Germany is a country that is a perfect blend of modern and historic with it’s rich history and powerful futuristic drive. Berlin is inspiring, Munich is passionate, and all of these cities combine to make Germany a powerhouse of modern living.
Experience Germany’s social culture in the many beer houses and grab one of their famous pretzels and sausages while exploring the streets. Not to forget, the tragic past of the nation that can be witnessed in the many World War II museums and memorials. Often called the capital of Europe, Germany is a must visit destination for anyone visiting Europe.
Germany Travel Info
Language: The official language of Germany is German. A basic understanding of the German language is recommended before visiting the country. Although most Germans do usually speak at least conversational English, you can’t rely on them being willing to this when you are in their country.
Visa: Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement, which provides a free visa to travel to any EU country including the ones not a part of Schengen as well as those approved by Schengen like America, New Zealand, and Australia for a period of 90 days. Citizens of South Africa, Asia and Russia, need to apply for Schengen Visa before going to Germany.
Electricity: In Germany the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Germany, if the standard voltage in your country is between 220 – 240 V. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Germany Festivals & Celebrations
International Film Festival: This is the second largest film festival in the world after Cannes and has one advantage over its French counterpart: you do not need an invitation to watch the films screened in this International film festival. Online tickets are readily available to all on their website.
Rock im Park and Rock am Ring: In English “Rock in the Park” and “Rock at the Ring”. These two are grand rock festivals held concurrently over three days in two different locations. You can enjoy a fun filled weekend at one of the world’s largest music festivals. Rock im Park is held in Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg and Rock am Ring is held in Nurburg on Nurburgring racetrack.
Oktoberfest: Oktoberfest is all about beer along with some traditional Bavarian dishes and lots of music. Men come wearing their leiderhosen at the Weins and if you are in large numbers, consider booking a table in advance in any of the 30+ food and beer tents. Every tent has a vibrant atmosphere with families, foodies and celebrities all rubbing shoulders.
Safety In Germany
There’s an increase in counter-terror intervention in Germany, as is the case with many other European countries. So rest-assured that the police are ever present, keeping Germany as safe a tourist destination as it can be. Like with all big cities there’s occasional bag snatching and pickpocketing incidents. Based on my own travel experiences in Europe I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination I’m visiting is. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. For this reason I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks or months before you plan to visit Germany.
Top Things To Do In Germany
Explore Hipster City Berlin
Berlin is the capital of Germany and has a lot to offer to its visitors. This city is well known for music and art scene, happening vibes and is, in general, a favorite among the creative types. You will also find several world-class museums, a rich café culture, excellent nightlife and cheap food here and an enormous array of things to do. And the best part-Berlin is one of the most affordable cities in all of Europe.
Although Germany has some rich and vibrant cities that attract a large number of travelers, yet its natural landscapes are no less, and they beck all types of outdoor enthusiasts. If you love outdoor activities, you can hike the Berchtesgaden National Park and get surrounded by greenery, placid lakes, and steep rocks. You can also explore Lake Constance which is Germany’s largest freshwater lake and opt for hiking or cycling around the lake.
Lose yourself in Munich
Munich might not be as loud and vibrant as Berlin, but it has a charm of its own. It houses ancient buildings, fascinating museums, plush parks, trekking trails, amazing food, and abundant beer and is submerged neck deep in culture. Its beauty stays with you long after you have left the city. The Oktoberfest celebration is the highlight of the city, but apart from that, it has a lot more to offer to every type of traveler.
Visit the Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral, also called the Imperial Cathedral was built in 935 and is the oldest in Northern Europe. From 936 to 1531, it served as the Church for about 30 German rulers and 12 German Queens. Initially, it took inspiration from the Eastern Holy Roman churches, and the construction continued for the entire Middle Ages. The subsequent authorities kept on adorning it, and it, therefore, turned into a sophisticated and a complex piece of Architecture.
Explore the Neuschwanstein Castle
This is the most photographed building in Germany due to its postcard-perfect beauty. The fairytale castle rises above the Bavarian woods and has served as the outline for the castle in Disneyland’s Fairytale Sleeping Beauty. The design is exquisite, and both its exterior as well as interior are intricately adorned. King Ludwig II was the one who planned the castle with the help of a stage designer. His vision was to use it as a stage to recreate German Mythology and was inspired by the works of his friend Richard Wagner.
Walk along the Berlin Wall
On 13th August 1961, in a turn of events, the cityscape of Berlin was changed forever. The Berlin Wall was built to stop the East Berliners from escaping from the East Germany which was a Soviet-regulated state. Since that day the wall has acted as the foundation of fear, disunity and oppression. Today the wall is nothing but a dilapidated graffiti covered concrete structure; still, it attracts millions of visitors every year, irrespective of the fact that there is nothing attractive about it.
Hiking the Black Forest
This mountain region is located in Southwest Germany and is famous for its lush green and dense forests and beautiful villages. It has many hiking trails, and you can spend as many days as you want exploring the area. The forests are also home to Gothic buildings, fascinating vineyards, and miles and miles of awe-inspiring landscapes.
Gape at the Burg Eltz
Everyone who has visited Burg Elts accepts that it is the most beautiful castle in Germany. It has the capacity to dazzle its visitors and is among the very few fortresses of the medieval times that are still completely intact. From the Lush Elzbach Valley, the Colonial tower can be seen rising up majestically. The elaborate Gothic embellishments deserve a close look for which you need to walk up the hill. The interesting fact about the castle is that it has numerous 15th-century lavatories that have a proper flushing system that is missing from the magical and sophisticated Versailles.
Visit the Linderhof Castle
This mini treasure trove was the smallest yet the most luxurious palace of Ludwig II, the only one which was completed in his lifetime. It was completed in 1878 and is located on a steep hillside with beautiful French gardens, follies and fountains. The withdrawn King used the palace as retreat and visitors were not entertained here. The Palace took inspiration from Versailles and was dedicated to the French Sun King, Louis XIV.
On an island in the Spree River is one of the most significant museum complexes of the world. It is a cluster of five buildings, constructed in neoclassical style. Here you will come across a spectacular collection of historical and ethnological wares, and an assortment of art pieces, which include Byzantine and antique pieces and several famous sculptures. The collection is so vast that everyone will surely find something of interest.
Other than these top things to do in Germany, there is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Be prepared to be flexible because sometimes other travelers that you meet on your travels will have the best suggestions for things to do in Germany that are off the beaten path.
What To Eat In Germany
The cuisines of neighboring countries, France, Spain and Italy are often more well known and appreciated around the world than Germany’s Cuisine. This is a shame because German cuisine is hearty and delicious and you will not be disappointed with the dishes you get to eat here. Here’s some traditional German cuisine that you must try.
Spatzle: In general terms this is pasta, but the preparation is a bit different from the regular pasta. The dough is made by combining flour, eggs, salt and some fizzy water to fluff the dough. The pasta is served as a side to meat dishes and at times added to soups.
Maultaschen: This dish originated in Swabia and is sometimes called Swabian ravioli because of its square shape. It can be served as a main dish or appetizer. It can also be boiled or fried. The outer casing of the Pasta can be filled with minced meat and seasoned with pepper, nutmeg and parsley. This versatile dish is just heaven on a plate.
Schweinsbraten: The meat loving people will surely fall for this dish. This roasted pork dish is among the oldest recipes in Germany. The meat is salted and pickled, and the unique taste of the dish is derived from the way the meat is preserved.
Flammkuchen: This dish is like a pizza and is the traditional dish of the Alsace Region. Bread dough is thinly rolled in a rectangular shape and is topped with crème fraiche or fromage blanc, lardons, onions and then baked on fire. The salty taste of Flammkuchen is strong and remains on the tongue for several hours.
Brezel: This German version of pretzel is simple and delicious. The dough is twisted in the shape of a bracelet. The outer crust is crispy, brown and glossy and the inside is soft and doughy. You will find Brezel in every nook and corner of Germany.
Where To Stay In Germany
Germany can be quite an expensive place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Germany is easy but finding affordable accommodation, if you’re on a tight budget, is the hard part. Luckily Germany hostels and dormitories make travel here more affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best accommodation options have already been snapped up. Germany is a very popular year-round destination with business travelers and sight-seeing tourists alike.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Germany.
If you’re backpacking in Germany or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Europe much more affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Germany Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Germany
The best time to visit Germany is between April and October, this is if you want mild, reasonably warm or if you’re lucky hot weather. If you want to see Germany with hot weather and blue skies then aim to visit between June and September.
Germany Travel Budget
Germany can be an expensive city but it’s still generally an affordable destination for travelers on a tight budget. The cost of your trip to Germany really depends on the level of comfort you will want while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between 35 to 50 euros a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between 50 to 100 euros per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants in places like Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin then budget about 250 euros plus a day.
- Budget: €35 – €50
- Mid-range: €50 – €100
- Splurge: €150 +
Meal For One
- Budget: €8 – €25
- Mid-range: €25 – €60
- Splurge: €60 +
Germany Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Germany, like most other places in Europe is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for Summer trips and warm, waterproof clothing for trips in Autumn and Winter (and Spring too).
Be prepared for the weather to get quite cold during the winter. You will need high quality thermal wear and scarves, woolly hats, gloves and a thick winter coat won’t go a miss either. If you forget to pack something you can buy anything you need while you’re in Germany. Prices are generally higher in smaller boutiques than they would be online so expect to pay a premium if you don’t have the option of ‘shopping around’ due to time restraints on your trip.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Germany include a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Germany check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Europe Packing List For Female Travelers.