Average cost p/day: US$70
Time frame: 2-3 weeks (but there’s heaps more to explore – I’m sure you could spend a lot longer here and keep yourself entertained!)
I am lucky enough to have a few friends in Germany, which has led me a little bit off the beaten track to some smaller villages and towns. Of course, there’s not necessarily much to “do” in these places, as such. But it’s great fun to mix with the locals. There’s a very friendly atmosphere found all across the country. Germans generally speak very good English, so you’ll easily be able to communicate with the locals – they might even use more sophisticated language than you!
Everywhere you go, you’ll find fascinating history, often linked to WW2. If this is something that interests you, then definitely look into going to a concentration camp. While it is incredibly confronting and depressing, I think it’s worthwhile.
I also really love the buildings in Germany. Very traditional and adorable. There are castles all over the place too!
Of course, Germany is most famous for its beer. If you’re a beer drinker (and even if you’re not…) head to Oktoberfest in Munich. If you’re in Germany outside of Oktoberfest time, there’s still plenty of local beer on offer anywhere you go. There’s also schnitzels, weiners and spetzle to try. My favourite food discovery in Germany was flamlach – flame grilled salmon!! So so so delicious. Very common at the Christmas markets.
WHERE TO GO
Berlin, Germany’s capital, is full of history and culture. If you’re into WW2 history, there’s tons to see – including parts of the Berlin wall (covered in colourful artwork), Checkpoint Charlie and the Jewish memorial. The walking tour I did here was one of the most informative tours I’ve ever done. The history is fascinating. On top of that, the nightlife is world famous and there’s tons of cool restaurants and bars.
Generally, visitors flock to Cologne for one of two reasons: Christmas markets in December or Carnivale in February. I went for the Christmas markets and boy…it did not disappoint! Many many markets are filled with crafts, ice skating rinks, delicious food and mulled wine. I’ve been to Christmas markets in other countries, but the vibe is just not the same. Cannot recommend it enough!
This is a tiny little town just outside of Cologne, great for a day trip. Everyone here is super friendly, the streets are gorgeous and the Christmas markets easily compare to those of Cologne.
Lots of airlines use Frankfurt as a base, so it’s very easy to get cheap flights here. Therefore it’s a great starting point when visiting Germany. You can see just about everything in Frankfurt in less than a day. It’s a lovely German city, but there’s nothing that makes it really stand out.
I think this is by far the most beautiful spot I’ve visited in Germany. Heidelberg is a university town with a charming atmosphere. There’s a really cool castle up on the hill that overlooks the whole town and the river. I’ve been here twice. While it is being somewhat overtaken by standard shops like Starbucks… There are still some really cool local businesses to explore too.
Famous for Oktoberfest, Sept-Oct is certainly the most popular time to visit this little Bavarian city. However, Munich is well worth a visit at any time of year. Filled with beer halls and beautiful buildings, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. My favourite part about the whole city was the English Gardens – where there’s a man made river you can surf in!