Germany is the largest country in Central Europe and is a federation of 16 states with their own cultural influences.
However, as much as Germany is seen as a serious country, it is also the second most popular country for migration and has a huge cultural hub. Germany has a multicultural population who love to indulge in the gastronomy of the country (particularly the beers which are shown off annually at Oktoberfest and the Bratwurst sausages).
With a history of composers like Beethoven and Brahms, there is still a huge demand for live classical music which is appreciated worldwide. Craftsmanship is valued heavily here as wood carving and engraving are still shown off in its architectural monuments.
With its 82 million inhabitants and its capital city Berlin, Germany is really a country to savour and take time to discover.
What to do/see in Germany
The number one thing on your list of things to see and do in Germany should be to go to The Cologne Cathedral, which is on the Rhine’s riverbank. It has 56 pillars and a Treasury with many rare antiques. At nightfall the exterior is breathtakingly eerie and photography rarely does it justice.
In Berlin you can take a trip to a multitude of museums all on one island, which is picturesque and stashed full of information and things for you to learn. You might need more than one day if you want to experience this place properly, so for Museuminsel put two days aside.
If you are a daredevil you can go to Duisburg to the Tiger and Turtle Magic Mountain, where you actually walk the route of a rollercoaster. Or for something much more holiday-like go to Halbe to the Tropical Islands Resort, where you can pretend to sun yourself inside the airship hangar which has been converted into an indoor beach.
Lastly, you can take a trip to Munich where you can see the Weibe Rose Pavement Memorial. This is a selection of ‘pamphlets’ on the pavement in honour of two sisters who opposed the Nazi regime in war times. They are small but very poignant memories to a time gone by. You also have the Viscardigasse cobblestones in Munich which hold similar significance.
Where to stay in Germany
Instead of going all inclusive in Berlin why not try a hostel instead, on a boat. The Eastern Comfort is right near the East Side Gallery and the Berlin Wall and is superbly good value for money.
In Saxony you can hire a treehouse on Kulturinsel where you can sleep amidst the stunning forest. Or instead of a romantic treehouse in Schleswig-Holstein you can enjoy the luxury of the beaches and hire a Beach Sleeping Basket. You can literally get inside a basket and draw the top of it closed and you are set for the evening. They even come equipped with a TV!
For something a little more conventional and city based you can always stay in the Derag Livinghotel Grosser Kurfurst in Berlin, where you are greeted with wall-to-wall luxury and floor-to-ceiling windows. This hotel is very close to several museums and is on a central train line.
Endeus also has a superb selection of vacation rentals in Germany should you not find what you are looking for above.
- The Germans are extremely polite and well-mannered on the whole and are relatively private people. They do not like to be late for anything and they take offense if you are late.
- The locals want you to enjoy your experience there, but they do not want to deal with drunken people. They love their beers but they drink in moderation and expect you to do the same. Fines and arrests are made when people overdrink and locals tend to look disdainfully upon drunken tourists.
- When you are in a restaurant paying for your dinner after a long day exploring please remember to tip. 10% is the normal price but at special seasonal times, like Christmas, tipping rises in percentage. Please note that most places tend to be very cash-friendly and sometimes don’t offer the use of a credit card machine. Thus taking cash is often the best policy here.
- Sundays in most places are for resting. Not here. In Germany you go for walks or are out with friends doing some sort of exercise. So use this time to explore on foot and get a feel for the city when a lot of the local shops are closed.
Touchdown at the airport, jump on the S- Bahn and you will find yourself at Munich Central Station, where your Munich adventure begins. Go to the eastern side of the city to see the neo-Gothic Marienplatz and admire the column of the Virgin Mary or descent into Frauenkirche Cathedral for late Gothic architectural stained glass windows and or a more haunting visit to the tomb of the Bavarian Emperor. Hot? Drift down the Isar River on a log raft or visit the Muller’sches Volksbad pools to cool down or try one of the museums in Kunstareal in Maxvorstadt for a dose of classic art.
Berlin, despite the toll of previous wars, has become one of the top capital cities to visit worldwide. With the Berlin wall (located in the east of the city centre) adorned with murals and a memorial, you are emotionally transported to war times. Visit the Unterwelten Museum to experience bunker life in all its horror or for monsters of a different nature go to Monsterkabinett for artist Hannes Heiner to present your nightmares in reality. Berlin also is home to the World of Cyberobics, a venue with LED shows, a workout zone VR-style or you can unwind while overlooking Alexanderplatz.
The city of Hamburg is known as the German Gateway to the World. You can view the heart of the city, the harbour and the countryside from St. Michaelis church at 150 metres above ground or visit the Town Hall and gaze in awe at its spectacular architecture. Embark on a blast from the past when you visit the beautifully haunting Blankenese Shipwrecks at the harbour after a stroll down the 300 foot beach. The Medical History Museum is home to a huge collection of medical paraphernalia from various eras or for tranquillity the Laeiszhalle is the largest concert hall with stupendous classical music.