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4 reasons you should visit Germany in the summer

Sept. 05, 2020
7 min read
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As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we look at travel. Even though limited options have started to open up again, for many, long-haul trips abroad will not be happening this year. However, that hasn't stopped us from planning future travel.

And Germany is at the top of our list. While you might previously only have thought of Berlin and Oktoberfest when considering a trip here, there are many other facets to the country that make it worth a visit. Its rich culture and history combined with varied landscapes and attractions, as well as decent infrastructure to move around, make it a fantastic, lesser-known summer vacation spot.

So here are four reasons why Germany should be on your summer vacation wish list when time comes.

1. Neuschwanstein castle

When it comes to castles, it probably doesn't get dreamier than Neuschwanstein, one of Germany's most famous attractions. Built in the 19th century, the castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in honor of Richard Wagner, the famous German composer. With 1.5 million visitors each year, it is one of Europe's most popular tourist attractions and is so magical looking that Walt Disney used it as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland. It's worth noting that visitor numbers are currently being restricted and you can only see the castle with a guided tour.

Though Neuschwanstein is the most famous castle in Germany, there is no shortage of other, equally picturesque castles and monasteries -- particularly those nestled in the more mountainous southern states of Bavaria and Baden Württemberg.

Schloss Neuschwanstein castle. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

2. From mountains to beaches

Typically, the Alps are associated with Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France -- and winter sports. The mountain range stretches into southern Germany, however, and provides a great setting for a range of summer activities. With walks, hiking, swimming in stunning lakes and more adrenaline-fueled sports such as gliding and paragliding there's no shortage of ways to enjoy the Alps in the sunshine.

Combine a trip to the mountains with a stop in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, for some culture (and beer) as well as some castle hopping -- you'll be sure to come home with some glorious pictures and even better memories.

Read more: 15 of the most beautiful villages in Spain

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The resort of Garmisch-Partenkmirchen. (Photo by Philipp Guelland/Getty Images)

Now, to the beach -- something else you might not associate with Germany. To the north of the country, there is a coastline and beaches on the North and Baltic Sea. The island of Sylt is a favorite of the rich and famous in Germany but there are accommodation options there to suit everyone’s budget. As well as the beaches, there are plenty of outdoor activities ranging from surfing to cycling to golf, and the island is the perfect stop to relax and enjoy the slightly rough sea and landscape. Should it rain, the Sylter Heimatmuseum and aquarium are good places to spend the day. Combined with a visit to Hamburg or Berlin, the coast makes a perfect getaway for a weekend or longer trip.

An aerial view of the southern tip of Sylt island. (Photo by Carsten Rehder/picture alliance/Getty Images)

3. Rhine and wine

In the western part of Germany, one of the longest rivers in Europe, the Rhine, runs through valleys well known for their wines and riverside villages and castles. In fact, the Rhine Gorge, running between Mannheim and Koblenz, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Rhineland-Palatinate area accounts for six of Germany’s 13 wine regions with over 150,000 acres of vineyards. It produces 70% of German wines -- mostly whites including Riesling, Silvaner and Müller-Thurgau. I highly recommend taking a boat trip on the Rhine and stopping to visit one of the many vineyards lining the river.

In addition to the above towns, Worms and Mainz, along the Rhine, are worth visiting for their cathedrals, museums and natural beauty while Wiesbaden is a spa town for those seeking to relax and recharge.

(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

4. Berlin

Berlin should be top of any list of places to see in Germany. It combines history with modern architecture and has blossomed and been heavily invested in since the German reunification in 1990 when it became the capital again.

Whilst you'll want to see all the attractions you'll have heard of -- the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, the remainder of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and a boat trip on the River Spree -- it's worth venturing beyond those main tourist areas. Berlin "Mitte" (the city's central borough) is home to many of the city's renowned art galleries and cultural institutions. Museum Island should be on your list, too, given its proximity to the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and many other well-known sights.

Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg are two neighborhoods a bit more off the beaten track (and you'll need to get a taxi or public transportation there) but well worth a visit -- whether that's for the bars, restaurants or some of the well-known Berlin clubs such as the legendarily exclusive Berghain.

Cityscape of Berlin. (Photo by preephoto.de/Getty Images)

Berlin isn't the only major city in Germany worth visiting though. Given the history of the country, the main cities all have different characters and claims to fame, and others worth a grip include Cologne, Hamburg and Dresden.

Featured image by De Agostini via Getty Images

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees