Germany on a Budget
Wilkommen in Deutschland
Guten Tag! My first visit to Deutschland (Germany) was in the 1990's when I had to pay for everything in German Marks. I fondly remember how far my money went in those days. Staying at a cozy pension, eating good food, and buying Birkenstocks was very affordable. But things have changed in the 21st Century and Germany has gotten to be rather expensive.
Still there's so many things that I like about Germany and I come back as often as I can to visit especially when I'm working in neighboring Austria. I have friends in Germany, I can get by fairly well with the language and I'm always yearning to go back to Germany to hike the Alps and be addressed as Frau Adrianna.
Germany can very much be enjoyed on a budget whether you travel north or south or east or west. So follow me as we travel through Germany on a budget.
Berlin is earning a very favorable impression as the city that's the "it" place to visit. From first class theater to late night cabaret Berlin is buzzing with excitement. Some of the restaurants rival Paris and the art, design, fashion, and music scene are pretty awesome. A city hop on and hop off tour is a wonderful way to get in tune with Berlin and its beat.
There's a lot to see in Berlin so after you get to know the city a bit be sure to spend a bit of time checking out Pariser Plats, The Reichstag Building, and Charlottenburg Palace and Park. Across from Charlottenburg Park are six museums.
After all the exploring have an affordable meal at City Chicken known for outstanding rotisserie chicken. Berlin Burger International has large and tasty burgers at reasonable prices and Requisite Currywurst adds a bit of spice to its wurst.
Spending a few nights in exciting Berlin is loads of fun. Hotel Huettenpalast is a unique kind of place known for gramping (glamour & camping). It's an eco friendly hotel that offers comfortable sleeping in a loft room, caravan, or wood cabin. The City Hostel of Berlin is located in the historic heart of Berlin known as the "Mitte" and is a popular place to stay. For an old fashioned atmosphere try the Pension Funk. The Pension Funk is steps away from Ku'damm Strasse a street well known for shopping.
After Berlin it's off to the university town of Heidelberg.
Consider staying at either Pension Jeske or Steffi's Hostel and than enjoy the youthful atmosphere of Heidelberg. The university here is the oldest in Germany. Don't miss the Old Town (Alstadt) and the famous Heidelberg Castle when visiting the area. Enjoy a walk on the path of the Philosopher's Walk as well as crossing the Old Bridge over the Neckar River. Before leaving Heidelberg be sure to have a few beers at a local beer garden.
Old Bridge (Heidelberg)
In the foothills of the Black Forest is Baden Baden known for its thermal baths (hot springs). Why not splurge and spend a day in this spa town where good health and relaxation is the name of the game. Linde Gasthaus is a reasonably priced place to stay in Baden Baden for a night before heading to Stuttgart.
When your train arrives at the main station in Stuttgart you'll be stepping into a city that was founded in the 10th century. Stuttgart is the 6th largest city in Germany and is known for its automotive industry. This is the city of churches, towers, parks and squares. It's also where Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have their headquarters.
Attractions revolving around the automotive industry include a visit to the Mercedes Benz factory and the Mercedes Benz Museum and Porsche Museum.
There's nothing quite like a Deutsch Bakeri (German Bakery) for delicious breads and desserts. One of Germany's most famous cookies are the Lebkuchen spice cookies. Especially popular at Christmas these cookies are simply irresistible. You can buy them in small tins and believe me after just one bite you'll be happy you bought the whole tin.
When in Stuttgart the best budget lodging is either a stay at the Inter-Hostel or the Hotel Le Village.
From Stuttgart it's time to had to the laid back region of Germany known as Bavaria. My favorite part of Germany is Bavaria. This is where I'd like to settle down for years to come and run my own pension in the heart of the Alps and enjoy the company of those happy Germans who know how
to enjoy life.
Back in 2011 after spending several weeks working in Kitzbuhel, Austria I had a one week vacation at the end of August before heading back to the United States. I just couldn't make up my mind where spend that week and an inner voice kept repeating; "Go to Garmisch, Go to Garmisch." so I followed my hunch and bought a one way ticket to Garmisch from Kitzbuhel.
Three hours and 40 minutes later after taking a scenic train ride I arrived in Garmisch. I had no place to stay so I started looking for a tourist office and sure enough one appeared faster than I could have imagined. Within minutes a kind German girl found me a room in a pension for only 32 Euro's a night and it included breakfast.
I arrived at Gastehaus Maurer, Schmiedstr 7 hot from the heat and very thirsty. Frau Maurer was very kind and offered me a complimentary bottle of water and took me up to my cozy room. There were mini Milka chocolates spread over my pillow and I enjoyed everyone of them.
Gastehaus Maurer, Garmisch
My room had a window that faced the mountains in the distance and I could hear the roosters in the yard across the street. (Music to my ears).
It didn't take me long to make friends with two nice gentleman from Stuttgart who joined me at breakfast the next morning. We enjoyed a bountiful buffet of German sausages and breads, cheese and yogurt, fresh boiled eggs, and a pot of coffee & tea.
Herr Maurer and Frau Maurer are the perfect hosts. They run a very nice bed & breakfast and make their guests feel right at home. There's a refrigerator stocked with beers, juices, and water for when you get thirsty. The Maurer's were very kind in lending me a bicycle to explore the gorgeous region filled with cute cows, farms, lakes, and glorious mountains. Gastehaus Maurer is a delightful pension (bed & breakfast) in the heart of Garmisch. It's close to all the action and yet located on a quiet residential street.
Neighboring Partenkirchen is a true Bavarian town with loads of pubs and restaurants. You can hear musicians playing Bavarian folk music as you sip on beer.
I fell in love with Garmisch and all its charm and having two friends to share my time with in lovely Garmisch made it all the more fun.
Hike to your hearts content. There are numerous hiking trails in and around Garmisch and Partenkirchen. Don't miss a hike to the top of Zugspitze Mountain. A refreshing swim can be enjoyed in beautiful Eibsee. A hidden gem of a lake near Garmisch is Lake Riessersee. Everyday I took a long walk to the trailhead that went up to this majestic lake that I consider one of the best to swim in all of Europe. The stunning Hotel Riessersee is a dream of a place to stay but prices are steep.
Riessersee in Garmisch
If I ever return to Garmisch I intend to swim in the incredible Riessersee again and I highly recommend this lake for the ultimate swim.
While in Garmisch consider side trips to nearby Mittenwald, Oberammergau, Neuschwanstein Castle, and Germany's largest lake Chiemsee.
A week in this region goes by so quickly but it's a week you'll cherish forever. So enjoy the restaurants, beer gardens, and terrific scenery of Garmisch/Partenkirchen in Bavaria.
This area is a true vacation paradise.
The charming city of Munich is the last stop in Germany.
Spend a day or two enjoying Munich before saying goodbye to GERMANY.