One of the world’s most beautiful and historic countries, there are a million reasons to visit Germany. Going on Germany tours is the best way to experience the culture, from the hustle and bustle of Oktoberfest to the striking solemnity of Heidelberg castle. Whether you are interested in eating your way across the country or learning more about the incredible history, Germany luxury tours have something for everyone.
While it stood, the Berlin Wall was a symbol of division. Looming from 1961 to 1989, it divided not only East and West Germany, but also two major political factions that teetered on the brink of warfare. When it fell, however, it represented something new - unity, even in the face of great odds. Today, visitors can tour the Berlin Wall, walking along the cobblestones that trace along the route it once stood. They can talk with guides, take pictures and learn more about just how momentous the Fall of the Berlin Wall was not just for the country, but for the world.
A big part of German History is its art, which has had an enduring impact on the Western canon. While Germany as a single unified country is a relatively new development, the area itself has been producing stunning works of visual beauty for centuries. From the medieval art of Charlemagne to conceptualism after the second World War, there is much to see and learn.
Oktoberfest is virtually synonymous with Germany. As the world’s largest Volksfest (a beer festival and traveling fair) it has attracted visitors far and wide to come and revel. It traces its roots back to the early 19th century, when it began as a royal wedding and agricultural celebration.
While there are many such festivals around the world, the largest and most expansive is Oktoberfest Munich, which sees more than six million revelers every year. Held over the course of 16 days, it combines an acknowledgement of history with a celebration of modernity.
Today, it is a fair that promotes people, fun and beer. Oktoberfest costumes reflect the spirit of tradition, and many of those who dress in historic garb take part in a traditional parade with riflemen.
Of course, what would Oktoberfest tours be without beer? Only local beers can be served during the gathering, and even those have to adhere to strict guidelines. These high standards mean that for beer-lovers, there are few better places in the world to be than at Oktoberfest. Currently, six breweries are able to produce beer for it: Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu and Staatliches Hofbräu-München.
Lovers of luxury are well-advised to try a German castles tour, which provides access to some of the best and most enduring architecture the country has to offer. Looking for what to do in Germany? Look no further than Nueschwanstein Castle, a Romanesque revival palace that sits on a rugged hill in Bavaria. Built by Ludwig II, it reflects his royal touch, including decorations based on the operas of Richard Wagner.
Among the best German castles is Heidelberg Castle which has a castle structure that dates all the way back to 1214. While it is currently unrenovated, it is one of the most important structures to understanding the architecture and design of the Renaissance. It was a particular favorite of Victor Hugo, who upon seeing it wrote, “This Heidelberg Castle, the residence of the counts Palatine, who were answerable only to kings, emperors, and popes, and was of too much significance to bend to their whims, but couldn't raise his head without coming into conflict with them, and that is because, in my opinion, that the Heidelberg Castle has always taken up some position of opposition towards the powerful.”
SIPS AND SUDS
Beer is a defining part of German culture, so one of the best ways to get to know the country is to sit down in a German beer garden, begin ordering, and enjoy. Germany ranks in the top five in the world in both production and consumption, so you can be sure that the brewers there know their business. Local law has preserved many traditions, meaning that each sip is also a way to go back in time. Ayinger and Riegele are both considered some of the best in their respective styles, but it’s hard to go wrong with any German beer.
Beer pairs well with food, and much of the best German beer lends itself to being enjoyed with bratwurst. A meaty, juicy, sausage, it can be smooth or spicy depending on the preparation and the region - there are dozens of different variations. What it always is is tasty, often served with a crusty rye bread and sauerkraut. Just the ticket for a meal to go along with a pint!
Rhine Valley Wines:
While the country is rightfully celebrated for its beers, German wine regions are producing some excellent vintages as well. The Rhine Valley produces a wide variety of wines, including sweet and semi-sweet whites, reds, and sparklings. Riesling is the benchmark grapes, but various vineyards also use kerner, bacchus, trollinger, domina, and more.
American and Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 90 days beyond the intended return date in order to enter and depart the country. Tourists must also provide proof of return or onward travel. Each traveler is responsible for ensuring that his/her passport is up to date. Citizens of other nationalities should check with respective authorities before departure.
Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately.
Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.
A visa is not required for citizens of the U.S. and Canada for trips of up to 90 days. Citizens from other countries may require a valid visa. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Irish Embassy for the most up-to-date visa information.
Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Medical facilities in Germany are comparable to North American facilities. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty medical bill. Insurance can be purchased through us.
We always recommend that you see a doctor or health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. They will best determine your vaccination and medication needs based on your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, planned activities and up-to-the-minute requirement changes. For all vaccinations and health requirements, we also recommend that you consult the World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.
If there are any medical items that are essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items.
The weather in Germany can vary depending on which part of the country you are visiting. Overall, there are generally warm summers and mild, cloudy winters. The difference in temperature from season to season can be extreme in the south, and much less extreme in the north. The Alpine regions experience cooler temperatures as a result of the higher elevation. Fall and winter can bring uncomfortable weather in the form of showers, thunderstorms, and heavy rain. For up-to-date forecasts, check weather.com.
Electricity in Germany is supplied at 230 volts. Circular, two-pronged sockets are standard in Germany. A multi-adaptor with different plug configurations can be very useful. We advise not to bring a hair dryer as it could blow a fuse.
Phone: Roaming charges vary between carriers, but tend to be quite costly. Consult your phone provider prior to departure to discuss overseas rates and international package options. It is also possible to purchase a SIM card locally to avoid international charges when calling numbers within Germany. (You should check to see that your cell phone is SIM card compatible.)
Internet: There are a variety of internet cafes and centers in most urban areas.
Generally speaking, we advise bringing €70-100 per day, per person, for spending money. Be sure to bring lots of small bills for porters, wait staff and housekeeping (not obligatory and based on your satisfaction). Euro paper money comes in different colors and denominations (5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 notes). There are also Eurocent coins: 1 cent, 2 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 and 2 Euro. Your largest bills should be 50 Euros, with a combination of 5’s, 10’s and 20’s. We recommend that you bring approximately 100 Euros of spare cash in small denominations to have ready for tips and expenses when you first arrive.
We recommend that you get local currency from your bank before you leave home or from a bank machine in-country which is much cheaper than an exchange service at the airport or in tourist areas. Your bank card may work, but Visa or MasterCard are more widely accepted. You will need a 4-digit PIN to be able to use your cards in Europe.
Currency: Euro (€)
Time Zone: UTC +1
Electricity: 230 volts/50Hz
Telephone: Country code for calling you from outside Germany is +49
Calling North America: Dial 001 and your 10 digit number
Emergency numbers in Germany: 112 or 110 for any type of emergency.