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Suggestions for travel to Germany


Smarmotron
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We're considering spending part of the Christmas break in Germany.  Probably a week to 9 days.  We know we want to hit Germany, but we don't know which citie(s) to hit.

Primarily we're looking for good cuisine and lots of excellent sightseeing.

i went to Munich for Oktoberfest last month. while i wasn't that wild about the fest itself, i adored munich (it was my second visit. my last one, ten years ago, was also great)

had a fantastic meal at tantris. one of my best meals of the year without doubt

the city is also beautiful and there's stacks to see.

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it is quiet simple to find a nice restaurant in germany. first you have to divide the country into north,middle and south. hamburg is my favourite northern city as it is a beautiful city with a nice amount of good restaurants. as i am from düsseldorf i consider this as the best middle part of germany. there is a three star michelin restaurant in düsseldorf and several other good restaurants. in the south there is munich of course but as a friend of mine opened a restaurant i consider his restaurant near nuernberg as the best choice in that area.

i would like to help you as well if your choice is totally different. just ask and i will try my best.

vue

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Christmas markets are something not to be missed in December. Nürnberg has probably the largest and most famous one, not advisable if crowds get on your nerves, but even those in smaller towns have a special atmosphere, especially on the days just before Christmas.

If you're here only for a few days you could concentrate on one area. A few examples:

- Northern Germany and the Hanseatic cities: Hamburg, Lübeck and I'd add the capital of Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Schwerin.

- Bavaria: Munich, plus Nürnberg and Bamberg, both quite charming cities.

- Hamburg-Berlin-Munich: very good train connection between the three. Plus you could stop on the way to see Nürnberg and Weimar, which is charming (OK I'm being a bit partial here :rolleyes: )

For restaurant tips, apart Michelin, I'd visite the German Gault Millau siteguide website, in German but pretty easy to navigate.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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I think any trip to Germany would have Berlin first on the list. I don't have much current restaurant info but I've been to quite a few good ones over the years. But mainly go to see all those famous places in person, to get a sense of the amazing energy of the city. The Mitte district is also nice to walk around in, full of great art galleries and nifty little shops.

I haven't been to Munich yet but I have heard it is really beautiful. Avoiding Octoberfest would be a plus in my mind. In December, wherever you are, make sure to drink a few cups of milled wine at a christmas market.

I've spent most of my time in Hamburg, a city that I love...for nightlife and overall beauty if not for specific famous sights. (It is a bit off the beaten tourist path, which can be nice). And if you are up North, Luebek is a must see. In Luebek, have a snack at the Niederegger cafe, visit Buddenbrooks, all those churches...I think the oldest was begun in the 13th century?

BTW, there is a lot of detailed information on Hamburg from a previous thread, if you google it, or I can try to look for it when I have a little more time.

Edited to add this link: Hamburg report

vue-de-cuisine, I will need to find out more about your friend's place. We may be visiting Nuernberg in December and possibly moving there in the next few years so I could use some recommendations.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. We are currently leaning towards flying into Berlin, and travelling by rail to Nurnberg and Munich. We would spend Christmas in Munich and then head back to Berlin for a few more days of sightseeing, etc.

What is the official site to purchase rail tickets online?

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the official raiway homepage in english is:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

check the "surf&rail" offers as there is a frequent connection münchen-berlin during the week

as the railway company is struggeling to win the price battle against cheap airlines you should also consider to fly in germany. if you have detailed plans you could book online in advance and save a lot of money

here is a well known airline

www.flydba.com

berlin has a huge variety of restaurants but highly recommended is HUGOS in the intercontinental hotel. www.hugos-restaurant.de. if you like it a little bit more casual you have to go to the "paris bar" and you have a good chance to meet paris in berlin.

anyway have fun and if you want you can post the results !

vue

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Lubeck is a remarkably beautiful city, and is the world capitol of marzipan-making. They have a civic website with a breathtaking virtual walk-around, but I'm too tired at the moment to look it up for you (been to the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival tonight, and I'm a bit worse for wear). :wacko:

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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BTW, there is a lot of detailed information on Hamburg from a previous thread, if you google it, or I can try to look for it when I have a little more time.

Edited to add this link: Hamburg report

I was back in HH in June for 10 days and had a number of terrific meals, including Poletto (Germany's only * kitchen run by a woman), Tafelhaus (*), and Stocker. I've been meaning to post reviews and hope to do so soon. In general, though, I found that the quality and diversity of high-end dining in Hamburg is approaching that of Berlin, but it's less expensive in Hamburg. Berlin prices are nightmarish.

I don't think Hamburg is a particularly remarkable place during the holidays. Lübeck is certainly a better choice up North.

If you're in Munich around Christmas, you might consider a trip to Oberammergau, a jewel of a city that stages the famous Passion Play once every five years. While I've never been there at Christmastime, I can imagine it would be quite magical.

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I just returned from a month in Dresden, with side trips to Berlin, Erfurt, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Würzburg and Frankfurt.

I enjoyed the eastern part of Germany more than the western part; Leipzig and Erfurt in particular are lively, attractive cities with many interesting dining and cultural options. Dresden has made impressive strides in rebuilding; the exterior of the reconstructed Frauenkirche is pretty much complete and has finally filled the major gap in the pre-war Altstadt silhouette. I also had one of the most exquisite meals I've ever had at Caroussel, the Michelin-starred restaurant in the wonderful Bülow Residenz hotel.

As others have noted, Nuremberg at Christmastime is a must for its Christkindlesmarkt. Nearby Würzburg is also worth a visit for its very good restaurants and wonderful wine culture. I had a particularly good dinner there last week at the restaurant in the Hotel Steichele. I started with a bowl of strangely delicious Franconian wine-soup. It reminded me of zabaglione, but with some broth, no sugar and local half-dry white wine standing in for the Marsala. It was hot, frothy and wonderful, and came with little brown-bread croutons and a tiny sprinkling of cinnamon. For my main dish I had Wildragout, which I think had wild boar in it, along with fresh wild mushrooms and a ruddy, expertly-seasoned sauce. It came with homemade spätzle and blaukraut (aromatic braised red cabbage, redolent of juniper, marjoram and caraway). I also had some excellent, half-dry local "Bacchus" wine.

Overall, I found the quality of the food and cooking to be exceptional during my trip. The palm for baking, however -- breads, pastries and wonderful cakes -- definitely goes to Dresden!

"She was a recluse," he said. "Her idea of a good time was to sauté mushrooms at midnight with a brandy and watch Dracula."
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  • 1 month later...

While this may be after the fact if you are still in Munich and can get into Tantris-go. It has 19 points (out of 20) from Gault-Millau and two Michelin stars. If you have a rental car, one of the most beautiful places on earth is west of Munich in the mountains in Baierbronn. There are two superb restaurants there including one, Schwarzwaldstube, which is considered by many to be Germany's overall best restaurant. (This means one of the best in Europe since Germany is overlooked by most North Americans.) Also 19 points and with three Michilin stars. Virtually impossible to get into unless you reserve 4 to 6 months in advance although they occasionally have luncheon cancellations and serve the exact same menu. Nearby is the two star, 18 point Bareiss which is outstanding and somewhat easier to get into. Both Schwarzwaldstube and Bareiss are located in hotels each with three or four restaurants. Both are "loss leaders" whose reputations attract Germans and Swiss for dinner and "wellness." Schwarzwaldstube has eight tables and usually 16 to 20 people total that dine there. Bareiss has, I think, ten tables and maybe 25 or so dining. Both have extraordinary wine cellars as well as among the best bars in all of Europe for socializing. They are also virtually unknown in North America. At a dinner at Schwarzwaldstube in September I asked how often Americans visited and I was told, perhaps once every couple of months they would meet one. Still, EVERY member of staff spoke perfect English! This restaurant and Bareiss offer the finest service of any that I have ever experienced anywhere.

Edited by Joe H (log)
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Apart from Joe's excellent advice on the best cuisines of Germany, I am not sure whether Germany is THE country to go for very fine / modern cuisine. But of course, there is a difference between modern and classic cuisine. You will find more of the latter in Germany, I think.

Like James I have spent several days in Dresden a few months ago, having been to very nice restaurants with a befriended couple who lives there (she was born in Dresden) and who are in food business. Nice city, also food wise.

Apart from the mentioned Caroussel, I did enjoy very much: Alte Meister (the opera building), Gambotti, and most of all Lesage (VW factory).

Extremely enjoyable was also restaurant La Rue, not especially because of the food, but the gay, Jewish owner / singer knows how to give you a very nice evening.

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Paul, all of the restaurants I mentioned are classical, not at all like, say Le Calandre or Uliassi. I have not been to La Pergola which I remember you mentioning although I plan to. I honestly believe that Schwarzwaldstube is on par with any "classical" three star in Paris but its style is not that of, say, Gagnaire. For me what is remarkable is the setting on a mountainside looking down into the valley 2000 feet below which falls steeply just outside the window by the table you are seated in. The ceiling of the 300 year old room is hand carved mahogany with absolutely exquisite detailed craftsmanship! Unlike any I have ever seen in a restaurant anywhere yet on par if a cathedral were to feature wood. Factor in larger individual tables than, say, Calandre for two with each having a side serving table along with perfect wine service and presentation-the combination of the ambience, the service and the incredible view out of the window of four or five of the dining room's eight tables-this is an absolutely extraordinary setting that only increases my appreciation of this restaurant. Then, last, is the "snob appeal" of trying to get into it. Just about on par with El Bulli for difficulty.

This will not give you the type of experience you would have in Roses or perhaps in Donostria but for classical, for the setting, and for an incredible hotel room in one of the most beautiful places on earth at, remarkably, a reasonable price (compared to Switzerland or France) this is as fine as I have found anywhere on earth. If the cost was double (i.e. E 250 instead of E 130 for the 12-14 course prix fixe) I would still say the same for Schwarzwaldstube.

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