When you think of world history, Germany is one of the first countries that comes to mind. So it is little surprise that tourists from around the world flock its cities and villages in search of culture. There are over forty UNESCO World Heritage Sites and six thousand museums and galleries to choose from! But that’s not all that defines Germany tourism. The country is also home to fifteen designated biospheres, a hundred natural parks and another hundred and thirty conserved regions to explore. Picture in your mind, over 2,00,00 km of walking and hiking trails and 70,000 km of cycling paths, cultural centres of the world in Berlin and Munich, festivals and shows, celebrating the past and the present, the beautiful Bavarian Alps to chilly Baltic beaches. Not to mention some of the best beers and fine wines throughout, of course! Willkommen to one of the world’s most popular travel destinations.
Located within the heart of Europe, Germany is bordered by Denmark to the north, Poland and Czech Republic to the east, Austria to the southeast, while France, Luxembourg and Belgium are towards its west and the Netherlands further northwest. Along the northern boundaries also lie the North Sea and Baltic Sea, while its higher altitudes include the stunning Alps in the south. In between are deep forests, cut by the three major Rivers of Rhine, Danube and Elbe. With so much variety in geography, Germany tours offer plenty of great outdoor experiences, while towns and cities are also a reflection of their natural settings.
Germany broadly falls into the temperate climate zone, which means temperatures vary throughout the year and well-defined seasons. The north and northwest regions face warmer climes thanks to the North Atlantic Drift from the heat of the Gulf Stream. This oceanic environment, along with occasional rain, makes winters cool and summers warm. This part of the country has great climate to host visitors. Meanwhile in the east, a more continental climate is visible, along with more extreme temperatures on either end of the scale. Central and South Germany are somewhere in between, while the Alpine region experiences a mountainous micro-climate – so expect a light shower every now and then on Germany tours that take you here.
Germany’s past is a story most are familiar with, given the infamous part it played in medieval to modern history. But it’s this difficult past that makes present culture all the more experience worthy. Today, it is one of the most welcoming and safe countries for tourists, it is a country that values its story, the good and the bad. In fact, it has all become a big part of Germany tourism. Whether it’s the fragmented Berlin Wall-turned canvas for art and Reichstag building, or the fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Roman-era Aula Palatina of Trier Basilica, Cologne Cathedral or countless UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Stone Bridge and Cathedral St. Peter of Regensburg.
But it’s not all about what was. Germany tourism gives you innumerable moments to enjoy the present to the fullest, by offering you the chance to experience some of its celebratory customs and traditions, its events and artistic side. Oktoberfest is the one you’ve undoubtedly heard of but put down your Bier and check out some of the other great occasions like Christmas (switch the mug to a glass of mulled wine), which really, no country does quite like Germany! And Christmas markets are one of the must-have experiences by traveller’s pick. There’s the Wurstmarkt Wine Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, gigs from the world’s best musicians on a regular basis – that’s how thriving the culture of Germany is! But don’t worry, it is also customary to relax or enjoy quality time with nature, for which you have many options too, like the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, Bavarian Forest National Park, Harz National Park and more.
Let Germany tourism be your gateway into European history, culture, art, nightlife and nature – for it has all of that and more, in abundance.
For urban explorers, there’s Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Hamburg and Cologne – Nuremberg and Leipzig too, if you’ve got enough time! Each has a host of experiences, famous landmarks and hidden treasures for you to discover.
Health tours are also really popular, with the country home to many spa towns, hot springs and other climatic retreats that could be just the rejuvenation you need from your break away from routine.
Winter sports are a big thing in Germany and participating in some can easily be scheduled into your itinerary, should you so desire. The Bavarian Mountains and Forest, Fitchel Mountains and Ore Mountains are the best to visit for this.
Over the years, the country has set up various themed routes for visitors to get acquainted with different facets of German culture and geographical zones. Like the German Wine Road across the Rhine, or the scenic German Avenue Road from the Baltic all the way to Switzerland. You could even live out childhood stories through the German Fairy Tale Route, across some of the most famed Brothers Grimm attractions! These themed routes are now well established, and you could also pick and choose the bits you like from each and build a customised itinerary for your Germany holidays, with expert help from SOTC.
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The following are some travel tips, do's and don'ts to keep in mind during your Germany trip.