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Jan 21st, 2014, 03:41 PM
  #1
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need suggested itinerary for Germany

I am planning a trip to Europe, mid december starting in Germany. A family of 4 ( 2 adults and 2 adult children 20 and 18) We fly to Berlin.
We have never been to Germany before. We have 10 days in Germany.
we are interested in WW11. we are travelling by train.
Want to see Christmas markets too.
My son would like to go to see a football game either in Berlin or Dortmund during this time.
My suggested itinerary is as follows:
Berlin (3 nights)
Cologne (7 nights) taking day trips to Dortmund,, Rhine,
Is 7 nights too long in Cologne? Can you suggest other places to go in Bavaria.
From Germany, we need to fly to Paris for Christmas.
Thanks.
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Jan 21st, 2014, 03:52 PM
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we are interested in WW11.

Geez, WW3 was the Cold War.

The "War on Terror" was referred to by some commentators as WW4 (building on the notion that the Cold War was WW3). What the heck were WW5 to WW10? Or for that matter, WW11?
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Jan 21st, 2014, 03:53 PM
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1 day IMO is too long for Cologne for the average tourist - much of the town was blitzed in WW2 - great cathedral and nice museums but you can find a much better base for that long a time - consider going to Munich for some dauys - take a day trip to Fussen for Neuschwanstein Castle that your kids will love.

Nurnberg has the most extensive Third Reich relics in Germany - Hitler's old parade grounds where he famously reviewed goose stepping troops from his balcony perch - that and the stadium and vast parade grounds are still there along with a museum of third Reich activities there. Nurnberg is also a neat city with a famous Christmas Market (well there are lots of those!) - from Munich you could also day trip to Salzburg Austria to experience yet another country and famous Christmas market.

If going around Germany on long-distance trains check out the German Railpass that lets you hop on virtually any train anytime - that is if you want full flexibility because then compared to full fare tickets a few rides can make the pass pay off.

Otherwise go to www.bahn.de/en - the official German Railways web site with schedules and fares and discounted tickets that, sold in limited numbers, must be booked weeks in advance to guarantee and then are train-specific and set in stone as they cannot be changed nor refunded - but if your itinerary is set in stone they can save 4 people a lot of money.

Once in a certain region like Bavaria or Cologne use the Lander Tickets which gives unlimited use of regional trains (not fast ones like IC or ICE trains however) but for short distances up to five people or so can ride all day for perhaps a total of 39 euros or so - great if going Munich to say Fussen because that is all on regional trains.

For lots of great info on German trains check out www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Buy Lander tickets at any German station.
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Jan 21st, 2014, 04:00 PM
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Is 7 nights too long in Cologne? Can you suggest other places to go in Bavaria.

Cologne is far from Bavaria.

My son would like to go to see a football game either in Berlin or Dortmund during this time.

American or European? If the latter, I believe that it is the wrong season.
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Jan 21st, 2014, 04:03 PM
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Michael
Dortmund team play through the winter season in Germany.
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Jan 21st, 2014, 04:44 PM
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"From Germany, we need to fly to Paris for Christmas."

Why? It's only about 3 hours to Paris Nord station by direct train from Cologne. You'll surely have to invest more time than that if you fly.

I would spend maybe 3 nights in Cologne, then 3-4 at the south end of the Middle Rhine Valley. Mainz is a nice base town for seeing the Middle Rhine, and it has a very nice Christmas market; visit the Rüdesheim market as well, and do a daytrip to Frankfurt and/or Wiesbaden. You might tour Marksburg Castle in Braubach too - it's open year-round.

Cologne works for daytrips to Dortmund, Bonn, Linz am Rhein, and Koblenz.
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Jan 21st, 2014, 11:46 PM
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Unless you are flying (which might be cheaper than train if you book early enough), traveling from Cologne to Berlin will take some time -- about 4.5 hours by ICE train (around 6 by non-ICE) and 5.5 hours by car (assuming no traffic delays). Be sure to consider this in your planning.

My son would like to go to see a football game either in Berlin or Dortmund during this time.

I don't think the schedules have been published yet for the 2014/2015 season so it's possible that there might not be any home games when you are in town. Also, tickets are going to be difficult to acquire. This also applies for München and Nürnberg.


Is 7 nights too long in Cologne? Can you suggest other places to go in Bavaria.

None of your proposed itinerary is in Bavaria. Cologne is all the way on the other side of the country. Consult a map for more information.

München is worth at least two days, three if you want to visit all the Christmas markets there and visit Dacahau.

Nürnberg is worth two days and since you are interested in WWII history, you really should be in Nürnberg for at least two days. The Nazi Documentation Center is worth at least four hours and a walk around the zeppelin field and parade grounds will take around an hour.

The Christmas markets have been discussed thoroughly already so be sure to do a search. Lots of good info there.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:14 AM
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I agree with PalenQ that Munich would be a good place for first timers. There is a 3rd Reich walking tour to see places where the Nazi party got started then, of course, Dachau is a chilling reminder of those days. Nuremburg is an easy train ride from there and you can get a deal on the tickets by using the Bavaria Ticket for all four of you roundtrip for about 29 euros. Other fun daytrips are Salzburg, Fussen (Neuscchwantein), and the Ludwig castles and palaces Herren Chiemsee, and Linderhof.

As I recall, at last count Munich has 19 Christmas markets, three big ones in the middle of town at Marienplatz and within a few blocks of there.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:36 AM
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thanks for the great advice.

My plan now is to take the train from Munich to Paris instead of flying.

Will now travel from Berlin to Munich, and take day trips from there.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:42 AM
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It's at minimum a 6 hour train ride form Munich to Paris. Are you sure you want to waste the better part of a day on the train?

You can get a one way MUC-CDG ticket on Air France for $68 oer person and it's a 1:40 flight.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 12:46 PM
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There is an overnight train between Paris and Munich too - save time even over flying which inevitably takes a half day or so and save on the cost of a hotel.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 01:38 PM
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http://www.thirdreichruins.com/nuernberg2.htm

Nurnberg is where you want to go if interested in Nazi/third Reich stuff - many of the things in these pictures are still standing, except the Fuhrer of course!
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 01:52 PM
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The Galeria Kaufhof in Nürnberg sells a postcard by the ground floor escalators that says "Nürnberg 1946" and is a photo of a bombed out Nürnberg and really puts things into perspective. I can't say that I have noticed this postcard in other places, but I'm probably wrong.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 02:13 PM
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Sparkchaser there are similar photos of the bombed church in the back of Alte Peter Kirche in Munich and it is amazing how much damage was done. I saw another photo of Marienplatz in Munich after the bombing and the rubble was heaped up to the second floor of the buildings, what was left of them.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 03:05 PM
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This sounds great. Will have to go for sure!
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 08:05 PM
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Right "season" for football, but wrong "point" in the season

The Bundesliga takes a 6 week winter break, beginning around mid-December until late January (they won't resume until this weekend this year and last played on December 14). You will have to plan to catch your game before mid-December but you may not even be there. Since you say you need to be in Paris for Christmas it seems quite likely that you won't be able to catch any Bundesliga games.
(Christmas minus 10 days =December 15, around when the winter break will begin). The games are almost exclusively on Saturdays in early December and the teams in whichever city you are staying may not be playing at home on either of the 1, or 2, Saturdays you will be there.
The schedules for next season will not come out until this summer so unless you can wait that long to plan you are going to have to roll the dice a little on this part of the vacation. It may be that you have to travel for a day trip to catch a game in another city, like Nurnberg or Augsburg (from Munich) or Wolfsburg, Hanover, or Hamburg (from Berlin, but all quite a stretch).

And I would say that 7 nights is too long for Cologne - far too long. I think you will be happy with Berlin - Munich and points between combination.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 02:29 PM
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Thanks Aramis for your great advice. Will have to wait for the schedules to decide.

At this stage,we will be in Berlin and Munich.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 09:58 AM
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If interested in third Reich Nazi things a short day trip to the Berlin suburbs takes you to Sachenhausen Concentration Camp, now a memorial with gas chambers still in view.

http://www.stiftung-bg.de/gums/en/in...c6d830e38c17f9
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Jan 27th, 2014, 10:28 AM
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And I would say that 7 nights is too long for Cologne>

2 nights IME is one night too long for Cologne, a city I have spend weeks in on business thru the years - oh it has its interesting things and a nice pedestrian shopping street but overall your time will be much much better spent in more old-worldish romantic cities rather than modern rather blah - nice blah but still IMO blah Cologne, though the Turkish district is quite an experience, like being in Istanbul!
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Jan 28th, 2014, 04:07 AM
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The TGV connection Munich-Paris is quite good, since it leaves Munich station quite early, at 6:27 and arrives in Paris Est at 12:35.
I did this once and really loved it. On a train, you can really use those 6hrs for reading and get in the mood for Paris.
If you want to be in the centre of Paris at noon, you really need to catch an early flight from Munich, which is much less convenient (transport to the airport outside of Munich, same in Paris vice versa) than simply embark on the train and stay there.
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