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4 reasons you should visit Germany in the summer

September 5 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.

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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

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 photo by De Agostini via Getty Images

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

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    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
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Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees