suggest in itinerary for Germany

Old Aug 11th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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suggest in itinerary for Germany

I am just beginning my research at this point. I have amassed enough points for a couple of business class tickets to Europe. I am interested in going to Germany. Would anyone like to suggest a possible itinerary for a 10-12 day trip to Germany? Here are some details about me and my likes/dislikes:

I am 38 years old and will be traveling with my 50 year old partner of 12 years. We are both male. We may be joined by a couple of friends, also male around the same ages. I am too old to care about nightclubs, but too young to spend my time wandering through antique stores, if you know what I mean.

I enjoy photography, good meals, traveling by train and boat, and meeting locals when traveling. I am particularly interested in going to some of the more scenic places that have lakes, rivers, quaint towns, and possibly castles. I don't particularly enjoy museums and churches, but will spend some time wandering through if there are some 'not to be missed' things to see.

We will most likely fly in and out of Frankfurt. I would not like to drive, but would prefer to travel around Germany by train and boat, as I'm not comfortable with driving in Europe.

Our budget for the trip is about $3000-$4000, for hotels, food, and trains for two, so moderately priced accomodations are a must, but we feel we should be able to afford private, clean, and comfortable hotels.

Any and all ideas are welcome, especially ideas for good books and other research resources.

Thanks so much in advance Fodorites. I'm looking forward to your responses.
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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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What time of year are you thinking about going? I prefer June and September for Germany. The weather in July and August is nice but the towns and major sights are overrun with tourists.

The Romantic Road (a route through scenic Bavaria) begins in Wurzburg and ends in Fussen near the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Wurzburg is easily reached from the Frankfurt airport (FRA). There is actually a train station in the airport and it is about a 1-1.5 hour train trip to Wurzburg - the first stop of the Romantic Road (RR).

There are many small towns along the RR but my favorites (starting north, going south) are:

Wurzburg
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Dinkelsbuhl
Augsburg
Schwangau (town near the Ludwig Castles)

Then go on to Munich. See the Wittelsbach palace and treasury and enjoy a relaxing evening in a beer garden. OR, head over to Salzburg in Austria (just 1.5 hour by train from Munich).

You can reach all of these towns via train or bus, but it would be much easier to just rent a car. We did this in February. It was our first time to rent a car in Europe. Driving and navigating in Germany was surprisingly easy. We didn't want to drive in Frankfurt so we trained to Wurzburg (smaller city) and picked up the car there.


Anyway, here is a link to great information about the RR route and all the towns. I suggest you check it out. The Mosel River valley is another popular route but I am personally unfamiliar with it.

http://www.romantischestrasse.de/?lang=uk

hint - use the drop box on the far right to see information about every town

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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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P.S. The delightful town of Bamberg is also easily reachable by train.

If you wanted 4 "trainable" yet worthy cities around Frankfurt you could do

Mainz
Wurzburg
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Bamberg

None are more than a 2.5 hour train ride from FRA, though you would have train connections to make.

Check out train schedules at www.bahn.de

type in "bahnhof" for Wurzburg, Rothenburg, and Bamberg after the name of the city. This will get you to the central station on that city.

For the Frankfurt airport station, I believe it is called the Frankfurt Flughafen station.


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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 10:00 AM
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We spent some time in Rothenburg, Fussen and the southern Bavarian Alps near Austria in May and had a fabulous time. We rented an apartment in Schonau (15 miles from Salzburg), near Berchtesgaden, and daytripped around the area. The scenery is just simply breathtaking. If you are interested, I have a lot of pictures of the area. They can be viewed at http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slidesho...3&conn_speed=1.

One region that you would probably be interested in is the Rhine/Mosel region. We haven't yet been, but its definitely on our list of places to visit.

If you are on a budget, you may want to consider staying in apartment. They are all over the place in southern Germany, very inexpensive, most have wonderful views, and most also rent by the night as opposed to being forced to stay a whole week. We stayed in a gorgeous apartment in Schonau for under $55 a night. If your interested, I found the apartment on www.vacation-apartments.com.

Tracy
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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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Thanks Aggie, for your responses. I should have said that I plan to travel sometime between mid-April and mid-May. I'd like to go while kids are still in school and most families will not be on vacation. Of course, I don't know what German school schedules are like, but am assuming that most European familes vacation from late May through early September, and I would like to avoid those months.
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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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Hi vegas,

I could be mistaken but I believe that German schoolchildren are in school through at least mid-June, sometimes late June. The weather is better (less rain and gloom) in late May or early June than it is in April... of course you could luck out and have 10 days of sunshine in April but I'd be shocked if that happened!!

I guess late May might be best for you trip. You would avoid the crush of American families because most of their children would still be in school, you would avoid the crush of the European family tourists for the same reason, and you would have a better chance of having nice weather than if you were to go in April.

For 12 days in Germany (assuming you have an extra day on each side of the trip to burn for travel), you should need to stay in ultra budget hotels or anything.

You can stay in very nice hotels throughout most of Bavaria for 110€ or less per night. times 12 nights = 1320€ or about $1600 in US dollars.

I would plan to spend 75€ daily for the two of you for food. We have found food more expensive in Germany than in Italy or France (when comparing casual sit down restaurants). So another 900€ on food, or about $1100 in US dollars. Save 200€ for train travel, or about $250 in US dollars... then you should add in museum/castle admission fees - another 75-100€ (($90-$123) to be on the safe side.

And you are hovering around $3000 - easily within your budget. Personally I would use the excess on nicer hotels in one or two towns (for a romantic splurge) and a few extra nice dinners.


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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Just one of many possible 12 day itinerarys that would match your interests: (Best by car, driving in Germany is pretty easy, but also doable by train.)

Days 1 &2: Fly into Frankfurt, head to the Rhine, sleep in or around Koblenz - many nearby castles.
Days 3 & 4: To Baden-Baden via the Mosel Valley, relax, soak, and sleep in Baden-Baden
Day 5: Travel through the Black Forest to the Bavarian Alps, sleep in Fussen
Day 6: Bavaria and castles, sleep in Fussen
Day 7 - 9: To Munich, sleep in Munich. Many possible day trips from Munich.
Days 10 & 11: To Rothenburg via the Romantic Road, sleep in Rothenburg (a favorable alternative to Rothenburg would be Bamberg)
Day 12: To Frankfurt
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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 10:55 AM
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All of these suggestions are very helpful. I now have the names of towns to research as well as some ideas. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply. Thanks in advance to anyone who is still to reply. All of your advice is extremely valuable to me!
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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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vegaslocal: Germany is full of wonderful places and the scenery, ahhh.
Another area that you may want to look into is the area around Meersburg, Lindau, any town on the Bodensee/Lake Constance. The towns along the lake are picturesque, you can ferry to other towns, you may even want to go over to Constance for the day. Another beautiful excursion is the island of Mainau that can be reached from this are, it's a semi-tropical island with wonderful gardens for walking and a good way to spend the day, also the photographic possibilities are endless. We go to Germany at least once or twice per year, no where like it, in my opinion. One of the earlier suggestions regarding renting an apartment is a good one if you are interested, we have rented all over Europe and if you can find a centrally located town or small burg from which to do day trips, so much the better. We find it much more enjoyable to have the extra space of an apartment and the convenience of a kitchen. You mentioned that you'd like to meet the locals and this is a great way as you'll need to interact with the locals in your everyday needs. Where ever you go have a wonderful time.
Susan
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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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As you can see, there is no shortage of fabulous places to visit in Germany and you can't go wrong with any of the suggestions you have received. We spent 2 weeks in Germany and Austria in May (you can read my trip report by clicking on my name) and found the weather to be quite cool which was fine by us since so many hotels do not have air conditioning. The only rain we had was during our first couple of days. We now enjoy visiting the smaller, less tourist filled towns, having been to many of the more popular places over the years. Almost all of the towns mentioned in our trip report are reachable by train.

Anyway, you will have a great trip no matter where in Germany you decide to visit. It's a beautiful country and the people we encountered were all very friendly.
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Old Aug 13th, 2005, 03:39 AM
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Outside the major cities, you can easily find wonderful places to stay for well under 100 euro a night--private baths and full breakfasts included. Though we did drive that made it easier to get to some of these places, I'm sure that you can find similar places that you can get to by public transport, taxi, or walking.

We stayed in Hohenschwangau with Neuschwanstein castle right overhead for under 65 euro a night--including private bath, breakfast, and parking (Romantic Pension Albrecht). This was a pension (similar to a nice B&B in the USA)--what such places don't have are things like a big lobby, swimming pool, restaurant and bar, elevators (though many are only two stories anyway) and conference rooms. Many Gasthofs/Gasthauses are similar--and many have websites.

We stayed in a very nice castle hotel (Burg Colmberg) outside of Rothenburg that had rooms as low as 73 euro a night--again with modern private bath, breakfast, and included parking.

And one of the most pleasant places was Hotel Haus Lipmann in Beilstein on the Mosel, which also has a very good full-service restaurant--83 euro a night.

Bamberg has a wonderful old town (Altstadt) on the Regnitz River. We spent a bit more for hotel (about 110 euro a night) there at the Hotel Brudermuehle as we wanted to be right in the middle of the Altstadt and right on the river. No free parking there--typically space is at a premium in cities and larger towns, so included parking is less common. But a very nice restaurant next to the river.
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Old Aug 15th, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Seconding the rec for Bamberg. We used Rufus' recommendation for both hotel and restaurant on our last trip and we were quite pleased. We really enjoyed our time in Bamberg and plan to return in a couple years.

Hotel Brudermuhle
http://www.brudermuehle.de/englisch/englisch.html

We paid 105€ per night for a room with a river view in February. Might be slightly higher for you, since we were traveling in about as "non-peak season" as possible!
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Old Aug 15th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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I think you are getting some great recommendations. Souther Germany is charming at any time of the year. I would also recommend your reconsidering renting a car at least for part of your trip. There are lots of little villages that are a lot easier to enjoy when you are driving. If you do stick with the train you might check into the Bavaria pass that covers almost all of the areas mentioned (maybe not the Rhine and Mosel areas). It is very inexpensive and I think it goes all the way to Salzburg.

Munich hotels will be a little more expensive than the smaller towns.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 12:03 PM
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One of the boat trips you could include in your trip is a cruise on the Danube from Vienna to Melk. There is a great huge church in Melk. Hang out there for a few days and hop on a train to go somewhere. I did the cruise on the Danube. Got off in Melk and caught a night train to either Munich or Frankfurt. This was in 1988. Can't remeber for sure.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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I would rethink driving in Germany. I agree that driving can be challenging in many European countries Germany is not one of them. German drivers are the best in the world and the roads are excellent. I found driving there to be much easier than driving at home in the states. A good itinerary might be a few days in Munich, a few days in the Alps (Mittenwald is very scenic), a couple of days along the Romantic Road (Rothenburg, Nordlingen, Dinkelsbuhl, Wurzburg, etc), a night in Heidelberg, and few nights in a small village along the Mosel. Don't miss our favorite castle in Germany - Burg Eltz.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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Here is what we did the during October 2002

Arrived in Frankfurt. Headed to the Rhine. Stopped at Bernard Barth's restaurant in Eltville (Oldest city on the Rhine). Had a great meal, great wine, schnapps and beer, very few tourists. Ask for Bernard and mention me to him. I was the head of a group of 8 that got him out of bed to wait on us 90 minutes before the restaurant was to open.

Got back on the train and got off in Kaub. Stayed at Castle Gutenfels for 2 nights.

Continued on to Assmannshausen. A bit further down the Rhine. Stayed in Assmanhausen for 2 nights. Did Rudesheim, the chair lift above the Rhine and went to a bunch of winefests along the Rhine.

Left the next morning for a small town about 30 minutes from Kufstein. The town is near Elmau Austria. Again, not too many tourists. Easily accessable by taxi from Kufstein.

I usually stay in Going Austria at Hotel Alexandra's. If you ask nicely, she might even come pick you up. Tell her the the American's from New Jersey referred you. We are the American's that have ever stayed at her mom's B&B,. Been going there for nearly 20 years.

From Going Austria we went off to Berchetesgaden for 4 nights. Plenty to see and do in Berchtesgarden. Get over to the Hofbrauhouse in Berchtesgaden. Great place alot of local flavor.

From Berchtesgaden we left for the Tegernsee area below Munich. Huge lake. Really nice area. Again they have a great Brewery in Tegernsee. It is housed in an old monastery from 800.

Stayed in Tegernsee for 2 nights. Left from there and headed to a really nice town called Bayersche Zell. Very few Americans. Great small town in the mountains about 75 minutes by train from Munich.

Left Bayersche Zell and ended up flying home from Muncih

We had a great time. there were 8 of us. Something to think about

Mark
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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I agree with BoulderCO. Driving in Germany was a breeze and quite pleasurable. If you can drive here, you can drive there. While there are some countries in Europe I don't prefer to drive in, Germany is not one of them. There are so many great places to explore that are not accessible by trains.

Sounds like you received some great suggestions. I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip regardless of the itinerary you select.

Tracy
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