It is no small feat, getting to know a new culture. Hundreds and thousands of years of cultural heritage are rarely contained within a single monument, a single city, a single region. If one were to try to learn more about German culture, one would have to traverse much more than just the usual tourist attractions of Berlin. When it comes to broadening your German experience, here is a hint as to the where and the how.
The capital of Bavaria and Germany’s third biggest city, it is filled with must-see attractions. One need only reach Marienplatz square, the heart of the Alstadt (the Old City) filled with street performers, shops and restaurants, then head in any direction. Just to the south is St. Peter’s Church, the oldest religious building in Munich, and the Viktualienmarkt, the oldest farmer’s market. Farther along, you will find the Deutsches Museum, dedicated to science and technology, and revered for being informative and entertaining to all age groups, as there are about 1000 activities for children between the ages of 3 and 8. On the square’s northern side you will find the Frauenkirche, the dual towered gothic period church, the Residenz Royal Palace, home of Bavarian rulers for centuries, and the The Bayerische Staatsoper, the Bavaria State Opera House. These are all within walking distance.
If you wish to visit the Englisher Garten, one of the world’s largest city parks (larger than Central Park in New York), perfect for a stroll or a picnic, the BMW Welt (BMW World), the Nymphenburg Palace or the Allianz Arena Stadium, you might have to use a car. In fact, we recommend it, there are a number of day trips you could take to the neighboring area of Munich, as there are a number of places worth a visit.
Firstly, the Neuschwanstein Castle, some two hours away by car, is the picturesque fairy tale castle. It is so impressively dreamlike that Walt Disney used it as a model for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Your kids are sure to appreciate the time it will have taken you to get there.
Secondly, it’s a visit to the Alps and the Zugspitze Peak, which is Germany’s tallest peak and stands at almost 3000 meters tall. It is a 90 minute drive and a cable car away, but once you get there, you will be in awe of the panoramic view. On a clear day, you can see as far as 250 km away. But we can guarantee that the drive there will be unforgettable.
Lastly, we invite you to visit the Berchtesgaden, which has been a retreat for royals ever since the early 12th century. Getting there, you can understand why. The scenery is stunning, and it offers a variety of attractions depending on the season during which you choose to visit it. One you must see is the Salzbergwerk, the salt mine which made neighbouring cities rich during the 12th century. For history buffs, Berchtesgaden also houses two reminders of WW2, the Nazi Documentation Center and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest mini fortress.
If you don’t have your car with you, don’t worry, companies like Lurento offer a wide variety of cars for rent. Here’s two German-made cars we would recommend, to complete the experience.
Porsche Cayenne S: A Family Trip
The Cayenne S is a luxury SUV, the second generation of a car many predicted would be Porsche’s downfall, but ended up being their most popular model. While it does have the round light clusters and the smooth nose that the Porsche 911 is famous for, it is still an SUV, and required a more sensible approach to design. As a result, it is not as pretty as their sports cars, but it does feel like one when driving, and that is not to be underestimated. And it does look every bit the sports car when you sit inside, with the five-dial set-up on the dashboard that Porsche are famous for, the lower driving position and the driving wheel straight out of their 918 hypercar. Add to that immensely comfortable seats and plenty of space, and you have a winner on all accounts.
The Cayemme S is a petrol version of the varied Cayenne world. It has a 3.6 litre twin-turbo V6 engine with 420 hp that will get from 0 to 100 kph in 5.5 seconds, and an 8 speed automatic gearbox, controlled from the steering wheel. More importantly, Porsche have included a Sport Plus button in the model, that lets you cut loose while driving, which is a thrill to do in a car this size.
Porsche Carrera 4S Coupe: Just For You
The Carrera 4S Coupe is 4 wheel drive version of the ever popular 911, with recognizable style to in tow. The interior is has a functional 2+2 system, with leather upholstery, and a practical 7-inch screen on the central dashboard loaded with the latest PCM Porsche Communication Management system, that lets you control the car’s infotainment system in swipes, the same way you would a smartphone, increasing driving ease. The sears are low hanging and carry that cacooned feeling, as if there were only you and the road.
The engine is a 3.0 litre twin-turbo flat-6 engine that has 420 hp and 369 ft-lbs of torque that will get you from 0 to 100 kph in 4.1 seconds. It also has the Porsche Traction Management 4 wheel drive system which uses an electro-hydrolic clutch to detect which wheel axel has more grip and switch and move power accordingly, meaning that less experienced drivers need not fear wet roads, which is a common problem for rear wheel drive cars. It comes equipped with 7 speed PDK automatic transmission. This car was built for the autobahn.
Have you driven through Germany? Do you enjoy a fast car or prefer extra room? What is your dream road trip destination?