Home to some of Europe's great cities and most enchanting landscapes, Germany is an intoxicating mix of olde world charm and next level modernity. Whether you're here to explore the architectural riches of Munich, get stuck into the legendary Berlin nightlife or sink a few steins at one of the many German beer festivals, this place has got it all.
“I had the best time on this tour. it was EVERYTHING i was looking for! It was the perfect balance of fun, cultural immersion and partying! It was also relatively budget friendly...i felt like the optionals did not cost me much more money and if it is was pricey, it was totally worth it. i met a lot of great people and had the best time ever! :) will definitely book another contiki tour in the near future! :)”
“A great way to experience Oktoberfest as a solo traveller. This trip allows you to meet a ton of people and experience the Oktoberfest traditions along with other activities like going to see Dachau, a castle, and a bike city tour. It's like making your own trip because you get to decide what you do everyday with no itinerary. The tour managers and drivers are always giving you tips about the culture, where to go, and what else you can do in the beautiful city of Munich.”
“First Contiki trip and must say it was a good one! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable of the cities we visited. The amount of time spent in each city was perfect to get a feel for it. Awesome group and awesome time. Looking forward to my next trip in 2015!”
Architectural wonders? Check. Legendary beer festivals? Check. Picture postcard landscape? Check. This is a country with a lot to offer, so here’s our top pick of the best things to do in Germany:
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Oktoberfest, Munich – If you’re planning some Germany travel 2016, be sure to include the Oktoberfest on your shortlist. Running from late September to early October, this legendary 16-day celebration of folk music and beer is the crown prince of German beer festivals. Foodies take note: only beers conforming to the stringent German Reinheitsgebot purity laws are allowed.
For more information on Oktoberfest, click here.
2. Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin – A Mecca for film buffs, Berlinale is considered amongst the most prestigious film festivals in the world. It's also its largest, with over half a million people in attendance. Over 400 films are shown each year, making it the ideal place to get your fix of red carpet action.
For more information on the Berlin International Film Festival, click here.
3. Fusion Festival, Lärz – With its predominantly electronic lineup and its countercultural vibe, Fusion is one of the most free-spirited music festivals Germany has to offer. Set on the grass covered grounds of a disused military airfield in northeastern Germany, all food sold on the festival site is vegan, and clothing is optional!
For more information on Fusion Festival, click here.
4. Melt! Festival – Melt! Festival is unarguably one of the premier alternative music festivals in Germany. Set in the Ferropolis open-air museum near Gräfenhainichen, the location is nothing less than stunning, and there's an impressive roster of heavy-hitting electronic artists to make sure the music lives up to the setting.
For more information on Melt! Festival, click here.
5. Bayreuth Festival – Wagner, the late genius of German opera, conceived this festival for the sole purpose of celebrating his own works. OK, he wasn’t exactly modest, but today it is still one of the world's most popular opera festivals.
For more information on Bayreuth Festival, click here.
1. Residenz Museum – Wondering what it was like to live as a German royal? Check out the Residenz Museum, which features furniture, porcelain, thrones, clocks and various other artifacts from throughout the ages. You'll get a unique and fascinating insight into the lives of this old school Bavarian Bling Ring.
For more information on the Dali museum, click here.
2. Stasi Museum – Housed in its former Leipzig headquarters, the Stasi Museum offers a chilling glimpse into the inner workings of the feared East German State Security Service. A permanent exhibit allows you to walk through the rooms from where the Stasi conducted its sinister regime of spying and terror over the East German populace.
For more information on the Stasi Museum, click here.
3. Berlin Jewish Museum – Opened in 2001, Berlin's Jewish museum is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, with an extensive permanent collection as well as various changing exhibits. Consisting of the old Kollegienhaus building linked with a modern structure by architect Daniel Libeskind, it gives a fascinating look at German-Jewish history and is one of the most popular things to see in Berlin.
For more information on the Berlin Jewish Museum, click here.
4. Berlin Museum Island – This beautiful island complex on the Spree River in central Berlin is home to five world-class museums, including the Pergamon Museum. Completed in 1930, this houses some impressive reconstructions of historical buildings including the Pergamon Altar as well as an extensive collection of Islamic art, and is amongst the most visited art museums in the country.
For more information on the Berlin Museum Island, click here.
5. Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg – This former Nazi concentration camp was adapted as a national memorial in 1961, commemorating the so-called 'victory of anti-fascism over fascism'. Though few of the original buildings remain, several have been reconstructed and a public museum houses various changing exhibits.
For more information on the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen, click here.
From its myriad sausage varieties to hearty stews with meat and potatoes to succulent braised pork, it's perhaps no coincidence that pretty much everything you eat in Germany pairs nicely with beer. Speaking of which, the country boasts over 5000 varieties from over 1300 breweries, so you'd better work quickly if you want to sample the lot. German food can be simple, like a good late night currywurst from a roadside stall, or complex, like a meal from one of the country's many Michelin starred restaurants. Here's our pick of the top 5 German dishes:
Currywurst – The epitome of Berlin street food, this mouth-watering snack consists of a bratwurst (pork sausage) served with curried ketchup and fries. Pair it with a bottle of crisp German pilsner.
Best eaten at – Curry 36 , Mehringdamm 36, 10961 Berlin
Rippchen mit kraut – Frankfurt’s traditional dish is succulent slow cooked cured pork cutlet, typically served with sauerkraut, mashed potato and mustard and best washed down with some delicious apfelwine (German cider).
Best eaten at –Zum Gemalten Haus,, Schweizer Strasse 67, 60594 Frankfurt/Main
Weisswurste – Originating from Bavaria, this pale-looking snag is made from veal and pork and flavoured with spices then gently cooked - never boiled - in water. It’s served with sweet mustard and a soft pretzel and – for true Bavarian flavour – weissbier (wheat beer).
Best eaten at –Weisses Brauhaus, Tal 7, 81673 Munich
Schweinshaxe – A roasted ham hock traditionally accompanied by dumplings and sauerkraut, this Southern German classic should be the perfect base for all your Oktoberfest revelry.
Best eaten at – Haxnbauer, Sparkassenstrasse 6, 80331 Munich
Stollen – Dreseden’s most famous culinary export has been around since the 16th century. A deliciously moist bread-like cake heavy with candied fruits, nuts and spices, it’s now a staple of Christmas markets the world over.
Best eaten at – Café Toscana, Schillerplatz 7, 01309 Dresden
Camera - There’s a lot to see in Germany, so bring a good camera, or at the very least make sure there’s plenty of storage space on your phone.
Alka Seltzer - Whether it’s the hearty cuisine or the country’s 5000-plus beers, you’ll probably need them.
Comfortable walking shoes - From checking out the many museums and attractions by day to partying into the wee hours in Berlin clubs, you're going to spend a lot of time on your feet.
Travel adapter & voltage converter - Appliances with built in transformers (e.g. Apple laptop power) are fine with European voltage, but plugging your 120V hairdryer into 240V will not end well! European hotels often have a 120V outlet, but be sure to check first. A voltage converter will come in handy, and a travel adapter plug is an essential for European style sockets.
German phrasebook - English is spoken very widely in Germany, but as with any foreign country people will appreciate it if you at least attempt to speak their language. A little effort goes a long way!