Who would have thought that there were so many wonderful and exciting sites to discover during a road trip in Germany? Almost no one, and even some Germans we encountered were surprised when we told them we were going to their region to see castles. I present you the way of life, the gastronomy and our expenses in this underestimated country!
Germany is not generally considered a top tourist destination, but this is a shame as it harbors a rich history and culture, and boasts both natural and architectural beauty. It ended up playing in our favor however as we were able to visit this fabulous country without getting trampled on!
Where To Go in Germany?
When cruising at 100 km/h on a big, straight motorway, like in Quebec, you get a liter of coffee from Tim Horton to avoid falling asleep and causing an accident. On German motorways, the bumper of the car in front of you limits your speed. Here, there is no need for coffee as the adrenaline fuels our concentration. And as everyone knows how to drive, there are rarely any accidents. On average we cruise at 150 km/h with peaks of 170 km/h from time to time to overtake and to get our hearts beating a little faster. At 190 km/h the 1.4 L engine starts to complain a bit. And at 200 km/h, on a straight downhill road with a 6500 rpm engine, it’s pure ecstasy! I can’t describe it in words, you have to come and try it for yourself! A word of advice when negotiating overtaking a truck: always look in your rear-view mirror because the Audis, BMWs or Mercedes are looming behind you like cannonballs. It puts your nerves to the test you when having to slow down to 100 km/h on a climb. Building up speed again is not obvious with a 1.4 L engine.
The castle of Eltz, Heidelberg, Hohenzollern, Lichtenstein, Neuschwanstein, Nuremberg are worthy of fairy tales. Just take a look at our photos if you need convincing, starting with this castle which inspired the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
The most beautiful town in Germany we visited was none other than Dresde, which was a pleasant discovery. It’s nicknamed “the Florence of the Elb”, which says it all! Dresde was completely destroyed during the Second World War, but was gradually rebuilt during the Soviet era. The restoration efforts have been greatly accelerated since the reunification of Germany, however constructions are still underway to regain the city’s splendor of yesteryear. So it’s likely to take decades.
Königsee is a lake located in the Bavarian Alps. Its isolated and solemn environment could therefore be conducive to escape and meditation, were it not for the horde of tourists – such as a Chinese man and Mexican woman with 2 kids that can’t stop running around – that invade the area. Nevertheless the location remains very well preserved and it is worth marveling at the sight of the imposing mountains surrounding this majestic lake. You can take the boat across the Königsee and walk 15 minutes to Obersee, which is an even more photogenic lake! Its surface is so clear and calm that it reflects the surrounding mountains.
Stuttgart public library
If you like reading and you have 2 hours to kill in Stuttgart, don’t forget to drop by the Stuttgart public library! When you get there, you’ll do the same as everyone else : spend your whole time taking photos and forget that you’re in a library. It’s not worth taking a book and pretending to read if you don’t understand German anyway.
The cathedral of Aachen
The cathedral of Aachen is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe. It was build under the order of Charlemagne in the 8th century, who was buried there. His throne can still be found there, since he designated Aachen is the capital of his empire. This place is so exceptional that it is one of the first 12 UNESCO World Heritage listed sites in 1978.
More places (see photos at the end of the post)
Our visit to Germany was made up of 3 parts:
- A couple of days in the west of the country whilst making our way from the Netherlands to Luxembourg;
- A second period of 11 days in the southern regions of Bade-Wurtemberg and Bavaria;
- A final 4-day visit to the east of the country after a short escapade into central Europe.
Here are the names and order of the places we visited:
- Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia
- Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia
- Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia
- Eltz Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate
- Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate
- Berlin, Berlin
- Bamberg, Bavaria
- Nuremberg, Bavaria
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria
- Heidelberg, Bade-Wurtemberg
- Frankfort-on-Main, Hesse
- Stuttgart, Bade-Wurtemberg
- Hohenzollern Castle, Bade-Wurtemberg
- Lichtenstein Castle, Bade-Wurtemberg
- Vaduz (Liechtenstein)
- Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria
- Munich, Bavaria
- Königssee, Bavaria
- Bastei, Saxe
- Dresden, Saxe
- Gorlitz, Saxe
- Bad Muskau, Saxe
- Wittenberg, Saxe-Anhalt
- Potsdam, Brandenburg
Liechtenstein is technically a country in its own right, but I decided to include it in this article as we only visited it as a short detour from Germany.
For a better preparation
For transport, we rented a little Opel Corsa which was practical for getting around the cities and finding parking. When we returned the car to the rental agency, the mileage showed an extra 5300 km after our 4-week trip.
Wherever we go, we like to vary the menu. A German specialty is of course the sausage. There are all kinds to suit every palate. Let me present to you the currywurst : sausage sprinkled with curry powder, simple as that.
In Bavaria, the grilled trout wasn’t bad at all!
Seeing as we rented the car to travel through Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, I calculated the rental expenses in proportion to our time in Germany.
In the end, the real cost of our trip to Germany for our family of 4 worked out to be :
- 1.882,00 EUR (2,281.17 USD)
- 110,70 EUR (134.18 USD) per day
- 27,67 EUR (33.54 USD) per person per day.
In detail :
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Flights||80,00 EUR / 96.97 USD|
|Accomodation||694,00 EUR / 841.20 USD|
|Transport (including gas, toll, parking)||581,00 EUR / 704.23 USD|
|Eating out||305,00 EUR / 369.69 USD|
|Groceries||201,00 EUR / 243.63 USD|
|Activities||21,00 EUR / 25.45 USD|
|Total||1.882,00 EUR / 2,281.17 USD|
In a nutshell
|Dates||2018-07-08 to 2018-07-10; 2018-07-16 to 2018-07-27; et 2018-08-11 to 2018-08-15|
|Number of days||17|
|Inbound||Basel-Mulhouse to Berlin by plane|
|Outbound||Berlin to Sofia by plane|
|Mode of transport||Rental car|
|Distance travelled (car & foot)||3147 km|
|Number of photos taken||5100 (300 per day)|
|Currency||The Euro (1,00 EUR = 1.21 USD)|
Germany is a country to visit and revisit! And if you have the chance, make a detour to peaceful little Liechtenstein. Germany and Liechtenstein were the 9th and 10th countries of our trip round the world. Don’t miss our next destination : dazzling Austria !
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