At A Glance: All the essentials you should know before departure.
Prepare for a roller coaster of feasts, treats and temptations as you take in Germany’s soul-stirring scenery, spirit-lifting culture, big-city beauties, romantic palaces and half-timbered towns.
You’ll encounter history in towns where streets were laid out long before Columbus set sail, and in castles that loom above prim, half-timbered villages where flower boxes billow with crimson geraniums. The great cities – Berlin, Munich and Hamburg among them – come in more flavours than a jar of jelly beans but will all wow you with a cultural kaleidoscope that spans the arc from art museums and high-brow opera to naughty cabaret and underground clubs. And wherever you go, Romanesque, Gothic and baroque classics rub rafters with architectural creations from modern masters.
More Interesting Matters
There’s something undeniably artistic in the way Germany’s scenery unfolds – the corrugated, dune-fringed coasts of the north; the moody forests, romantic river valleys and vast vineyards of the centre, and the off-the-charts splendour of the Alps, carved into rugged glory by glaciers and the elements. All are integral parts of a magical natural matrix that’s bound to give your camera batteries a workout. Get off the highway and into the great outdoors to soak up the epic landscapes that makes each delicious, slow, winding mile so precious.
Few countries have had as much impact on the world as Germany, which has given us the Hanseatic League, the Reformation and yes, Hitler and the Holocaust, but also the printing press, the automobile, aspirin and MP3 technology. It is the birthplace of Martin Luther, Albert Einstein and Karl Marx, of Goethe, Beethoven, the Brothers Grimm and other heavyweights who, each in their own way, have left their mark on human history. You can stand in a Roman amphitheatre, sleep in a medieval castle and walk along remnants of the Berlin Wall – in Germany the past is very much present wherever you go.
Experiencing Germany through its food and drink will add a rich layer to your memories (and possibly your belly!). You’ll quickly discover that the local food is so much more than sausages and pretzels, schnitzel and roast pork accompanied by big mugs of foamy beer. Beyond the clichés awaits a cornucopia of regional and seasonal palate-teasers. Share the German people’s obsession with white asparagus in springtime, chanterelle mushrooms in summer and game in autumn. Sample not only the famous beer but also world-class wines, most notably the noble Riesling.
There’s breathtaking natural scenery: rugged Scottish Highlands with glens and lochs; Norway’s fabulous fjords, seemingly chipped to jagged perfection by giants; the vine-raked valleys of the Loire; and Cappadocia’s fairy-tale landscape. If you’re looking for beaches, a circuit of the Mediterranean’s northern coast reveals one gem after another. Or strike out to lesser known, yet beautiful coastal regions such as the Baltic and Black Seas. Mountain lovers should head to the Alps: they march across central Europe taking in France, Switzerland, Austria, northern Italy and tiny Liechtenstein.
We’ll take you to France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg as we see it from the insight giving you some idea of what we think it is interesting to you to see, to experience, to indulge … and to feel safe.