Germany has worked hard over recent years to develop its reputation as a tourist destination. With a mix of modern cities, historical towns and stunning scenery, this country has something to offer for ever taste. English is widely understood in most towns and cities, and the rail and bus network is excellent making it an incredibly accessible country for most visitors. Here’s our Top 10 Things to do in Germany…
Germany’s thriving capital, Berlin has established itself as a diverse and liberal city. With an abundance of museums, an excellent food scene and vibrant nightlife, Berlin is one of the most exciting cities in Europe. Local Tip: The vast flea market at Mauerpark every Sunday is a favourite hangout for locals and tourists alike – just jump off the metro at Bernauer Straße!
Drive the ‘Romantic Road’
This 400km long route between Würzburg and Füssen passes through some of Germany’s finest scenery and historic towns. Würzburg is also a renowned grape growing region with some excellent local wines. Local Tip: Avoid the tour busses by cycling the route using the excellent network of cycle paths!
Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
This picture-perfect castle is almost a symbol of Germany itself. High in the Bavarian mountains, it looks like something out of a fairy-tale and is must see in the area. Local Tip: Take the public bus that runs right up to the castle- it is much cheaper than the horse and carts advertised near the ticket counters!
Explore Germany’s largest lake
In the very south of Germany on the Swiss and Austrian borders lies Lake Constance, known as the ‘Bodensee’. With amazing views, plenty of water based activities and charming towns, this area has something for everyone. Local Tip: Take a seat on the top deck of one of the many ferries and enjoy a leisurely tour of the lake – you can even buy a beer and something to eat on board!
Go for a Hike
Going for long hikes is a national pastime, particularly in areas with lots of hills and lakes. Walking trails are well maintained and signposted so getting lost shouldn’t be an issue – just remember to wear good walking boots! Local Tip: You will find plenty of ‘Hütte’ along popular routes where you can get a simple and hearty meal to keep you going!
Say ‘Prost!’ at a Beer Festival
Joining a local Beer Festival is a must-do when in Germany. Munich’s Oktoberfest is the biggest and most famous, with live bands and plenty of amusements. Remember to say ‘Prost’ (‘Cheers’) before drinking! Local Tip: Rather than Oktoberfest, try the ‘Cannstatter Wasen’ which takes place around the same time in Stuttgart.
Eat like a Local
German food is generally very rich and hearty, featuring lots of meat, bread and potatoes. Whilst there are plenty of fine dining options in most cities, for a true taste of Germany, head to one of the local ‘Imbiss’ stands which serve quick snacks for people on their lunch breaks! Local Tip: Most butchers shops will also have a hot counter that served various delicacies such as Schnitzels in a bread roll, ready to eat!
Drink Beer in Munich
Munich is often considered to be the home of German beer and is the home of the German Purity Law that governs the production of beer to this day. All over the city there are vast beer halls that serve up fresh local beer along with hearty food, traditional music and an amazing atmosphere. Local Tip: Don’t call the large beer glasses ‘Steins’! Holding one litre of liquid, the proper name for these giant glasses is a “Maß”, pronounced “Mahss”!
Head to the Beach
Although not generally known as a beach destination, Germany has a wonderful stretch of coastline on the North and Baltic Seas. The town of Heringsdorf boasts spectacular stretches of sandy beach which get incredibly busy in the summer months. Local Tip: Take a trip to the island of Usedom for some truly world class beaches, accessible year-round. You can even pop over the border into Poland for lunch!
The north-western state of North Rhein-Westphalia is home to a number of vibrant cities such as Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf and Dortmund. They are all relatively near to one another and are connected by an excellent network of trains and busses making it easy to jump explore them all in a short space of time. Local Tip: Buy a ticket that is valid for the whole region as this will provide you with unlimited travel between the cities. There are great discounts available for groups!