Looking for ideas on where to go for 5 or 6 days in Germany? Any suggestions appreciated.
If you want to mainly hit big cities, then you want to see Cologne, see the Kölner Dom, and explore the areas on either side of the Rhein here. You can rent a bicycle and bike along the river, explore quite a bit on foot, and take the train to other cities quite easily.
Dusseldorf is a nice city on the Rhein as well and is close to Cologne, so if you want to focus your time in a smaller region, then you could visit there as well. However, if you can get to Aachen either by car or train, then skip Dusseldorf and there.
Aachen was the throne of Charlemagne's empire and has a gorgeous Aachen Cathedral with mosaics and an amazing museum around the corner. In Aachen, visit the main square near the Aachener Rathaus and wind through the streets to the Dom. It's a beautiful area. I like the basketshop on Korbstrasse and the cakes at Middelberg KG Konditorei und Cafe. (http://livingingk.com/2007/10/aachen/)
Just south of Aachen, nestled in the hills and best reached by car, is Monschau. This darling town has an old castle ruin, narrow streets of fairy-tale half-timbered houses, the smell of fresh printen wafting from bakery windows, a little stream, and tastings of home made liqueurs and mustards. If you can get to this town, don't miss it. http://10000windows.com/monschau-germany/
With 5-6 days, you can enjoy all these towns at a nice relaxed pace spending 2 days in Cologne, 1-2 in Aachen, and another half to full day in Monschau.
With more time, you can explore some of the small towns and villages in this area like Gillrath where an old steam train takes you on little themed outings, Geilenkirchen with walking trails around the old Burg Trips and the delicious Cafe Schleypen, or even Gangelt (they have a nice spa and some great restaurants).
If time allows, you could even run across the border into the Netherlands and see Maastricht (my favorite Dutch city) and the market on Thursdays in Sittard. If you go to Sittard, go to Rousseau Chocolade Sittard. If you get to Geilenkirchen, Chocolaterie Ducharette is only 15 minutes away.
Option C is to skip all of the above and go even farther south to explore the areas near Stuttgart and Heidelberg. You could fly into Frankfurt, then head south. With more time, you could combine these towns with visits to the nearby Alsace region of France, a quick visit to Liechtenstein or even Switzerland.
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My husband and I spent 3 weeks in Germany last fall and had an amazing trip. My favorite stop in western Germany was Heidelberg-a beautiful and old university town with great views from the castle, plenty of shopping, and a frequent stop for day-trippers. After a trek up to the castle you can grab a seat and enjoy the lively surroundings and people watching in one of the main squares. Make a reservation for dinner at Weinstube Schnitzelbank, low-key and one of the best meals of our trip.
We also really enjoyed a night at Hotel Inselklausein the Black Forest-very quiet and relaxed with beautiful surroundings and they have an amazing restaurant in the hotel - they have a trout stream just behind the hotel where they caught my trout right after I placed my order!
If you're driving, you can drive along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße(Black Forest High Road) for stunning views of the area.
We also made a stop in Rudesheim am Rhein at the end of our trip to get a little taste of Germany's wine country along the Rhine River. Rudesheim is great because it's a larger town along the Rhine (many of the Viking river cruises stop here) and they have many wine shops where you can sample the wines, rather than trying to drive and hunt down wineries yourself.
You can take the Seilbahn Rüdesheim up over the vineyards to the Zum Niederwald-Denkmal for beautiful views of the bend in the Rhine below, and there are many trails up top for endless hours of walking or hiking. If you like wine, Kaspar Herke is a very small, family-run winery that makes my absolute favorite dry Riesling - when we stopped by we sat down in the kitchen and talked with the owner himself as he let us try his wines.
You'll have a wonderful time wherever you end up, Germany is a very beautiful country!
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I'm going to that part of Germany in about a month, the trip that we are taking is definitely hitting Aachen and Cologne and Koblenz. We are taking a short 4 hour boat cruise on the Rhine from Bingen back up to Koblenz. Then we are hitting part of the Fairy Tale Road
The one place I don't see mentioned that looks fabulous is Trier. Have a look at some of the pictures online, the Roman parts of the city look really interesting
It very much depends on your interests and what you want to experience, Judy. Are you interested in history or art or wine or castles or? Also, how do you want to get around: car, train, tours, private driver? Good, helpful answers will require more information :)
Back to your Question: Cologne is worth a visit I would say. They have a really awesome cathedral and while you are in that area, there are about 4 other bigger cities near by with cool places. If you dont mind going to the north of Germany, Hamburg is really nice ;). Great habour and awesome Parties.
If you are brave enough to enter the east of Germany. Check out the Elbsandsteingebirge: http://www.festung.de/files/festung/images_header/elbsandsteingebirge_festung.jpg
It looks amazing! And is the best to hike!
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