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More travel articles on Germany coming soon!
What You Need To Know
Population: Around 82 million
Capital City: Berlin
Official Language: German
Germany is located in Western Europe and borders many other countries such as Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and The Netherlands. It’s capital city is Berlin and the country has a population of around 82 million people. Germany is well known for beer drinking, great food and being a major player when it comes to world affairs.
Germany has had a very interesting history which is very well known around the world. The country were big players in modern historical conflicts such as World War One, World War Two and the Cold War. We won’t go into detail here regarding these events, as we will write more in these topics soon. Just know that the German people acknowledge their nation’s checkered past and don’t try to shy away from it!
In saying that, the Germans have a lot to be really proud of as well. They are world leaders in many things such as technology, manufacturing and the arts. Germany is a very progressive country both politically and socially.
In terms of travel, Germany is seriously a must do when in Europe. We managed to spend around a month in the country, and that was no where near enough time! The major places that you should absolutely see include Berlin, Munich and Dresden.
All of these cities are very different, and give you a great mix of history, culture and fun things to do when you visit. Also remember that Munich is home to one of the most famous festivals on the planet…… Oktoberfest! If you are smart, you will time your visit to Germany around this amazing and very “loose” event.
Germany is also really great for the outdoor lovers and for those who prefer quieter places rather than larger cities. Places like the Black Forest, Rothenburg and Heidelberg are really great if you want very traditional and quaint german towns. Otherwise some other good cities that we visited include Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Nuremberg and Cologne.
As you can see, Germany offers a hell of a lot. Ideally you should try and spend a couple of weeks in Germany. The country is really well connected via rail and is probably mid range when it comes to money. Germany runs like clockwork so it’s really easy to plan your travel, whether you are in a group or own your own.
Try to time your visit around Oktoberfest, and then visit Berlin, Munich and Dresden. This will ensure you get a really good mix of what is on offer.
Places To Go In Germany
Berlin is the capital of Germany and is a world leader in areas such as the arts, science, industry, social equality and technology. It also has a population of around 3.5 million people, and is Germany’s largest city.
Berlin has a really fascinating history largely due to its involvement in World War Two and also the Cold War. Therefore, there are heaps of great sights to see such as what’s left of the Berlin Wall, The Memorial To The Murdered Jews Of Europe and The Topography Of Terror Museum, which steps you through the events of World War Two.
The city is also really known for it’s “hipster” and “progressive” culture, therefore it’s an awesome place for a lot of young travellers. The bar scene and nightlife is nothing short of epic in Berlin, so be prepared for some big nights out!
It’s best to stay a minimum of about 4 nights in Berlin, simply because there is so much to see and do.
Munich is the capital city of the German state of Bavaria, and is also known as the home of the wold famous beer drinking festival, Oktoberfest. This is probably the best place in Germany to try traditional german food while also enjoying arguably the world’s best beer in the well known German beer halls.
The city has a slightly medieval vibe which is largely seen in the town’s main square called Marienplatz. Once again there is a lot of interesting history to take in, such as the origins of the Nazi Party and crazy King Ludwig.
There are also heaps of really cool day trips you can do from Munich to places like Salzburg, Dachau Concentration Camp, Neuschwanstein Castle and Hitler’s Eagles Nest.
We recommend a stay of at least 4 nights in Munich.
Situated on the banks of the Elbe river, Dresden is the capital of the German state of Saxony, a landlocked state in the east of Germany that borders both the Czech Republic and Poland.
Dresden is known for its architecture and also its “Old Town” area which is made up of many royal buildings put in place by the past Kings of Saxony. Interestingly though, almost all of the city had to be rebuilt after being burned to the ground by Allied bombing raids during World War Two.
Dresden is a cool and really alternative place which is very different to other parts of Germany. It is also not as popular with tourists as other towns which is another reason why we loved it.
A minimum of 2 nights in Dresden should be enough to really appreciate the place.
Cologne sits on the banks of the Rhine River and is situated in the North Western area of Germany around 80 km from the border of Belgium. Like Dresden, most of Cologne was destroyed by bombing raids during World War Two, therefore most of the infrastructure you see today is quite new.
The Cologne Gothic Cathedral is the city’s most famous landmark and is very impressive to see in person. Besides visiting the cathedral, other great things to do in Cologne include cruising the Rhine River.
Cologne is well connected to all the major German cities by rail, so it’s very easy to throw on to your list. We recommend a stay of about 2 nights.
Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city and also has the second largest port in all of Europe. The city is known for its music scene and party atmosphere.
When visiting be sure to stay on the Reeperbahn, which is Hamburg’s red light district. The party never stops along this street and you find all sorts of entertainment from out door beer gardens with live music to very creepy seedy strip clubs and brothels.
Hamburg is great for a trip away for a big weekend with some mates. Two nights is more than enough here.
Other places to Visit
There are plenty more places to explore in Germany if you have the time. Some of the main ones are:
Dusseldorf: A young person’s city with a real “hipster” scene located around 50km from Cologne.
Nuremberg: Very famous for its ties to the Nazi Party and the “Nuremberg Trials” post World War Two. Also has a great medieval town centre and is an awesome option to spend christmas.
Frankfurt: A major city in Germany known as the commerce capital of the country. Frankfurt is well connected and is great place to base yourself when visiting smaller towns such as Heidelberg.
Heidelberg: A very small picturesque and medieval town. Heidelberg has a great castle worth visiting and is a great place to spend christmas due to the Christmas Markets.
Rothenburg: An elevated town known for its pretty town centre and awesome surrounding countryside. Great for swimming, biking and hiking.
The Black Forest: This is a very pretty mountainous area in South-West Germany. Gives you a taste for German tradition and small villages.
Travel Tips on Germany
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Germany is basically anytime. This really depends on what you want. For the most comfortable weather and sunny days you should go May to August. However, we suggest timing your visit around Oktoberfest in September or even during Christmas time as German’s know how to celebrate Christmas!
Getting Around: In terms of European countries Germany is massive. However, the country is extremely well connected. Our preferred method was using train travel. The trains are efficient, reliable and affordable. Most places are anywhere from 1-3 hours apart. It’s also worth while looking into rail passes if you plan on staying a while! Check out the German rail network website, DB.
Buses are also quite cheap and reliable to use in Germany. Check out Flixbus for more info.
Expenses: Germany is probably around mid range when it comes to expenses. Hostels can be around €10-30 per night depending on the type of room you need, while meals may be €10-15 and a beer €3-5 depending where you are. However, in Germany you can be assured what you a buying is usually of high quality!
Onwards Travel: Germany is connected to just about everywhere in Europe via train and air networks. If heading west most people decide on travelling to Paris or Amsterdam, which is possible by both train and plane. However, we headed east from Germany into Salzburg. So heading to Austria is one option, or even catching a train from Berlin to Prague. No matter what you decide, it will likely be possible from Germany.