Phenomenal rail journeys of Asia
By Sukie Chapman
18 January 2018
You love rail travel but also want to explore further afield than Europe; this is a conundrum many of our customers call us about.Read more
From medieval castles to meandering countryside, stylish cities and snow-capped mountains, Germany is a fascinating tour destination.
Explore the long and turbulent history of Germany on our tours. In the capital city, Berlin, you will find the infamous Berlin Wall and the Reichstag, as well as Checkpoint Charlie, the Cold War border between what used to be East and West Berlin, and the Brandenburg Gate.
You may also find the Bavarian capital Munich, and absorb the atmosphere in one of its famous Beer Halls. These enormous rooms are usually attached to a brewery, and the largest one in the world, based in Munich, was able to sit 5,000 people. Munich is also home to the largest beer festival in the world - Oktoberfest. This 3 week-long festival sees millions of people worldwide descend on the city to drink beer, listen to music, and have a good time.
During the festive season, the German Christmas Markets spring up in towns and cities all over Germany, and are famous around the world for the mulled wine, beautiful crafts and gifts, and delicious festive food.
For a more scenic side of Germany, the Rhine Gorge is a wonderful place to escape. Winding through Rhineland, this UNESCO World Heritage site is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and passes by a collection of picture-perfect towns, such as Koblenz, Boppard and Rüdesheim.
Fascinating grand imperial cities and high-speed intercity train journeys showcase the turbulent history of Central Europe. Discover what turned these former Habsburg and Prussian cities into four of Europe's greatest destinations.… see more
13 days from $3,995 ppView tour details >
Experience the beautiful Black Forest from the popular resort of lakeside Titisee, set amidst lush green meadows and pine-clad hills. A boat cruise and steam train journey through scented woodlands make for a wonderful tour.… see more
7 days from $2,755 ppView tour details >
Reflect on a region's fascinating past as we explore unified Berlin, and discover Poland, including the medieval squares and castles of Wroclaw, Krakow and Warsaw. Take a poignant trip to Auschwitz and visit unique salt mines as we reveal the history, music and people of beautiful Poland.… see more
13 days from $4,995 ppView tour details >
Stretching across much of mainland Europe, the wild and rugged Alps are home to some of the world's most magnificent landscapes. On this marvellous tour we discover the incredible attractions in three of the countries around the towering peaks - from the German city of Munich to the beautiful Austrian Lakes and Switzerland's superb mountain railways.… see more
15 days from $7,170 ppView tour details >
Discover two of Germany's most picturesque regions on this fantastic two-centre tour. We explore the halftimbered villages and stunning peaks of the Harz Mountains by heritage railway before visiting the stunning Rhine Gorge, where the legendary Lorelei Rock still casts its spell.… see more
10 days from $3,180 ppView tour details >
Magnificent architecture, iconic monuments and rejuvenated cities combine on a Berlin, Dresden and Prague tour, visiting three of the Continent's most important and most beautiful destinations on a journey into history.… see more
11 days from $3,775 ppView tour details >
After seeing the romantic Neuschwanstein Castle, it is not hard to see why some of the most famous works of literature to come out of Germany are the fairy-tales of the Brothers Grimm. Ranging from dark and bloody to light and funny, these children's stories have been iconic throughout the world since the 19th Century, and have inspired many Disney films, such as 'Sleeping Beauty', originally named 'Dornröschen', or 'Little Briar-Rose', and 'Cinderella' - 'Aschenputtel'.
A country of grand tradition, Germany also plays host to the Oberammergau Passion Play that began over 380 years ago in 1634. This play is held every 10 years, and began after the residents of Oberammergau pledged to perform the play if they could be saved from the ravages of war and the plague. The next play will be performed by the local people in 2020, and will host around 500,000 visitors who will come to the tiny village to witness what is now considered to be the most famous passion play in the world.
Aspects of Germany's cuisine, such as the Black Forest Gâteau, pork schnitzel and apfelstrudel (apple strudel) have gained popularity worldwide, but visitors will find many more specialities to enjoy. Wurst (sausage) is extremely popular; the country produces more than 1,500 different types, with individual regions producing their own unique variations. These are typically served with sauerkraut: finely shredded and fermented cabbage.
Pork is the preferred meat and schweinshaxe - a pork hock served either roasted or boiled - is found on many German menus. Bread, of which there are more than six hundred varieties, and potatoes are both staples of German cuisine. Germany is also famous for its beer and produces a wide range of styles with pilsner, lager, weizen (wheat beer) and schwarzbier (black beer) among the most popular.
Germany enjoys one of Europe's most advanced, efficient and reliable rail networks. Travelling between Germany's major cities on a high-speed ICE (InterCity Express) train is easy, comfortable and enjoyable, and a comprehensive regional network ensures that virtually any destination in the country can be reached by train.
There are also gorgeous scenic railways like the Vulkan Express. Although named an 'express train', the slow-moving Vulkan Express takes one and a half hours to travel 11 miles, giving passengers ample time to take in the beautiful scenery around them, including the Laacher See, a lake formed by a volcanic eruption millions of years ago.
Like most European countries, Germany does not have extreme temperatures. The summers are warm and the winters are mild, and there is always a fairly high chance of rain, so waterproofs are a must. The Alps in the south of the country tend to get a bit colder during the winter, due to the higher altitudes, so if going in January, the coldest month, be prepared for snow.
Tipping in Germany is much as it is in France and England. For good service in an average restaurant 5% - 10% of the bill, or even €2 per person, will usually suffice. In this case, the tip should be given directly to the waiter, as leaving it on the table is considered rude.
The official language of Germany is German. A few useful words to know here would be guten tag (gooten tahg), meaning 'hello', bitte (bitter) meaning 'please', danke, meaning 'thank you' and auf wiedersehen (owf vee-der-zen), which means 'goodbye'.