The Real Deal: Four nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, and a car rental, for $315 per person—including all taxes.
When: Oct. 27-Dec. 14, 2008.
The fine print: Includes all taxes. The rental car is a two-door manual transmission (most likely a VW Polo). Upgrade to an automatic for $30 per day. Unlimited mileage and third-party insurance are included. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $179. Package can only be booked by phone. U.S. citizens will need a valid passport for travel to Germany; a visa is not necessary. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Nordique Tours, 800/995-7997, nordiquetours.com
Why it's a deal: You can go to Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, or Munich to take advantage of this deal (all cities are the same price). For the sake of simplicity, we tried pricing out the package in Munich. You'll stay at the Hotel Ludwig. A four-night stay will normally cost you €198 per person ($271 at press time). We also priced out rental cars in Munich on Kayak (for mid-November) and found a Ford Ka from Thrifty for $102 per person for a four-night rental. That total adds up to $373 if you booked the hotel and the car on your own—so you'll save $58 by booking through Nordique. Plus, Nordique's package price includes all taxes. If you want to road trip across Germany, Nordique can book a few of these cities for you, which is a time-saver.
Trip details: With the Four-Night Stay With Car in Germany, you decide how to divide your four nights among the following cities: Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich. For instance, you could spend a night in Munich and then make the five-hour drive to Berlin for the remaining three nights.
If you'd like to pack more cities into the trip, a good itinerary might be Düsseldorf to Cologne (a 30-minute drive), then Cologne to Frankfurt (about a two-hour drive).
Or, make Berlin your base city, and drive out to Düsseldorf (about five hours) to stay for two nights, and drive back to Berlin for your flight home.
In Berlin, you'll stay at A&O Friedrichshain Ostkreuz, a hostel in Friedrichshain, a hip urban area, mostly populated by students and artists and known for Die Busche, a gay and lesbian disco.
Choose between hotels in Cologne: the Holiday Inn Cologne-Bonn Airport or Express By Holiday Inn Cologne-Troisdorf. There's plenty to keep you busy in Cologne, such as Roman ruins, medieval churches, a cathedral, and a botanical garden and zoo.
In Düsseldorf, a major commercial center, accommodations will be at the 30-room Batavia Hotel. Just a five-minute walk from this hotel and you'll be in the shopping area of Königsallee. The parks and green areas that line the Rhine River are another great place to stroll.
Frankfurt's hotel is the Luxor Hotel. It's a quick walk to the Main River, where you can hop a boat ride. One of Frankfurt's famous treats is Ebbelwoi, an apple wine. It's served in pubs in a blue stoneware jug and has been a favorite of locals for 250 years.
Hotel Ludwig will be your base in Munich. It's close to some of the main tourist attractions: Victualienmarkt, a 140-stall food market that operates throughout the week; the Cathedral of Our Lady, a church with artwork spanning five centuries; and the English Garden, designed by the American Benjamin Thompson.
Want to extend your stay? You can add nights in any of these German cities from $78 per person per night.
Temperatures in late fall in Germany will vary, but expect them to be on the cold side—between 32 and 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
Getting there: In a recent Kayak search, we found the following round-trip airfares to Munich in mid-November: $606 from New York City (United), $644 from Baltimore (Northwest), $685 from Chicago (United), $719 from Atlanta (Air France), $726 from San Francisco (United), $757 from Seattle (United), and $771 from Denver (Delta).