The German landscape features dramatic regional differences. Every city has its own aura, its own version of sausage, and its favorite local wines and beers. Cities range from busy Berlin to fun-loving Munich...from Cologne with its world-famous cathedral to Frankfurt with its designer skyscrapers…from the romantic university town of Heidelberg to the port city of Hamburg with its risqué Reeperbahn area. You can pack a lot of uniquely German experiences into your trip with this book as your guide. Cruise down the Rhine with its castle-crowned crags or cruise the lively club/bar/disco scene. Join the locals in a giant beer hall with an oompah-pah band or opt for opera. Go on a strenuous hike in the Black Forest or get pampered in a sophisticated health spa. Whether you want culture or action, you’ll find plenty to do in this guide that gives you the scoop on:
- Luxurious hotels that take you back in time or modern, contemporary marvels
- The Rhine Valley, with its romantic legends and thriving vineyards
- The Barbarian Alps and the intriguing alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- The imposing Cologne cathedral that dazzles your senses
- Weimar, where Goethe lived, or Leipzig, where Bach conducted
- Shopping in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne, or on Frankfurt’s Zeil, the busiest shopping street in Germany
- Incredible castles and palaces, including Sanssouci, Frederick the Great’s 18th-century rococo place in Potsdam, Zwinger Palace in Dresden with it’s Old Master paintings and porcelain treasures, Nymphenburg Place outside Munich, and Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, the opulent fairy-tale castles built by Ludwig II of Bavaria
- The moving memorials at Dachau and Buchenwald
- The art museums and symphony, opera, and ballet performances that grace almost every German city
- Romantic landscapes, from the majesty of the Bavarian Alps to the sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea, and from the winegrowing Rhine Valley to the rock cliffs along the Elbe
- The Mosel Valley with its vineyards, Roman ruins, medieval castles, and riverside towns
- Cuisine that ranges from traditional local fare to dining with an Italian flair
Like every For Dummies travel guide, Germany For Dummies, 2nd Edition includes:
- Down-to-earth trip-planning advice
- What you shouldn’t miss — and what you can skip
- The best hotels and restaurants for every budget
- Handy Post-it® Flags to mark your favorite pages
Peruse this guide, pack your bags, and have a wunderbar trip.
About the Author
Novelist, playwright, and travel writer Donald Olson is the author of the award-winning England For Dummies, London For Dummies, Frommer’s Best Day Trips from London, and Frommer’s Vancouver & Victoria 2005. His novel The Confessions of Aubrey Beardsley will be published in the U.S. in 2006 by the University of Wisconsin Press. Under the pen name Swan Adamson he has written the novels My Three Husbands now translated into four languages and Confessions of a Pregnant Princess, both published by Kensington. Donald Olson’s travel stories have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic Books, and many other publications.
Read an Excerpt
Germany For Dummies
By Donald Olson
John Wiley & SonsISBN: 0-7645-7823-5
Chapter OneDiscovering the Best of Germany
In This Chapter
* Experiencing the greatest cities
* Exploring romantic landscapes
* Discovering legendary castles and palaces
* Visiting smaller towns and cities
* Enjoying world-class classical music, opera, and ballet
Germany holds a special fascination for travelers. This land of contrasting cities, landscapes, and moods appeals to visitors for many different reasons. Perhaps you, like millions of others, have German ancestors, and you want to explore their home turf. Or perhaps you have an image of Germany in your mind - a castle on a hilltop, a palace in a landscaped garden, or a giant beer hall with an oom-pah-pah band - and you want to check it out for yourself. Then there's the culture: Every midsizeto- large German city has at least one art museum, a symphony orchestra, and an opera house, making a visit to Germany a feast for those who enjoy world-class art and music. (See Chapter 23 for my list of the ten best German museums.) Clubbers, too, will find that the club/bar/disco scene in Germany is hot, not only in large cities like Berlin and Munich but also in smaller university towns like Cologne, Leipzig, and Heidelberg. Some visitors come for the chance to drink full-bodied German beer; others come to enjoy a cosmopolitan cafe culture where coffee and cake are afternoon staples. And don't forget the retail:Great shopping opportunities abound year-round in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. During the Christmas season, the main squares in Germany's smaller cities glitter and glow with the lights, food, and gift stalls of Christmas markets, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. You'll find as many different reasons to visit Germany as there are tourists who arrive daily, by the thousands, at the airports in Frankfurt, Munich, or Berlin.
BEST OF THE BEST
This chapter is designed as an at-a-glance reference to the absolute best - the Best of the Best - that Germany has to offer. In the categories that I outline, you'll find some of the things that make traveling in Germany such a fascinating experience. I discuss each of these places and experiences in detail later in this book; you can find them in their indicated chapters, marked with - what else? - a "Best of the Best" icon.
Discovering the Best Big German Cities
Germany's top cities offer a wealth of diversions, as simple or as sophisticated as you want. You'll find world-class museums, music, cuisine of all kinds, great shopping, and plenty of nightlife. You'll also find elegant boulevards, riverside promenades, enormous parks and green spaces, bustling pedestrian-only quarters, fascinating architecture, and plenty of picturesque corners just waiting to be discovered. And thanks to Germany's excellent public transportation systems, you can easily reach it all by subway, streetcar, or bus.
Witnessing the Most Romantic Landscapes
Landscapes of fabled beauty and scenic splendor are found throughout Germany, and views of them are accessible by train, boat, and car. From the majesty of the Bavarian Alps in the south to the sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea in the north and from the winegrowing Rhine Valley in the west to the high, rocky cliffs along the Elbe in the east, Germany offers a wealth of sightseeing possibilities.
Marveling over the Best Castles and Palaces
At one time, Germany was a conglomeration of regional kingdoms, duchies, and vast estates, ruled over by an assortment of kings, dukes, princes, and prince-bishops. As a result, Germany is loaded with a fascinating collection of castles and palaces, both great and small, many of them full of art treasures, and all of them open to the public.
Exploring the Best Small Towns and Cities
Germany is remarkable for its attractive smaller towns and cities, scattered like gemstones around the country. In these historic hamlets, many of them located less than an hour's train ride from a major metropolis, you'll find a very different Germany. Brimming with the flavors of the past, they can easily be savored as day trips.
Enjoying the Best in Classical Music, Opera, and Ballet
Lovers of classical music, opera, and ballet will find that Germany is a gold mine. Tickets for musical events, including grand opera, are reasonably priced, and the quality of musical performance is extraordinarily high.
Excerpted from Germany For Dummies by Donald Olson Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
Part I: Introducing Germany.
Chapter 1: Discovering the Best of Germany.
Chapter 2: Digging Deeper into Germany.
Chapter 3: Deciding Where and When to Go.
Chapter 4: Following an Itinerary: Four Great Options.
Part II: Planning Your Trip to Germany.
Chapter 5: Managing Your Money.
Chapter 6: Getting to Germany.
Chapter 7: Getting around Germany.
Chapter 8: Booking Your Accommodations.
Chapter 9: Catering to Special Needs or Interests.
Chapter 10: Taking Care of the Remaining Details.
Part III: Northern & Eastern Germany.
Chapter 11: Settling into Berlin.
Chapter 12: Exploring Berlin.
Chapter 13: Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck: Hanseatic Cities of the North.
Chapter 14: Dresden, Leipzig, and Weimar: Jewels of the East.
Part IV: Southern & Western Germany.
Chapter 15: Munich: Capital of Gemütlichkeit.
Chapter 16: Going Beyond Munich: The Romantic Road and Day Trips in Bavaria.
Chapter 17: The Bodensee and the Black Forest: Scenic Southwest Delights.
Chapter 18: Heidelberg, Stuttgart, and Nuremberg: Castles and Kaisers.
Chapter 19: Cologne and the Romance of the Rhine.
Chapter 20: Frankfurt am Main: Apple Wine and Euros.
Part V: The Part of Tens.
Chapter 21: Ten (Zehn) German Lessons.
Chapter 22: Ten of the Best German Hotels.
Chapter 23: Ten Great German Museums.
Chapter 24: Ten Things to Know about German Wine.
Appendix: Quick Concierge.