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Germany itinerary with a 2 year old

Hi All,

We had a trip planned for June of this year but due to covid had to move it. If everything goes well we'll planning to go in early September. It is me my wife and our 2 year old by then daughter and this is our tentative itinerary. Would love to get people's thoughts. I have no idea how our baby will be by then so a bonus if anyone has any tips for traveling with a 22 month old.

Berlin 5 days
Dresden 2 days (maybe skip it?)
Prague 3 days
Nuremberg 2 days
Rothenburg 2 days
Bavarian Alps 3 days
Salzburg 3 days
Munich 4 days.

Thanks so much in advance.

Posted by
7479 posts

Berlin 5 days

Does that mean 5 nights in Berlin? better to list how many nights you are spending in a place.

anyone has any tips for traveling with a 22 month old.

Get a 25 lb bag of rice and practice carrying it around for several hours per day.

Find out what kind of gum numbing medicine your doctor recommends as she will be teething

Posted by
2880 posts

I won’t comment on your overall itinerary yet but I wanted to ask if you are aware of the dates for Munich’s Octoberfest 2021. It looks like it will fall somewhere in your current timeframe and based on our experience last year just be aware that hotel prices in Munich and surrounding areas close by are about double in price or more. The 2021 dates are September 18-October 3 give a week on both ends for high hotel prices.

Posted by
30 posts

@joe32F
That makes much more sense
Berlin 4 nights
Dresden 2 nights
Prague 3 nights
Nuremberg 2 nights
Rothenburg 2 nights
Alps 2 nights
Salzburg 3 nights
Munich 4 nights.

'I mean there are strollers and baby carriers where the baby can be carried. She's started teething a while back so we should be used to it by then.

@Mona
Thanks so much, I haven't thought of Oktoberfest, I always wanted to go and from what I read there are also many children during oktoberfest? I might look into airbnb given the prices, thoguths about kids/oktoberfest?

Posted by
1290 posts

Our daughter was born in Germany and we were reassigned back to the states when she was about 2 and 1/2 years old. She was pretty patient and usually pretty happy if she had us with her.

She hated riding in a car seat but really liked family outings on the train.

She much preferred outdoors activities. Parks were her favorite places. The language barrier mattered little to her and she liked to play with the kids in the parks. She loved the gardens in Würzburg with covered walk ways. A tour of the Residenz would have been silly. She liked walking up to castles but had no use for visiting them.

It was hard to keep her engaged for indoor sights. She did like churches once she discovered paintings on the ceilings.

An umbrella stroller was the best investment that we made. We could not expect her to stay in it all day.

We visited a couple big cities: Vienna & Munich. Little to do there for her. My wife and mother took palace tours in Vienna while my daughter and I would walk in the gardens.

You will know your daughter best but I wonder if the long visits to Berlin and Munich will work for all of you.

Posted by
18894 posts

Many people string together 2- and 3-night stops as you're planning to do, but I'm wondering whether that will get tiresome with a little one in tow, especially on a 3-1/2 week trip. That's just musing on my part, because I don't have children. I travel solo most of the time and try really hard not to stay anywhere for fewer than 4 nights. I manage to do that (most of the time) by finding cities that offer enough day-trips to justify a visit of that length if the base cities themselves don't have 3 days' worth of sights. Obviously, that's easier for an adult with a major interest in museums.

If you didn't have your daughter along I'd be recommending more nights in Prague (which I think has much more of interest and is prettier) than Munich. As it is, I don't know how a family with a young child should balance the two cities. One thing that concerns me about Prague is that it has been hyper-touristy in recent years and short visits there are likely to mean spending most of ones time as part of a throng of tourists. Three nights there would give you only 2.5 days at best.

Posted by
181 posts

I would like to offer some suggestions about traveling with your daughter.

Ask your pediatrician for advice, especially for any medications to have on hand like baby aspirin, sunblock for example.

As another reader suggested, a stroller is essential. Ideally, bring one she's used to. Traveling and new experiences can be tiring, and she might nap. Also, it's a safe place for her if both of you have to deal with any travel issues in transit. And of course, it's perfect to hang your daypack if your shoulders get tired!

Bring her sleep buddy or "lovey".

Bring her favorite snacks, drinks. With the different time zones, she may get hungry at odd times and inconvenient places.

For the flight over, pack a total change for her and at least a shirt for both of you in case of accidents.

A couple of receiving blankets can be handy, especially if it starts to rain and she's asleep in the stroller.

There's more but these are the tips that came to my mind quickly.

Have a wonderful trip! I know you will remember this first one always.

Posted by
7908 posts

Lots of traveling. Try and base in one spot and maybe leave Prague out of the mix.
Yes, to the stroller. Work around nap times, by visiting museums when she can sleep in the stroller.
Both my kids had all of their teeth by age one, so teething may or may not be a problem.

You could do actually do day trips to Salzburg from Munich and to Dresden from Berlin.

Consider some of the other medieval towns you could visit from any of these cities so you don't have to travel to Rothenburg. It is not a unique town, there are dozens that are similar or better, as well as being original if that is important to you. Look on the Half-Timbered route to find more towns.
https://www.deutsche-fachwerkstrasse.de/en/Homepage.html

Trains are your friend with a small child, rather than a car.

There are tons of festivals in Germany, but with a toddler, I would avoid Oktoberfest.

Posted by
4751 posts

Two nights somewhere is one full day there. Your schedule is a little rushed, but with a toddler, it’s going to be a blur.

Leave Prague for another trip - you can easily spend 5 full days there.

I like Berlin - I had 7 nights there and didn’t see all the museums we wanted and we didn’t have a toddler in tow. With a toddler, I would opt for 3 or 4 bases. Less is more.

Posted by
2163 posts

Consider some of the other medieval towns you could visit from any of
these cities so you don't have to travel to Rothenburg. It is not a
unique town, there are dozens that are similar or better, as well as
being original if that is important to you.

And that also have the advantage of not being overrun by tourists. A detour to Bautzen, Zittau or Görlitz is not that far from Dresden.

Posted by
4873 posts

Tip, leave the little one at home.

Yes, you can travel with a 2 year old, but she will slow you down. I have traveled with children as small as 5 and trying to do a museum properly is just not going to work.

My kids are great people and were good kids, but I remember the terrible twos and it could be frustrating. Kids that age need to nap during the day and you will be changing diapers a lot. How will you heat the formula?

As for your itinerary, it looks fine, but you can do Dresden in a day. The Bavarian Alps should include Garmisch/Fussen.

Posted by
1603 posts

Check the Youtube channel WOLTERS WORLD. They have a few videos on this subject as well as videos on many of the places you plan on visiting.

they have two boys, one of which was born in Portugal, so they have plenty of experience traveling with infants.

Posted by
1424 posts

It is a lot of moving around. I would consider whether you really want to do 2 night stops. It is less taxing to do day trips.

You aren't going to be able to be as efficient with a child in tow and a slower pace might make everyone happier. Two year olds still nap and can be easily accommodated to sleeping in a stroller. Go to your museums then. Make sure you "practice" walking with her in a stroller at home. When our kids were young, I knew lots of two year olds who did not want to sit in a stroller. We were insistent on it and our kids did well. We were all happier for it. But build in lots of park time to wear her out so she will be more content to sit in a stroller.

I would focus on walkable cities that you can all enjoy. Prague outside the very central area is very walkable and think it could be good with a child in a stroller. I haven't been to Berlin in many years but I recall everything was spread out and we took buses to get around. Salzburg and Munich are also very walkable.

I would do some research into strollers. You probably want something better than a cheap umbrella one.

Posted by
1290 posts

I usually find myself in agreement with geovagriffin but have a polite disagreement in this case. Traveling with a 2 year old was great for us in Germany but we did have to adjust our plans to meet her needs. Museums were out. Rothenburg is not unique but small towns like it - pedestrian friendly- was a pleasure to all of us. Strollers are good for naps as mentioned above.

We liked to stay in small to modest sized towns like Regensburg and Würzburg with good travel connections, and visit the area with day trips. We were stationed in Nürnberg when she was two and it was another good base for travel. We usually found it preferrable to stay in a smaller town and visit larger cities (Munich, Amsterdam and Copenhagen).

Most Germans were very helpful if we needed something for the toddler. We brought along things she could eat in a pinch.

Posted by
920 posts

Leave the baby at home with relatives and enjoy your vacation!

Posted by
30 posts

@garymc, Those are fantastic insights. Thank you! She's 14 months now, and it is easy to stroll her around and keep her entertained with anything (paitings, dolls, just walking around, but I guess by 2 she will be walking by herself quicker so we'll have to follow her around. That would make museums and other attractions almost impossible?

@acraven, Thank you. Yes the short stays in a couple of cities is a bit of a worry to me. We did a US south round trip last week and we managed to get a couple of cities by being almost packed the whole time and it was easy to leave. Good idea about putting more days in Prague, I might remove a couple other citites.
@Carole thanks for the tip. Yes, planning to buy a new stroller, better to buy it before

@Ms. Jo That's a great idea about doing road trips instead of staying in overnights. Any suggestions which places to go from Nuremberg instead of Rothenburg?

@Jennifer Thanks, I think I need more time in Berlin

@badger, thanks will look into it

@geovagriffith, that's definitely not gonna fly with my wife. I will look into those day trips.

@stphen, will definitely look into the youtube channel, thank you!

@betrh that is great advise thank you! I will definitely be more consistent in having her in a stroller.

@kbk, that will not fly with my wifel

Posted by
2880 posts

In order to get to most of your locations and travel at a slightly slower pace with a 2 year old I’d propose something like this:

Fly overnight into Berlin and sleep 6 nights taking day trips to Potsdam, Dresden or Wernigerode

Train to Prague for 4 nights

Train to Alps in Bavaria and stay 6 nights near Garmish

Train to Lindau with access to the lake, Alps and 3 countries for 5 nights

Train to Munich for 6 nights with day trips to Nuremberg, Salzburg, Bamberg, etc.

Fly home from Munich

Posted by
4368 posts

Ignore the "leave the child at home" naysayers. When you choose to have children then you make the choice to adapt your lives around them, that's part of the small sacrifice that you have to make in order to enjoy having children. We've never left our children with grandparents or anyone else when we've travelled, they've always accompanied us. Travelling with children simply means doing things differently and it means missing out on some things such as museums and romantic meals but if that's what people want then why have kids? Travelling through Germany with young children is easy. I would probably cut down on the number of destinations and acknowledge that the pace is going to be significantly slower with a young child in tow.

Our children didn't visit Germany until they were 10 and older, much of their younger years were spent in Spain, Italy, France and the US and most of the time was taken up with pools, the sea, theme parks, sports, playgrounds, child centric museums and science centres, pretty much every day was geared towards the kids and we all had so much fun. We had our adult time before the kids came along, we still have it when we travel seperately with friends and now that they're in their teens they've become more interested in adult oriented stuff. My advice is to enjoy a child oriented visit, you won't regret it and it's all part of having kids.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks @mona, the itinerary looks great! A couple of questions. Is a day trip to Nuremberg enough? Also, is a day trip to Salzburg doable? given that it's 2 hours each way? I need to read more into the places you recommended on the alps.

@jc That is great advice and something i've been thinking about, what do you think makes Spain and France more child friendly than Germany? I've been considering also the option of maybe choosing a different destination, but given that she's 2 other than running around in any park she won't enjoy other types of activities yet, right?

Thanks, everyone for all of the help.

Posted by
2880 posts

To me day trips to Nuremberg (1h) and Salzburg (1.5h) seem ideal from Munich. Be sure to use the official German train system website for accurate times, prices and specials. https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml#slc

Also, I have no idea where you are from but if you think you all might enjoy a Bavarian farm stay instead of staying in a town like Garmish, take a look at this website and others. https://www.farm-holidays.com/.

Posted by
4368 posts

@jc That is great advice and something i've been thinking about, what do you think makes Spain and France more child friendly than Germany?

I wouldn't say one country is more child friendly than the other. In fact Germany's transport and other infrstructures probably make it easier to travel around with a child. The fact that we spent more time in Spain, France etc is primarily the weather, particularly Spain. Because we're restricted to the school holidays good weather was required in the Easter and October breaks and beaches and pools were essential in the summer. We always based ourselves in one location and took day trips on the non pool days. This meant that there was a familiarity when we returned back to the villa/resort, breakfasts and other meals could be taken at leisure and we could leave behind what we didn't need however our travel requirements are different to yours. Because we live in Europe we have the luxury of being an hour or two away from somewhere and that means that we will stay in one place for a week or two and take day trips relatively locally. Long weekend city trips take place more frequently now that the children are older although we did take them to cities when they were younger, Paris, Rome, Krakow, Budapest etc. Your itnerary requires you travelling across an entire country and dipping into neighbouring ones so a single base won't work however I would advise considering less moving around and looking at bases where you could take a number of day trips.

Posted by
5156 posts

"With a toddler, I would opt for 3 or 4 bases. Less is more."

The general consensus here, that you need to slow down, should be heeded. And Jennifer's suggestion is spot on. Try to cut the number of base towns in half... 5, max. That will cut your travel "deadlines" in half, allowing you two to make day-to-day activity/sightseeing/daytrip choices based on conditions on the ground.

"Any suggestions which places to go from Nuremberg instead of Rothenburg?" N'berg is a good base town if you want to be in a large city. Possible day trips include...

Iphofen
Bamberg
Bad Windsheim
Munich (not the whole city of course, but maybe a few sights that you care about - a palace like Nymphenburg, or an auto museum, or?)

So let's just say you book one week in Nuremberg. If you stay there 7 nights, you have 6 towns/cities to choose from (including Rothenburg) and some genuine flexibility. A fair-weather day would be a good day for a Bad Windsheim outing. On a rainy day, maybe you visit Bamberg or see a museum or two in Nuremberg. On a fussy-kid day, well, you know best. You can adjust your sightseeing according to your interests, energy levels, etc. without the tyranny of a strict itinerary.

Understand that Nuremberg isn't your only base town option. You might find a nice vacation rental in a smaller place like Iphofen or Bad Windsheim more attractive. Accommodation costs and parking/driving conditions in smaller towns can be most advantageous.

How do you decide which base towns to book? Hard to advise you. It's not exactly clear to me what interests you have or what you want out of your trip to Germany.

"I haven't thought of Oktoberfest, I always wanted to go and from what I read there are also many children during oktoberfest? I might look into airbnb"

High prices have been mentioned - and room/rental availability is also problematic. In certain major cities like Munich and Berlin, vacation rentals like those offered by airbnb have been heavily restricted year-round by local ordinances in an effort to keep the local housing supply available to locals. You can read about this issue here. This might be motivation for you to look for short-term apartment rentals in smaller towns where housing pressures are fewer.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks so much everyone for your advice. I got rid of the small nights and rearanged my itinerary, would love to hear people's thoughts. At first I was inclined to go the first week of September, given my experience in Italy, France and Greece I thought August was unbearably hot in most Europe but seems like it is not in Germany. So my options are, go with wife, kid and friends and do Oktobefest and keep the September date, or if none of our friends decide to go change it to August 19th. Anyway here is my new itinerary

Berlin 6 nights
Prague 4 nights
Nuremberg 5 nights
Alps 3 nights
Munich 6 nights with Salzburg daytrip

I can definitely change nights around and hear some suggestions. My wife definitely wants to go to Prague so I might need to keep it.

Posted by
25750 posts

You asked about taking the munchkin to Oktoberfest.

Sorry I'm late with my answer.

Honestly, I can't imagine it.

Back decades ago when I came across beer parades or fests in Germany things were pretty docile, and even now parades can be family friendly, especially in the small towns.

But the Oktoberfest is another kettle of fish. I'd be really afraid that all the very loud noise and bustling people, as well as the flashing lights and louder still rides would be much too much for her and a scared baby isn't a happy baby.

I have recently gone at Cannstatter Volkfest in Stuttgart which is much milder but nearly went deaf. The Oktoberfest is like the Cannstatter Volkfest on steroids.

There is a very good blog about Oktoberfest at https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/how-to-survive-oktoberfest Pretty far down in the Q&A is a question about taking kids where he says he saw a few running around. Nothing about babies of toddlers.

I can't remember seeing any babies or small kids at either event, but I've looked at a number of online photos of both events to prove my memory wrong, and I can't see any at all.

The official website is at https://www.oktoberfest.de/en/information

I see that there are special times for children (maybe they tone it down - I don't know) - all the official information is at https://www.oktoberfest.de/en/information/children-and-family which includes the restrictions on strollers.

Perhaps others can answer the question from their experiences,

Posted by
2789 posts

In places where you want to see museums, get a hotel close to the museum so you can take turns staying at the hotel with her and going to the museum. We took our daughter to Paris, Florence, and Rome when she was 15 months and she and my father-in-law both took a nap at the Hotel Museum(across the street from the Vatican Museums) while the other 3 of us were at the museum. It was really helpful to have 4 adults to take turns with her and to carry all her stuff. It is true what they say that the smaller the child, the more stuff you have to take. If you take taxis, you may be required to have a carseat-hopefully someone who lives in Germany can comment on that.

Posted by
30 posts

@Nigel, I will definitely keep that in mind, so Oktoberfest might be a no no.

@cala, We're planning to take turns with some activities. Museum during nap times are also a good idea.

I lived there fro the age of 2-12 and a year after college and visited a lot in between and since. It is so beautiful in the fall! If you do go to Munich, it is very crowded during Oktoberfest which is mid-September I believe. While there are some kid friendly areas, fair food, rides, etc. In the Alps I loved visiting the gorges in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as a small child. One of them you can ride the gondola up and hike down which would be easier with a little one. While I could do it then, it may be easier if you have a way to carry them on your back. It is a beautiful walk through the mountains and then down through a path and tunnels through a gorge created by a rushing river. If you go on any hikes there is almost always a restaurant at the top of the mountain for drinks and food.

Rothenburg is very nice. If you're in Salzburg area there are some old salt mines that they have available for tours which are quite fun.

At that time of year "new wine" is usually available and delicious. Served along side a caramelized onion tart. Oh how I miss it! I now visit only in summers as I'm a teacher and just can't get away any other times.... Enjoy!

Posted by
860 posts

My advice is similar to before.

  • You have cut a few stops, which is great, I would also suggest using Munich as a base to visit both Nuremberg and Salzburg and tack on some more days in the Alps (but that is just me). Nuremberg and Salzburg are both super easy train day trips with a toddler (my daughter was between 1 and 3 when we lived in Munich).
  • For a location in the Bavarian Alps, I'd recommend the Tegernsee area. Search on this forum for posts about it but you get a nice combo of lakes, towns, cable car and trails all in one area plus it is close to Munich so you won't spend too much time getting there. You can find more suggestions in this thread.
  • I recommend staying somewhere with a kitchen even more strongly than before now that your little one is older and more mobile. It is just easier and less stressful to have the option to not eat at a restaurant with a toddler.
  • Bring a high quality stroller with bigger wheels (or purchase one there), I can not stress this enough. The umbrella strollers most people take on holiday usually have wheels that are too small to make it comfortable to push and are not ideal for the child to nap in. It is best to get something like a jogging stroller or high quality umbrella stroller that will make it over rough streets, curbs, trails, etc. I can personally recommend Phil & Ted brand strollers. Light weight, fully recline and easy to fold up. You will be able to see so much more with a good stroller.
  • Regarding Oktoberfest, if it is early September you will likely miss the fest, but if you somehow find yourself in Munich during the fest it is super family friendly during the day and Tuesdays are the official "Family Day" at the fest grounds. If the accommodation prices are too high you can stay in the Tegernsee area mentioned above and make day trips into the fest (I've done this before).

Hope this helps,

DJ

Posted by
30 posts

angiehollingshead, that sounds amazing, do you have an alps recommendation.

@DJ, are you talking about the new itinerary or the original one? Do you feel a day trip is enough for Salzburg? Tegernsee looks amazing, thanks! I'll definitely look into it. I definitely will look into a really good stroller, not an umbrella one, that plus a baby carrier. Thanks for letting know about Oktoberfest.

Posted by
860 posts

@dsauna, I was referring to this itinerary:

  • Berlin 6 nights
  • Prague 4 nights
  • Nuremberg 5 nights
  • Alps 3 nights
  • Munich 6 nights with Salzburg daytrip

But take my comment about using Munich as a base and doing day trips to both Nuremberg and Salzburg with a grain of salt as I'm not sure what your plans for Nuremberg are (more day trips?). I've found a day trip to Salzburg was enough (we had several people visit when we lived in Munich and everyone was satisfied with day trips there).

So far you I'd say you have a really good base for a trip already! Now it is just filling in the details!

DJ