Germany in Oktober
September 20, 2006 8:02 PM   Subscribe

I will be traveling through Germany (and a wee bit of Netherlands) this October for 3 weeks. I am already quite aware that Oktoberfest does not occur in October save for a few days. Suggestions for this country during this time period? I will be in at least Köln/Cologne, Bonn, Munich, Berlin. My schedule is very flexible and I plan to do the hostel thing. I have a Eurail pass already. I enjoy music, cafes, museums, meeting people A good friend from high school will be joining me. I'm in my mid-twenties.
posted by umlaut to Travel & Transportation around Germany (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: bah! sorry for the long initial question appearing on the front page.
posted by umlaut at 8:04 PM on September 20, 2006

Utrecht is a short and absolutely-worth-it side trip from Cologne. It's a beautiful, peaceful, very welcoming city that feels light years away from Amsterdam's aggressive touristy hustle. I had an amazing time at the Strowis hostel and at the Museum of Mechanical Instruments [musical instruments].
posted by allterrainbrain at 8:22 PM on September 20, 2006

When in Köln, enjoy some Kölsch beer. It's hard to find outside of Cologne. That's if you're into beer.
posted by glip at 8:31 PM on September 20, 2006

Response by poster: I sure do love me some beer. I already have Kölsch on my list.
posted by umlaut at 8:37 PM on September 20, 2006

You can find a listing in the Lonely Planet Munich book for "The Unusual Museum", which is really a few unrelated museums in one. My favorite was the guardian angel museum and we also really enjoyed the chamber pot collection. This museum is one of the oddest I've ever been in, and I've been in a lot!

The Klimt Haus is lovely and has many of his paintings, all of which are so much more vibrant and breathtaking in real life.

The Spielzeugmuseum has a large collection of unique toys, dating back to the 1800s and is located right in the Marienplatz, spread out over many floors connected by a storybook staircase.

I think I learned of all of these places in the Lonely Planet book actually... and they were all well worth the visit.
posted by RoseovSharon at 9:18 PM on September 20, 2006

In Munich, try and walk through the Englischer Garten, it's huge and really nice. Lots of places to stop and eat/drink, rest in the grass, spot some naked people.
Also, it's kinda touristy, but the Rathuas is nice for lunch, in the Ratskellar. Old old world vibe and comfort food. But the fancy clock outside doesn't do it's thing at 2pm, we found out after waiting and waiting. And Hofbrauhaus is kind of a must-see (or not).
We went to Germany in May for 3 weeks and it was great.
And I'll say one thing about the food...all the sausages and potatoes and kraut are awesome but after a few weeks it starts to get a bit much and you feel as though you are packing a musket, if you know what I mean.
posted by chococat at 9:25 PM on September 20, 2006

As one who hasn't been to Germany since childhood but has fond memories of living there as an army brat, I must recommend Bavaria, specifically:

• Rothenburg ob der Tauber -- a walled city. Cheesy, but was wonderful when I was in fourth grade. Giant cuckoo-type clock in the town square, you can walk on the wall and see beautiful scenery. Great Christmas shops and a medieval torture museum that was the major attraction for me as a kid.
• Wurzburg has a beautiful castle.
• Ludwigsburg Palace, near Stuttgart, is also gorgeous.
posted by brina at 9:43 PM on September 20, 2006

Plan a day/night, maybe on your way out of Germany, for the Köln-Düsseldorfer (K-D) Line tour, up the Rhine, through the Castle District from Köln to Rudeshiem. You can do the trip, of course, in either direction (remembering of course, that the Rhine flows north). As I often did it at the end of business trips in Westphalia, leaving the country from Frankfurt, I found it convenient to travel on the K-D boats upriver to Rudeshiem, have dinner and some wine in Rudesheim, rest there overnight, and take the train the following morning into Frankfurt flughafen (airport), which takes about 45 minutes.

It is a wonderful way to spend a day, while seeing some of the most famous castles and sights of Germany. The Rhine valley in fall can be spectacular, and you pass through the best wine country in Germany, with vineyards populated by vines Charlemagne himself is said to have rooted rising sharply on either side of the valley. The river can be quite swift, and you will encounter many interesting commercial river boats, barges and other river traffic, so the boats take several hours longer to do the trip in this direction, which is good for sightseeing and picture taking. If you do it from Rudeshiem down river to Koblenz or Koln, the boats travel faster, of course, and you may even elect to get off the boat at one of the small towns along the river where the boats put in, take a hike up to a famous castle, or have lunch on land, and make it back down to catch a later boat, still completing your trip in one day. Refreshments are available on the boat, if you just want to watch the world go by.

Up river, the trip is a long day; if you leave Koln around 7:00 a.m., you'll not get to Rudesheim until 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., depending on the stage of the river. Rudeshiem is a popular tourist destination, sometimes called "The Party City" and has many bars and hotels. If you have a day there for sightseeing, you can take a cable car ride over the surrounding vineyards, up to the Niederwald Monument, which commermates unification of Germany at the end of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, which basically created the modern German state as we know it territorially. There are beautiful views of the Rhine valley below, and many photo opportunities, particularly if you have good weather.
posted by paulsc at 11:37 PM on September 20, 2006

My wife and I stayed in Rudeshiem on our way south out of Germany and it was my favorite place in Germany. The people were really friendly, very much the small town feel, and the restaurants and bars were great. Full of loud, drunk, happy people. The evening is great because all the people out wine tasting come back with buzz on and start into the beer.

The train ride through the Castle District that paulsc talks about is great. My only wish is that my wife and I had had more time in Germany to stop at more places along the Rhine. Many of the castles are now hotels and there are quite a few that have pretty reasonable rates. If you feel like splurging one night on a place to stay, why not a castle?
posted by chrisroberts at 7:20 AM on September 21, 2006

When in Köln, enjoy some Kölsch beer. It's hard to find outside of Cologne.

oh man, there's a reason for that. the stuff is dishwater.
flens all the way!
posted by krautland at 8:27 AM on September 21, 2006

Maastricht in The Netherlands is a great city and it's right on the border with Belguim and Germany. It's also very near to Aachen in Germany which is a very interesting place.
posted by ob at 8:38 AM on September 21, 2006

Oh and I'd second Utrecht as a great place to go!
posted by ob at 8:39 AM on September 21, 2006

In Munich, the Deutsches Museum.

Near Köln-Düsseldorf, the Schwebeben hanging monorail in Wuppertal.

And I thought Rothenburg was great, not cheesy at all.
posted by Rash at 8:51 AM on September 21, 2006

I you're into German Expressionism Die Brucke Museum outside of Berlin is really cool. We had to walk a bit from the S-bahn stop, but the area was very nice. What a great day!
posted by spakto at 10:32 AM on September 21, 2006

Response by poster: This is good stuff folks. Thanks. I'll definitely check out a few of these options. I'm wary of being too touristy so it's nice to have real-person suggestions. Rudesheim sounds like a winner so far.
posted by umlaut at 1:51 PM on September 21, 2006

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