This July we had an unplanned and very last minute trip to three towns in Germany. My husband Paulius had work to do at his company headquarters in Berlin and we took an opportunity to spend a week in three german towns. We stayed in Berlin and Regensburg half of the time and visited Munich for a day.
I have to say that it was a pretty nice way to change environment and explore German towns to the fullest. Also, the weather was great during our stay - with an average air temperature of 25°C.
While in Berlin - myself and Vincent was doing a lot of walking during the day to various sightseeing spots, resting and sleeping in the afternoon and meeting Paulius in the evening. A lot of mother and son time while exploring Berlin city. I did a lot of walking because I did not feel comfortable taking the metro on my own - there were various construction works in different metro stations, meaning I had to carry Vincent as well as the stroller down and up the stairs. And I did not really feel like doing that by myself. But I had no problems with walking, as Vincent was calmly sitting in the stroller most of the time. New sights every day did their job and kept him interested all the time.
Besides, we stayed in a good hotel located on the East side with walking distances to many of Berlin's main tourist attractions. Berlin East Side Gallery, Badeschiff, Burgermeister spot, Mercedes Benz arena were all 20-30 min away from our hotel. Therefore, choosing a hotel in a good location is important when traveling with a kid.
In the evenings, we used to take a metro to a more distant Berlin spots and visited Aleksanderplatz, Hackesher Markt, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Cathedral and many more.
Overall, I must say that I was quite shocked with Berlin since my last visit there 15 years ago. We stayed on the East side, I saw a lot of hipsters, hippie places, walked through the Gorlitzer park (if you have been there, you know what I mean) and saw a lot of homeless together with loads of rubbish flying around. On the other hand, west side of Berlin is how it has stayed in my memory - clean, tidy and full of quality goods. So Berlin has two different sides, and you have to see both of them to know what Berlin really is.
What about exploring Berlin with a kid? There are a lot of kid-friendly places, you just have to know them or search for it. Berlin, itself, is not very hilly or mountainy so you can perfectly push your stroller to most of the places. So I definitely recommend it if traveling with a kid.
For the other half of the week, we flew to Munich in Bavaria region, which is about 500km away from Berlin. It was 3 times cheaper to fly rather than take a train, therefore it was a no brainer. From Munich we travelled to Regensburg, to visit my relatives and explore the town. I have been to Regensburg long time ago, therefore it was a good opportunity to refresh my memory. Nice town, with river Danube going through it and beautiful gothic cathedral in the old town. Worth a visit.
We also visited Munich on the way to the airport, and its main tourist attractions. I especially liked the Eisbach Welle in the Englisher garten or in other words - the wave, formed by the river itself about one metre high which is a popular river surfing spot. Since I am a big fan of watersports, I coudn't take my eyes off this spot. Definitely the most memorable thing from Munich. In addition, we visited the Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum) in Munich old town, which was a good place to see toys from all kinds of periods. From Mini Mouse to Barbies, from trains to robots, and many more. I heard that Munich is also great for shopping, however, we visited it on a Sunday, when most of the shops are closed.
In general people from Bavaria are quite conservative when it comes to relationships and kids. For example, I have been told that it is not ok to walk around with your child in the late evening hours (from 9pm onwards). At this time children should be preparing for a night's sleep and it is not appropriate to spend time with them in the city. And I really felt sometimes, that we were nearly the only ones with a child at those hours and people would stare at me.
Other than that, no problem at all to take your child with you to Germany. Let them see and explore the little things everywhere you go! Memories will last forever!
With regards to logistics - we took a direct Airbaltic flight from Vilnius to Berlin, Lufthansa flight from Berlin to Munich and again an Airbaltic flight from Munich to Vilnius with a connection in Riga. On the connecting flight to Vilnius, we had a 3 hour delay in Munich international airport and I have to say I was not well prepared for that. We never experienced delays before, when traveling with Vincent, and it was a good lesson for me. Make sure you have enough diapers for those extra hours, enough food and can keep your child well entertained during that time. Due to the delay, we missed our connecting flight to Vilnius, and were offered a hotel, food vouchers and a flight for the next day, so the airline did a good job extending our holidays for a little bit. However, no compensation was offered by Airbaltic for a tired child, ourselves and those extra efforts we had to put during our delayed flight from Munich to Vilnius.
One more tip to mention when booking flights and traveling with a kid under 2 years of age - do not overbook extra luggage, as most of the airlines offer free baby luggage with a decent weight allowance. If you are going for a short trip and can survive with 10kg of stuff for yourself + 10kg for your child, no need to book extra luggage I think. Besides, you can take your stroller free of charge on the plane, where I tend to put things like diapers, blankets or warmer clothes in the stroller "pocket' underneath.
If you are planning a trip to Germany, please do not hesitate to contact me for must see spots or other tips. I would be very happy to help you!
Photo credit - personal archive