Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt/Hanau, Heidelberg, Prague, etc.

My sister and I (ages 62 & 68) are planning a trip May 13, 2013 for 21 days (including travel from/to NY) to visit: Paris (3-4 days), Berlin (2 days) Frankfurt & Hanau (2 days), Heidelberg (1 day), Prague (5 days), Pilsen (1 day), Munich (1 day), and Vienna (2 days). Not sure of best order of places to visit. Am clueless in how to plan logistics. Want to utilize Rail and Bus travel. Places willing to give up in order to make more relaxing/enjoyable are Pilsen, Fussen, and Heidelberg. My estimated time at each place is flexible. Any comments or suggestions?

Posted by Bob
Gettysburg, PA
1364 posts

try to avoid any one night stays- these are very tiring.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1465 posts

Well, it looks like you are trying to see 8 places in 19 days. It seems to me too many to have enjoyable trip. I of course don't know the reasons which lead you to your ion and decision how many days to spend in each city. If you don't have personal reasons to see all these cities I would drop Frankfurt & Hanau, Heidelberg, Pilsen, I don't even see that you planned Fussen, but if you did I would drop it, too. Then you will have days to add to Paris, Berlin, Munich and Vienna. For train travel it seems the best would be this order: Paris, Munich, Vienna, Prague, Berlin. Fly open jaw: to Paris and from Berlin.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1465 posts

Unfortunately edit does not work so I have to do it this way. the words: which lead you to your ion should be which lead you to your selection.

Posted by Rob
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
370 posts

I too would be interested in your choice for Hanau. I was stationed there in the late 80's and returned there again in 2008 on vacation. Great little town, but not much there unless, like me, it holds sentimental value.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

I agree with Ilja. Four great cities will keep you as busy as you need and leave you some flexibility. Sometimes it's just nice to sleep in when you get tired. My wife and I are in our 60's, and we now limit our destinations.
We don't miss all of those 750 mile, 12 hour days on the road trying to see everything.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

You are not doing any of those cities and towns justice by trying to see them all. I'm wiped out looking at this itinerary. I'm glad to see you are willing to give up some of them and are open to changing this around. I'd give up the 3 you are willing to give up plus one more, probably Frankfurt. Paris is also out of the way of the others but if you give up more time in others you can fit it in. I would definitely trim time off Prague and split it more evenly with Berlin. Prague is very beautiful and scenic, but there is far more to do in Berlin and Vienna than Prague. I would do: Fly into Prague: 3 days Train to Vienna: 4 days Train to Munich: 3-4 days Train/flight to Berlin: 5-6 days flight to Paris: 5-6 days. Prague, Vienna, and Munich are relatively close to each other, being maximum 5 hours away by train. Berlin is a bit out of the way but still easily reached by train or cheap flight from Munich. Or a short train ride from Prague.
Remember, not only are you going from place to place, but all your luggage has to be carried and dragged to each new destination with you.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4758 posts

Why do people try and talk posters out of the towns they want to visit, telling them they aren't worth it and to go some place else. If Lillian wants to go to Hanau, she probably has her reasons for doing so. She may be a fan of the Grimm Brothers, as Hanau is on the Fairy Tale route. There are some historic & beautiful places there, Phillipsruhe Schloss, Wilhelmsbad Kuranlage, or maybe they just want to visit the Hessen Doll Museum. http://www.hanau.de/tourismus/fuehrung/index.html Same thing with Frankfurt. Germany is so much more than Munich and Bavaria. Why try to persuade someone from visiting one of Germanys' most historic cities? Perhaps they are interested in the history of the Holy Roman Emperors, medieval churches here, or the Jewish history, or the 1848 Revolution, or Goethe. Or maybe they just want to visit some of the world class art museums, like the Staedel or the Schirn? I think 1 day is cutting it a bit short in Munich though. If they are willing to drop Heidelberg, then add that day onto Munich. I would suggest switching the amount of days, and spending the 5 days in Berlin, and only 2 in Prague.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3580 posts

Lilian, I'd order your stops something like this: Paris > Frankfurt: 4h, no train change, €39 Frankfurt > Berlin: 4h, no train change, €39 Berlin > Prague: 4h40m no train change, €29 Prague > Munich: 4h40m no bus change, €29 OR Prague > Vienna: ~5h, depending on your station... Vienna > Munich: 4h no train change Vienna has closed/demolished/partially reopened some train stations in the past few years, so your travel time may vary around 30m and may involve a metro/bus/taxi ride to your hotel. Use bahn.com (the German train company) to plan/purchase your tickets. This way, you can see just how early you'll need to get up to make your preferred train LOL! The prices given above are advance purchase prices - 3 months in advance! The price goes up as you get closer to your travel date - that Paris > Frankfurt full fare is €119; ouch...(you can typically only purchase tickets from bahn.com if the trip begins in Germany, or is wholly in Germany) You can also use tgv-europe.com for French schedules/purchases, and oebb.at/en/index for the Austrian portions. It's hard to make recommendations, not knowing what your interests are... I would skip Berlin to get extra time in Frankfurt/Hanau (I'm guessing you have a specific reason for going there), and a day or two from Prague for Munich. Keep 4 days for Paris - you'll need that first day to recover from your travel day! I might also skip Vienna...your itinerary is awfully full already. Can you two add a couple of days, perhaps??? It's sooooo hard to cut things from one's itinerary! :-(

Posted by Lillian
Seal Beach
2 posts

This morning I sent a reply to thank all of you for your helpful information, and included some reasons on why I want to visit Frankfurt/Hanau, and why I need 4-5 days in Prague because of family. However, I don't see it posted on my page, so I guess I did something wrong.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3505 posts

As Eileen points out, several of your destinations are 4 hour train rides or longer. When you figure the time it takes to pack your bags, check out, get to the train station with enough time to spare, then get to your hotel at your next destination, you have lost most of the day, even if the train ride is shorter. That doesn't take into account the time it takes to get oriented in a new city. One night stays leave you very little time to see anything. You are going for 3 weeks. How much are you going to pack? If you travel "light" you will probably have to do hand laundry every couple of days, and not the night before you check out, in case things don't dry in time. If you are taking more clothes, you are going to have to deal with the luggage every time you change cities, and you'll still have to find time to go to a laundromat or send your things out for cleaning and allow enough time to get them back before moving on. That's why most people here will encourage you to cut out several destinations - so you can enjoy the places you will see.