In April 2015 I wanted to go to Berlin for Easter. I had done some research and I seen the markets that the Germans prop up for Easter are a major event and I also was desperate to finally step foot into the Fatherland.
When I looked up the prices of the flights, the holidays had jumped the cost way too much for me to fly into Berlin. I needed to find an alternate route into Germany. That is when I found a cheap flight into Frankfurt and a return out of Munich for £90 GBP. Now I just needed to find the route to link them up.
Day 1: Frankfurt
After landing into Frankfurt I was quick to realise why my flight was so cheap to begin with, it’s because I landed into Frankfurt Hahn. The secondary airport of the city which required 2 hours on the bus. €14 EUR plus a surcharge for bulky luggage later and now I was in the city centre (Frankfurt Flughafen it the primary airport).
I booked the United Hostel Frankfurt City Center as my chamber, and I would recommend it. An eight bed mixed dorm will set you back €17.50 pp per night, so reasonable(ish).
While this city lacks the character of Munich or Berlin, it still has its perks. A clean, efficient, financial district with plenty of restaurants, however, I would just use it as a connection to another flight/city.
Day 2, 3 and 4: Kassel & Berlin
Frankfurt to Berlin is a long journey; it can take 6 hours to drive it. If you book in advance, you can get the train for €20 EUR (4 hours), but I got the bus (FlixBus) to Kassel to break up the journey instead.
Kassel is a small town but it has a party piece hard to ignore, the Bergpark. An amazing plot of forestry suitable for cycling or jogging, with some magnificent features in particular; the Hercules Statue. Make sure to walk to the top to get that view that runs like a spear through the city. There is also the fantastic Lowenburg Castle. I could have spent a day walking these grounds, but after a 5 hour layover…I had a train to catch.
I got the Bahn train into Berlin Hauptbahnhof, taking 3 hours and costing around €25 EUR. I stayed at Hostel-O, at €7 EUR per night in a six bed mixed dorm, this is probably one of the cheapest you will find.
Now Berlin was there for the taking. There is so much to see and do in Berlin; I would recommend getting the Berlin Welcome Card. For €19.50 EUR you get an unlimited 48 hour zone AB pass for the underground network, and attraction discounts. Food and drink is very reasonable around here, so do not be afraid to eat in good restaurants.
If you dig the underground, dark scene, you will never want to leave Berlin. It has some the funkiest/weird bars and clubs I have ever seen. Me on the other hand, I just like the plain old traditional stuff, like the Weihenstephaner bar.
I loved the history and monuments in Berlin, with the Reichstag building having an immense presence on the square and a direct road leading towards the Column of Victory. It has an aroma of sheer greatness buzzing off it. After 3 nights in Berlin, and now on day 4, I think I had my grasp of the capital.
I now faced the dilemma of hot to get to Munich. A night in Dresden or make a quick detour and stay a night in Prague. Tip: try booking your trains with the Czech website instead of the German Bahn train. Same routes, but far cheaper through the Czech based site.
Day 5: Prague
A train to Prague from Berlin on the Czech based website cost €15 EUR and took 4 hours and 30 minutes. Prague is nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it’s known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show.
Prague ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 6.4 million international visitors annually, as of 2014. Prague is the fifth most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome.
It is one of the prettiest cities I have ever walked through. After spending less than 24 hours here, I will be sure to return.
Day 6: Munich
The train to Munich costs €15 EUR. After leaving Prague at 5am to catch a train to Munich (still drunk), I painstakingly got there. Six and a half hours on that train. A self-inflicted nightmare. Eventually I was in the Bavarian Munich! It was my ambition for a long time to come here and I was not let down. I am most certain I will be returning for the Oktoberfest this year.
Walking through the Marienplatz, gazing at the Bavarian architecture, and enough food markets to feed the country, this was my image of Germany. Take a walk through the English gardens (larger than Central Park, New York) and stumble across the famous beer garden in the centre of the park. A true traditional city.If your style is alternative/quirky/eccentric, then you will never tire of Berlin. The nightlife here is truly unique. If you are more like me; and would rather be in a more traditional city with religious based architecture (e.g. Paris), then Munich and Prague) is for you. I would never tire of drinking tankards of beer, listening to Bavarian brass bands in the Hofbräuhaus (Munich).
I recommend using Flixbus as your coach if you decide on coaches. Wi-Fi and comfortable chairs puts it ahead of the rest. In addition, the Czech trains are far behind the German standards, so if you do not mind paying more for the Bahn train definitely go for that. Do not believe the free Wi-Fi available on these trains; unfortunately T-Mobile is the provider and charges €5 for daily usage. My final tip before you leave; practice the pronunciation of the train stations you will be using before you go. This will be a huge benefit to you, as you probably know German is a tricky language.
Flights: €100 EUR
Frankfurt Hostel: €17 EUR
Frankfurt Day Bus to Kassel: €20 EUR
Berlin Hostel (3 nights): €21 EUR
Berlin train to Prague: €29 EUR
Pargue Hostel: €10 EUR
Prague Train to Munich: €14 EUR