U.S. News and World Report grabbed some headlines earlier this year when it ranked Germany the “No. 1” country in the world.
Perhaps one would believe that a publication with U.S. in the title might rank the United States the victor. But nope, the U.S. was down the list at #4 — falling behind #2 Canada and #3 United Kingdom.
This ranking got me thinking about my favorite things about Germany. I have visited the country once, and it really exceeded my expectations.
The country’s natural beauty, as shown from the cover photo of the Neckar River in Heidelberg, serves as an excellent backdrop for its many strengths.
So here’s my list!
I’ve never been a pretzel lover. But somehow, the fresh pretzel bread in Germany just totally eclipses all of the tough and chewy fair and fast food varieties that I’ve sampled over the years in the U.S. Delicious, doughy, fresh baked pretzels are plentiful in Germany. Pretzel bread even makes appearances at hotel breakfast buffets. And then, there are the pretzels as big as your head sold at Oktoberfest (pictured above).
#9 WINDOW BOXES FULL OF FLOWERS
Homes in Bavaria are super charming, and often are ornamented with overflowing flower boxes. We visited in October, and even late in the year flowers were everywhere.
#8 WHIMSICAL MURALS ON BUILDINGS
In addition to flower boxes, many of the buildings throughout Bavaria are decorated with paintings and images of daily life.
German food may get a bad rap for being pretty heavy, and schnitzel will never win any awards as a health food. It’s basically a thin, breaded cutlet of meat (your choice which) that is pan fried. Make sure you order some at a local restaurant. The schnitzel pictured above was actually prepared by my husband’s aunt, who lives in Dortmund, Germany.
Most of the time, I don’t like beer. I’m more of a wine/margarita/cocktail, anything BUT beer, person. However, when in Germany, I learned to water down my beers by ordering a “radler” – a half beer/half lemonade concoction.
Whether you are speeding down a speed limitless Autobahn highway, coasting the scenic Romantic Road, or driving along the scenic Rhine River, there are plenty of driving opportunities to be had. Plus, even the rest stops are clean.
#4 ORDER AND CLEANLINESS
Germany is an incredibly clean and well-organized place. This extends all the way from your basic bed and breakfast, to the gas stations along the highways. Beautiful Munich practically sparkles in the photo above.
#3 CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR ROUND
Germany is hands down the best place to buy Christmas trinkets such as wooden ornaments. When I visited the medieval walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I loaded up on Christmas ornaments. My goal is to one day visit the country’s famous Christmas markets.
Oktoberfest is one of the biggest, most famous, parties in the world! So of course it makes the list. I knew all about the beer. But I didn’t realize that couples often buy adorable heart-shaped gingerbread cookies decorated with messages of love written in frosting.
#1 CASTLES AND PALACES
There are so many beautiful, dramatic, storybook castles in Germany situated in equally dramatic landscapes. For me this is what makes Germany the land of fairy tales! I was able to get my princess experience when my husband and I stayed overnight at the Burghotel Auf Schonburg, overlooking the Rhine River, pictured at top left.
Now that I’m done, what are your favorite things about Germany? I definitely think I’ll be planning a return trip soon….