• Population: 82.5 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Berlin
  • Area: 357,027 sq km (137,849 sq miles)
  • Major language: German
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 76 years (men), 81 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Euro = 100 cents
  • Der Spiegel – news weekly, English-language


In the Federal Republic of Germany was born the most dangerous ideas of our time. The story of Germany is essentially one of a clash of ideas. Such conceptions that occurred in its history-laden soil are the relativity (theory of-), sex and sexuality (theories of-), communism, and fascism. Talking about terrible ideas, the conception of the atomic bomb, it all happened right here.  The understatement is that the Oktoberfest, beer, wurst, discotheques, and Birkenstocks basically sum up the German enigma, but insufficiently and inappropriately so.

Beyond folks in socks and sandals during spring, Germans are just the most interesting kind. And while it may seem hard to elicit a smile, or the German langue may sound anything but friendly, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find here when the sun is up. German castles have inspired the greatest stories in our modern world, as have their schools of thought influenced modern theories and research from physics to politics. There is no point in attempting to enumerate the German mind’s innovations or the celebrated individuals of this great nation who have moved, shaken, and defined the world. The epitome of “roads less travelled” can be found in Germany, if you have the guts to explore it yourself.


Germany (51 00 N, 9 00 E), in Central Europe, has a total area of 357,022 km2 of mostly uplands, especially in the centre and the alpine south, where the Bavarian Alps is. The zenith of Germany is the Zugspitze at 2,963 m above sea level. Meanwhile, low plains run in the north where the lowest point is, the Neuendorf bei Wilster with a depression of -3.54 m. Germany has a strategic location in the North European Plain where it shares borders with more nations than any other country in Europe.


Germany has a temperate climate for the most part, and marine along the entrance to the Baltic Sea.  

The climate in Germany is seriously cooler and more humid than as is mostly in the United States, which shares the same climate classification.  Winters and summers are both cool, cloudy, and wet. Still, the sun shines stronger


With a population of 82,282,988, Germany is the 2nd most populous country in all of Europe next to Russia, which is perplexing considering the low fertility rate of 1.4 children per mother. In the world, Germany ranks as the 15th largest country by population. The majority of this population are Germans, comprising about 91.5% of its entirety. The Turkish minority are a solid 2.4%, while the remainder are other nationalities (Greek, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Danish, Sorbian/Slavic, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian) or mixed races (German and other).

Still, there is a growing population of foreign citizens in Germany that exist by the millions. In fact, Germany host for the 3rd highest number of international immigrants worldwide, about 10 million (or 5%) of the world’s 191 million migrants, according to the United Nations Population Funds. At the same time, a huge immigrant population of Germans (and descendants thereof) have settled in the U.S., Brazil, and Canada.


GERMAN is official and de facto language in the country. Standard German (West Germanic) is predominantly spoken. German is not just any language. Designated with prestige, German is the most widely spoken first language in the EU, not just one of the 23 official languages of the union. One of the world’s major languages, German is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

German dialects are also in existence. German is a pretty simple language to use for English speakers because English is originates from Low German, only German uses compounding like the word for speed limit (geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung). Think Shakespeare’s Early Modern English – Modern German syntax sounds like it. As with ENGLISH, a huge population, particularly of the younger generation, can speak


As of the latest statistics, Christianity is still the major religion in Germany with almost 50 million adherents or 63% of the population. Of this, 30% are Roman Catholics, almost the same population as Protestants (29.9%), while 1.6% of Germans declare themselves as Orthodox Christians, mostly Greeks and Serbs. Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are also minor religions that are practiced in Germany. A sizeable number of Germans (47%) believe God exists, and 25%, that a spirit or life force is present.


Germany is a divine location for an expanse of travellers. Germany’s metropolitan cities exude energy and life, but Germany still holds many unspoiled pockets and corners. The mountainous nature of the terrain essentially means a vast array of gratis activities, quaint B&B’s, majestic hilltop castles, decades-old ice cream parlours, and a lot of walking. To be honest, there is no other wilderness as awe-inspiring as the German wald. A trek in the wide mountain peaks and panoramic views of tourist haven Schwarzwald or the breadth of Thuringia, the “green heart of Germany” is worth a side trip. Be it in the celebrated lush of Weimar or that small bucolic town of Ilmenau, anyone’s bound for a crash course on enlightenment as Goethe himself was when his revelations daunted him right in these mountains and forests.

Naturally, though, a travel to Germany begins in its more prominent cities. Nine of the most famous travel destinations include Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, Dresden, Bremen, Düsseldorf, and Nuremberg. Frankfurt, Berlin, and Hamburg reflect Germany’s future, while Bremen, Nuremberg, Dresden, Cologne, and Munich (the site of the Oktoberfest), its past. And if Berlin is the national capital, Düsseldorf is Germany’s fashion capital. Geography plays a part in the diversity here, but so does the weather. Attractions and activities change as the seasons, from skiing and snowboarding in winter, to sledging in spring; water sports in summer, to ice skating in winter.  Indeed, there is so much to see, do, and go to that a few ramblings can’t cover, like the Rein, the Neuschwanstein Castle, Oktoberfest, Love Parade, and football. With Germany’s top teams, watching a football game is undeniably a must.

By the way, who knows why Oktoberfest is on September?  The Germans really have their own approach towards things, and this is most evident with their food. So ever thought of spritzing cologne in Cologne, eating a hamburger in Hamburg, chowing down a frankfurter in Frankfurt, or slopping on a berliner in Berlin? Like France, German cities have become household lexicon, most particularly in the food arena. Just how much into food? One of its cities, Essen, actually means “to eat” while it can also stand as the noun for food. While this does point towards the etymological origin of the word, fact remains food is important to Germans particularly with the built of trees they possess.


But before the emergence of their national cuisines, it took centuries of social and political evolution. The breakfast buffet in hotels do simplify German cuisine: käse(cheese), cold cuts, and brot or bread. Brot or brötchen (bread roll) is vital to the national gastronomy (not just breakfast), and there are 600 main types of bread, 1,200 kinds of pastries and rolls, and about 17,000 bakeries to prove this. Potatoes or kartoffel are also a major part of the cuisine and can be mashed (kartoffelpüree), boiled (salzkartoffeln), fried (bratkartoffeln) or French-fried (pommes frites). One look and it may seem Germans don’t actually like cooking their food. I mean, dry muesli in the morning and cold sandwiches at night?

German lunch…now, that’s a different discussion. Being invited to a family lunch is among the best things that can happen in your travel. A meal of meat, potatoes, gravy, and side vegetables may seem typical, but it’s comfort food and delicious no less. Dealing with cooked food now, fast food or schnellimbiss in Germany is warm and fresh and no longer just hotdogs with sauerkraut or currywurst. Döner kebab, gyros, and Chinese takeout, are not just gratifying and cooked fresh versus the microwaveable meals, but economical too. Regardless of method of preparation, it is normal for German food and ingredients to have high quality and freshness. To finalize, don’t skip the wursts, spargel, potatoes, pasta, fast food, and the bier. Don’t neglect a chance at a slice of Blackforest Cake which originated here – Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. That’s German cuisine for dummies.


Josh Boorman


Backpacking Addictz



Twitter: @backpackaddictz

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Joshua Boorman

Joshua Boorman

Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
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Joshua Boorman

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