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All-in-one guide to Germany

Written by: Russell Wallace | Travel Insurance Expert
Last updated: 14 March 2024 | Created: 7 September 2022
All-in-one guide to Germany

Over half a million Brits head to Germany every year. Germany is so full of culture and history that it’s not hard to see the attraction. So if you’re planning to head there yourself, what do you need to know?

5 things to do

Visit a fairytale castle

The wonderfully named Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria is a sight to behold. This stunning castle, rising from the verdant Bavarian forests, was used as the basis for the one in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Built in the mid-nineteenth century by Ludwig II, it is more a palace than a castle. You can book day trips from nearby Munich and explore this stunning building.

Take a photo of a Devil’s bridge

Hidden away in the forests of Kromlauer Park is an otherworldly bridge. The bridge was built of local stone on the orders of a local knight in 1860; the Rakotzbrücke forms a perfect circle when reflected in the water it spans. Several Devil’s Bridges across Europe are named so because they look so miraculous or dangerous that the Devil himself must have made them. To preserve the bridge, it is no longer open to pedestrians, but the beautiful surroundings make it well worth a visit.

See Munich’s magnificent mechanical clock

With 42 bells and 32 life-sized figures, this mechanical bell in Munich’s Marienplatz is a fantastic feat of engineering. The clock was built to recreate a wedding feast that lasted two weeks in 1568. Mounted knights joust and barrel makers dance during the 15-minute show at 11 am, Noon and 5 pm in the summer. If you visit at 9 pm, you can catch a more restrained show featuring an angel and night watchman.

Pop into a Baroque, 800-year-old library

Set inside Metten Abbey, this might be Europe’s most breathtaking library. While the monastery was founded in 766, a library was not added until the 1260s. It was expanded throughout the centuries, and the Baroque version was built between 1722 and 1726. The paintings and carvings are stunning to behold.

Smell the world’s oldest rose

While it looks more like a sprawling tree than a delicate rose bush, the Rose of Hildesheim is believed to be the oldest rose in the world. It was planted beside Hildesheim Cathedral in the early 800s when the church was founded. The pale pink plant grew up the side of the church and is still there today. It still flowers, usually around May. The Thousand Year rose has nearly been destroyed numerous times over the years, most recently during the bombing of World War 2. While everything above ground was destroyed, the rose grew back into the beautiful bush you can see today.

5 Best Beaches

Wannsee Beach, Berlin

While Germany may not have much coastline compared to most European countries, it has some large inland lakes that offer great beaches. This beach near Berlin is on the biggest lake in the area and is popular on warm weekends. As well as white-sand beaches, the lake is an excellent place for sailing.

Westerland Beach, Sylt

Sylt is the most Northerly German island, and it is known as the Queen of the North Sea. It offers almost 40 km of pristine, sandy beaches to enjoy. Westerland beach provides the most luxurious feel of the Sylt beaches and offers some spectacular sunsets to enjoy.

Warnemünde Beach, Rostock

Easy access to the popular town of Rostock, and water that stays shallow for a reasonable distance, make this beach one of the best for a family day out. With plenty of fun attractions and activities, there is lots for everyone to enjoy at this expansive beach.

Langeoog, Wittmund

This East Frisian island allows no cars and is protected by dunes. You can enjoy a stunning view from the nearby water tower open in summer. This beach is an excellent spot for a quiet, relaxing break. Explore the mudflats and dunes, or enjoy the good climate and sea breezes.

Titisee-Neustadt, Baden-Württemberg

This stunning beach is found in the Black Forest Nature Park of Southern Germany and offers iridescent glacial waters. After a refreshing dip in the ice-cool waters, you can enjoy a pleasant stroll through the surrounding forest. There is also a children’s pool with slides and rafts to enjoy.

5 Best Restaurants

Seven Swans, Frankfurt

Seven Swans is a must-visit for vegetarians and anyone looking to enjoy some healthier food. Using ingredients grown on their farm, the kitchen creates terrific, seasonal, vegetarian dishes—one of only 12 vegetarian restaurants worldwide to win a Michelin Star.

Ratskeller, Munich

For a taste of traditional German dishes, head to the Ratskeller in Munich. Don’t let the name put you off as it translates to “the cellar of a town hall” and has nothing to do with rodents. You can enjoy a wide variety of local dishes, from lamb shanks and fish cakes to pretzels and Sauerbraten (marinated meat).

Burgermeister, Berlin

Trying local street food is one of the best parts of travelling. It’s a great way to enjoy cheap food and eat as the locals do. This tiny burger joint, directly under the U-Bahn tracks, used to be a public toilet. These days they offer delicious German food while you soak up the atmosphere of Germany’s capital.

Curry & Co, Dresden

For a taste of Germany’s most famous fast food, head to Curry & Co in Dresden. Said to provide the best Currywurst in the country, this restaurant has several different sausages and sauces to choose from. They even offer a vegan version if you don’t want to miss out on this iconic taste of Germany.

Forsthaus Strelitz, Neustrelitz

This restaurant may be found in a sprawling farmhouse-inn in the quiet town of Neustrelitz, but the chef/owner Wenzel Pankratz worked in some of Berlin’s finest restaurants. It may look rustic, but the dishes cooked on the wood-fired stove are remarkable. Local delights such as lamb’s tongue and seared pigeon breast are available here. You can even say in one of the eight rooms available and make a night of it.

5 top tips

Don’t be late

There is a saying in Germany, “Fünf Minuten vor der Zeit ist des Deutschen Pünktlichkeit” (Five minutes early is German punctuality). Germans are very punctual people, and they expect visitors to respect this. If you have arranged to meet someone, such as a tour guide, or a local friend, you should make every effort to be on time, if not a little early.

Learn some German

Around 56% of Germans speak English fluently, so it’s well worth your time to learn at least a few key phrases in German before you go. This is especially true if you’re planning to explore any of the more rural villages. As English is a Germanic language, many grammatical rules are very similar, so learning at least some useful phrases may not be as hard as you think.

Bring cash

A surprisingly considerable number of shops and businesses in Germany still only take cash rather than card payments. While this is becoming less of an issue in the bigger cities, bringing plenty of physical money with you on your trip is still a good idea.

Spend a penny

Most publicly accessible bathrooms in Germany are not free to use. Costs range from 50 cents to 1 Euro. This even applies in places like bars and cafes. However, in some places, you may get a token or voucher for money off, so it may be best to use the toilet first.

Plan your Sundays carefully

Sundays in Germany are a day of rest, and most places will be shut for the day. So while you’ll find most shops and restaurants shut, many museums close on Monday instead, so there are still plenty of things to do. Make sure you plan your Sundays or enjoy a day relaxing and wandering around the town or countryside.

Germany has a lot to offer visitors and no matter where you head you’ll be sure to find stunning views and friendly locals. Before you leave to explore this beautiful country, make sure you arrange Germany Travel Insurance so you can travel with peace of mind.