There is a popular misconception about Germany – world war hang ups, typical German arrogance and stomach-churning cuisine. Whilst the nation have done their best to shake off the shadows of the past, their overt friendliness, generosity and all-round good nature will make visitors reconsider their impressions. And even the food’s not that bad!
Though much of the country’s historical monuments were destroyed in the war, a major rebuilding effort restored much of the country to its former glory. Legendary castles and imposing cathedrals dominate spectacular landscapes and together with a string of artistic and cultural hubs mean Germany is positively thriving once more.
The capital, Berlin has something for everybody, world-class museums and art galleries, the most visited zoo in Europe, eclectic nightlife and a wealth of fascinating history. The bohemian culture of the east is a magnet for artists and writers in stark contrast to the glitter and glam of the commercial west. Since reunification this captivating city keeps going from strength to strength.
In a country where the natives are still clearly coming to terms with the atrocities of their ancestors and the subjugation of Communism, cities like Hamburg in the west and Dresden in the east are flourishing with inspired architecture and world-class Museums.
The same can be said for Munich, a rival jewel in Germany’s sparkling crown to that of Berlin. A vibrant nightlife and busy shopping centres are played out against the backdrop of spectacular palaces and lavish buildings carved with baroque architecture. Nestling in the foothills of the Alps, the home of BMW and Bayern Munich is blessed with outstanding museums and breathtaking scenery.
Even more masterpieces of motor-engineering are to be found in Stuttgart, home to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, whilst Cologne is home to the world’s greatest Gothic Revival masterpiece and boasts a proud tradition of being the world’s biggest importer of beer.
A good time to visit Germany is December when the long-standing tradition of hosting Christmas markets is in full swing. The oldest of such markets is found in Nuremberg, camped amongst the spectacular medieval monuments and chic modern glass towers.
Or why not take a cruise in the Rhine Valley in the summer to discover charming medieval towns dotted amongst the raking vineyards and rugged mountains whereas outdoor pursuits such as hiking and cycling are best enjoyed in the picturesque climes of the Black Forest. Whilst most German cuisine may not inspire everyone the famous cherry-topped gateau originating from this enchanting region is as favourable as German beers and crisp white wines.
Travelling to Germany by Ferry
Unfortunately Germany no longer has a direct ferry route, this means you need to go via one of it’s neighboring countries. Ferries to Holland, Belgium, Denmark and France will get you within a few hours drive of Germany.
There are direct trains from Amsterdam to Germany including a direct service from Amsterdam to Berlin.