Christmas Markets in Bavaria
The Christmas Markets in Germany are legendary, but I want to point out two of the best. Krist-Kindles Mart in Nurnberg and the market in Wurzburg are outstanding! the ambience is fantastic, the goods are real and the people are warm and wonderful. It helps if you speak German, but Wurzburg is a college town an most students speak English. It gets even better when you walk away from the marketplace. Wurzburg has a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Residence of the Prince-Bishops and Festung Marienberg which is the castle dominating the landscape of the Main River valley. Try a "bocks beutel" of Silvaner Reisling or Muller-Thurgau. These bottles are unique to Franconia. (If they remind you of a Mateus bottle, you need to understand that Portugal stole the design from Bavaria.)
Explore the town...the shops...
Quaint and lovely...especially at Christmas time when we were there. I enjoy finding locally made products when I travel. However, in today's economy, with so much international business going on, it becomes more difficult to find things one wouldn't see at home. That's why small shops and little villages are more appealing to me. It's where you will find the real 'feel' of a place.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
The "Tetraeder" in Bottrop is a walkable pyramid-like steel contruction, serving as a viewing platform, on a 120 m high hill that was created by coal mining waste. From the Tetraeder, a wide view over the industrial landscape of the Ruhr area can be enjoyed. The Tetraeder was opened to the public in 1995. No entrance fee is charged.
Borussia Dortmund is one of Germanys most popular soccer teams with a long history. Next to the "Westfalenstadion" arena, the "Borusseum" is a small but fine history museum dedicated to the origins and the greatest triumphs of this soccer team. Some of the highlights: the "trophy room" and a small cinema where a nonstop-movie with scenes from the most dramatic matches in the history of Borussia Dortmund is shown in permanent rotation.
Munich became one of my favourite cities in the world after I visited here in 2004 when I was 18. I came here on a road trip with another Canadian girl I'd met during my exchange prorgram; we spent two nights here in a small little hostel and had a very nice time. If you're ever traveling with a significant other, this is a great city to come to for a date or a weekend get-away. It's really beautiful there, with lots of old churches, monuments and museums. The many large fountains and bistros with nice candlelight tables outside give it a romantic touch. I loved the old city hall the best. The English gardens were nice to stroll through, and there was also great shopping and night life. I'd love to come to a place like this on my honeymoon. I'd recommend visiting Munich if you're in Germany - it's also not far away from other main attractions you might be visiting (like the Neuschwanstein Castle.)Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Arts and Culture
Kloster Weltenburg & Donaudurchbruch
Weltenburg monastery - founded by Irish-Scottish monks in 620 - is the oldest monastery in Bavaria and claims to have the oldest monastery beer-brewery in Germany, too. It is located just past the "Donaudurchbruch" (Danube gorge).
On the monastery grounds, the Church of St. George, built by the Asam brothers in the first half of the 18th century, is the main attraction.
The monastery can be reached by a 1 hour boat tour from Kelheim. It is possible to hike back to Kelheim in ca. two hours, through beautful woods with views of the Danube, or to make the return trip by boat.
The "Befreiungshalle" is a monument on a hill above Kelheim and the Danube-Altmühl River confluence. It was built for King Ludwig I. of Bavaria between 1842 and 1863 as a monument to the German liberation wars against Napoleon I. In the interior of the circular hall, with a high cupola ceiling, the architects have placed memorials to all battles against Napoleon I. where German soldiers participated. Behind each memorial, the statue of a victory goddess is placed.
From Kelheim, a short but steep hike leads to the Befreiungshalle. Several viewpoints on the plateau allow great vistas of the Danube and the Altmühl River valley.
Eichstätt is an interesting historic city along the Altmühl cycling path. It is one of the oldest bishops` seats in Germany, which reflects in the many churches that can be found here. In the 30 Years War, it was sacked and plundered by the Swedish army, and then rebuilt in the baroque style. Among the major sights of Eichstätt are the castle, the cathedral, the historic market square and the Residenzplatz square with an ensemble of baroque palaces.
A rather grisly reminder of Eichstätts history is the iron cage on a crane which was used to punish fraudulent bakers: they were put into the cage and lowered into the Altmühl river.
Aachen has great historical significance for German and European history, as the carolingian emperor Charlemagne chose it to be his residence and built the largest cathedral in Europe in 796 here, as a copy of the Ravenna cathedral. Due to later additions, it is a curious mix of styles; the italo-byzantine architectural style with many ceiling mosaics is the most impressive feature of the cathedral. Charlemagne is intererred within the cathedral; 30 kings and twelve queens were crowned here. The cathedral treasury should not be missed.
Another important Aachen sight ís the gothic Old Townhall. On the square before the townhall, a famous statue of Charlemagne can be seen in a fountain.
Zeche Zollern (Dortmund)
The Zeche Zollern is an industrial heritage monument in Dortmund (Ruhr area). The former coal mine is a complex of two mining towers, a railway station, a machinery hall and several administrative buildings with art nouveau-elements. Inside one mining tower, an exhibition on the working conditons of the miners and the processing of the coal is very interesting. It also has a viewing platform with vistas of the whole facility and the surrounding area. Temporary exhibitions and events are often held on the grounds of Zeche Zollern.
The Gasometer in Oberhausen was originally built as a gas-tank in the 1920`s, and in use until 1988. It was converted into an exhibition and event hall in 1993/1994. The Gasometer is also featured in the "industrial heritage" route in Germany, a collection of former industrial buildings then converted into museums or historical monuments, instead of just dismantling out-of-use buildings that had served their economic purpose. The Gasometer also has a viewing platform with excellent vistas of the surrounding areas.
Among the best-known Gasometer exhibitions was the "Big Air Package" by Christo and Jean Claude in 2013, with a huge floating textile bubble inside the building.
Altmühl River Cycling Path
The Altmühl River cycling path in Bavaria is 250 km long, starting in Rotheburg ob der Tauber and ending in Kelheim, where the Altmühl River joins the Danube. The path is a very flat and easy course and is suitable for families with children; it is marked by yellow - green markers all the way. For the most part, the path leads through rural areas apart from public roads.
The Altmühl Cycling Path is one of the most popular routes in Germany. Some major sights along the way:
- the Oldtown of Rothenburg
- the castle in Colmberg
- Herrieden & Ornbau village
- Lake Altmühl (birdwatching spots on an island in the lake!)
- Gunzenhausen oldtown
- Pappenheim Castle
- Fossil Museum Solnhofen (Archaeopteryx)
- stone formations near Dollnstein (Twelve Apostles)
- baroque Eichstätt with its castle and cathdral
- Donaudurchbruch Kelheim.
In Kelheim, it is possible to join a boat tour on the Danube to Kloster Weltenburg and hike back (ca. 2 hours) from here to Kelheim. Highly recommended!
Ruhr Valley Cycling Path
I always wanted to do the Ruhr Valley-cycling route, which starts at the Ruhr source in the Sauerland, and ends in Duisburg where the Ruhr River meets the Rhine. Rumour had it that it is one of the most underrated cycling paths in Germany; most people associate the Ruhr Valley with an overcrowded area of big cities, industrial plants and environmental pollution. This is a picture that might have been correct in the 1970`s, but not anymore.
The Ruhr River is, for the most part, re-naturized and feels like a real river and not like a man-made-canal. In fact, you don`t even realize that you are cycling through one of the most densely populated areas in Germany. Heavy industry has been downsized since the 1980`s, and many former plants have been converted into open-air museums.
The path follows the course of the river (most times), and there is lots of interesting things to see alongside: the oldtown areas of Arnsberg and Hattingen, the moated castles of Kemnade, Herbede and Hugenpoet, industrial museums like the former steelwork Henrichshütte in Hattingen and "Zeche Nachtigall", one of the first coal mines in the Ruhr area, the painted church Bochum-Stiepel, and Duisburg with its Tiger&Turtle sculpture, the Zoo, the inner harbour area and the "Binnensschifffahrts-Museum".
As of now, I have not completed the path - the part between Dahlhausen and Duisburg is still missing - but intend to do so in 2014.
Migrating Wild Geese - Wesel/Xanten
In the last decades, due to harsh winters in Siberia and Scandinavia, more and more wild geese migrated from their home regions to the Lower Rhine meadows around Xanten, Wesel and Kranenburg, where winters are usually mild. Nowadays, a variety of different geese species congregate in their thousands through the winter months and can be seen grazing on the meadows. One of the best places to watch them is the "Bislicher Insel" in Xanten, near the ferry station. Please do not walk too close to the geese and bring binoculars instead, as the geese are shy and easily disturbed. The local tourist offices also offer guided tours to the geese - for a small fee; inquire there for geese birdwatching tours.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most prserved and finest old medieval cities in Germany , dating back to the 14th century.
You can enjoy a 2-3 hours travel inside the old town walls , enjoy a local dish called schneeballen (snow ball).
The city is part of the German romantic road.
- Castles and Palaces
Obermarkt 37, 82418
Good for: Families
Gorgeous hotel, large comfortable rooms, nice service and a terrific location just a 5 minutes walk...more
I went to munich to visit the octoberfest last year. It was really great and I liked all the beer...more
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