Germany, which sits in the heart of Europe, is a country of great natural beauty and also a land where orderliness and attention to detail are held in high regard. It is the world’s fifth largest economy with many financial powerhouses located in its cities. Germany is known for its art scene too, which is perhaps the most vibrant in all of Europe. There are many things to do in this interesting country, but if we have to pick just 5 must-have experiences, these are it.
Chocolate on display
The Chocolate Museum was established in 1993 and provides a gateway into the history of chocolate and cocoa right from the times of the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs.On display are also 18th and 19th century silver and porcelain vessels that were used for drinking chocolate. The museum also offers a glimpse into how chocolate is produced today. Located in Cologne, the museum organizes guided tours and draws crowds of visitors each year. Some of the attractions at the chocolate museum include a 3 meter-high chocolate fountain, a tropicarium consisting of species of cacao trees and miniature machines that display the process of chocolate production. There is also a shop with a huge range of assorted chocolate products.
The bathing ship
An unusual public swimming pool sits in the East Harbour section of the River Spree in Berlin. The floating pool was built from an old river cargo vessel. Designer Susanne Lorenz conceived the idea as an art project and it serves as a haven for swimmers who weren’t able to enjoy the river due to large amounts of pollution. The pool is left uncovered in summers and apart from the swimming, people also come to relax in the open-air bar. In winters, the Badeschiff is converted into an indoor health complex with three translucent shell-like walls. The pool is open for public use everyday from 8am to midnight. There is an admission fee of 5 euros, which grants access to not only the pool, but also the bar, and indoor sports facilities.
Built on the former site of a nuclear power plant, Wunderland Kalkar is an amusement park overlooking the Rhine. The SNR-300 was a nuclear power station to be shared by Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. But for many reasons, the plant never went online. A Dutch entrepreneur purchased the site and turned it into an amusement park. Many of the park’s attractions are integrated with the erstwhile power plant facilities. For instance, the enormous cooling tower is still very visible; although it now sports a brightly painted look and features a climbing wall and swing ride. Wunderland Kalkar also houses four restaurants, eight bars and six hotels. Those a bit anxious about the park’s unusual past may be relieved to know that it has been declared completely ‘radiation free’!
An Olympic expedition
The Olympic stadium in Munich was built to host the 1972 Summer Olympics. It is known for its sweeping acrylic glass canopies and light roof design, which was inspired by the beautiful Bavarian Alps. Adventurous visitors can also climb these modern mountains as part of a two-hour tour. You don’t have to have any mountain climbing experience for this and you also don’t need to bring any equipment. The professional guides supply you with rope and carbiners and you can climb as part of a small group to some dizzying heights that provide spectacular views of the Munich skyline and on clear days, the sprawling Bavarian Alps.
Golfing in Bavaria
Bavaria is home to about 170 golf courses and there are courses to suit every skill level. Many of these courses have picturesque Alpine landscapes and are sculpted so that they remain in harmony with their natural terrain. In the Allgäu region, there are 21 courses located about an hour away from the international airport. At Oberstaufen, there are many courses where you don’t have to pay anything if you have an Oberstaufen-Plus Golf ticket. For a more luxurious experience, pay a visit to the Sonnealp resort in Ofterschwang. This is one of the finest hotels in the region and along with golfing, guests can also avail of pampering spa treatments and gourmet food.