Deemed as the 7th biggest country in Europe, Germany is a hall of Famer when ranking the bests. It is a progressive country with a growing GDP, a powerhouse of the brightest inventions, and a home of complex cultures. These attributes make Germany a sought-after country to the curious onlookers.
Germany inhabits 357,386 square kilometers of West-Central Europe’s land area and is home to 83 million people. It is the second most populous in Europe but has one of the fastest-growing economies globally. Germany’s population increases tremendously every year as many ex-pats move into the country, earning the 2nd spot of top migration destinations worldwide.
Germany is divided into 16 states through Federal Republic governance, each state having its dialect, culture, and spots to see.
Climates and Seasons
Germany experiences a temperate climate even if it is close to the Arctic Circle. Its climate is classified as either maritime or continental. The northwestern part, including the country’s coastal areas, experiences a maritime climate where summers are warm, and winters are mild. Most parts, especially the mountainous part, experiences a continental climate, and winters can be colder as the altitude heightens.
Weather can be unpredictable in Germany especially in the spring season of March to May. Summer happens from June to August, autumn from September to November, and the winter season in December to February. Summer and spring are the high season for visitors though you can visit at any season since Germany’s charms are not seasonal.
Efficient Transport System
Behind every country’s thriving economy is an efficient transport system, and Germany is no exception. You can either take the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, trams, buses, taxis, or trains and survive getting around the country without a private car.
S-Bahn is Germany’s fastest public transportation connecting suburbs to urban areas and its capital, Berlin. U-Bahn is similar to S-Bahn, but it runs underground. Both operate overnight during the weekends in the metropolis.
Buses and trams are the best options when traveling late at night, where you can purchase tickets from the driver or at any ticket stations scattered all over the area. There are also rental bikes, boats, and cars if you prefer to reach all the corners of the country at your own pace. You may also want to experience Autobahn – a highway system without any speed limit, the only one in Europe.
Germany’s culture is made interesting by the complexity of influence that shaped its culture. It has five major cultural areas where diversity is most evident.
The Rhineland area is located in the southwest part of the country near France, where its foreign neighbors greatly influence the culture. This area produces the most wine in Germany and is known for celebrating festivals with Catholic values.
East Central Germany
East Central Germany is home to the Sorbs, a West Slavic ethnic group. This part of Germany is known for medieval architecture and castles with heritage sites hailed by UNESCO as world-class.
North Germany is known for its sea culture living. Neighboring countries of Denmark and Netherlands influence locals’ language, and people are reserved and quiet.
This area is known for its geographic beauty. It is teeming with rainforests, diverse wildlife, and fertile soil. Swabians mainly influence culture, and locals speak within thick dialect accents.
East Germany’s culture is influenced by the Soviet Union, its former colonizer. People in East Germany love music, arts, films, and theatre.
Each state prepares Germany’s traditional cuisines in their unique ways, but the main characters present on every dish are meat and bread. Germans are heavy meat and bread eaters, the reason why there are about 50 types of sausages invented in the country and a museum dedicated to breadmaking.
Schnitzel is standard in street markets and upscale restaurants in Germany. The ingredients are simple but made tastier by the spices. It is made of chicken breast, pork meat, or beef, pounded until flattened, breaded, and fried in butter.
Stollen is often prepared during holidays. It is a bread made of sweet dried fruits, nuts, cinnamon, and topped with sugar. Stollen resembles a fruit cake but is more colorful, radiating a festive vibe.
Bratwurst is a sausage made of pork meat and fat, seasoned with ginger, coriander, and nutmeg. It is a popular food grilled in the streets of Germany. Other sausage dishes are similar but vary on how it’s cooked. Knockwurst, for example, is a boiled sausage, and Weisswurst is made of minced meat also called a Bacon sausage.
Fischbrötchen is a traditional food originating from the north of Germany where areas are close to the sea. The name translates to “fish bread,” which pretty much describes the ingredients of the dish. Locals use herring or salmon with sauces and veggies as bread fillings.
Ancient Heritage Sites
Germany is home to old castles, giant cathedrals, bridges, and historic towns. There are about 20,000 castles in the country, and one should have plenty of time to discover its sceneries.
You can start the exploration with Germany’s symbol of peace built in 1788, the famous Brandenburg Gate at the center of Berlin. It is a 26-meter-high gate with a statue of the Goddess of Peace in a four-horse chariot. This spot is the first spot when visiting Germany. There are about 12 million visitors to Brandenburg Gate every year.
The next stop is the 157-meter-high Cologne Cathedral in North Rhine-Westphalia that took 632 years to build. This impressive architecture can hold up to 40,000 people. The cathedral is notable for its blackened color due to the Sulphur content on the sandstone used to build the architecture. There are about 6 million pilgrims who go to the cathedral each year.
Ulm Minster is the tallest church globally, towering at 123 meters in the state of Baden-Württemberg. It was built in 1377 and witnessed so much history in Germany. It was initially a Catholic church but was converted to a Lutheran congregation in 1530. About 500,000 visitors are stopping by the Ulm Minster every year.