save a lot of wear and tear on everyone.
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Old Sep 7th, 2006, 12:25 AM
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Thank you thank you. Noe 847, I will heed your advice and not skip Salzburg. So the itinerary is now final: 3 nights in Munich. First 2 days get to know Munich and go to Deutsch museum and not take train out of town. On 23rd, take bus tour to see Neuschwanstein. It is a full day. On 24th, take early train (Bayern Pass?) to Salzburg. Stay at Sheraton Salzburg. I need help for X'mas eve dinner. The sheraton concierge said that St Peter Keller is not open for X'mas eve dinner. Hard to believe but if that is the case, where can I go for a really Austrian X'mas eve dinner full of the X'mas spirit? Golder Hirsch? On 25th, where can I go in Salzburg (not out of town since no car) for horse drawn sleigh? Thanks. If possible, would also appreciate some Munich restaurant recommendation.
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Old Sep 7th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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I think Bob's Tours and Panorama both have sleigh rides but they may not run them on Christmas Eve. The Midnight Mass at the cathedral has great music. You will need to check with your hotel for a restaurant that is open.
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 01:19 AM
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There is a full detailed directory of christmas markets at www.christmasmarkets.com
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 01:44 AM
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>hard to believe but if that is the case, where can I go for a really Austrian X'mas eve dinner full of the X'mas spirit?

The "X'mas spirit" requires - at least in Austria and Germany - being at home with the family, exchanging presents and so on. It is not a tradition to go out at Christmas Eve. For celebration in the streets and restaurants you would have to wait for New Year.
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