Exploring GermanyOur Travel Guide
Germany (officially: the Federal Republic of Germany; and in German: Deutschland) is the largest country in Central Europe, Germany borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the East, Austria and Switzerland to the south and France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
Germany is a federation of 16 states, each with their own unique and distinct culture.
Germany is known around the world for its precision engineering and high-tech products and it is equally admired by visitors for its old-world charm and “Gemütlichkeit”(coziness), historical regions and local diversity.
Kati was born and raised in Germany and we have outlined our favorite German experiences.
Germany at a Glance
Currency: Euro (EUR)Electricity Socket: 230V AC electricity. Power outlets are usually two-prong round sockets.
Visa: Germany is a member of the European Union and signatory of the Schengen convention. Any EU national is entitled to unlimited, Visa-free travel within Germany. Nationals of most American countries plus Australia and NZ benefit from 90 days of Visa-free travel within the Schengen zone.
Language: The main language of Germany is German. Germany is a formal and respectful country and saying a little German in a polite manner will go a long way. Many Germans will speak a little English, especially in the major cities and tourist areas.
- Sight Seeing 80% 80%
- Cost 75% 75%
- Ease of Travel 95% 95%
- Activities 95% 95%
Easy to travel within, Germany is filled with romantic castles, world-class festivals, and historical villages to explore. Kati was born and raised in Germany and has listed her favorite experiences.
Top 7 Experiences in Germany
1. The Romantic Road
The romantic road in Germany is one of the oldest touring roads in the world! Built after World War II as a means of attracting visitors to the country, this self-drive adventure takes travelers back in time, where cathedrals had with gothic spires, castles were nestled into mountainsides, and the countryside was so lush and green, you’ll think you were driving through a fairy-tale. Take the Romantic Road visiting quaint Bavarian villages and experience Germany’s distinctive culture.
The Romantic Road starts in Frankfurt and ends in Munich. Must-see stops included; Wurzburg, with vineyard covered hills and castle; Rothenberg Ob Der Tauber, a beautiful medieval town with cobblestone streets and half-timber houses; the walled city of Nordlingen; Augsburg; and Hohenschwangau with Neuschwanstein. Don’t miss the other castle, Hohenschwangau accross the valley. It is equally as interesting.
2. German Christmas Markets
When it comes to Christmas markets in Europe, no one does them better than Germany. This makes perfect sense since the Germans pretty much invented them.
The Christmas market – also known as the Christkindlmarkt (Christ child market) – is a tradition that began in the German-speaking parts of Europe way back in the 1300s!
The markets celebrate the Christmas season during Advent, the four weeks leading up to the holiday. They’re known today for festive stands selling regional treats and crafts, and for exuding all sorts of Christmas-y cheer.
Nuremberg, Dresden and Cologne have probably the best Christmas markets, but basically every town and village has them. It truly is magical. Have a beer and bratwurst and shop the local crafts.
Historical places, flea markets, and street food make up this vibrant city. There is something always going on in Berlin (as their city motto says).
We recommend 3 days exploring the TV Tower with its stunning views, the famous Brandenberg Gate and the Reichstag parliament building. Also, don’t miss the Berlin Cathedral, Charlottenburg Palace, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Museum Island with over 6,000 years of art and cultural history.
4. Biergartens (“Beer Gardens”)
It is not just for Oktoberfest that Germans gather around long wooden tables to drink endless liters of beer. Biergartens open as soon as the the weather starts to warm and continue until the last German gives in, typically late fall.
There are Beirgartens in virtually every city, village and town in Germany. We recommend heading to Munich and enjoy a handcrafted Bavarian beer. There are over 100 Beirgartens in Munich.
By the way, we DO NOT recommend going to Oktoberfest. We know that it is on many people’s bucket list, but Oktoberfest is mainly a drunken festival. Everything costs about twice as what it should and though we love Munich, Oktoberfest is not the real Munich. Skip Octoberfest and head to a Beirgarten and enjoy Munich the way it should be enjoyed.
5. Spreewald (“Little Venice”)
After visiting Berlin, take a side trip to Spreewald. The Spreewald is a German biosphere reserve southeast of Berlin (about an hour and forty-five minutes). Its forested areas and wetlands are crossed by canals fed by the Spree River. The Gurkenradweg is a cycle path through the reserve. In the town of Lübbenau, the Spreewald Museum features traditional crafts and the Spreewaldbahn, an old steam train. A museum at Schloss Lübben has cultural history displays in a castle dating back to the late Middle Ages.
Thousands of man-made waterways cross picturesque meadows with houses that have stood untouched since before Germany became one nation. Rent a boat and enjoy the day.
6. The Black Forest
The Black Forest is a mountainous region in southwest Germany, bordering France. This area is often associated with the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and is renowned for its spas and the cuckoo clocks produced in the region since the 1700s. The region’s largest town, Freiburg, is filled with Gothic buildings and surrounded by vineyards. This area is where Kati lived and worked and is definitely worth 2 to 3 days to experience the area.
7. Beautiful German Lakes
If you are looking for camping or boating, then head to one of the beautiful lakes in the Black Forest Area or Bavaria. Both of these area offer picturesque lakes that you can spend a day or a week at. Here are some of our favorites:
The Black Forest
Lake Mummelsee – The Mummelsee is a 17-metre-deep lake at the western mountainside of the Hornisgrinde in the Northern Black Forest. It is very popular with tourists travelling along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße.
Lake Schluchsee – The Schluchsee is a reservoir lake in the district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, southeast of the Titisee in the Black Forest near Freiburg.
Lake Titisee – The Titisee is a lake in the southern Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg and owes its formation to the Feldberg glacier.
Lake Konigssee – This emerald-green natural lake in the extreme southeast Berchtesgadener Land district of the German state of Bavaria, near the Austrian border.
Lake Alpsee – The Alpsee is a lake in the Ostallgäu district of Bavaria, Germany. It is close to the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.
Lake Constance (known as Bodensee in German) – The Bodensee is a 63km-long central European lake that borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Ringed by resort towns, it’s a summer destination for sailing, windsurfing and swimming.
Lake Chiemsee– The lake’s largest island, Herreninsel, or Men’s Island, is crossed with nature trails. It’s home to unfinished Herrenchiemsee Palace, built by King Ludwig II and today housing the King Ludwig II Museum.
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