Quick Guide to Germany
A quick guide to Germany
Aside from its historical and industrial impact on Europe and the world, Germany offers an abundant array of attractions. Cosmopolitan cities, traditional rustic towns and sweeping mountains make up this influential country providing plenty for visitors to see and do no matter what their interests. Here’s a snippet of what’s on offer:
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and is a rival city to the country’s capital – Berlin. Sophisticated yet relaxed, Munich is home to numerous grand buildings and its city park conserves the beautiful Englishcher Garten. Munich is only an hour’s drive from the snowy Alps making it a perfect destination for city & ski lovers. Bavaria is also home to Fussen; a haven for castle lovers. Here, you can find King Ludwig’s spectacular Neuschwanstein – Disney’s inspiration.
To the east is where the country’s capital and largest city lays – Berlin. With over a hundred museums and over a thousand bridges, Berlin is a sight-seers’ paradise. Brandenburger Gate, the only remaining former city gate is today, one of the main symbols of Berlin. The Berlin Wall used to run right past Brandenburger Gate and since the fall of the Wall in 1989, the Gate has become a symbol of German unity. South of Berlin is Leipzig – a pretty rustic town and the former home of artists Wagner and Bach.
Not far from Hamburg lays Lubeck, a well-preserved medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage site. Nearby, you can find the city of Cologne. Notable for its sights, Cologne is home to a magnificent Gothic cathedral, lively carnivals and festive markets as well as a famous Chocolate Museum. Cologne’s cosmopolitan neighbour, Frankfurt is heaving with business centres but still finds room to flaunt spectacular museums.
The country’s official language is the German language with over 95% of the population using it; new visitors to the country may be surprised by how little English is used or even known by locals. Traditionally, greetings between Germans are quite formal with a firm handshake whilst new acquaintances are approached with their title until told otherwise.
Germany has been, and still is recognised for being an extremely organised and neat country that adopts an enthusiastic view towards rules and regulations. This forward way of thinking is reflected in the cleanliness and admirable presentation of German public buildings – likewise with German homes.
Regional, European and international influences have shaped Germany’s art. Before the expressionistic work of Franz Marc revolutionised German art in the 20th century, leading figures of art tradition including the medieval painter Albrecht Dürer and the German Romanticism artist Carl Spitzweg led the way.
With ancestral links with musical influences such as Beethoven, Bach and Handel, music is a big deal in Germany and today, Berlin in particular is a fruitful birthplace for up-and-coming artists.
Germany isn’t widely appreciated for outstanding cuisine compared to its neighbours, Italy and France and typically, its dishes have expanded from regional traditions. Cakes and gateaux are common in the south and east, heartier dishes in the north and west. In more ways than one, German cookery and recipes reflect the country’s heritage. As a hard working country, the food is both quick and relatively easy to prepare.
Germany’s most famous delicacy is its sausages and sauerkraut; there are however, a large amount of recipes available that many aren’t aware of. Meat, dumplings and potato salads are popular and surprisingly, claims to fame include numerous fresh salad recipes accompanied by delicious dressings.
The choice of restaurants in Germany is broad and varied. In larger cities, particularly restaurants in Berlin, you can find the cuisine of most countries of the world. Water in most restaurants in Germany is not free, and don’t be surprised when you are asked to pay for it. It is also common to tip waiters and waitresses in bars and restaurants (€2-€5).