Germany is the land where fairy tale meets reality. Many of the fairy tales we read and watch today originate from the area that is today Germany, meaning that the country was the original landscape for the stories we learned as kids. With its gingerbread like houses, dreamy castles, and mystical mountains, Many places in Germany today are still the Germany you knew from those books so long ago.
On the other hand, Germany has to be one of the more serious countries on the European continent. This was apparent on the first day when it was the only country so far where everyone took crosswalk signs very seriously. Even for small streets when absolutely no cars were present, the majority of people didn’t dare to Jaywalk.
The country also has to deal with a rich national history tainted by the actions committed by the country during WWII. To ensure such evil acts are never committed again in the country, Germany has very strict laws when it comes to neo-nazism. It has also preserved many parts of this history in order to ensure that people are educated about these tragic events and avoid making the same mistake in the future. Visiting these places, while difficult, is necessary
Our travels through the country led us to the southern half of the country, leaving us wanting more and a yearning to return and explore the other half. Here are the 25 photographs depicting the Germany of our travels. Enjoy!
Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt is an unusual city in Europe for its rather large cluster of skyscrapers that are missing from most of Europe’s city skylines. A powerful city since The Holy Roman Empire, it has become a major financial capital of Germany and the rest of Europe, taking on the nickname Mainhatten.
While not a very interesting city for tourists, many travelers will either fly into the city or traverse through the city at some point. The city has a very business like feel to it, with even many of the hostels having their fair share of suited up fellows sitting down for breakfast in the morning before heading out to their meeting (on time).
The city also may not feel like the Germany you were expecting due to the fact that Germans are actually outnumbered in the city. As of 2016, over 50% of the population has immigrant origins. While the city doesn’t portray a traditional German town, the city has an interesting vibe with its sausage eateries mixed in with Doner Kabob shops and Chinese Hot Pot joints.
Like most German cities, Frankfurt has a sprawling Red Light District with feels like a more censored version of Amsterdam. Many hostels are located in this area, so you might find yourself smack in the middle of it. We stayed at 5 Elements Hostel Frankfurt, which had super clean rooms, a great bar, and the best breakfast of the trip so far.
Any one ask for a beer? Home to Oktoberfest, the city swells once a year to celebrate all things Munich beer with glasses the size of your head filled with the stuff. If you’re not around town during the festival there is no need to worry as beer is plenty and meaty treats are served all year round.
Stopping inside of one of Munich’s beer halls is a must, with their frothy beers and German sized portions of pork, duck, and beef. Our favorite was Augustiner Braustuben. Their pork Knuckle was juicy, savory, and crunchy (all things that make a good pork knuckle, and their high quality beers complimented the traditional interior of the hall nicely.
Outside of the drinking establishments, Munich offers some of Bavaria’s finest architecture and world class English Garten park that is enjoyable to spend time in, no matter what time of the year it is. A few days strolling the streets while drinking beers as you rest your weary legs makes for a good trip to the city. Learn more about our travels in Munich here.
Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. Bamberg is known for the finest smoked beer in the world. The city has been brewing the same stuff for hundreds of years as it is just too good to change. Visitors who stop here will be welcomed with a beautiful Bavarian town with its iconic town hall built smack in the middle of the river. Take some time to get off the main tourist path in order to enjoy the smaller things of Bavaria (and smoked beer!). For more information on Bamberg, check out our post on why you should visit Bavaria.
While not offering much to the common tourist, our reason for visiting this city was to find out more concerning my family history. If you want to get away from all the tourists and have a little Bavarian town to yourself, this would be a good place to do it.
This unassuming quiet town looks of no significance, but a dark, evil scar exists on the edges of town. The Nazis choose this little town as the site for the first Concentration Camp that opened in 1933. The camp is well preserved and an audio guide takes you through the camp compound and the unforgivable atrocities that were committed here. By the end of the war, 32,000 deaths were documented to happen within the camp, with thousands more left undocumented. A visit here will most certainly break you down no matter how many times you have learned the history here. It is a tragedy that cannot be forgiven and must never happen again.
Ah, Fussen. This fairy tale land stole our hearts and never gave them back. We could visit this place another thousand times and it wouldn’t get old. If there is any place in Germany we would return to, this would be it. Very few places in the world boast a castle of Disney style dreams, majestic mountains, and small little alpine villages all in one place. If magic does exist, it has to be found here. For more information on Fussen, check out our post about Bavaria.