Germany is a country that has been at the heart of Europe for centuries, and from the unique culture shaped from historical influences, to amazing cuisine and architecture, there is so much to enjoy during a trip to this country.
Germany is also a very practical country to visit, as the transport system is modern and many of the people speak English, which help to make this a fairly easy country to explore.
Germany’s multitude of regional identities offers a cornucopia of distinct experiences to meet all kinds of expectations and suit all possible tastes (even the most discriminating ones) – whatever it is you fancy: beautiful scenery, great architecture, lively festivals, glamorous events, exciting nightlife, delicious food and the best beer ever – Germany has it all and more.
Here are just a few reasons to visit Germany:
One only need kick back and take in the mesmerizing beauty of the German countryside, with its captivating landscapes, elegant old castles perched on the nearby hilltops, and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see; the main waterways of Germany allow one to see the country from a unique perspective and gain an insight into how important a role some of the main rivers have played historically in the development of important urban centers (Frankfurt, Mainz, Koblenz, Cologne, Dusseldorf, etc) and thus the country as a whole.
The navigating of the stretch of the river known as the Rhine Gorge, dotted with beautiful castles, as well as the Lorelei rock (towering over the river just as painted by J.M.W. Turner) are particularly enjoyable aspects of what truly is a magical journey.
2. The Carnival season
A wonderful opportunity to relax and allow yourself to get swept away by tides of carnival celebrations, simultaneously taking place in a number of cities and regions in Germany (especially its western and southwestern parts) during the weekend and through Rose Monday (also on Mardi Gras in larger centers) just before Ash Wednesday. ‘Fifth Season,’ as it is also called, brings with it an explosion of colors: decorated floats, all kinds of flamboyant costumes, bizarre setups ridiculing politicians, street dancers and marching bands. For a truly awesome carnival party go to Cologne – you will experience first hand the warmth of this city, have one helluva good time, and see the stereotypically ‘reserved’ Germans in their ‘party animal’ edition.
Everyone (beer aficionados in particular) should, at least once in their lifetime, attend this great festival IMO, and join in the fun of downing consecutive Maßkrüge, to the sounds of lederhosen-clad ‘Oompah Bands’ while feasting on ‘wurst,’ ‘hendl’ and ‘schweinebraten,’ and generally, celebrating all things Bavarian.
Little wonder people from all over the world travel to Munich in droves to be a part of this festival – the atmosphere in and around “die Wiesn” (the epicenter of the festival) and the tents is cheerful in the extreme.
4. German Food
One of the great things about Germany is the delicious food one gets to eat while over there; yes, you heard me right: German food is great!
With all its ‘wurst’ this and ‘wurst’ that (1500 different types of sausages) served with sauerkraut and potato salad, exquisite soups and stews, ‘Sauerbraten,’ ‘Schweinebraten,’ ‘Schwenkbraten,’ (and other ‘bratens’), hundreds of different types of bread, all washed down with the best beer in the world, Germany is a true gastronomic wonderland.
On top of that, almost everywhere you go out to eat, you get served a huge plate full of food, instead of some stylishly decorated little morsel.
Berlin has emerged as one of greatest party destinations on the planet – and was even named the most “fun” city on Earth in a 2014 ranking. Since the fall of the Wall, Berlin has busied itself with becoming one of the most stimulating creative and cultural centers in Europe – one that truly offers something for everyone. Summer is by far the best season to visit. Residents take full advantage of the decent weather to hit the streets, rivers and lakes and partake in endless events across the city.
6. They’ve got a phrase for everything
Our favorites are Backpfeifengesicht (“a face badly in need of a fist”), verschlimmbessern (“to make something worse while trying to improve it”), and Schnapsidee (“a brilliant plan one hatches while drunk”).
7. And some brilliantly long words
The word Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz (law delegating beef label monitoring) was removed from the German language a few years ago, but there are still some crackers – Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung (automobile liability insurance) and Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwe (widow of a Danube steamboat company captain), to name a few.
8. Christmas markets
Sizzling sausages, Glühwein and gingerbread… But just as the British pub cannot be reproduced abroad, so all the other versions of the German Christmas market are rather ersatz. Nothing beats the real thing.
Vorsprung durch Technik is another German cliché, but those cars are pretty good. Audi’s advertising slogan needs no introduction, but this is also the country of the BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes. There are excellent museums to das Auto and all its works in Wolfsburg (VW) and Stuttgart (Porsche and Mercedes-Benz). But by far the best way to experience this aspect of German culture is to hire a (German) car and hit the speed-limit-free autobahn.
So extreme (and expensive) was “Mad” King Ludwig’s passion for building fairytale castles in extraordinary locations that in the end he was declared insane (and drowned in mysterious circumstances shortly thereafter). But his magnificent legacy lives on, most famously at Neuschwanstein, but also in the magnificent palaces of Herrenchiemsee (Lake Chiemsee) and the Linderhof (near Oberammergau).
11. Weird museums and countless other quirky attractions
There is an onion museum in Weimar, a gnome museum on the fringes of the Thuringian Forest, and a museum in Berlin dedicated to currywurst. There are also awesome things to see like Berlin’s Bierpinsel building; Ferropolis, a dumping ground/open air museum containing giant industrial machines, like something out of Mad Max; the Kunsthofpassage Funnel Wall in Dresden; and the Heidelberg Tun, an enormous wine vat that sits within the cellars of Heidelberg Castle and has a capacity of 219,000 liters – that’s 292,000 bottles of wine.
12. And the world’s narrowest street
Spreuerhofstraße, in the city of Reutlingen, is a little bit over 12 inches at its narrowest and just 19.7 inches at its widest, making it the world’s narrowest street.
13. Immense musical heritage
Germany’s rich musical heritage (Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner) is maintained in the form of annual festivals in locations such as Bayreuth and Schleswig-Holstein and some of the finest opera houses and concert halls in the world. Then there’s Kraftwerk and Rammstein!
14. Breathtaking mountains and forests
In addition to its industrial heartlands and cities, Germany is also a country of great mountains – the Alps of course but also lesser-known ranges such as the Harz in the north – and some wonderful lakes. Personal favorites include Lake Constance (where Germany, Austria and Switzerland all meet), the Fünfseenland (five-lake-region) just to the south of Munich – and the lesser-trumpeted northern lake district of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Germany’s deep, dark, mysterious forests explain why this is the birthplace of the fairytale.
15. The largest hillside park in Europe
The Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is best known for its incredible cascading falls – 350 m in length – and grand fountain, which shoots water 50 m into the air. It was made a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2013.
German cuisine often gets a bad press – unfairly, given the huge regional variations and the growing number of Michelin-starred restaurants, especially in the south-west. But no-one could deny their extraordinary variation and rich creativity in baking, from dark rye to richly seeded and wholegrain breads and, of course, pretzels (very good with all those beers) and Schrippen, white rolls ideal for containing those huge bratwurst sausages.
17. The world’s best nightclub in Berlin
That’s what they say about Berghain. No idea why – ask those who managed to get in!