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Berlin vs Munich

We have one day to spend in either place and are staying in Frankfurt. Any recommendations?

Posted by
2297 posts

Are you thinking about doing a day trip from Frankfurt, i.e. leaving in the early morning and returning to Frankfurt at night?

Posted by
18226 posts

It takes less time to go round trip between Frankfurt and Munich than between Frankfurt and Berlin, so you would get more time in Munich.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you for your reply, although the time differential, I believe, is not that great. If both cities are equal, I will go with the closer one. But, if Berlin cannot be missed, I'd rather go there.

Posted by
16396 posts

You can get to Munich a little bit quicker and probably cheaper, but sounds like those issues will not be a big factor in your planning. If you have been to either city before i'd say go to the one you haven't. If you have never been to either city, go to Munich. My reasons; and, full disclosure, I have never been to Berlin (but would love to go), are as follows. Munich is much more compact city as far as the sights most people want to see. You really don't even need to set foot in the subway, most sights are walking distance of the Hbf. It is an older City. When Mark Twain went to Berlin in 1900, his impression was that it was a newer city than Chicago (and he NEVER exaggerated). My impression is that Berlin is much more spread out, so you'll be spending a fair amount of time on the U-Bahn and S-bahn. Having already stated my ignorance of Berlin, I now await the Berliners to chime in with all the reasons why I am wrong. And I'd love to hear them.

Posted by
11280 posts

Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla? If chocolate, pick Berlin; if vanilla, pick Munich. They are quite different, and both have lots to see. I'm not sure I'd see either one as a day trip from Frankfurt, since it's several hours each way. I prefer Berlin; I'm headed back there in a few weeks, whereas once was enough for me in Munich. But, the Deutsches Museum alone is worth a trip to Munich. So, pick based on what appeals to you, accept that there is no right or wrong choice, and plan to see the other one on another trip. An aside: I have never been to Jerusalem, but I remember someone, years ago, telling me why it was so compelling: "It's history under your feet." I always feel that in Berlin - except it's almost exclusively 20th Century history. The city was only the capital of Prussia until 1871, when, with the formation of "Germany," it became the capital of the "new country." But, as one guidebook said, it's seldom been unimportant since. When you walk across a street and see the line indicating the former path of the Wall, and realize that 25 years ago, you would shot for trying to cross it and could get in trouble just getting near it, and now it's just a line in the street...that gives me goosebumps. Berlin also has surprises. I had thought it was all new skyscrapers replacing extensive wartime bombing damage; that's Frankfurt, but not Berlin (which has a mixture of old and new). And there's lots of green space, too. Munich is definitely a more "mellow" place, and would probably feel more comfortable to someone who didn't care for big cities. But Berlin (at least in 2004, when I was last there) was more mellow than Frankfurt. I'll stop rambling about my personal take, but you get the idea - you'll just have to see for yourself, and if you can't decide which one to see, flip a coin.

Posted by
2297 posts

Both cities aren't really good day trip destinations from Frankfurt. You'd spend at least 7 hours of the day in transportation ... You'd not have much time left to actually see the city. From that perspective, I'd say Munich is a little bit easier to explore in such a tight timeline. There are a lot of interesting sites within walking distance from the train station. Berlin is much larger. With just a few hours it is not easy to get a good feel for this amazing city.

Posted by
12040 posts

Neither, unless you really want to spend most of the day on a train.

Posted by
139 posts

Dude - listen to Tom - he's right on the money. I've been everyplace you've mentioned. There's no way to do justice to either Berlin OR Munich on just a day trip from Frankfurt. Head to the river, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

Posted by
7 posts

To Tom- Obviously, the time on the train is not a concern for us or I wouldn't be asking the question. Your reply, therefore, was of no help whatsoever. To all the others, thank you for your insight. It has helped us to make our decision.

Posted by
12040 posts

Just offering advice from someone who rides long distance trains regularly in Germany and realizes that despite the posted times Deutsche Bahn posts, delays occur more frequently than you might realize.

Posted by
7 posts

I appreciate that Tom and thus have decided to revise our plans. Since you've been to Germany many times, would you, or others, recommend a full day Rhine valley trip, with a Rhine River cruise, a Rothenburg day trip or a Black Forest/Strasbourg trip? We can also do an overnight trip to Munich which includes the Romantic Road and Rothenburg. So much to choose from.

Posted by
12040 posts

Do the Rhine. I'm of the opinion that the Romantic Road and the Black Forest are over-rated, but the Mittelrhein is one of a kind.

Posted by
16396 posts

Be nice kids. I've driven 3.5 hours to Chicago and back just to have dinner with someone and that was way more stressful riding DB.

Posted by
27401 posts

OK Sam, but did you do that when you wanted to spend a whole day there sightseeing, on a day of vacation? 7 hours is quite a long day of train riding, no matter how you cut it.

Posted by
227 posts

Steven - something to consider.....
When I discovered this site I "lurked" for a long time and learned a whole lot. Many times, I would see an answer to someone's question and say "What?....? Then I noticed that a lot of the time the person answering the question had a lot of posts below their name. Then I said "Probably knows what he/she's talking about...." (even if they seemed a little grumpy or short that day). Tom has over 6000 posts - that alone means spent a lot of time and knowledge to help the rest of us out. I really appreciate the posters on this site that are willing to share their wealth of information with me. I have pages and pages of "cut and pasted" comments on my next 2 upcoming trips saved from them alone. Also, when you post give people as much information as you care to share and feel would help the other posters answer your question as best possible. Enjoy your trip to Germany!

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you, yes I am taking Tom's post to heart when planning my trip. As previously mentioned, we are passing on Munich and Berlin in exchange for a trip down the Rhine and possibly a day trip to Rothenburg.

Posted by
64 posts

Munich is a very friendly, walkable, lovely city. Berlin feels cold, harsh and there are some distances from one part of city to the other. Much prefer Munich. I have no desire to return to Berlin. Love Munich! Would return in a heartbeat.

Posted by
8064 posts

Love Berlin, been there 3 times and can't wait to go back. I don't get the Munich hype at all and walked around the city wondering why everyone is so enchanted by it, but anyway, both cities were too far for a day trip. Glad that you dropped them to visit some closer areas. Have you checked the trains for Rothenburg? Using the more expensive ICE trains, it will still take you between 2.5-3 hours to get there and back. Using the Regional trains will take you over 3 hours. You might as well have gone to Munich. For a day trip, spending up to 6 hours on a train is less than ideal. For a closer town, that is even more authentic than Rothenburg, but without the tourist buses and souvenir stores, you might want to consider visiting Buedingen. It is only 1 hour outside of Frankfurt, with only 1 easy train change. EDIT - The difference between Berlin and Chicago
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187323-i135-k5721018-August_and_Sept_trip_report_solo_traveler-Berlin.html

Posted by
25 posts

From Frankfurt go someplace close but gorgeous. I recommend Marburgfairy tale perfect, but I've never seen many tourists there. About 1 hr. by train from Frankfurt. Wonderful walk up to a castle with terrific views, impressive cathedral, just amazing charm, and in lovely countryside.

Posted by
791 posts

Have you even considered Heidelberg? Perfect day trip from Frankfurt.

Posted by
2964 posts

Glad you have reconsidered the Berlin or Munich trip. I love both cities (but like Berlin far more - but am warming to Munich but it's tourist sights are not as interesting as Berlin's) but a day trip from Frankfurt is not advisible as other's have said. Tom's advice is spot on the money (and while Tom and I may disagree about clothing or whatever his travel advice is always dead on - he knows Germany). From Frankfurt the most exciting "German" experience would be a boat ride on the "Romantic" Rhein. I've been here a while and thought I was jaded to a lot of German sights, but the KD boat ride was surprisingly thrilling, I had a fantastic time and would recommend it really as one of the top things Germany has to offer. Twain loved it - you will too.

Posted by
24 posts

I'll second Sarah and Tom on this. A KD Line trip down the Rhine is a great way to see it and reasonably close to Frankfurt.

Posted by
7 posts

Yes, we are going to Heidelburg the first day we are there. My wife has relatives there, so we should be able to get a private tour. We have also selected to travel down the Rhine river. Thank you for all the help, now we can look forward to the trip.