Many may not think of Germany as an Outdoor Recreation destination but with the Alps in the south, forested areas, natural parks, and coastline there are activities for all levels throughout the country. While Germany is perhaps best known for its hearty food and beer, castles, and medieval towns, the country offers so much more. With well developed bike paths, varied climbing areas, and several winter sport destinations Germany can be a great alternative destination during the warmer months. There are plenty of attractions to visit once the activities are done.
Summer can bring crowds and expensive prices, so spring and autumn are great alternatives, also during this time there are major events like Munich’s famous Oktoberfest. Winter holds its own adventure, especially for ski and snowboard fans, as well as for those who wish to visit Germany’s Christmas markets, which run from late November until December 23, or the Berlin International Film Festival in February.
There are over 40 airports spread across Germany, providing easy and convenient access to the country’s 16 federal states. Frankfurt am Main and Munich are the largest airports, followed by Düsseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Cologne Bonn. Once you’ve arrived in Germany, public transportation is generally excellent, with high-speed trains connecting all major cities as well as destinations across Europe. Some regions, like the Black Forest and Schleswig-Holstein, are more easily explored by car, but even there you can find buses and trains to get around.
Germany is often referred to as Das Land der Dichter und Denker (The Country of Poets and Thinkers), which gives more than a clue as to its intellectual and cultural prowess. Famed for its contributions to everything from philosophy and literature to music and art, the country has produced many luminaries known worldwide by their surnames alone: Goethe, Bach, Hegel, Beuys, Hesse, Wagner, Mozart, among them. Germany’s contemporary cultural scene is just as dynamic, as evidenced by an annual calendar of events like the world-renowned Berlin International Film Festival and the Documenta art exhibition in Kassel.
The major cities, especially Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Munich, should not be missed, but smaller towns like Bayreuth, Weimar, Nuremburg, Dresden, Bamberg, and Lübeck are also attractive for their impressive architecture and charming atmospheres. The areas in the Black Forest, the Bavarian Alps, and the Baltic and North Sea coastlines provide plenty of recreation and relaxation.
Americans and other non-E.U. citizens need a valid passport to visit Germany for less than 90 days, and a travel visa to stay longer. The local language is German, though the more urban the destination, the more English is spoken, especially among the younger generation. The currency is the euro, the voltage is 230 volts, and the socket type is F (round plugs with two round prongs).
Traditional German food is quite substantial—meat dishes like lamb, pork, and beef are popular, along with plenty of fish, rich sauces, and generous sides including potatoes, dumplings, and cabbage. Sausages are ubiquitous, and each region tends to have its own specialty. Be sure to try Rheinischer Sauerbraten (pot roast) in the North Rhine, spätzle (cheesy noodles) in the south, and quirky dishes like Handkäs mit Musik (pungent cheese topped with white onions) around Hesse. Contemporary German cuisine, on the other hand, often consists of lighter, updated versions of classics, and all the big cities offer a diverse range of international food.
Beer, of course, is a trademark of Germany, including the mixed drink Radler (beer with lemonade or any variation of juice), which is popular during the summer. In winter, sipping a steaming mug of Glühwein (mulled wine with spices) is recommended.
Italy is one of the most diverse places in the world to visit but there is more to the country then Venice, Florence, Roma, Cinque Terre and a couple of other top attractions. If you plan you days well and understand how to move around within the country you can a great cost effective vacation full of activity, history, culture, and great food and wine. Contact us to get the insights to travel in Italy. We offer: