The Germany of today, located as it is at the heart of Europe, is a truly dynamic destination, full of frothy beers and mouth-wateringly good sausages, bursting with rich culture and home to dozens of trendy cities. For those who were expecting something more homogenous, something that conforms to the typical Teutonic stereotype we see in the media, they’ll be in for quite a surprise. One flight into Frankfurt may well dispel that perception.
Having shook of the weighty shackles of its somewhat turbulent past, Germany now stands tall as a remarkably diverse country, one which is notable for its tolerance and liberal beliefs, as much as its countryside vistas and avant-garde architecture. Visitors to Germany will be startled by a mixture of fine arts, untamed nature and ingenious creativity.
Berlin to Bavaria – Traditional Meets Surprise
Take Berlin, the vibrant and edgy capital, which has forged a reputation as one of the most hedonistic cities in the world where everyone is welcome and anything goes. And then there’s Munich in the south, perched atop Bavaria, the center of Germany’s oldest traditions and home to the spectacular Oktoberfest, the largest beer festival in the world.
The industrial Ruhr region is home to the majority of Germany’s people and some of its most exciting cities. Hamburg, Dortmund and Cologne possess vibrant multi-national communities and offer a fast-paced lifestyle, while boasting some of the best nightclubs in Europe, no more than one expects from the birthplace of techno music. Historic cities such as Freiburg and Heidelberg, with their famous universities, provide a touch of charm amidst a youthful atmosphere.
The Greenest Country in Europe
Outside, in the great outdoors, Germany competes with the best in the world. Hike through carefully preserved forests, ski down Alpine slopes and cruise along some of Europe’s most romantic rivers – there’s little that cannot be done.
And, don’t forget to check out the contrast between east and west of this once divided land – for instance, beautiful Dresden, which retains much of its historic glory despite suffering appallingly at the hands of Allied bombers and enduring almost 50 years of Communist rule.
Whether it’s the dusty shelves of world class libraries and museums, or sparkling spires of 21st Century architecture and cosmopolitan life you seek, Germany has a vast array of wondrous places and things to see and do. From the Black Forest to the Alps, on up to the North Sea and the Polish frontier, that beautiful vision you had of Deutschland exists in full, but then some too.
Budget for one week: More than 500 Euros
Taxes and gratuities: Prices include taxes and service charge unless otherwise displayed. To show your appreciation, you can leave 5 or 10% of the bill.
Local currency: Euro
Spoken language and/or official language: German
Area: 357,021 km2 (137,847 sq mi)
Sanitary requirements: You can drink tap water in Germany
Major cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hannover, Dresden, Stuttgart, Bremen