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Germany Tourism And Travel Guide
10° C / 50° F
April to October
8 to 10 Days
Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Berlin Central Station
Germany, the land of rivers and mountains and forests and beaches, the country that was the perpetrator as well as the persecuted during the World Wars, a land that was destroyed and has been rebuilt in the last 50 years, and also the magical abode that gave the world its more memorable fairytales. This country is so diverse and so rich in its offerings that you will not tire of exploring. That is why tourism in Germany has been on the rise lately. You can do so much here, explore history, art, culture, automobiles, fairytales, forests, spas, modern cities and beaches too. What more does one want? Here’s a travel guide to help you navigate Germany easily
How to Reach
Germany being a major business centre of Europe sees a lot of air traffic and hence many international airports. You can fly to Germany’s Berlin-Tegel, Munich, Hamburg or Frankfurt International Airport from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore etc. German airlines like Lufthansa and Indian ones like Jet Airways and Air India among others operate regular flights to and fro.
You can drive into Germany from any Schengen country and not require many checks. You can also drive into Germany from other EU nations without much hassle. Eurolines buses play between destinations like France, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands etc into Germany.
Rail travel is the best option if you want to go cross-city in Germany. It is cheaper than flights and also a great way to explore the countryside. Deutsche Bahn/ DB/ German Railways operate most trains and you can also go across the country to places like Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, France, Austria etc. ICE or high speed trains also ply.
Locals in Germany prefer to cover short distances by foot or by bicycle, as do most Europeans. For longer city distances, mostly metros, buses and cars are available. If you want to travel between cities then trains are cheaper than most flights and you can also carry bikes/bicycles at no extra fare in the non-peak hours.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The high season here is summer but we recommend spring and autumn season to plan a trip to Germany.
Spring (March to May):
Spring in Germany arrives later, almost by March end. By April the temperatures see a rise and blooms blossom over trees. May is the best spring month to visit and the crowds are still not too thick to enjoy open spaces. The average spring temperature in Germany is 19°C.
Summer (June to September):
Summer is not too hot, as it is a mild temperate climate that Germany sees. The air near the sea in the north is lighter and cooler though. July is the hottest month at average 23°C and is also the most crowded, most expensive time to visit. You will need to book in advance for all travel plans.
Autumn (October to November):
Autumn is another great time to visit Germany, if not for its crowd-free mild weather then for the great Oktoberfest. This beer festival draws massive crowds to Munich and even though there are around 10 rainy days in autumn, Germany shows you a good time.
Winter (December to February):
German winters are mild near the North Sea due to maritime influence but go so cold and bitter down the central and southern terrain. The temperature drops to -20°C in many places and everything beautiful is frozen. The only saving grace of a winter holiday, aside from skiing expeditions in the Bavarian region, is the Christmas time and February Carnivals in Cologne.
Things to Do
Visit the Berlin Wall:
The Berlin Wall was built to divide the city of Berlin between America and Soviet Union after World War II, and became a site of iron curtain between the eastern and western worlds, the capitalist and communist ideologies, until it was broken down in 1989 and reunification of Germany came about. More than 5000 citizens tried to cross the wall on either side and around a hundred and fifty died trying. Such is the tragic history of this place which must be visited at least once.
Oktoberfest is a major German festival, in fact, Europe’s most visited festival, that celebrates beer. German culture is on showcase through a month (October, of course), as everyone comes out in local traditional costumes, drinks beer, eats pretzels and makes merry. Oktoberfest is held in Wiesn, near Munich, every year in October and must be explored at length.
Visit the Mercedes Benz Museum:
The German automobile industry has always been its top asset, as is evident by numerous world-dominating brands like Volkswagen, Skoda, BMW etc. Mercedes is also a proud product of German engineering and you will get to explore the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart; seeing the different models from their very first one, to how models like E-Class Coupé and C-Class are made.
Explore Black Forest:
The Black Forest region of Germany is named so because of the thick deciduous vegetation here, tree canopy so thick that sometimes it is not even the sun that can reach the forest floor. Roman settlers more than 2 millennia ago discovered natural hot water springs here, which today make for spa resorts and towns that relax one and sundry. Visit the spa town of Baden-Baden, hike up to the hills, take the train from Offenburg to Konstan and enjoy the darkness of these forests.
Take the Fairy Tale Road Trip:
The Germany Fairy Tale Route is a famous road trip that is undertaken from the town of Grimm Brothers’ birth Hanau near Frankfurt to Bremen. You will see the various places on the way, like Snow White’s village, Red Riding Hood’s land, the Pied Piper’s town and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. There are old cobbled streets in medieval towns, timber houses and dark magical forests on the way. This is a road trip to re-live your childhood.
What to Eat
German cuisine might not be as delicate as that of the French or the Italians but that doesn’t take away from the unique use of meats, different makes of breads and pickled vegetables that taste delicious in the right combination. Potatoes are a staple, as are meats and breads. Some common dishes will include potato curry, cured meat sausages (Wurst), fries (Pommes Frites) and Currywurst (sausage curry). Other delights are pretzels, cakes, beer and sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). You will find all types of cuisines in German cities, from Arabic to Chinese, Turkish to Thai, and Indian too. Vegan and Vegetarian options might be limited and not always present on menus, so make sure to ask for them.
What to Shop
The country of Germany is known for its pure honey, smoked meats and eels, cheeses and beer. Chocolates are another great asset of Germany and taken back in hordes by the tourists. Ritter Sport is a famous German chocolate brand, delicious and inexpensive to present as souvenirs. You can also shop for homeware (knives, pots, pans), ceramics and loads of fashion labels and high street clothes from Dusseldorf.