Travel Destinations

Germany: Land of Contrasts

Located in Central Europe and bordered by Austria, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and France, Germany is considered the heart of Europe and a land of contrasts. From green forests to cosmopolitan cities, from wine villages to medieval castles, from relaxing natural spas to world-wide rock festivals, Germany is a beautiful country full of natural treasures, historical sites, and activities for everyone.

Where to Go?

Munich is the site of the worldwide famous Oktoberfest, a festival where millions flock the streets for music, food, and of course, beer. As one of the largest city in Germany, Munich also offers several cultural activities such as opera, art galleries, BMW shows, shopping and a vibrant cosmopolitan life.

Berlin is considered one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting capitals. Constantly evolving, Berlin is known for its history and its famous Wall that divided the east and the west. Today, Berlin is a diverse city full of life featuring art galleries, elegant clubs, amazing shopping and a variety of restaurants.

Considered Germany’s greenest city, Hamburg is surrounded by beautiful parks, gardens and canals. One of its main attractions is its harbour where seafood restaurants abound. A harbour boat tour is a must during your visit. Hamburg is also popular for its international musicals, shopping malls and great scenery.

Frankfurt, Germany’s leading financial center, is the site of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the international trade fair center. Known for its skyscrapers, Frankfurt is a multicultural and cosmopolitan city offering world-class activities and entertainment.

Cologne is known for its carnival festivities. Its arts and culture scene makes it a laid back, vibrant city full of life. One of its attractions is its cathedral featuring vaulted ceilings and majestic glass windows in authentic Gothic style. Cologne is also an extremely attractive trade fair center.

Düsseldorf is known as the fashion capital of Germany and the ideal place for shopping. Düsseldorf has something for everyone: the exclusive Königsallee boulevard with its luxury boutiques and flagship stores, Schadowstrasse and the legendary old quarter offering unusual bargains for those budget travellers. 

Nuremberg is a central place for music with its numerous concerts such as the two open-air classical music concerts, the famous “Rock in the Park” event (Germany’s biggest rock concert) and the East-West Jazz Festival. It’s also the site for Germany’s best-known Christmas market attracting visitors from all over the world.

Stuttgart is a fantastic city known for its festivals such as the lively Stuttgart Beer Festival, the traditional Wine Festival and the atmospheric Stuttgart Christmas market.

Get in touch with nature at the Black Forest and Bavarian Forest, spend some time near the ocean at the Baltic and North Sea regions, or experience the healing powers of the mineral spa resorts at Wiesbaden, Baden-Baden, Bad Kissingen and other resort areas throughout Germany.

What and Where to Eat?

You may think that Schnitzel and beer are sold in every corner in Germany, and while that may be true in most places, Germany offers a variety of foods ranging from their famous wursts (sausages) to their hearty asparragus soups to their delicious biscuits and gingerbread.

Although hamburgers and fries are offered at most fast food places including the typical American franchises, the Döner Kebab – Turkish lamb or chicken stuffed into bread – is Germany’s favorite fast food item available almost anywhere. Biergartens and Brauhauses offer a variety of beers accompanied by light and simple meals. Gasthauses are family-style restaurants that offer German meals at reasonable prices. Restaurants are a bit more expensive and offer a much wider variety of food including international cuisine as well as local cuisine.  

Transportation

Train – The German rail track, known for its timeliness and run by Deutsche Bahn (DB), allows you to travel around Germany and internationally. The InterCity (IC) service offers express hourly service between large and medium-sized cities and the InterCity Express (ICE) trains are among the fastest in Europe. Interregio (IR) trains are best for regional trips and Regionalverkehr (RV, RE and SE) are the local trains that stop at every station on their route.

Cars – Germany is known for the quality of its cars and its highways. The autobahn is a great highway with no tolls or fees and with no speed limit. Car rentals are available in most cities and generally offer one-way rentals without additional fees.

Visas & Documents

Visas for stays of no more than 3 months are required by all except EU/EEA nationals and citizens from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, United States, United Kingdom and other countries. A uniform type of visa, the Schengen visa, is issued for tourist, business and private visits. All visas cost either US$44 (short stay; up to 90 days) or US$64 (long stay). For more information, contact the German embassy or consulate in your country.

For more information on Germany, visit the Germany tourism office site:http://www.germany-tourism.de/
Links you may find useful: Wikitravel Germany