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Trip to Germany in May with Adult Daughter ... Need Travel Suggestions ...


Dec 6th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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Trip to Germany in May with Adult Daughter ... Need Travel Suggestions ...

I'm taking a trip with my daughter to Germany as she finished up at UCLA (art major) and wants to see the art scene (gallaries, studios and museums) in Berlin. We have 17 days. I have us spending 6 days in Berlin (we fly into Berlin) as thats the purpose of the trip and ending with 6 days in Munich. We fly back to the states from Munich. Other cities we are considering are Frankfurt (2-3 days), Nuremberg(2-3 days) and Stuttgart (2-3 days). I'm using hotel points so in Berlin and Munich every 5th night is free so it makes sense to spend the bulk of our time there. I want to visit Stuttgart so I can see the Porsche factory. Any thoughts on alternative cities or whether 6 days is too much to spend in Berlin or Munich? Thanks, Andrew
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Dec 6th, 2012, 05:31 PM
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Frankfurt is a, primarily, a modern city focused on finance and industry (sorry Mainhatten Girl) although it does have some very good museums. Of your prospects, it is the one I think most people would say should be dropped (sorry Mainhatten Girl). Since you are already visiting the 2 most interesting large German cities, Berlin and Munich, and you want to see Stuttgart, another large one, for Porsche, why not consider something smaller. Nuremberg is a mid size city with a different feel from either Berlin or Munich and it makes a good base for some other cities in the area, like Bamberg, Wurzburg (special art major alert - looks up The Residenz in Wurzburg), and Bayreuth (Hello Wagner!).

I think most people who enjoy Berlin would tell you that you can fill more than 6 days, especially if you love art and history and perhaps take a day trip to Dresden, or Potsdam. Munich does not have quite as many attractions for an art lover, but it is superb base for visiting the Bavarian Alps, or even Salzburg and is worth 6 days for those day trip opportunities. I would probably allot just 2 days to Stuttgart unless you discover much more than the Porsche operations that you want to see. That would leave you with 3 days for Nuremberg or, in order;

Berlin 6
Nuremberg 3
Stuttgart 2
Munich 6

If the thought of some more small town or rural Germany starts to appeal to you, you could consider dropping Berlin and Munich down to 5 days each, or 5 and 4, respectively and adding in one more stop with the 2/3 extra days. Thus, instead of doing day trips, you could experience another area of Germany for a little longer.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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I don't know whether you are locked into leaving from Munich, but if you're not, I'd suggest 5 days in Berlin, 5 in Munich, and the remainder in one of the great art cities in that part of the country, namely, Vienna. Then fly out of Vienna.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 07:15 PM
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another possibility if art scene is at the top of your list : amsterdam for flemisch art - reijksmuseum, van gogh museum, and short side trip to delft for more rembrandts and vermeers. if your itinerary is not set in stone yet, you can perhaps fly into AMS before Berlin, then another 2 nights in Stuttgard then on to Munich.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 07:17 PM
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How about a side trip to Prague on the way to Munich to visit the Alphonse Mucha museum, It is small, but unique and sure to be of interest to an art major. Prague itself is a living work of art.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 07:17 PM
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forgot to add the hague, another short side trip from amsterdam has some worthwhile museums.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 08:36 PM
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Do you enjoy outdoor activities? If so, a fun day trip from Berlin (where I lived for 3 years) is to go kayaking in the Spreewald. Take the train from Berlin to Luebbenau and then rent a kayak from Bootsverleih Richter (Richter's Boat Rentals). This will give you an opportunity to see a small, but lovely part of Germany.

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Dec 7th, 2012, 12:52 AM
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I'll agree that you could easily spend more than 6 days in Berlin visiting its wealth of museums. Just Museum Island itself could take up all six of your days. Then there's the Gemaldegalerie. If you're interested in architecture, there's also the Bauhaus.

A side trip to Potsdam is a possibility.

Also second the suggestion of visiting Dresden. Right near the Dresden Opera House is the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister. You also don't want to miss the Green Vault in Dresden.

You could also spend 6 days in Munich. There's a group of museums in the Kunstareal, including my favorite, the Alte Pinokothek. You definitely also want to go to the Munich Residenz as well as take a day with good weather to wander around Nymphenburg Palace.

There are also a couple of specialized museums in Munich. I've met any number of young people who go to the BMW Museum (never been myself) as well as the Beer and Octoberfest Museum.

Munich is also great for a walking tour of the center of the city. The difference between Munich and Berlin, as one guide explained, is that the two cities rebuilt differently after the heavy bombing each city suffered during WWII. Berlin rebuilt with new, modern architecture; Munich, OTOH, either rebuilt behind old facades or rebuilt entirely new buildings but in the style of the older buildings. That's why Munich is more of a "historical" city.

There's only so much you can absorb from the incredible wealth of these museums. It's a good suggestion to spend some time/days hiking or doing something different than visiting museums.

I love Vienna, but you cannot do three cities' museums in 17 days - not Berlin, Munich AND Vienna; so you'll have to choose between Munich and Vienna. Definitely skip Frankfurt on this trip.
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Dec 7th, 2012, 05:56 AM
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Frankfurt has a multitude of wonderful museums, so if that's an interest, I WOULDN'T skip it! The Dom and Roemer (square) make a lively juxtaposition of old and new!
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Dec 7th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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Are you going by train between those five main cities you mention - and IME cars are rather useless for touring once in a city so trains are a great way to go between far-removed cities - often going up to nearly 190 mph on some ICE's!

and if so strongly look at a Germany Railpass that lets you hop on and off virtually any train anytime in Germany - fully flexible tickets like that often cost a ton - even the 29 or 39 euro discounted online tickets that must be booked weeks in advance and which are train-specific and cannot be changed may be more expensive than a 4- or 5-day German Twin Railpass. (Twin for two folks traveling together on one pass - cheaper than two solo passes)

For lots of great info on German trains and passes I always spotlight these IMO Uber fantastic sites - www.bahn.de - the official German Railways site with fares and schedules and such info as what tram or bus to take from your hotel to the nearest train station for your destination - and http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id9.html and www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Dec 7th, 2012, 01:42 PM
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and you and your daughter could hop overnight trains between places like Berlin and Munich of Frankfurt and Berlin, last I knew - save on the cost of a hotel and travel time - could get a private double, some even with private WC/douche in room on the ICN - InterCityNightliner trains that are amongst the finest in Europe, for night trains, out of literally hundreds I have taken!
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Dec 7th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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Staying in Berlin, you should look to travel to Liepzig and Dresden. Rebuilt over the last few years they are seriously pretty and worth the train trip.

Stuttgart don't forget the Mercedes factory tour.
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Dec 7th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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Consider visiting Bamburg...beautiful city...untouched by the war. Great beer too!
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Dec 7th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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I second (third? fourth?) the recommendation for Bamberg. It is a wonderful town. And if you are travelling between Berlin and Munich, the train stops there anyway

The whole Franconian region is great, so you could stay in one town and easily visit others by train.
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Dec 7th, 2012, 06:17 PM
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I keep waiting for someone to weigh in with several other choices that would allow you to use even more points and really take in the art scene. I've used points (5 nights at a crack for 4 nights worth of points) in all of these cities.

If you are locked in to flying into Berlin and back from Munchen, I would recommend Berlin 5 nights, taking the train from Berlin to Paris and staying 5 nights, then on to Munchen via train for the last 5 nights. It looks like (very far in) advance purchase 2nd class tickets are about 70 E per person for an 8 hour trip on ICE trains from Berlin to Paris with a change in Mannheim. Paris to Munchen is even better - it is a 6 hour trip at 40 E per person in 2nd class with a change in Stuttgart from a TGV train to an ICE train. It will actually cost more because reservations are required on all of these trains in and out of Paris. The last time I used similar trains (Frankfurt/Paris/Munchen) the reservation was around 40 E per person in 1st.

If you are not locked into Berlin and/or Munchen, and you really want to focus on the art scene, I would suggest flying into Berlin or Amsterdam or London for 5 days, then to Paris for 5 days, then to Rome for 5 days returning from Rome. I believe you will get the most bang for your buck as far as art goes from Paris and Rome with the other 3 cities a step below.

Now before everyone jumps on my case, these suggestions are my personal opinion. And although Paris is my favorite city for art and city sightseeing, Munchen is my favorite city
for Gemuchlichkeit (did I spell that right Ira?) and southern Germany (except for wintertime) is my favorite part of the world in which to wander about...

Good luck and have a wonderful trip with your daughter- If my family experience is normal, the probability is quite high that her next trip to Europe will not be alone with you...
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Dec 7th, 2012, 10:28 PM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions! I'm going to plan it all out over the weekend. The day trips are a great idea that escaped me. Andrew
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Dec 8th, 2012, 01:20 AM
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Just another word on the art scene..

While all major cities in Germany feature a good list of top tier (art) museums, the gallery scene, esp. that focused on contemporary artists is very much focused on Berlin and Cologne.

You won't need much help on Berlin as there will be more museums and galleries than you can see in a week. Check visitberlin.com before you leave to see which special exhibitions are in town when you will get there.
Cologne also has Museum Ludwig, definetely a top 5 museum for art lovers in an otherwise (for most) less than overwhelming city.

Munich got the top tier art museums (from Greek to old masters to contemporary) of the Pinakotheken and nearby and the often exciting exhibitions at Haus der Kunst - but is provincial with regard to galleries.

For the rest including side trips you already got lots of great options to choose from.
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Dec 8th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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One can only visit so many museums until you get art-museumed-out. Even an art lover. I'd spend your in-between time in a pretty town like Bamberg or enjoy a little countryside. The highlight of our travel in Germany was driving up the Mosel River, very pretty with the cutest towns.

Another thought is to spend a couple days in Salzburg. It's an easy 1.5 or 2 hour train ride from Munich.
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Dec 8th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Salzburg is a good idea. My daughter was there earlier in the year but I have never been there. A day trip would be fun. She's probably more into contemporary art but appreciates the classics as well. She also wants to experience the vive of street art or what she calls the art scene. She spent a summer in NYC doing some work at the Met and also visited Paris with friends. According to her Berlin is the new emerging hub for young artists. Thanks for all the help. This forum is a wonderful source of practical information. Andrew
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Dec 8th, 2012, 09:47 AM
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Yes part of Germany's beauty IME lies outside of the big cities, many of which suffered severe damage in WW2 and thus simply do not fulfill often the romantic old-world dreamish looks we often have etched in our minds' eyes and are thus not fulfilled in rather modern places like Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart, etc.

Salzburg however is a dream old town not damaged much in war - IMO one of the most beautiful towns in Europe.

And consider going to the Rhine Gorge and hopping the K-d boats that constantly ply its prettiest part - the Rhine Gorge between Rudesheim and Koblenz (boats are 100% covered by a German Railpass too!) - Stay in a cute riverside town and have a far different experience over staying in the Uber big cities. And some towns like Bamberg like Mimar's mentions have not suffered as much and are dreamy - Bamberg is one of my very favorite German towns.
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