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10 reasons to visit Germany this winter

From iconic sausages to quirky carnivals, here’s the stuff you seriously have to see

Time Out in association with the German National Tourist Office
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There may be several countries with glorious vistas and unique traditions – but none is quite like Germany. Not only does Germany boast a great football team (well, not so much right now but they’ll be back... to beat us at pens) and a hugely innovative automotive industry, but whether you’re looking for avant-garde architecture, mouth-watering food or historical, fairytale castles, you’ll find it in this vibrant European destination.

So if a visit to this fascinating country is on the cards, pack your coat – because winter is the perfect time to pop by. We’re talking fewer crowds, shopping sales, lower airfares, discounted hotel rates and even better – the possibility of snow. Fancy walking in a winter wonderland? Yeah, us too. Here are ten of the best reasons to visit Germany. Viel Spaß! 

Dip in the thermal waters at the Carolus Thermen

Where is it?
Aachen, a one-hour train ride from Cologne Bonn airport

Why go?
Travel makes your body ache – and that’s the perfect reason to throw in the towel. Let yourself unwind post-sightseeing amongst the steamy waters, and when you feel fully restored, head out to enjoy the rest of this quaint city. Our tip?  Make a beeline for Aachen cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece with windows that reach an astonishing 27 metres.

Take to the streets in a vibrant carnival parade

Where is it?
Bonn and Cologne, from Cologne Bonn airport

Why go?
Colourful and lively, Bonn and Cologne are highlights of the Rhine carnival. Venture along the streets and you’ll find throngs of people dressed as jesters, floats galore and a generous helping of sweets. Oh, and don’t forget to yell out a carnival call – because how often do you get to shout in the street without people questioning your sanity? Alaaf!

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Get up close and personal with the universe at the Universum Science Centre

Where is it?
Bremen, (Bremen airport)

Why go?
Put science under the microscope at this world-famous museum where exhibits range from space and technology to biology and nature. A great day out for science buffs as well as families with curious kids, don’t miss the specialist scorpion robot which was designed for exploring difficult terrain, such as Mars.

Beleuchtete Krämerbrücke mit Ägidenkirche, Krämerbrücke, Erfurt, Thüringen, Deutschland
LOOK Bildagentur der Fotografen

Nibble on artisan chocolates on the old Merchants' Bridge

Where is it?
Erfurt, a two-hour and 15-minute train ride from Frankfurt airport

Why go?
Charmingly medieval (in architecture, not temperament) Erfurt is alive with culture. There are several castles, cathedrals and bridges to gaze upon and if you saunter up to the old Merchants' Bridge you’ll be rewarded with arts galleries, cosy wine taverns, music shops and more. Not only is it picturesque, but Goldhelm Chocolatier is unmissable for those with a sweet-tooth.

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Visit Studentenkarzer – the so-called ‘student jail’

Where is it?
Heidelberg, a one-hour train ride from Stuttgart airport

Why go?
First off,  it’s not quite as terrifying as the name makes it sound. Nope, you won’t find lots of students huddled up with cheap packet noodles, but instead, a house full of graffiti from the 15th century. Once used to punish delinquents, these rooms devolved into party spaces – and impressively (despite all of the boozy revelry), much of Heidelberg Studentenkarzer remains in near-pristine condition.

Try the delicious tradition of ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’

Where is it?
Lübeck, a 45-minute train ride from Hamburg airport

Why go?
‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ is what tea and biscuits is to Brits. Translated into English as coffee and cake, head to the Marzipan Museum and Niederegger Café to get your lips around sweet, thick slabs of marzipan and a perfectly-roasted cup of coffee. You’ll blend in with the locals before you know it.

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Trek around a rich landscape infused with architecture

Where is it?
Potsdam, a 45-minute train ride from Berlin airport

Why go?
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Potsdam’s winter walks are scenic and winding. Pick a path and get on the move – you’ll be able to discover a staggering 30 palaces and parks in just one town, including Babelsberg Palace and Park, Glienicke hunting lodge, and the New Gardens. Phew.

Refuel at the 900-year-old historic sausage kitchen

Where is it?
Regensburg, a one-hour train from ride Nuremberg airport

Why go?
In Deutschland, the sausage is the prince of protein – and it gets royal treatment at Wurstkuchl. With a legacy stretching over centuries, this building seeps with history and an equally satisfyingly meaty aroma (so it’s probably not one for vegans). For a real taste of tradition, be sure to sample the sausage on cabbage.

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Discover a slice of European history at the Interactive Roman Archaeological Museum

Where is it?
Trier, a 50-minute train ride from Luxembourg airport

Why go?
The Romans are some of history’s bad boys. With pretty brutal methods of gaining control, as well as an empire which, at its peak, spanned across parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, this ancient civilisation had a huge influence on global progression. Now, you can be transported through 200,000 years of history at this award-winning museum, aptly set in Germany’s oldest city, Trier.

Wine tasting tours for the most discerning of palettes

Where is it?
Würzburg, a one-hour and 23-minute train ride from Frankfurt airport or one-hour and 20-minute train ride from Nuremberg airport.

Why go?
Hiking across sweeping hills and natural valleys may be rewarding enough, but if you like to finish off your trek with a glass of vino, then Würzburg is the perfect destination. You’ll find German joie de vivre, with tours that take place in lavish baroque and rococo surroundings. Ready to learn about grapes whilst staring off into the sunset? We’ll see you there. Prost!

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