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Suggestions for Itinerary Germany, Czech Republic.

Hi fellow travelers!

I am already dreaming/planning our trip for next fall. We plan on visiting Berlin, Dresden and Prague. We have 16 total days which includes travel time. So far I have five nights Berlin, three nights Dresden and five nights Prague. I still have two additional days so to my question: Should I 1: Spend extra nights in my listed destination(s) and take day trips and to where? or 2. Add in another city (not too long in travel distance, say 3 - 4 hour train trip)? All advice is appreciated, we have not been to any of these destinations before. Planning on flying into either Amsterdam or Frankfurt with a hopper flight and then train between places after that. This is my first trip completely solo, no RS tour this time. We love art, history, architecture and wine. Thanks in advance for any help!! :0)

Posted by
4637 posts

First I would recommend that you read Rick Steves books: Germany, Prague and the Czech Republic. Berlin is the largest of these three cities having a lot of art and history and a lot of modern architecture. It has an excellent public transport. Many museums. See Rick Steves. I would give Berlin 5 days. Dresden is the smallest of your three cities. It was pulverized in WWII but since unification of Germany (it used to be in East Germany) it was nicely rebuilt. 2 days for Dresden. Prague suffered just a little bombing during WWII and is beautifully preserved. It is visually most attractive out of your three cities. Medieval streets in Old Town and Mala Strana. I haven't had a bad beer in Prague yet. If I can recommend just one pub with an excellent Pilsner Urquell be it pub U hrocha (At Hippopotamus). It's on Thunovska Street right under the Castle. Prague has a lot of art (classical music concerts), history and old architecture. Prague has more beer culture than wine. But southeastern Moravia of the C.R. is wine lovers paradise. Only three to four hours by train from Prague. Mikulov, Valtice, Lednice - see Rick Steves book. Then Znojmo. If you happen to be in the area on September 13th and 14th 2014 there is the largest wine festival in the country in Uherske Hradiste, see http://www.slavnostivinauh.cz . In chateau Valtice you can taste one hundred of the best wines of the country. Especially white wines are excellent. http://www.salonvin.cz . For Prague I would save 3 days. The rest would be for your day trips, see Rick Steves and my suggestion for wine country of southeastern Moravia.

Posted by
213 posts

Michael and Ilja, Thank you for taking time to reply. I should have let you know that I already have some travel guides including RS Snapshot. I am waiting for the 2014 guide for Eastern Europe. I always read all that and do research. As part of my research, I just like to get advice from others who have already been there done that. We have been to Vienna previously although that would be a great suggestion if we had not. I was unsure if I should stay with my three cities and do day trips or try and add another city into the mix. Was thinking of Hamburg or Nuremburg but with travel time not sure if that is wise. Ilja, love the suggestion of the CR wine country, will have to look into doing that and if it would be day trips or adding one of those destinations to stay for a couple of days. Definitely checking out the wine festival, thanks for that information! Really appreciate the advice, thanks.

Posted by
80 posts

Have you considered a side trip to Cesky Krumlov from Prague. I have heard it is a great city to visit, it is on our June 2014 trip. It is only a few hours by bus from Prague. Maybe some travelers that have been there can help with their input.
Good luck,
Mike

Posted by
4943 posts

Rick covers Cesky Krumlov in his book. It's quite far for a daytrip, but it was important for me because of the Baroque Theater - not everyone's cup of tea. It's a lovely medieval town, with (apparently) outdoor recreation and the source of the Vltava nearby. We used the car service Rick recommended, which was about the same price for two as a commercial bus trip. It's longer by train than by road.

There are other nice places closer to Prague. It's a matter of what you want to see. For some, the original "Budweiser" brewery is a must-see. Not for me.

While I like Weimar and Erfurt from Dresden, it might be a drag by public transportation. Don't forget the Elbe boatride, maybe to the porcelain factory. I wonder if it's practical to go to Prague mostly on the boat .... I'd consider splitting a night or two over to Leipzig, because it's big and historic, and has lots to do right in town.

Presumably you're including Potsdam in your Berlin days. Berlin is good for many, many days, especially if you can afford opera, theater, or concerts.

Posted by
11798 posts

Vienna fits perfectly into your itinerary. Fly into Berlin and out of Vienna, or vice versa.

For me the length of time to stay somewhere is based on what I want to see. When I'm trying to decide the length of stay in a city, I start by reviewing all the available sights and sort them into must sees, nice to see if I have time, and skip-able. Then I plan two must-sees per day (unless it's so big it takes a full day like Alhambra or the Louvre). I plan for one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and keep a list of the nice to sees in my back pocket in case I find myself with extra time. I might also add something in the evening like a show, musical performance, boat ride, or casual walking tour (but nothing too draining).

If you have time, adding a down day is always welcome. I don't stay down, but it's nice to have nothing on the agenda and just wander a little.

Sometimes a place other people stay a day in will be several days for you, or a city people recommend a week in might only interest you for a couple of days - it's really based on what you want to see.

Posted by
868 posts

I would not add another city, simply because most people really underate Dresden. In Berlin you can already easily spend a week, especially if you also visit Potsdam. Potsdam is much more than just Sanssouci. Sanssouci is just one of several royal parks around the city. There is also the New Garden with the Marble Palace and Cecilienhof, Babelsberg park and palace, Glienicke park and palace, Peacock Island, the Belvedere on Pfingstberg mountain, the partly preserved old town, the Dutch quarter, Alexandrowka etc..
And Dresden is much more than the partly reconstructed old town with the museums. The nostalgic paddle steamer fleet brings you to Meissen and Pirna, two cute old towns, to Königstein, Europes biggest fortress, or to Saxon Switzerland, wonderful picturesque mountains that are great for hiking. You can visit Freiberg, a medieval miners town, Bautzen, a Baroque town with medieval fortifications that is the cultural heart of the Sorbs, or Görlitz, a small Uppper Lusatian/Silesian town on the German/Polish border with 4.000(!) listed buildings. You can walk in vineyards around Pillnitz or Radebeul and buy the rare Saxon wines at Wackerbarth castle, or take the bus to Seiffen, a village deep in the Ore mountains with nothing but Christmas shops (that's where all the wooden Christmas toys come from).

Posted by
14404 posts

Hi Jaye,

Time allocation depends a lot on your style and stamina. Do the 16 days include travel to/from home? Do you find it easy to get around a new place or will you need some time to get oriented? With 2 weeks, you should allow for at least one day of "down time" - just not planned out, maybe sleep in, do laundry, sit at a couple of sidewalk cafes and people-watch.

Look at possible day trips. Instead of adding another city (though Vienna is a big temptation), if you find you've seen everything you want to in Berlin, take a trip to Potsdam. Or spend a day at Terezin while you're in Prague.

In any case, I think 5 days in Berlin isn't enough (especially if you are going to arrive jetlagged), unless you really don't like museums - several are absolutely first-class.

Posted by
12400 posts

Hi,

You have some really good suggestions here on seeing Potsdam, Dresden, Pillnitz, especially the Schloss: for that you need a car, Meißen, Erfurt, Görlitz, Bautzen, Weimar, and Leipzig. All can be easily done as day trips r/t from Dresden or Berlin.

Weimar is well worth it if you're into German cultural history. See the statue of Goethe and Schiller am Theaterplatz. There is one like that here in SF. Going to Weimar take the train from Dresden Hbf. But to see the numerous museums/houses of the famous literary figures as well as the town you need more than a day trip.

I agree too that five days for Berlin is not enough if you are arriving there to begin the trip. Here is where you can add an extra day. Berlin is great for walking, (on Unter den Linden, Kurfürstendamm, Kantstrasse, Friedrichstrasse, the area around Alexanderplatz, etc), spending down time, and hitting the sites, Schlösser, and museums in both sections of the city.

Posted by
213 posts

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the delayed response but we had a death in the family and have been off here a while. Just wanted to take
a minute and thank all of you for your thoughts and suggestions, I will be looking into each one. Pretty much decided
not to add another city, just an extra day in Berlin and maybe Prague most likely. Will know more after more research
on all your suggestions. Thanks so much and happy travels!

Posted by
14404 posts

So sorry for your loss. Come back anytime. I'm here dreaming about travel while I save for my next trip, probably like many of the regulars.

Posted by
28 posts

There are so many options/preferences. Certainly, one could easily spend a week in a city like Berlin or Prague, but you may find there are additional places/cultures that you would enjoy more than day #5 in Berlin or Prague. And of course, it depends on your previous experiences--to some one cathedral begins to look like another after seeing many and so on. You may want to consider how far east you will be. We had a similar itinerary in mind, but decided to add Krakow and Budapest and it turned out to be one of the best travel decisions we have ever made.