By Dorothee Rembold
Filled with historic and modern sights and scenic views, Germany enchants visitors with its beauty. Whether you’re teaching abroad in Europe or just spending a week-long vacation in Germany, the following itinerary will take you to Germany’s highlights.
Day 1 – A View of the Capital
Begin your trip to Germany with a view of the Berlin from the television tower at the Alexanderplatz, and take a look at the world clock. For a comprehensive panorama of Berlin, head to the Victory Column. Located in the center of Berlin, the landmark is decorated with amazing mosaics and offers visitors a fabulous view of Berlin’s most famous sights.
From there, take a stroll through Berlin’s largest urban park to the Brandenburg Gate. Formerly the city gate, this is one of Germany’s most iconic landmarks. To learn a little more about Berlin’s history, take in the blocks that make up the Holocaust memorial, an impressive piece of artwork in memorial of the murdered Jews of Europe.
As the sun sets, visit the Reichstag, where the German parliament resides. The glass dome is an incredible addition to the building and offers stunning views of the city, especially at night. Admission is free, but you’ll have to register online in advance.
Day 2 – Berlin
No trip to Germany would be complete without visiting some of Berlin’s museums. Begin your day by heading to Oranienstrasse, one of Berlin’s busiest districts, for some breakfast and window shopping. A nice walk through Kreuzberg and along the Spree River takes you to the East Side Gallery, remains of the Berlin Wall covered in artwork. Whether you’re interested in Germany’s history, Greek and Middle Eastern art and architecture, technology, or modern art, Berlin’s many museums have something for you to explore.
Day 3 – Cologne
With an extensive history and many intact historic buildings, a stroll through Cologne shows off Germany’s spirit and offers visitors beautiful views. The old section of the city, located close to the River Rhine, is characterized by numerous restaurants, small squares, boutiques and other small shops that make for an excellent excursion. Walk along the River Rhine and head to Cologne’s medieval town hall.
At last, visit the city’s most famous landmark, the Kölner Dom. This cathedral is one of Europe’s architectural masterworks, and the view from the south tower is well worth the climb. If you’re visiting Cologne with a loved one, demonstrate your love by adding your lock to the collection of “Love Locks” on the bridge behind the cathedral.
Day 4 – River Rhine and Castles
Known as one of Germany’s most beautiful regions, the upper Upper Middle Rhine Valley is famous for its castles, historic towns, vineyards and scenic landscapes. Begin your Rhine river tour in Koblenz and enjoy the ride to Rüdesheim. A guide will point out landmarks and tell myths and legends that have been passed on by locals have passed for generations.
Day 5 – Heidelberg
Located in the Neckar Valley and home to Germany’s oldest university, Heidelberg attracts many tourists with its baroque charm and picturesque buildings. Begin with a great view of the old city centre and the castle by exploring one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods along the Philosophenberg. Then stroll through the town, cross the river and explore the historic city center. Get lost in narrow streets, market squares, and historic buildings, and enjoy the charm of Heidelberg. At last, take a gondola to the castle that highlights different styles of German architecture and takes you through history. Don’t forget to also enjoy the amazing view of surrounding hills and the valley.
Day 6 – Neuschwanstein
Sitting between the rugged foothills of the German Alps, Neuschwanstein Castle is world renowned. Ludwig II, the fairy tale king, built this castle as a place of refuge, but died in 1886 before its completion. The King idealized the Middle Ages yet valued the newest technologies, resulting in a truly magnificent palace that features incredible artwork, extravagant halls and unexpected technological additions.
Day 7 – Munich
The cultural capital of Germany and Bavaria, Munich can barely be explored in a day, but some highlights are a must see. Begin your day with a Weisswurst, pretzel and some beer, a truly Bavarian tradition. Whether you enjoy cathedrals, museums, markets, or palaces, you’ll have to decide on one, and may need to come back on your next trip to Germany.
Schloss Nymphenburg, a baroque palace, features lovely frescos, artifacts and architecture. The German Museum, the world’s largest museum of science and technology, is a hands-on site that’s said to take several weeks to explore fully. Choose a few exhibitions and enjoy. To celebrate your amazing trip to Germany, head to the Hofbräuhaus for some local beer, food and music.
Traveling in Germany is an experience sure to charm any visitor. Though you can pack a lot into a one-week trip to Germany, you’ll still have left plenty to see when you come back for a second visit! Have you considered teaching abroad in Germany to discover its true beauty?
Dorothee Rembold is an intern at Teach Away Inc.