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Germany

My sister and I want to plan a trip to Germany and we want to see it all!! Can't be gone more than 2 weeks though because of our jobs. Any help would be appreciated as to what we can accomplish in that time and things we just shouldn't miss. Thanks

Posted by
18298 posts

You'll never see it all. I've been trying for over 10 years and haven't accomplished it. In my opinion, the best things to see are in Bavaria. Start with Munich, at least 2-3 days. Go to Salzburg and Berchtesgaden, then Füssen and the castles. Go to Rothenburg for a day and an overnight. See the Residenz and Marienberg Fortress in Würzburg.

Posted by
693 posts

Debi, it's great to see your enthusiasm! I bet you'll have a fabulous time on your trip. However, the Federal Republic of Germany is a country with sixteen states and a lot of diversity. Trust me, you wont be able to see it all in two weeks but you can see a lot. Why don't you start by getting a guidebook or two from the library or a bookstore, if you haven't already done that. Then you and your sister ought to make a list of what you're really interested in seeing - big cities, small towns. the countryside, the mountains, the seashores, lakes or whatever. Are you interested in soaking up the general atmosphere and sightseeing or do you want to see several museums or attend musical performances or festivals of some kind. Your trip could be more rewarding if you confine yourself to one or two regions, so you don't spend more time traveling from one place to the next then you have to. You haven't said what time of the year you are going - that makes a difference, too. A good starting point would probably be Bavaria - Munich is a good base for lots of interesting side trips (Castles, mountains, lakes)and then you could finish off in Frankfurt after taking a Rhein river cruise and perhaps a day trip to the Moselle (Mosel). Or vice versa - start in Frankfurt and finish in Munich. You wont have seen it all but you'll have experienced some of the most picturesque areas of Deutschland. There's always the next time to see some more of it (and there's lots more!) If you belong to Triple A, they may have a free planning map and a guide book. Definitely pull up a google map or buy a map and plot your trip. Have fun and come back with more specific questions. There are some real experts on this site!

Posted by
7 posts

Although Germany is much smaller geographically, the question strikes me as similar to someone planning a visit to the USA and asking what they should see? The possible answers are nearly limitless. As mentioned, narrowing the question a little would help. For our trip in a couple weeks, we'll be spending most of our time in Bavaria after starting the trip in the Mosel region. We'll see a lot of the usual sights, but concentrate on castles, breweries +Octoberfest, and just hanging out.

Posted by
12882 posts

Debi, Surely, you jest!! Two weeks is hardly enough time to see a few cities...you need at least three months to get some sort of insight and understanding of the different areas/regions in Germany. If you like mountains and want to see the Alps and that sort of landscape and scenery, then go south to Bavaria and especially southern and southeastern Bavaris (Oberbayern). I prefer the valleys and flatland, the North German Plain and am not interested in high mountains such as the Alps. I would suggest first and foremost seeing Berlin and Potsdam (4 full days), then pick two-three more cities...Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Luebeck, Dresden. Cologne, Heidelberg, Koblenz...any particular landmarks you want to visit?

Posted by
8102 posts

More importantly, what do YOU not want to miss? Have you always wanted to see a castle or the Rhine, or a particular church or historic spot, like where the Berlin wall stood? What are you interested in? The places and things that I think are worthy of my time and money may not be the same things that you like or that Lee likes or James or anyone else who posts on here. Some people go for medieval stuff, others like WW2 history stuff, others go for Jewish history, and still others like the scenery. It is possible to combine them, but you need to sit down with either a guide book or spend some time on-line looking at various destinations in Germany. Then pick a few cities and figure out how you want to divide your time.....With a 2 week vacation, it is sometimes best to have 2 cities, like Berlin, or Munich or Frankfurt to base in for a week and then do day trips from them....From Frankfurt, you can do the Rhein, and cities like Mainz, Wiesbaden, Marburg, Büdingen, Kronberg, Bad Homburg, Heidelberg, Würzburg, the Taunus Mountains, the Odenwald, etc.

Posted by
11805 posts

In two weeks I would focus on Cologne, the Mosel down to Trier, the middle Rhine area, a stop or two on the Romantic road (my favorites are Wurtzburg and Rothenburg), Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau, up to Munich and at least one night in Salzburg......This is a pretty good intro to Southern Germany but you will miss a ton of great places and all of Northern Germany. Season to taste (add or subtract places that are of more/less interest to you) and you have an itinerary. Try not to add distance because the travel is what consumes time and makes you feel overwhelmed.

Posted by
1986 posts

I think I am going to hire Brad to plan my next tour- i would echo his suggestions. Except Munich is a Must for two or three days. If you have a car, see more of the villages on the Romantic road, especially near Rothenberg

Posted by
5669 posts

I agree with Jo that you have to think about what you are interested in. If you have had any interest in modern German history you have to go to Berlin. I loved the Neckar River valley- Stuttgart, Heidelberg, etc. - when I was there as a student. I just finished a great book on the history of the Berlin Wall, The Berlin Wall: A World Divided 1961-1989. It was great. I would also recommend A Woman in Berlin by anonymous. It's the true story of woman living in Berlin when the Russians arrived at the end of WWII. If you want some really crazy books about German history check out Eric Flint's series 1632 in Science Fiction. It's alternate history and really fun. Pam

Posted by
2 posts

Ok - I get it! Looks like I need to do A LOT more research. I really appreciate all the replies - they've been very helpful. Thanks so much.

Posted by
12040 posts

Because Germany is a rather large country with very distinct regions, I would recommend getting a thorough guidebook to investigate where you would like to concentrate. As much as I like most of Rick Steves´ products, his Germany book, quite frankly, isn´t very good. Lonely Planet, the Rough Guide and Eyewitness Travel all publish fairly robust surveys of the country. I´ve also recently found a great off-the-beaten path book published from Frommer´s, entitled ´25 Great Drives in Germany´.

Posted by
11805 posts

I agree with Brian. Of the places I mention, Munich definitely has the most to see and do.

Posted by
31467 posts

Debi, you might try and find a copy of the "Germany 2010" Guidebook in your local Library or Bookstore, as that will provide you with a lot of information on locations you might like to visit. As the others have said, two weeks ISN'T a long time so plan carefully. Keep in mind that you'll lose the first day in flight times and time zone changes, and the last day will be spent on the flight home so you'll only have 12-days for actual touring (and you'll be jet lagged for the first couple of days so won't be at best "touring speed"). Rather than try the "see it all" approach, I'd suggest a more focused trip, concentrating on one area. For example, using open jaw flights into Frankfurt and out from Munich is one possibility. After arrival you could start on the Rhine (Bacharach would be a great place to get over jet lag for a few days - I can recommend some lodgings there), move to Rothenburg ODT, possibly Wurzburg and then to Munich. In Munich you could take day trips to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau in Fussen, Dachau (if you're interested), perhaps Berchtesgaden for a Salt Mine tour and the Dokumentation Centre, and perhaps a quick trip to Salzburg. There are LOTS of possibilities! On a future trip you could focus on Berlin and the north of Germany. What time of year will you be taking this trip? Also, how are your German language skills? If this is your first trip to Europe, I'd highly recommend pre-reading "Europe Through The Back Door" (especially the Rail Skills chapter). Happy travels!

Posted by
11450 posts

Debi,, I can't help much with Germany,, only been twice, but I want to commend you on one thing,, many posters say they want to see EUROPE in 2 weeks, at least you have chosen one country. I have seen people literally list places in 5 different countries for a 2 week ( hey even less on occaison) visit.

Posted by
111 posts

I agree Munich is a must stop. A great way to explore downtown is via Mike's Bikes Tour. Guided bike tours with historic stops and even with a beer break. Young tour guides make the tour fun and interesting at the same time. Good for all ages as long as you can ride a bike. My wife and I did it last fall prior to a evening at Octoberfest.

Posted by
12882 posts

Debi, As far as recommending to you books to be used for planning out the details of your German trip, these two are the only ones I use: Let's Go: Germany and Rough Guide. You can look through Rough Guide: Berlin too. Soemetimes I look through Frommer's, just to get some ideas on the high-end. It's probably better that given your time constraint you concentrate on a specific area, or unless you're prepared to zip around and see that lovely German countryside as a result, then you have got greater flexibility in choosing specific cities you want to see, whether they be in the south, the north, the west, such as Cologne, or even in the east, such as Berlin.

Posted by
18 posts

Debi, my son and I just completed a two week driving trip in Germany this summer. We flew into Frankfurt and then traveled to Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Ulm, Garmisch/Fussen, Salzburg, Munich, Berchtesgaden, Prague and Berlin. We had been planning this trip for a couple of years, so we knew what we wanted to see and do. We ended up doing about half of what we planned. The only reservations we had were the first two nights and the last two nights, everything else was an adventure finding a room. If this is your first trip, I'd recommend Rothenburg, even though it is a tourist city, it is what we typically perceive as a German town. Munich is a good city to use as a base and make some day trips.

Posted by
20 posts

One city I would highly recommend is Cologne (Koln). As you ascend the escalator from the train station the first things you see are the spires of the cathedral...awe-inspiring! Check the schedule in front of the cathedral and try to attend a choral vespers service. Even if you're not particularly religiously inclined, it is beautiful...and when they crank up the pipe organ...hold on to you seat!! There is a great park that you can get to via a ski-lift type gondola ride that goes across the Rhine to the park with outdoor cafes and great gardens. I found out about the park from Rick's book on Germany. The tram system is easy to navigate and the people at the TI were very friendly and helpful. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1986 posts

As an add-on to Chip- Munich is a great City to stroll through, lots of interesting sights, and beer halls. If you are travelling through Germany, when all else fails eat in the local Ratskeller- food is always great and "Germanic"

Posted by
225 posts

Our favorite place was St Goar on the Rhine- were not even into wine or castles but we loved it. Biked, did a boat cruise, hiked... so beautiful. We also loved Rhotenburg and Munich. We took a few day side trip to Hallstatt Austria which I would highly recommend.

Posted by
71 posts

Other people have a lot of good ideas for you, but seriously-don't forget about Berlin. Southern Germany is nice, but Berlin has an energy like nowhere else in Europe.