After spending time in Prague and then a week in Berlin, we are picking up a rental car in Berlin to spend 3 nights outside of the big cities but I’m struggling with where to head. Our time frame for this part of the trip is the second week of November so my original idea of heading north towards the Adriatic seems like a not-so-great idea given the time of year. (But maybe I’m wrong?) I was originally thinking of doing some bird watching or hiking while visiting some smaller towns. We also like museums of all types and can geek out on science and history museums in particular. I’m just not sure where to head without spending the majority of the time driving. We return the rental car to BER so we have from early on a Tuesday morning to late on Friday for exploring. Any ideas would be appreciated.
The world's largest science and technology museum is the Deutsches Museum in Munich: https://www.deutsches-museum.de/en . It's brilliant to see. If you have to drive there and return the car to Berlin, that's a bit of a ride.
I'm a museum geek, too. I think that one of the top-10 museums I have seen is the Romano-Germanic Museum in Cologne: https://roemisch-germanisches-museum.de/Homepage
Of course, in Berlin, make sure to see the Pergamon Museum: https://www.smb.museum/en/museums-institutions/pergamonmuseum/home/. It's part of the eight-museum, Unesco-listed Museum Island complex: https://www.visitberlin.de/en/museum-island-in-berlin I also liked the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin -- it's also in my top 10.
Have a look at Harz mountain area which puts some checkmarks on your criteria.
Another option is to seek a nice hideaway like a little castle / palace hotel somewhere in nowhere. Southern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has such opportunities. Schwerin is a town which is worth a trip; Lübeck also with a very nice Hanseatic museum and an UNESCO world heritage old town.
The Baltic coast (Adriatic is Mediterranean area) can be relatively mild at this time because often the water temperature is warmer than the air temperature; but there fore often foggy at day break and end.
Bird watching season is a little off because the migrating birds are already through at this time of year.
After spending time in Prague and then a week in Berlin, we are
picking up a rental car in Berlin to spend 3 nights outside of the big
cities but I’m struggling with where to head. Our time frame for this
part of the trip is the second week of November so my original idea of
heading north towards the Adriatic seems like a not-so-great idea
given the time of year.
If your plan is to head north from Berlin to the Adriatic, I'd urge you to look a bit closer at a map. I also think you might want to first decide where you are going, before you decide on renting a car.
I'd take the train to Dresden, where you could spend 3 days with no mighty steel steed, and not see everything. Don't know if the Zeiss museum is worth the detour.
EDIT: Baltic Germany trip report:
If your plan is to head north from Berlin to the Adriatic
@Badger Ugh. Even when I was composing this post, I noticed my brain calling it the Adriatic instead of the Baltic but even after staring at the map, I still wrote Adriatic.
@Craig Sadly the Pergamon will be closed before I get to Berlin. But I will definitely check out the surrounding museums and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. I think Munich is too far for this trip but that science museum will be top of my list when I do get there.
@MarkK I’m going to check into Schwerin and Lübeck. If the BALTIC (there I managed to type it correctly 😀) is relatively mild, I might still consider heading that direction. Any thoughts on the Peenmünde Museum?
@Tim I’m tempted to go to Dresden but since the rest of our trip is in big cities, I think I just want a chance to see some of the countryside for a while. But if the weather turns foul, I might change my mind at the last minute. The Zeiss Museum looks really interesting. I may add that one to a Munich trip.
Thanks for all of the suggestions so far!
Any thoughts on the Peenmünde Museum?
I was not there but heard positive feedback on it. Wanna visit it in the future. From what I was told my step-grandfather was engineer and located there in WWII and involved in developing and calculating flight curves.
Even when I was composing this post, I noticed my brain calling it the
Adriatic instead of the Baltic but even after staring at the map, I
still wrote Adriatic.
We all make mistakes, but excellent that you are familiar with the geography.
I think Munich is too far for this trip but that science museum will
be top of my list when I do get there.
Munich is not too far for a three day trip. It's a couple of hours away by train so if you want to spend a few days there, do it.
I’m going to check into Schwerin and Lübeck. If the BALTIC (there I
managed to type it correctly 😀) is relatively mild, I might still
consider heading that direction.
Schwerin and Lübeck are both excellent options, but renting a car to get there is quite frankly a bad idea. They are both easy to reach by train.
I’m tempted to go to Dresden but since the rest of our trip is in big
cities, I think I just want a chance to see some of the countryside
for a while.
The train from Prague to Berlin, stops in Dresden so you can make Dresden a stop on the way.
I was thinking over the following because it is not just a day trip but you have 3 days and it seems you can be interested in that topic.
Have you thought about visiting the Marine Memorial in Laboe (close to Kiel)? They offer an open old WWII subway U-995 als technical museum part.
Lübeck and Schwerin are on the way and even Wismar. A24 to / from Berlin is an easy to drive Autobahn - very relaxed.
On the way I recommend this place as a stop for excellent German county-side meat food. In old days the street B 404 was passing directly there and nearly half of all Berliners was stopping there on their to earlier West-German Baltic coast. And still today a good place.
I would agree with the suggestion of Meck-Pom. There are a TON of great towns--Schwerin, Wismar, Güstrow, Stralsund, Greifswald--and incredible scenery. There are little local museums and some bigger ones across the region.
Alternatively, three days would be great for exploring the Harz--and I would start with Wernigerode and Quedlinburg but also places like Thale or Braunlage. But again, tons of cool places, scenery, little local museums, and interesting villages. It's a little more condensed than MV.
Given your timeframe of three days and an assumption on my part that you will be back to this part of the world, the Harz is a better choice. Save MV for a trip to combine with Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, perhaps over into the Netherlands or up into Denmark or even over to Gdansk.
Any thoughts on the Peenmünde Museum?
I would love to see this museum, though I have not visited it as part of my previous visits to Germany. My dad served in the U.S. Navy in its Pacific fleet during World War II. I find any WWII history endlessly fascinating and often well told. I will visit Peenmünde Museum when I am next in Germany. Thank you, @lovetotravel and @MarkK for letting me know about it.
I'll return the favor. If you're ever in the Philippines or eastern Asia, it's worth visiting Corregidor Island. My dad served on a destroyer during the battle to retake the island in early 1945. Tours leave from Manila, and the boat ride to the island is only an hour. Our Filipino guide had an academic's grasp of the details of the battle. I had wanted to see the Bataan Death March sites, but my time was limited on that trip.
I too would like to recommend the Harz area for a 3 day (or much more) car trip from Berlin. We’ve also been to this area 5 times since 1990 for a total of about 10 weeks. We’ve seen a lot of change and enjoy going back every time we have a chance.
Some towns that are well set up as a base for exploring are Wernigerode and Quedlinburg which were formerly in East Germany or Goslar which was in the West. All of these towns have hundreds of half tempered houses and two have castles that can be walked to from the town center. Goslar has a UNESCO designated mine to tour that gives you a better idea of the rich history of these formerly wealthy towns. https://www.rammelsberg.de/ There is also a mine museum in Clausthal-Zellerfeld on the other side of the mountain range. Snow might factor in to how much driving you’d want to try over the mountains though.
I don’t know if the steam train runs in November but you can normally take it from Wernigerode to the top of the tallest peak, The Brocken.
All of these towns have fabulous, authentic Christmas markets but you may be there a week or two too early for the markets. An example: https://www.wernigerode-tourismus.de/weihnachten-in-wernigerode/
If you have a car you may want to search out some of the small, old rural monasteries or mills around Quedlinburg that have wonderful restaurants and trout ponds. We found 4-5 nearby in the month we spent in Quedlinburg.
This little area of Germany would be a rewarding place to explore for a short time but it may leave you wanting to come back for more like it did for us.