[b]We have a week to spare prior to a conference in Berlin. I expect to fly into Frankfurt, but would like advice on what to see before going onto Berlin. I have only seen Germany in transit and would like to get a feel for it, despite having only a week or so in which to do it. Slightly unusual suggestions would be appreciated:- we don't necessarily want to do the standard tourist trail. Should we drive, or go by train, or even do it via rivers and canals? All suggestions appreciated!
Rivers and canals can be done, but this would not be cheap and a bit complicated too, as you would need a special "river boat driving licence".
If you don't mind the cost, renting a car is a great way to see Germany, especially if you are going off the beaten track.
My suggestion would be to leisurely drive in the general direction of Berlin, stopping along the way for sights or staying for the night.
What are you interested in and what month are you going?
Some links for you:
http://www.germany-tourism.de/ - official site of the German government, IMO a bit biased towards the sights in the western part of Germany
Spend your weekends in Berlin, for the nightlife.
U could spend the rest of the week, in Bavaria. U can get train day passes for Bavaria, for up to 5 adults and i dont know how many children, for around 30 euros. U can go to the mountains. There are lots of beautiful villages up there.
In fact all around Bavaria is beautiful. Many towns and cities have been restored, to exactly how they were, before the second world war.
Train link for Germany
For air travel
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 25, 2007, at 1:07 AM by Mel. ]
Just read t_maias suggestion.
I think i like that one better, than mine. Leisurely make your way, from Frankfurt, to Berlin. Why go in the opposite direction?
Thank you all so much for your interest. We are a couple, though may have our GAP student daughter with us. I like the suggestion of a car, too, as it does allow a bit more spontaneity. Are there any "not to be misseds" en route, or any suggested roads to take? I think that maybe Autobahns the whole way is not too good an idea, if we want to see the "real " Germany.
Ok, you got two possible routes: north of the Harz mountains and south of the Harz mountains.
I'm personally very fond of the Harz mountains, they have some very nice sights which should not be missed. See my reply here:
The southern route is more direct and gives you more chances to veer off to the side. It will lead you directly through Luther country, the places where the reformation started.
If you are Protestant it might be interesting to you to attend Sunday service (in English) at the church in Wittenberg where Luther once preached. ("Experience Worship in Luther’s Churches!")
A sight not to miss is Quedlinburg. Quedlinburg is one of the few fully preserved medevial cities in Europe. Its timberstructure buildings are uniquely well preserved and very typical for Germany. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and rightfully so. I can highly recommend taking a guided walking tour through the town.
Erfurt and Leipzig are charming too. Both are vibrant student towns, so your teen will be able to find some partying there. Leipzig is especially nice, I think. Try to get into "Auerbach's Keller" - a pub which has been around since the 14th century and which is (like all of Leipzig) featured prominently in Goethe's play "Faust". There are sometimes performances of the play done at the original places, so the audience follows the actors around as they act their way through the town. Quite a sight!
It is always a good idea to contact the "i" - the local tourist information every city in Germany has - before the trip. For a small cover charge they can arrange guided tours through the town in English, get you a "Fremdenzimmer" (a typical, nice, inexpensive room in a private home with breakfast), inform you on local sights and activities, any concerts or other events taking place, reserve you tickets etc.
Other great places to see:
http://www.kyffhaeuser-tourismus.de/ - The Kyffhäuser Monument and the Panoramic Museum at Bad Frankenhausen
Castle Sanssoucci in Potsdam:
BTW, the Erzgebirge Mountains are very nice too. The region is famous for carved wood artwork and as a skiing resort.
Oh yeah, if your daughter is with you, spent some days in Berlin. Berlin has one of the hippest partying scenes in Europe. The "Berlin Pub Crawl" is especially (in)famous.
I also recommend getting rid of the car in Berlin, as getting back to Frankfurt airport from Berlin can easily be done by train. (See www.bahn.de for prices and timetables.) Public transport in Berlin is very efficient, using it will save you money and nerves compared to navigating a rental car through the many, uniform looking streets of Berlin.
One thing just occured to me: You will most likely need an international driver's licence.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 28, 2007, at 9:49 AM by t_maia ]
Some things I forgot:
Free copies of his works (translated into English):
BTW, Weimar is on your way too!
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 28, 2007, at 10:43 AM by t_maia ]