Berlin to Friedrichshafen: a two week family journey.

My family, a group of 9 people with ages ranging from 20 to 89 years old, is going to Germany for the first time in July. There are two things my grandfather specifically wants to do: ride along the Rhine and visit his grandfathers grave in Bottendorf. Other things that were requested by this group were to spend a weekend in Berlin and visit the Alps.

We are generally a pretty laid-back group, and are all artistic in various mediums (art, music and writing) so we love museums, history, and especially live music! (and of course beer LOL)
I'm going to post our travel itinerary below, it's already booked, so no changes to the general outline can be made. What i'm hoping to get here are suggestions for "must see" things in these locations and more importantly very centrally located hotels or B&Bs (since walking is an issue for my grandfather).

As a side note, I realize that public transit is excellent here, but I tried to use air travel around Germany in additional to the transit so that my pop wouldn't get as tired from traveling (shorter times to destinations), and could enjoy the trip a little more.

7/9: 8am land in Berlin. We will have three full days there, which is probably not enough, but will have to do. I'm really hoping for suggestions of some fun weekend things to do, live music especially, for my younger siblings and myself. I am very much interested in seeing the wall, the Reichstag, Brandenburg gate and the Gemaldegalerie, so hotel suggestions central to these things would be ideal.

Fly Berlin 7/13 to Frankfurt, arrive at noon (chose this because of location to both Bottendorf and the Rhine). We will have a full day to travel by transit (2hrs) to Bottendorf and also a full day to take a cruise on the Rhine (found itinerary online, (here, thank you!) for a day trip from Frankfurt to the Rhine) and a full day for resting between the two day trips for whatever we want to do or if we need a relaxing day for the older travelers (maybe cologne or frankfurt?). I think a hotel near the airport would be best for this location. A nice restaurant suggestion for Frankfurt would be good, authentic German cuisine :)

Fly Frankfurt 7/17 to Munich, arrive 1pm. Things we are looking at in Munich are: Salzburg, Andechs Monestary, Dachau, Garmsich-Partenkirchen and Zugspitze. I think the monestary is the only thing that we ALL really want to include, everything else is negotiable based on time etc. We are planning to leave Munich on Saturday, so we will only have Thursday night, full day Friday and Saturday morning to explore (I wish it were more!). I'm hoping to find a B&B here, or smaller hotel, located in a more quaint setting. I think by this point my grandfather will be ready to just relax in a comfortable environment while the rest of us explore more - so easy access to transit is appreciated! Our cousin will also meet us here, but probably not until Friday evening.

From Munich, we will take the transit to Friedrichshafen (2.5 hours), which is where we have family and will end our trip. At some point we would like to get to the Alps from here (I believe it is 1.5 hours). We will have Saturday evening, then three full days before taking transit to Stuttgart (2.5 hours) to fly home on 7/23.

**Our flight is at 11am, and I'd love input on whether it would be easier to travel to Stuttgart the night before, or try to get there very early in the morning the day of. I haven't yet researched how early the transit runs :)

Sorry this is long, but I was trying to be as thorough as possible. Please let me know if there is additional info needed to help with suggestions. Hopefully there aren't too many typos either as it's well past my bedtime LOL

Thank you in advance for helping with our holiday!

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
2145 posts

Also, I would definitely recommend travelling to Stuttgart, or any city, the day before for a morning flight. German trains are usually reliable, but it's too much of a risk if there is a breakdown.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
2145 posts

Also, all the places you suggest for Munich are full day trips. If you have only one full day in Munich, either pick one of those and don't really get to see Munich properly, or give up on the day trips and just explore the city. Munich itself is nice.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
2145 posts

And finally, if you want to be close to the places you mention in Berlin, try and get a hotel in the Potsdamer Platz area, which is roughly in the middle of all of them. It's not exactly a quaint area (rather soulless modern developments) but it has a range of hotels of differing budgets.

Posted by Webmaster
Edmonds, WA, USA
298 posts

Hello,
I cleaned out a few posts just to keep things positive. As a reminder, here's the topic to focus on:

"What i'm hoping to get here are suggestions for "must see" things in these locations and more importantly very centrally located hotels or B&Bs (since walking is an issue for my grandfather)."

Posted by Chris
Mahone Bay, Canada
191 posts

Unfortunately, most of what you say you want to do while in Munich involves day trips (Slazburg, Andechs, Garmisch and Zugspitze). With only an evening, one full day and a morning, I'd focus on things closer to Munich. If Andechs Monastery is the one thing you all want to do, then maybe do that as your day trip and spend what remains of your short time exploring Munich's city centre and sights. You might be able to fit in Dachau but would need a full half day to do it any justice at all (you won't want to rush, I promise you) and while I highly recommend trying to fit in a visit to Dachau, it does involve a lot of walking which may not work for your group.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
6008 posts

With my parents in Munich, we chose www.hotel-monaco.de because it had an elevator and was close to public transport, near the train station. The welcome and the breakfast were lovely. To get to our room, there were a few internal stairs (like 4 steps up and 4 down), after coming off the elevator.