Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Which German cities to visit? (

Rajen Aug 18th, 2009 05:47 AM

Which German cities to visit?
I'm planning a trip to Europe in early October. We have nine days once in Europe and definitely want to go to Prague, probably for four days. We were originally considering pairing Prague with either Budapest or Krakow, or both. Now I'm thinking of changing gears and going to one or two German cities instead of Budapest and/or Krakow. The problem is that we have to make a decision fairly quickly and I don't know much about Germany. Our priority is to see a concentration camp, we like Jewish history in general, I love castles and we prefer quaint over big. We don't want to spend a lot of time traveling between cities, so flying may be preferable to train or bus, but we're open to anything. It also doesn't matter what order we travel in. I would greatly appreciate any input from someone familiar with the logistics of Germany. Everything looks beautiful and interesting to me!

Inge_On_The_Go Aug 18th, 2009 05:56 AM

I suggest Dresden on the Elbe river. It's about two hours by train from Prague. The historical center is compact and easily toured on foot. Sights include the Zwinger, Semper Oper, Hofkirche, Frauenkirche, Grunes Gewolbe (Green Vault - old & new) and many more.

For other castles you can do day trips to Moritzburg or Pillnitz.

Cowboy1968 Aug 18th, 2009 06:11 AM

And many possible day or half-day trips from Dresden, e.g. to the wine country of the Elbe valley. Early October should be the best time to visit, though it always depends on weather when the grapes get harvested.

And/or a visit of the beautiful town of Meissen

and the famous porcelain factory:

For Jewish history, Prague is a major destination anyway. And Terezin concentration camp memorial is half way between Prague and Dresden, though I have no clue about accessibility with public transport.

Palenque Aug 18th, 2009 06:16 AM

dresden is a gem

Berlin is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe and for a concentration camp Sachenhausen is a short train ride from it and there are other Nazi relics like the Topography of Terrors - Plotenzee Prison, etc.

Berlin is a few hour train or drive from Dresden.

If driving from Prague to Dresden then you have the superb Saxon Switzerland to trudge thru - one of Europe's prettiest river valleys with castles and fotresses perched on red sandstone pinnacles high above the Elbe.

(see the picture on this link of the Bastei Bridge for an example of bastions topping the pinnacles!

traveller1959 Aug 18th, 2009 07:23 AM

When come from (or continue to) Prague, of course, Dresden. And also Berlin. And in between, I strongly suggest the Wartburg in Eisenach (Luther.. UNESCO World Heritage).

If you like quaint, also Erfurt, Weimar, Görlitz.

Explore the web. The usual webaddress is

yk Aug 18th, 2009 08:54 AM

We're heading to Dresden in the Fall and I'm looking forward to it. If we had more time, I'd love to visit Leipzig as I'm a classical music fan.

Rajen Aug 18th, 2009 09:06 AM

Thank you all so much....What about Munich? I'm not sure, but I believe that Dachau concentration camp is not too far away. Also, I've read about Rothenburg, which looks like a fairytale town. Are these places geographically practical for my trip?

dfr4848 Aug 18th, 2009 09:17 AM

I'd certainly consider Munich. One of our favorite cities and yes, Dachau is a quick trip on the S-Bahn and is one of the more moving camps IMO. Plus it's close to several of Ludwig's castles.

I woudl also highly recommend Dresden and Berlin for many of the reasons already mentioned. If you consider Munich, would suggest flying between it and Berlin, if you were to pick it.

And Eisenach and Leipzig, mentioned above, are also both well worth the visit. Seeing where Luther translated the Bible at Wartburg is rather awe inspiring.

There are a lot of great choices.

traveller1959 Aug 18th, 2009 09:20 AM

Driving time from Prag to Dresden is 1:53, to München 4:30. That's the reason for our recommendations.

And because you said you prefer quaint over big.

Ingo Aug 18th, 2009 09:31 AM

As a Dresden resident I am of course biased ;-)

But in this case, seriously, it makes perfect sense to combine Prague with Dresden. Four days for Prague is excellent. On the way from Prague to Dresden see the concentration camp Terezin (right on the way) and then spend two days in Bad Schandau in the National Park "Saxon Switzerland" (international trains between Prague and Dresden stop there). It is a quaint town in beautiful location by the Elbe river which offers endless hiking opportunities from easy to difficult to great viewpoints. Or visit Fortress Königstein. Or take a paddle steamer ride on the river. Or take the historic oldtimer bus to Bastei (view!). There's a new and relatively inexpensive 5star hotel with great spa in this town which I can recommend.
Room rate incl. breakfast and spa € 180.

Spend the remaining three days in Dresden. You can easily fill the days with things to do in the city alone - don't miss Pillnitz Palace and gardens in the outskirts (paddle steamer ride), but I highly recommend to see the quaint town Meissen (Porcelain manufacture tours, castle, cathedral, picturesque old town). Or see the Baroque hunting castle Moritzburg. Or see the picturesque castle in Weesenstein. Indulge in concerts, opera etc.


Rajen Aug 19th, 2009 02:59 PM

Thanks again...

Does anyone have a recommendation for private tour guides in Munich, Dresden and/or Berlin? With only a short time in each city we've found them invaluable. I'll also post in each city on this sight for recommendations.

danon Aug 19th, 2009 04:27 PM

I got backs from Prague,Dresden an Berlin just 3 weeks ago.

Dresden attractions are very close together. It is interesting town, but I would not spend more than 2 nights in Dresden.
Berlin is a very large city with numerous historical sights .
You might do some reading to find out what you would like to see there.
There are number of walking tours in Berlin.
How much time do you intend to spend in each city?

Rajen Aug 19th, 2009 07:44 PM

Hi danon,

What luck to hear from you. Please tell me about your trip. How much time did you have? In what order did you visit the three cities? What means of travel to each? In retrospect, would you leave out one in order to spend more time in one of the others, or in another city altogether? Did you have a tour guide in any of the cities? Have you ever been to Budapest and, if so, how would you rate it in comparison to these three?

I was planning on spending 4 nights in Prague and the other 5 nights are undecided. More than likely, 3 in one location and 2 in another.

Sorry for all of the questions. I would appreciate any information that you think may be helpful.

danon Aug 19th, 2009 08:05 PM

I'll be glad to help (I did post a short report)you might find helpful. I spent 5 nights in Prague, 2 in Dresden, 6 in Berlin.(in that order) I did not have a guide, or visited Budapest.
Berlin is a large city (3.5 million) .At first I was a bit lost in Berlin ,but by the end of my stay I decided I would like come back .

if you have any question re: report, please feel free to ask.
I just made one mistake I said I was able to print ticket
Dresden - Prague ( I meant to say Dresden -Berlin)

danon Aug 19th, 2009 08:14 PM

sorry, I just notice you said 9 days and that you like small towns (unlike me). Many posters love Budapest .
Dresden is close to Prague and Ingo has some good suggestions.

rhkkmk Aug 19th, 2009 08:17 PM

dresden and the area around it would be an excellent add-on to prague....

a visit with ingo is well worth the trip too

Rajen Aug 20th, 2009 07:07 AM

Is Ingo meeting with American visitors?!?

Rajen Aug 20th, 2009 08:03 AM

I just found out that a high school friend of mine not only lives in Regensburg, but is a tour guide for the city there. Has anyone been there and can you tell me which large German city is nearest to it? It seems that Regensburg is about a 3 hour train ride from Prague, so it may be doable. Thanks to all of you for your information and patience. I WILL make a decision this weekend!!

lotustree Aug 20th, 2009 09:02 AM

I'd recommend Berlin for the remainder of your trip. Since its a very large city there is alot to do and see there.

Ingo Aug 20th, 2009 09:14 AM

Yes, Ingo is meeting with American visitors. ;-) In fact, I have met several Fodorites (hi rhkkmk!).

But it looks like it's Regensburg for you.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:58 AM.