Germany — Overview
Germany conjures up images of toasting at Oktoberfest amongst shrews of folks clothed in lederhosen. True, that is one of the activities visitors can enjoy while in Germany, but there are plenty of famous sights, great beer, fast cars, and culture to experience too. In fact, Germany is a big country and seeing everything in one trip might be difficult. Choose a region or major cities that are of particular interest and start from there.
There a seemingly endless number of castles, cathedrals, palaces, and museums to explore in history-rich Germany. Famous landmarks such as Neuschwanstein, the model for Disney’s Cinderella castle, Wartburg Castle, and Hohenzollern Castle are just a few not to be missed. Germany also boasts an incredible 30-plus World Heritage sites including Aachen and Cologne cathedrals.
Also known for its natural beauty, from the Black Forest Mountains to the Harz Mountains, the Wadden Sea, and Messel Pit, Germany has many places where outdoor activities are plentiful in both the winter and summer months. If you love cycling, hiking or mountain climbing there are a seemingly endless number of trails to explore when the weather is good. In fact, wander (walking/hiking) is a national past time. Just make sure to greet other hikers with Guten Tag (hello) when passing by. In the winter months, it is possible to ski or snowboard in the Bavarian Alps. There is something for every season in Germany.
Germany offers a vast range of accommodation options. While cheap and clean youth hostels are everywhere, staying at one of the many bed and breakfasts or inns dotted around the countryside is a great option. Many offer comfortable rooms and warm home-cooked meals at reasonable prices. The cities, of course, offer a range of upscale hotels, including international brand names.
Most international visitors fly into Germany via one of the 16 international airports, with Frankfurt, Munich, and Berlin having the most flight options. Germany is bordered by Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands, which means getting into Germany can also be done via train from one of the 9 neighboring countries. Visitors who plan on using the train a lot should consider buying a Eurail Pass.
Inter-city travel in Germany is easy. The Deutsche Bahn offers excellent high-speed train connections. Self-driving is also a good option, as the highways (autobahns) are all toll-free and easy to navigate. Although inter-city buses exist, the rail network is so speedy and comprehensive that most tourists don’t need to use buses as a long-distance travel option.
- Explore the many castles in Germany
- Learn about divided Germany and the Cold War by going to Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
- Explore the Black Forest on foot or by horse back
- Take a Rhine river cruise and enjoy the beautiful Rhine Valley and its castles
- See Nefertiti’s bust at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin