Arriving in Frankfurt on a Saturday morning, flying out again the following Wednesday morning, so really only three full days, not counting travel days. Any ideas on where to visit in such a short time span? There's barely enough time to do anything up "right," but we'd like to gain some exposure to somewhere we haven't been. Thinking about Ghent or Zurich (both about a 4 hour drive, which is at the outer limit of our driving radius) or possibly just spending some time in the Black Forest. The weather will be cold and likely snowy and time will be short. We'll be traveling with "littles." Casual dining is therefore a must. Does anyone know if there is parking available at either of the hotels mentioned? It appears that for this trip and circumstance, driving will be more advantageous and cost effective than training. Any hotel/dining recommends for the Black Forest?
I've perused a number of very excellent discussions here on Insiders regarding Ghent and Zurich. Deepest thanks to jerrycoin, newhiltonmembr, profchiara, razorbackfan, sg1974, arkwright and psudad for posting some really great information as well as photos of these two cities. Very beneficial and I'm greatly appreciative.
I'm open to further suggestions and/or more info. Thanks.
If I had that time frame I'd drive south visit heidelberg then onto Karlsruhe. We stayed in the renaissance there. Close by is Baden Baden which is a nice spa town. We visited the restaurant rizzi there which was reasonable.
europa park is not that far away but unfortunately not open.
there were loads of beautiful little places we visited in black Forrest. Not sure what they would be like at this time of year though.
every restaurant we stopped off at had nice regional cooking.
Then head all the way down to Freiburg which is the biggest town in the area.
we stayed in the best western there which was well located.
then you could come back up via Stuttgart to visit mercedes Benz & Porsche museums.
Or via colmar and Strasbourg.
There are some really nice small towns in this region, plenty of options.
just need to check what they are like at this time of year.
if you had the time a visit to bamberg is really worth it. One of the prettiest little places in Germany.
I hadn't thought about using Karlsruhe as a base. How many days did you spend in the area (Karlsruhe to Freiburg)? I don't know how scenic it will be this time of year (and certainly no waterfalls, but how scenic is anything in the dead of a white winter?). There are some places that are open in the winter (except Mondays): the Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof, an open air farm museum (we have something similar in the Bavarian town of Bad Windsheim where my daughter lives; my mom visited it one day on her own and really enjoyed it), German Clock Museum, of course Baden-Baden with it's pedestrian streets, the Russian Church, Abtei Lichtenthal (abbey), Nägelsförster Hof vineyard, one of many, and as you mentioned numerous beautiful little towns. Freiburg gives me the impression of being a bit similar to Heidelberg (which we loved), at least as far as being a Uni town, with its beautiful castle and cathedral, the Munsterplatz and markets, Seepark, Feierling. I have read that little English is spoken in the Black Forest region, as most of the tourists are German and Swiss, so there is no need. How was you experience with English being spoken and/or written (on menus)?
I did not know that Bamberg was designated a World Heritage site. It is only about 30-40 minutes from Bad Windsheim (very charming, very German). I'll make an effort to pay it a visit later in Spring.
Thank you again for the ideas and info.
On that trip we spent 2 nights in Karlsruhe and 3 nights in Freiburg. I used this site to research the places in the Black Forest: http://www.black-forest-travel.com/map/
We drove the panaroma road and stopped off at some of the nice little places like St Peter : http://www.black-forest-travel.com/landscape/panorama-road.html
Spent a day sightseeing in Freiburg. It is a nice place, not as good as Heidelberg though.
The cathedral is worth a vist. http://www.freiburg.de/pb/,Len/225797.html Nice town to walk around.
Lake Mummelsee was good, we hired a pedal boat there (maybe not at this time of year though)!.
Calw was one of the prettiest towns in the region: http://www.black-forest-travel.com/calw/
We also drove the high road from Freudenstadt to Baden Baden. beautiful scenery on these roads.
Had a nice lunch in this restaurant: http://www.hotel-langenwaldsee.de/english/index_english.htm located close to Freudenstadt which has the largest market square in Germany I read.
There are plenty of things to do in this region. You would have to see whether they are suitable for the weather at this time of the year though.
Yes english was less spoken in these smaller places than what we have been used to in other parts of Germany.
From what I remember the menu's were in German in the small places, but often they would have someone that would be able to offer some sort of translation!
I enjoyed all the meals.
Make sure to visit Bamberg when you are in the area next time, it is a very nice place.
My experience is like sg's!
From the Frankfort Airport you are a little more than an hour to Karlsruhe. The Renaissance there was family oriented and there was plenty to experience for a night.
With another hour on the road, you can make Freiburg, There is a lot you can do from here. No Marriott's but I found a wonderful place downtown, that was roomy for three people, and not expensive. From there we went to The Black Forest, Colmar, France, and they were easy trips! I will share some photo's"
Freiburg Cathedral, and there are plenty of activities around this area!
There is much "Street Entertainment", and I would think this is "Year around"!
This is a wonderful, and inexpensive place to dine in Freiburg!
This was another wonderful, but inexpensive place to dine!
I don't know what "Bat Dat" means, but the duck was as good as anyplace I have had it!
Pluto, I won't "Bore you with more", when you need to, I am sure all of us can contribute something to your wonderful trip!
Go for Zurich, unless you have already been there!
It's all autobahn in Germany, and an easy drive once you get into Switzerland. Also, should you consider taking the train from the Frankfurt Airport to the main train station in Zurich?
If you decide on Zurich, I would gladly share with you interesting places you may want to experience along the way.
If you have to rent a car, try to get one with Swiss registration, it will save you a lot of time and money at the Swiss border by not having to wait in line and pay a special tax to drive in Switzerland. All the Marriott's have pay parking in Zurich. Lastly, make sure you get an automatic if you can!
Have a back-up plan/place if the weather or flights represent a problem!
If you are using points, The Renaissance is a much better value than the Marriott, and more easier to navigate by car!
Let us know what you decide on!
I have not been to Zurich, and I appreciate the advice regarding the Ren. over the Marriott. It looks like there is good public transportation if needed (trams) once we're there.
My daughter is actually the one that mentioned Zurich, although it is definitely on my list of places to visit (besides the one time I passed through on a cold, white, snowy January day, sitting in an airplane on the runway while ground crew hosed off our plane with a de-icing solution - much like being in a car wash! I haven't flown Suisse Air since, figuring that it's safer just to fly directly to Frankfurt or Nuremberg in the winter, meaning fewer landings and take offs in bad weather. Nice airport, though.) My only concern about Zurich where the little kids are concerned is that I have this idea somehow that it is a fairly cosmopolitan city, as well as business oriented. Is that so, do you think? Well, that and also that you mentioned how expensive the food is. I have little understanding of the value of the Suisse Franc compared to the dollar or euro, or the cost of living in Zurich. Today it is 1 CHF = 1.08 USD. If a burger costs $4, would it also be 4 or 5 francs? or Twenty? Dunno. Last time (2 years ago), I purchased something in the airport, and it seemed similar in value to the euro, but of course the cash exchange rate in the airport was lousy as it is in all airports.
We would be driving a privately owned vehicle (POV), a Ford with German plates. I did the math (with the help of Google maps, which also provides an estimated fuel cost, presently 1.65€/liter; does that sound accurate?) as well as some rail comparisons, and driving seems to be more cost effective than 4 RT train tickets, as well as more convenient (with luggage).
Anyway, I appreciate the information you've provided (as always), and will let you know what we land on and if there are more questions (always more questions!) Honestly, I am just trying to facilitate some travel for our daughter, as her time in Germany will draw to a close in September, and aside from their post deployment trip to Majorca next week, her husband will not be able to travel much between now and their departure back to the states, due to work commitments.
Thanks for sharing this information!
Zurich, might be "Just too much" to try to do in three days! With children it may result in a "Costly experience". Since your Daughter will only be there for a limited time, why not let her make a recommendation!
Please let us know what you decide!
You have already received a set of very helpful responses. So much depends on personal preferences and past experiences: for example, wild horses wouldn't drag me to Zurich in January/February, but I'm sure all Jerry's wisdom would be invaluable. A second point about which I'm uncertain: how wedded are you to staying at a Marriott (heretical question, I know, but in this instance, quite a factor). Again, an example: SG mentions Colmar, which I'd heartily endorse, possibly together with Strasbourg, but I don't think there is a Marriott close to hand. Lastly, where have you already spent time? I'm guessing that you've "done" the nearest options - Cologne, Bonn, Heidelberg. I wonder about Munich? Jerry will smile because he knows it is a great favourite of mine. If not, give it a little thought: it is closer than either G or Z in distance and time; I'd be very tempted to take a direct train connection from Frankfurt Airport (approx 3.30 mins), partly because the City's internal transport facilities are excellent; you would have a choice of Marriott, CY or a Residence Inn; attractions and eating for the kids wouldn't be a problem; and it is less than 2 hours from the likes of Nuremberg, Salzburg and Augsburg.
But if you really feel ambitious, think about Berlin - but it would take you approx 5 hrs and with even the best "trained" kids, that might be a little too much.
Whatever - have a great time, and let me know if you think I could help any more.
Your reference to wild horses provided me with a chuckle, however where in Western Europe north of Zurich would you go in January/February? If other than nowhere, then please do tell why not Zurich. I am intrigued. I have not been farther north than Koblenz, truth be told, and while I would like to visit Berlin - once, at least - it would not be this time. What do you enjoy about Colmar and Strasbourg? Similarly, what do you enjoy about Bonn and Cologne? I had not thought about Munich, but perhaps I should. My one visit to the city was far too brief, and wished dearly that I could have had more time. I much enjoyed it. I did not visit Dachau (I've been to a couple of holocaust museums elsewhere (not Germany) however - tough stuff.) We could also base out of Bad Winsheim. I was just thinking that since it's a 3 hour drive from Bad Windsheim to Frankfurt (airport), if we wanted to head west-northwest or southwest, we would have already made a start.
Curious, why do you like Munich so much? It's a lot of questions, and I apologize. Anything that you have time for is appreciated.
Thank you for your ideas. They thicken the plot, yet are indeed helpful.
I ALWAYS recommend the Ghent Marriott, plus it has a beautiful location on the canal and across from the castle. Along with the Athens Ledra it is my favorite Marriott. Even though I am of Swiss ancestry, it's been over two decades since I've been to Switzerland so I'll let someone else answer that for you. But it's hard to beat Ghent except maybe check the projected weather. If it's bad weather (esp. rain) it's not nearly as much fun. But the staff is fabulous, the rooms are great with views, the perks are super despite (or perhaps because) no CL. If you go, make sure to see a totally unique medieval painting "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" in the cathedral (known to locals as just the Lamb of God). It's a real lamb on a real altar in late medieval Flemish style.
Much to do, and also a great restaurant in the Ghent Marriott.
Yes, I've been reading about Ghent, everyones photos and stories here are fab, and it seems that many love the Ghent Marriott, although perhaps you are its biggest fan! I love Belgian/Flemish architecture. I guess I'll present all of the info to my daughter now and see what she thinks. I know I will make it to Ghent, if not this time, some time in the not so distant future (at least God willing, always have to throw that caveat in) and look forward to becoming a member of the Ghent Marriott circle of Insiders.
Per your comment above, I like Rothenburg too.
Many thanks for your input.