7 Days in Germany, need advice...

Hello Travelers, My wife and I are taking a little vacation to Germany at the end of November and early December. We've never been to German before and will start our trip in Munich. We have 7 days before having to end up in Frankfurt for a work convention. We're looking for advice from anybody on what to see and what's "just not worth it despite all the hype." What should we see? What should we avoid? Any cautions to look out for? Where should we look to stay the night? Are B&B's better or should we consider an apartment rental? We want to see what we can, but don't want to over do it on the constant travel. Any thoughts? Also, any ideas of things to do in Frankfurt, or day trips my wife can do while I'm at my convention? We know of the "Old Town" and the Christmas Festival for sure, but what else? Thank you in advance for the help and suggestions. Cheers,

Posted by Rob
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
377 posts

I have stayed at both Hotel Uhland and Hotel am Viktualienmarkt and would recommend both, however I prefer Hotel Uhland. I suggest the Frommer's walking tour #1 for a walking tour of most of the downtown tourist sites. You can google it and print it for free. Depending on the weather, a trip out to the Nymphenburg Palace with stops at the Hirschgarten Bier Garten and the Augustiner Keller on your way back to town would make a nice afternoon. Also, a side trip to Dachau would be nice. I can't of anything to avoid or any cautions...

Posted by Tom
Stafford, Virginia, USA
143 posts

It would help if we knew whether you are renting a car or taking public transportation.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2835 posts

Rob is right about the in town places to visit. Munich is a great walking town, and spending a couple of nights in the center city is an easy way to see the center city, visit a few beer halls, and see Nymphenburg Palace. The downtown "city" palaces are also not to be missed. The Dachau "work camp" is a 1/2 day excursion everyone needs to see. I must warn you of the Hofbrauhaus beer hall, however. I've been going there since 1970, but have felt uncomfortable the last time or two we've been there. Some of the locals don't exactly have "good intentions." There are many authentic beer halls with good food, and some don't have any Americans there in December. One is to the left and behind the Munich Hofbanhof (train station)--4-5 blocks on the left.
I especially like to rent a car (AutoEurope.com) and head for the mountains to the south. It all depends on the weather. Innsbruck is a great place to spend a couple of days (by car or by train) as the mountain scenery is incredible. Kloster Andechs is about 45 minutes south, and it's a monastery that's been brewing beer since 1455. Their beer hall is the real thing, and highly rated. If you were going to drive to Frankfort, you could go north on the Romantic Trail to Rothenburg. It's one of Rick Steves' Tours really popular destinations. When you travel Germany, expensive modern hotels are available but not preferred or needed. Germany's cheapest accommodations are very clean, and B&B's are much better traveling experience. B&B's easy to find on the internet with Google. Rick Steve's Graffiti Wall is a great place to look. I cannot help you on Frankfort. It's a very modern city, and I try to stay in older, more interesting places.

Posted by Bryan
Atlanta, GA
6 posts

Thanks for the suggestions Rob! Great point, we plan on taking public transit the whole time. Also, someone suggested we head to Salzburg for a few days. Is that a good idea at this time of year or should we wait and come back during the summer to enjoy the outdoors? Aside from the big touristy stuff, we know nothing and are looking for any help you can offer. Thanks

Posted by Brian
Los Angeles, California
1986 posts

Places to consider. Places I would definitely go back to:
Munich, Rothenberg, Dinkelsbuhl, Nuremberg, all definitely worth an overnight. Munich: Marienplatz, Viktuelen market, we enjoyed the two hour bus tour, Beergardens, Stad Museum if weather is bad, or you need a break. We also enjoyed eating in the Ratskeller; Beer garden in the English Garden on a weekend

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5423 posts

For Frankfurt: Römerberg, Alte Nikolai, Haus Wertheim, Jörge Ratgeb Wall Paintings in the Karmeliter Cloister, Pauls Kirche, the Kaiserdom, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Wall, the Klein Markt Halle, Eschenheimer Turm, Alte Oper, go up on the Main Tower for sunset, have dinner at one of the guard towers built in the 1500's, Friedberger Warte or the Sachsenhausen Warte. Visit a Farmers Market. Go to the Deutsche Ordens Church built in 1309, visit the Palmengarten, take tram #12 to Bornheim on Wed. or Sat. for the Farmers Market and walk down the Berger strasse with a stop in the Chinese Garden at Bethmann Park, on Fri. visit the market on Schiller Strasse, or at the Konstablerwache on Thurs.and Sat. When evening comes, take a walk through Alt Sachsenhausen with dinner in one of the old applewine pubs, like Dauth-Schneiders or Atschel. If you want to stay in Bornheim, have dinner at Zur Sonne or Apfelwein Solzer, beautiful old, fachwerk Applewine Pubs on the upper Berger Strasse. If you haven't been able to get to any old towns while here in Germany, then visit the Frankfurt neighborhood of Hoechst. There, you can walk through a dry moat next to the old city wall, see lots of original half-timbered houses lining narrow cobble-stoned streets, the Bolongaro palace and a schloss, as well as St.Justinus, one of the oldest churches in Germany built in 850. Have dinner up on the wall at the Alte Zoll Wache. A visit to the Hoechst Porcelain Factory would also be interesting. Tram #11 goes there and lets you see lots of Frankfurt as the ride takes about 45 min. or take the S-1 or S-2. Museum recommendations (and it isn't a Monday) and depending on your interests: the Staedel, Liebieg Haus for sculpture, Judengasse, the Jewish Museum, the Archeology Museum, the Schirn, Museum of Modern Art, the Kunsthandwerk Museum, or Film Museum. Many of the museums stay open late on Wed. and Thurs.

Posted by LaRae
494 posts

Great daytrip from Munich is Regensburg. 1 hour by train.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11902 posts

So you see, Bryan, that there are way more things than you could possibly see in a week. It would be helpful if we kinda knew the sorts of thing that call out to you - what makes you think, "wow, we can have a week in Germany. We we really want to do is ...."? It is really easy to do much of what has been mentioned with the train. It looks like you don't want to be go-go-go. Perhaps settling in 2 or at most 3 places and making little trips around would suit. From Munich you have all of Munich; and Andechs, Salzburg, Regensburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg are all easy day trips. From Frankfurt there are loads of things to do (refer Jo's list, you can't go wrong) nearby and in Frankfurt, including a train ride up and down the Rhein to look at the castles. I would have thought that the Rhein boats would have finished by now but perhaps somebody who knows better can put me right. It is going to have to be a case of picking the best and saving the rest.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4025 posts

Hi, I would suggest two more places as day trips r/t from Munich aside from those already listed....Augsburg and Ulm.

Posted by Bryan
Atlanta, GA
6 posts

Hi Fred - Thanks for the recommendation. What's in Ulm and Augsburg that we should see? Just looking for more specifics. What takes you there?

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
813 posts

Heidelberg is a good day trip from Frankfurt. A bit longer, but still very easy is Strasbourg, France if your wife is just taking the train. If you are renting a car, I can give loads more suggestions.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4025 posts

@ Bryan...Going to Ulm means seeing that famous church, das Ulmer Münster, one of the biggest in Germany. Augsburg is also a famous cultural and historical city. As such both are very doable from Munich. It depends on your interests, if more specialised, then I would suggest Ingolstadt, easy from Munich by train.

Posted by bronwen
maplewood, new jersey, usa
775 posts

I would take train to Bamberg for a night and then two in Nurnberg to Salzburg and Munich. We did this trip but added one night Wurzburgas well.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
687 posts

I think three or four full days is about right for Munich. Beyond that, I recommend Rothenburg ob der Tauber,and Nuremburg in that general vicinity. If you wanted to head to the Frankfurt area early, the Rhineland is also very nice. Or for that matter, Baden Baden for a couple of nights (south of Franfurt). Rick Steve's Germany book is very strong and a good basis for travel planning. We traveled with Rick's book on our 2006 trip to Germany and it was great. Salzburg is also worth considering. Trains connections there are so efficient, I would not rent a car. Day trips from Frankfurt.. consider getting train pass, or investigates Landes tickets, which let you travel for a reasonable price for one day within one province.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5423 posts

Here are some Christmas markets that will be taking place the end of Nov./ beginning Dec. * 26 Nov. - 23 Dec. - Rüdesheim Christmas Market * 26 Nov. - 24 Dec. - Darmstadt Christmas Market * 26 Nov. - 23 Dec. - Offenbach Christmas Market * 26 Nov. - 22 Dec. - Frankfurt Christmas Market * 27 Nov. - 23 Dec. - Wiesbaden Twinkling Star Market * 28 Nov. - 16 Dec. - Seligenstadt Advent Market * 29 Nov. - 23 Dec. - Mainz Christmas Market * 29 Nov. - 22 Dec. - Aschaffenburg Christmas Market * 30 Nov. - 21 Dec. - Hanau Magical Christmas Market * 30 Nov. - 23 Dec. - Limburg Christmas Fair * 30 Nov. - 23 Dec. - Michelstadt Christmas Market * 29 Nov. - 2 Dec. Oberursel Christmas Market * 30 Nov. - 2 Dec. Idstein, Alt Stadt Christmas Market * 1 Dec. Lorch am Rhine, Christmas Market * 1 & 16 Dec. - Ronneburg Castle, Historical Christmas Markt * 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 Dec.- Bad Homburg Palace, Romantic Christmas Market * 7-9 Dec. Büdingen, Christmas Market, with Medieval Markt * 7-9 Dec. Langen, Old Town Christmas Market * 7-9 Dec. Hochheim, Christmas Market in the Old Town * 7-9 Dec. Bad Nauheim, Hilltop Christmas * 7-9 Dec. Königstein, Christmas Market * 8-9 Dec. Braunfels, Christnikelsmarkt * 8-9 Dec. Kronberg im Taunus, Christmas in the Burg * 8-9 Dec. Eltville, Christmas Market * 13-16 Dec. Gelnhausen, Christmas Market * 14-16 Dec. Bad Vilbel, Christmas Market * 14-16 Dec. Steinau, Castle & Market Christmas Markt * 15-16 Dec. Eppstein, Christmas Market * 15-16 Dec. Altenstadt, Christmas Market Frankfurt Neighborhood Christmas Markets * 30 Nov. - 2 Dec. Swedish Christmas Market * 1-2 Dec. Frankfurt Höchst, Alt Stadt * 1-2 Dec. Finnish Christmas Bazaar, Dornbusch Kirche
* 7 Dec. Bornheim Nicholaus Market on the Berger Strasse

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10577 posts

"I would have thought that the Rhein boats would have finished by now but perhaps somebody who knows better can put me right." The most popular boat line on this website, KD, is done for the year, but I still see tour boats from other companies going up and down the Rhine. OK, here I go again. I'm going to take flack for this but... Although I generally like Rick Steves' books, I find his Germany book to be one of his weakest. Although he has improved it somewhat in the past few years, he still skips too many interesting areas of the country. He also has a tendency to tout some destinations (Rothenburg, Reutte, Beilstein, Baden-Baden, etc) as far more unique and special than they actually are. Finally, his books are written more specifically for summer travel, when the hours of sunlight last much longer and the air is much less damp. In winter, daylight hours are very short and the damp atmosphere means that the countryside generally looks gray and foggy. His books barely mention this vast difference. You can still have an enjoyable trip in the winter, but you need to scale down your expectations.

Posted by stephen
Greeley, co, usa
438 posts

Salzburg was fine in Dec. when we were there last Christmas. Everything is open. We took the Sound of Music tour on Christmas and the salt mines on the 26th

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

Since you won't be driving, I would not go out of your way to see any towns on the Romantic Road on this trip. My personal suggestion, based on your timing, is to base primarily out of Munich. It's hard to predict the weather exactly, but this time of year does not give itself much to outdoor pursuits, scenery, etc. I would definitely focus on indoor things - palaces, museums, etc. Don't know why people keep recommending biergartens to you, as they will all be closed, but you can enjoy the warmth of beer cellars and halls. So staying most of the time in Munich makes the most sense to me. A one or two night trip to somewhere like Nurnberg or Salzburg would fit in nicely. As others have mentioned, there are many great day trips from Munich. If you're a big car fan, I'd also consider hitting the Mercedes and/or Porsche museum in Stuttgart between Munich and Frankfurt.

Posted by JERRY
Naperville, IL, USA
290 posts

Andechs for sure and then "do" some beer gardens within Munich. They're known for their beer for a reason. Walk, drink great brew and see that part of the world's wonders. Enjoy Europe.

Posted by Deb
Jay, USA
16 posts

Hotel Royal in Munich, near (but not too near) the train station. Best ever buffet breakfast, between 90-100 euros/night. What not to miss in Munich and surrounding area: Residenz, Hofbrauhaus (upstairs for food and beer, not the show), Dachau (with the tour), Alte Pinakothek. English Garden if the weather is really good. What to avoid: Olympic Park, beer gardens and restaurants behind Frauenkirche The EurAide office at the Hauptbahnhof is an excellent resource for travelers; they are native English speakers and can also sell you train tickets and Dachau tour tickets. Tip: Many stores and restaurants are closed on Sundays in Germany. Train station shops, however, are always open.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

Once again guys, biergartens will be closed in November/December. Check the dates before you recommend something to people or else they will end up disappointed!

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5423 posts

Stores are always closed on Sundays in Germany, but restaurants hardly ever. Sunday is their big day for business. Monday is more likely to see restaurants closed, the same as Museums. Even then, not all museums are closed. Best is to check the websites. There are occasional shopping Sundays, and tourist sites usually have souvenir stores open. Big train stations and airports have grocery stores open 7 days a week. For late night grocery shopping, look for REWE stores. For Frankfurt, you might want to be in town on the 1st, for the Pealing of the Bells at 16:30.

Posted by Casie
Beaverton, OR, USA
3 posts

Bryan - I would definitely make your way to Bavaria for the day and see Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles. They are amazingly beautiful and an easy day trip. If you can stop at Rothenburg on your way north to Frankfurt, it's a cute town with some great inexpensive places to stay.