Germany is not a country for uninvolved travelers that just want a bit of fun. Its awe-inspiring culture that developed over thousands of years and a complicated history filled with twists and turns -these are all testaments to Germania’s sheer magnetism and mystery. There is just too much to savor in one go if you are not too familiar privy to the countries countless nuances before the trip. So here’s an insider guide that breaks down things to see, do and eat while you’re in Germany.
Two main areas to explore
First of all, you absolutely need to see Berlin – but don’t expect it to represent what Germany is all about. Berlin is a beginner’s guide to Germany- a multicultural city that brims with chirpy residents and pulsates with nightlife renowned far and wide. It is an archetypal European metropolis and a symbol of hope since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Monuments and public historic spots are a given but don’t miss out on the food and art scene. While it surely offers a wonderful cocktail of experiences, you would benefit from exploring further beyond the capital’s admittedly impressive roof-laden horizon and give a chance to other German cities.
Indeed, one of the most delightful surprises of my first-time tour of Germany was a captivating adventure through Munich. A city that represents true germanic culture and the capital of enchanting Bavaria. It discards the overwhelming industrial appeal characteristic of the most populous German metropolises and preserves the romantic essence of what German culture is all about.
Of course, you should spend as much time as possible reveling in the fairy-tale quality of Bavaria and the Alpine idyll carried on the fresh breeze across its landscapes. Visit the famous Neuschwanstein Castle and feel the touch of the ancient wilderness in the Black forest. However, do not let the north keep you waiting and trek across mysterious plains of Jutland peninsula, near the border with Denmark, and discover the region of exciting and colorful history as you marvel at the otherworldly appeal of the East Frisian Islands.
… Or you can tour Germany by car!
If you want to embark on a grand tour of this enormous country, you should probably rent a car. With that in mind – make sure that you have enough cash on you – while you may be able to use it in a vehicle rental, you’ll be surprised to find out that small business vendors, restaurants and coffee houses simply don’t have card machines a lot of the times. You don’t want to miss all of that culture- it’s the highlight of your German road trip. You can also arm yourself with reliable prepaid Europe SIM card that will have you covered for emergency calls to the local law enforcement or medical assistance, and give you added bonus of a sizeable package of free calls and text messages to European numbers.
Beyond that, the best way to see Germany is to start your road trip in the southern part of the country (Bavaria) and head far north on a trans-German road trip through the cities of Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Hanover, Bremen and Hamburg. Between Stuttgart and Frankfurt, make a short and sweet stop by the renowned Pfalz region to check out its exquisite wineries and superb restaurants. You can then circle back and enjoy the eastern part of the country – through Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden and Nurnberg. Of course, do not miss out on a chance to hike through the Alpine wilderness and camp out.
What & How to Eat the German (tourist) way
German cuisine is a special treat for those that gladly and sinfully enjoy every bite of the spiciest gourmet specialties. You’ll get a chance to savor all würste that you can possibly put your hands on and wash them down with premium German beer that will keep your tummy warm and fuzzy-especially enjoyable if you’re visiting during colder months.
In addition, Germans are known as true culinary virtuosos when it comes to all things potato-related, and you simply have to try the world-renowned German schnitzel before you top it all off with a delicacy known as the apple strudel. Frittatensuppe, spätzle, schweinsbraten, currywurst, brezel – the country is a heaven for culinary adventurists and half-the-adventure is ordering all of these meals whilst knowing nothing about them beforehand!
Germany is a captivating puzzle and a glittering mosaic of immense natural riches, impeccable historical buildings, strong cultural identity and complex past. For those of you that decide to brave the highlights of this European power, it will open the door to a whole new level of overwhelming and enriching experiences, with surprises around every corner.