At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Greeks, Germany really has it all. Holidays in this country are good primarily for their diversity: rich cultural traditions are combined with magnificent nature, and beach and ski resorts are adjacent to historic cities literally crammed with masterpieces of painting, sculpture and architecture. In addition to convenient transportation and well-developed infrastructure, many hotels and hostels, and good service, Germany is almost an ideal country for a variety of vacations.
Sightseeing vacation: what to see?
Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg are the three pillars on which the German excursion program rests.
Berlin has Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, a lot of young people and beer gardens, one of the best zoos in Europe, and high-quality, inexpensive shopping. Munich has a great opera plus the equally great Neuschwanstein Castle, the best beer and football on the planet. In Hamburg, tourists will find castles and fortresses with regular ghosts, idyllic countryside and the largest concentration of churches and cathedrals per square meter.
Germany also has Dresden with its famous art gallery and Goethe’s birthplace Weimar, Cologne with its famous cathedral and half-timbered houses of Frankfurt, the medieval fortress and churches of Nuremberg, Beethoven’s city of Bonn, and the unusual museums of Dusseldorf.
The best time for a sightseeing vacation in Germany is almost all year round. Those who want to avoid the crowds should visit in early spring or late fall.
A ski vacation in Germany means the German Alps in all their natural beauty and orderliness. The villages from the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales are generously scattered in the magical valleys between the mountain slopes covered with what seems to be the whitest snow on the planet. The main resorts are Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Reit im Winkle and Berchtesgaden.
The level of skiing is beginner and intermediate, with very few extreme slopes. The resorts’ infrastructure can be rated a solid five: there are a lot of lifts and there are almost no queues. The après-ski activities are varied and interesting: from dog sledding races to excursions. The season lasts from November to March, and you can ski Zugspitze all year round.
The Alps also offer a lot of opportunities for summer vacation: treatment and recreation on exceptionally clean lakes, trekking and mountaineering, hiking and just relaxing in the midst of amazing nature.
Treatment and rehabilitation
Germany is one of the most popular European destinations for medical and health tours. Even those who are in good health are surely familiar with Baden-Baden, whose healing mineral waters have restored the joy of life to more than one generation of aristocracy and bohemians. In addition to Baden-Baden, Germany has a whole scattering of health resorts with the obligatory prefix “Bad” – Bad Krozingen and Bad Homburg, Bad Kissingen, Bad Schandau, and others.
The high season at mineral spas lasts from May to September. At other times of the year, clinics are also open, but there is practically no entertainment. But accommodation prices are sometimes halved.
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Although Germany cannot boast of warm seas and a long coastline, there are still opportunities for beach vacations. There are many picturesque resorts on the coast of the Baltic and North Seas that are as good as the beach countries of Southern Europe. Vacationers will find fine white sand, pine forests, healing air, a gentle entrance to the water and many beautiful old villas that immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the romantic 19th century.
The most popular resorts are the island of Rügen with 60 km of beaches, magnificent views of chalk cliffs and plenty of opportunities for yachting and surfing, the island of Usedom with quiet resorts from the century before last, the resort of Praer, thanks to its gentle entrance into the water, is popular with families with children, and the liberal Timmendorfer Strand with separate areas for swimming for stars, children, dogs and nudists.
The peak beach season is in July and August, when the water warms up to +23…+25 °C.
One of the longest rivers in Europe, the Rhine, flows through Germany. Many ancient towns and villages with magnificent palaces and castles, fortresses and churches are located on both banks of the river. The river cruise season lasts from April to October, with a peak in summer, from June to early September. Cruises last from 1 to 7 days, with the most popular river trips lasting 1–2 days.
Don’t forget that the Rhine and its valley are one of the most famous wine regions in the world. Wineries offer tours with tastings, and the guide is often the owner of the chateau himself, usually a hereditary winemaker.
Holidays in Germany with children
Children’s Germany is, above all, one of the best amusement parks in Europe. In Cologne’s Fantasyland, for example, you can visit space and feel weightlessness, rush down a mountain river, turn into a fairy-tale character, or go on a dream trip. Europa Park will be interesting for those who are a little older – here you can walk across Europe in one day, learn what each country is famous for, and take pictures near exact copies of the sights. And in Legoland, not only children but also adults are guaranteed to spend the whole day there – everything here is made of the details of the famous construction set.
Throughout the year, Germany hosts festivals, carnivals, exhibitions, national and folklore holidays. The most famous event is, of course, Munich’s Oktoberfest, which annually attracts more than 6 million tourists who, according to statistics, drink a similar number of liters of beer. The second most important is the Berlin Film Festival, one of the three most prestigious film festivals in Europe. Shopping enthusiasts try not to miss the Christmas sales, with discounts of up to 80%. People also come to Germany to celebrate Christmas, New Year and Easter, when the cities are beautifully decorated.