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Germany for the first time with kids. Any tips please?

Hello guyz,

We are a family of four (two kids 6 and 2 years old). We have a return ticket to Frankfurt. We are staying for fourteen nights in Germany and renting a car as soon as we land in Frankfurt. The main things we want to do in Germany is to visit Europa Park, Lego Land and Munich. We are trying to do it as easy as possible. This is the plan that we are thinking of but still not sure of:

1 night - Frankfurt
3 nights - Baden Baden with a day trip to Europa Park
1 night - Lego Land (drive from Baden Baden to Lego Land)
5 nights - Munich with a day trip to Salzburg
2 nights - Stuttgart
2 nights - Frankfurt

My issues are:
1- we will be checking in and out too many times.
2- most routes will be one hour plus which might bore the kids
3- I am thinking of the easiest way to return to Frankfurt from Munich which I think is via Stuttgart - but I am not sure.

I'd appreciate for any suggestions/tips that could help improve the plan and make my travel with the kids easier.

Many thanks,
AJ

Posted by
2674 posts

Your plan is missing a date of travel.

Also the question if it is necessary to travel much by car? From Munich back to Frankfurt you can just use trains, also for other distances: https://www.bahn.com

My first issue when reading the whole car trip is to care for the safety of the children. You will need special seats for the children. Be aware to have that booked with the car.

Second is that you have a valid driving permission which is more than your driving license - read first big letter part carefully. In case of accident you may lose insurance coverage without a legally compliant driving permission (independent from what the rental car counter accepted).

Some other basic things for traveling to and in Germany.

Posted by
9044 posts

Kids enjoy riding in trains much more than sitting in a car seat. Plus most of the cities are not that car friendly. Traveling around a city in trams is fun for kids and you don't have to search for parking.

Why Baden-Baden?

For the area of Frankfurt and things that would interest small children as well as adults, consider the Palmengarten, the Zoo, or go to Bad Homburg and the Opel Zoo, the Saalburg Roman Fort, or Hessen Park Open Air Museum. Museums in Frankfurt that kids enjoy would be the Senckenburg Natural History Museum, the Communication Museum, the Film Museum, and the Bible Museum.

If we knew when you were going to be here, we could tell you about any festivals that are happening.

Posted by
4 posts

Many thanks all for your replies. Sorry not to mention that we will be arriving on 12 July 2019 and staying for 14 nights in Germany. I have added the child seats already to my car rental booking. I have always travelled in Europe by trains. This is the first time I am booking a rental car for the simple reason that luggage + stroller would be difficult to manage with trains. I am not sure if you guys share the same view? Also, we can't travel light especially when we have a 2 years old.

I was thinking of dropping Munich but I think this is the highlight of our trip. The kids will enjoy the theme parks and all of us will enjoy Munich.

Another plan was to drop Baden Baden + Europa Park and go to Munich and the surrounding area.

Also, if trains are much better means of transport. Why not only book the train to the way from Frankfurt to Baden Baden and from Munich to Frankfurt and in between use a rental car.

I am open for suggestions please. I am very grateful for who have already responded.

Many thanks,
AJ

Posted by
33335 posts

if you rent a car consider how you will provide a legal child carrier for the 2 year old and legal booster seat for the 6 year old.

Posted by
980 posts

A few more kid friendly things to do in Munich:

  • Most Biergartens also have good playgrounds. A good one is the Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten. In addition to a large, popular Biergarten there is also a big playground and an antique carousel.
  • The Hofbräukeller has a staffed children's play area where you can leave you kids to play supervised while you dine. There is one play area indoor and one outside in the Biergarten. The square and surrounding neighborhood of Haidhausen is worth a look as well.
  • The ground floor of the Deutsches Museum is the Kids Kingdom area suitable for kids 3-8. Lots of hands on stuff to keep them busy.
  • The aforementioned Munich Zoo is good for kids.
  • If you have a car, Wildpark Poing is a good day outing for kids.
  • Spend a day heading to a lake south of Munich for a picnic and maybe some boating. One nice option for kids might be Schliersee (also accessible by BOB train) with the nearby Markus Wasmeier Open-Air Museum within walking distance of the train station.

Hope this helps,

DJ

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks you all for your responses which are very helpful.

I am now seriously thinking of dropping Baden Baden and Europa Park. My route would then be: Frankfurt - Stuttgart - Lego Land - Munich - Frankfurt.

Would passing by Nuremberg on the way to Frankfurt be a good idea? Given the long distance between Frankfurt and Munich that would be a good stop I presume. There is a theme park that we can go to near Nuremberg called Playmobil.

Posted by
4 posts

Many thanks DJ for the detailed suggestions for the kids.

We are staying for more than 4 nights in Munich so for sure we will go to some of the mentioned places.

Best regards,
AJ

Posted by
274 posts

We have not yet taken our son to Germany, but we did to a trip to England with him last year (when he was then 15 months). I cannot offer you specific advice on Germany with kids, but from our own experience in England, here are a few things that were helpful for us:

  • we stayed in Airbnbs or apartments instead of hotels. We really liked the ability to have a fridge and a place to cook meals, and having a separate room for my son was crucial to allow him to go to sleep at a reasonable hour without us having to hide in a hotel bathroom for two hours.
  • we ALWAYS find it easier to stay fewer places for longer. Packing up multiple times is annoying and increases the likelihood that something important will get left behind. Over 3 weeks, we stayed in 3 separate apartments.
  • I know it is difficult, but making the effort to pack light will pay for itself a hundred times over. When we went to England, my son and I split a carry on suitcase - for a three week trip. If you stay in an apartment, you will likely have access to a washing machine, but if not - sink laundry will work. My husband and I each had a carry on suitcase and a handbag/backpack, plus a stroller and a car seat, and it felt like we had WAY too much stuff to keep track of. We had to have the car seat to drive through rural England, but if your itinerary only contains places that are accessible by train, ditch the car seat. My son LOVED trains but was incredibly unimpressed by car rides.
  • taxi or car service to/from the airport. For only marginally more expensive than taking public transportation, we had a driver meet us at the airport arrivals gate. Our driver helped with our bags and whisked us directly to our apartment. This was a lifesaver after a long overnight flight and a lengthy wait in customs.
  • only 1 "adult" site per day. Find parks and playgrounds in the afternoon. Adults can enjoy a picnic and a beverage while kids burn off steam.

Most importantly, be flexible and have fun! There are so many people who say you shouldn't travel with young kids because they won't remember it, but this experience will certainly shape them (and your family!) whether or not they realize it.

Posted by
1123 posts

First, I wouldn't plan on Salzburg as a day trip, especially with kids. Nuremburg would be much better in my opinion, and that's if you have to leave Munich. You might want to consider adding an afternoon at a Spa/Swimpark in Munich. Kids have a good time in those; wave pools tend to be a new experience. You can also get your spa thing in without traveling to Baden.

If your six year old is like most the Deutsches Museum has a neat mining exhibit that's basically an underground tunnel. Very entertaining.

Posted by
6 posts

Agree with everything Erin E said about travel with kids.

On the train vs. car question: it’s a mixed bag. I’d say that traveling by car with kids can be a little less stressful, but also less fun.

Yes, getting on and off trains with kids, luggage and strollers is a minor hassle. Even if you pack light (which you should). And having a car lets you keep your own schedule.

On the other hand, our kids (and their parents) enjoy time on a train much more than time in a car. Trains are fun, everyone can interact, eat snacks from the dining car, and generally have a better time than in a car trip.

I’d say, if you’re going someplace with a direct train with frequent daily trips, take the train. The only time our family (4 kids, ages 1-10) has been really stressed during a European train trip was rushing to make a tight connection, with a long wait until the next train. If you need a car at your destination (generally only true for rural destinations), rent one there.

For a 2-week trip, I’d limit yourself to 2-3 destinations, maybe a max of 4. I’m afraid your 6 plus day trips will be exhausting for all of you.

Posted by
7906 posts

With kids that age, museums would be torture.

My kids traveled with me age 5-teens and I found young kids tend to love things like the Eiffel Tower, Boat rides on the Seine or gondola ride in Venice. Also, you need to plan for more bathroom breaks. Is the 2 year old still in diapers?

Lived in Augsburg for four years. Driving from there (near Munich) to Frankfurt, always went via Stuttgart.

The Germans called Stuttgart "stau city." Stau means backup on highway. Get ready for traffic and Aligator Hill (just before you reach Stuttgart).

If in the Black Forest, are you planning a boat ride on a lake? We loved Titisee. The Bodensee and Rhine Falls might be worth a visit.

Posted by
70 posts

Not sure if this helps with your planning since you might already have booked your lodging, but I have learned the hard way that switching hotels eats up a lot of vacation time (packing, checking out, checking into new place,etc). Also kids really are happy with simple things like walking around towns that include discovering playgrounds, pool-time, and trying new foods. Our kids are 10 and 11, and I can still only get them to 1 museum per day, and not every day of the trip.

I think you will love Salzburg since you can take the train there. Just don't plan on doing a tight tour itinerary, but just wander the town a bit. Get ice cream, try the chocolates, and maybe catch a free concert.

Good luck!