With Germany the latest in Jacada's offerings, our resident Germany expert and German native Hanna talks us through her recent trip back to the country she grew up in.
I started my trip in Berlin, a landmark-laden capital with a palpable history. Perfect for lovers of arts, culture and history, this diverse city is a fascinating place to start any exploration of Germany. On a lifestyle tour of the city, I was able to get well and truly off the beaten path and enjoy everything from Berlin’s oldest and most original currywurst to Schoeneberg town hall which transports visitors back into the past with its original Paternoster lift. One of my favourite stops on this tour was The East Side Gallery – now the world’s longest outdoor gallery, with an impressive 1.3 kilometres of painted murals adorning the wall. Once known as the Berlin Wall, this open air gallery separates East and West Berlin, and now has protected memorial status.
For any travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, I recommend a visit to Spreewald, a perfect picturesque landscape located just an hour outside of Berlin. The area’s natural wetlands make boats the favoured mode of transport through the peaceful canals. One of my favourite hotels in the area is the Bleiche Resort & Spa, with its own boat docking at the hotel allowing the property to transport guests straight from their doorstep into the quaint forest and lake-filled surroundings.
From Berlin, it was on to the skyscraper-filled Frankfurt. Although not typically thought of as Germany’s top tourist destination, there are some hidden gems along the Main River and in the Old Town. One of the most iconic squares here is the Roemerberg, a cobbled square framed on all sides by timber houses. Whether it’s filled with a cozy Christmas market or coming alive under the scorching summer sun, this square is a don’t miss on any trip to Frankfurt.
When you think of Germany, you might immediately conjure up images of sprawling cities housing towering skyscrapers, but there’s also a whole world of countryside waiting to be explored. In the heart of Bavaria, the Chiemsee region is Germany’s answer to neighbouring Austria’s lake district. Beautiful mountain views, shimmering lakes and picture-book villages all wonderfully complement each other here with castles, monasteries and rococo churches peppered throughout the landscape.
The second largest island in Chiemsee is the other-worldly Fraueninsel. Aside from a small island community that lives here, the island is home to a convent that dates back over 1,000 years. This is where the island’s name, meaning ‘Women’s Island’ comes from, and there’s even another island nearby called Herreninsel (Men’s Island) where there was another monastery specifically for men.
Germany’s picturesque countryside is filled with magical castles waiting to be discovered. Perhaps Germany’s most famous castle is Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, which was used as the very model for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Built as a romantic castle by King Ludwig II, work started on the castle in 1869 and like many of Ludwig’s schemes, was never quite finished. King Ludwig spent a miniscule 170 days in residence, but today the impressive castle is open to all those who wish to visit.
Situated on a hill, it takes about 20 minutes to walk up to the castle. As you get closer and closer, it is a joy to witness the outline of the ethereal castle becoming clearer as you edge closer and closer to it. The beautiful Neuschwanstein is almost hidden in the surroundings, and so blends in exceptionally with the color of the light blanket of snow in the winter.
The final stop of my trip was Munich, and although I didn’t spend much time there, I was able to take in the main sights of the city. One of the best vantage points for a quick introduction to Munich is a gaze over the city skyline. The skyline points out some of the major points of interest in the city, such as the city hall tower and its famous chime, as well as the cathedral Church of Our Lady. Until today, no new building is allowed higher than the two towers of this gothic church so as to keep the city skyline intact.