This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services, to personalize ads and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. Accept

When the Germans do something, they do it right – when it’s beer, it’s bitter; when it’s a castle, it’s impregnable; when it’s mountains, they’re high, and when it’s the sea, it’s, well… freezing cold? Among the sky-scraping Alps and teeth-chattering Baltic and North seas there are countless other natural, cultural, and technical monuments worth visiting.

The offer of natural treasures is complemented also by 16 national parks. Today’s tourist trend is towards special parks for entertaining the whole family, and in recent years particularly for free-time activities.

COASTAL EXPERIENCE

Several biosphere reserves on the coast of the North Sea (e.g. so-called shallow seas near the mouth of the Elbe) let one combine the experience of walking a coast which is flooded twice daily and exploring unique natural phenomena.

www.nationalpark-wattenmeer.de

ROYAL CYCLING ROUTE

Physical activity in combination with exploring monuments is on offer when cycling through the Havel Lakes north of Berlin. The route leads around royal castles (Potsdam, Sanssouci, Charlottenhof and Cecilienhof).

www.germany.travel/en

RAILWAY RARITY

Right across the Czech border you can find the Zittau narrow-gauge railway, which has been transformed from a technical monument into a tourist attraction with old steam locomotives and cars. At one end, lies the fairy-tale town of Oybin, with its monastery on a mountain and picturesque little railway station.

https://www.zittauer-schmalspurbahn.de

FAIRY-TALE TRAIL

This popular holiday trail leads from Hanau – the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm – through locations of their fairy tales to Bremerhaven (600 km, 60 towns, 8 natural parks). It’s ideal for cycling, hiking, even canoeing.

www.deutsche-maerchenstrasse.com/de

FUN THAT SOMETIMES TURNS YOU ON YOUR HEAD

The largest entertainment park in Europe has 15 themed areas, each named after a specific European country with its characteristic architecture and cuisine, in addition to Arthur’s Minimoys Kingdom and Adventure Land. Europa Park on the German–French–Swiss border boasts numerous rollercoasters and watercoasters. On the Blue Fire Megacoaster, you will accelerate to 100 km/h in 2.5 s and on the Silver Star you will reach a top speed of 130 km/h.

www.europapark.de

Up to one-third of the motorways have speed limits. Drive “seriously”. You can be punished even for gesturing at other drivers as well as for aggressive driving, such as forcing other drivers to yield to you. Watch out for fast cars behind you in the left lane. An emergency corridor is compulsory in traffic jams.

There are environmental zones in almost 100 cities (www.umweltzone.de). An emissions sticker costs EUR 5 at TÜV/Dekra stations, or CZK 300 in the Czech Republic. A vehicle registration card is usually sufficient for the German inspection but you should also have the full registration certificate just in case. But watch out for the opening hours!

 

In case of a breakdown on the motorway, place the warning triangle about 200 m behind your vehicle. The broken-down vehicle may only be towed on the motorway so far as the first exit. It is prohibited to pass or drive around school buses standing at bus stops.

DRIVING THROUGH 7 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Do you have plans for your vacation yet? We have a better tip for you than drawing a finger on the map. Each week in our series of articles, we will present to you one of the seven selected European countries and their most attractive destinations. Overview of the countries is on the map below - click on each country to find out more. Stay tuned and let our interactive map inspire you.

Have you forgotten something? Download our checklist, so you pack everything.