Interesting Attractions to Visit in Germany
Undoubtedly, one of Germany's and Europe's best-known tourist attractions is the castle Schloss Neuschwanstein in the southwest of the German state Bavaria. The symbol of Romanticism served as an inspiration for structures all around the globe like the famous Disney castle in California. Hiking around the castle provides great opportunities for impressive photos.
Located just about one hour south of Frankfurt is Germany's oldest and one of Europe's most reputable university towns. Heidelberg, with its Heidelberg Castle on the hill and the Old Bridge over the river Neckar, dates back to the 5th century AD. Heidelberg offers just about everything a visitor might seek in a small town to experience culture and traditions of Germany. Churches, museums, and centuries-old architecture characterize the cityscape. Heidelberg organizes an annual gay pride together with the nearby cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen.
GERMAN UPPER MIDLANDS
Germany is the home country of countless fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. Their history lies in the incredible diverse countryside of the Upper Midlands and the great number of castles, fortresses and preserved old town city centers. If you are planning to extend your stay in Germany with some road trip days, check out the forests and national parks of the German states of Hesse, Lower Saxony, Thuringia or Saxony.
NORTH SEA & BALTIC SEA
The geography of Germany ranges from the Alps over the Alpine foreland, the Upper Midlands, the North German Plain to the coast as well as beaches of the North and Baltic Sea. The sandy beaches in the north of Germany are for many Germans the annual summer holiday destinations and definitely worth a visit. While the North Sea is famous for its Wadden Sea and the North Frisian Islands, the Baltic Sea is less affected by the tides and is an easily accessible destination from Berlin.
Germany has a great number of theme parks all around the country. One of the bigger parks in Germany and widely respected by fans all around Europe is the theme park resort Europa Park. Located in the southwest of the country, Europa Park features multiple European country-themed areas including Germany, Grimm's Enchanted Forest and an astounding 13 roller coasters. Since 2016, fans and locals have organized an annual LGBTQ+ day called GayRedDay to enjoy Europa Park as one community.
Experiencing German Food
When visiting Germany, the first thing visitors might try is the famous German beer. For centuries Germany has preserved the traditional way of brewing beer in all variations protecting the purity by law. German beer is often considered to be the best in the world. But the influence of the culinary heritage of the former German kingdoms who merged into the federal republic of today is very diverse and definitely not only about potatoes and sausages. Having said that, the sausages are another food visitors should try at least once, like the (Bavarian) veal sausage “Weißwurst,” the Thuringian bratwurst or the Frankfurt sausage. Starting in the northern part of Germany, put some of the traditional fish and seafood dishes like sour herring on your list. Traveling to the center of Germany, potato, kraut and cabbage dishes are part of the German food experience. Larger cities like Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin are incorporating multiple international trends and expanding the vegetarian and vegan food scene as well. It is recommended to make a reservation, particularly during the peak dinner times from Thursday to Sunday. After dinner it is custom to put your wallet on the table and ask the waiter for the check. Card payment is commonly accepted in cities but be sure to check because the preferred payment method is often cash, even in the major cities.
LGBTQ+ History of Germany
Most people today think the movement for LGBTQ+ rights started with the Stonewall riots in 1969. But actually, the first public LGBTQ+ rights protest took place in Germany, over a century earlier, in 1867—one year before the term ‘homosexuality’ was coined, in German! The first LGBTQ+ rights organization was founded in Germany in 1897; the first sex change operation (made famous by The Danish Girl) took place in Germany in 1930. And as we all know from Cabaret (1972) Germany, and especially Berlin, was the world center of LGBTQ+ life in the roaring 20s.
For all the triumphs, though, there have also been tragedies. In 1871, Germany passed the ultimate anti-gay law, Paragraph 175. The Nazis made it more severe and imprisoned 10,000 gay men (and some lesbians, although they were not covered by Paragraph 175) in concentration camps, where they were marked with the pink triangle—and a majority died.
But there is plenty to see today to remember the highs and lows of German LGBTQ+ history, from the Monument to Homosexuals Persecuted under National Socialism and the Schwules Museum (Gay Museum), both in Berlin, to the Deutsche Eiche bar and bathhouse in Munich, where Freddie Mercury hung out in the 1970s. And let’s not forget Bavaria’s gay (and/or queer) king, Mad Ludwig, and his Wagnerian fantasy castle, Neuschwanstein—the inspiration for Disney’s Snow White’s Castle.
Safety Considerations for LGBTQ+ visitors to Germany
Traditionally, Germany is known to be a gay-friendly but relatively conservative European country. In 2017, the majority of the German government voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. Germany ranks among the top gay-friendly vacation destinations according to the Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2018 due to the gay-friendly environment in the major cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne. Although, Germans living in the countryside might have some prejudices against LGBTQ+ people, they will generally remain polite, offering you respectful services. Unfortunately, there are still conservative people especially in the eastern part of the country, so it is recommended to exercise caution with regards to public displays of affection.
LGBTQ+ Travel Tips for Germany
The major German cities and metropolises are considered to be the centers of the LGBTQ+ scene. Therefore, numerous gay bars in various areas around the city centers offer the opportunity to meet locals and other visitors from all over the world. Popular events include the 60 annual pride parades all over the country. In addition to prides, there are various LGBTQ+ film festivals that attract locals and global visitors, and The Teddy Award (for best LGBTQ+ film) is an official part of the Berlin International Film Festival (the Berlinale).
About the Author
We are Karl and Daan, a German-Dutch gay couple happily living the nomadic life. Karl was born and raised in Dresden and lived the past years in Berlin before we started our life together. As you can imagine we are eager to explore the world around us, from our favorite neighborhood restaurant that serves the perfect pasta, to exciting undiscovered hiking trails across the globe. Distant natural wonders, famous metropolises, theme parks, gay-sports events and far-away-friends are great reasons to travel. As openly gay travelers, we are proud of who we are. With our travel blog coupleofmen.com, we hope to inspire and invite everybody to travel the world like we do: open-minded, respectful and with a happy heart.