Postcards from Germany – Favourite Destinations Photo Series

Travel in Germany may not top many peoples bucket list or be considered a sexy destination . Yet it is one of my favourite destinations. I lived there for several years, mainly in the industrial North but even here there are many pretty villages and lovely countryside like the Harz Mountains. Since moving away I’ve relished every opportunity to return, and have done so a number of times.

Many people would describe Berlin as a great city, which they have either thoroughly enjoyed or are looking forward to visiting. The remainder of Germany however remains relatively ignored and unknown.

The Hohenzollernbrücke in Cologne, travel in Germany the bridge of love locks over the River Rhein adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel Iain_Mallory_06725 hohenzollernbrücke_cologne

Colognes bridge of romance over the Rhein

Those that doubt the central European country’s credentials as a worthwhile destination are probably unaware of the diversity it offers. Berlin isn’t the only city worth a visit, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Heidelberg have plenty to offer. History, culture, architecture, museums and much more, there’s usually a selection of international restaurants and the nightlife rarely disappoints.

Then there is Koblenz the meeting point of the Rhein and Moselle rivers, two of the great European rivers. The Rhein has its fair share of admirers but the Moselle valley is all about wine! German wines may not be as fashionable as those from other wine producing regions, but for lovers of Riesling it is paradise. This is the place to find the best of the best.

“They can even seem like giant cuckoo clocks”

However the smaller towns such as Herford, Hameln or Celle are even more pleasant. Even in the industrial north these towns can be attractive and due to their smaller size it’s often easier to find the best bars. The same people hang out in them daily, therefore it’s less difficult to find new friends.

The Senf (mustard) museum mobile van in Cologne, travel in Germany adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel Iain Mallory-300-22-1 mustard_museum

The quirky mobile senf (mustard) museum in Cologne

Additionally there are hundreds of tiny hamlets spread throughout the countryside. They can appear like picture postcards, impossibly pretty, with churches, bridges, village squares, castles such as Burg Linn, near Krefeld and even the town halls that have medieval charm or gothic splendour.

They can even seem like giant cuckoo clocks or weather stations, automated puppets coming out like clockwork to welcome in each and every hour. Most Sundays, these village squares are filled with visiting families come to enjoy the show. Dad’s lift excited children onto their shoulders so they can get a better view, their ecstatic squeals giving the whole scene a carnival atmosphere.

Almost every major city holds a Christmas market, many are impressive but I also preferred those hosted in the smaller towns. It is really enjoyable to wander down to the market, sit by a stall with a glühwein and within 15 minutes be joined by several friends. The heated wine flows and the banter begins, even in the coldest weather this comradeship provides some warmth and we’re soon all laughing.

The south of the country is considered even more attractive, especially Bavaria, one of Europeans most beautiful regions. It is home to the Black Forest, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berchtesgaden, the stunning location of Hitler’s Eagles Nest. The highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze is also here, and although not the loftiest alpine peak it provides outstanding views of over 400 other summits. From the top Austria, Switzerland and Italy are all visible on a clear day.

Bavaria also offers the best chance of some skiing but it is possible to get a ski fix in the Harz Mountains or Winterberg, Nord Rhein-Westphalia. The 640m AlpinCenter in Bottrop is the longest indoor ski slope in Europe for year round snowsports. Walking and climbing are other popular activities, but the adventurous will not be short of other options.

“this is the country which also brought us bratwurst”

Germanic cuisine may not be the country’s greatest selling point, being more traditional and hearty than exciting. The most famous gastronomic export is possibly sauerkraut,  however this is the country which also brought us bratwurst! This we should be thankful for at least, add some hot, spicy tomato ketchup and hey presto we have currywurst.

Sunset at Duisburg on the river Rhein, travel in Germany adventure, adventure travel, photography on Mallory on Travel Iain Mallory-300-2 duisburg_rhein

A Rhineland sunset in Duisburg

Goulaschsuppe may strictly speaking be Hungarian but it is another favourite German dish, often especially good in autobahn service stations. Those with a sweet tooth can look forward to apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce, and every coffee shop has a wide selection of tempting cakes and pastries.

I’ve saved the best till last however, Germany is a country of beer lovers, which can possibly even rival Belgium in its enjoyment of the hops derived beverage. Altbier, Berliner Weisse, Bock, Dunkel, Gose,  Hefeweizen, Kristallweizen, Kölsch, Märzen (the original Oktoberfest beer) Pils, Sticke, Rauchbier are just a few of the different types and regional beers available. It is a paradise for beer drinkers and of course there’s the Oktoberfest, which is considered one of the great annual parties of the world.

If you haven’t visited yet, I suggest travel in Germany to be worth adding to your bucket list, it will almost certainly surprise you.

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Comments 16

  1. Beth

    I am planning a trip to Europe for the first time next summer, and while I do hope to visit Berlin, I’m much more interested in parts of Germany along the Rhein like Bingen and Weisbaden.

    Glad you got to see more of the country than just Berlin!

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      Iain

      That sounds like a great plan Beth, so much more to see than Berlin. Enjoy your planning I’m sure it’ll make the trip much more productive and enjoyable.

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      Iain

      Have a great time Nicole it’s such a surprising country generally because so many ignore it. You’ll enjoy any of these places mentioned here.

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      Iain

      Hey Anthony, I’m certain you’d love the Christmas markets and exploring beyond the main cities. If we ever meet up there we can try a few of those beers.

  2. Danni

    I love getting away from the big cities! I really love seeing the smaller side of a country or region. It really lets you take in some of the culture, not just the same side that everyone sees when they whirl into town for a day or two.

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      Iain

      I agree Danni it’s so much easier to get involved in smaller towns/villages, it’s easy to get lost in a big city and difficult to find anything which is of genuine interest beyond the guidebook sites.

  3. Terri V. Hess

    Being a federal republic, Germany is very much a decentralised country, which does justice to the cultural differences between the regions. Most travelers will perhaps only think of beer, Lederhosen and Oktoberfest when Germany comes to mind, but Germany’s famous alpine and beer culture is mostly centered around Bavaria and Munich . Here the beer is traditionally served in 1 liter mugs (but not in Kneipen (pubs) and Restaurants). The annual Oktoberfest is Europe ‘s most visited festival and the world’s largest fair. Germany’s south-western regions, however, are well known for their wine growing areas (e.g. Rheinhessen and Palatinate ) and Bad Duerkheim on the ‘German wine route’ organises the biggest wine festival worldwide with over 600,000 visitors annually.

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      Iain

      Thanks for sharing the tips on german beer festivals Terri, always great to have the skinny on the best places to get a drink.

  4. Earl Z. Edwards

    The best way to learn about wines is go to the place where they are grown and taste them on the spot. This is called “Weinprobe” and is generally free of charge though in touristic areas you have to pay a small fee. Good wines usually go together with good food and therefore it is well worth it to visit some of those places.

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