From intriguing relics of the past to contemporary architectural gems, Germany is a country that strikes a perfect harmony and balance between the old and new. Bold, charming and fascinating, the country is not just the largest in Central Europe but arguably the most cosmopolitan and diverse as well. Avant-garde edifices, exhilarating nightlife, medieval remnants, and enthusiastic Germans make this nation one of its kind and undoubtedly one of the must visit destinations in the world. Here’s a Germany travel guide for the relevant information and everything you need to know about Germany. So, what are you waiting for? Read on and get ready to explore Germany.
Must-See Tourist Attractions in Germany
Reclusive King Ludwig’s personal refuge, Schloss Neuschwanstein or Neuschwanstein Castle is a romantic mediaeval castle which is perched beautifully on the mountaintop in southwest Bavaria. The dramatic setting of the castle and the grandeur of its architecture are simply outstanding and attract more than 1 million tourists to its premise every year and about 6000 per day during summer. The castle has been an inspiration for the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle of Disneyland. It has also been featured in several Hollywood flicks including The Great Escape. One of the top tourist attractions in Germany, Schloss Neuschwanstein is a must-visit.
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich:
A fine example of Germany’s architectural brilliance, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich is an iconic white edifice which is Mecca of modern art. Considered amongst most impressive and largest modern and contemporary art museums in the world Pinakothek der Moderne has a wide range of collections including automotive designs and furniture masterpieces. A true reflection of German innovation and excellence, Pinakothek der Moderne is also a must-visit site in Germany.
The Zwinger, Dresden
Augustus the Strong returned from Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles and wished to have something similar for himself. Result? The Zwinger, the most spectacular and extravagant alfresco ballroom Germany has ever built. Two legendary masters of their fields, the sculptor Balthasar Permoser and the architect Matthäus Pöppelmann collaborated to realize Augustus the Strong’s dream and the result was astounding with ornate portals, fountain studded courtyards and porcelain bells. Don’t miss it.
A cosmopolitan metropolis and the fourth largest city in Germany, Cologne boasts of two thousand years of history and art. Founded by mighty Romans in 38 BC and located by the banks of Rhine River with Belgium barely 80 kilometres away Cologne has plenty of attractions to allure tourists. However, the most famous of them all are the Cologne Cathedral and the University of Cologne, one of Europe’s largest and oldest universities.
Area wise Germany’s largest Island, Rugen is a pastoral escape from avant-garde German cityscape. Sugar white sandy beaches, white cliffs like King’s Chair, lovely architecture and even a World Heritage Site by UNESCO named Jasmund National Park, Rügen’s beauty is unparalleled. A popular tourist destination off the Pomeranian coast, Rugen is a site not-to-be-missed in Germany.
The oldest cathedral in northern Europe, Aachen’s ancient cathedral was built by Emperor Charlemagne who was also buried here. The cathedral was also one of the 12 sites to be awarded the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1978. This spectacular cathedral built in mixed architectural styles in simply mind-boggling in its splendor and beauty.
The black forest
Explore the vast expanse of valley, rivers, hills and forests in southwestern Germany named as the Black Forest. Bounded by Rhine valley to the west and south, the legendary Black Forest is home to cuckoo clocks. During the period of industrialization, many farmers spent their winters making cuckoo clocks and that’s how this place become synonymous to these world-famous type of clocks.
The Berlin Wall
Visiting Germany and not witnessing the remains of Berlin wall is simply unimaginable. A wall which divided Berlin into two parts for 28 years is a piece of history depicting the turbulent times that Germany had once been through. Today it is a must-visit tourist attraction.
Time your Germany visit with Oktoberfest-the annual 16-day extravaganza held from mid or late September to the first weekend in October in Munich. It is the world’s largest beer festival and travelling funfair (Volksfest) attended by more than 6 million visitors annually.
Home to world-class opera houses, Germany’s entertainment scene is among the best across the globe. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra features as the top three orchestras in the world. Musicals, plays, and cultural events are quintessential German ways of entertainment. Don’t miss an English performance of a Shakespearean play if your German is not good enough.
Houseware, kitchenware, chocolates, sweets, cheese and German honey make for ideal souvenirs to bring back home for friends and family from Germany.
Eating out in Germany needs a bit of understanding or else it can be confusing. Takeaway and sandwich shops are not popular and easily available options in Germany. However, you can find Imbliss (an abbreviation of ‘Schnellimbiss’ which means quick snack) offering mainly fries (Pommes Frites) and sausage (Wurst). Taste the typical German sausage called Currywurst- covered in ketchup and dusted with curry powder. You can also try German seafood chain Nordsee.
Don’t miss ‘Doner Kebab’ which contrary to the popular belief did not origin in Turkey but was invented by Turkish immigrants in West Berlin. Then there are bakeries/butchers where you can have lip-smacking rolls and bread. If you wish to have beer and Bavarian food, Biergärten is where you should go. Brauhaus are the small pubs where you can get decent food. The most popular type of eatery in Germany is Gasthof or Gasthaus which are family run businesses serving basic food to local delicacies. There is also no dearth of multi-cuisine or specialty restaurants in Germany.
Since Germany caters to a huge number of tourists every year, there are plenty of lodging options available here ranging from budget to luxury. There are hotels, hostels, and B&Bs that provide accommodation as per one’s requirement. There are also campsites, however, the quality of which cannot be predicted. Homestays or hospitality network is also gaining popularity in Germany.
Rent a car or ride a train, German transport will reaffirm your faith in world-famous German efficiency. Trains are affordable, advanced, and the most popular mode to commute. There are intercity trains as well. Ride-sharing cabs are also a practical commuting option in Germany.
For long distance intercity trains reservations are not mandatory, however, during weekends or holidays it’s better to get a seat reserved.
Points to Remember
Straight talks and honesty are the core German values along with efficiency and discipline. The definition of politeness is significantly different in Germany from other parts of the world, therefore, you may find certain things or gestures rude but it’s not intended to. Don’t break rules and don’t get the cultural shock. Be humorous but don’t even think of cracking a Nazi joke. Respect sentiments and be punctual, Germans don’t really expect much from travelers.
LIKE IT ? SHARE IT !