Germany is well-known for its stunning centuries-old castles and buzzing cosmopolitan cities full of art and cultural attractions, but it also boasts absolutely beautifully diverse natural scenery. With its mild climate and terrain, including lakes, mountains, rivers, and forests, there is plenty of adventure to be had during your trip to Germany.
When you visit Germany, you can also enjoy the robust measures that the country has for sustainable travel. Sustainable tourism is defined by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”
Keep reading below to learn how you can embrace this philosophy on your Germany vacation.
The Background of Tourism in Germany
Since the national reunification in 1990, there’s been a consistent positive trend in tourism in Germany—in fact, it’s currently the 8th-most visited country in the world. Both international travelers and Germans alike visit Germany to discover the magnificent castles of Bavaria, dramatic peaks of the Alps, countless meandering rivers, and quaint German villages. And, of course, there are plenty of beerhalls and quintessential German food to experience, too.
With the third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, Germany has many historical and natural attractions to visit. Berlin is a popular city to visit for its prominence in the arts, music, and history, as are other metropolises including Cologne and Munich. To illustrate the diversity of Germany, an amazing statistic is that 30% of Germans spend their holidays in their own country.
Some particularly picturesque man-made sites to see on your Germany vacation are the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, the Cathedral of Cologne, the Heidelberg Castle, and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
While the country sees the most travelers in summer, people also take a trip to Germany during fall and winter to experience the famous Christmas markets and buzzing festivities of Oktoberfest.
Sustainable Travel During Your Trip to Germany
Germany has adopted green initiatives both in and outside of the tourism industry, making it a good destination for your next sustainable trip. The German National Tourist Board outlines quite a few basic measures you can take in addition to the resources they offer to have a more sustainable trip to Germany.
A whopping 25% of the landmass is protected territory—Germany has 16 national parks, 14 biosphere reserves, and 98 nature parks, many of which are accessible by public train. Additionally, they often have e-car shares available within the park, making it easy to visit natural protected areas with a lighter footprint when you visit Germany.
As for lodging, there are a variety of standards that will help you decide where to stay—one that is especially widespread is GreenSign for hotels. The interactive green travel map on the official German tourism website is a great resource to view hotels certified by third-party standards.
In addition to these standards, Germany also makes it easy for travelers to get around in an eco-friendly manner. Just one great method of transportation within Germany is the Deutsche Bahn—all long-distance trains run on 100 percent green electricity in Germany, and it’s the most environmentally friendly way to travel according to the official Germany tourism website. You can also bike or rent an electric car—and you’ll have plenty of places to recharge as there are nearly 28,000 charging points around the country.
A good note to make prior to your trip to Germany is that you can easily get clean drinking water at one of the 5,585 public refilling stations near you via Refill-Deutschland.de to avoid plastic waste.
A Few Adventures For Your Germany Vacation
Be sure to browse online for all the awesome sustainable adventures you can have prior to your trip to Germany. Here are just a few suggestions:
You can walk along the “treetop paths” while in the oldest German national park, The Bavarian Forest. You can get a stunning view of Germany’s forests from above as you walk on one of the many paths in the area, some of which you can experience on a guided tour with an expert. One Bavarian Forest treetrop path boasts 1300 meters through fir, beech, and spruce trees and is handicap-friendly.
For another nature experience, you can visit the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. Situated in the North Sea, there are both German and Dutch coasts that are home to the famous grey seal. To protect the ecosystem, tourism there is closely linked to the national park administration. They suggest you explore the coast by renting an electric car—the North Sea Speedster—to quietly get around.
A Germany vacation is a must-do in Europe! There are countless hidden gems in the country, and there is truly something for everyone—with all of its culture, history, arts, and of course, natural beauty, be sure to consider it for your next sustainably-minded trip.
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