Newly crowned World Cup champions Germany might be revelling in their sporting success today, but as one of our favourite short break destinations, we reckon there’s more to celebrate about Germany than just being Sehr gut at football.
So here are 12 great reasons why Germany is winning at more than just the World Cup:
Let’s begin with one of the finest festivals known to beer-loving man. Oktoberfest. Starting in September (strangely enough), this annual event is held in Munich and basically sees people from all over the world come together to drink copious amounts of traditional German beer. Over 7 million litres of it, in fact, across Oktoberfest’s 16 days.
What was originally a celebration of Prince Ludwig’s (later Kind Ludwig I) marriage to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen back in 1810 is now one of the world’s largest and most famous events, attracting more than 6 million people. You go Germany!
2. Beer and Beer Gardens
But it’s not like you even have to attend Oktoberfest to enjoy a stein or two of fine German beer. With over 1,300 breweries in Germany, the country is obsessed with amber nectar, producing some of the tastiest beers in the world.
And they certainly know how to drink it too. Buzzing beer gardens are the main feature of summer life in Germany, with over 60 beer gardens just in Munich alone. Prost!
3. Fairytale Castles
If your name is Ludwig, there’s a good chance you’ll make a big impact on German history. ‘Mad’ King Ludwig II (a different King Ludwig to the one who started Oktoberfest) is responsible for a number of Germany’s fairytale castles, like the famous and utterly gorgeous Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria – inspiration for Walt Disney’s own Cinderella castle.
What’s more, there are over 20,000 other gorgeous castles dotted throughout Germany’s beautiful landscape ready for you to explore. Not just kings of world football, then.
4. Awesome Cities
Germany is home to some of the best cities in Europe. So when it comes to choosing a city break, you’re spoilt for choice. There’s Berlin for its fascinating history and hip nightlife, there’s Cologne for its Cathedral and erm, cologne, Munich for its Bavarian charm (and aforementioned beer gardens), Hamburg for its miles of canals… the list goes on. And buoyed by their boys’ success in Brazil, there’s sure to be a great atmosphere across all of them this summer.
5. Amazing Towns and Villages
But it’s not just Germany’s big-hitting cities that are the crowd-pleasers. From the Black Forest to Bavaria to the Rhine Valley, the country is full of beautifully preserved medieval towns and villages too, where traditional architecture makes for picture-perfect scenes. Like those found at Bavaria’s Rothenburg, above.
6. Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Currywurst – any sausage …
Germany is the undoubted king of the sausage, or Wurst as they call it. And, veggies aside, who doesn’t love a good sausage? Ahem. Well, it’s the Germans you’ve got to thank for those gourmet dawgs you love so much right now – there’d be no hotdogs if it wasn’t for them.
All over the country, you can sample all different kinds of sausage including the fast-food favourite currywurst, particularly popular for soaking up the beer after a night out in Berlin.
In fact, the currywurst is such a Berlin staple that the city has even dedicated a whole museum to the dish.
7. Pretzels and other bread
You haven’t tried a pretzel until you’ve tried a German pretzel (Brezel). The perfect hearty snack, these warm, soft and chewy knots of loveliness are best enjoyed dipped in a little German mustard and washed down with a large stein of beer.
But the humble pretzel isn’t the only dough-based delicacy in Germany; there are over 300 other types of bread to be discovered here too.
8. Proper Seasons
The climate in Germany is near-perfection. Much of the country enjoys the envious advantage of having proper seasons. And by that we mean summers that are consistently warm and sunny and winters that are cold and snowy. Just how they should be.
So summers can be spent enjoying the fabulous outdoors, basking in the rays whilst in winter you can even enjoy quality skiing up in the Bavarian Alps. Perfekt!
9. Geographical Location
Germany’s location at the heart of Europe doesn’t just provide the country with great weather, it also makes it so easy to head beyond the borders to explore the rest of the continent. In just a day’s driving, you could reach one of 10 or more different countries.
Or for even more ease you can take advantage of the fantastic train network throughout the country – Austria, Hungary, France, Belgium, Holland, Czech Republic and more can all be reached by rail from Germany.
10. Bumper Annual Leave
If you found it as easy to get around Europe as it is in Germany, you’d want more time off work to go exploring, right? Well, the Germans get this and give the nation a whopping 35 paid days off a year on average. That’s one of the highest amounts of annual leave in Europe.
Do we wonder if they’ll now throw in another to mark winning the World Cup?
11. Christmas Markets
Next time you’re getting giddy at a Christmas market gulping down a Glühwein or gobbling up a Bratwurst, you’ve got the Germans to raise your glass to. They started the phenomenon with their Christkindlmarkt and Germany is still the place to go to experience traditional Christmas markets did best.
Berlin alone boasts fifty if not more around the city, whilst you’re guaranteed to find a fine Christmas market in many of the country’s other cities. To get you in the Christmas spirit, you can’t beat enjoying a market in the country where it all began.
12. Cycling Success
We’re rather jealous of Germany’s attitude to cycling. So much so we even included two of its cities in our ‘Top 5 Cycling Cities of Europe‘. As a country it lends itself perfectly to getting about on two wheels; much of Germany is flat, the cities boast loads of beautiful green parks and to help make cycling safer and encourage more Germans into the saddle, they have restricted speed limits along with miles and miles of dedicated cycle lanes too. Wunderbar!