Why go to Germany? History and architecture, art and music, parties and festivals, gastronomy and beer… there is so much to explore and enjoy in this exciting country that the question should be: why not? Germany is a great place, and nothing proves this better than the fact that over 30% of the Germans themselves choose to stay in their country for their vacations.
When to go? Basically any time. Germany is a perfect destination year round, with music festivals in the summer, scenic Christmas Markets in the winter and so much to offer anyway that you don’t really need special events to have a wonderful time. If you’re a culture enthusiast, visit some of the big cities, which offer excellent museums, art exhibitions, and concerts. If you’re an outdoor kind of person, hit the Baltic coast for water sports or go hiking/skiing in the Alps.
Germany’s large cities have a predominantly modern cityscape. Sadly enough, almost all large German cities suffered extensive bombing during World War II, which destroyed much of their ancient architecture. Despite efforts of historical reconstruction, today many of the major cities lack a traditional city center. On the other hand, the stunning construction projects of recent decades have produced spectacular pieces of modern architecture. If you are looking for picturesque, postcard-like places, though, you should head to smaller towns, where you can still find the traditional timber-framed buildings we know from movies.
Germany’s economy is the 4th largest by nominal GDP. Of course, Germany’s high economic performance also goes hand in hand with exceptionally high living standards. German cities are mostly clean and neat, and for years Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg has topped the list of the cleanest cities in the world for its environmental efforts. Germany is also one of the safest countries in Europe with low crime rates, and thefts and pickpockets are less of an issue here.
Top things to do and see in Germany
The public transport system in Germany has an excellent reputation. Large cities have a dense, modern and convenient network of surface and underground transportation, so leave your car behind and get a city pass valid for the length of your stay. “City cards” offered in many of the major cities combine free public transportation and discounts on entrance tickets to the most important attractions. Travel costs in Germany are relatively high, but you can find ways to economize, for instance by taking the free walking tours provided in several cities.