Germany 2013 Guidebook
Best and worst sights, experiences and destinations:
Best: the Reichstag and Deutsche Museum
Why: This one building explains Germany's struggle for democracy, its failure, its nightmare, and its resurrection, crowned by the open-air dome with its vision for the future. I've never seen a building more evocative of the struggle of the people it serves than the Reichstag. (Also, Deutsche Museum is the best history museum I've ever seen, hands down. Thorough, but to-the-point, elegant and engaging.)
Carolyn Gerrans in Novato, CA USA 12/06/2012
Best: Rothenberg was amazing!
Why: Such a perfectly preserved medieval village with an intact wall.
Nelda Bell in Tulsa, OK USA 11/06/2012
Best: Night Watchman's Tour, Rothenburg
Why: Droll, informative and a lot of fun.
Worst: Medieval Crime Museum
Why: Really too macabre for my taste. The sight of a few torture devices goes a long way for me.
Terri in Quilcene, WA USA 10/29/2012
Best: Reichstag Reservation
Why: Using the website meant I did not have to wait in a long line to try and schedule an appointment.
I went to almost all the Berlin at a Glance spots recommended.
Ben in detroit, MI USA 10/21/2012
Best: For Switzerland - Zermatt; Germany-Rhine/Mosel region; Austria - Salzburg and Vienna
Why: The Matterhorn in all its majesty was breathtaking - the clouds even cleared away for our best pictures ever. Molly Malone, the Spanish Diving Dog at the restaurant was a perfect host!
Worst: Smoking was the only drawback to our whole trip.
Why: We are so used to not having to breathe in other people's smoke here in Illinois, that it was painfully obvious for us until we learned to sit "upwind" at the outdoor cafes!
Linda Workman in Decatur, IL USA 10/05/2012
Why: Easy city to walk through. Start at Craftsman courtyard and walk through stoping at all the churches along the way until you get to the Imperial castle. Nice shopping too.
Shannon in Mankato, MN USA 09/12/2012
Best: Dachau Concernation Camp
Why: So well done. I knew it would be interesting but it was so much more.
Nurnberg and Nymphenburg Palace were also on my best list.
Worst: The Residenz
Why: The Treasury was fabulous but the place was a bit boring.
Carmelita Stone in Plattsburg, MO USA 09/12/2012
Why: Incredible views of Alps and Bavaria. Nothing else like it anywhere...
Matthew in Brentwood, TN USA 09/11/2012
Best: Night Watchman Tour in Rothenbut ob der Tauber
Why: funny, informative and a great way to learn a little about the city
Diane Henry in Collierville, TN USA 09/08/2012
Best: City of Munich
Why: Always plenty to see in Munich. We usually ended our day in the English Garden after an action packed day. The book does a great job rating rating attractions. I also like the tour information, can always find a time for a tour during the day. Over 2 trips, we took the Munich Walk tours: Beer Tour, Munich overview, and Hilter's Munich. Tour guides always informative.
Worst: Art Museum, Alte Pinakothek
Why: I was very excited to see the museum. My very little art history knowledge made it difficult. I decided to not listen to the audioguide and just enjoy the paintings myself.
Jackie Johnson in Somerset, WI USA 09/03/2012
Best: We loved Baden-Baden.
Why: Not only did I celebrate my 60th birthday with an 17-step spa treatment at the Roman-Irish Baths (a gift from my husband), but we loved walking through this town and especially along the Lichtentaler Allee...so much to see. The town is clean and colorful and pedestrian friendly. We stayed at the Hotel am Markt, our second favorite hotel even with the bells just outside our window. Great ambiance, the owners were very welcoming, and room was comfortable. They serve a wonderful beakfast, which we thought was included but found out it was extra when we paid our hotel bill. It was all good, however, and well worth the cost.
Margaret Bradford in Grants Pass, OR USA 08/19/2012
Worst: Baden Baden
Why: Need to warn of this elite not family friendly town. And also that true black forest cake may not be the best for children given the alcohol content.
Joyce Klapheke in Harwinton, CT USA 08/14/2012
Why: My husband, daughters (ages 7 & 10), and I all really enjoyed Trier. The Roman ruins were great. We took a bus tour in English, so we learned quite a bit about the town's history. The town was very walkable, not too big. Your recommendation for the Hotel Romisher Kaiser was great. Very clean rooms and pleasant staff. Hotel was right downtown and convenient parking.
Worst: Cochem (an der Mosel)
Why: We visited Cochem on our way to Burg Eltz. We stopped for lunch mid-week in July. The town was FULL of European tourists. It was difficult to get a parking spot. We did not want to spend a second longer there than absolutely necessary. We were starving and needed to eat. However, we enjoyed your recommendation for Zom Stuffje.
Len Schulze in Poway, CA USA 08/08/2012
Best: Fussen museum
Why: Gave me a good feel for medieval Germany-less touristy than Rothenburg.
Worst: Neuchweinstein castlee
Why: As I expected, this fake castle was not worth the effort to get there and all those steps,unless you're a fan of Wagner. I much prefer real castles, like the one in Dover, England. We went because our teen daughter wanted to go, but at least it made us go to Fussen! I really appreciated the detailed instructions on getting to the castle.
Lynda Lamb in Birmingham, AL USA 07/11/2012
Why: We loved this walled city. It was so easy to walk and had such interesting museums and history. We, unfortunately, missed the Night Watchman walk. Got in too late and were too tired and hungry.
Tracy Baker in San Leandro, Ca USA 07/05/2012
Best: Silesian Museum of Goerlitz
Why: They provide an audio guide, necessary if one does not read German or Polish. Some interesting information.
Dale in Fairfield, OH USA 06/23/2012
Best: Vaults in Dresden
Why: The best treasuries I've seen anywhere.
Sam in Philadelphia, PA USA 06/19/2012
Why: your book does not mention that it is necessary to book online, at least two days in advance. We were unable to visit as we had left this museum until the last day.
Helen Glave in Florence, Italy 06/11/2012
Gary Hoffman in Baldwin, WI USA 06/08/2012
Best: Rothenburg, Black Forest and Tirol
Why: Natural beauty, people. Rick's book was spot on re touring these and all the places we stayed during our month long visit
Alan Reed in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA USA 04/29/2012
Best: Dresden: Blue Wonder bridge walk, Bastei Bridge hike in Saxon Switzerland; Berlin: hop-on, hop-off bus tour, Reichstag dome, KaDaWe food floor, Brandenburg Gate, Nordbahnhof, Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial
Why: I really enjoyed the riverside walk in Dresden to the Blue Wonder bridge (and the easy tram ride back), the hike up to the Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland national park (and the fun little ferry ride over), the hop-on, hop-off bus tour in Berlin (gave me a great city center overview in about 2.5 hours), Reichstag dome visit (loved the sense of history), KaDaWe food floor (my jaw dropped!), Brandenburg Gate (visited three times!), Nordbahnhof "ghost station" (photos so interesting), Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial (learned a lot); Gorlitz: self-guided walk (loved the architecture)
Worst: Bautzen, Potzdamer Platz
Why: Bautzen was a bust for me--I went there after Gorlitz and found it to be much less interesting. Potzdamer Platz in Berlin was less impressive than going to the Alexa mall at Alexanderplatz.
Kyla Gurganus in Ypsilanti, MI USA 04/10/2012
Best: Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Why: This town is likely one of the more photographic places we have ever visited and this was during December and mostly rain. It was a lovely in between the cities and a great place to relax for a couple of nights. Personally, I think too many folks recommend one night but why go so fast when you can spend a couple nights and just explore all the little streets, walk the wall and explore a bit down in the valley.
Alison OMaley in Newton, MA USA 01/13/2012
Best: Rottenburg, Germany
Why: Lovely little small town!
Jean Franks in Trevose, PA USA 01/05/2012
Why: wonderful small village
Worst: Gibralter recommended Hotels 2003
Richard Schultz in Absarokee, MT USA 11/27/2011
Best: Rhine River cruise
Why: We took the boat out of Bacharach, where we stayed, up to St. Goar. The boat cruise, which took about an hour, had good narration, and gave us a great view of many castles and vineyards. We then took the train back - only about 15-minute ride - which saved time. Beautiful area, best seen from the river.
Ann in Plymouth, MN USA 11/13/2011
Best: DINKELSBUHLER KUNST- STUBEN
Why: Small gasthaus located in Dinkelsbuhl. No traffic-quiet. Only 8 rooms I think. Warm hospitality and friendly hostess.
Jim in Salt Lake City, UT USA 11/11/2011
Why: Sheer beauty... Great story about King Ludwig II ... And enjoying the great outdoors a bit.
Worst: Trinkstube der Holle - "Hell tavern" referred to on Nightwatchman's Tour
Why: Don't eat there. Food was overpriced and wasn't that good. A beer or a drink at the max in this poorly serviced pub or better yet forgo despite the catchy name. And ... Despite signs, they only accepted cash.
Brian Gray in Brussels , belgium 11/05/2011
Best: Octoberfest / Zugspitze
Why: We went to the last few days of Octoberfest and made so many friends across the country! Even though a lot of drinking going on - it was safe clean and fun ... not a worry!
What can you say - it snowed the day before we went up on the Zugspitze and have the most beautiful breath-taking pictures! Great recommendation!
Worst: Bob's Special Tours in Salzburg
Why: My husband and I both went on the Sound of Music and Bavarian Mountain Tour. The guide that was given to us was VERY rude - made political statements throughout the trip about countries across Europe and the US (the folks in the van were all Americans and were just shocked and said nothing to her in return). She gave very little information on history of the area and when I asked about a few items she literally looked at me and said "do you think I don't know the area - I have a history degree and license tour guide across Europe" and then proceeded to ignore my question. It was horrible experience - I said nothing for fear I would not get a ride back to Salzburg to catch my train. It made for such an expensive bad day.
Kathy & Rick Taylor in Placentia, CA USA 11/03/2011
Why: Saved us plenty of Euros. We took the train from Nurnburg to Salzberg (via Munich) for 29 Euros, and from Salzburg to Munich a few days later for another 29 Euros. What a deal!
Worst: "Munich is worth 2 days..."
Why: What a fabulous, livable, interesting city. We were there for 5 days, and only sampled the tip of the iceberg. So much to see and do.
David Poretti in Minneapolis, MN USA 10/28/2011
Best: Pergamon Museum
Why: It had the most fascinating exhibit of Greek, Roman, Assyrian antiquities.
Helen Kluck in Gloucester, MA USA 10/10/2011
Best: Roman-Irish Baths in Baden-Baden
Why: Thank goodness for Rick recommending this site. We may not have been bold enough to go here without his recommendation. Plus we loved the tips he gave us..."read this before stepping out nude". This was a great relaxing experiance. Something that was a once in a life time experiance and treat!
Lisa in Nashville, TN USA 09/24/2011
Why: If there is one place to spend a few hours in Bavaria/Southern Germany. Can be easily reached from Frankfurt in less than a couple hours..
Steve Atkins in Anaheim , CA USA 08/28/2011
Best: Salzburg, Austria
Why: We are classical music lovers, and we were there during the festival, so we soaked up as much music as possible. We skipped the "sound of music" tour and opted a boat ride on the Salzac, and we are glad we did. Though crowded, the city had a joyful atmosphere.
Why: The castles were so crowded ( and you DID warn us!). While we are really glad we saw them and did the tours, the crush while we were there (and the none-too-clean bathrooms) were really the only negative experiences we had on the entire trip!
Jean Breeding in Knoxville, TN USA 08/14/2011
Best: Holocaust Museum, Berlin
Why: Very moving, well presented. Interesting use of architectural features to help in understanding the losses, terror, and confusion and devastation that victims felt.
Sharon Armann in Phoenix, AZ USA 07/18/2011
Best: Documentation Centre Nuremberg
Why: Rick's advice for this section is perfect - heed it well! The museum is fantastic, and you get a sense of the horror and hubris of Nazi architecture from the building its' housed in. But the parade grounds are a long, long walk away, and Rick wisely advises skipping them. I agree.
Worst: Recommendation Against Heidelberg
Why: Yeah, it's packed with tourists in the summer. But there are 3 other seasons that people travel! Rick warns against the city, which is extremely charming and has an absolutely fascinating history and some great museums. I wouldn't say it's a "must" but if your trip is centered in south-western Germany then it's worth visiting - yes, even with the crowds (certainly no worse than the oft-recommended Rothenberg which is overrated IMO).
Sarah in Stuttgart, Germany 07/11/2011
Worst: Rheinfels Castle
Why: After seeing many magnificent castles, churches , residences, and treasuries, this castle was a total let down. The only saving point was the view of the Rhine. Certainly not worth 3 triangles in the book.
Art and Debbie Corsano in Atlantic Beach, FL USA 06/27/2011
Best: Night Watchman Tour
Why: This is a great way to get a short history lesson about Rothenburg in fun setting. Adults and children will love the tour.
Sheila Garner in Castro Valley, CA USA 06/27/2011
Best: Füssen/Castles Itinerary
Why: Reserving tickets for Neuschwanstein was a great recommendation - saved us a couple of hours judging by the line-ups. The drive to Oberammergau, Schloss Linderhof and around the Plansee was absolutely delightful. Beautiful scenery - eagles soaring, rolling hills, an emerald lake...
Peter Lee in Toronto, ON Canada 06/16/2011
Why: Most exciting city in Europe with so much history and fascinating current culture (and I'm a French prof admitting this!)
Why: Absolutely nothing of interest...unless you're a businessman.
Michael Boerm in Waco, TX USA 06/11/2011
Best: Brandenburger Tor
Why: The Brandeburg Gate is such an iconic Berlin landmark, probably even more so than the Reichstag. What an amazing piece of architecture! Even more amazing is how after so many struggles and wars, the majority of the main gate remains intact!
Worst: Museum of the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie
Why: You mention that there is a definite kitch factor at the museum, but that needs to be emphasized. Albeit a very interesting and informative, there was so much to read and it was very crowded, even in the winter, and not worth the whole 12.50 to get in. I'm glad we did, but the museum needs a lot of work!
Eric in Burlington, VT USA 02/21/2011
Best: Marksburg, Neuschwanstein
Why: OUr two grandchildren wanted to see castles. These two were opposites and great examples of the diversity of German castles. ( We would have list Burg Eltz, but it was closed!)
Caroline and Jack Meyer in George West, TX USA 01/04/2011