Germany

Germany

Mention Germany’s name, and images of beer fests, Lederhosen, and fairy tale castles likely come to mind. But with its pristine green landscapes, well-preserved Altstadts (old towns), and lesser-known festivals, Germany offers much more.

I called fairytale Heidelberg home for a decade, marrying in the city’s castle, not far from the promenade where my parents pushed me in a carriage as a baby. My parents now live in a tiny village in Bavaria, so I’ve had the chance to spend time in two distinctly different German states. Glimpses of horse-blessing ceremonies, seasonal celebrations, and mountain hikes follow.

Below, you’ll find my clickable Germany index, as well as destination-specific tips, accommodation, and transportation resources.


Click the index button below to see all my posts from Germany.

germany-index

Table of Contents

General

Places


Bavarian Castles

  • Make a pilgrimage to King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle, the structure said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. If you can, visit when the castle is dressed in snow, or framed by brilliant autumnal hues.
  • While on the King Ludwig circuit, visit Schloss Linderhof, one of the ‘Mad King’s’ other famous castles.
Neuschwanstein Castle, on an autumn day and blue skies overhead.
Rich yellow, copper and crimson leaves frame the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg Hauptstrasse
Views of Heidelberg’s Hauptstrasse from the Church of the Holy Spirit. Shawn and I had our wedding dinner inside the handsome Ritter building (the one with the curvy gable).

Oberammergau

Schuhplattler german folk dance Oberammergau 2
Children perform a Bavarian folk dance

Accommodation

  • Heidelberg – Because of its picturesque atmosphere and proximity to Heidelberg’s best-known attractions, I heartily recommend choosing a hotel in, or near Heidelberg’s Old Town-core: either the Altstadt (Heidelberg’s Old Town), Bergheim district, or Neuenheim district. Restaurants, cafés and shops are nearby, and you can even go hiking in the hills in a matter of minutes. I lived in an apartment in the Altstadt for 10 years, and I loved being among all the action. Since I was a resident of Heidelberg, I have limited experience staying in hotels in Heidelberg. However, here are some hotels we would revisit the next time we come to Heidelberg. Some links are affiliate links.
  • Hotel Goldener Hecht – After our furniture was boxed up and we were preparing to leave Heidelberg, Shawn and I spent a few nights at the Goldener Hecht. We loved the central location! Heidelberg’s famous Old Bridge was just a few footsteps away, and the Heidelberg Castle was only about half a kilometer’s walk. Our room was clean, quiet, and pleasant, too.
  • Hotel zum Ritter – When Shawn and I were married in the Heidelberg Castle, some of our family and friends stayed at the Hotel zum Ritter, one of Heidelberg’s most famous buildings. The elegant Hotel Ritter is situated on the pedestrianized Hauptstrasse (Main Street), just across from the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit). Even if you don’t stay there, the hotel’s gorgeous Renaissance exterior will likely catch your eye as you stroll down the Hauptstrasse.

  • Oberammergau – Before my parents moved to Bavaria, Shawn and I spent two nights at the Gästehaus Hildegard. We thought the beds were comfortable, the owners were helpful and kind, and the breakfast was tasty. The guest house is centrally located in the town too, and it’s not far from the Tiroler Gasse bus stop. The train station is also only about 1 km away.

Transportation

  • Train – The Deutsche Bahn is Germany’s main provider of train services. Their website lists timetables, and you can purchase e-tickets on the site. You can show e-tickets to the conductor on your smart phone. Keep in mind that you can often get better fares when purchasing special tickets, often valid in a specific German state (e.g. regional day tickets such as the Bavaria Ticket, Baden-Württemberg-Ticket, etc.). Sometimes we’ve purchased special tickets that work in Germany as well as sections of neighboring countries like Austria, or the Czech Republic (e.g. Bavaria-Bohemia Ticket, known as Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket, in German).
Ukrainian Kitten Riding Train to Germany
Yes, pets (and bikes) are allowed on German trains, though check to see if supplementary fees apply. Here I am riding the German train from the Czech Republic to Germany, with sweet kitten Cocoa. We rescued him in Ukraine, and traveled 1,000 km (600 miles) together.

Additional Germany Resources

A man rides a horse with an elaborately-decorated mane, in a German village.
A man rides to a horse-blessing ceremony in Unterammergau. The event is held annually to honors the patron saint of agricultural animals.