I need recommendations for a quick, relaxing weekend in Western Europe
March 2, 2011 1:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm a mid-twenties American working near Frankfurt for a couple of weeks; I have the weekend off, and I had plans, but they've apparently slipped away. Looking for suggestions for somewhere to go to relax and sightsee a bit.

I was supposed to hang out with a friend of a friend in Switzerland, and crash on his sofa, but those plans were never solidified and at this point I have to consider them officially dead.

Basically, I'm looking for a city I can hop to in a Friday night or Saturday morning train ride, grab a bed in a hostel, hang out, check out local sights, maybe have a beer with local or tourists. My stress level is pretty high during these trips, so "easy" is a higher priority than "interesting/authentic." For reference, on a previous trip I took some time afterward and went to Amsterdam, spent most of my time sightseeing and hanging out with Canadians, Australians, and the occasional Dutch person - very much a tourist experience. That kind of thing would be pretty perfect right now; not necessarily "authentic" in that I didn't have a lot of intersection with actual local culture, but after an extremely stressful work schedule, I couldn't have cared less.

When I travel for just-plain-fun I like being a little adventuresome and negotiating language barriers, but by the weekend I'm going to be a twitching stressed-out mess and looking mainly to relax. The last time I was here I day-tripped to Trier, which was fun, but some social interaction would really be great - the work is pretty isolating and the idea of an actual conversation about something that isn't shop talk makes me positively giddy.

I'm not in Frankfurt, but I can get to it (and its train stations) easily enough by train. I have a car but I dislike driving, and I'd rather not deal with it during my only real time off, especially considering how extensive my train options should be from Frankfurt.
posted by Tomorrowful to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Berlin ! 4-5 hours by train, and lot's of touristy things to do and see!
posted by PaulZ at 1:40 AM on March 2, 2011

Heidelberg's only an hour and a half from Frankfurt even by slow train, and it's definitely worth seeing. The park around the castle is lovely for walking in.
posted by lollusc at 1:41 AM on March 2, 2011

I was going to suggest Köln/Bonn, but then remembered that it's Karneval, so everything will be full of intoxicated people in crazy costumes, I imagine.

Although that would get you social interaction... anyways, Karneval happening is something to keep in mind this weekend, especially if you were looking at Rhein/Mosel area stuff.
posted by naturalog at 1:49 AM on March 2, 2011

Cochem is beautiful, and interesting:


You would take the train from the Frankfurt Hbf to Koblenz and change there to the small one that runs along the Mosel river to Triere.
posted by thewalrus at 3:04 AM on March 2, 2011

Forgot this:

posted by thewalrus at 3:04 AM on March 2, 2011

Berlin is one of my favorite cities, hands down. It's kind of an emotional experience going there, since it's the city that most visisbly wears its historical scars. However, it looks like that trip takes between 4 and six hours on train, which may not be the best option.

Nurnberg is also a lovely place to explore. Pretty river, markets, huge church, etc. Pretty close and fun for a weekend
posted by piratebowling at 6:55 AM on March 2, 2011

Do you like cars, or transportation in general? Go up to Wolfsburg and spend a day at Autostadt. There's also a pretty impressive science museum right next to Wolfsburg Hbf (you'll walk past it on your way to Autostadt).

I had about six hours to spend at Autostadt when I passed through Wolfsburg in 2008, and that wasn't nearly enough time to see everything I wanted to.
posted by bhayes82 at 8:03 AM on March 2, 2011

Heidelberg is pretty good and is also close to Frankfurt.
posted by grouse at 8:54 AM on March 2, 2011

Berlin! lots of younger, English speaking Germans there. Lots of good food and beer for relatively cheap. Berlin is awesome.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:52 AM on March 2, 2011

For what it's worth, I ended up going to Heidelberg, staying in a really charming fun hostel, and had a generally great time until I did something awful to my foot that had me limping for a week.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:56 PM on March 30, 2011

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