Hey Loves! We’re home! We just got back from two weeks in Europe as a family. Yes- we took our two toddlers to four different countries in 14 days, and we had the time of our lives! Landon and Presley instantly seem so much more grown up to me in how they are speaking and carrying themselves, and I could not recommend traveling with your kids enough if you have the opportunity. The memories we made and the things we got to see were priceless, and totally worth the little hiccups we had along the way (I’ll share in these posts). I’ve decided to do a blog post on each city we went to in a travel diary style, but I’ll include all of the tips and information of the places we stayed and tours we really enjoyed, so that if you ever find yourself in Munich or the other countries we visited, you’ve got all our advice on what we loved to do and see and eat. And if there are any questions you have, please comment and I would be happy to do a blog post to answer your questions. We love traveling with our family, and it makes me so happy to help you travel and make memories with your family too!
Alright, so we left the US on a Friday. Our flight was delayed an hour, so we left Charlotte at 5:45 PM, and because of the time change, we landed in Germany around 7:30 AM Munich time on Saturday. It was a little longer than an 8 hour flight, and it was nice traveling as a family of four because we had the entire center row of four seats to ourselves. Since it was a night flight, we were served drinks and dinner (some sort of curry chicken and veggies), and then lights were put out quickly. Presley could not get comfortable in her seat, and actually asked us if she could sleep on the floor of the airplane (which the germaphobe in me was freaking out). But she put the blanket and pillow they gave her and slept at our feet for most of the flight. Landon also just slept in his seat for most of the flight too, which was great because when we arrived in Germany, we had enough rest to go through customs (which was very quick and efficient) and get to the hotel before we all napped to have energy to explore the rest of the day.
I totally screwed up, and had booked a car to the Westin, which was the hotel we’d originally selected with our travel agent and on our original itinerary. However, the hotel was booked so we were actually staying in the Sheraton Westpark, so we had a laugh at packing up all our bags into another taxi and going to the right hotel. Once we were there, we were able to check in early, and got settled in the room. To Adam and my surprise, our room was more of a suite set up (the room was $187/night), where he and I had our own room with a bed, lots of built in closets, and bathroom, and the kids had their own sleeping space in the living room. Presley slept in a crib, and Landon slept on the pull out sofa, and they had their own TV in there, and there was a desk area, fridge, and coffee maker. I’ve got to say, not only in Munich, but overall, Europe caters so much more to families. Due to paternity leave, we spotted more dads than moms pushing babies in strollers around the neighborhood where we were walking, and it was very refreshing! I wish the US was more like that. We also had great views of the city from our room (we watched the sunset a few nights), and a gorgeous view from right outside our door too. There was also a huge breakfast buffet that was included, so every morning, the kids got huge pretzels to eat for our adventure that day.
On that first afternoon, we just walked around the neighborhood outside of our hotel, which was very clean with pretty parks and a playground for the kids, and very convenient to the metro system in Munich too- it sits right above the Heimeranplatz stop. We had to shop at the supermarket to get some snacks, milk, and extra pull-ups (or as they say in Europe, “nappies”) for Presley. The weather for summer was very comfortable- it was in the low 70’s and even a bit chillier, so we did wear sweaters in the evening. We walked about 10 minutes from our hotel and ate dinner at Augustiner Burgerheim, a traditional Bavarian-style restaurant and enjoyed our first beers in Germany. I’d heard that beer is served warmer, but that wasn’t the case for us anywhere we had a beer. And I’ve got to say, Adam had the best wienerschnitzel that first night, and Landon loved his spaetzel. Despite the fact that Landon dropped his actual glass of milk and made a huge mess (one of the perks of traveling with toddlers, haha), the server was so sweet to us. It was a great first dinner in Germany.
The second day we woke up early, and met our tour group at the Munich train station to go on our tour of Old Town Munich. It was really neat hearing the stories from our tour guide about St. Michael’s church, who was built by William, a Bavarian duke, who to make up for the unpopular construction, gave all the adult men in the city 9 liters of beer a day, women 7 liters, pregnant women 5 liters, and children under twelve 5 liters too. I can barely drink 1 liter of beer, so I’m sure it was a very interesting time in Bavarian history, with everyone walking around very drunk. Our tour guide also told us the love story of King Ferdinand and his wife Henrietta, and how after she gave birth to nine girls, they finally had a baby boy, so he built this gorgeous church for her as her push present.
It was just really cool learning about the stories of the people who built up Munich. We ended in Marienplatz, and unfortunately we just missed the Rathaus-Glockenspiel puppet show in the building (performances are at 11 AM, noon, and 5:00 pm in the summer), but it’s definitely a beautiful square! The walking tour was only two hours, and we got to see really beautiful buildings and churches and learn so much. I would highly recommend going on one!
We booked this tour on a Sunday, not realizing that all the shops would be closed. So I would say, if you want to shop, don’t plan to go on a Sunday. But I’m not really one who wants to shop a lot on vacations- I’d rather eat and go see the sights. My souvenir is usually a postcard, small painting, or a Christmas ornament so that it’s something easy to pack and sentimental. I loved going on this walking tour though. We had the kids in the pop-up stroller, and got to see so much, and learn so much history about the city in such a short time.
After our tour was over, we went to the original Hofbräuhaus for lunch. Visiting the world’s most famous beer hall was the big thing on Adam’s bucket list, and I’m so glad we did. It was a huge beer hall, and the kids had a great time there too hearing the band playing traditional German music while we ate. They even gave Landon his apple juice in a beer stein- it was so funny!
Our third day in Germany we went on a bus tour to Linderhof and Neuschwanstein castle. This was the big thing on my bucket list, because Neuschwanstein castle was the castle that inspired the Disney World castle. I’ve got to tell you, Neuschwanstein was more beautiful and bigger in person than I ever could have imagined! Presley kept saying it was the Beast’s castle- it was so cute.
Now the bus tour was a full-day tour. We had to meet at the bus stop at 8 am, and I don’t think we got back to our hotel until almost 7 (we did get a little lost on the metro lines, which added to the time), but we’d brought the kids iPads and lots of snacks along that day, and it really helped so they stayed mostly quiet on the bus. We were definitely the family with the youngest children on the tour, and again, I was so grateful for the tour guide who would let us go on the first times of the tours so we had extra time for bathroom breaks and walking time to get back to the bus before it departed. And be aware- in Germany, on time is late. The tour guide told us that if you make a tour bus late, they view you as very egotistical and rude. So if your tour guide tells you the bus leaves at 10:40, it will be pulling out at 10:40, so make sure you’re there a few minutes early. I actually didn’t mind this at all- clearly my German roots come out because I really appreciate the efficiency.
Our tour guide also gave us advice on how to get up to Neuschwanstein castle (you can walk about 25 minutes, take a tram (2 euro), or a carriage ride (6 euro), and we opted for the carriage ride because YOLO and how cool is it to take a horse and carriage up to a gorgeous castle). And one of the nice parts of going with kids, we never had to pay for tour tickets or transportation for them. So that was a huge win. Just an FYI if you’re wanting a really cool picture of the castle: When you get up to the castle, you still have to walk about 20-25 minutes to get to Queen Mary’s bridge, which is the bridge overlooking the castle with the best view. You’ve honestly got to do this if you want a picture with the castle. The only scary part was that only 300 people could be on the bridge, and it was definitely filled to capacity, and I could feel the boards of the bridge bending. And if you look down, it’s far far down. We took pictures as quickly as we could and got off that bridge.
Now Linderhof Palace was much smaller, but incredibly beautiful inside. It’s such a shame that for both castles you’re not allowed to photograph or video anything inside, but it was magnificent seeing the ornate decor and thinking about how these castles are in the Bavarian countryside, the sheer amount of work and energy that had to of gone in to building and decorating these castles is mind boggling! And the grounds of Linderhof were so beautifully kept. It was truly a sight to see as well, even though if you could only pick one to see, I would tell you see Neuschwanstein. It just took my breath away!
Also, one of the hiccups of this trip was my shoe choice. I packed very light, and the day before on the walking tour, I wore sneakers that after 4 hours of walking (we walked a lot after the tour too), I had gotten bad blisters on my heel. So, I assumed since we were taking buses, the walking I’d have to do would be minimal, and my boots were comfortable and I could wear thick socks. Well, what I should have worn was hiking boots. The walk up to Linderhof was about 15-20 minutes. Then the walk up to Queen Mary’s bridge was 50 minutes there and back, and we ended up having to walk down from the castle, so that was another 25 minute walk down. I believe Adam’s Apple watch showed he walked over 6 miles that day. My feet were destroyed. The next day, I used an entire box of bandaids on my feet to make it through. So please learn from my mistake- research if the tours you are going on include lots of walking. Or just pack hiking boots!
Our last day in Germany, Adam planned an adventure for us to take a train to see Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber. And despite a slightly confusing train journey with four different train changes over very quick stops, which is not easy with toddlers to run from one train to the other in under 4 minutes, I am still so glad we did this! OMG! It truly was the most quintessential German village. It’s a medieval town, so you can still see the wall and towers all surrounding the village, with cobblestone streets and the buildings are the most quaint, multi-color Tudor-style with tons of flower boxes, which are my favorite! It was just gorgeous to walk around, and so much eye candy. Adam definitely enjoyed himself, walking around with beers and taking in all the sites. We ate lunch at an outdoor cafe. We got the kids the cutest German teddy bears (which sadly, Presley dropped hers out of the stroller and we didn’t realize, so only Landon’s made it home), and we just enjoyed the day exploring the shops and streets of Rothenburg.
We did pack the kids tablets and snacks for the train rides, because it was about two hours to get there and a two hour ride back, so we definitely needed to keep them fed and occupied. They were honestly very used to the travel drill at this point, that they were mostly quiet on the trains. That is such a difference in Germany- everything is much quieter! People don’t really talk on trains or the metro or buses, so definitely were aware that we were the loudest people, and tried to keep quiet as much as possible too.
Also, one other tip for traveling in Germany- definitely have cash. Many places do not take credit cards, and just in general, cash is what is preferred. It makes all transactions much easier.
Overall, we had such an amazing time in Germany. Since Adam and I both have German ethnicity, it was really special to take our children to where our ancestors were from, and get to learn more of the history and culture. The beauty of Germany sure did impress me. I didn’t realize how gorgeous the cities and countryside were! It was a great trip, and so many incredible memories were made.
Next stop on our Euro Trip 2019 was Paris, France, so that blog post will be next!
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this travel diary and the travel tips for going to Munich, Germany. Please let me know if you have any questions- more than happy to help!