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Short Visit to Germany

Atlanta, Georgia
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Short Visit to Germany

Hello:

I am planning a week and a half trip (short, I know) this May to travel Western Europe by rail. The trip will begin and end in Amsterdam and I am considering stops in Germany, Switzerland, Northern Italy, coast of France, and back to Amsterdam.

Obviously, I will not have much time in each place, so I'm looking for pointers on the best stops in Germany. Right now, I'm thinking of staying in Munich and then moving on to Switzerland after.

To rephrase the question: What one or two cities are a necessity when visiting Germany??

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help.

Hamburg, Germany
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1. Re: Short Visit to Germany

You won't have time to see all, even if spending just a couple of hours in one place. By the way, France has a coastline of 2000 miles.

If Amsterdam is set, I'd stick to the Netherlands, western Germany, northwestern France and Belgium. Just an idea, certainly not of the beaten track.

Amsterdam (2 days) - Middle Rhine Valley (1 day) - Heidelberg (1 day) - Strasbourg (1day) - Paris (3 days) - Bruges (1 day).

Cologne, Germany
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2. Re: Short Visit to Germany

In Germany, there are many points of interest, but no necessities at all. Your itinery sounds great if you particularly enjoy riding trains. If on the other hand you want to cut train rides short, I wouldn't recommend going to Berlin, even though it is a near-necessity for Germany. If Amsterdam is your point of depart, I would say you should see Cologne and the Middle Rhine Valley, as this is no big detour and continue south from there. Others will come up with more suggestions, but maybe you post your interests first. Do you prefer big cities or smaller towns? Museums and cultural things or rather landscapes?

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Short Visit to Germany

Thank you for the suggestions, efp53.

Any suggestions for northern France other than Paris? I could live with missing Paris if it opened up some time for some smaller, more scenic cities.

Cologne, Germany
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4. Re: Short Visit to Germany

Lille! Absolutely. Not a small town, but obviously smaller than Paris and still very nice. (I personally prefer Paris though. I was the one that wrote that there is no "necessity" in Germany. But still I would go so far as to say that Paris is a necessity for France, as long as you have never been there that is ...

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Short Visit to Germany

Thanks for the tips, aichberge.

I haven't been considering Berlin if, for nothing else, the geographic limitations as you mentioned. My travel partner lived in Bensheim once, so we may visit there. As I mentioned, Munich was suggested to me. How would you compare Munich and Cologne?

I enjoy both the scenery of rural areas as well as the cultural attractions of the cities. I'm hoping to avoid some of the largest cities and find smaller cities that fit both categories.

Thanks again!

Cologne, Germany
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6. Re: Short Visit to Germany

As to Cologne vs. Munich, I know both quite well but have mostly been living in one of them, which happens to be Cologne. Both are VERY different. Cologne has suffered a lot from WWII bombings and that is still visible. Munich not to the same extent. Meaning: Munich is prettier. Munich is also larger. So for a tourist, I would say Munich is more attractive. On the other hand, Cologne hosts Germany's most visited attraction: The Cathedral (Dom) which is a must-see for everyone whose itinery comes close to Cologne. Especially for people who use trains for travelling, Cologne is sooo easy. The Cathedral, the Old City and the banks of the Rhine are just next to the train station. Before you leave out Cologne completely, reserve a few hours for it.

There are lots of other differences that a more obvious for Germans (different mentality of the people, different beer, different dialects, different prices for houses, etc.).

Munich has also the more scenic environment. South of Cologne you have the middle Rhine Valley, but that's not really "around" Cologne, whereas from Munich you can even see the Alps if weather conditions permit it. I cannot decide what's best for you, but if you hope to avoid larger cities, I would suggest you just have a quick look at the Cologne Cathedral and continue towards the scenic landscapes. But then I'd rather skip Munich.

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Short Visit to Germany

Excellent points. I'm sure there's no "right" choice, I'm just trying to get a sense of the options.

Thank you again for your help.

8. Re: Short Visit to Germany

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