Germany has a culture of allowing and requiring vacation. The minimum is around 4 weeks and I don’t ever hear statistics about people not using it. In fact, I read one of the demands of some recent strike was to do away with the tiered vacation structure in some company and let the younger workers have full amount as well. The quality of life idea of having vacation time is deeply a part of the German working culture.
True, much of this time is spent inside of Germany or in nearby European countries, but with so much time off there are bound to be people that go further abroad.
Some of this is perhaps the weather. The German winters can be oppressive, cold and dark. Summers are gorgeous, but not hot. So if you are a sun seeker (as many Germans seem to be), vacations have to be elsewhere. With so many places even in Europe nearby, it just kind of makes sense to jet off to Greece or Turkey even for a few days in the sun.
We had a very enjoyable and memorable time. Our tour director and bus driver were the best. Also, our fellow travelers were "easy to get along with". The enjoyment of your tour will depend on having the same.
Negative: There is so much to see, you just don't have enough time for much of what Germany has to offer.
Positives: We knew what we were getting into, and did some research, and were not disappointed. Overnight stays and food was to our liking.
The flix buses are very very often late. The drivers get lost. The apps don’t work and they won’t help you. The busses don’t stop like trains so you will have to catch a train at some point anyway. And the flixbus arrives usually after your last train home has already left. The internet is crap. The bus is noisy and the seats not comfy. Cramped. Often now filled with african “refugees” . There are train deals that are way better. These deals are available for each state. for example the Baden Wurttemburg ticket 29 Euros for a whole day of travel. Plus – the train travels through countryside so you have nice views and can get off and have a look around. The busses travel on the extremely boring autobahn.
Germany has a thousand years of history (actually, back to Roman times ... ) and each section has its attractions. I agree that the best compromise for a first-time visitor is Berlin, but that's simply a practical answer. Most of Berlin's history is inside (exceptionally fine ... ) museums. But the most-visited single monument in Germany is the Cathedral in Cologne. (I'd still put forward Berlin for a first visit.) Perhaps it depends on where else you are going in Europe, and whether you can cover the panorama of Western history along the way. You need to visit some smaller and medieval cities during your travels, if as day-trips from large cities.
I have done some student travelling in Germany few years back when I was a student.
I mostly stayed in Hostels/Couchsurfing Airbnb was not so popular in Germany then. Most of the hostels had common kitchen, I survived on Spagetti and cheap sauce for most part, sandwiches and fruits. In big cities you can find cheap bakerys or turkish shops which sell borek.
In big cities like Berlin you would probably need daily pass, since the city is huge and the connectivity is great. In smaller cities walking should be enough, for a City like Munich you dont need daily pass unless your room is far from the city center. (Also If you are visiting munich try visiting Garmisch or Mittenwald to the south or one of the many lakes surrounding it, they are amazing places with lots of hiking trails, usually you can leave your big backpacks are the train station lockers, local trains to those places are affordable with regional group tickets)
Booze is always cheaper in supermarkets, pre party drinking is pretty common and please you dont over do it. Some clubs will deny you entrance if they see that you are really drunk. if its nice weather find a quite place near a river or in a park and do you drinking there. Cities like Berlin and Hamburg have a lot of student bars where you get small beer for 1.50 - 2.50 euros.
Cheapest way to travel between cites is flixbus, on weekends there are schoneswhonende tickets, which lets you travel any where in Germany for a day only using regional trains (No fast trains). Also blabla car is an option, although with 3 people it might be difficult.
For a week I would assume about 150 euros per week not including long distance travel.
Booking long distance train tickets(for fast trains) and bus should be done at the earliest also check for last minute train tickets which could be cheaper from 3 days to the day before travel.
In Munich the public museums are usually 1 euro entrance on Sundays, if you have a student ID there are discounts in lot of museums. Also try visiting smaller cities, like Bremen near hamburg.
Two pro-tips for spending money in Germany.
First, Germans strongly, strongly prefer cash over credit or debit. The only places I pay with a card at are grocery stores, and I use my German bank card for that. Restaurants in bigger cities like Berlin and Munich can usually handle it when you want to pay with a credit card, but you'll often find it's a bit of a hassle -- waiting for them to bring out the machine, waiting for everything to process, maybe trying a couple times if it doesn't go through the first time --- and all the while you can sense the waiter's impatience that he has to go through this rigmarole at all. Outside of restaurants and major stores, don't bank on being able to pay with a card at all. And in smaller cities and towns, chances are the restaurants will be even more reticent to accept cards, if they allow them at all. Cash is king, pay with cash whenever possible and make your life easier.
With regards to tipping, the standard in Germany is to round up to the nearest euro or so. If my meal was 9,70EUR, I'd throw down a 10 and say "stimmt so" (basically saying, I don't need change). Or, you can throw down a 20 and tell the waiter 10, indicating that 10 is what you want to pay. I generally do this on any tab under 15EUR. Above 15, I usually will start tipping a little more, but never the 15-20 percent that is customary in the U.S. You might find however that waiters in cities like Berlin and especially Munich try to take advantage of your Americanness and remind you that the tip is not included in the meal price. Don't let that make you feel like you need to tip "properly" -- it is definitely not expected in Germany.
"Germany" is vague - If you're going to a major city (Especially Munich or Berlin) you should have no problem finding people who speak English. Have time to write a couple of points:
The right side of the escalator is for standing, the left for walking.
Littering is taken very seriously.
The train network is not free, even though there are no barriers. Make sure you buy AND STAMP your ticket or you'll face a 60€ fine.
Been to Germany, also don't speak German myself; you would be surprised how many Germans are actually extremely proficient in English.
You can visit Germany and should be perfectly safe.
However, you will probably meet with some rejection. To reduce this and make your stay more comfortable, ask your wife if she would like to take that hijab off (and possibly even wear Western clothes in general). If you're wearing long dresses (like this or this) yourself, you might also want to change into Western clothes while you're here.
It's not necessary, but it's an obvious gesture of goodwill on your part.
The tour overall was ok. I had fun and visited most of the places I had in mind in Germany. Our tour leader was helpful and was always there with us when needed. Our driver was awesome too! However, I suggest that tour leaders should be locals, because this way they will be more informative about their country and will know the language best. Hotels were great, even though some of them were not really nicely located and far away from city center.
We greatly enjoyed our recent trip to Germany. Our travel company provided us with a great itinerary that met the needs of everyone in our group. We travelled with our college aged children and 2 of their friends and they provided us with many interesting options to keep everyone busy and engaged. We were provided with alternate options each day with made it fun to decide what we wanted to do each day. The accommodations were great, very luxurious. The hotel breakfasts were fantastic each day and the staff at the hotels met our every need. I would highly recommend this company for any of the travel needs should you decide to visit Germany.
I highly recommend Viatorius Tours! I went 2 years ago as a College Graduation gift for my 22 year old son and it was fantastic. I wasn't going to do the "bus tour", I don't have the patience for it so we were just going to rent a car and "wing it" until someone told me about Markus at Viatorius, best decision ever! We toured Germany and Austria, stayed in great LOCAL hotels that were very nice (but not overpriced like the chains), ate wonderful food and interacted with locals which was a lot of fun. The biggest advantage of this over a big bus tour is the flexibility, we had not planned on visiting Dachau but as the trip progressed we decided we wanted to...so we did! Presto Chango! Feel free to message me if you need more info, it was our first Germany tour and we can't wait to go back.
Enjoy easygoing rides, urban exploration and culinary bliss as you connect with Germany’s multifaceted culture. In Berlin, view sections of the notorious wall and gain insight from our local friends about life in former East Germany. Journey from palaces in Potsdam to castles and vineyards hugging the Elbe River, knowing that exquisite hotels and Michelin-starred meals await. In resplendent Dresden, soak up the brilliance of this baroque gem once hailed as Florence on the Elbe.
Surprised by the lack of comments here!
I've only been to the areas around Berlin and Munich, so much of the country I am missing sadly. But Germany is an awesome country especially I think for the first time traveler to Europe (like was my case).
I went for New Years 2013. Hands down the biggest party of my life at Brandenburg Gate. Spent all night drinking beers and mulled wine. When the fireworks go off its like nothing I've ever saw in North America. We stumbled home all night, taking pictures with locals along the way and didn't make it home until 4 am. I finished the night with a bottle of jäger and a request from a Turkish donair shop - make me the spiciest donair you've ever made. It burned the whole way down, and the way up at 7 AM when I projectile vomited repetitively before catching my train to Munich.
We went to Berlin to party and party we did. The clubs there are insane, like any euro movie ever.
Outside of the party scene, Berlins a cool city for historical reasons especially. I thought I would love the World War 2 stuff, but ended up being fascinated by the Berlin Wall stuff. The holocaust memorial is sobering. With no open container laws, we explored with a case of beer on our backpacks, mostly in the late evening when the crowds went away. While in Berlin make sure to get curry wurst, it's unreal.
Munich was way different then Berlin and not at all what I expected. I kind of liked it though. I had the best pizza of my life in Munich, at a small pizzeria near International Youtu Hostel or something like that. Munich had a bunch of really cool sites but we enjoyed just wandering around downtown. And nearby is Neuschwanstein castle which makes a good day trip. Even in winter time we found hiking trails open and set out.
German people are friendly and very worldly I found. I enjoyed the Germans I met there and get excited when I meet Germans traveling now. It's a wicked country!
My trip to Germany was really enjoyable - I definitely want to go back.
Berlin was a great city and pretty inexpensive! My favourite thing we did there was to do a bike tour (Fat Tire Bike Tours) - it was touristy, but it really was a lovely way to see the city and wasn't expensive. You can also rent bikes to get around on, which I recommend. The Holocaust Memorial is sobering, I wandered through it for about an hour. The Berlin wall is also really interesting to see. I found Berlin a really interesting place to just wander around.
I also really recommend visiting neuschwanstein castle. It was a bit crowded when we were there (July) but it was absolutely stunning. Honestly the scenery and drive there were truly spectacular.
We also visited a concentration camp (Sachsenhausen) which was a very moving and emotional experience.
Another highlight was taking a boat tour up the Rhine. It was wonderful. Stunning scenery, vineyards (wine tasting in this area is also great), and more castles than you can shake a stick at.
Try German ice wine. They keep all the best stuff for themselves and it's freaking fantastic. Doesn't really matter which kind. I didn't like wine at all when I went (oh how times have changed) and I enjoyed it.
The one drawback about Germany I found was the food. I was travelling with my parents (I was 16) and we ate at restaurants/cafes/hotel breakfasts the whole time and I was awfully tired of heavy food - particularly the meat. It was very good, don't get me wrong (particularly the ham), but we all were very tired of it after 10 days.
One thing I wished I had done was tour a brewery. I toured several distilleries in Scotland and really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
just got back from a trip where I did a portion of Germany in 7 days. We drove between the cities, though I'm sure you could take the trains instead.
We did: Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden. All 2-3hrs drive apart from each other. Munich is in the south, so it would be a much longer drive, and though I've never been, I heard it was amazing. Berlin and Munich are at essentially opposite ends of the country so if you wanted to just do both of those with the long travel days amongst your 10 days, I think it would be worth it as well!