The country that's best known for pretzels, sausages, and Christmas traditions
Germany is a beautiful country, filled with forests, rivers, mountains, and even coasts. Last year in the fall I visited Germany, doing a river cruise which stopped at several German towns and villages, and sailed through some beautiful countryside. The river banks were dotted with old half-timbered homes, pastures, fields, forests, cathedrals, and castles. I fell in love with Germany!
I’ve put together the five best cities to visit in Germany, and some of the must-do things to see and experience in each. And stay tuned at the end for some wellness tidbits!
The best things to see and do in Berlin, the capital city:
- The UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum Island: five different museums, including the Memorial of the Murdered Jews and Checkpoint Charlie.
- The Berlin Zoo: over 1500 different species
- Thousands of swimming lakes surround the city.
- For nightlife, Berlin has a huge theater scene.
The best things to do and see in Munich:
- Oktoberfest (held during September—don’t be fooled by the name!)
- Marienplatz, the city center, surrounded by beautiful, historical architecture. Check out the glockenspiel (clock) at the New Town Hall, whose figurines dance as the chimes ring at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm daily.
- The Munich Olympic stadium, originally built for the 1972 Summer Olympics.
- The BMW museum, which houses Elvis Presley’s BMW, among many others.
- St. Peter’s Church, where you can enjoy an incredible view of the city from the top of the tower.
The best things to do and see in Cologne, located on the Rhine River:
- The Cologne Cathedral, the most visited landmark in all of Germany. The museum has artifacts dating as far back as the 10th century.
- The Ludwig Museum with avant-garde and pop art.
- Old Town, where you can experience what the city was like before it was destroyed in World War II.
The best things to do and see in Hamburg, the city with the most bridges in the world:
- The Grand Town Hall has 647 rooms, and is very impressive!
- Speicherstadt, the most popular spot in town: a warehouse district with plenty of visitor attractions including the International Maritime Museum and the Minatur Wunderland for miniature train lovers.
- The city’s tallest building is the new Elbphilharmonie, where you can enjoy music, and see the curved-windows architecture.
The best things to do and see in Dusseldorf, located on the Rhine River:
- The Rheinuferpromenade is a long, sunny strip lined with cafes and shops.
- The old town Altstadt offers over 300 bars and nightclubs, if you’re interested in nightlife
- The North Rhine Westphalia, a modern art museum.
Wellness in Germany:
- Germany is a wonderful country to enjoy some wellness, with over 350 resorts and spas.
- In order to be an official spa town, a location must provide a remedy that relieves or cures symptoms, and also include parks, concert halls, and walking trails.
- Germany has many locations with crystalized caves, which are known to improve asthma, allergies, and even eczema—and all you have to do is breathe.
- Wellness practices Germany is known for are: thermal hot springs, hydrotherapy, the crystallized caves I just mentioned, saltwater cures, cooling mud baths, healthy dishes, and many outdoor activities!
Germany also makes me think of amazing Christmas markets. Germany is home to the beautiful lights, food, and wonder of Christmas markets, beginning mid-November and going through the end of December. If you love the sights, smells, and magical feeling of Christmas, put Germany on your bucket list to visit, either on a river cruise or a land package! Most of the cities I’ve listed here have incredible Christmas markets, although Germany is perfect to visit any time of year. Let me know if you want to plan a trip to this amazing country!