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What Is Germany Known For?
Germany has long remained one of the top travel destinations in Europe. The country has a deep history, both good and bad, that spans two millennia. While it has no shortage of stunning mountains, vast forests, scenic drives, and beautiful rivers, there are several other interesting things Germany is known for.
Germany is known for its deep connections to World War II and the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. It is also known for its high beer consumption, Oktoberfest, stunning castles and palaces, impressive cathedrals and monuments, well-developed highways, and supremacy in the automobile industry.
In the rest of the article, I’ll show you the most important things that Germany is famous for in great detail. Let’s get started!
Cars and the Autobahn
Germany has a reputation for excellence in car manufacturing. From Audi and Mercedes to BMW and Volkswagen, Germany’s automobile industry is one of the best in the world and is the biggest symbol of the country’s economy.
These German cars are loved worldwide and seen as reliable, safe, elegant, and high-quality. Well, this comes as no surprise as Germany has a reputation for advanced engineering, precision, and dependability.
If you’re a car enthusiast, you can have a great time visiting Germany’s car museums like the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums in Stuttgart. Many manufacturers offer guided factory tours, providing you with insights and answering your questions about their company.
You can even build your own custom car in the Volkswagen facility.
Another interesting thing about Germany is its roads. German highways are well-developed and connected with proper parking systems and layouts that offer a great experience for drivers.
Some of these highways, known as Autobahns, have no speed limits!
You could be driving at 180 km (111 miles) per hour, and no one would question you.
Even driving that fast some cars will still pass you. Certain cars like trucks have to follow a speed limit and there are some rules to follow on the Autobahn before you can just take off like a bat out of hell.
Driving on the Autobahn doesn’t necessarily mean you can go as fast as you want. There must be a sign that says “unlimited speed” before you can do so legally.
The longest stretch of the autobahn without a speed limit is only about 150 kilometers. Which depending on your speed will take you less than an hour to drive that whole length.
After dark, however, the signs all show a speed limit that drivers must adhere to.
Germany is Known For Several Varieties of Beer
Beer is another central part of German culture and identity.
They brew it almost as much as they drink it. According to the World Population Review, Germany consumes 104.2 liters (27 gallons) of beer per capita, ranking only fourth behind Czech Republic, Namibia, and Austria in terms of beer consumption.
With more than 1,300 breweries and 5,000 beer brands producing 40 different types of beer in Germany, you’re sure to find large quantities at every event, whether it’s a family party, Oktoberfest, or football game.
Germany even has special brewing laws to ensure their beer is of the highest quality.
These laws, known as the Reinheitsgebot, date as far back as 500 years ago and state that only barley, hops, and water should be used in producing beer.
If you love the taste of beer, Germany has many standout varieties that you can try. Some of the most popular brands are the Warsteiner Premium Verum, which is 4.8% alcohol, the Paulaner Weißbier, one of the most served beers in Oktoberfest, and the Hacker-Schorr, another popular Oktoberfest beer.
Festivals and Carnivals
Germans love to celebrate and have a good time, and festivals are one of the ways they do it.
They have at least one festival or carnival for every occasion and significant dates in the year.
The festivals and carnivals are always plentiful, and they offer an opportunity for tourists to immerse themselves in the warmest part of German culture and tradition.
Germany’s Most Well-Known Festival is Oktoberfest
One of the most important festivals in Germany is the Oktoberfest, which is the biggest folk festival in the world, with a crowd of about 7 million people attending every year. The event takes place over a 16-to-18-day period on Munich’s largest fairground, the Theresienwiese, from mid or late September to the first Sunday in October.
The event first occurred in 1810 when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Since then, it has evolved into one of the most significant events in the world, being suspended just 26 times.
During Oktoberfest, tons of beer is consumed.
It was estimated that 6.3 million visitors drank 7.5 million liters of beer (1.92 million US gallons) in the 2019 version of the event. That’s some serious amount of beer right there!
One of the main events of Oktoberfest is the parade that involves the Oktoberfest landlords and traditional marksmen’s clubs. The Wiesn church service is another key event that you don’t want to miss.
Other major activities include the Wiesn landlord’s concert and the traditional gun salutes by the Bavaria statue.
You’ll also enjoy several other attractions like side stalls, amusement parks, and games. And, of course, there’ll be tons of traditional foods for you to try out. So, if beer is not your thing, there are still plenty of reasons to join the next Oktoberfest event.
If you’re a bread-lover, Germany is definitely the place to be. In that part of the world, bread is a centerpiece of people’s daily meals and is part of their culture and identity.
The country produces more than 300 bread varieties, each region with its own specialty, ingredients, and bread-making techniques. North Germany is famous for its dark and heavy rye bread (Schwarzbrot), while the south specializes in lighter wheat bread.
In Germany, you’ll also find the Brötchen, which translates to “small bread roll,” and is typically served as a whole or cut transversely and studded with seeds. You can also pair it with bratwurst to create an irresistible delight.
Some regions refer to this bread as Semmeln, Schrippen, or When.
Some other popular varieties of German bread are Brezel, Pumpernickel, Roggenbrot, Hörnchen, Kastenbrot and Vollkornbrot.
Your trip to Germany will not be complete if you don’t experiment with any of these bread varieties. And with the average German eating about 87 kg (190 lbs) of bread every year, you’re sure to find a delicious loaf in the local corner bakery.
An Amazing Variety of Sausages
Sausages, known as Wursts, are one of the most popular foods in Germany.
The country produces more than 1,500 varieties of sausages, and you can hardly find any public event without sausages taking center stage, consumed with a mug of beer.
Each region has different ways of making their sausages, many of them coming out with varying tastes and colors. With so much variety, there’s plenty to discover on your next trip to Germany. And it’s no surprise that there is a law that regulates the production of some of their sausages.
German sausages are divided into three separate categories:
- Kochwurst (cooked sausages)
- Rohwurst (raw sausages)
- Brühwurst (scalded sausages)
Some other typical German sausages are the Currywurst, Bockwurst, and Bratwurst.
You’ll find them as you walk the streets and in restaurants where they are usually served with mustard and sauerkraut.
Castles and Palaces
Germany has some of the most iconic castles and palaces in the world. The country has at least 25,000 castles, some of which date as far back as 1,000 years ago and others only built as recently as the 19th century.
Many of them are now home to restaurants, museums, and hotels.
These castles stand out because of their scenic beauty and rich history. Although they were mostly built during battles for the defense and protection of their kings, most of them are still well maintained and remain beautiful. Even some of the ruined ones are still visitable.
One incredibly famous German castle is the Neuschwanstein Castle, located on a hill above the Hohenschwangau village in southwest Bavaria.
The Neuschwanstein castle attracts more than 1.3 million visitors annually, with up to 6,000 per day in the summer. It has been an inspiration in several movies and art, one of the most notable being Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Other stunning castles in Germany are:
- Wartburg Castle, located on a steep hill over the town of Eisenach in Thuringia.
- The Hohenzollern Castle, which was briefly home to Kaiser Wilhelm II.
- The Heidelberg Castle, which is a ruin that attracts more than a million visitors annually.
In addition to castles, Germany also has several palaces built as residences for the wealthiest noblemen in the country.
Berlin and World War II
Not only is Berlin the capital of Germany, but it is also the largest city in the country.
It has quite a deep history and is famous for its connections with World War II. The city also plays a significant role in the country’s culture, politics, media, and science.
After World War II, the city was divided into West Berlin and East Berlin, both separated by the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall is a heavily-guarded concrete barrier built by the German Democratic Republic in 1961 to keep its eastern, communist population from escaping to the west.
Not only did the wall divide the city, but it also caused a separation between families and friends who were unable to see each other until 1989 (around 30 years thereafter), when it was brought down.
Today, very little is left of the wall, with most of it covered in graffiti, and serves as a culture of memory and a tourist spot.
Despite the devastation and destruction during World War II, Berlin has been rebuilt in different ways to celebrate its successful reunification and rebirth while still acknowledging some of its dark histories.
The city is one of the cheapest travel destinations in Europe and offers a wide variety of classic and modern architecture, delicious food, a buzzing metropolis, rich and deep history, and some of the most impressive museums, structures, and galleries in the world.
It is definitely a place worth visiting!
Football (Or Soccer for the United States Fans)
You can’t talk about Germany without mentioning football, or soccer for the United States readers.
The German national team is one of the strongest in the world, winning the FIFA World Cup four times. Only Brazil is better with 5 World Cup titles. This achievement is hardly surprising as the country has some of the best players in world football.
Germany is also the most successful in the European Championships, winning the competition three times and being runners-up three times. Only Spain comes close, lifting the trophy three times and finishing second once.
The German league, Bundesliga, is among the top four in Europe.
Its most successful club, Bayern Munich, is one of the best in the world, with stars like Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Leon Goretzka, and Leroy Sané all plying their trades there.
Whenever there is a football match in Germany, the fans come out in full support, and most of the stadiums are sold out.
The mood during each game is always incredible and is sure to be a real experience for you if you’re a football fan. One thing’s for sure in every German football match: There’ll be plenty of beer and sausages!
Cathedrals and Monuments
Like museums and palaces, there are plenty of cathedrals and monuments in Germany. Some of them date as far back as the BC era, while others were built between the 12th and 21st centuries.
Regardless of whether you’re into religion or not, you’ll appreciate these majestic and impressive structures. Each cathedral has a deep history, with some bearing the scars of war and reminding everyone of Germany’s dark past.
An important monument in Germany is the Cologne Cathedral.
It is the world’s third tallest cathedral and the largest Gothic Church in Northern Europe at 515 ft (157 m) high. This Gothic masterpiece took more than six centuries to construct and was eventually completed in 1880 according to original plans dating back to 1248.
The Shrine of the Three Kings, the Gero Cross, and the “Milan Madonna” are the cathedral’s most valuable works of art. The site’s beauty is what earned it the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1996.
If you’re considering visiting one of Germany’s historic cathedrals and monuments, it’s best to plan your trip around a service.
The experience is sure to be an unforgettable one.
Germany is known for a ton of things but one thing they are well known for around the world is that fact that they are incredibly efficient at getting the job done. Germany has the best economy in all of Europe and is the 4th largest in the world pulling in more than 4 trillion dollars a year and growing.
German efficiency is part of everyday life for most Germans. A running joke is that they are never late and this is for the most part fairly true as almost everything runs on time and on schedule, except the new Berlin airport, sorry Germany.
The amazing part about the German machine is that they, on average, work 35 hours a week and get about 4 weeks of holidays a year compared to America where they only average about 10 days of holiday each year.
Tuition is free at public universities for undergrads. Whether you are from Germany or an international student, you can take advantage of this great opportunity. There is only a small fee for administrative costs.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t add Germany to your travel bucket list, as there are plenty of places to visit if you’re looking to immerse yourself in its culture and history. You can visit popular spots like the Berlin Wall, Neuschwanstein Castle, Mercedes Benz, and Porsche Museums in Stuttgart, Cologne Cathedral, or Hohenzollern Castle.
There are several varieties of bread and sausages you can also try.
Visit the local restaurants to enjoy traditional Bavarian food, or plan a trip to experience the nostalgia of the Oktoberfest, the world’s largest Volksfest.
If you’re planning a trip to Germany be sure to check out Lonely Planet’s travel guide here.