Ever wondered what Germany is famous for? Wonder no more, in this post we outline 21 of the most popular and famous German things!
If you’ve ever wondered what is Germany famous for, you may have immediately thought of German beers, castles, pretzels, or German bread and sausages to name but a few.
Germany is such a diverse country packed with exceptional German landmarks, architecture, history, and so much more! Of course, the Germans have become synonyms with precise engineering and craftsmanship too.
In this post, I’ve teamed up with other travel bloggers in an epic celebration of all the most popular and famous German things. Let’s travel along from the festivals in Rhineland, to the Black Forest, and the beer halls of Munich, and let’s uncover these 21 awesome things Germany is famous for together!
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21 Famous Things in Germany
Germany is famous for what? In this guide, we outline 21 of the most famous things from Germany!
By Kerry from VeggTravel
One of the things Germany is famous for is the Munich Beer Festival; Oktoberfest! Held for a 2-week period that typically ends on the first Sunday of October (Germany Unity Day), Oktoberfest attracts thousands of people from across the globe. You can have fun at the fairground attractions, taste authentic German food and drink the different beers from the numerous Brew Houses.
Oktoberfest is a family event, although in the evening some beer tents will restrict entry. Entrance is free but it can be difficult to find a free bench, particularly if you’re in a large group. However, you can book tickets to the tents in advance and experience the full authenticity of this event. Sing along with the Bavarian Folk music, dance on the tables and have a fantastic time.
Many countries worldwide now put on smaller versions of this annual event in their big cities. If you can’t get to Germany just yet, grab a stein at one of these local festivals and you’ll soon be booking your next trip.
By Zoe from Together in Transit
If you’re looking for something tasty that Germany is famous for, then next on your menu choice should be a schnitzel. It’s a popular dish you can find famously served in many German cities and local homes, with the most popular way of cooking this is by frying it. It is often made of pork or veal while being served with some fresh fries and lemon on top to drizzle the juice over the meat.
However, there are a few different types of schnitzels depending on where you are or visiting too. For example, in Munich, you will have the option to include mustard or horseradish sauce. There are also schnitzels with tomatoes, onion, and peppers, which is called the Gypsy schnitzel. You can even get one with a delicious fresh cream sauce.
So, on your next trip to Germany, make sure that you try a delicious schnitzel at a local restaurant. My personal favourite is from my weekend visit to Monschau where the local restaurant Zum Haller has many schnitzel choices on their menu!
Carnival in the Rhineland
By Phil from JOURNICATION Travel Blog
Carnival is one of the most traditional and colourful celebrations anywhere in the world.
Whether on the beach or Sambadromo of Rio de Janeiro, in the Caribbean, during an extended weekend with 3 days in Venice or in many regions in Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Southern Germany – Carnival is a special experience everywhere.
In Germany, the tradition is especially widespread in the Rhineland. Well-known “strongholds” are Düsseldorf, Cologne and Mainz.
The carnival session starts every year on 11.11. at 11:11 o’clock with special ceremonies and big events.
From then on, especially after Christmas, in January and February, there are many events like “Kappensitzungen” where funny and serious speakers, music and dance groups perform. The whole audience is dressed up in colourful and fancy costumes.
Carnival reaches its climax in many places on Rose Monday and the weekend that follows. There are long magnificent parades through the cities, with large floats and music groups. The largest Shrove Monday parade takes place in Cologne, where about a million visitors are expected each year.
By Soumya from Stories by Soumya
It is hard to imagine Germany without its beautiful cathedrals. Be it the stunning architecture of the Cologne Cathedral, the ornate dome of Berliner Dom, or the spectacular churches of Munich, German cathedrals will leave a lasting impression on you.
Some of Germany’s cathedrals are absolutely iconic. For example, Cologne Cathedral with its mind-blowing Gothic architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed over seven centuries, this beautiful church stands testimony to the strength of European Christianity and faith.
In Munich, you will find churches that are rich in history and architecture. The Frauenkirche or the “Cathedral of Our Dear Lady” stands tall with its green onion domes and is home to something really unique – The Devil’s Footprint.
Ulm Minster has the tallest church steeple in the world. The grandeur of the Berlin Cathedral is unbeatable. And the Mainz Cathedral is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe.
Every city in Germany is filled with gorgeous churches and cathedrals. Some of them are blessed with beautiful architecture. Others are filled with timeless tales. No doubt, German cathedrals are great additions to your German bucket list.
Beer – Famous Things from Germany
By LeAnna from Wander In Germany
While Germany is known for plenty of things, one is almost always at the top of everyone’s list; BEER! While it is Beck’s Beer (from Bremen) that is actually reportedly consumed the most today, it is Bavaria that most likely put beer on the map when it came to Germany.
In 1516 the Bavarian “Reinheitsgebot” (The Purity Law) went into effect which stated that you could only brew beer with barley (malt), hops, and water. To this day, many traditional breweries in Bavaria are still proud of this practice, which is why so many people consider German Beer of top quality.
While there are plenty of other drinks to try in Germany, most people still love to sample the three main beers produced; Pilsner, Lager, and Wheat. Of course, within those, there are plenty of selections like dark beers and then the summertime favourites of Radlers. But no matter which Maß of beer you decide to try in Germany, it is sure to be fantastic!
By Ali from Berlin Travel Tips
Germany is famous for many things, and its efficient railway system is high on the list. The Deutsche Bahn train system is extensive and connects nearly every town in the country. Getting around Germany by train is great since the system is so comprehensive and saves you from the stress of learning foreign driving rules.
Deutsche Bahn operates a variety of long-distance, regional, and local trains in Germany. The long-distance trains are fast and have fewer stops, while the regional and local trains travel slower and have more stops.
Travelling by train can be really affordable if you plan ahead. Long-distance trains are more expensive the closer you get to your travel date, so if you’re planning a trip, book your train tickets a few months in advance.
If you’re doing shorter trips you can often use the regional or local trains. Their tickets are usually the same price whether you book two months ahead or the day before.
German trains are usually punctual, though locals love to complain when there is a delay. It’s always worth planning some buffer time if you have someplace you need to be, but there’s a good chance you’ll get through your trip without issues.
By Athul from Our Backpack Tales
Germany is a country with so many unique sights and tastes, but there is one thing you’ll have to invest some in, when in Germany. That is trying their huge variety of bread.
Being a staple food in Germany, you’ll find that bread is an important part of breakfast, lunch, as a snack or at the dinner table here. Be it the popular Brötchen sprinkled with sesame seeds or the iconic Pretzels – sweet, savoury, hard, soft – you’ll have enough of them to try every day.
You’ll find lots of bakeries serving Bauernbrot or farmer’s bread Vollkornbrot rye bread, sourdough bread and sweetbreads among many others all through the country. The sweetbreads, filled with jams and fruit are mouthwatering. The Christmas special Dresdner stollen, full of dried fruits and candies are a real treat for the soul!
You’ll also find some bread that is made with beer as one of the ingredients! So make sure to splurge on bread on your next visit to Germany!
By Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages
One of the best things that Germany is famous for is its bratwurst. It’s a traditional German sausage that’s usually made from pork and is served in a variety of ways! The most popular way to eat bratwurst is in a bun with side fries and whatever toppings your heart desires! If you prefer no bread, you can also get it sliced up on a plate!
The best thing about getting bratwurst in Germany is that you can pretty much find it anywhere, especially in one of the country’s most popular destinations, Munich. With just one day in Munich, you’ll spot tons of bratwurst stands throughout the city where you can quickly hop in line and try this special delicacy, and it’s usually budget-friendly as well.
Some of the best places to try bratwurst throughout the country include Thuringia, Nürnberg Rostbratwurst, and Historische Wurstkuche. Even if you can’t make it to one of these restaurants, every German city and town will have at least one place selling bratwurst for you to try.
Black Forest Cake
By Soujanya from The Spicy Journey
Did you know that the Black Forest cake originated in Germany? Also known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in German, this decadent cake has layers of a rich sponge cake surrounded by layers of whipped cream and sour cherries. It is topped with chocolate shavings and more of those cherries and cream.
Traditionally, the Black Forest cake in Germany is always served with something known as kirschwasser – an alcoholic spirit made out of cherries. If you’re trying the Black Forest cake in Germany and you don’t wish to consume alcohol, then you must always ask for the cake without kirschwasser or ‘ohne kirschwasser’ in German.
Now, the most popular place to try an authentic Black Forest cake in Germany is naturally, the Black Forest region of Germany. Some of the popular Black Forest towns and cities are Baden-Baden, Freiburg im Breisgau and Triberg. In Triberg, you can see the world’s largest cuckoo clock, visit the famous Triberg waterfalls and of course, try the Black Forest cake.
By Eileen from FamiliesGo
Germany is famous for its Biergartens, but they are often not what people expect them to be. You’ll find Biergartens big and small in town squares, on mountain tops, attached to hotels or restaurants and in most public parks, especially in Bavaria. They are casual and family-friendly and getting drunk is not cool.
The public beer gardens often have carousels or playgrounds close by so kids can frolic while adults hang out and chat. There are usually two or three beers on tap, as well as soft drinks. If you want something low in alcohol you can ask for a Radler (it means bicycle rider), which is a Helles or wheat beer mixed with fizzy lemonade.
There is always food for sale, including giant pretzels, wurst and roast chicken. In the parks, the tables are not owned by the food and drink vendors and it’s entirely acceptable to bring your own picnic, which many Germans do.
When you order your drinks a deposit on the glasses will be included in the cost, but it might not be obvious. When you return the glasses they’ll give you chits that look like poker chips that you can turn in to get your deposit back. If you want to pass for a local, “Prost!” Is the typical German toast. While you can clink mugs anyway you like, you only bump rounded wheat-beer glasses on the bottom.
By Bec from Wyld Family Travel
There are so many wonderful things that Germany is known for but one thing that people seek out when they visit are castles. From mighty castles sitting high on a hill to ruined castles with thousands of stories to tell. Germany has one you will fall in love instantly with. It is believed that there are well in excess of 20,000 castles in Germany and once you tour one you want to see more.
One of the most famous castles in Germany is Neuschwanstein Castle. Many people will tell you the King who built it, King Ludwig II got his idea from Walt Disney but it is definitely the other way around and that is the case for many of the Disney Castles. You will find so many are modelled from German castles.
Inside you will find room upon room lavishly decorated with gold trimmings and extremely uncomfortable-looking Royal furniture that gives you a glimpse of how Royal families lived. Grand Halls that hosted elaborate parties to small rooms with cradles that prove they were indeed someones home. Some will have amazing stained glass windows with their emblems in the brightest of colours and in Hohonzollern you will see a family tree lovingly painted on a wall. All are surrounded by magnificent gardens that are stunning in any season and really show you that the Royals were far from normal people.
The ruined castles are still beautiful and once you are walking around them you wish the walls could talk. Many of these are being bought back to life like Hochburg just out of Freiburg. Hochburg hosts a medieval festival within the grounds of the castle and people flock there to take part. Castles like Staufen Castle are high enough above their towns below that in the winter months they are shrouded in mist bringing the mysterious, magical and sometimes scary fairytale to life.
By Nick from Fun World Facts
The pretzel is not just a famous German food but a national symbol. Called Brezeln or Brezen in German, pretzels are especially associated with Bavaria but are sold as a snack food all over the country. The origins of the pretzel go back over 1000 years in the region. According to one account, they date back to 610 AD, when a monk baker invented the shape by accident and thought it looked like arms in prayer. Later, pretzels came to be associated with Easter and lent.
A typical pretzel in Germany is coated with a lye treatment, which gives it a slightly hard and glossy exterior. They are usually sold as a take-away snack. Unlike the small, hard pretzels sold in North American grocery stores, German pretzels are soft and large – sometimes even larger than a person’s face – although they have the same signature shape. This shape is so iconic that some bakeries in Germany even feature it on their emblems or store logos.
Ritter Sport Chocolate
By Marianne from The Journeying Giordanos
Germans love their chocolate! And one of the most popular brands of chocolate in Germany is Ritter Sport. These iconic chocolate bars come in a super-handy format: 16 squares in a four-by-four pattern.
Easy to store, easy to carry. And along with a variety of unique flavours, Ritter Sport bars have become popular the world over.
The chocolate brand that is known today as Ritter’s Sport Schokolade, was launched in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt in 1932 by Alfred and Clara Ritter. At this time, Clara suggested creating a chocolate bar that would fit into any sport jacket pocket without breaking, but that also weighed the same as a normal bar.
And so the infamous square bar was born! But it’s not just the shape of the bar that is popular, the packaging is also quite unique.
Ritter Sport’s packaging comes with a unique snap-open pack, called the ‘Knick-Pack’. This clever (and patented) packaging allows consumers to fold the bar on a designated line. This easily opens the wrapper, while leaving a piece of chocolate broken off and ready to eat.
But Ritter Sport is not just delicious! The brand has also taken steps to ensure that its factory is environmentally conscious and that its ingredients are sustainably sourced. Just more reasons to love Germany’s most famous brand of chocolate!
Football – Famous Things in Germany
By Eloise from My Favourite Escapes
Football is Germany’s national sport. They love to watch it on TV but also to play it. It’s popular for both men and women. Actually, Germany is the only country that has won both the men’s and women’s World Cups. The men’s team has had impressive results over the years: they have won the World Cup four times and held three European Championships. Germans gather in front of their screens whenever their national team plays, at home, in bars or restaurants, and sometimes there are even giant screens on the streets.
Every week, thousands of Germans fill up the stadiums to attend football games. It’s quite cheap to buy tickets to the Bundesliga – the German Premier League, and the top clubs have some of the world’s best football players. The FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are the two most famous teams in the Bundesliga with the highest number of supporters across the country. If you want to attend a football game while you visit Germany, remember the season usually starts in August and finishes in May, with a long break around Christmas.
By Mijia from My Magic Earth
The Advent Calendar is a standard part of the Christmas season in Germany. Traditionally, the four-week Advent period can start anywhere from November 27 to December 3. But an Advent calendar begins on December 1 and counts down the days until Christmas Eve. Each calendar has 24 doors, and you open one door each day to get the gift hidden behind the door.
Many traditional calendars have chocolates or candies as treats placed behind the small doors. Others have, for example, drinks, snacks, herbs, etc. Toy companies such as Lego also add the calendar to their seasonal production lines. One of the Advent Calendars from Lego contains themed LEGO mini-figures, starships, vehicles, and other collectables.
A self-made Advent Calendar for the kid is popular in Germany as well. You can buy a set of 24 numbered small bags, fill in small gifts or treats that your kid would like. Over the years, the styles of Advent Calendars have changed, the mission of the Advent Calendar remains the same. It gives a special meaning to Christmas and brings joy to the people.
By Amelie from Mostly Amelie
Something wonderful and probably unsettling and weird awaits when you visit a spa in Germany. The spa culture in this part of the world (and many others too) dictates that all should be fully nude to access the spa facilities. What’s more, most of them are mixed-gendered — including the changing rooms.
While most people here wouldn’t bat an eye at this fact, for many other cultures, including North Americans, it’s a steep change from the prudeness they’ve been brought up in. But once you disrobe and put your inhibitions aside, it is one of the most wonderful experiences you could possibly have while visiting Germany.
The capital city has many world-renowned spas that are famous for their “spa menu”, that is, a full day of themed infusions, provided by the “saunameister” who will whip you with cedar branches or parboil you into a wonderful state of oblivion and zen. A must for anyone visiting Germany who needs a little R&R!
By Lena from Salut from Paris
Of course, the traditional Döner Kebab is through and through a Turkish speciality but thanks to the Turkish migrant workers, the Döner Kebab arrived in Germany in the late 60s.
The flavorful kebab meat is stacked on a pike, slowly turning on a rotisserie and its outer layers get cut off when cooked and crunchy. Traditionally, the meat is offered with sides like fries and salad.
The Kebab was first served as a dish on a plate but influenced by the German snacking culture, it quickly became a dish to eat “en route”, in the form of the ‘Dönertasche”.
The legend says that the Dönertasche was invented in the early ’70s in Berlin by a Turkish migrant, but he is not the only one claiming to be the inventor of this legendary fast food dish.
The difference between the traditional kebab and the Dönertasche is, that the Kebab meat is not served on a plate but in a flatbread along with yoghurt sauce, salad, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and often even white and red cabbage or feta cheese. It’s a perfect dish to take away and according to many, it’s one of the most characteristic foods of Berlin.
Traditional Wooden Christmas Ornaments
By Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer
There are few countries in the world that are able to bring you in the Christmas spirit as well as Germany does. Christmas markets reign supreme from mid-November to the beginning of January filled with mulled wine, a variety of roasted meats and some pretty neat little stores. In these little stores, you will find the usual assortment of soaps, warm hats & clothes, bits and bobs and of course traditional wooden Christmas ornaments.
The most famous of these ornaments is probably the Nutcracker, typically a figurine of an old bearded man with a bright coloured jacket and tights. Other wooden ornaments include trinkets to hang in the tree, nativity scenes and little candleholders (traditionally each Sunday of December a new candle is lit, until Christmas when all 4 candles are lit).
The beauty of these wooden ornaments is that many of them are handmade. They are a wonderful sustainable way to decorate the house for Christmas.
Many of these Christmas ornaments are solely available on the markets, nowhere to be found in stores. Karlsruhe has a strong tradition of Christmas markets, with delicious food and an ample selection of ornaments to choose from!
By Kyle from Via Travelers
Generally, a stein is an urn-like vessel with a handle for beer or other drinks. In the 14th century, brewers from Bohemia known as the “Brotherhood of St. Nicholas” would drink from tall jars called steins which were adorned with their emblems and as a way to honour one another.
The Germans soon found out about this trend and they made their version. But, there was a law against selling beer in mugs. What makes German steins so special is their intricate designs. Each stein is unique and tells a story. They can be made from a variety of materials, including pewter, copper, silver, or gold.
If you’re ever in Germany, be sure to check out the steins (go to an antique shop for the good stuff) and bring it with you to one of the top breweries. Even if you don’t drink, they make excellent souvenirs because of their beautiful designs that will remind you of Germany forever.
Weird & Strange Wild Mushrooms
By Dr Morgan Fielder from Crave The Planet
Once the rain has fallen for a sullen week or two you can brave the dampness and go out hiking on the outskirts of any city or village in Germany and you’ll run into practically dressed foragers hunting the best of wild mushrooms.
It’s impossible not to be filled with wonder when you take the time to slow down and spot fairytale-like amanita mushrooms with their übercute red tops with white dots alongside a popular hiking path.
They are like a little umbrella of darlingness, but beware they are amongst the most poisonous of the mushroom family.
Sometimes a patch of mushrooms will erupt alongside a Moorish path through the woods and you’ll wonder, is that actually a real mushroom or is someone pulling a prank on me as they resemble human anatomy.
While abundant, beginners should avoid the LBM or little brown mushroom. LBMs are difficult to distinguish and certainly deadly if you eat the wrong one.
However, if you can score a 4.2-kilogram cauliflower mushroom, the local news will celebrate you on the front page of the newspaper as Germans love their foraging and Nature.
If you’re in Germany and curious about a mushroom you find and not quite sure about it, post a photo to the Facebook group called “Foragers of the KMC” and people are usually really quick and happy to try to help you determine its origin.
The Trabant Car
By Niels from Northern Light Tromso
Interested in an adventure that takes you back to the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (East Germany) in the early ’50s? And what is so special about this period, you ask? Well, it was a special time as the former eastern German automaker VEB designed the one and only Trabant!
What was supposed to be a symbol for the top engineering skills of East Berlin resulted in a machinal and economic disaster. With a hard plastic body being mounted to a single piece of steel chassis, the 2-stroke Trabi (nickname of the Trabant) had the reputation of being old, slow, loud, and extremely uncomfortable!
Fast forward 60 years later and these days people pay to drive in a Trabi. How crazy is that? The Trabi Safari Tour Company in Berlin offers daily guided tours that allow you the drive your very own Trabi. They come in all different kinds of shapes and colours, but they still all have one thing in common. They drive horribly!
But you know what? That is also part of the charm, and it will make your small vintage road trip through the streets of Berlin that much more special!