If there’s one place on earth every beer lover should visit, it’s Germany.
While the Germans didn’t invent beer, they did perfect beer production.
More than 500 years ago, the German Purity Law was passed to ensure the ingredients of malt, hops, yeast, and water were the only ingredients used in brewing beer.
Today, Germany boasts approximately 5,000 varieties of beer and 1,500 breweries. So, yeah, you’ll undoubtedly want to visit Germany, sample its plethora of beautiful beers, and visit some of the country’s traditional and modern breweries.
Start planning your trip by checking out the following five best places to visit in Germany to discover new beers and breweries, followed by some helpful travel tips for first-time visitors to the “Land of Poets and Thinkers,” as the European country is often called.
Though, the “Land of Brewers and Beer Drinkers” would also be an appropriate nickname.
The vibrant city of Düsseldorf is home to eight breweries. Most are located in the Old Town.
One of the best is Uerige Brewery. The craft brewery not only produces tasty beers made from roasted malt, caramel malt, and the local Uerige yeast. It also provides public tours, so you can see how the beers are made before you sample some.
Other breweries in Düsseldorf worth checking out include the Füchschen Alt Brewery, Zum Schlüssel, and Hitchcock.
There are also many wonderful bars in the city where you can sample a wide variety of beers. Some of the best are Kassette, Holy Craft, and Sternschnuppe.
If you only try one beer in Düsseldorf, though you’re sure to want to taste more than one type, go for the local specialty of altbier, which means “old beer” in German. The beer is made via the traditional top-fermentation method, which gives it a distinctive fruity flavor.
Every beer lover knows of the famous Oktoberfest. So, if you’re heading to Germany, you will want to visit the original festival, which takes place in Munich each fall.
Each year, the two-week festival sees locals and visitors from around the world consuming around 14 million locally-brewed beers!
But even if you visit Munich at other times of the year, you’re sure to enjoy drinking local varieties of beer in the city’s many bars, beer halls, and beer gardens. The famous Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten and Hofbräuhaus am Platzl are two of the best.
You can also visit Munich breweries like Paulaner Brewery, Augustiner Brauerei, and Spaten Brauerei.
Berlin is home to several breweries, such as Marcus Brewery Berlin, Hops & Barley, and Eschenbräu, and over 4,500 bars and clubs, so there are plenty of opportunities to learn about beer-brewing in Berlin and sample a wide variety of German beers.
Furthermore, in recent years, many craft breweries have begun putting new twists on classic German beers.
Speaking of classic beers, one beer you should not miss out on when in Berlin is the Berliner Weisse. The sour, cloudy beer dates back to the sixteenth century. Today, it is only produced by Berliner Kindl Weisse.
Cologne is worth a visit as it’s the only place in the world where you can drink authentic Kölsch beer. Unique to the city of Cologne, the top-fermented Kölsch has been brewed since 1906.
There are also lots of breweries and bars in Cologne to visit. Some of the best breweries, out of the thirteen in Cologne, are Braustelle, Brauhaus Pütz, and Sion Kölsch. As for bars, make sure you check out Craft Beer Corner Coeln, Bierhaus am Rhein, and Brauerei zur Malzmühle.
Beer production is an integral part of Nuremberg’s history. In 1303, the city introduced the beer purity standard called Reinheitsgebot, which required barley malt only to be used in the brewing of beer.
After the law was passed, Nuremberg grew as a response to the development of its brewing industry.
Today, you can’t only visit local breweries and bars. You can also take a trip to the historic rock-cut cellars that residents of Nuremberg have used for centuries to store their beer.
If you want to visit breweries in Nuremberg, some of the best are Tucher Altes Sudhaus, Schanzenbräu Brauerei, and Eppelein & Friends.
For bars, head to Vintage Bar, Bar Tante Betty, or Die Rote Bar, to name just a few of the many inviting drinking establishments in the city.
Nine Travel Tips
Now you know some of the best places to visit to sample new beers and explore breweries, it’s worth providing you with some helpful travel tips.
Here are nine that you should take note of when traveling to Germany.
1. Understand the Entry Requirements
Before arriving in Germany, make sure you’re well-informed about the entry requirements. If you’re a non-EU citizen, you might need a Schengen visa depending on your home country. Remember to check visa details and processing times in advance of your travel dates.
Always keep your passport available, especially upon arrival, as you must show it when going through customs. Review the customs regulations beforehand to know what goods, like food or large amounts of cash, need to be declared upon entering or departing Germany.
Be aware that these requirements might change. So, always check up-to-date information from your local German embassy or consulate before traveling.
Also, make sure you take photocopies of all your important documents with you in case you lose any of them or they get stolen.
2. Make Sure You Take Essential Items with You
When packing for Germany, there are a few crucial items you shouldn’t forget.
First off, an international power adapter is necessary as German outlets use type F sockets that might differ from the sockets used in your country.
Packing appropriate clothing for the weather is vital. Layers come in handy due to fluctuating temperatures. And don’t forget a good rain jacket, as Germany often has occasional rain showers. It can even rain in the summer.
Adding a small first-aid kit with essential medication, bandages, and other medical supplies to your luggage can be life-saving if minor injuries occur.
Lastly, don’t forget essentials like toiletries, snacks for travel days, and forms of entertainment like books or downloaded movies to keep you occupied when on bus trips.
3. Learn a Little of the German Language
Even though Germany is known for its high proficiency in English, knowing the basics of the German language can greatly enhance your travel experience.
You don’t have to speak German fluently, but knowing words like “Guten Tag” (Hello) and “Danke” (Thank you), will undoubtedly be handy. You should also learn some essential phrases, such as “Where is the bathroom?”
Engaging with locals in this way encourages friendly interactions and shows respect. Also, by learning a little German before you go, you will be able to do things like navigate cities, order food, and buy items in stores more easily.
You might even like to enroll in an online course so that you can speak German like a native.
4. Travel at the Right Time
The best times to visit Germany are spring (April to June) and fall (September to October), due to moderate weather and fewer crowds of tourists.
But you can also have a great time visiting Germany in the summer. And if you enjoy winter sports, you’ll find many activities to engage in during Germany’s winter months.
Each season offers a unique experience, so choose a time to travel according to your preference.
5. Familiarize Yourself with Public Transport
Germany’s public transportation system is reliable and punctual.
By familiarizing yourself with the country’s train system, called U-Bahn or S-Bahn, buses, and trams before you arrive, you’ll save time trying to navigate around cities.
6. Be Aware of German Dining Habits
The lunchtime meal is typically larger than the evening dinner in Germany, so brace yourself for a big midday spread.
Also, Germans refer to their afternoon snack as “Kaffee und Kuchen,” which means coffee and cake. It’s traditional to enjoy a slice of cake with your afternoon coffee, so definitely give it a try.
7. Understand the Tipping Culture
A tip, known as a “Trinkgeld” in German, of around 10% should be given at restaurants and to taxi drivers. Tips aren’t generally given to others, apart from places like high-end hotels.
Also, be aware that you shouldn’t leave your tip on the table or just hand it to the taxi driver. You should instead ensure the person charges you with your tip included. Therefore, you need to tell the person how much of a tip you would like to leave. That’s another reason why it’s useful to learn some German language basics.
8. Stay Connected
Germany’s cellular network follows European standards, so ensure your phone can accept an international SIM card before traveling.
Also, consider buying a local SIM card on arrival if data roaming charges from your home service provider will be expensive.
9. Understand the Pfand
If you intend to buy bottled drinks like beer or soda in stores or kiosks in Germany, you need to know that there’s a deposit system known as “Pfand.”
You pay extra upfront. You will be refunded when you return the bottle. So, don’t throw away your bottles!
So, there you have it. You now know the best places to visit in Germany as a beer-lover and you’re equipped with the right tips to help your trip go smoothly.
Now all you have to do is plan and book your vacation.