If you’re thinking about taking a holiday in Europe, why not choose Germany? Germany is not only a beautiful country, but an exciting one as well. Steeped in history, currently one of the most successful economies in the world, famed for its industries and beer alike – read on to get some good pointers for organizing your holiday. As statistics about Germany will confirm, it’s one of the most visited countries in Europe. What I like about it is that it’s a country to be discovered. There are plenty of sights and places the whole world knows about, but also numerous other spots that are worth seeing. With 16 states, each one known for something different, be it landscapes or cities, Germany has something for every taste and every budget.
The web is abundant with sites and sources that will help you plan your holiday. A great one to start with is Germany’s official website with its tourism section – plain and simple. Germans are all about planning and being organized to ensure their time is well spent, be it for leisure or for work. So you will definitely find anything you need for putting your travel itinerary together. One of the ways to go is start your stay in a big city, then plan some trips to small towns nearby – most of them are picturesque and great for some relaxing walks, as well as offering a closer look at lesser-known parts of the country or its history. And don’t forget, beach holidays are possible in Germany as well.
Here’s one good example of a trip to the most populous country in the European Union. Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany. Located in the north part of the country, it’s one of its most beautiful and famous cities. Having suffered through a devastating fire in 1842, which erased many fine buildings, including the town hall, and then severe bombing attacks during WW2, the city has had its share of hardships. But it has emerged from them as a leading European metropolis, and the quaint, original old streets from the 18th or 19th centuries that did survive the hard years are all the more special.
Hamburg is easy to get around on foot or by bike. All the major sites are well-connected with each other, and pretty areas situated slightly outside town are all accessible with local public transport. Hamburg also houses one of Europe’s largest ports, which is definitely worth a visit. Famous cruise liners like the luxurious Queen Mary 2 often dock here en route to other destinations – this is usually announced in advance in local media and people flock to cheer and wave as the ships sail off.
There is also a ferry that goes from the port to the Elbe beach, the Elbe being one of the rivers Hamburg is situated on. The ferry is part of the Hamburg transportation network and can be used with your subway ticket. Get a day card for around 5-6 euros, and you can use the subway, buses and this boat all day long as much as you wish. The best part? From the ferry you can also see the whole harbour, which is a great alternative to paying much more for a harbour boat tour.
Near the harbour is the so-called Portuguese quarter with many lovely, cosy restaurants. The town center is a short walk or two subway stops away. The impressive town hall building with its tower and tranquil courtyard is definitely worth seeing. Tours inside the building are offered regularly. Much excitement was caused recently by a secret room being discovered there – otherwise the town hall already has more rooms than Buckingham Palace! The Alster river, which forms a lake-like area within Hamburg, is one of the most beautiful places in the city. Take a walk around it to see some lovely villas in the art Art Nouveau style, their quiet white facades in perfect harmony with the blue of the river and the green of the surrounding landscape in summer and spring.
Luebeck, Lueneburg and Stade are all small towns near Hamburg and less than an hour away, each of them famous for something different. A day trip is a good tip to take a break from Hamburg’s busier rhythm. In fact, visiting Luebeck might be a good idea for the final part of your trip. Because just 20 minutes away by train is Travemuende, a part of Luebeck that is situated right on the Baltic Sea. A tranquil, elegant place, with beautiful beaches and a wide range of hotels to choose from, it’s a perfect ending to hopefully one of the most interesting holidays you’ll have.