The bohemian streets of Berlin are a base camp for street art, unique design and innovation, while Munich boasts historic architecture and gorgeous cathedrals. In between, nomads will find stretches of lush countryside, castles which remind you of fairy tales and of course; Bavarian beer halls. All of this makes up the brilliance that is Germany, from rich and delicious food to the history of WWII, Germany has something to satisfy every traveller.
I am not sure about everyone else; but for me, I always have a few ‘must see’ sights in every city. For Berlin, this was the Berlin Wall, Check Point Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial (known for its 2,711 concrete pillars).
At Check Point Charlie you can actually get your passport stamped with the 12 stamps originally used (replicas of course). The great thing is the person doing it for you will also explain what stamp meant and how it was used, while at the same time filling up 2 pages of your passport.There are so many little novelties like this around Berlin and because of this; I would highly recommend carrying cash around with you. I always recommend when getting cash out of ATMs and even more so with Euro, to take out a few hundred at a time, keep in mind that each transaction will charge so the less transactions, the less fees you will be hit with.
Without playing favourites; Munich would be my favourite city in Germany. There is so much to see and do in this nomads’ paradise, including the architecture of St Peter’s Church and not one, but two town halls in Marienplatz! And the beer halls, oh the beer halls!
Without a doubt, if you are not a beer drinker or only have enough time to go to one, THE one to go to is Hofbräuhaus, fun fact… founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, it was actually the royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria. With elaborately painted ceilings and an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re in a movie from the middle ages, Hofbräuhaus is a must see. Is it full of tourists? Of course it is. Is it busy? Absolutely. But the experience is well worth it. If you want to avoid the crowds, go in quieter times, (think between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner).
Some of my other favourite beer halls were Schneider Bräuhaus (12% wheat beer is here) and Chinesischer Turm (Beer Garden within the English Gardens, perfect for a relaxed afternoon under the trees).
A ‘stein’ of beer which is 1L will cost around 10 euro, and in some beir gardens and halls once you finish your beir, they will automatically give you another. The way to stop this is to pop your coaster ontop of your finished glass.
I found the easiest way to organise my money in Germany was to get a pre paid Travel Money Nz Cash Passport, at any point I could log into the app and check my balance and load more money as needed. When paying for beers, making a purchase in the same currency as loaded into your card is free.
In my opinion, no trip to Munich is complete without a day at Neuschwanstein Castle, a 19th-century palace above the village of Hohenschwangau near Fussen in southwest Bavaria. This is the castle of all castles, so much so that it inspired the design of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
To get to the castle requires catching a train and a shuttle bus. I therefore highly recommend taking a guided tour. Having a guide takes this stress away, allowing you to simply take in the wonder that is Neuschwanstein Castle.
If you want a real princess moment, once you arrive instead of walking up the hill, you can pay €6 to take a horse and carriage to the castle. And before you ask, damn straight I had my princess moment.
If you are going in Summer, give yourself a bit of time to spend by the lake at the base of the castle grounds. The water is beautiful and perfect for swimming after a day of wandering the castle, so don’t forget your bikini!
Although not as well known as Auschwitz, Dachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany. You can take a day trip here from Munich. The visit makes for a very intense, solemn and heavy day. But if you want to learn more about the history of WWII and the Nazi Regime, then this is a must.
If you plan on going to Dachau, make sure you prebook your tour. You can only enter the camp if you are with a certified guide, who have been trained to know exact facts, dates and names to ensure the tours are done with respect and dignity.
On your first day in Frankfurt, I would highly recommend taking a walking tour. This is a great way to get your bearings around the city. It will also give you ideas on what to come back to and see when you have more time.
Römer is a must, it is a medieval building in the Altstadt of Frankfurt and one of the city's most important landmarks. The Römer is located opposite the Old St. Nicholas church and has been the city hall of Frankfurt for over 600 years.
While you are there, walk a little further away from Römer and head to the Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew. Make sure you climb the 328 Steps to get a spectacular view of Frankfurt.
Although it is not traditional German food, I would highly recommend Coa Asian for a great meal, and it is just short walk away from the main Frankfurt train station (Hauptbahnhof).
And speaking of food, keep in mind that tips are not included in Germany so they are expected by the staff. I usually gave around 10% on average, rounding up or down to the closest euro. For example, if my bill was 8 euro, I would just give them 10 euro and call it a day.
I used the high speed trains to get from city to city, for a few reasons. Unlike airports, train stations are usually in the centre of the city which means less time in taxis and transfers to get to your hotel or hostel. While on the train you pass through angelic towns and beautiful lush countryside = more of Germany you are seeing! Trains also tend to be quicker than flying after you account for the time to travel to the airport, check in, fly, collect your luggage and travel from the airport to hotel again.
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