Lists! > Ten German Getaways
10 Summer Weekend Getaways (Germany)
During the summer months, I will concentrate the Lists! features on potential weekend jaunts or excursions that are off-the-beaten path, with a great local flavor and/or that attract more locals as tourists. For June, I concentrate on Germany... In July, it will be other countries in Europe.
Well known cities like Cologne or Nuremberg need not apply, nor anyplace half-way connected to the Koenigschlosser. These are great places you are less likely to have heard of, but just as likely to enjoy for a day trip or weekend. Keeping this list to ten was not easy!!!
#10. Schwäbisch Hall
Schwäbisch Hall is a wonderful little town that those living in German have heard of but probably never had a chance to visit. Take this advice: Go there. It's a wonderful day trip to a beautiful town with loads of half-timber houses, pleasant parks, and summer concerts. It's easy to get to as well! (Autobahn 6, Exit 42)
#9. Thuringian Holiday (Weimar shown below)
The province of Thueringen is pretty easy to explore -- much of its attraction are in a row: Eisenach, with its famous Wartburg Castle, the fabolous capital of Erfurt, and Weimar, the site of the founding of Germany's first democratic republic (ok, so it didn't last). Weimar is highlighted here because Erfurt is already very popular among the Euro tourist crowd, while Weimar attracts more locals seeking to learn more about history.
#8. Hockenheim Race Track (on race day of course)
Yeah, I know, this isn't an exciting photo. But, if you are a race fan and you happen to be in the western part of Germany, you may want to hunt on-line and check out a race? Hockenheim hosts races frequently over the summer (including major Formula 1 events), and during that time this sleepy little hamlet of 5 thousand grows into a throng a quarter-million strong!!!
Summertime is the ideal time to head north, and one of the most impressive cities up north is the red-brick island city of Lübeck not far from the Danish border. The site of the formation of the Hanseatic League, Lübeck has lots of history and rich architecture, plus plenty of summer activities!
Been to Rothenburg already? Twice? Three times? Brought all your stateside family there, too? How about an alternative? About a 45-minute drive south is another of Germany's well-preserved medieval towns, Dinkelsbühl, except this one is better preserved and has far fewer tourists -- therefore less kitsch. Worth checking out.
#5. Schloss Wilhelmshoehe, Kassel
The northern Hessen city of Kassel is impressive in its own right, but the Schloss is the reason to go -- particularly in the afternoon when all the artificial waterfalls and cascades in the park are running. A guided "water tour" begins here at the Oktagon at the very top of Wilhelmshoehe in mid-afternoon with the opening of its magnificent cascades. Each half-hour the tour climbs down the hillside to another fabulous water show.
Trier is a very popular spot on the Mosel River Valley. Loaded with well-preserved Roman architecture, Trier also sits at the southern end of the Germany's Mosel wine country. Follow a visit to downtown Trier with a drive up the Mosel through some of its fabulous wine villages and sample the local wares!
#3. Driving the Rhein River (Bingen am Rhein shown)
A wonderful Sunday drive is following the Rhein River in between its confluence with the Main River at Mainz to that of the Moselle River at Koblenz. In between is an eye-catching spectacle of steep banks of vineyards and castle after castle after castle. If you don't feel like driving, take a ferry ride. Or better yet, take a night ride during one of the famous Rhein Aflame events, complete with fireworks!
One of my favorite places in Germany. The Schwerin Castle is just too pretty sitting on an island in a pristine lake, but the rest of the town has gotten a tremendous facelist. Another place to go out of the way for!
#1. Lake Constance (Lindau shown)
The key to enjoying Lake Constance (which can be overrun by tourists in some spots) is to venture around a bit -- preferrably by boat -- among some of the lake's greater sights. Lindau is my favorite, but Meersburg and Konstanz are places not to be missed. Although these towns can be busy in the summer, I never found them so overwhelmingly crowded that they can't be enjoyed (nor has parking seemed like an impossible task).
Next month: Alternative places to the usual European hot spots!
(c) 2003 Tom Galvin