Germany, also known officially as the Federal Republic of Germany or Bundesrepublik Deutschland, is Central Europe’s largest nation. It’s bordered by France, the Netherlands and Belgium, among many others. It’s famous for its Rhine and Danube rivers, the Black Forest, Bavarian cheesecake, beer and bratwurst, Lederhosen and Oktoberfest.
German is the official language but almost everyone speaks English so it’s easy to communicate with everyone there. Germans have a reputation for being very reserved but they are very welcoming, and quick to wish you well when saying their goodbyes. Home to some of the greatest cities in the world, castles, forests, lakes, mountains and hills covered in wildflowers, Germany has it all.
Places to see and things to do in Germany:
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and it is probably most famous for the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was demolished when Communism crumbled, to join East and West Germany again. The city is now renowned for its international, political and religious tolerance and humanitarianism, its museums, street art, bars, cafes, and lively nightlife. Clubbing is in here, so keep your energy up cause you’ll be dancing into the wee hours of the morning. For the best clubbing experience go to Berghain, a powerhouse, and finish at Club Der Visionaere, a canal-side shack. Before that though, hire a bicycle at one of the shops in town and do a sightseeing tour of the Berlin Wall, the Bauhaus Museum, the Holocaust Museum and take a rest in Mauer Park where all the locals hang out, especially on a Sunday when there are markets and karaoke on the green.
The city of Hamburg is not only known for having a sandwich named after it, it’s also Germany’s ‘gateway to the world’, having the second-busiest port in Europe. This place is the best shopping destination for all kinds of German and international wares. You’ll find everything here from high-class designer gear to market bargains. Take a walk along the harbour. Bathe in the Turkish baths at Hamam Hafen Hamburg. For a place to eat, you can’t go past the Alster Arcade. At night, walk along the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s red-light district, and check out the sights.
Munich is the capital of Bavaria, a region in the southeast of Germany, and it’s here where all beer-loving backpackers and globetrotting travellers verge each year in October for the famous and notorious Oktoberfest. It’s a month-long drinking binge, street party and festival that gets properly wild. Marienplatz is the central town square, where you can look inside the new Town Hall which houses the quirky Glockenspiel. Wander all the old monuments, churches and architectural masterpieces.
Marvel at the Munich Palace. Munich is full of arts and culture, and a visit to the Museums Ensemble is a must. The Victuals Farmers Market is the best place for fresh food. Wash it down at the Hofbrauhaus, the most famous beer house in the world.
Rothenburg is known as Germany’s fairy-tale dream town; a well-preserved medieval town that fulfills every back-packers desires.
While here you can choose to take a stroll through the town, there is so much to see in this small town. There are also endless stores that sell unique German souvenirs including cuckoo clocks, Christmas tree ornaments and even traditional outfits.
Don’t skip on the Church visit when in Rothenburg. St. Jakob’s Church is the one must-see church in town. This 14th century church holds the amazing 500-year-old Heiligblualtar that was carved by Tilman Riemenschneider. To find the wooden altar depicting the Biblical scenes of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, and the Mount of Olives, look for a set of stairs at the back of the church that lead behind the pipe organ.
Make sure you learn some of the Rothenburg history! The Imperial City Museum, Toppler Castle, Historical Town Hall Vault & Dungeon and Medieval Crime Museum are all host to some gruesome and confronting past.
Frankfurt is a picturesque town in Germany. The best way to get a full panorama view of the town is by visiting The Main Tower.
The signature drink of Frankfurt is “Apfelwein”, or “Ebbelwoi” as the Frankfurters say; a light alcoholic apple cider that is produced in the regions around Frankfurt. You can find some of the best and oldest apple cider taverns in the cobblestone streets of Frankfurt’s district “Sachsenhausen”, south of the Old Town.
If you’re saving your liver for Munich, then fear not, Frankfurt has other activities that’ll keep you entertained. The Shopping Street Zeil is bustling with every store a shopaholic could desire; take advantage of having the best all in one place.
Then again, if you’re saving your money and just want to go sightseeing, The Goethe House, Romerberg, Paulskirche and Museumsufer are all nearby.
The Black Forest
This fairytale region in the southwest of Germany is so picturesque that it does look like something you’d see in a storybook or on a postcard. Tall dark green pine forests and lakes, wildflowers on hills and medieval castles will overwhelm your senses. One way to see the ‘Schwarzwald’ is to join a tour out of Stuttgart, the closest city. If you want to make your own way there, find a room for the night in Freiburg, so that after your hard day frolicking in the countryside, you can head down to the Jazzhaus, which has jazz music in the evening three nights a week, and turns into a club later on.