If you're planning to travel to Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg or anywhere in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, here are a few useful tips.
Some say the best way to travel in Germany/Europe is on the trains! Rail Europe 4A is a joint venture of the French National Railways (SNCF) and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is the leader in European Rail distribution worldwide. Rail Europe offers Eurail passes, point to point tickets and high speed trains like the TGV and Eurostar (the channel tunnel train).
Stay east for history-packed, arty Berlin and visit up-and-coming Leipzig. Stroll around Hamburg’s harbour, admire Dresden’s opera house, and capture Weimar’s classical cityscape. Head west for Cologne’s Gothic cathedral and Frank Gehry-graced Düsseldorf. Travel by train to Germany’s south to medieval Heidelberg and eclectic Munich.
Cruise the UNESCO-listed vine-clad Middle Rhine Valley or hike the Black Forest in the southwest. Explore the hilly, unspoilt countryside of the Hunsrück or travel south by train to Germany’s Upper Bavaria where fairytale castles, chocolate-box villages and the mountainous beauty of the Alps await.
Buy traditional cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest, home-bottled Mosel valley wine, Lübeck marzipan and full-flavoured beer from Franconian breweries. Indulge in designer labels from Munich’s boutiques and Düsseldorf’s Kö promenade.
Eat & Drink
Sample sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and Berlin’s beloved currywurst (curry sausage). Regional specialities include semmelknödel (dumplings) and maultaschen (stuffed pasta pasties) in the south to sea-fresh shrimp and herring-type rollmops in the north. Prized German beers include golden Pilsener and dark Altbier.
See Germany by train by travelling with ICE and Deutsch Bahn, with a scenic ride from Cologne to historic Koblenz where the Ehrenbreitstein fortress offers spectacular views over the castes and vineyards of the Rhine Valley.
Exchange homes and save on accommodation costs
HomeForExchange.com is a marketplace for non-commercial exchanging of houses, campers, rv's or even yachts. Offer your home for exchange and save on accommodation costs. Home exchange is an alternative for renting a holiday property and is gaining popularity rapidly.
Most tourists stop by in London on the way around Germany/Europe. The London Pass is a sightseeing card which gives holders free entry to over 55 sights and tourist attractions in London. Customers simply pay the one off price for The London Pass of their choice (there are 4 durations to choose from) and can then enter as many of the tourist attractions included on the pass that they wish to, without paying. Some of the most popular attractions which can be visited free with the London Pass are the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, London Zoo, the London Aquarium and Shakespeare's Globe.
Paris Sightseeing Pass
If you're stopping by Paris, the equivalent is Paris Sightseeing Pass, a sightseeing card which gives holders free entry to over 60 sights and tourist attractions in Paris. Customers can enter as many of the tourist attractions included on the pass that they wish to, without paying, plus travel for free on the Paris Metro system. Attractions which can be visited free with the Paris Sightseeing Pass are the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, a Seine river cruise, an open top bus sightseeing tour, the Grevin Wax Museum and the Palace of Versailles.
If you prefer to cruise around Europe, check out Cruise Direct for online deals.
Course timetables and enrolment
- German is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union.
- Germany has the largest economy in the EU, and is an industrial giant on the world stage. Companies and organisations from Siemens to Carl Zeiss, BMW and the Deutsche Bank have formidable reputations world-wide.
- German technology and know-how are widely respected around the world, and organisational skills are immediately apparent when one visits any of the German-speaking countries.
- New Zealand has to engage more with the German-speaking world if it is to establish a stronger base for its exports in Europe.
- Young Kiwis can go and work in Germany for one year under a working holiday scheme. A knowledge of the German language would obviously help enormously on this particular OE!
- Some of the big cities such as Berlin are among the liveliest in Europe, with an enormous range of events throughout the year, many of them geared to the younger population.
- Young people in Germany seem to be on the same kind of wavelength as young Kiwis; they usually get on well.
- The Germans and the Swiss come to New Zealand in large numbers – and usually love it!
- Germans are usually very environmentally aware, and are often innovators in green issues.
- Germany has a rich cultural heritage, and has made huge contributions to world literature, painting, music and philosophy.
- The German-speaking world has produced thinkers whose ideas have changed the way people look at the world: from Luther to Marx, to Einstein and to Freud.
- People are often surprised by the beauty of the German countryside, with its dense forests and deep valleys, also by the charms of its many historical towns and villages. Austria and Switzerland have wonderful mountain landscapes. And with extensive hiking trails, all three countries are a tramper’s paradise!