Wed, Sep 19, 2012
Germany is one of the most fascinating countries in Europe, with a huge amount of geographic diversity from soaring mountains to the fertile valleys of great rivers such as the legendary Rhine. With cheap car hire so easily available these days, Germany makes the perfect destination for a budget getaway. A road trip on a shoestring here will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe and the loveliest towns and cities on the planet, fairly dripping in history and oozing fairytale charm.
The great news is that Germany is not as expensive as you might expect and many regions are really cheap, making it one of Europe’s most affordable countries for visitors wanting to stretch their budget.
It’s always best to rent a car online in advance of your arrival as you’ll be able to take advantage of some of the many great deals on offer, and then you can turn your attention to the all-important matter of accommodation.
German hostels are second to none, expertly and professionally run and with a very high standard of Teutonic cleanliness, all at a great price. Both single and double rooms are usually available from between 40 and 90 Euros per night, which is peanuts, and they’ll have private facilities as well. Don’t imagine that hostels here are just for backpackers, either, although if you really want to do it on the cheap you can often share a dorm room with other travellers for even less.
Germany is also good when it comes to eating out on a budget, as its numerous ‘Imbiss’ eateries will testify. These are effectively small stalls that you’ll find in the streets of every town and city. They specialise in the likes of Kartoffelsalat, which is a type of potato salad, and if you like sausages you’ll be in seventh heaven. Currywurst and Bradwurst are particular favourites, the latter consisting of a sliced pork sausage dipped in curry sauce, for just a couple of Euro. You can also get Doner Kebab, Falafal and a whole lot more at these handy little eateries and eat like a king on next to nothing.
If you’re planning to explore a few of Germany’s great cities it’s a good idea to pick up a city card. These are travel cards that you get from the local tourism office to claim discounts not only on the public transport but on places such as hostels, museums and swimming pools too.
Lots of museums across Germany charge you to get in, but most of them have an entry-free day each week so check when this is and have a look around for nothing. There are also lots of free festivals throughout the country, like the traditional Christmas markets that are found in every town and city in the week leading up to Christmas. Here you get to enjoy an authentically Germanic Yuletide atmosphere and there are usually free glasses of hot mulled wine (‘blue wine’) on offer, along with the ubiquitous sausages.
For a budget holiday, Germany is the obvious choice if you don’t want to compromise on comfort and enjoyment.David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.