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Ramstein AFB

HI,
My Husband and I will be traveling next year for 10-12 days to see his Sister and brother in law at Ramstein, we would most likely fly into Frankfurt(seems that is the closet airport) and want to explore a few other countries while there, does anyone have any good tips or itineraries? We love history, food and meeting the locals. Thanks!

Posted by
16 posts

If you don't mind structured travel, the Recreation Center at Ramstein should have bus tours to other countries. Years ago, while assigned at Wiesbaden, we took a Rec center tour bus to five countries in six days--everything pre-arranged except meals and there were opportunities to explore on your own in the evenings. If you are an exploring on your own type, the folks at the Rec center can still advise on places to go and see independently.

Posted by
25 posts

You will also be close to the Alsace region of France.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you everyone for all the advice, we definitely have a lot to think about. I am not sure if we will rent a car, do you think that is a good option? I sometimes think it is a hassle to find parking, rent the car etc. and prefer to take public transport.

Posted by
25 posts

You will get persuasive arguments on both sides of the rental car or public transportation issue. I preferred to leave the car at home when we lived in Birkenfeld (30 miles NW of Ramstein). Finding parking was always part of the planning before a trip with the car. I believe that you will only need to get to Landstuhl to access a major rail line. Lee in Denver, who posts on this forum, is an excellent resource when it comes to German rail travel.

Posted by
513 posts

Travelme, You might want to give serious consideration to renting a car in this part of Germany. Just getting from Frankfurt airport without a car can be a hassle. It is true (as one poster stated) that you can catch trains at the landstuhl bahnhof, but it's ticket office is unmanned much of the day, and just getting from RAB to Landstuhl can be a hassl, and for many destinations you will have to take a train from Landstuhl to Kaiserslautern. With a car you can easily get to most of the westernmost part of Germany. The Mosel River Valley all the way from Trier to Koblenz is a joy to tour by auto, especially in the Fall when the grape harvests are coming in.

Posted by
5756 posts

Not to be the skunk at a picnic, but this seems to grab my attention: "My Husband and I will be traveling next year for 10-12 days to see his Sister and brother in law..." OK, a very, very short trip to Europe. So be it. I'm guessing it's your first. Start by answering this question: How many full days will you have in Europe, not counting the day you arrive from the US or the day you depart? Be honest. Also keep in mind that your first full day you may very well be jet-lagged zombies, so don't expect to be at full speed on "Day 1". Presumably you want to spend at least a few days with the people you are going there to visit. Subtract that number from the number of full days you will have in Europe. How many days does that leave you? That's what you have to work with. Then there's this: "...and want to explore a few other countries..." Do the math. Anyone see any problems with this plan to "explore a few other countries"?

Posted by
3 posts

We have been to Europe before and know that we will be tired when we get there, I was asking the question because they will be traveling with us. I didn't write this post to get a rude answer....

Posted by
2995 posts

OK, first of all, no one was being rude. Don't mistake forthrightness and bluntness for rudeness (particularly since those qualities come in spades in Germany!) If it's helpful, it's helpful. I agree that you probably won't be able to see several countries with your timeframe. Maybe two if you work it right - Germany and Belgium, or Luxembourg, or Alsace-Lorraine in France. I would disagree with the advice that you need a car. Frankfurt is actually super well set up for travel by train, what with having a train connection in the airport and all. But I assume your family will have a car so they might be willing to pick you up/drive. It's up to you, but it will affect how you plan your itinerary. I do most of my travel here without driving because I prefer the train, but that style of travel works best when going between cities. That said, it's not impossible to see smaller towns via train and it can be convenient, particularly in areas nearby your base (the Romantic Rhine, the Mosel, etc). You mention you've been to Europe before - why don't you tell us where? That will make it easier for people to suggest new places.

Posted by
8507 posts

Dear Travel, It's too bad you took his advice wrong; I thought his skunk at the picnic opening was kind of cute and self-deprecating. But going on what you said, and your heading "Ramstein AFB" I too thought you'd be visiting on the base and would have time for only short trips. Now that we know more, more people will be able to send useful suggestions your way.

Posted by
375 posts

I think 10-12 days on the ground is adequate for visiting at least a couple or three countries. Perhaps you wouldn't be able to explore several countries in depth, but you'd have enough time to see some nice places and get a feel for the areas. When we lived in Germany and had family visit for about that length of time, we were able to go with them on some satisfying trips within that time frame. The Alsace in France is pretty close by and is a nice area to visit. If you go there I would recommend renting a car so you can explore the villages and smaller towns. I never found parking to be much of a problem in these smaller towns. Or you could drive to Bavaria and then proceed to Austria. There are many nice places nearby in Germany to visit as well, such as the Rhine valley. Have you considered going up into Belgium and Holland? It's not difficult to drive there. You said you like food and meeting the locals. Europe, of course, is full of those things wherever you go but I think it's hard to beat Belgium and Holland for that. I had some of my best meals in Belgium, not to mention the chocolate, and the Dutch people are some of the friendliest I've encountered. If you want to travel by train, there are many options. You can get to many fine cities by train right there in Germany. How about a trip to Berlin? We once took the night train to Vienna and had a lovely time. Paris by the fast train has been mentioned, but I think you should get a reservation as far in advance as practical to get the best rate. I definitely wouldn't drive in Paris; we've done it and wouldn't do it again. Switzerland would be another lovely option by train.

Posted by
12040 posts

For the car vs. train question... I would recommend perhaps a combination of both. I stayed near Landstuhl several years ago without a car. After a week of multiple-transfer train rides, I really wished I had rented a car. Although there is a small train station in Landstuhl, it is only served by a regional commuter line. Useful if you live in one small town and need to reach another for work, but much less so if you want to explore the region as a tourist. So, if you plan to see much of anything within a 100 km radius of Ramstein, I would consider a rental car. For overnight trips to more distant locations, especially cities, rail would be a better option.

Posted by
12040 posts

Oh, and for some ideas... if you rent a car, consider checking out some of the towns on the nearby Deutsche Weinstraße (German Wine Road). Frommer's "25 Great Drives in Germany" has some good ideas for the Rheinland-Pfaltz/Saarland region as well.

Posted by
5756 posts

I think everyone here is still missing the point - and no, I was not trying to be rude, just trying to offer a little practical advice. They're not going to have 10-12 days to "explore several countries." Their trip is going to be 10-12 days. Let's be generous and say it's 12 days (if it's 10 days - an incredibly short trip to Europe, by the way - then subtract 2 more days from all that follows). A 12-day trip gives you 10 days in Europe at best, maybe less, depending on connections. So lets say the OP has 10 full days there, and we'll be generous and assume they're functional on their first day after arrival. They're going there to visit someone - that seems to be the primary purpose of the trip. Presumably they are going to want to spend at least a few days with that someone. Subtract those days from the 10 whole days they have in Europe. At best, they're down to - what, 6 or 7 days available for "exploring a few other countries". At best. My point was (and still is) that it's probably unrealistic to expect to "explore a few other countries" in just a handful of days. Many first-time visitors to Europe schedule trips like : Day 1, fly from US to Europe, spend the afternoon seeing City #1. Day 2: See country #2, move on to country 3. Day 3: See country #3...etc. I'm suggesting that a trip of 10-12 days, which includes a visit to someone who lives there, should be planned with realistic expectations of what is and is not achievable, and what is and is not enjoyable. Exploring several countries in 3 or 4 days doesn't sound like my idea of either, but feel free to ignore my advice. No offense was intended.

Posted by
375 posts

I am sure all the responders here are only attempting to give good advice as they see it, and I see no need for upset on either side. The OP stated in a later post that the family she is going to visit would be traveling with them. Therefore, in my earlier post I did not subtract out any days for visiting with them, since they will all be together during the entire time. She also said she has been to Europe before, so I assume she understands jetlag and is realistic about distances. We once did a nice loop with family from Germany, through part of France, into Belgium, and briefly into the Netherlands, and back home to Germany in 10 days. We did another trip where we stayed in Bavaria for 4 days, then went on to Austria for 4 days. Both of those examples were very satisfying and did not feel rushed. It is true that we did not explore entire countries in depth, but my family was able to see some nice areas and were quite happy with the experiences. I believe the OP has enough time to do something similar on her trip. In all the years we've lived overseas, none of our friends or family have visited for longer than 12 days at a time. Each time, we've been able to travel with them to at least 2 or 3 different areas and they've been very pleasant experiences for everyone. Most people I know can only do a trip to Europe of less than 2 weeks at a time, due to work or other committments. It's possible to see a lot in that time without being too rushed if one plans ahead and stays realistic.

Posted by
2995 posts

Um, not missing the point, just somewhat familiar with the region. They will be an hour's drive from the French border and Luxembourg border, less than 2 hours drive from the Belgian border. I would suggest it would be kind of silly to spend 10-12 days in that area of Germany and NOT head over to a neighboring country for a day or two, since you're so close! They may be spending time with the family by traveling WITH them. As lovely as the Mosel area/Trier is, more than 3-4 days there would be overkill (for some, particularly those with a short trip wanting to pack in a lot of sights, 2 will probably be fine) so why NOT head to Lorraine, France or Luxembourg, or even all the way up to Belgium? It's really not that far at all.

Posted by
2995 posts

Also my sister in law visited here for 7 days, as that's all she could afford to do. We went to Munich, Lake Constance, Strasbourg, France, and saw a lot around the Stuttgart area. It was a busy trip, but it wasn't a "get in, see the most famous tourist site, and get out" type of trip. She had a blast!