Hello! My husband and I are going to Germany for the first time (June 2014) and are trying to find the right itinerary. We're juggling two ideas: spending 2-3 days in Munich, 2 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (with a day trip to Fussen to see the castles), and 2-3 in Berlin (we'd fly from Munich to Berlin); or alternately cutting Berlin and finding a different way to spend the remaining 2 days closer to Munich. Benefit of the first itinerary is that if we never got back to Germany, we'd probably have seen a good mix of highlights. Benefit of the second is that we may be more relaxed....less rush and travel. Thought I'd ask the experts. :) This week in Germany is following a week in Spain, where we're trying to cram Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona, so lots of moving around in the week prior to arrival in Germany. Also, there's a chance we may have to cut the trip to 6 days (full days) rather than 7; would that change anything?
The Alpine landscape is much more appealing than visiting museums, and my husband in particular is more interested in seeing the German country-side. Sounds like skipping Berlin might make the most sense for us, i.e. leaving it for a (hopefully) future trip. :) We were planning to see Nuremberg if time allowed, although we weren't allotting much time (just a side-trip on one of our days in Munich). My husband and I aren't particularly history buffs. This trip is more about absorbing our surroundings. I sort of have my heart set on Fussen; would it be redundant to see Salzburg as well?
I would second the earlier responses. Berlin is just too big for a quick tour; it could be its own trip. Use the extra time in Munich to take a longer trip at what available there. Berchtesgaden requires both train and bus to reach. If you want to see that kind of town, take the train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Are you interested in muesums, arts, culture, anything rare you could only ever see in a Berlin museum? Or are you WW2 and cold war enthusiasts? In those two cases you should go to Berlin. Are you into Alpine landscape, want to enjoy the fresh air in the mountains (which look completely different from e.g. the Rockies), villages that are hundreds of years old... then spend more days in Bavaria. OR you could add a day-trip to Salzburg/Austria and/or the neighboring Berchtesgaden area...
Berlin is a 4-day affair for most visitors. If it's WW II history you're after, Bavaria should be satisfying. Dachau, Nuremberg (about 1 hour by direct train from Munich,) and Berchtesgaden all are good options. If you want to see real castles, you might include Salzburg, quite close to Berchtesgaden, rather than Füssen (those are late 19th-century palaces.) SALZBURG AREA CASTLES Flying, with transfers, early check-in time, etc., tends to eat up a lot of time.
I'm confident you'll enjoy Germany and want to return to Berlin someday.
"Berchtesgaden requires both train and bus to reach. If you want to see that kind of town, take the train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen." ??? Where'd you come up with that, Richard? In the morning hours alone, there are 6 daily trains to B'gaden. I've taken the train there myself on several occasions - from Munich and from Salzburg. Here's a map - black-white-black-white line is RAIL.
Honestly, I would save Berlin for another trip. Dont get me wrong, Berlin is a great place, there is a ton to see. There is so much to do in both places, it would be really hard to squeeze it all in. We just got back from our trip it was very face paced. I dont regret seeing what we saw, it would have been nice not too see it at such a frantic pace though. Also It was so hard to leave the views of the alps and move on to the next place. Keep in mind too that the castles, while amazing, are very touristy. Get there early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. We got a little later start than Iwanted on castle day and by the time we got there, the place was packed. After about hitting 15 tourists not paying attention, my poor hubby was like get me out of here and we never did go inside. So, that said perhaps consider staying near Füssen on the day of the castle visit. Germany is awesome! Enjoy your trip!
How is this itinerary: D1: Munich D2: Munich (possible day trip to Nuremburg, is it worth the trip?) D3: Train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (hike,etc.) D4: Day trip to Fussen, sleep in GP
D5: Train back to Munich D6: Daytrip to Salzburg, sleep in Munich D7: Fly back to US If we end up having that 7th day, I'll add an extra day and night in GP. I'll have to be somewhat flexible to make sure we head to GP on a sunny day! Should be easy enough to shuffle things if I don't book in advance though. Also, what are the must-see spots in Munich? Beergartens, etc? And I'd like to see Dachau, has anyone been? Thanks again for all the help!