Sean Pavone /
Updated last year

Exploring Germany will certainly be an important aspect of your expatriation. You will definitely not get bored - there is a great variety of leisure activities and places of interest to be discovered. Germany has a great and amazing natural, cultural and historical wealth. You can go for a stroll in its forests and in the countryside or if you prefer more thrilling activities, you will be delighted with its amusements parks.

History and culture

Germany has a rich history, which is portrayed by its monuments and old architecture, in Berlin particularly. It certainly has been marked by the Second World War and suffered major destruction but local authorities put great effort into preserving this rich history for years. These days most monuments have been rebuilt and preserved such as the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin wall, Reichstag and the Museum Island as well as the Sanssouci palaces in nearby Potsdam.

The Neuschwanstein castle, which was built for King Ludwig II in Bavaria, and Cologne Cathedral, whose construction lasted over 600 years, are other major places of interest. Cologne Cathedral is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.

UNESCO has listed many of these buildings as World Heritage sites. Other examples are Dresden's city centre, the city of Bamberg for its Middle Ages style, the Cistercian Abbey in Maulbronn, etc.
The Rhine region near Koblenz and Loreley is known for its many castles too.

Nature in Germany

Nature lovers will be delighted by the country's huge green spaces including forests and nature parks where you can stroll. Northern Germany, the Baltic Sea, and the Mecklenburg Lake District in particular offer wonderful and breathtaking landscapes, along with an enormous and abundant array of flora and fauna. The Müritz National Park, which is found in the North, hosts thousands of lakes and canals in a beautiful setting.

You can also explore the Black Forest and Belchen which are found in the Baden-Württemberg region, in South-West Germany, the Moselle and Rhine Valleys in the Rhine region (Germany's best-known wine region).

Many Germans also spend their holidays near Lake Constance or the German Alps in the Berchtesgaden region close to Austria's border. The Berchtesgaden National Park, for its part, hosts the Königssee, which is a stunning natural lake.

In the South, particularly in the Bavaria region, you will be able to admire a beautiful natural view interspersed with mountains and forests.

German islands

You can enjoy your week-ends by visiting the German paradise islands. Among these, the Baltic Islands, the Northern Islands and the Inner Islands, including Chiemsee, Lindau and Mariannenaue Island. You can thus enjoy a pleasant day between sea, sky and earth in an enchanting atmosphere, under the gentle sun along endless beaches near to hotels, as well as secluded bays.

 Good to Know:

The most popular islands in Germany are Sylt, Amrum, Föhr and Borkum in the North Sea or Rügen, Hiddensee, Usedom in the Baltic Sea. Zingst peninsula is one of the more accessible holiday regions.

Amusement parks in Germany

If you are wishing for a family getaway, you may want to visit one of the country's various amusement parks for all ages and tastes. The Heide Park Resort, for instance, located in the Lüneburg region, hosts lush and amazing green spaces. In Ibbenbüren, you will find an enchanted forest, including a leisure park and toboggan: the best place to be in summer!

By visiting the Tolk-Schau Park near Kiel, you will immerse yourself in history at the time of Vikings. If you prefer huge rides and large playgrounds, and other types of attractions, visit the Skyline Park towards Munich. Belantis in Leipzig and the Kleinwelka Park near Dresden feature a prehistoric buildings or zoo and a maze.

The Zeiss Jena Planetarium, which is more than 100 years old, will allow you to commune with the stars thanks to its advanced technology. The Blanker Hans Sturmflutenwelt in Büsum, the Adventure Park Obernhausen near Duisburg, and the Butterfly Farm in Usedom, etc. are also other interesting parks.

Urban life

Coming back from work and getting bored? You can still find many interesting things to do in German cities. Most boutiques and shopping malls are open until 8 pm, except on Saturdays when they close at 4 pm. Hence, you can enjoy evening shopping. You will also find specialized markets and flea markets (Flohmarkt) in many neighbourhoods, as well as craft markets, which are known as Kunstmarkt.

To enjoy the rich culture and German culinary specialties, you can choose from thousands of restaurants, pubs, beer gardens and cafes.
Note that portions tend to be rather big and meat plays an important role in German cuisine, as well as potatoes and a huge variety of bread. Italian restaurants and Turkish kebabs are pretty much part of the German food culture. Beer gardens make a very popular after work get-together and most regions celebrate local summer festivals from June on – Oktoberfest is the biggest and most touristy of its kind.

Nightlife lovers will be amazed with the huge number of bars, nightclubs, concert halls, theatres, etc., that they are going to find in most German cities. Classical music lovers, in turn, can spend a quiet and emotional evening at the opera.

 Good to know:

Most Germans follow weekly sports classes or language courses. The local Volkshochschule (adult education centre) offers huge variety at fantastic prices including yoga, dancing and sewing.

Meetup groups are slowly getting more popular in Germany and are a great source to get ideas of what to do while meeting new people.

 Useful links:

Make It In Germany
Germany Travel
Freizitparks amusement park finder
Event calendar

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