Please sign in to post.

Central Europe in 3 Weeks

Looking to go to Europe next year going through the following countries: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland. Which cities are a must see for someone who is particularly keen on European architecture and photography?

Posted by
8185 posts

You have listed 6 countries, but no cities. 3 weeks is not a lot of time to visit 6 different countries.

Posted by
26 posts

Sorry I should have been more specific, some of the cities in the mix include Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, Zurich?

Posted by
8185 posts

Okay, so now you have 9 cities to see in 21 days. How many days were you planning on being in each city? How did you want to travel between each of these cities? Some places are close to each other and you can travel there quickly, others, you will spend a good portion of your vacation day traveling there. It will help if you get out a map, mark all the cities that you want to visit, then figure out how much time it will take to get there, either by train, car or plane. Write down what it is that you want to see in each of these cities. Figure out how much time you want to spend at each site. If there is a museum you want to see, this might take a few hours. Or if you are planning on cruising the Rhein for example, that is a few hours. Touring a castle, visiting a concentration camp, or going on a walking tour in each city, all of these activities take time. Try adding them up to see how long you will really need to spend in each city. I think you will find, you are trying to see way too much in the short time frame that you have. Have you researched any guide books yet? Your question is rather broad, so the more you narrow it down with specific questions, the better advice you will receive.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks for your help. I'll be getting guidebooks soon but I'm still in the preliminary planning stages. Right now I'm trying to figure out which cities to leave out and which cities are must dos. Would prefer to travel via train/Eurail between places. Not sure how much time I need to spend in each city. I'm not much for museums personally, so it's more of going to see the main sights that are there, with emphases on sightseeing, architecture, and history specifically. Anything that is considered "Kodak Moment worthy" in terms of picturesque views would also be good.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks to everybody for your suggestions and for taking the time to help me. I've never planned a trip quite like this before so your advice is invaluable! In your experiences, which cities would need the most time spent between Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Prague, Vienna and Salzburg?

Posted by
28145 posts

"In your experiences, which cities would need the most time spent between Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Prague, Vienna and Salzburg?" Vienna - loads to see (maybe even a daytrip to Bratislava?) Salzburg - maybe even more to see if you count daytrips
Munich - loads to see including romantic modern castles (Neuschwanstein - and while you are there the Sommerrodelbahn) Berlin - lots to do and see Prague - haven't been there - I understand that its full of great architecture, tourists, and beer Dresden ( I haven't been there), like Berlin, was flattened. See the gold cross on top of the cathedral. It is a recent gift from Coventry in England, its twin, in commemoration of their common fate

Posted by
1525 posts

We did a similar trip last summer except we also went further east into Hungary and Poland. It was 5 weeks for us. So doing your area in three is a bit more brisk but could be done if you know exactly what you want to see and how much time you want to spend there. I know it sounds like a rather dull answer, but the various Rick Steve's guide books are very good at mapping out what there is to see in each area and city and what a realistic minimum amount of time is required to see them. We don't slavishly follow his suggestions, but they inform our trips a great deal. Asking questions here before at least scanning the books is a little like putting the cart in front of the horse. That said, though, at some point in your planning you will want people's personal experiences to reenforce or more deeply inform what you read in guide books and that is what this is good for. You might find some useful information glancing at our blog from last year's trip to Central Europe; http://www.lee-reid2010.blogspot.com/ Feel free to PM me for any specific questions or elaborations. I hope you have a great trip!!

Posted by
28145 posts

I see now that you have 2 similar posts. I'm afraid that coming to us for all the answers and then doing your research is putting the cart before the horse to a degree. You have listed cities but have no idea what's there. Can I suggest you watch RS videos and read some guidebooks then try again. I'm afraid your questions are a bit broad at the moment.

Posted by
1357 posts

I'm with Jo on this one. I'd cut your itinerary in half. Pick which countries are your "must-sees" and go with what geographically makes sense. You could do Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany, sticking around the Rhine region and northern Germany, or Germany,Czech Republic, and Austria. That itinerary could include Berlin and Munich with some smaller towns in between like Dresden and Rothenburg before heading over to Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg.

Posted by
1035 posts

"I'm not much for museums personally, so it's more of going to see the main sights that are there, with emphases on sightseeing, architecture, and history specifically." If you are a history fan and you are excluding museums, you will be missing a lot.

Posted by
13025 posts

Hi Tiffany, For architecture, the sights and history, I would recommend these places as priority...Berlin, Potsdam, München, Vienna, Salzburg, Dresden, Prague, Lübeck, Bamberg, Würzburg, Rostock, Hameln, Koblenz, Lutherstadt Wittenberg....a lot of choice photography in these cities.

Posted by
290 posts

I agree with Jo...too many countries for 3 weeks. I would concentrate on not more than 3 countries in 3 weeks - example: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany or Germany, Switzerland, Austria or Germany, Czech Republic, Austria. For that little amount of time each country the top picks are Amsterdam, Bruges, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Interlaken area. Switzerland and Germany could easily be a 3 week vacation in each of those countries. Think quality instead of quantity of places in order to get your best experience - especially if you are looking to take memorable photos. You need to take your time to really look around. Rushing around will not be the way to get the best shots which from my experience is many times when the sun is coming up or going down.

Posted by
31524 posts

Tiffany, As the others have pointed out, visiting 9 cities in 21 days is not really practical, even it is possible. Your revised Itinerary of Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Prague, Vienna and Salzburg is more reasonable, however it's VERY important to plan a logical route in order to minimize travel times. I'd suggest spending less time in Dresden (or dropping it) to allow you to focus on the other cities, all of which provide great photographic opportunities. In the same situation, I'd fly to Berlin then Dresden - Prague - Vienna - Salzburg and fly home from Munich. Some thoughts on a few of the places on your list.... > Salzburg: you might consider a day or two in Hallstatt, one of the most incredibly scenic areas I've seen in Europe. You could also take a day trip to Berchtesgaden. > Munich: lots of opportunities for good architecture photos around Munich, which was rebuilt in more of a "traditional" style after the war, rather than the more modern style of Frankfurt. Also of course, the Castles in Fussen (NOTE: no photos are permitted inside Neuschwanstein, but you can take photos from inside looking outwards). Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
81 posts

We just spent three days in Prague and saw most of what we wanted to see. Munich needs three days too in my opinion. Those are my two favorites on your list!

Posted by
1357 posts

I like to have smaller cities in between my big city stops. I get a bit claustrophobic in the bigger cities, although I love the excitement and all the sights, but need to get out of the hubbub after all of that. Dresden is a good stop in between Berlin and Prague. A day will probably do it, you can also stop in the Saxon Switzerland area on the Elbe just past Dresden. There's some wonderful rock outcroppings and a nice historic fort in the area. Prague is a great town, lots to see in an easily walkable area, but it's really touristy. 2 days did it for us.

Posted by
3696 posts

Being a photographer and also having been to all the places you listed many times (except Vienna) I would probably drop Dresden. Are you opposed to renting a car? I find it invaluable when traveling to be able to stop whenever I want to take my photos. You could do part train and part car. No car in Czech, but the drive from Germany to Salzburg is amazing, and the Romantic Road through the south of Germany should be driven. I am also not big on spending a lot of time in museums, so some cities I enjoy just having lunch and then moving on. I loved some of the smaller college type towns like Wurzburg, in Germany. Also the Lake of Konstanz is amazing... surrounded by mountains. You can see some of my photos from Europe on my website at terrykathrynlawrence.com and I can give you some other ideas if you wish. My first trip to Europe I landed in Amsterdam, rented a car, had a Rick Steves book, my daughter, who was 21, a loose agenda and had the time of our lives, and being a whirlwind trip I had lots of things to return for, which I have.

Posted by
1986 posts

Another vote for Kelly's schedule. I agree if you are reasonably young (in spirit) you will get to experience a lot of Europe, with a reasonable number of days in each City before moving on. Personally, I would not do Berlin and iffy about Dresden (I keep on reading that most of it was destoyed). But would try and add the Alps (Garmisch area or Swiss) for the scenery

Posted by
951 posts

"some of the cities in the mix include Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, Zurich" If I had 21 days to deal with the above options, this is what I would do based on the time I have already spent in most of the above cities......... -Start in Amsterdam, 3 nights -Bruges 2 nights -Brussels 1 night -Suck it up and deal with a 6:30 am train ride that is about 7 hours to get to Berlin and arrive by 1 ish, stay 3 nights -Dresden 1 night -Prague 3 nights -Vienna 3 nights -Salzburg 2 nights (even though I have not been there, its a good midway point btw Vienna and Munich)
-Munich 3 nights, flying out of Munich Its not ridiculous in my opinion to have something like this......you will not have a totally relaxing trip but if you are young and hearty with an inner drive to travel and see the world, it is possible.