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All In For Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin!

After much soul-searching and wringing of hands and banging of head, I have descended earthward from deep within the vortex of trip research! And so, with feet firmly planted on the ground, I have made the tough decisions. I will be in Berlin 25-28 May, in Munich 30 May-1 June, and in Frankfurt 2-3 June. (Full disclosure: I will also be in Prague 28-30 May. Even more disclosure: The aforementioned dates are somewhat flexible.) So travel mavens, let's have it. Got a story to relate, a cautionary tale to tell, tips on favorite hotels, hofbraus and other sundry haunts to share? Don't be shy! I eagerly await your replies. CHS (Craig)

P.S. Just started using this helpline recently and am very pleased. What a great community of savvy and selfless people!

Posted by
8064 posts

Where are you flying out of? Cause Frankfurt is in between Berlin and Munich.

Also, beginning on 30 May, there is the huge International Gymnastic Festival in Frankfurt. The gala opening on the 30th is something I really want to see. They are building a huge "wall of water" in the middle of the river, 40 meters high and 200 meters long and will be showing a laser light show on it along with other water fountains, jetskis and music to go along with it all. Looks to be quite spectacular. Here is the link. I know it is in German, but if you click on the photos, you can get a good idea about how big this will be.

http://www.turnfest.de/cms/content.php?navId=482

Posted by
18228 posts

Sorry, Jo, but Frankfurt is between Berlin and Munich like St. Louis is between New York and Miami.

Posted by
56 posts

Be that as it may, Lee, you have to admit that the tip about the gymnastics jamboree was just the sort of one-off, off-beat, of-the-moment, on-the-ground tip that makes perusing these sort of sites worthwhile. I'm no gymnastics groupie to be sure, but it might be fun (in an ironic or non-ironic kind of way... take your pick) to swing by and check out all the attendant pageantry and magnificent nonsense that surround such events. Or not.

In other words, sure the logistical stuff is important, nay vital, but sometimes it's the slightly unexpected, off-kilter things that make an impression or at least break up the predictable march from cathedral to museum to restaurant and so on. However, having said all that, it is also true that much of the cache of encountering off-beat offerings often lies in their very unexpectedness.

Okay, okay. Sorry, I don't mean to lecture you of all people. You are an incredible repository of important travel information and have already helped me considerably in my quest to put together a logistically sane trip. I'm new to this forum, but I am already very impressed by its breadth and outreach and common desire to help each other out.

And so, yes, yes, yes, any decent trip requires at lease a little research and preparation, and it is so nice to get help from so many well-meaning and well-informed folks toward that end. But the real reason to leave home is to, in effect, leave home. Explore, wander, see and do new things, even get lost -- within reason. In essence a successful trip strikes a balance between order and chaos and, in the end, should be fun, perhaps promote learning a thing or two and, dare I say it, serve to help one "find oneself." Egad!

Then again, it can be hard to find oneself when one is habitually losing one's way, late, locked out, and poorly housed and fed. Enough. Time for me and my soapbox to call it a night. Craig

Posted by
8064 posts

More info about this Gymnastics Fest:

At 16:30 we get the "Pealing of the Bells" which is 50 bells from 10 downtown churches ringing in harmony for 30 minutes. This is quite an amazing experience and only happens 4 times a year in Frankfurt.

At 17:30, a parade begins through the Römer and downtown area.
The "Official Party" starts at 21:00 and this is the part that I really want to see, with the "wall of water". (I am just a kid at heart)
There will be a floating stage on the river, with all kinds of music and various shows during the rest of the festival from 10 in the morning until midnight. The fest goes on for almost a week. The sport competitions will be held over on the Messe fairgrounds with a gala finale at the Commerz Arena.

Posted by
8064 posts

Rooms in Frankfurt, like Dusseldorf or any other large city are only expensive when a trade fair is on. Otherwise, you can get a beautiful hotel room for around 60-70 € per night for a double. That is not expensive.

Posted by
582 posts

If you want a budget hotel in Berlin, I spent a full week at the Hotel Opera. I loved this hotel because I had a beautiful view from my room of the city. The room is small and simple, but the view makes up for that!
They have a great German breakfast. Whenever I'm in Berlin again, I wouldn't even think of staying anyplace else. Great location!

Posted by
56 posts

Thanks for the tip on Hotel Opera. Anyone else have any names of hotels or good sources of same in Berlin, Prague, Munich and Frankfurt?

Posted by
156 posts

If you are travelling from Prague to Munich then I would suggest travelling via Nurnberg and heading over to Rothenburg ob der Tauber which is worth a few hours even if you cant enjoy the overnight stay.

Posted by
8064 posts

Hotels & B&B's for Frankfurt:

http://www.hotel-am-berg-ffm.de/ (located in Sachsenhausen)

http://www.hotel-goelz.de/ (located in Westend)

http://www.bornheimer-hof.de/ (located in Bornheim

http://www.gabischirrmacher.de/gaestezimmer/ Located in Sachsenhausen

http://www.bandb-ring.de/zv/frankfurt/r15638e.htm (located in Bornheim)

All places have been chosen cause they have some charm and character at a price of 60-90 € per double and night and are easily accessible to public transport.

The International Gymnastic Festival will still be going on while you are here, so you will be able to enjoy the party all along the river front. It is so pretty down there at night anyway, but with the floating stages and that wall of water thing, it should be really spectacular.

Posted by
1717 posts

Hotel in Frankfurt : Manhattan Hotel, located across the street from the Train station. The prices for rooms go up and down. It is a business class hotel : that means the room is clean, small, well equipped, private bathroom.

Posted by
270 posts

Craig, I am not sure about staying around the train station in Frankfurt. We stayed at a Best Western that was nearby and I would swear it was in a red light district. We were also surprised at the semmingly lack of restaurants in the area. We ended up eating at a chicken takeaway next to "The World of Sex" or some such title. I like to drive so we had a car and the next night drove down to Heidelberg for dinner.
Munich is full of things to do and see so it really is up to you. I do not like the Hofbrau Haus because there are too many tourists. You will be better off finding a local place or going to a local festival with a beer tent. We stayed at a HIlton in 2007 and thought it was in a good location. You have picked some very beautiful cities to start with and I am sure you will have a great time. Good luck

Posted by
56 posts

I am of the mind that the choice of a hotel in Frankfurt doesn't have to be right up on the train station or airport, but it should be located somewhere in or around the city that lends itself to getting from and to those locations without too much bother. What do those of you who know the city think? I have never been there before. In any case I won't be there that long. Also, any thoughts on a quick Rhine tour while there? Thanks again, Craig

Posted by
2779 posts

Stay at the IBIS Frankfurt Central at Friedensbrücke (Peace Bridge). Although it's walking distance to the train station it's not within the boundaries of the red light district anymore. It's done by the river and you can walk pretty much anywhere by just following the river bank. The upscale Westhafen night life restaurant and bar area is just outside the door and it's about a 10mins walk to where the Main and Rhine river boat tours start and maybe a 15mins walk to Römer Square, the heart of Frankfurt's old town.

Posted by
56 posts

Dear Andreas

I will traveling with my 15-year-old daughter. She's pretty worldly and has been to European cities before. Still, do you think the area is okay, or should we stay some place a little less, shall we say, lively? And, of course, charming is great if you can get it, but safe and relatively clean (however not sterile and non-descript) and convenient are high on the list too. And finally, what to you think of fellow Frankfurt denizen Jo's hotel picks? Danke, Craig

Posted by
56 posts

Any ideas for a quick stopover on the way to Munich from Prague? Regensburg?

Posted by
3086 posts

Hi Craig,
We spent 5 nights in Berlin a year ago and loved it! Our hotel Pension Peters was in the Bahnhof Zoo area in Western Berlin. It was in a perfect location to access public transportation and we also enjoyed the restaurants nearby. Reviews of this hotel on Trip Advisor suggest that it's noisy but we were on a higher floor and didn't experience a noise problem at all. If you chose this hotel, you should request a room in a quiet location. The museums in Berlin are amazing, your daughter will enjoy shopping at the huge KaDeWe Department store, and overall, the city is just a lot of fun to visit.

Posted by
56 posts

Very excited about Berlin. Thanks for the hotel tip. In general, for a father and teenage daughter, what is the best area of the city to get a hotel?

Posted by
3086 posts

Craig,
My husband and I were traveling with our teenage nephew and felt that the location near Bahnhof Zoo was ideal. We were very near public transportation so could easily access any part of the city, the restaurants in the neighborhood were inexpensive and casual, and it felt very safe.

I don't think that you would go wrong with any area that's listed in Rick's book--he makes hotel recommendations for both Eastern and Western Berlin.

Posted by
56 posts

Thanks fellow Atlantan! The area around the zoo sounds good.

Posted by
56 posts

Seems to be a lot of information on Berlin out there lately in mainstream sources. Apparently 20th anniversary of fall of the wall is reason for reflection and revelry. As if Berliners needed more reasons to party!

Posted by
8064 posts

http://www.mauerfall09.de/en/calendar/article/132/year/2009/month/2/

This is a website that will give you an idea of events going on in Berlin to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. Should be some interesting events and special tours happening.

While in Munich, for a somewhat different sort of tour, try this company. They offer some tours that are a bit more special, over some fascinating subjects and themes.

http://www.dark-history.eu/

Posted by
56 posts

I am intrigued by the Hotel Pension Funk near Zoo and The Circus in Mitte/Prenzlauer. Pension Peters is full up. Any other suggestions? How is Hotel Carmen 16

Posted by
932 posts

Craig,if you're looking for a quick entertaining tour of Munich, this is what I suggested a few months back to someone else asking about stuff to do in Munich. "There is an AWESOME Munich bike tour (if you're not easily offended and have a great sense of humor!) that is free. http://www.discovermunich.net/ It will hit many major sights in Munich and it's only a few hours long. There's a nice lunch break at Chinesischer Turm which includes a beer chugging contest (optional to participate. This bike tour is not for prudes!!! : ) Anyway, it was the highlight of our 3 week trip to Europe!" We always stay at the Kurpfalz Hotel: http://www.kurpfalz-hotel.de/indexe.htm.

Posted by
11798 posts

For Munich the area around the Rathaus and Frauenkirche is nice. English Garden is great when the weather is good. The Alte Pinoketec is one of my favorite galleries anywhere (but don't miss the great museums in Berlin).

Hofbrauhaus is too touristy IMO. I'd pick another brewery.