More and more families with children choose Germany as the main destination for their summer vacation or holiday vacation (Rosh Hashana, Sukkot, Hanukkah or Passover). There is a huge selection of attractions in Germany, suitable for all ages, even for the little ones, and being an attractive tourist destination, which attracts crowds, the country also offers a great selection of accommodation solutions, which can provide a suitable solution. These attractions and sites are scattered all over the country, most of them are very accessible and easy to reach. You can plan a star trip, spend the night in one spot and from there go to nearby destinations or divide the vacation by regions and each time travel in a different region with the children.
But first – why Germany?
Europe, which is relatively close, offers quite a few great places to spend time with the children, but Germany is one of the most prominent, the one to which many Israelis flock. Germany, as a destination for families with children, offers many advantages. First, its location. Flights to Germany are considered relatively short and in less than five hours you can reach the relevant destination and start the journey. Beyond that, there is an unusual supply of flights at very attractive and comfortable costs, which can significantly reduce the cost of the vacation (which, as a family vacation, may cost quite a bit of money). It is very easy and convenient to get around in Germany if you rent a car. The roads there are excellent, taking passengers to different points throughout the country and allowing all vacationers to get exactly where they want… and need. Beyond that, the accommodation solutions in Germany are great and suitable for families with children. You can choose to spend the night in the resort villages, farms, B&Bs, hotels of course and even private houses. The cost of these accommodations is also not that high, compared to their cost at its neighbors.
Important tips and highlights for planning a trip with children in Germany
The season of the year – the attractions, sites and routes in Germany adapted for families with children are located in different areas of Germany. At the same time, most of them are characterized by the same weather conditions: in the winter months, between November and March, it can be very cold and rainy (in some places it is very snowy), in the transition seasons – fickle (occasionally rainy and cool) and in the summer months, warm and pleasant (between June and August) . The summer is relatively short, so in a concentrated period, crowds come to the country, who want to experience everything it has to offer. Many Israeli families choose to come to Germany during the Tishrei holidays (vacation from school), when the weather is reasonable. However, in order to enjoy the amusement parks, the lovely nature and the multitude of attractions in Germany, you should come to it in the summer months. Although it may be packed with visitors and crowded, if you prepare in advance you can enjoy an unusual vacation with all the children.
Important tip: if you plan to come to Germany during the transition seasons, it is worthwhile and even desirable to arrange an alternative plan. Thus, if the weather does not allow a visit to the attractions where you planned to stop, it will be possible to choose the alternative attractions, which are also on the list.
Booking in advance – due to congestion on many sites and high demand for them, it is highly recommended to book flight tickets in advance as well as accommodation. This is particularly relevant for families who wish to focus their trip on the Black Forest, known as the prominent and important attraction. It is advisable to compare prices, regarding flights to Germany as well as places to stay and make the reservation several months in advance.
Choosing routes – the route you choose to include in your vacation should be adapted to the age of the children. Germany has a very wide selection of attractions and different sites, some of which are suitable for older children and some of which are perfect for the little ones in the group. If you want to stop at the amusement parks, for example, you should check in advance whether and to what extent they are suitable for the ages of the family’s children, and if you want to combine hiking as well, you should take into account the degree of difficulty of the route as well as its length (relatively long routes are less suitable for families with little ones, as are routes that are considered difficult or for the challenging).
Choosing suitable places to stay – Germany has a variety of accommodation solutions that are suitable for families with children. Vacation apartments and farms can be an ideal solution for large families as well as for families with little ones and young children. These apartments and farms are well equipped and offer all the facilities needed for a short or long stay. That way you don’t have to worry about anything, except buying food products in advance.
ways to reduce costs
A family vacation abroad, as mentioned, is quite a financial expense. The cost of the plane tickets, the accommodations, the rental car and the various means of transportation, and of course also the attractions you go to can add up to tens of thousands of shekels (depending on the number of departures). At the same time, There are several ways to reduce expenses, especially if you are planning a family vacation with all the children in Germany. Pre-booking, ahead of time, both the flight tickets and the accommodations will guarantee the bookers a more discounted price than the “last minute” one. Also using the tourist cards sold in the big cities Reduces expenses. These tickets provide discounts on public transportation and entrance to the various attractions and sites in that city, and you can purchase ones that are suitable for families or groups. There are also special, relevant tickets for the Black Forest, which help reduce costs, and it is better to examine these options as part of vacation planning. Another way to reduce expenses is Booking an apartment. That way, instead of eating out and spending a lot of money in restaurants and cafes, you can buy the food products in the local supermarkets and cook independently. The apartments, as mentioned, are equipped and offer maximum comfort.
And now – to the attractions
A family trip to Germany is an opportunity to enjoy a selection of attractions, itineraries and interesting sites to stop at. It can be a mainly urban vacation, which includes a stop in the big cities and all the attractions they offer, it can be a trip full of parks, fun and a lot of adrenaline or a nature trip. It is recommended to combine several options to create a trip that includes everything. It is important to take into account that this is a huge country and the distances between the different regions are great. You should focus your trip on one or two areas that are close to each other and combine the most prominent sites and attractions in them.
The highlight of Germany are its amusement parks, which attract quite a few families with children as well as adventurers looking for interest and a fast pace. There are, as of today (2020), about 15 different amusement parks in Germany, which receive almost half a million visitors each year. These parks are scattered throughout Germany and have a great selection of facilities. The most famous and popular amusement park in Germany is Europa Park, which many tend to compare to EuroDisney, which is near Paris. Europa Park is located in the Black Forest (a prominent tourist attraction in itself with plenty of great stopping points) and is suitable for all ages – from the little ones to the big ones. Other amusement parks in the southern part of Germany are LegoLand and Spieleland Ravensburger. It is recommended to devote at least two days to these parks, and you can combine your visit with other attractions.
In the western part of Germany, there are two well-known and highly recommended amusement parks for families with children – Phantasialand, which is not far from the city of Cologne, and MoviePark, which is located north of Dusseldorf. Both are theme parks, with the first one divided into six different countries, with each country having a different type of facility, while the second one focuses, as you can guess, on the cinema, and next to the usual amusement facilities that we all know, there are also characters from well-known cartoons.
For families who choose to focus on northern Germany, this area is also wonderful to visit and there are several amusement parks worth stopping by with the kids. The two most prominent are Heide Park and Hansa Park. Heide Park is on the road that connects Hamburg and Hanover and has facilities suitable for both children and adults. The highlight of this park is the world’s largest roller coaster of its kind. It is made of wood and is undoubtedly a prominent attraction that should not be missed. Hanse Park is known as one of the largest amusement parks in Germany and it offers 130 different facilities, mostly based on water activities. It is located near the city of Lubeck and is great for all those who wish to continue to neighboring Denmark or travel in the northwestern part of Germany.
As for the center of Germany, also in this area you can find several prominent amusement parks, which should include a stop for those planning a trip in the area: Holiday Park (Holiday Park), Belantis Park (Belantis-Das AbenteuerReic), Fort Fun (Fort Fun), Erlebnispark and Taunus (Taunus Wonderland).
Museums in Germany
As part of “Culture Sunday” or any other day, it is possible to combine, during the family vacation in Germany, a stop at well-known museums, each of which focuses on different topics. A very large part of these museums is specially adapted for children and includes plenty of activities and sessions suitable for all ages. Even if the children do not speak German or English, the activities and games offered in these museums, as well as the spectacular exhibitions and performances, do not require understanding the local language. For families who love cars or other means of transportation, there are several museums in Germany that are worth a stop: the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the city of cars on the road that connects Berlin to Hanover, the Porsche Museum, the Zeppelin Museum and the Aviation Museum. For children who love science and technology – the Science Museum in Munich is a must-stop, as is the Technology Museum in Berlin.
As in every country, Germany also has several zoos and even animal parks, which focus on different topics and areas and are definitely suitable for visiting with children. The most prominent and well-known zoo in Germany is the zoo in Berlin (Zoologischer Garten Berlin). In this charming zoo there are nearly 10,000 different species of animals. Over three million visitors come to the zoo each year, making it the most popular zoo in Europe. Another zoo, which also justifies a stop, is the Hannover Zoo (Erlebnis Zoo-Hannover). For all those who come to Munich, it also has a lovely zoo (Hellabrunn Zoo), with petting areas for the little ones and other surprises. Other prominent zoos in Germany are: the Cologne Zoo, the Dresden Zoo and the Leipzig Zoological Garden.
Through the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm
It is considered one of the most preferred itineraries for families with children and for travelers in general, who choose to spend a vacation of a few days (or more) in Germany. The Fairy Tale Road of the Brothers Grimm is a very long road, which includes 600 kilometers of extraordinary beauty and charming landscapes. This road starts in the center of Germany in the city of Nau and ends in the northern part of the country, in the city of Bremen. This special road was born out of a real need to attract visitors to Germany after World War II. They created a slightly different travel route, based on the famous fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Along the way there are quite a few wonderful stopping points, stations that combine practical stories. We stop in small picturesque towns, in various villages located on the sides of the road and visit special sites, such as magical castles that are not seen in other countries. The prominent stopping points on this route are: the home of the Grimm brothers in Steinau, the famous Red Riding Hood forest in Schwalmstad, the city of Hameln from the famous legend of the piper and more.
Castles not to be missed
The castles in Germany are a special stopping point. They are very large, very impressive and also surrounded by breathtaking views. In most of them you can go on a tour between the different rooms and be impressed by the splendor, the beauty and also the special atmosphere they offer to visitors. The castle in the city of Meersburg, which is located near Lake Constance, is a pilgrimage site for many, and of course also for families with children. It is the oldest castle in the country, some speculate that it was built in the distant year 630. Another castle worth stopping at is the Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss) which is located in western Germany, near the city of Heidelberg, in the Black Forest. It also attracts many visitors mainly due to its location and the spectacular views it overlooks. It has a huge wine barrel and an ancient pharmacy and in general visiting it is an opportunity to learn about ancient history and also to see exactly how they lived in those years when it was built. The third castle, which is also known to be very popular in Germany and in fact in the whole of Europe, is the Burg Eltz castle, which is located on a rocky cliff that is surrounded by thick forest trees. Other castles in Germany where it is also recommended to stop (or in some of them), are: Neuschwanstein Castle (Neuschwanstein) on the romantic road, Burg zu Burghausen Castle, which is located east of Michnan, Schloss Marienburg Castle, which is 20 km from the city of Hanover, Burg Hohenzollern Castle which is located North of the Black Forest and Wartburg Castle, not far from Frankfurt.