Germany is a place known for beautiful landscapes, old castles, deliciously hearty food and beer, and much more. Although it’s not at the top of most-visited European countries, it has a few gems that I think every culture-lover and travel enthusiast should experience for themselves.
I lived in Germany for 5+ months, and these are the things I would tell any of my friends or family members to do on their first trip to Germany. Honestly, I would live in Germany again, even though there weren’t many hair products for kinky/curly hair. I encourage my fellow black people to visit Germany, just make sure you pack extra hair products for longer trips.
What does an authentic cultural experience look like in Germany?
Although Germany is about half the size of the state of Texas, the cultures in the North and South are very different. You’re probably more familiar with cultural aspects of Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg, including Lederhosen, beer gardens, pretzels, and sausages. But the fact is every region in Germany has their own local traditions, including their own sausage types, beer variations, and traditional clothing.
5 Cultural Experiences in Germany
#1 Visit a Christmas Market or “Weihnachtsmarkt”
Christmas Markets are a staple of Christmas time in Germany. These festive markets are held all over the country and sell food, drinks, toys, and other goods traditionally made by locals. The markets are beautifully decorated and they make you appreciate the wonder of winter. It snows a lot in Germany during the colder months, so just imagine walking in the German Altstadt as snow falls with hot cocoa and bright holiday lights shining in every direction, with booths that sell all your festive desires.
Pricing: Free to attend but bring 50-100 euros of spending money for the market vendors
#2 Ride the Train From Freiburg im Breisgau to Donaueschingen
One of the best things about Germany are the mountainous landscapes, and Freiburg lies right on the border of the Black Forest, known worldwide for its role in German folklore stories as a mythical, magical forest. Once you leave the forest, you’ll ride by Titisee which is a medium-sized lake in southern Germany and other mountain and valley areas.
Pricing: About 20 euros round-trip
#3 Go on a Hike in the Black Forest or “Schwarzwald”
Hiking is something a lot of Germans enjoy doing year-round. The landscape provides a lot of opportunity for people to hike at all skill levels, so it’s only right to go on a hike while you’re in Germany. Some mountain hikes provide really nice views, like the ones seen from the Black Forest in Freiburg im Breisgau. You can still hike in the colder months, but late spring, summer, and early fall are the best times for hiking (though climate change may say differently).
Pricing: Free if you go by yourself, 50+ euros for a guided tour
#4 Have Lunch at an Altstadt Market
The Altstadt is the center of the city or town, and is usually the oldest area of the city. It traditionally has a large church at the center and operates as a focal point for the city. You can think of it as a “downtown” area. Since the altstadt has lots of old buildings and structures that have been here for 500+ years, they are often filled with tourists, but it's also a great place to grab a bite to each and enjoy the scenery. Germans love to grab a coffee and just “people-watch”, so you can do that too in the Altstadt, there’s plenty to see!
Pricing: 15-20 euros
#5 Eat Schnitzel and Kásespatzle at a local restaurant
Every culture has their own version of fried meat and cheesy pasta. This is the German version. Schnitzel is a juicy piece of pork that is flattened and fried crispy. It’s one of my favorite German foods! The gooey goodness of Käsespatzle, or noodles with cheese, goes really well with the Schnitzel, and I’m craving some now as I tell you about it…
Pricing: 10-15 euros
If you get to try any of these activities in Germany let me know in the comments what you think and if there’s another experience on your list of must-do’s in Germany, tell me what it is!