Grand Germany holidays
Germany is a country of atmospheric castles and opulent palaces, of soaring Alpine peaks and great rivers sweeping through the countryside.
Criss-crossed with waterways, Germany is perfect for exploring by ship. Book a river cruise of the Rhine and her tributaries, set sail along the Elbe River or traverse the Baltic Coast on an ocean cruise. Travel to Germany through Austria on the Danube River or head north and explore Hamburg - the city of a thousand bridges.
Germany’s appeal lasts through the seasons, too. Visit in spring for wildflower meadows and steins of beer in the sunshine, or summer for slices of Black Forest gateau made with the sweetest, ripest cherries. In autumn, it’s time for fall colours and grape harvests, while Christmas brings markets filled with twinkling lights, decorated trees and the spice-laden scent of gluhwein.
This eastern region is straight out of a storybook, with castles perched high on cliff tops, steam trains and the wide River Elbe winding through it. The capital city, Dresden, is resplendent with rococo and baroque architecture, while Leipzig has a strong musical heritage. For many years it was home to Bach, and today the Gewandhaus Orchestra and St Thomas Choir are both famous amongst classical music enthusiasts.
Castles, cathedrals and steep hilly vineyards characterise this romantic region of western Germany. A large part of the Rhine River Valley has now been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All along it, ancient towns and cities – including Cologne, Koblenz and Bonn – make great ports of call on river cruises.
Bordering Austria and the Czech Republic in southeast Germany, Bavaria offers up the most quintessential of German views. Chocolate-box visions of fairy-tale castles rise up in the foothills of the Alps, and the fertile plains around the Danube River valley are dotted with medieval villages. The capital, Munich, plays jovial host to Oktoberfest, while historic Nuremburg and culture-rich Würzburg lie to the north.
This vast swathe of mountainous forest marches down the border with France in Germany’s southwest. This is where Hansel and Gretel got lost in the woods, and you can certainly see how in this dense evergreen forest. The region is home to the upmarket spa town of Baden-Baden, bustling Freiburg and the cuckoo clock – not to mention one very important (and extremely moreish) cake.
The climate in Germany is similar to here in the UK, and just as unpredictable. Expect cold winters and warm summers, and rainfall throughout the year. Most of the rain occurs in the summer months, although the southwest of the country – where the wine is grown – has been known to occasionally feel Mediterranean in climate.
Germany is one hour ahead of the UK, two in British Summer Time.
It depends where you’re flying from and to, but flight times from the UK to Germany tend to vary between 1 hour 15 minutes and 2 hours.
German is the official language, with a number of differing regional dialects. English is widely spoken.
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