I'm flying into Munich on March 1st and departing from Munich on March 15th.
My initial thought is to spend Wednesday (the 1st) through Saturday in Munich; Saturday through Monday in Berlin or Hamburg; Monday (the 7th) through Sunday in Amsterdam (and other parts of Holland). Leave Holland on Sunday night (the 12th) using a night train to get to Graz, Austria and see Depeche Mode in concert Monday night.
Finally return to Munich in time to depart to San Francisco on March 15th, 09:00.
What is the weather likely to be?
Which is city is a better choice -- Hamburg or Berlin? Should I visit both?
I don't speak German -- Will this be a major language barrier problem?
How do I experience these cities as a local (not interested in tourist attractions, but I am interested in the local scene)-- is this idea a mistake?
What is the best choice for budget (veggie) meals in the cities listed?
I will be traveling alone using public transit, and enjoy the night life, zoos, parks, museums, and socializing.
Any input from all you out there? This is my first trip to europe, 25 years old.
Personally I like Austria a lot more than Holland for travelling in - probably because I like scenery and clearly Austria trumps most places when it comes to scenery. Graz, Innsbruck and Salzburg are all beautiful and Vienna is my favourite "big city", very clean, safe and the architecture is amazing in parts. So if it were me I'd spend more time in Austria and less in Holland, but that's just me. As for Hamburg and Berlin I've been to both (though Hamburg only for a day) and I much preferred Berlin. East Berlin is fantastic and the nightlife is probably the best in Europe (that I've experienced anyway).
As far as weather, given the time of year it's probably going to be a little cold (not too cold, but colder than California). I think your plan is good though, I love Munich, though if anything I would say spend an extra day in Berlin and one less in Munich as there's more to do in Berlin, but whatever suits. Hope you have a good time!
I can only agree with BlankFrack spend less time in Munich, skip Hamburg for another time, and try to stay in Berlin for longer. I´m happy to give you more advice on how to explore the local scene and for veggie meals there´s plenty of options in the city. I for example love Falafel (the veggie version of Doner Kebap) and personally think you get the best in the world in Berlin . The wheather is likely to be chilly (6 to 12 degrees celcius), but we also had the spring arriving earlier with plenty of sunshine during the day.
You also shoudn´t be concerned about the language barrier, almost everybody younger than 40 is keen to speak English and they also have started to put up bilingual signs for the World Cup coming up the next year. If you need any more info just pm me.
Enjoy your trip to Europe and especially the Depeche Mode concert (I´d love to see them as well)!
First all i can say u must go to Berlin. Language wont be too much a problem - only when u go to the small towns. Try studyin a bit of german - atleast how to order beer and say greetings
"How do I experience these cities as a local (not interested in tourist attractions, but I am interested in the local scene)-- is this idea a mistake?"
Ah u cant go to Berlin and not see the tourist sites (checkpoint charlie, B-Gates and The Riechtsag. and to experience the local scene you may wish toknow a bit of german first.
hav u already purchased air tickets?
My friend is meetin me in germany for new years and flyin from Americana into Berlin and leavin from Munich. Might be a better route for u?
"What is the best choice for budget (veggie) meals in the cities listed?" find a hostel with a kitchen and buy ur own food.
and nice one on Depeche Mode!