Passau or Bamberg in December?

Jan 9th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 470
Passau or Bamberg in December?

Hello, everyone. I'm trying to fine tune an itinerary for a nearly 3 week trip through central Europe late November/early December. I'd really like to post my complete route and ask for comments and opinions but for now I think I'll focus on smaller topics.

Right now I plan to spend two nights in Regensburg. One of the days I'd like to take an extensive daytrip to visit 2 or 3 neighboring towns. My first thought, crazy as it may sound, was to catch the train to Passau early in the morning, stay until around 2:00 or 3:00 and then travel on another train to Nurnberg for the rest of the day, concentrating on the Christmas market, before catching a late train back to Regensburg to spend the night.

After Regensburg was planning to spend 3 nights in Munich. I'm trying to base myself in places for no less than two nights so I can have the option of daytrips to get a taste of smaller towns without hauling the luggage around.

My second choice for the Regensburg daytrip would be to skip Passau and travel in just one direction, adding the town of Bamberg and maybe even Wurzburg for a really long day. That may be worthless due to the short hours of daylight. I just thought of that as I am typing this. Bamberg or Wurzburg? Which would you choose?

I didn't really have many particular places in mind to visit in these towns yet. I read there's a church in Passau with a very impressive pipe organ which I would enjoy seeing/hearing, and that the town itself was a "Baroque gem". I definitely want to see a little bit of the Christmas market in Nurnberg. I read that Bamberg is just delightful, and I see Wurzburg come up a lot here, too. I love to take photos so I'm looking for picturesque and variety.

I've already added on about three days to my trip to try and fit in some more of these small towns. I can't really add anymore. Right now I'm looking at 8 days in Germany, broken down with 2 nights in Regensburg, 3 nights in Munich with two separate day trips to Fuessen and Salzburg (I know one day in Salzburg will not be enough but I would rather have one than none at all. Plan to get going early and stay out late.), two nights in Rothenburg and one night in Cologne.

By the way, I've been very happy with finding places to stay that are inexpensive, centrally located and recommended both here and at Trip Advisor. Trecius Guest House in Krakow, The Green Garland in Prague, Karins-House in Rothenburg and Hotel Orphee in Regensburg. I love finding little gems like these. Plan to use Priceline for Vienna and Cologne. Found a decent enough sounding place to stay in Munich near the train station (Hotel Royal) which will be handy for the heavy train usage I'm planning.

Okay, I've made my small topic into a big one and I'm sorry. But I'm basically just soaking up any and all comments to try and make my trip the best it can be.

Thank you!
Idnas71 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Traveler Type #1: See as much as you can, as fast as you can.

Traveler Type #2: Slow down, immerse, and actually absorb something.

My guess is you are probably more like number one than two.

Therefore, my only suggestion, or comment, would be to get a first class train pass with 8 days of use so you don't have to waste valuable track time at kiosks or counters buying tickets, and you can be sure you will have a comfortable seat to observe European farm fields as they pass by your train window.

Also, I don't know if you like beer, but if you do, grab an Aecht Scherlenka as you buzz through Bamberg. Awesome smoke beer.
iwannagonow is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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And here's where to get that wonderful Rauchbier (though some people do have difficulty adjusting to a smokey beer):

But fear not, Bamberg is the center of one of the world's beer capitals, and they brew many different varieties, all of them good.

I haven't been to Passau, but we love beautiful Bamberg. There is quite a bit to see in Bamberg even though it isn't as well known as some of the more advertised town/small city destinations in Germany.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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You know, I always hesitate to push Bamberg to people because I have this selfish urge to protect it from Rothenburgization. As if I could control that. But we must share the best of Germany to our fellow Fodorites by the bylaws, right?

By the way, I have been in that Bamberg beerstub on more than one occassion. Wonderful experience.
iwannagonow is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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iwanna--I know how you feel about exposing a relatively "unspoiled" destination. But I just cannot resist sharing.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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I wouldn't recommend the Regensburg to Passau to Nurnberg to Regensburg daytrip. Too much time on the train and not enough time to see much of the cities. I would stick to Nurnberg or Passau only - Nurnberg especially if your main interest is the Christmas Markets.

Bamberg is a treasure, but their market wasn't all that impressive. If it were me, I would stay in Bamberg instead of Regensburg.

Please tell Karin hi for me when you are in Rothenburg (Bird from Utah).
Bird is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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I've haven't been to Passau but I've been to Nurnberg & Wurzburg twice, Regensburg one time and Bamberg 9 or 10 times (I started a brewery and bought some equipment there).

One of the trips was Nurnberg/Bamberg in late November.

The Christmas market in Nurnberg is great - especially with a little snow on the buildings.

Bamberg is my favorite town in Germany, you get a lot of the medeival air of Rothenburg without the heavy tourism air (though I doubt Rothenberg is too touristy in November).

Bamberg has a bunch of great old churches (The Dom, St. Micheals, etc.) as well as ten breweries in a city of 60,000.

Many regard Bamberg as the finest beer town in the world. They are famous for the smoked beer (I'm partial to the beer from Spezials) but you can also get many other styles (helles, dunkel, pilsner, Keller bier, Wheat beer, etc.) The variety in available beers is atypical for germany.

My favorite breweries are Mahr's, Spezial and Klosterbrau - all for different reasons. If you want some great beer and local color, visit the brewery's pub at Mahrs some evening.

wayfarer is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for sharing your opinions with me. Yes, it's true I will never claim to be a relaxed traveler. Being on the go is what makes it fun for me. Call me a tourist, I guess, instead of a traveler. I don't mind. I am actually allowing myself more time for this trip than I ever have before. No matter the amount of time I have, though, just can't stop myself from trying to see all I can.

I hate to admit it as it sounds of sacrilege for someone planning to visit Germany, but I don't really appreciate beer. Thank you anyway for the recommendations about the smoky beer in Bamberg. I'm sure someone else will read that and make good use of the tip.

And I definitely plan to make use of a rail pass (a twin pass for Germany). I have heard first class is a great value for the Eastern Europe flexi pass, but was wondering if second class is just as well for the German trains since they are supposedly the best in Europe anyway. That's just a minor issue.

Anyway, thanks for the replies.
Idnas71 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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I think it is great that you know what you like and how you like to travel. I like to see a lot to, but I always find it enjoyable, and very worthwhile to stay in one town for an extended period when I travel. If I am on a two week trip, I will typically spend 6 or 7 days in one of the cities to get a real look see.

In Germany, second class is actually very comfortable. ICE second is fine, and regional is basically all second anyway. Enjoy the trip. And, enjoy Germany.
iwannagonow is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 07:48 AM
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LSUvetgirl is offline  
Nov 21st, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Passau is a lovely little town with a Christmas market featuring local wood-carvings; you can watch the artisans at work.
Underhill is offline  

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