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Old Apr 11, 12, 9:26 am   #1
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Nov-Dec 2 weeks - itinerary suggestions

We're in the earliest stages of planning a late November-early December trip to Germany. We went last year for a week (left Thanksgiving Day, did a Christmas Markets loop). We started/ended in Frankfurt, went to Neuschwanstein, Salzburg, stops on the 'Romantic' road.

We'll be doing this on our own. We will spend 3-5 nights in Berlin. We're thinking a 'center-based' trip might be best - 4-5 stops with day trips. We'd like to get to Salzburg for a couple nights, and my travelling companion didn't get to see Munich before the Christmas markets, meaning she didn't really get to see Munich. Best fares seem to be to MUC or FRA, open-jaw is a possibility. We won't consider driving - we'll use public transportation. Would like to get to Cologne, hearing the bells in Frankfurt again would be wonderful but not necessary.

So, to recap: we're trying to put together a sane itinerary, public transportation, several days in Berlin is a given, trying to avoid changing rooms every night or even every other night, so possibly a 'center-based' itinerary where we change rooms every few nights. Also trying to avoid too much extended time 'in transit' instead of sight-seeing.



Edited to add: we're deliberately going when the Christmas markets will be open or soon to open. We enjoy the markets, walking through historic town centers (with or without markets). Occasional museum visits, music performances, no clubbing.

Last edited by chollie; Apr 11, 12 at 9:36 am..
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Old Apr 11, 12, 10:10 am   #2
 
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1) Salzburg is in Austria not Germany
2) I like this Hotel: http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/de/...hi/hoteldetail
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public transportation
what you want to know about it?
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Old Apr 11, 12, 10:32 am   #3
 
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Just be aware that the Christmas markets will be opening later this year than they did last year. They were open very early last year because Advent Sunday was as early as it can be (with Christmas Day being on a Sunday). This year Advent Sunday is on 7 December, which means that Christmas markets will not open before 1 December (and possibly later in some places)
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Old Apr 11, 12, 12:26 pm   #4
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Originally Posted by ToGo View Post
1) Salzburg is in Austria not Germany
2) I like this Hotel: http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/de/...hi/hoteldetailwhat you want to know about it?
Oops (red-face). Yes, I included Salzburg because I've gone there twice as a day-trip from Munich, but it most certainly is in Austria. We would really like to get there again on this trip, however (the only exception to an otherwise all-Germany itinerary).

I'm assuming trains are the way to go, not buses. (Also assuming domestic air isn't the cheapest/best choice, but don't know). Don't know if sleepers are an option, what opinion folks have of them...we're budget travellers - 'good' hostels mixed with 3-star hotels are fine with us.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 12:28 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by Aviatrix View Post
Just be aware that the Christmas markets will be opening later this year than they did last year. They were open very early last year because Advent Sunday was as early as it can be (with Christmas Day being on a Sunday). This year Advent Sunday is on 7 December, which means that Christmas markets will not open before 1 December (and possibly later in some places)
Wow! Thank you for pointing that out, I didn't even think to check! My friend's dates aren't locked in yet (I'm flexible), but this will make a huge difference!
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Old Apr 11, 12, 1:38 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
I'm assuming trains are the way to go, not buses.
Thats right.
Quote:
(Also assuming domestic air isn't the cheapest/best choice, but don't know).
oh yes in Austria and Germany there are sone xtra Airline Fees. High Fuell Fee, Creditcard Fee,...
Quote:
Don't know if sleepers are an option
Maybe but there are expensive. For example: (inklude all Tax and from...)
sleeping
Singel: 129,- Euro
Double: 69,- Euro
3: 59,- Euro

couchette
4: 49,- Euro
6: 39,- Euro
(German: http://www.oebb.at/de/Reisen_ins_Aus...land/index.jsp)
Quote:
what opinion folks have of them...
I do not understand?!
Quote:
we're budget travellers
http://www.oebb.at/en/Travelling_abr...Pass/index.jsp
http://www.eurail.com/countries
If you are <26: http://www.oebb.at/en/Reduction_card...d_26/index.jsp
Maybe: https://westbahn.at/en/ticket-shop/single-ticket/
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Old Apr 11, 12, 3:12 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by chollie View Post
I'm assuming trains are the way to go, not buses.
Generally yes, however there is one exception. Berlin is connect to nearly every place in Germany by bus. However, this is a exception because of berlins history prior to 1989. (But you can still book it ;-))
https://www.berlinlinienbus.de/index.php

Quote:
Originally Posted by chollie View Post
(Also assuming domestic air isn't the cheapest/best choice, but don't know).
While I agree with ToGo, sometimes the plane is cheaper. It is always worth checking (esp. routes like ber-fra)
I definitly would recommend, that you first decide which places you want to see. And after you have decided which places you want to see, you can still find the cheapest way to get around.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 4:03 pm   #8
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Originally Posted by 757DUD View Post
Generally yes, however there is one exception. Berlin is connect to nearly every place in Germany by bus. However, this is a exception because of berlins history prior to 1989. (But you can still book it ;-))
https://www.berlinlinienbus.de/index.php


While I agree with ToGo, sometimes the plane is cheaper. It is always worth checking (esp. routes like ber-fra)
I definitly would recommend, that you first decide which places you want to see. And after you have decided which places you want to see, you can still find the cheapest way to get around.
So I've come full circle to my original OP - suggestions for a 2 week itinerary with some stipulations (see above). Then I can sort out transportation, and last (but not least) accommodation.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 4:37 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToGo View Post
1) Salzburg is in Austria not Germany
2) I like this Hotel: http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/de/...hi/hoteldetailwhat you want to know about it?
True. Salzburg is (today) in Austria. It was, however, founded by Bavarians, belonged to Bavaria until the times of the Mühldorf battle in 1322 and became independent (and certainly not occupied by Austrians). It owned huge parts of southern Bavaria in those days. Only in 1803 a small Frenchman called Napolen gifted Salzburg to the Viennese occupants. Lets agree that Salzburg is a very European city but certainly is Salzburg style and culture more Baravian than Habsburgian-Austrian....
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Old Apr 12, 12, 3:30 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chollie View Post
We're in the earliest stages of planning a late November-early December trip to Germany. [...]

We'll be doing this on our own. We will spend 3-5 nights in Berlin. We're thinking a 'center-based' trip might be best - 4-5 stops with day trips. We'd like to get to Salzburg for a couple nights, and my travelling companion didn't get to see Munich before the Christmas markets, meaning she didn't really get to see Munich. Best fares seem to be to MUC or FRA, open-jaw is a possibility. We won't consider driving - we'll use public transportation. Would like to get to Cologne, hearing the bells in Frankfurt again would be wonderful but not necessary.

So, to recap: we're trying to put together a sane itinerary, public transportation, several days in Berlin is a given, trying to avoid changing rooms every night or even every other night, so possibly a 'center-based' itinerary where we change rooms every few nights. Also trying to avoid too much extended time 'in transit' instead of sight-seeing.
If you start your trip in Berlin I have the following suggestions:
  • After Berlin, visit Dresden, which is one of the nicest cities in Germany with over 30 christmas markets. Lots to do and see there. Dresden can be reached within 2 hours by high-speed rail. After 2 days there I suggest a day trip to Leipzig which is a one hour ride by high-speed rail.
  • From Dresden go to Nuremberg, which has probably the most famous German christmas markets. Nuremberg can be reached via high-speed rail in 4.5 hours. From there you can also do some interesting day trips. I would recommend visiting Bamberg, which is just a 20 minute high-speed rail ride away. Try the beer in one of the 8 local breweries and visit the old town there. Great.
  • From Nuremberg it's just over an hour to go to Munich and from there to Salzburg
If I count 3 days each for Berlin, Dresden (including the Leipzig trip), Nuremberg (including the Bamberg trip) and Munich that leaves you with 2 days to visit Salzburg.
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Old Apr 12, 12, 3:40 pm   #11
 
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by high-speed rail
...?!
There are only "EuroCity" Trains and the are not realy "high-speed" one.
The drive around 80km/h to 160km/h.
Quote:
Bamberg, which is just a 20 minute high-speed rail ride
Sorry you are drunk?
Nürnberg -> Bamberg
Local Train: 0:48
high speed train (ICE): 0:42
Quote:
rom Nuremberg it's just over an hour to go to Munich and from there to Salzburg
There is an real high speed conection the called "Railjet" from the ÖBB.
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Old Apr 13, 12, 12:44 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToGo View Post
...?!
There are only "EuroCity" Trains and the are not really "high-speed" one.
The drive around 80km/h to 160km/h.
They drive up to 200km/h, which is fast enough, wouldn't you agree?
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Originally Posted by ToGo View Post
Sorry you are drunk?
No, but you are very impolite, my friend
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToGo View Post
Nürnberg -> Bamberg
Local Train: 0:48
high speed train (ICE): 0:42
It's actually 2 minutes faster (40 minutes). Indeed it seems that after the last plan revision, the trains between Bamberg and Nuremberg now take much longer, than in 2010/2011 when I was still a regular on that route. Too bad and sorry for the misinformation.
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Old Apr 13, 12, 2:06 pm   #13
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Originally Posted by SunshineStay View Post
They drive up to 200km/h, which is fast enough, wouldn't you agree?

No, but you are very impolite, my friend

It's actually 2 minutes faster (40 minutes). Indeed it seems that after the last plan revision, the trains between Bamberg and Nuremberg now take much longer, than in 2010/2011 when I was still a regular on that route. Too bad and sorry for the misinformation.
Not to worry, that's a relatively small detail (20-30 minutes). Greatly appreciate the sample itinerary - we'd never heard of Bamberg, although we got to Nuremberg last December. This gives us a good starting point/plan, which is what we need. Looking at an entire country and trying to set up an itinerary from scratch can be intimidating, particularly when looking at a map doesn't necessarily reflect the complexity/time of travel between two points (which matters greatly - we're not going to drive and we don't want to spend too much time 'in transit').
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Old Apr 16, 12, 3:26 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by chollie View Post
Not to worry, that's a relatively small detail (20-30 minutes). Greatly appreciate the sample itinerary - we'd never heard of Bamberg, although we got to Nuremberg last December. This gives us a good starting point/plan, which is what we need. Looking at an entire country and trying to set up an itinerary from scratch can be intimidating, particularly when looking at a map doesn't necessarily reflect the complexity/time of travel between two points (which matters greatly - we're not going to drive and we don't want to spend too much time 'in transit').
I (and others here) would definitely recommend a Bamberg visit. Look through the posts here. It is mentioned often It is one of the few cities in Germany, that were lucky enough to survive the 2nd World War unscathed. There is lots to see (and eat and drink) there. The wikipedia page is a good starting point for finding out more, same goes for Dresden and Leipzig.
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Old Apr 16, 12, 10:31 am   #15
 
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Bamberg is a great city, as others have noted.

Regarding Christmas markets: I'd consider basing myself out of Nürnberg for several days if you really want to enjoy the Christmas markets. There are several great markets within the local transport zone that I think you'd find appealing. Rothenberg ob der Tauber is one (also a very famous walled city), Bayreuth and Bamberg will both have markets up, albeit smaller ones and if memory serves there is also a market in Ansbach, which is about 1/2 hour outside of Nürnberg. For transportation, all of these town are within the Nürnberg greater transport area (VGN) and can be accessed via the TagesTicket Plus. This is a 16.20 euro ticket that is good for 2 adults and up to 4 kids anywhere in the VGN zone. It is good until the next morning, and on the weekend, it is good for both Saturday and Sunday. It covers all S-bahn, bus, streetcar and underground lines (and DB regional trains) within the region. Fair warning: Nürnberg's market can be absolutely packed on the weekends.

From Nürnberg, I'd consider a day trip or overnight out to Prague, which has a very large Christmas market with a slightly different flair. You can get a DB bus direct from Nürnberg into Prague, tickets should be about 29 euro per person, each way (4 hour trip, give or take) on a comfortable bus.

Another option is to take the train or fly into Dresden and enjoy not only their very famous and large Christmas market, but the beautiful city as well.

Munich's market is OK but nothing to write home about. You may want to go further south into Austria and see what there is to see there instead.
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