Germany has always been in the top of our travel destinations and we’d always dreamt of doing it via a road trip. Initially we were planning to rent a car and travel that way, but we managed to find a super cheap deal with Wicked Campers who were offering a two person campervan for only £37 per day, so of course we jumped at the chance.
Now this is the first holiday that has been planned entirely by Jason and I’ve got to admit he did a pretty incredible job (he actually expected a pat on the back after each part of the trip was successful).
So we had a general idea of where we wanted to go in Germany but wanted to just play it by ear and not restrict ourselves to a certain amount of time in each city like we normally do when we have accommodation pre-booked and I’ve got to say, travelling this was was a heck of a lot of fun.
This is what we got up to:
What a huge and vibrant city Berlin is. Berlin literally translated means ‘swamp’ and there is a reason for this – the entire city is built on one! This is why so many buildings are constantly undergoing reconstruction as the ground keeps moving. Given it’s dark past, this city has managed to rebuild so well whilst keeping its important historical monuments and adding a bit of modern flair. There is plenty to do here in terms of sightseeing, museums, shopping and eating. The public transport system here is easy to navigate and the people are very friendly. A lot of our time here was spent visiting the WWII museums which for us were really important to visit, but became emotionally draining. A highlight here was having a kebab – seriously the best kebab in the world. In fact this is the city where the kebab originated. This city is a must visit for all!
Unfortunately got caught out on a very wet day. Managed to visit the most famous gardens where the famous palaces reside, but because it was a Monday everything was closed – probably not the best day to visit.
This city is definitely one that lights up at night. It is build up along the banks of the river and is full of museums covering mainly art, jewellery and general history (not WWII). We visited the Royal Palace where the Green Vault was located. In here were saw hundreds of expensive ornaments and gifts previously owned by Royalty. We also visited the Mathematical Museum which was our nerdy chance to see a bunch of telescopes, clocks and globes. On the other side of the river is the hipster town where lots of cool cafes and street art are everywhere.
A must visit for anyone visiting Germany. To get here is a bit of a hike, probably a 4 hour round trip from the Stadt Wehlen. It is a huge rock formation that towers 194 metres over the Elbe River. There is evidence here to suggest that this area was previously inhabited by local tribes. It is absolutely stunning and definitely one of our highlights!
The city with the biggest Hauptbanhof (main train station). It is most definitely a more modern city still with its large shopping centres and street malls.
A tiny town where you could walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes. Its a quaint little place, visited mainly by retirees on bus tours. Still very pretty for photos, but we could stay longer than 90 minutes.
This town is littered with hundreds of wooden carvings of witches and goblins – it is likely a little fairytale city with a incredible river trail which lead to about 5 other cities. We took the 10km trail to Tresseburg which was incredible. It was mainly a rainforest which we walked through. We managed to finish it relatively quickly, which meant that we had to wait 2 hours for the irregular bus service in town to take us back. .
A medieval-esque town bordered by a huge stonewall line with cobblestone streets, colourful houses and of course plenty of tourists. I guess the wall is the main attraction here, so once you walk around for about 30mins, the town has been covered.
Cologne is a really cool city. Probably about the size of Melbourne and also has a Southbank-esque areawhere there was a Kid’s festival on at the time so there were young families everywhere. There are lots of quirks about Cologne which we learnt on one of the free walking tours. Every year they have a festival called ‘Carnivale’ where everyone wears costumes, gets drunk on the street and people drive down the street throwing good quality candies to the drunk people. Sounds fantastic to me! One of the main attractions here is the towering Dom Cathedral which I visited 10 years ago as a 16 year old attending World Youth Day as a representative for my high school. I’ve got to say, the cathedral still is bigger than ever but unfortunately is still under reconstruction and will probably be for the next 100 years!
One of the very quick visit towns. This is where Beethoven was born so everywhere you look every tourist attraction is based on the man. Our highlight had nothing to do with Beethoven, instead it was Haribo World -the store that sold EVERYTHING Haribo related and of course we left with a few delicious gummy treats.
From the moment we stepped outside the train station we knew there was a seediness to this city that we hadn’t felt elsewhere in Germany. Walking around we saw streets line with drug addicts on the floor shooting up and many brothels with men of all ages walking in. According to our tour guide the sex and drug industry is booming in Frankfurt, with the majority of the seedy section of the city run by the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Outside the seedy section, the city is actually really beautiful. There are plenty more skyscrapers here than any other city in Germany as it is the financial capital, but it still retains an Old Town which surprisingly is only about 50-60 years. Most of the buildings whilst they look old, have actually been built to look that way.
The historic city centre is a UNESCO heritage site and when you visit it, you see why. The main attraction here is the unusual house extension which hovers over the main river.
Hands down the prettiest town in Germany. The town is surrounded by a large stone gate, lined with cobblestone footpaths and has probably the most colourful and beautifully decorated German houses we’ve ever seen – this is most likely the reason this town made the cover of this year’s addition of the Germany Lonely Planet Guide
Literally came here for one thing and one thing only – the Mercedes Benz Museum. An 8 storey extravaganza which details not only the history of the brand but also how the company played it’s part in the war. There were dozens of cars, buses and wagons all so intricately designed and beautiful to look at. Highly recommended!
Definitely one of the highlights of our Germany trips was seeing Germany’s tallest waterfall and hiking for about an hour through this fairytale-like rainforest. Its absolutely beautiful and definitely and place that everyone should come in the summer.
16. Neushwastein Castle
WOW! Just WOW! This is the castle nestled in the German mountains, a place where fairytales are made (literally). It is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle and attracts thousands of visitors daily! Every 5-10 minutes they take in about 30-40 people on a guided tour. The castle itself was commissioned by King Ludwig who at the time was quickly losing his dominance over his people as the King, so as a show of power, he built 3 castles. I’ve got to say the castle is absolutely stunning both inside and out, at for only 12 euros you get a 35 minute guided tour. A must for anyone visiting Germany. Only thing to note is to get to the castle from the car park is about a 30-40 minute uphill walk or you can pay 6 euros to get a horse and carriage up after which point the walk is only 15 mins.
A small colourful town which sits on the border between Germany and Austria. Very colourful and lined with cafes on the Main Street. Only worth a quick photo-stop.
Oktoberfest – need I say more? We came here for the biggest beer festival in the world and were fortunate enough to book a table of 12 about 6 months in advance. On the Saturday we arrived at the festival site at 7.30am and lined up at the Paulaner beer hall. Lucky we did because the line was super long within a few minutes of us arriving. Standing in the freezing cold we waited for 1.5 hours and were eventually let into the huge hall. We quickly found our seats and started ordering the steins. Oh they were huge and heavy and to carry one with good control is difficulty so it’s hard to believe the servers can carry upwards of 8 at a time! Throughout the day we bought almost every food item on the menu, danced on the chairs and had a group ‘Prost’ every 15 minutes coinciding with the traditional German beer song. It was so much fun and time absolutely flew!
Germany is such an incredible country with so much to offer. Definitely a country that has a bit of something for everyone
Next stop…. Switzerland!
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo