With mountains, forests, rivers and even beaches, the landscape of Germany is vast and offers many opportunities to explore.
Here are the reasons why Germany needs to be on your travel bucket list.
1. Perfectly Located for Exploring
Among the best of Europe’s countries, centrally located east of France, Belgium and the Netherlands, South of Denmark, West of the Czech Republic and Poland, Northwest of Austria and North of Switzerland and the Alps. Perfect for extensive travel throughout the Western and Central European region to immerse in the German experience or with visits to one of the various nearby countries. Germany is made up of 16 state regions, with open borders between its states and too adjacent countries. Many flights entering and leaving Europe will connect through Munich or Frankfurt airports. Ease of travel by auto, train, plane and ships on the waterways in and around Germany provide many reasons to add Germany to your Europe travel itinerary.
2. Cruise to and through Germany
Touching the shores of the Baltic and North Seas bring you access to Germany by ocean cruise on itineraries to the United Kingdom and/or the Scandinavia region. Germany has many rivers, the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Main & Elbe that can transport you through her beautiful countryside and to some of her best cities which sit along the rivers. Not to be missed is Cologne on the Rhine, Regensburg on the Danube, Koblenz on the Mosel, Frankfurt on the Main and Dresden on the Elbe just to name a few. Cruising offers the opportunity to explore many regions with limited unpacking and numerous options for reaching even more of her amazing cities, towns and villages.
3. Experiences All Around You
One of the largest countries in Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany was originally part of the Holy Roman Empire. The center for Protestant Reformation in Europe, Germany grew in the 18th Century into a super power until its demise after World War II when it was split into Eastern and Western Germany until reunification in 1990. Quaint old villages and historic city centers, castles, cathedrals, religious, secular and historical landmarks, World War II sites, memorials and government buildings offer sites to explore and immerse in all around. Plus, numerous experiences await you, walk the Berlin Wall, follow one of the many hiking trails located throughout the country or visit one of the many picturesque villages in the Black Forest region. The variety of offerings to experience her beauty and culture that built her is why Germany is one of the most visited countries in the world.
4. Museum Island in Berlin
Well known for its paintings, German painters have been key players in the European art scene and important contributors to the development of the Western art movement in Europe. From the German Renaissance paintings of Albrecht Durer to the Baroque style of Johann Zimmerman or modern day Neo-expressionism, if art is your passion, you will want to visit Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site located on a small island in the Spree river offering five world renowned museums of art, antiquities, artifacts, and a national gallery. Regional museums in Frankfurt, Cologne and Dresden also offer fantastic collections of art with German and world influences.
5. Live the Fairy Tale
German literature’s most familiar works are German Folklore ie Fairy Tales to us modern folks. If you love romance and the thought of fantasy land, the Deutsche Märchenstraße (German Fairy Tale Road) takes you on a scenic tour of the stories of Brother’s Grimm. Starting at the Grimm museum the route will have you exploring small medieval villages and picturesque towns like you would find in the stories themselves. Visit Sleeping Beauty’s Sababurg Castle (official, not the Disney inspired) and medieval Trendleburg castle and climb Rapunzel’s Tower. Both castle’s are hotel’s so you can extend your experience and live your own fairy tale. If seeing the Disney inspired castle is on your travel bucket list, visit Neuschwanstein castle about a 2 hour drive south west of Munich, Germany. Other recommendations for castle lovers, Hohenzollern Castle in in Baden-Württemberg provides spectacular views or if you are looking for something more palatial and in North Germany visit Schwerin Castle.
6. A Car Lovers Paradise
When you think of high performing vehicles, Germany is top of mind. Mercedes, BMW, Audi and of course Porsche are all top quality leaders and all happen to be located in Germany. Visit the BMW museum in Munich, the Volkswagen factory in Dresden or the Mercedes Benz and Porsche museums in Stuttgart. Also well known and on many bucket lists is driving the German Autobahn. Rent your preferred driving machine and head out onto a section of the 8000 mile roadway where the minimum driving speed is 80 miles per hour. Another unique bucket list option if purchasing a luxury vehicle or sports car is on the list, is the European delivery program. Tour the factory, pick your car off the line, test drive it on a private test track, drive it while on vacation and then drop it back off at the factory for shipment and delivery to your local dealership a few weeks later.
7. Traditional German Food
Gastronomy is a big part of the German experience. Within each region of Germany you have various influences that make up the popular cuisines of the distinct area. Bratwurst and Spatzle are popular options in the southwest region. White sausages and pretzels in the Bavarian region, more traditional comfort foods in the Berlin region, borscht variations in the eastern region and frankfurter’s in Frankfurt, of course. Regardless of which region you visit, bread is a big part of the culture and included in every meal. Some not to be missed dishes to try while visiting Germany are Schnitzel, Fischbrotchen (fish sandwich), Currywurst, potato pancakes or dumplings, sauerkraut, Stollen bread, apple cake, the many strudels and Black Forest cake which is made with cherry liquor that originated from the region .
8. German Wine & Cider
Riesling is grown along the mosel river and is the most popular wine produced however Germany also produces other white and red wine varieties. Mainly produced along the Rhine in the western region of Germany, white and sweet wine’s are most notable. In the Alsace region grape varieties range from lighter rose to grapes that produce wines comparable to Italian Pinot’s. The biggest difference between German wine’s and those from the nearby regions of France are the higher levels of acidity that are found in the cooler areas of the German wine region. Apfelwein (apple cider) made from pressed apples is popular in the region surrounding Frankfurt, Germany and can be enjoyed in some of the local Cider Taverns within its old center. Apple cider is popularly combined with dry white wines (like Riesling) to create Gluhmost – hot mulled cider that is served during the colder weather and throughout the holidays in Germany.
9. The Beer Culture
For some, this is the primary reason they want to visit Germany. Beer is a key part of the German culture and has very specific requirements (the German beer purity law) to qualify as “German Bier”. Most German beers range in alcohol by volume from 4.7 – 5.4% however the heavier German darks can reach percentages up to 16%. Options to enjoy are top fermented wheat beers, pale beers like the popular Kolsch and Pilsner’s, dark Bock and similiar heavy bodied beers and lighter cask ales. Although bier (as it is spelled in Germany) is popular throughout Germany, it is most popular in the Bavarian region which is also where most of the breweries will be found. The oldest brewery in Germany, and the world, is in a Benedictine Abbey called Weihenstephen in Munich. The most popular way to drink your tapped bier is in a stein or Weizen glass as it is referred locally which is larger then your average pint with extra room for foam from the taps. Beer is so popular in Germany they have annual festivals in the fall called Oktoberfest surrounding the beer culture in Germany.
10. A Festival for all Seasons
Germans love to celebrate which is why we have saved the best for last. With a holiday and/or festival for every occasion there is surely to be an opportunity to participate in some local celebrating, feasting and dancing no matter when you visit. Some of the more popular celebrations offering festivals and events are; Silvester (New Years), Three Kings Day (celebrating the 12 days of Christmas into early January), Karneval, Valentines, Easter, Maifest (one of their oldest) which includes bonfires, Oktoberfest, St. Martin’s Day (similar to All Saints Day) and Christkindlmarkt (the Christmas Markets) where local artisans & entertainers gather daily in the center of the towns spreading festivity and celebration.
The Smorgasbord of additional information;
Germany is a beautiful country filled with friendly and welcoming people who love life. They are also very strict rule followers, with laws for everything, which can seem daunting to the unsuspecting visitor. In reality, it makes Germany efficient and explains why their country is so clean and well managed.
From the marshy coast, central wetlands, green hilly countrysides, lakes, forests and mountainous alps, the diversity of Germany is in its land. The climate throughout the country only swings about 8 degrees between the northern and southern regions. With warm (not hot) summers and cooler (not terrible) winters, the weather is rarely extreme making it enjoyable to visit any time of year.
With many options for exploring and traveling that fit any lifestyle, no matter who you are, families traveling together, single travelers, couples looking for romance, exploration, active itineraries, groups traveling together or simply because it is on your travel bucket list Germany offers options that are safe, exciting and fun which are all reasons to plan a visit to Germany.
These are our top reasons to visit the Deutschland, so the next big question is what is the best way to see Germany? A river cruise along the rivers of Germany provides you with a one of a kind experience not just taking you to amazing places but through them. It is the most immersive way to experience a location with ease and comfort. Take our quiz to find out if River Cruising is a right fit for you.