Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Europe including Turkey > Germany
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 9, 12, 9:05 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 363
Smile First time in Germany (and Belgium) - please critique my itinerary!

I'm doing a month long trip in Sept-Oct that will take me from LA to Israel. In between I'll be visiting Japan (11 nights), Thailand (6 nights), and finally Germany/Belgium before heading to Israel. I have a couple of weeks to play with for my European stop and I'd appreciate some input on what I've come up with so far.

About me: I love getting to know a city by walking through different neighborhoods and stopping to eat in places the locals frequent. Even though I'm a "foodie", since I'll be traveling alone I'm not interested in any five star restaurants but more the comfy places where I wouldn't feel awkward dining alone. I also love people watching and sitting in scenic outdoor areas and reading (though I'm not sure how likely this is in October). I'll visit the "can't miss" museums but in general museums aren't really my thing. I'm also not interested in shopping. I am very interested in visiting a concentration camp and seeing any Holocaust memorials, as well as all the historic tourist spots in any given city. I love looking at beautiful architecture, including cathedrals, castles, etc.

All that said, here are the stops I've come up with:

Nights 1-3 Berlin - I'll get in late the first night and have three full days there, leaving for Dusseldorf on an evening train on the third day.

Nights 4-5 Dusseldorf - I'll arrive around 21:00 and check into the hotel. After a good night's sleep I'll have a full day to explore the city and spend one more night before taking an early train to Belgium...destination Bruges!

Nights 6-8 Bruges - I'll try to arrive for the connection in Brussels by noon and store my luggage at the station while taking 2 (or 3? or 4?) hours to explore. I'm getting a discount for staying 3 nights in Bruges and there's a lot I want to do there. If I've had my fill after my first night and full day, I would love to take a train to Antwerp for the day. But I will play that by ear.

Night 9 Cologne - Then I'll take an early train back the way I came this time stopping in Aachen for a few hours. I'll hopefully get to Cologne by early evening time and spend the night and a half day there the next day.

Night 10 Mainz - I then plan to rent a car and leave by 13:00 or so to drive the Rhine. I'd like to take 6-7 hours stopping in Bonn, Koblenz, Boppard, Oberwesel, and Bacharach (I'm open to suggestions) before stopping in Mainz for the night.

Nights 11-13 Munich - After a few hours exploring Mainz in the morning I would take the train to Munich for three nights, including a day trip to Dachau.

Night 14 Nuremburg - On the way back towards FRA I would spend the night and most of one day in Nuremburg before making it for my 22:15 flight to TLV.

I've tried to plan as many days as possible in any one place because I like to be able to relax and not feel like I'm on the go all the time. That said, I realize I've packed a lot in here and would love suggestions from the experts.

(btw, even though I know it's totally out of the way, Bruges is a MUST!)

Thanks in advance!
hedur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 12, 10:14 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: On the Cherry Creek bike path
Programs: AA, DL, UA Basic, HHonors Silver
Posts: 8,042
Renting a car and driving from Cologne to Mainz: Is this a one way rental that is being dropped off in Mainz? Why the stops in Bonn and Koblenz? I can see stopping at your other stops, but Bonn and Koblenz don't have the same small Rhine wine town appeal. It may take you longer to drive down than you think, as that is the tail end of European vacation season, and I'm assuming you'd be driving on the B9, which can be slow driving through all those pretty wine towns which are usually full of tourists. Have you looked at doing the train on this section as well?

Have you timed the Munich trip to avoid Oktoberfest? If not, you may have some hotel surprise.

Personally, I'd give Cologne more time than Düsseldorf if you are into cathedrals and unique architecture.
etch5895 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 12, 11:19 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 363
Yes, the rental car would be one way. The total is not much more than $100 so I thought that was a decent price, especially including the drop off fee.

The stops I included along the Rhine are based on other trip reports I have read but your commentary on Bonn and Koblenz is just what I'm looking for. I'm also open to additional options for stops and what to see there.

The B9 was the route I was planning to take and, according to google maps, the trip (straight through) would be no more than 3.5 hours so I thought doubling that time would be a good estimate. But, you're right, with traffic and tourists it could take longer. I would love to take the train because it would allow me to do wine tastings without worrying about having to drive. But then I figured having to store my luggage at every stop would be more trouble than it's worth. Not to mention some of the lockers at the smaller stations might not be equipped to accommodate a small suitcase and laptop bag. Plus, I love to drive and would relish being able to make my own pace.

Maybe I should spend an extra night in Cologne (that way I have plenty of time to see it) and then I can start early on the day of my drive. If I did that it would be a Sunday instead of a Saturday. Actually, now that I think about it, would tweaking things to make my drive on a weekday help to avoid a mass of tourists?

Originally Munich and Nuremberg were not part of the plan simply because I had planned to be there around the first week of October. Now my plan would take me there around the third week so I think I'm safe from all the Oktoberfest craziness.

Though I would consider scrapping that portion of the trip and adding a couple of extra days in Berlin.
hedur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 12, 11:34 pm   #4
TalkBoard Member, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.003MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 35,366
During one of your days in Bruges, you could take the train to Amsterdam for the day and see the Anne Frank house, among other things.
MSPeconomist is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 10, 12, 12:10 am   #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
During one of your days in Bruges, you could take the train to Amsterdam for the day and see the Anne Frank house, among other things.
"Don't tempt me, Frodo!" (any Lord of the Rings fans here? )

Seriously, though, you can imagine how hard it is to plan a trip like this when you want to see everything and are so afraid you'll miss something amazing.

I've wanted to see the Anne Frank house since I was a girl so I definitely considered my close proximity to it when planning the trip. I scrapped the idea thinking I'd do the Netherlands at a different time, but, you're playing right into my weakness!

Another idea I had was instead of a day trip to Antwerp, I could spend the night there and then the train ride to Amsterdam would only be an hour or so.

Decisions, decisions...

Last edited by hedur; May 10, 12 at 12:20 am.
hedur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10, 12, 5:44 am   #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: MHG
Programs: Miles and More, Topbonus, IHG Rewards, Accor LeClub, HHonors
Posts: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by hedur View Post
Nights 1-3 Berlin - I'll get in late the first night and have three full days there, leaving for Dusseldorf on an evening train on the third day.
[quote]
The area Savignyviertel http://g.co/maps/dbe6f is always nice to walk and sit in the number of cafes around there. To the south you find a lot of nice, small restaurants with local food.

Quote:
Nights 4-5 Dusseldorf - I'll arrive around 21:00 and check into the hotel. After a good night's sleep I'll have a full day to explore the city and spend one more night before taking an early train to Belgium...destination Bruges!
In Düsseldorf you should walk through the old town and enjoy the local beer wich is called "Alt". There are plenty of small, local breweries around there.
In addition the rhine-promenade is nice to see. There are a lot of other nice areas around Düsseldorf but I guess you won't have enough time to see it.

Quote:
Night 9 Cologne - Then I'll take an early train back the way I came this time stopping in Aachen for a few hours. I'll hopefully get to Cologne by early evening time and spend the night and a half day there the next day.
Aachen ist quite small, compared to cologne, but has an interesting historic city center. You should see the cathedral with the throne of Charlemagne and take a guided tour, because there are some interesting legends and stories behind that stuff. This is really entertaining!
Cologne is also famous for the historic town and the cathedral which also is worth a visit. Since the central trains station is just five minutes away from these places this is not a problem.

I always recommend tripadvisor to get an idea which is very famous. If you have specific questions about transportation and stuff feel free to ask.

HTH

S.

Last edited by Monty_GER; May 10, 12 at 6:28 am.
Monty_GER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10, 12, 11:56 am   #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: On the Cherry Creek bike path
Programs: AA, DL, UA Basic, HHonors Silver
Posts: 8,042
Quote:
Originally Posted by hedur View Post
Yes, the rental car would be one way. The total is not much more than $100 so I thought that was a decent price, especially including the drop off fee.

The stops I included along the Rhine are based on other trip reports I have read but your commentary on Bonn and Koblenz is just what I'm looking for. I'm also open to additional options for stops and what to see there.

The B9 was the route I was planning to take and, according to google maps, the trip (straight through) would be no more than 3.5 hours so I thought doubling that time would be a good estimate. But, you're right, with traffic and tourists it could take longer. I would love to take the train because it would allow me to do wine tastings without worrying about having to drive. But then I figured having to store my luggage at every stop would be more trouble than it's worth. Not to mention some of the lockers at the smaller stations might not be equipped to accommodate a small suitcase and laptop bag. Plus, I love to drive and would relish being able to make my own pace.

Maybe I should spend an extra night in Cologne (that way I have plenty of time to see it) and then I can start early on the day of my drive. If I did that it would be a Sunday instead of a Saturday. Actually, now that I think about it, would tweaking things to make my drive on a weekday help to avoid a mass of tourists?

Originally Munich and Nuremberg were not part of the plan simply because I had planned to be there around the first week of October. Now my plan would take me there around the third week so I think I'm safe from all the Oktoberfest craziness.

Though I would consider scrapping that portion of the trip and adding a couple of extra days in Berlin.
The B9 is a very pretty route and a nice drive, but I wouldn't want to try to follow a particular time schedule around it. An option would be to zip down to Mainz on an early ICE train, show your bags at your evening hotel, then catch a regional back up to Boppard or St. Goar, then work your way back down towards Bingen on the regional trains and maybe a K-D line cruise. You'll get the scenery on the train or boat, and not have to worry about driving. On a nice day, a glass of Riesling on the deck of a Rhine cruise ship is very nice. About the only advantage to driving on Sunday is there are almost no trucks on the autobahns.

I wouldn't scrap Bavaria for Berlin. You can easily spend a day in and around Munich/Dachau, a day for Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau, and a day in Nuremberg (or maybe even Regensburg) and see far more Germany than you would in that same time period in Berlin. Berlin never had much appeal for me, but you may have other interests. If you are set on doing some driving, Munich to the castles is not a terrible drive and it does pass through gorgeous scenery, but not much autobahn time.
etch5895 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10, 12, 2:37 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In transit between DUS, LCY and NYC
Programs: Severals Golds (BA, BD, AB and LH), Highest tier with HH, SPG and ICRA, lawyer, sometimes a nice guy
Posts: 8,327
Sounds like a great plan. I like it and would do it the same way. When you have finalized it, drop me an email and I buy you a beer in Düsseldorf.
__________________

Do not feel offended by my posts - remember, I am a simple minded litigation lawyer.
Flying Lawyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10, 12, 3:34 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: BRU
Programs: LH SEN, SN Gold, Eurostar Carte Blanche, BA, QF, AF
Posts: 6,853
I think 3 nights in Bruges is too much. Although it is very nice (and I often go there with visitors that come and visit me in Brussels), I would not spend more than a day there. For Belgium, I would therefore maybe get a hotel in Ghent, and do day trips to Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp and spend a few hours in Ghent. Each of those is just half an hour or so by train from Ghent.
__________________
My flights: http://openflights.org/user/SmilingBoy
SmilingBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10, 12, 7:56 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monty_GER View Post
The area Savignyviertel http://g.co/maps/dbe6f is always nice to walk and sit in the number of cafes around there. To the south you find a lot of nice, small restaurants with local food.
Thanks for the tip! I'm definitely going to do this.

Quote:
Aachen ist quite small, compared to cologne, but has an interesting historic city center. You should see the cathedral with the throne of Charlemagne and take a guided tour, because there are some interesting legends and stories behind that stuff. This is really entertaining!
This sounds great! And right up my alley.

Quote:
If you have specific questions about transportation and stuff feel free to ask.
Thank you! From my research I know I won't be able to buy my train tickets until three months in advance and I definitely plan to bump this thread up at that time and ask some questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by etch5895 View Post
The B9 is a very pretty route and a nice drive, but I wouldn't want to try to follow a particular time schedule around it. An option would be to zip down to Mainz on an early ICE train, show your bags at your evening hotel, then catch a regional back up to Boppard or St. Goar, then work your way back down towards Bingen on the regional trains and maybe a K-D line cruise. You'll get the scenery on the train or boat, and not have to worry about driving. On a nice day, a glass of Riesling on the deck of a Rhine cruise ship is very nice. About the only advantage to driving on Sunday is there are almost no trucks on the autobahns.
I actually thought of something like you've planned out. My only hesitation is traveling up and down the same area three times as opposed to one. But maybe the scenery is worth it.

Do you find that the amount of tourists at this time of year is much less on the weekdays? If so, I would definitely consider that.

Quote:
I wouldn't scrap Bavaria for Berlin. You can easily spend a day in and around Munich/Dachau, a day for Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau, and a day in Nuremberg (or maybe even Regensburg) and see far more Germany than you would in that same time period in Berlin.
This sounds great. Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
Sounds like a great plan. I like it and would do it the same way. When you have finalized it, drop me an email and I buy you a beer in Düsseldorf.
Good to hear. Will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmilingBoy View Post
I think 3 nights in Bruges is too much. Although it is very nice (and I often go there with visitors that come and visit me in Brussels), I would not spend more than a day there. For Belgium, I would therefore maybe get a hotel in Ghent, and do day trips to Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp and spend a few hours in Ghent. Each of those is just half an hour or so by train from Ghent.
Believe me, you're not the first person to tell me this. I thought long and hard on this and decided that it was important to me to be able to spend a night in Bruges and that, along with wanting to change hotels as infrequently as possible, led me to do all three nights there. And because I'd be arriving late the first night (I think I'd probably also stop in Ghent after Brussels on the way from DUS) and leaving early the third morning it really only amounts to 2 days there.

But your idea of staying in Ghent is something I hadn't considered. I considered Brussels but Ghent, as you say, is very centrally located to the places I want to see. Definitely something to think about..

One thing I forgot to mention (for anyone still reading) is I am a huge football fanatic and would love to catch a match if possible. I had assumed I would be there in the off season for the Bundesliga but apparently that's not the case. A far as I can tell, next season's schedule hasn't been released so any help on when to expect the schedule and how best to acquire a ticket would be most appreciated.

Thanks, everyone, for all your thoughtful replies.

Last edited by hedur; May 10, 12 at 8:05 pm.
hedur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 12, 2:53 am   #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: ADD
Posts: 641
I suggest to cut Bonn & Koblenz short and to visit Trier=Treves.

It is the oldest city in Germany located at the banks of the River Moselle with adjacent vineyards.
Some historians say it was founded 2000 BC.

It is not only the Porta Nigra which makes it famous and there is also a lot of Vine to taste
moeser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 12, 4:12 am   #12
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Luxembourg
Programs: KLM/AF Platinum, HH Diamond, LH Senator, Mariott Silver, Priority Club Gold, Accor PLatinum
Posts: 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeser View Post
I suggest to cut Bonn & Koblenz short and to visit Trier=Treves.

It is the oldest city in Germany located at the banks of the River Moselle with adjacent vineyards.
Some historians say it was founded 2000 BC.

It is not only the Porta Nigra which makes it famous and there is also a lot of Vine to taste
I would have to agree. I would say Bruges for a day & night is plenty. Take those extra two days and do Trier one day and Luxembourg the other. They can be done as day trips from Cologne or stay in one or the other.
bankops is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 12, 1:22 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 363
Trier sounds amazing. I'll definitely look into it. Thanks!
hedur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14, 12, 4:51 pm   #14
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Programs: HH Diamond, SPG Gold, Club Carlson Gold
Posts: 1,243
We used Trier as a base for a nice biking experience along the Mosel River. Rented bicycles and just followed the nice bike path by the river, stopping every so often to have a beer at one of the many biergartens along the way. Sounds like this will be in October, so weather could still be amenable to this.
xooz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 12, 12:15 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Baltimore USA / Germany - Ich spreche deutsch
Programs: LH Sen, BA Silver, SWA A+, *W Plat, HH Gold, HY Plat, PC Plat Amb, CC Gold, MR Silver, AMEX Plat
Posts: 2,455
Quote:
Originally Posted by bankops View Post
I would have to agree. I would say Bruges for a day & night is plenty. Take those extra two days and do Trier one day and Luxembourg the other. They can be done as day trips from Cologne or stay in one or the other.
Great suggestion if you are willing to change the plan from the original one you posted! I lived near there in Bitburg for 10 years and I would definitely suggest Trier and Luxembourg.

One other comment I have about the original iteinerary, you seem to hop around a bit. Köln and Düsseldorf are very close so I don't understand why you plan on doing Bruges in between the two. I would start in Bruges and then work my way to Düsseldorf and then on to Köln. After that I would work my way down to Mainz via Koblenz and Boppard if you want the scenic B9 route or via the Autobahn if you are in a hurry.
christianj is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 9:34 pm.