Tips & Tricks – Road-Trip Through Germany

Updated: May 14

12 cities in 13 days. 1460 miles. 26 hours in the car.

Frankfurt – Kaiserslaten – Leingarten – Ulm – Davos, Switzerland – Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, Germany – Munich – Nuremberg – Prague, Czech Republic – Berlin – back to Frankfurt.

Renting a car – we knew we needed something to hold five of us and all our bags. Europe doesn’t really have SUVs like the US does. But we rented a Ford Transit Van and it was the perfect size for us. I really don’t think we could have packed anything else in that thing, we were comfortable and we made it work!


Frankfurt

I haven’t spent a whole lot of time here besides sleeping in Airbnb’s or hotels before/after a flight. I won’t be able to suggest too much because I all I know is the hotels around the airport and the movie theater in downtown Frankfurt where we saw Star Wars opening night.

The hotel we did enjoy close to the airport was the Hyatt Place Frankfurt Airport

It’s definitely on our list to explore Frankfurt more!


Kaiserslaten

The real reason we drove through this town was because of the name. My maiden name being KISER = Kaiserslaten.


One cool thing about this place is it’s one of the largest active air bases for the American military, outside of the US. Meaning, the town is very Americanized. We ate at Cantina Mexicana for lunch & everyone spoke English!! I can’t emphasize how big this is, Mexican food doesn’t really exist in Germany!


Leingarten

Before my family arrived in Germany my dad did research on his family history and where his ancestors came from. He did such in-depth research that he found the exact street that his ancestors lived on back in the early 1700s, before moving to England and then to the States.


Ulm

One day after I have explored more of Ulm and eaten at more restaurants than just the American style ones, I will write an entire blog post about things to do here.

But, while my family was in town the Ulm Christmas market was taking place. It’s so beautiful and something I had never experienced before. My family got the full submersion of living the German life. We went to Ikea, did laundry at the laundromat and grocery shopped.


Davos, Switzerland

Switzerland has forever been on my bucket list of places I have wanted to visit and it is definitely worth it. Pictures don’t do it justice!


Davos is an adorable ski town made up of four massive mountains to choose from to ski, Jakobshorn, Pischa, Rinerhorn and Parsenn. We really were only there for a day and a half because we arrived at 2am on Sunday morning and left midday on Monday. The main purpose of our trip was to ski, and what an adventure that was! We chose Parsenn Mountain to ski on.


We accidentally made the mistake and picked a red run to be our “warm-up,” let’s just say it’s a tad bit harder than our little Appalachian Mountains back home!


After skiing for at least three hours, we stopped at a restaurant on the top of the hill to get some lunch. This isn’t sugar mountain where there are pizza and sandwiches with Yoo-hoos. So we all split spaghetti and fries with a few snickers bars. When it was time for us to head outside to attempt to ski back down the mountain, there was a white out snow storm. I have never skied before where I couldn’t tell the difference between the sky and the ground, I don’t suggest it either! So we ended up not skiing back down the mountain because lifts were even closed because the winds were so high. It took a gondola and two train rides to get from where we were on the top of the mountain to the bottom. Pretty frightening!


I definitely want to try again, but maybe in more ideal skiing weather.


Tips: When skiing, make sure to wear googles!!! Also, if you want to stand out that you’re American, don’t were a helmet. Everyone wears helmets. We were the only dumb ones that didn’t, but to be fair the ski rental place said they were not required.

Also, something to note, Switzerland is very very expensive!!!



Neuschwansteins Castle

I never thought I would get the opportunity to visit this place twice in the same year.

Walt Disney used Neuschwanstein Castle to model Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland after. It is a 19th-century Romanesque palace that was owned by Ludwig II of Bavaria. He died/was murdered before the castle was completed so it still to this day has not been finished. It was immediately turned into a museum. The first time I visited the castle we did the walk thru tour, it was cool and we can say we did it. But also, it’s not really worth the money since only 35% of the castle is actually completed (don’t quote me on this percentage, but you understand the point).


Either way, I knew this was a place my family had to see! Thankfully ,the weather was decent and the bridge was actually open to overlook the castle!


Tips: Make sure you have good walking shoes! You can pay to take a horse drawn carriage to the top of the mountain but people usually just walk/climb to get to the castle.



Munich

Munich is only an hour and 45 minute drive from Neuschwanstein.

We stayed in a cute loft Airbnb while in Munich. We were there from December 23rd-25th so we had a little bit of a different experience exploring because everything closed for the Christmas holiday at 2pm on the 24th through the 26th. German’s take their Christmas holiday very seriously.


We ate dinner at the famous Hofbräuhaus München beer hall built back in 1586. All the rooms except the historic beer hall “Schwemme” were destroyed in the WWII bombings.

Here is some info from Wikipedia on an event that took place in the Hofbrauhaus beer hall. “On February 25, 1920 Hitler presented the Nazi Party Twenty Five Point Program in the Hofbrauhaus. on November 4, 1921 the Hofbrauhaus was also the birthplace of the later feared Nazi street fighting organization, the Sturmabteilungen or SA for short. On that day the National Socialist party held a large public meeting at the Hofbrauhaus and after Hitler had spoken for some time the meeting erupted into a scuffle. There was a massive fight between the Nazi brawlers and their opponents (the Social Democrats – and Communists ). Hitler managed to finish his address, not with standing the chaos of smashed tables and chairs and hurled beer mugs all about him.”


Definitely a place you have to check out. It’s a really cool atmosphere with live music and a packed beer hall. We had a traditional German mean with pretzels, schnitzel, spaetzle and a ginger bread cookie.


Tip: You seat yourself here, it isn’t the easiest place to come with a larger groups especially during the busy hours, at least during the winter.



Since everything was closing or closed while we were exploring Munich, we walked through the Christmas market in Marienplatz then got on a hop on hop off bus to see more of the city.

When it is warmer, it’s on my list to do the roof climb of the Olympic Stadium. Here is the link to the to the tour, it looks really cool! Olympic Park Munich – Roof Climb


I obviously need to spend some more time exploring Munich since we live so close, it’s a cool city for sure!


Nuremberg

Such a cute little German town. A few weeks before we made a pit stop in Nuremberg on our family road trip, my husband and I went to Nuremberg to visit a friend just two weeks before. While we were there in the beginning of the December, the Christkindlesmarkt, famous Christmas market, was taking place. But when we stopped with my family it was Christmas day so the town was pretty quiet.


The main reason we made the pitstop in Nuremberg from Munich to Prague was to see the Kaiserberg Castle. Same reasoning, Kiser = Kasierberg Castle.



Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a must visit. This comes as a surprise to some, especially leaving communist reign only 31 years ago. But, it is one of the most beautiful cities with so much history and great site seeing. It’s a great place to visit during any season.


I was there three times in the past year, twice in march and then in December. Every time was cold but we still enjoyed being outside, just bundle up and have good walking shoes. Also, around the holidays the Christmas markets are so amazing.


Places to see… Old Town. The Astronomical Clock. St. Charles Bridge. Prague Castle. John Lennon Wall. The Dancing House. Jewish Quarters.



A few tips, the St. Charles Bridge is always crazy busy! It’s worth walking on at least once but then it’s always nice to view the bridge from a different area and stay away from the crowds.

In March my husband and I rented lime scooters and traveled all over the city, that was a great way to see everything and eliminated some of the walking. I can’t say it was the easiest to get around on though, lots of hills and cobble stone streets.


In December, it was chilly and on and off raining so my family and I enjoyed seeing Prague by the hop on hop off bus. It also is a great form of transportation because this city is pretty spread out being divided by a river in the middle and it is hilly.


Make sure to get twisted chips, it’s pretty much potato chips on a stick, but it’s quite yummy. Also, a Prague staple dessert is Trdelnik. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar. You will see them everything. They are a must try! Some places stuff them with ice cream and other toppings or you can get just chocolate on the inside. My favorite is the cinnamon ones with ice cream and apples.


Berlin

This was my first trip to Berlin and since then it is now one of my favorite places. It has a big city feel with so much history.


We did the 4 hour walking tour with Insider Tour. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing and informative this tour was. We did “The Famous Insider Walk: Hidden Berlin & All Main Sites.” It started in East Berlin and ended at the Brandenburg Gate. To add, it was 25 degrees and we still enjoyed it. If you’re in Berlin, a history buff or not, please do this!!!


It is so amazing to walk through history like you can here. Things to see include: parts of the Berlin Wall that are still standing, The Brandenburg Gate, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the location of the book burnings, Hilter’s Bunker, Checkpoint Charley, The Reichstag parliament building and the list goes on.


It’s all a must, I highly suggest Berlin.



Well that is all for now, thanks for reading, if you made it this far. This was a trip of a lifetime for my family and memories that we will cherish forever. I hope this info will be beneficial to you as well in helping plan a trip!


“Tschüss” – bye

Xoxo


Caroline (an American just trying to live in Germany)

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