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I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

Lynn, MA
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I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

I was going to be staying in Berlin with a friend of a native-person I know as well as this person in middle Germany for the entire time. We were going to rent a car and travel around the areas like Leipzig, Weimar, Buchenwald etc.

I got into an arguement and now they won't let me stay with them. So long story short, I can cancel my tickets because they are non refundable and it's $300 to change the dates to a shorter time period. I don't want to spend all 16 days in Berlin, and have ZERO contacts in Germany now.

I was planning on spending about 6-7 days in Berlin, but not an entire vacation. A strict budget is a high priority of mine as I did not have the intentions to be staying in hotels/hostels my entire duration.

Does anyone have any recommendations on what I could/should do? I wanted to see Erwin Rommel's monument in Herrlingen, some of the Black Forest, as well as the other historical places amongst Germany.

My vacation starts in a few weeks. =P

To add: This basically means I'm taking a solo trip to Germany. Nobody in my family or my friends can go due to lack of time preperation/school/work etc.

Thus, I'm searching for ideas how to get around Germany without any group. (Besides hitchhiking and spending lots of money on rental cars.)

Las Vegas, Nevada
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for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
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1. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

Germany has excellent public transportation so it is easy to get around. There are also the special Laender (German state tickets) that allow unlimited rail travel within that state (and include most other transportation) for a day with some restrictions, however their multi-passenger ones work out the cheapest for 2-5 passengers splitting the low cost. There are also the national Happy Weekend tickets that allow rail travel anywhere in Germany by local train transportation (not the high speed intercity trains) that are about the same price, but again the cost per person is much better with the group (2-5 people) ticket. Then there are the budget airlines with which you can fly between German cities and also to other places in Europe. For instance, you could fly from Berlin to Stuttgart with GermanWings (www.germanwings.com) inexpensively to be near the Black Forest, and then use the Baden-Wuerttemberg Laender ticket if it would be cheaper than just a normal train journey. For local transportation, there are special tickets for day travel in any of the major cities to quickly access anywhere in the city and their surroundings.

Another thing, housing costs will be less in small towns and villages rather than in the center of big cities. Of course, then, without a car, getting to places might be difficult in rural areas (non-metropolitan) as the public transportation tends to be infrequent.

berlin
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2. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

Some of the places you'd like to see are on the other side of Germany, it is about the same as saying "I am flying to New York and BTW I'd like to see Chicago".

Regarding sleeping arrangements, have you thought of something like this?

http://www.couchsurfing.com/

If not, I recommend a guest house like this one, where you might meet fellow travellers and join them:

www.schlafmeile.de/index.php…

There is plenty to do in Berlin, "even" for 16 days, but I understand why you would like to travel elsewhere. Some areas are more realistic than the Black Forest or Herrlingen : Potsdam, of course; Dresden, the Spree Forest, Saxonian Switzerland, Leipzig, Hamburg, Rostock, Magdeburg, Quedlinburg, Weimar. Even going to Poland is more sensible (Poznan, Breslau, etc.).

There is something called "Mitfahrzentrale" in Germany. It is like hitchhiking in the sense that you take a ride with a stranger; however, you share the petrol and basically it is being done through organisations that are supposed to ensure that it is safe. I have done it plenty of times in my youth and nothing has happened...

www.mitfahrzentrale.de/index.php…

Germany
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3. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

A fully flexible way to travel around is a German Rail (Youth) Pass.

raileurope.com/us/…german_rail_pass.htm

raileurope.com/us/…german_rail_youth_pass.htm

With it you can just hop on and off with nearly all trains in Germany (some 40.000 daily).

DB timetable

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/e

The DB timetable does cover all public transport. Thus besides trains also trams, buses, ...

E.g. to the Black Forest / Herrlingen you could fly from Berlin to

Friedrichshafen with www.intersky.biz

Stuttgart with www.germanwings.com, www.tuifly.com, www.airberlin.com

Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden with www.tuifly.com, www.airberlin.com

EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg with www.easyjet.com

For getting around you could use the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ticket Single. A day ticket for EUR 18,00 covering all regional trains plus nearly all other local public transport in this state.

http://www.tourismus-bw.co.uk/

http://www.blackforest-tourism.com/

http://en.s-alb.de/

http://www.blaustein.de/1995_DEU_WWW.php (Herrlingen belongs to Blaustein)

http://tourismus.ulm.de/index_e.dpx?lang=_e

http://www.stuttgart-tourist.de/

Berlin
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4. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

As far as transportation goes. an additional option to travel from Berlin to other places in Germany is by bus. This is usually cheaper than regular train fares, but more expensive than ride sharing (Mitfahrzentrale). Obviously less comfortable than trains, but it is cheaper. www.berlinlinienbus.de

You can book bus tickets in Berlin at many travel agencies as well as at the main bus station (called ZOB). It is not necessary to book the tickets way in advance.

San Diego...
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5. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

Hi,

Sorry that your plan with your friends did not work out. I think staying in Berlin for 16 days is a bit much. Having said that, there are lots of thing you can do in Berlin. Since you have lots of time, why not rent an apartment in Berlin and do things at a slower pace. Since it is winter, sometimes things take longer to get done because of the cold and rain. Also, daylight gets shorter.

I just got back from Berlin/Potsdam for a three day weekend. I am currently based in Hamburg. The museums themselves can take two to three days. I understant that as travelers, you don't want to spend the so much time at museums as you will get what I call "museum fatigue". I spent half a day at the Gemaldegalerie. For the rest of that day, I spent walking around a bit and had some coffee. By then, it was 5-ish. I went to the box offfice of the Berliner Philhamonie to get ticket for the night. Between staying in line and trying to buy ticket, it takes about 1.5 hour. The concert itself took about another 2 hour or so. As you can see, those two activities took me one whole day. Maybe 16 days are not too much in Berlin. There are other great museums worth seeing as well. But if you are not into museums or concerts then, 16 days might be too much.

You definitely want to visit Potsdam and see the Sans Souci. It is about 30 km from Berlin. It is a different city. It seems like you are still in Berlin because it is so close to Berlin. This park itself can take up two days, if not more. I did not studying everything in details about the palaces or such. I spent about 8 hours there. But saw very little of it. The sheer size would take you about two days. Because it was so cold and dark, by 5 PM it got so cold and dark that you don't want to spend walking in the park.

I also saw the Brandenburg gate etc but that did not take too much of my time. As you can see, I did very "little" in three days in terms of sights. I had a car too, which meant I save a bit of time as opposed to taking the public transportation.

I think car rental is great if you were to drive through the black forest as you can stop at various small towns. However, it you are not going to do that, then car rental is a pretty pricey option. Car rentals in Germany is not as cheap as back homes in the states. Plus you have to think about parking. Most of the urban places, such as Berlin, you will have to pay for parking. I had to pay 10 euros per day. Not as bad as in NY. Considering the strong euro to the dollar, it can be pretty expensive. If you are just going from one urban place to another, then public transportatin is a much more attractive option.

I have been to few places in Germany. The one place that I would recommend is Heidelberg but it is further South. Black Forest/Bavaria is great too but it would be much better to do that during spring or summer time and when you can drive. Hope this helps a bit.

What are you interested in seeing or doing while you are in Berlin (Germany) so that other TA readers can help you more?

Barcelona, Spain
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6. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

Yes, depending on your interests you could easily fill 16 days in Berlin and area. An apartment or a room wd be a lot cheaper as you cd then partly "self-cater" although eating out in Berlin is generally cheap. Fabulous sandwiches can be bought at baker's , railway stations for 2-2.50€ . Even sitting down in a restaurant it will often cost under 10€ with drink.

For apartments :look at www.123berlinzimmer.de or www.ferienwohnungen24.de.

If you do decide to travel, you could go to Hamburg/Lübeck/Rostock for a few days or Wemar/Leipzig and (my tip) Naumburg or Dresden/Meissen.

I agree with another poster that winter is not the best time to visit Black Forest area esp. on your own. Freiburg would be a good base, with lots going on as it's a university city. In any case cheap flight wd be the way to get there:.Easyjet, germanwings and Airberlin are all reliable and generally cheap.

Perth, Australia
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7. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

Hi there,

As previous posters have said, you can easily fill 16 days in Berlin. Perhaps base yourself in the city and do one or two day trips to Potsdam (quite nice, check out the dutch quarter), and Dresden (historically very interesting).

You can purchase the EXBERLINER magazine at lots of newsstands, it is the english current events guide etc. There may be some house sharing opportunities there.

In any event, Berlin is a fantastic city and you just cannot spend enough time there!

Eurail is good, but the German rail www.bahn.de (also available in english) gives you cheap fares (from 29EUR) if you book a week or so in advance.

Good luck!

Daniel (semi-native Berliner)

usa
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8. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

As others have mentioned, there's no shortage of things to see & do in Berlin and you might easily spend a large part of your vacation in the Berlin area - to include Potsdam, etc.

Day trips or an overnight to Dresden and Leipzig are very do-able by train, and with the amount of time you have, you're in good shape.

You mentioned Erwin Rommel. If you've an interest in Second World War-related sites, I can help as I just came back from visiting a number of them east and south of Berlin; feel free to contact me directly or post another message on the forum.

Berlin
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9. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

If I were you, I'd invest in the Lonely Planet Central Europe book (latest edition from Feb 2007 for $19.13 from Amazon.com). It'll give you a lot of good ideas about what to see and prices. I would definitely not waist all 16 days in Germany. The customer service is awful and the Germans are not known for their friendliness.

Having said that, Berlin has a lot of interesting tourist attractions, museums, and it's relatively cheap compared to other German cities. After a few days here, you should definitely make your way to Dresden and Prague (my favorite). Both have magnificent architecture and you should be able to get very cheap accommodation in an apartment in Prague. There are quite a few companies offering rooms and apartments. If you're by yourself, hostels aren't very comfortable, but you'll be able to meet interesting people and exchange tips. Check out www.hostelworld.com for a huge listing of private hostels and many reviews about the most popular ones.

You might also consider going to Budapest and from there to Cracow (Krakow), Poland. The former socialist countries are inexpensive and you'll get a lot of bang for your buck. You can also see Warsaw, Poznan, and Wroclaw (it hasn't been called Breslau since 1945!) on your way back to Berlin. All have beautiful old market squares/old towns. If you want to live it up, a lot of the best hotel chains offer great weekend rates. Marriott in Warsaw for 89 euros, Courtyard by Marriott in Prague for 84 euros single or double (in case you meet somebody).

A great site for info on eastern Europe is www.inyourpocket.com. It's very well organized.

And finally, you could hop on an easyJet flight to one of around 28 cities - sorry, I lost track - in Europe for very little money. Tallinn, Riga and Milan are almost always very cheap if you book at least 6 weeks ahead (not sure when you're coming). I'd certainly recommend Tallinn. There's also a post about cheap flights from Berlin.

Have a good trip,

Andy

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: I'm in Germany(Berlin) for 16 days, what to do?

Andy, although customer service in Germany does leave a very bad taste in your mouth doesn't make it 'wasting' time. Berlin is a very diverse and interesting place and especially if a person is interested in WWII history, Germany is a must-see. I don't think any time anywhere is wasted.

Take the unfriendliness with some humour, but don't lump all Germans into one category...