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Where to stop for old world Germany in between Munich and Berlin in early January

Hi all,

After your wise advice. I'm heading back to europe for a six week winter trip. To break up big cities I need advice on where to stay for two nights in-between Munich and Berlin. I'm 29 year old solo female backpacker interested in some old world German charm I've only dreamed about. I'm thinking either Bamberg, Nuremberg or Dresden. What would your advice be considering it will be early January. Any advise on accommodation would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
8980 posts

Try Erfurt, Fulda, Gelnhausen, or Buedingen. These are smaller, quaint towns which might be what you are looking for.

Posted by
6692 posts

Bamberg. But if you are thinking of Nuremberg, can you squeeze out another night? I'd suggest staying in train hub Nuremberg and doing day trips to Bamberg (45 min.) Rothenburg (70 min.) and/or Iphofen (45 min., see photos) Nuremberg has plenty of economical lodging options for backpackers. The B&B hotel is within walking distance of the station - we were there just one night recently and would stay there again in order to do outings. But if you want old-world atmosphere in Nuremberg you'll want to head into the old town zone.

The above day trips are covered by a day pass called the VGN Tagesticket Plus - buy it at a Nuremberg ticket machine for €18.70/day for 1 or 2 adults. It will cover buses, trams etc. within Nuremberg and Bamberg as well.

(Alternatively, you might do a daytime stopover in Bamberg on your way between Nuremberg and Berlin. The Bamberg station has lockers.)

Note that you could also day trip from Nuremberg or Munich to REGENSBURG (or detour to Regensburg on the way to Nuremberg.)

Posted by
4684 posts

Bamberg is absolutely beautiful and was one of the largest German towns to suffer hardly any damage during WWII.

Posted by
27278 posts

I haven't been to Bamberg but have read good things about it.

I enjoyed Erfurt a lot in July 2015 (though it was hot, like everywhere else). It survived the war well, and it's a college town so it has that vibrancy in addition to its handsome historic district. Really a very attractive city.

Dresden has fabulous museums; I especially loved the Historic Green Vault. But it was firebombed during WW II. A small part of the city core was restored, but I'm not sure it's the best place for "old world German charm". On the other hand, if you're unlucky with the weather, you might be glad to have museums to visit. On the third hand, you're headed for Berlin, aka Museum Central, so I guess you don't need museums on the way.

One of my two favorite towns/small cities in Germany from the standpoint of aesthetics is Quedlinburg, which is not very far off the Munich-Berlin route. It has over a thousand half-timbered buildings, a castle, and a cathedral with a very impressive treasury (Google for US connection). There's also the Feininger art gallery. I'm guessing the English language walking tours probably don't run in January, but the tourist office has an audio guide to rent. It takes a long time to cover the city, so two nights would be very well spent in Quedlinburg.

Posted by
2200 posts

Just wondering, acraven - what's the other of your two favorite towns?

Posted by
4684 posts

You won't get "old world German charm" in Dresden. The palace area near the river that was restored after the war is Baroque, the rest of the old centre was rebuilt by the East Germans in very modernistic style, and the Neustadt area north of the river that survived the war better is mostly eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Posted by
27278 posts

My other favorite from the standpoint of appearance is Görlitz, on the Polish border east of Dresden. Also uncountable half-timbered buildings, plus some art deco/art nouveau. There's so much variety there that it is used for on-location filming. You can buy T-shirts with the legend, "Görliwood". Because of the isolated location it seems to get fewer tourists than Quedlinburg.

I really haven't covered Germany well; I know it has probably hundreds of other beautiful towns, but not many have the number of historic structures that survive in Quedlinburg and Görlitz.

I adored Berlin for all the museums and 20th century historic sites, but it's not terribly exciting to look at. Still, if I could only go to one city in Germany, it would be Berlin.

Posted by
1878 posts

My wife and I visited both Bamberg and Nuremburg after our 2014 River cruise (also had been to Nuremburg on a day trip from Rothenburg ob der Tauber on our 2006 land trip to Germany and Austria). I thing both are great, Nuremburg has the most to offer if you like to go to actual tourist sights (castle, museums, etc.) It's mostly rebuilt after being destroyed in WW2 of course, but very nice anyway. The German history museum is absolutely awesome, been there twice. Also the Dokumentatiom center and the Kaisersberg castle, Durer house was nice. Bamberg is a nice town to just walk around and be there, be aware that the train station is a bus ride from the center. I actually prefer Nuremburg to Munich, if you set aside the wonderful art museums in Munich. Much better value and not overrun by tourists, at least not when we were there in May. I want to visit Goerlitz on a future Krakow to Berlin itinerary, but I don't think it suits your purpose of something conveniently in between.

Posted by
4571 posts

Munich is definitely overrated and overrun with tourists, that doesn't get said often enough.

The interesting part of Bamberg is a good 20 minute walk from the station, have exact change for lockers if you need them (3 sizes, not cheap). You could also consider Coburg, north a bit of Bamberg, with its enormous castle, but I haven't seen it.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

My recommendations are Weimar, Meißen, Lüneburg, Minden, Hameln to see this "old world German charm, " aside from the suggestions above. I've not been to Bamberg. Of course, Lüneburg, Meißen and Weimar would be a detour for you

Posted by
12040 posts

If you visit Bamberg, consider also a breif stop over in Coburg, mainly for it's massive castle, Veste Coburg. The town itself also has plenty of "old world Germany", but doesn't take long to explore.

Dresden would offer a different sort of "old world Germany". As you are probably aware, the old center was/is being completely rebuilt. This small pocket of rebuilt elegance is surrounded by functional Communist-era buildings. Many of the residential neighborhoods further afield, though, were only lightly hit and they still maintain many of the historic houses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Not the "storybook" look you see on postcards, but just as much a part of Germany's history.

Fred mentioned Meißen, which is another good one. It kind of reminds me of a Prague, but much smaller.

Posted by
3217 posts

I'd take Jo's recommendation seriously. She lives there. Just my unsolicited 2 cents.

Posted by
2200 posts

Yes, the only one of Jo's recommendations we've visited is Erfurt, but we loved it.