Savvy Travel Decisions

Savvy Travel Decisions travels to Germany for a report from Bernard Venom


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GERMANY:  

 

 

German Flag over the Reichstag

 

Idyllic landscape in the Alps



Germany is a nation of over 20,000 castles, each with their own fascinating history.  http://
www.cometogermany.com 

 

DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED: U.S. citizens need valid in-force passports. 


LANGUAGE:  German 

CURRENCY:  Euros 

PINCHING PENNIES:  TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP: 

Restaurants:  10%;  only 5% - 6% on deluxe, expensive meals. 

Taxis:  10% of meter fare. 

Baggage Porters:  Skycaps do not exist at German airports.  Baggage carts are free. 

Hotel baggage porters:  1 centime per suitcase, more if extra heavy. 


BEST TIME TO VACATION

May to September.  Spring or Fall months are preferable. 

Second choice: October 

MAJOR HOLIDAYS

January 1:  New Years Day 
March or April:  Good Friday 
March or April:  Easter 
March or April:  Easter Monday 
May 1:  Ascension 
May 1:  May Day 
May:  Pentecost Monday 
October 3:  Day of German Unity 
December 24:  Christmas Eve 
December 25:  Christmas Day
December 26:  Second Day of Christmas 
December 31:  New Years Eve 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Early May:  International Fireworks Competition - Hannover 
Late June - early August:  Heidelberg Castle Festival 
Month of July:  Knight’s Tournament at Kaltenberg Castle - 30 miles west of Munich

Mid to late August:  Moritzburg Festival (near Dresden) 
Late August to late September:  Beethovenfest - Bonn 
Late August:  Long Night of Museums 
Late September - mid October:  Cannstatter – Volkfest - Stuttgart 

Mid September - first week of October - Oktoberfest - Munich (Munchen)
November - December:  Christmas Markets throughout Germany  


AACHEN:



MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Mid-late February: Carnival 



BADEN-BADEN:



Home of the world-famous mineral bath spa resort.  First time visitors should be prepared to experience cultural shock:  this is a high-priced nudist colony.  Can you imagine being booked on a tour itinerary that includes Baden-Baden, the place you have always wanted to visit, and arriving totally unprepared?  You’ll be seen alright - in your Sunday’s best suit, freckles and all!   No afternoon fashion shows here or catty remarks about your neighbor’s dress.   It has its advantages:  No need to pack heavy, if this is your sole destination.


BADEN-WURTTEMBERG


Home to Ulm Minister - impressive cathedral with the tallest steeple in the world. 

 

BAVARIA:  

 

Alps mountains view from the top of Zugspitze, Germany

 

You will find the tallest mountain in Germany in the German state of Bavaria.  Zugspitze is 9,718 feet above sea level and is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains of the Northern Limestone Alps.  The border of Germany and Austria runs over the western summit of Zugspitze.  The mountain has three glaciers, two of them being Germany's largest.  Three cable cars run to the top.  The Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car, originally built in 1926, now terminates at the actual summit (1991).  The Bavarian Zugspitze Railway runs inside the northern flank of the mountain and ends at Zugspitzplatt.  A cable car there takes passengers to the top.  The Eibsee Cable Car transports an average of 500,000 people to the summit each year.  There are also nine ski lifts for the ski area.  The Zugspitze is great for skiing and hiking.  

Three friends looking at Zugspitze

 

Hikers on Zugspitze

The amazing sight at the top includes an extensive view of over 400 mountain peaks in four countries.  

 

The historic town of Berchtesgaden with Watzmann Mountain, Bavaria, Germany

Located in the German Bavarian Alps in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land near the border with Austria

 

 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN BAVARIA: 

Visit Neuschwanstein - Bavaria’s most famous castle.   


The famous Neuschwanstein Castle, Fussen, Germany

Nineteenth-Century Romanesque Revival Palace

Built for King Ludwig II on a rugged cliff with scenic mountain landscape,

southwest Bavaria, Germany

 

Copyright

iStock.com/bluejayphoto

Stop to visit the Weis Church - a World Heritage Site. 





BAYREUTH (BAVARIA):  


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN BAYREUTH:    


Late July through late August: Richard Wagner Festival - Bayreuth  

 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN BAYREUTH:

Music is the draw here.

 

The Baroque-style Margravial Opera House (1774) is arguably one of the Europe’s finest. 

 

Visit the New Palace and Court Garden (1753) - home to the Richard Wagner Museum and the Franz Lizst Museum. 

 

Pianists will enjoy a visit to the Steingraeber and Sons piano factory and showrooms.  

 

 

Sorry, but Richard Wagner’ Festspielhaus (1876) is seldom open for public touring.  

 

 




BERLIN:



Berlin is the Capital of Germany and prides itself in being a hip city. 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

Mid-January:  Long Night of Museums. 

Mid-February:  Berlin International Film Festival - Germany’s most important movie event. 

Mid-March through late May:  Power and Friendship, Berlin - St. Petersburg (1800-1860). 

Late April through end of August:  The Period of Promoterism 1848-1871. 

Mid-May:  Uatar Telekom German Open. 

Mid-August:  Athletics World championships. 

 

Mid-September through early January, 2008:  Tropes. 

Late September:  real Berlin marathon for On-line Skaters. 

Mid-October:  INTERMOT. 

 



BEST TIME TO VACATION IN BERLIN

May, June, July,

Mid-April, August, September

AVOID:  October through mid-April: the weather can be damp and cold.

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN BERLIN

Berlin is one of Europe’s most interesting cities.

Berlin is a city of museums. Luckily for you, several are concentrated in what is called the Island Museum, thus minimizing commuting time between museums. The Island Museum, so named as it sits on a small island between the Spree River and the Kupfergraben, is actually five separate museums:  

 


Museum Island on Spree River

 

·         The Altes Museum (1830) is home to the Antikensammlung or Classical Antiquities Collection  displaying valuable Greek collections.

·         The Neues Museum (1859): is next door. It houses Egyptian artifacts and works of art.

·         Alte Nationalgallerie: houses Germany’ largest collection of 19th century sculptures and paintings, as well as Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic and Modern art.  

 

The Alte Nationalgallerie (Old National Gallery) on Museum Island.  

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iStock.com/BirgerNiss

 

·         Bode Museum: displays Byzantine artworks and sculptures from the Middle ages to the Renaissance age.

·         Permagamon Museum: is perhaps the most visited art museum in Germany. Its archaeological treasures include the stunning Pergamon altar, the ancient Market Gate of Miletus (150 AD, the breathtaking Ishtar Gate with its lapis lazuli stones and the exquisite 8th century Mshatta façade with its intricate carvings).

 

Mitte is the city’s historical center. It is best explored in a walking tour.

 

SAVVY SAVINGS:  Try to visit the national museums (The Picture Gallery, The New National Gallery, The Egyptian Gallery, etc.).  Complete list on http://www.spk-berlin.de, on a Thursday evening from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., as admission is FREE. 

Check out the thriving art scene and modernistic architecture throughout the city.  Visit the site of the Brandenburg Gate - 
a powerful symbol of the reunification of West and East Berlin.  Walk across the gate and past the Tiergarten until you come to the Reichstag building - the former home of the German Parliament.   


Brandenburg Gate

 

Take a free guided tour the Reichstag and be sure to visit its sunroof for a panoramic view of the city.   


Reichstag Dome

 

The new home of parliament, the Bundestag, is a short walk away. 

Other famous site for your list are:  Charlottenburg Palace, Schoneberg Town Hall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Kurfurstendamn shopping area, and the Berlin Zoo.  

 

The Holocaust Memorial, bearing 2,711 pillars each that representing a page of Talmud, is an unforgettable sight.   

Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Many, many gray cubes - remember

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iStock.com/Meinzahn

 

The Unter den Linden is one of Berlin’s most popular thoroughfares.  It passes by the Opera House, the History Museum, the aforementioned Island Museum, and the Red Town Hall or Rotes Rthaus. 

 

A fascination persists on anything WWII-Hitler related.  Most remembrances have been eradicated, but  the original sites, of course, remain as they cannot be erased.  One such site is the Third Reich Government Quarter, Germany’s at-the-time equivalent of Ten Downing and Whitehall in London.  It is here that Hitler organized and built his new Chancery.  1871 Wilhelm Strasse. 

 

The Soviets destroyed the Albert Speer designed New Chancery and utilized some of its red marble to construct a war memorial in Treptower Park. 

 

The infamous former Gestapo Headquarters was the scene of brutal interrogations and torture.  The structure was torn down in the 1950’s.  Both indoor and outdoor exhibits exist.  An aptly named outdoor monument ‘The Topography of Terror’ remains on the site.  Both guided and self-guided tours.  

 

The Topography of Terror interestingly integrates remains of the Berlin Wall into the monument.  Audio guides of the exhibition are available in both English and German.  Hours:  Open daily 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.  Closed December 24, December 31 and January 1.  Located at: Niederkirchnerstrasse 8. 

 Bundesfinanzministerium (The Former Air Force Ministry) was HQ’s of Goring’s Air Force Ministry.  Corner of Wilhelm Street and Leipziger Street.  The structure remains standing today and is HQ’s of the Finance Ministry. 

 

 

Last but certainly not least is the site of Hitler’s Bunker in the garden of the old Chancery.  It was here that Hitler both married Eva Braun and where on April 30, 1945, he purportedly committed suicide.  The bunker proved to be indestructible when challenged by the Soviets.  It was finally burned and flooded in 1988 and covered over.  Or was it Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina  Here we come! ???? Perhaps he is buried in Grants’ Tomb?

 

Heinrich Wolff’s former Reichsbank/Foreign Office remains standing.  Werderscher Market, 10117 Berlin.

 

Much of the Olympic Stadium, site of the 1936 Olympics and Jesse Owens four medal performance, remains today as it did in 1936, a sports center.  

 

Pariser Square is surrounded by government buildings restored after their destruction in WWII.

 

Take a side trip to the baroque town of Potsdam to tour Frederick the Great’s castle. 

 

See the site of the Berlin Wall (perhaps you have a souvenir chunk of it back home)? 

Take a cruise on Berlin’s canals. 

 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN BERLIN

Visit the bustling Alexanderplatz shopping district. 

 

TASTY DINING IN BERLIN

Hackescher Market, in the center of Berlin, is a great place for light lunches. 

 

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN IN BERLIN

 

Berlin is the swingiest night life in Germany – all music styles from rock, pop, contemporary, hip hop, Indie are all represented and performed live in venues ranging from down and dirty to posh.  The music scene doesn’t get jumping until 2 – 3 a.m.  The clubs don’t close until the customers leave!

 

The best music clubs are clustered in the Frederichshain, Kreuzberg, Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg districts.  Many clubs are impromptu pop-up clubs in warehouses and basements. 

IN SEARCH OF A GOOD NIGHTS REST IN BERLIN:

Mention of Check Point Charlie, the famous Berlin Crossing of the Cold War past, was seldom associated with the thought of rest or slumber, but rather with anxiety.  This is all about to change dramatically when The Hard Rock Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie opens onsite in 2020.  The 372 hotel will include a chunk of the infamous Berlin Wall as well as the Hammond organ featured in the 1979 Pink Floyd music album, “The Wall.” 




BONN:



Former Capital of Germany until East and West were joined.



BREMEN:



MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:   


Mid-February:  Carnival 
Early September:  Weser River Inline Skating Tour 

 



BREMERHAVEN:

 

Important port.  Home of the German Emigration center - Europe’s largest museum dedicated to emigration. 


COLOGNE


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

Late February: Carnival 
Early July:  Cologne Lights

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN COLOGNE: 

The imposing 11th century Cologne Cathedral dominates the Cologne landscape.  This is a World-Heritage site.  The Cologne Cathedral is a must-see on any visit to the city. 

 

Cologne, Germany

 

 


DORTMAN:

 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:   


Late February: Dortman Motorcycle Fair 

 

 



DRESDEN:  

 

 

Semperoper in Dresden, Germany



Be sure to visit Pillnitz Castle and its much acclaimed Baroque gardens which are nearby. 



DUSSELDORF:


Dusseldorf is a fashion and business center. 

BEST TIME TO VACATION: May, June, July

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:   


Late February:  Carnival 
December:  Christmas Market; Jazz Festival 

MAJOR CONVENTIONS

Dusseldorf is a major convention city - always check the schedule before making your travel plans. 


EISENACH, THUR
(THURINGIA)


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:


Late August: Luther Festival  


FRANKFURT     

    


Frankfurt on the Main River

BEST TIME TO VACATION
June or September

AVOID:  July, August: hot  

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

Mid-September:  Automechanika 


Late September through early January: Albrecht Durer - the prints in the Städel Museum.  The Stadel Museum offers 700 years of art under a single roof - from early 14th Century art through the present.  Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt on Main.  

MAJOR CONVENTIONS AND MEETINGS


Frankfurt is a major convention city - always check schedule before making your travel plans. 


 

FRIEBURG


Frieburg is a cultural center of the Black Forest.  Lovely countryside; well-preserved town. 



HAMBURG:   

Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city with a population of 1.8 million.  

Winter in Hamburg


Hamburg is a large harbor.  
It has long served as the commerce gateway to the North Sea.

 

Hamburg’s beauty unfortunately is known to few tourists, as heretofore it has played second fiddle to Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt. This could be changing, as Hamburg is undergoing a massive transformation into a desirable tourist destination.

Weekend visitation is heavy from Dutch, Scandinavian, British and German tourists.

 

THE BEST TIME TO VACATION IN HAMBURG:

Year round. That said, the winter months can be cold and dreary with gray skies with a scarcity of sunlight.

 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN HAMBURG:

May: Annual Harbor Festival Parade-Hundreds of parading sailing ships.

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN HAMBURG:

 

Most of Hamburg’s future development (businesses, apartments, and cultural) is being focused in the HafenCity Hamburg sector between the city’s warehouse district (one of the world’s largest) and the Elbe River. The harbor, always busy, is a beehive of activity these days.

The Elbe River Canals have enabled Hamburg to boast as being: “The Venice of Northern Europe.”

 

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP:  

Purchase the Hamburg Card for unlimited travel on the city’s buses, subways and trams, receive substantial discounts on museum, shopping and 150 attraction. They come in one, two, three and five  day durations. Available at several hotels, the airport, central  train station, the harbor, and the Hamburg tourist office.

 

The distinctive elaborately decorated neo-Renaissance-style facade of the 647 room Rathaus (Town Hall)-(1897) replaced the original town hall that was destroyed by fire in 1842.

 

The banks of the city-center, hour-glass shaped, Alster Lake house opulent villas built by affluent 19th century merchants in this highly desirable residential neighborhood. Locals enjoy jogging and cycling the four-mile park that circles the lake. Others enjoy motorboating around the lake or taking the Alster Steamer cruise to see the sights.

 

Whatever you do in Hamburg, DO NOT MISS visiting Miniatur Wunderland-a fantastic highly detailed model train display par excellence-there’s simply no co-equal. Not only is it the world’s largest, but everything is in action in the cities, mountains, seacoasts- everything moves and is in animation: autos, people, ships, buildings on fire, emergency vehicles. The trains pass through Germany, Scandinavia and even the United States-the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas! A staff controls the intricate computerization.You simply have to see to believe it. the display is constantly expanding/evolving,  and recently introduced a dazzling multi-dimensional model airport-again everything moves including the passenger airplanes taking off and landing, as well as ferrying to the terminal and the baggage actually being unloaded! Kehrweider 2-4. Check out their fabulous website to whet your appetite before you visit.

 

The Hamburg Kunstahalle is the third largest art museum in Germany. Major works by Renoir, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Coubet, and Henri Toulouse Lautrec.

 

The Deichtorhallen Hamburg and the Haus for Photographyl, is one of Europe’s largest art exhibition venues along with a sizeable collection of contemporary art.

 

Most of Hamburg’s future development (businesses, apartments, and cultural) is being focused in the HafenCity Hamburg sector between the city’s warehouse district (one of the world’s largest) and the Elbe River.  

 

The 2,500 seat Baroque architecture St. Michael’s Church serves as the city’s largest music venue for classical concerts. It has several huge pipe organs. Johannes Braham was baptized here in 1833. George Telemann and Christian Phillip Emanuel Bach, son of Johann Sebastian Bach, served as music directors here in the 18th century. The evening views of the city from the church are mezmerising. Englische Planke 1, 49-40-37-67-80.  

 

IN SEARCH OF A GOOD NIGHTS REST IN HAMBURG:

The Hotel Atlantic Kempinski (1909)-An der Alster 72-19; 49-40-28-88-817, and the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (1897), both located on Alster Lake, are the preferred places to stay.

 

TASTY DINING IN HAMBURG:

Collin’s is an oldtime Hamburg dining experience-expensive (plan on spending $225-300 per couple!), but worth it. Brodschrangen. Tiny rooms, some with only a single or three tables. Seafood is the specialty-lobster bisque, dover sole, wiener schnitzel for you landlubbers. You summon your waiter with a buzzer as there’s no spare room for him to monitor your dining progression. 1-5; 49-40-40-36-41-53.

 

 A NIGHT ON THE TOWN IN HAMBURG:

The impressive new modern glass Elbe Philharmonic Hall in the harbor area is scheduled to open in 2017. This is a sight not to miss as it is poised to become one of the world’s premier concert halls.

 

The musical theater with Broadway type shows with extended runs is alive and well at several theaters.

 

The former St. Pauli red-light district is enjoying a renaissance into a music and dining district.

 

The Hempel’s Beatles Tour is a walking tour of the Beatle’s early days in Hamburg. Young songwriter-singer Stefi Hempel guides you on a 3.5 hour walking tour of the St. Pauli nightclub district and visiting bars where the Beatles first performed (1960-1962) before their Liverpool days. The talented Hempel will also entertain you with her rendition of some Beatle music. Tours at 18:00 on Saturdays departing from the Feldstrasse Subway Station. Group or private tours: 040-30033790.

 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN HAMBURG:

The City Centre with its internationally renowned shopping area of galleries and promenades on shopping boulevards Monckebergstrasse, Spitalerstrasse and Neur Wall (a cluster of fashionable shops). The Alsterarkaden is a Venetian-style arcade of shops and cafes along a broad canal.

 

Sundays are special at the 400 year old Fischauktionshalle (Fish Auction Hall). Hundreds of vendors line the pier selling fresh fish, flowers, nuts and baked goods.

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP:   

Reservations are required for the bountiful German breakfast buffet with a live German band playing American rock. Hours: 3:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (During the winter months of November 16-March 14, the market opens at 7:00 a.m.).

 

Jungfernsteig on the Alster is the traditional shopping district. Large department stores and fashionable boutiques.

  



HANOVER:



Home to Herrenhausen Palace, built in 1666. 

BEST TIME TO VACATION

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Annually:  CeBIT - the world’s largest information technology show
Early May:  Port Festival  


HEIDELBERG

 

View of Heidelberg

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN HEIDELBERG

This gingerbread tourist favorite features the Heidelberg Castle. 

 

You should also view the Old Bridge and the Rhine Plain.  

People walk across Karl Theodor Bridge (also known as the Old Bridge) over the 

Neckar River in old town Heidelberg

Copyright

iStock.com/Karnizz

 


KARLSRUHE


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Mid-February: Handel Festival 


KIEL


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Late June: Kiel Week 


KOLN


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

First week of March: Karneval 



LEIPZIG

(Eastern Germany)

 

Leipzig offers a wealth of music, art and cultural attractions.  Famed composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, spent much of his life here.  

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:  


Mid-June: Bach Festival 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN LEIPZIG: 

The city is compact and lends itself well for walking.

The three mile Leipzig Music Trail, “A fascinating weave of city exploration and musical discovery,”  links the city’s key historical sights.  The walk is inspired by music of historic greats including Bach and Wagner.  The Leipzig Music Trail is an easy way to discover musical highlights on foot.  See:  www.leipzig.travel/

The Bach Museum honors the famed composer.

St. Thomas Church is the burial site of Johann Sebastian Bach. 

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP

The Church’s choir performs on Fridays at 6:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and at Sunday services. 

Felix Mendelssohn’s House is another do not miss.  The restored home appears as when Mendelssohn resided here in 1845. 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN LEIPZIG:

Maedler Passage is preferred for stylish goods. 

 

TASTY DINING IN LEIPZIG:

Auerbachs Keller – Following dinner, ask to see the unique painted cellar immortalized by Goethe in Faust

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN IN LEIPZIG:

Have a nighcap at Kleine Fleischergasse or Barfussgasse, both popular pub alleys. 

 

 

 

 

MAINZ


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Late February: Carnival  


MANNHEIM:  

 


MUNICH
(MUNCHEN):  

 

Marienplatz  Square in Munich



BEST TIME TO VACATION:  April, May 

 

Skyline of Munich

 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:  


Late February:  Carnival   


Munich Oktoberfest

You can see a mixture of people as well as an orchestra and ornate horses of the

Festive procession in the morning of the first festival-weekend.  

Copyright

iStock.com/Rocky89


Mid-September - first week October; September 16, 2017 - October 3, 2017, September 22, 2018 - October 7, 2018; and September 21, 2019 - October 6, 2019: die WEISN: OKTOBERFEST - A 16-day party of German cuisine, amusement rides, music, and some 30 beer tents (each with their own specialty beer, food and entertainment).  Expect HUGE crowds - over six million attend annually.   

Most attendees arrive for merriment and the enjoyment of beer, unaware that Oktoberfest really began in 1810 as a horse race to celebrate the wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Theresa of Saxony.  The event later evolved into an agricultural show to boost Bavarian agriculture, the region's history, culture and tradition.  Food, music, dancing and brew were eventually added to the festivities.  

 

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP:  

It is highly recommended that you attempt to assemble a minimum group of six individuals to qualify for making reservations either online, by telephone or via fax for a set period of time (lunch, happy hour, dinner).  Otherwise, individuals, without reservations at the Big Tents, are at the mercy of having to arrive EARLY (before 11:00 a.m.), hoping to snare a seat:  Simply put: no seat, no beer, no exceptions!  

 

Choose your tent based on brewery, cuisine, and music.  Families should check out the family friendly tents (the Augusttiner Festhalle - Tuesday is a good family day) and avoid evenings.  

The most popular beer tests are:

  • the Hippodrom
  • Augustiner Festhalle
  • Hacker Festzelt
  • Marstall Festzelt


The Big Tents: 

The largest is the Gemuetichkeit Tent (Brewery:Paulaner): Seats 8,450 inside and 2,450 outside.  It is beautifully decorated.  Traditional German festive music with sing-alongs.  Reserve by phone or fax: 49-(089)62 17 19 10. fax: 49 (089) 62 17 19 19.

Hacker (Brewery: Hacker-Pschorr):  popular for incredible painted art scenes throughout the tent, traditional music - rock n’ roll, and Bavarian cuisine.  Seats 6,900 inside and 2,400 outside.  Reservations: 49 (08170) 73 03  or fax: 49 (08170) 73 85. 

The Holbrau Munchen Festhalle, (Brewery: Hoffbrau Munchen) is a favorite of Americans, Brits, 
American underage drinkers, and Australian backpackers.   Seats 6,896 inside and 3,022 outside.  The music is a favorite of the revelers.  Reserve well in advance.  Telephone or fax: 49 (089) 448 96 70, fax: 49 (089) 448 35 87.  


The Schotenhammel (Brewery:  Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau) is Oktoberfest’s oldest. Opening ceremonies are conducted here.  Seats 6,000 inside and 4,000 outside. Reservations by phone or fax: 49-(089) 544 69 310  or fax: 49 (089) 544 69 319. 

Schutzenfest Tent (Brewery: Lowenbrau): lots of atmosphere and lively music.  Cuisine features whole pig roasted in beer sauce.  Seats 4,442 inside.  Reservations: 49 (089) 23 18 12 24, fax: 49 (089) 23 18 12 44. 

Armbrustschutzen - Bull’s Eye (Brewery: Paulaner):  seats 5,830 inside and 1,600 outside. Popular tent featuring Brass band and excellent traditional Bavarian cuisine. Reservations:  49 (089) 23 70 37 03, Fax: 49 (089) 23 70 37 05. 

The Hippodrom: (Brewery: Spaten-Franzentaler-Brau):  seats 3,200 inside, 1,000 outside.  Favorite of Germans 
and German celebrities.   Very popular with the “in-crowd.”  Large Bavarian menu.  Reservations:  49 (089) 29 54 42, or online at the Hippodrom website.  


Small Tents: 

Huhner-und Entenbraterei Ammer (Brewery: Augistiner).  Family friendly: cuisine is roast chicken or duck.  Children’s menu.  Music begins in evening.  Seats 450 inside, 450 outside.  Reservations: 49 (089) 812 74 01, fax: 49 (089) 813 22 26. 

Heinz Wurst-und Huhnerbraterei (Brewery:  Paulaner): family friendly; cuisine consists of variety of Heinz sausages, roasted chicken, and vegetarian selections.  Seats 360 inside.  Reservations:  49 (089) 430 08 98, fax: 49 (089) 430 08 98. 

Hendl-und Entenbraterei Heimer (Brewery:  Paulaner): seats 320 inside.  Highly popular tent.  Traditional German fare including duckling.  Reservations: 49 (089) 23 69 14 71, fax: 49 (089) 23 69 18 47. 

Poschner’s Huhner-und Entenbraterei (Brewery: Hacker-Pschorr): seats 350 inside; cozy, friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere.  Roast chicken and duck.  Reservations: 49 (089) 93 10 18, fax: 49 (089) 93 94 05 04. 

Das Wienerwald Festzeit (Brewery: Hofbrau Munchen):  Seats 365; known for roasted chicken.  Relaxed family-friendly atmosphere.  Reservations:  49 (089) 72 01 64 27, fax: 49 (089) 72 01 64 28. 

Hochreiter’s Haxnbraterei (Breweries: Franziskaner and Lowenbrau):  seats 300; casual, excellent grilled meats.  Reservations: 49 (089) 29 75 45, fax: 49 (089) 291 30 02.

Check Oktoberfest website for other Tent listings and to confirm telephone and fax numbers.  www.oktoberfest.info/en/information/reservation   

Oktoberfest in Munich, Loewenbraeu Brewery's festive tent

September 16, 2016:  The interior of Loewenbraeu Brewery's tent.

Copyright

iStock.com/Nikada 

 

Well endowed waitresses are dressed in Dirndls - smock-like dresses pinched at the waist and low-cut to reveal the bulging obvious.  Younger waitresses embellish the dress by making it considerably snugger - good for tips.

Men are attired in a snug pair of lederhosen, thick wool socks pulled upo past the calves and a checkered skirt.

 

 

The beer tents typically are filled with row upon row of worn wooden benches and beer-stained tables.  Garlands of flags and bunting are draped from the ceiling.  Brass oompahpah bands play sing-along music.  

Once seated in a beer tent, a waitress will appear to take your order. Tip each drink delivery.

SAVVY TRAVEL TIP:  

Once your beer is served, it is customary to toast your table neighbor: by shouting “Prost”-cheers and clanking glasses! Failure to stare at and maintain eye contact with your neighbor when toasting is said to condemn you to seven years of unsatisfying sex!

 

 

German beer is stronger than you may be accostumed.  Eat something while drinking: order freshly baked doughy and salted pretzels or butter-basted chicken from your waitress.   Pickles, cheese and radishes are available for purchase from roving vendors.

 

The Opening Ceremony at Noon and the Costume Party and Riflemen's Parade (7,000 costumed performers and marchers, horses, oxen, farmyard animals, and musicians) on the first Sunday of Oktoberfest are packed - without reservations, your chances for seating are minimal.  

The Opening Ceremony includes the "Grand Entry" of the Oktoberfest landlords and breweries (over 1,000 participants) and families on decorated, horse-drawn carriages, waitresses on decorated floats, and beer test bands.  

The Costume Party & Riflemen's Parade is also a highlight.  The participants are garbed in Bavarian costumes, troops in historic garb, marching bands, riflemen, horses, oxen, cows, goats and decorated drays of the participating breweries.  

 

 Your purchased vouchers are for timed entry and payment of food or beverage.  Bring cash as credit cards are not generally accepted.  Tip your waiter each time of service 10% - 20%.  Regardless of your reservation status, it is extremely important that you arrive ON TIME!  Since you’ll be sampling beer and engaging in the merriment, it is not recommended that you drive to the festival.  Instead, use public transportation or a taxi.  You’ll be happy you did as parking is limited.  Does much drinking take place at Oktoberfest?  Consider this:  One third of Munich’s breweries’ annual beer production is consumed at Oktoberfest!!  Festival hours weekdays are 10:00 a.m. ‘til 10:30 p.m.; weekends: 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.  

The music becomes louder and more intense after 6:00 p.m.  Oktoberfest has been celebrated for over 200 years.  It is the world’s largest public festival.  http://www.oktoberfest.de   Don't forget your Lederhosen and Dirndldress!  

 

A huge carnival with thrill rides takes place at the Theresienwiese Fairgrounds that surrounds the beer tents.  An open-air concert is also usually scheduled for one or more days.

  


Mid-April through early May: Munich Biennale - International festival for New Music Theatre. 
 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN MUNICH

First and foremost is joining the festivities at the many beerhalls and beer gardens (see list below). 


Check out the Olympic Stadium 
(scene of the 1972 Olympics) and Frauenkirche.  

The Marienplantz-Marien Square and New Town Hall are all located together in the city center. A must see is the tower of the New Town Hall that houses the famed Glockenspiel Chime and the 32 life-sized figures that re-enact historic Bavarian events. You’ll know when the show is over, as a bird chirps three times.

 

If you enjoy science and technology museums, you will not want to miss visiting the Deutsches Museum with its fascinating displays of electricity, astronomy, transportation, mining, printing and photography.

 

Frauenkirche-the massive Catholic Cathedral with twin towers, is a Munich landmark; it holds 20,000 parishoners! It, and the Town Hall, dominate the city center skyline.

 

The city’s three main art museums are all clustered together just west of the English Garden:

Alte Pinakothek displays over 800 European masterpieces. It has one of the world’s largest collections of Reubens.

The Neue Pinakothek concentrates on 18th-20th century art and sculpture.

The Pinakothek der Moderne is germany’s largest museum for modern art.

 

The Residence Palace (1385), one-time home for the Bavarian monarchs, nowadays is a renowned museum of interior decorating, with 130 rooms filled with antique furniture, art, porcelain and textiles.

 

 

If you thought that NYC’s Central Park was immense, you should visit the considerably larger English Garden-Munich’s largest. It’s ideal for strolling or renting a paddleboat. Locals perform their version of “surfing” on the Eisbach waterway.

Munich is infamous as being the birthplace of Naziism. Many of the old remaining historic buildings have connections of some sort to the movement.

 

The Dachu Concentration Camp, ten miles northwest of Munich was the first of a series of such camps of the Third Reich. Guided tours of this unfortunate site are now conducted.

Neuschwanstein Castle:  Highly recommended is a day excursion from Munich to the Neushwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps. To maximum your viewing enjoyment, take a professional sightseeing company tour. A ten and one-half  hour inclusive tour including roundtrip transportation from Munich, tour guide and admissions, averages only $66 per person.

It saves you the hastle of auto rental and having to make advanced ticketing to the castle as is required. It also is a great way of having an expert guide escort you through the Bavarian countryside seeing other sights en route to and from the castle. The tours typically visit another castle en route-the Linderhof hunting lodge castle, spend two hours in Linderhof, and allow four hours for a leisurely visit at Neuschwanstein Castle.

If you choose to visit the Castle on your own, you must stand in long lines to purchase tickets at the Ticket center in the village of Hohenschwangau before you visit the castle! Tickets are not sold at the castle. Timed entry admission is available for an added cost. Tickets can be reserved by calling 49-(0) 83 62-9 30 83 -0 or online the castle’s website

 

In case Neushwanstein castle looks awfully familiar to you, its because Disney used it as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The castle was built for King Ludwig II in 1886. Hard to believe, but the castle was built with running water and central heat-can you imagine the monthly utility bill?? The King was shy and had the castle built as a private retreat to avoid people and public life. Little did he anticipate that the castle years later would attract over 1.4 million visitors annually.

 

Half-hour guided tours are offered in English and German. Audio cassettes are available in several other languages. Smoking and photography is prohibited.

 

 

In case you become hungry, there’s even a small café and bistro on the second floor that you can visit after your tour. There is also a franchised restaurant just outside the castle gates.  

Neushwanstein Castle is located near Schangua and Fussen-a short distance from Munich. If you opt not to take a professional tour company package to the castle, an alternative is to take a roundtrip train.

 

The Castle is open daily April-September: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and October-March: 10:00 a.m-4:00 p.m.. It is closed on January 1, December 24 and 25, and December 31.

 

 

Visit the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum for the scoop on the city’s beer history and Oktoberfest celebration history. An uninspiring museum.  

You’ll want to visit the BMW Event Forum:  an auto fanatic’s dream come true.  BMW is the futuristic steel and glass H.Q.’s and home to ROI – the Technology & Design Atelier showcase of cutting edge racing, plug-in hybrid design ingenuity, and new BMW I electric car line.  The modernistic, upside down bowl-shaped structure BMW Museum, houses seven galleries of branding, technology, motorbikes, etc.

BMW group Classics houses the rare historic vehicles.  This is a look, don’t touch museum, UNLESS, you are wearing white gloves!

 

Check out the Olymipc Stadium and Frauenkirche.  

 

 

 

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN IN MUNICH:

A Word or Two About German Beer In Munich:

Helles is the most popular beer style-it’s very pale, malty lager.

 

Dunkies us the traditional Munich beer style, but of late is losing its appeal.

 

If your visit to Munich doesn’t coincide with Oktoberfest, fret not if you wish to partake of suds. Munich isn’t called “The Beer Capital” for nothing! There are plenty of year round beer halls/biergartens (close to 200) to whet your whistle and woop it and dance to the oompahpah bands. Munich’s beers are served in pubs, beerhalls and outdoor beer gardens.

The classic beer halls and summer beer gardens:

  • Hofbrauhaus (1589)-colorful Bavarian colors-Munich’s most famous-the epitomy of a high-vaulted grand beer hall; it seats 2,500; waitresses are in traditional beerhall dress, live oompahpah band. Beer is served in one-liter steins! Entrees include veal sausage and pork roast. Infamous: Dis is de place with the Fueher Adolph drank. Busloads of tourists. Hours: daily 9:00 a.m-11:30 p.m. Am Platzl, 9, 089-290-1360
  • Der Pschoor, beer is served from wooden kegs. Sausages, beef and cheeses. Viktualenmarkt 15
  • Spatenhaus is less raucous-fine cuisine; More sedate crowd-patronized by the opera set.
  • Andechaser am Dom: typical high-vaulted beer hall with pine tables. Weinstrasse Hours: daily 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 7A, 089-298-481
  • Nurnberger Bratwurst Glocki an Dom-tourist favorite
  • Englischer Garden-Chinesischer Turm-very popular beer garden, oompahpah band, roast pork and potato dumplings are the specialty, Hofbrau on tap. Hours: 10:00 a.m-10:00 p.m.
  • Paulaner Brauhaus: serving their beer since 1889. Beautiful restoration. Mondays feature an all-you-can-eat buffet. Kapuzinerplatz 5.
  • Augusttiner Keller(1812): is a favorite of both locals and tourists. Aard-winning cuisine. Located on Armulstrasse near the train station.
  • The monstrous Lowenbraukeller (1883) is a classic. Brew and Bavarian music and dance. Elegant restaurant. Probably the classiest of the beer halls. Hours: 10:00 a.m-10:00 p.m. Nymphenburgerstrasse 2.
  • A great choice when the weather is nice and the real “biggie” (seats 8,000) is Hirschgarten. Augustner beer is served fro wooden kegs. Hours: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Hirschgarten 1.

 

 While it is practically sac religious to visit Munich and not inhibit beer, there are cocktail and wine lounges: Schumann’s in the city center on Odeonsplatz town square is perhaps the most popular. Compare is the drink of choice. It attracts the glamour crowd. Thursdays are usually jammed packed.

 

Whisky drinkers gravitate to Koningsquelle-hundreds of bottles of whisky including rare selections.

 

Vino lovers prefer Giesel’sVinothek at the Excelsior Hotel. An impressive selection of 600 wines, many available by the glass.

 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN MUNICH:

Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s daily outdoor farmers market: fresh and regional food items, vegetables and fruit, flowers, cheese, eggs, and pastries.

  •  

 




 

The famous Carillon at Munich city hall tower, chimes, Marienplatz

 

 

MUNSTER


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Mid-October: Film Festival Munster 


NEUKIRCH, LAUSITZ
(BRANDENBURG)


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Early September: EuroSpeedway Superbike World Championship 


NEURNBURG


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


July 20, 2008: Formula One Grand Prix 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN NUREMBERG: 

For an eerie experience in history, visit Zeppelin Field, an immense field where Hitler was known to address over a million Nazi faithful in war rallies. 

Don’t miss visiting Room 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice - site of the Nuremberg War Tribunals after World War II. 

 



OBERAMMERGAU:



Oberammergau is a quaint alpine village that hosts the world’s best recognized Passion Play (performed by the village’s residents every ten years) - a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Will take place next in 2020.  Reserve well in advance for the limited lodging availability, often in private residences.  Expect to drive distances to and from your lodging. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN OBERAMMERGAU: 

 

OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY 2020: 

This spectacular outdoor pageant presentation of epic proportions takes place only once every ten years.  Following 2020, the next Oberammergau Passion Play will not occur until 2030.  2020 represents the 42nd time the community of Oberammergau has presented the Passion Play, a span of several hundred years (1634). 

The Oberammergau Passion Play represents a Herculean community effort involving practically every citizen in one manner or another in its presentation.  The cast totals nearly 2,000 actors and musicians. 

The inconveniences of commute and lodging that one must endure to experience Oberammergau pales when compared with the rewards of having the opportunity to witness one of the world’s truly magnificent living history re-enactments.  Other passion plays are minuscule and amateurish in comparison.  It is next to impossible to secure individual tickets not part of a packaged tour.  Lodging is reserved years in advance.  Your best bet is to contact a tour operator and hope that there is availability. 

One and two night packages are offered. 

For Friday performances, a one-night package is offered.  Arrivals before Noon are served a brunch or lunch at your lodging or nearby restaurant. 

Friday Passion Play performances are at 2:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.  The actual play is five hours.  

At 5:00 p.m., a 3 hour intermission is taken during which time you will be served dinner.  The Passion play resumes at 8:00 p.m. till conclusion at 10:30 p.m.  Shuttle to and from the Play is provided.  Prices begin at Euro 199.  Basic to luxurious packages are offered. 

Ticket only:  (no lodging, transportation, or meals) range from Euro 49, 50 to Euro 165,000.  

Single Performances take place only on Fridays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  

The exact dates of performances for 2020 will be available in 2017. 

Telephone: ++49 8822 923 10, e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

 



POTSDAM:



Be sure to see Sanssouci Palace with its elaborate grounds. 


REGENSBURG


MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS


Early April: Bach Week 

 

RHINE RIVER:  

 

Assmannshausen on the Rhine River

 

Medieval Castles galore!  The 35-mile river stretch between Bingen and Koblenz is “Castle Row.”  The Rhine winds for 900 miles from the Alps to the North Sea. 

 

BEST TIME FOR RHINE RIVER CRUISES: 

April and May or September and October.  Less crowded than the popular June-July cruises. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS ON THE RHINE RIVER: 

The Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, encompasses Germany’s 13 wine-growing regions.  Of the 40 castles along a 37-mile stretch of the Middle Rhine, the 700 year old Marksburg Castle is the only castle to have survived intact.  The stretch between Cologne and Mainz is particularly sight worthy.   


Rhine River at St. Goar

 



ROSTOCK:



Gothic churches; Hanseatic history; white sandy beaches.



ROTHENBERG:   

 

 

Ancient Gate and City Clock, Old City Center


Interesting medieval city, complete with a city wall and famous city clock with moving figures. 



Ancient Walls of Rothenberg

 

 

SALZBURG:



MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN SALZBURG:


January 26 through February 5, 2017:   Salzburg Mozart Week Festival 


STUTTGART


BEST TIME TO VACATION IN STUTTGART


Early July - German schools are still in session. 

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN STUTTGART


Late February: Dance Platform Germany - Nation’s largest contemporary dance event.
Mid-March: Retro Classic
Late September - 1st week of October: Stuttgart’s Volkfest - Stuttgart Beer Festival: draws 5 million tourists! 
Mid-September through early January: Stan Douglas 
Early October through late March: Agyptische Mumien-Unsterblichkelt Im 
Land der Pharoaonen (Egyptian Mummies-Life in the Land of the Pharoah).

Model Sud - Exhibition of Model Railways, November 17 - 20, 2016

Traudich Stuttgart - Wedding Fair, January 14-15, 2017    

CMT International Exhibition for Caravanning, Motoring and Tourism, January 14 - 22, 2017      
Haus/Bau/Energie Stuttgart - Home and Energy Efficiency Expo, April 2017

Garten Exhibition for Amateur Gardeners and Flower Lovers, April 20 - 23, 2017


Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany

The Porsche Museum was designed by HG Merz and opened in 2009 and exhibits the history of Porsche. 

Copyright

iStock.com/Chris15232

 

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo

Copyright

iStock.com/SteveLagreca

 

 

Mercedes-Benz Museum Stuttgart

Contains more than 160 vehicles.  

Copyright

iStock.com/eli_asenova

 

 

WEIMAR:

Weimar is a 1-1/2 hour drive south of Leipzig.  This small town has important historical significance because it hosted several of mankind's greatest intellectuals:  Goethe, Schiller, Nietzsche, Liszt and Bach.  

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN WIEMAR:  

This small, pretty town has no less that 25 museums.  

 

 

WURZBURG:


Residence Palace; prominent wine-growing area. 

 

 

VIEW OF THE BLACK FOREST

 

 

Aerial view of the Black Forest Mountains

 

The Black Forest Mountains are found in the State of Baden-Wurttemberg in southwestern Germany, bounded by the Rhine River to the west and south.  The highest peak in the Mountains is Feldberg Peak at 4,898 feet.  The closest larger town is Baden-Baden (Northern Black Forest Valleys). 

For tourists, the Black Forest offers endless opportunities not the least of which is fantastic hiking with many, many trails.  In the summer, a tourist can enjoy water sports, wind surfing, thermal baths, museums, in winter, many, many winter sports, and in Baiersbronn excellent dining. 

In 1900 and 1999, extensive damage was done to the Forest by hurricanes.  The damaged areas are now a natural mixed evergreen and deciduous forest. 

 

Generally the Forest has lower temperatures and higher rainfall than surrounding areas.