Scads of tourists or not, it's hard to leave the three more popular big city tourist stops of Germany, Austria and Switzerland off your itinerary. Here are a few thoughts on seeing them comfortably this summer.

Munich

Crowded

Marienplatz
The Residenz
Deutsches Museum
St. Michaels Church
Hofbräuhaus

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Englischer Garten
Nymphenburg Palace
Botanical Gardens
Asam Church
Augustiner Keller - on Landstrasse

Munich Summer Tips: Personal favorites at Nymphenburg are the less-crowded Carriage Museum and the nearby Botantical Gardens. The Deutsches Museum is fabulous. See it first thing in the morning. Two interesting and less visited museums are the Münchner Stadtmuseum and the Bayerisches National Museum. Lovers of great paintings should not miss the Alte Pinakothek, regardless of the crowds. A highly recommended excursion is to Andechs and its monastery. Great beer and food.

Berlin

Crowded

Reichstag
Pergamon Museum
Charlottenburg Palace

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Soviet Memorial
Gemäldegalerie
Sanssouci (Potsdam)

Berlin Summer Tips: Not to be missed are the new futuristic buildings of Potdamer Platz. An 8-DM ($4) ticket to the Gemäldegalerie includes entrance to the Neue Nationalgalarie and vice versa. The quirky but fascinating Museum Haus am Checkpoint will be crowded but worth the effort for those interested in the Berlin Wall.

Vienna

Crowded

The Hofburg
Schönbrunn Palace
Kunsthistorisches Museum

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The Belvedere Palaces
Kaisergruft
KunstHaus Wien

Vienna Summer Tips: Vienna's Naschmarkt (daily outdoor market plus colossal flea-market on Saturdays) is a Vienna must. Get away from the crowd with excursions via tram to Heurigen (wine taverns) in such suburbs as Heiligenstadt, Nussdorf, and Sievering. A nice change of pace is the Prater (an amusement park) and music lovers may want to visit the Zentralfriedhof (main cemetery) with its graves of Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and the Strauss family.

May 2000