Each time I visit Germany I not only get to uncover a new region, but I get to see the country’s history and culture from a different perspective. Last year I visited towns and cities of former Soviet occupied East Germany and how they are now thriving, and then a few months later got to grips with the vast, untouched nature and outdoors culture of the Black Forest region.
This time, I am heading back to specifically learn about age-old tradition – through events, festivals and destinations that retain German customs and historical highlights – as part of the Tourism Board’s focus this year to encourage people to ‘Join German Tradition’.
Finding Historical Frankfurt
My first stop will be southwestern city of Frankfurt, which has been high on my list of German must-see hotspots for some time, especially as it’s one of the country’s largest cities – the firth largest to be exact. Frankfurt was almost completely destroyed during World War II and so it will be interesting to see old architectural designs that showcase what the city was like before the modern capital was rebuilt post-war.
I enjoy nothing better than landing in a city and using it as an open canvas to wander and get completely lost and it’s here that I will meander all the way through its historic centre and admire the architecture. There are half-timbered houses that have been rebuilt according to the original plans in 1986, classical structures and botanical gardens that stand alongside modern-day highlights such as the Banking District (Frankfurt being one of the main financial and commercial centres in the country), the Main Tower and the harbour. I will also be looking further at Frankfurt’s history with a visit to Hessenpark – an open-air museum where more than 100 endangered buildings stand as a representation of life in Hesse over 400 years ago.
Construction aside, I will be seeking out tradition on the gastronomy front with a visit to the Farmer’s Market and remain intrigued by the “Apple Wine” Quarter and what I will find there during a tasting or two at the famous Lorsbacher Thal gastropub – known for its high quality apple wine production.
Festivities in Franconia
Using the great train connections here, I then make my way to Franconia where I plan to explore the old town of Bamberg. It’s well-preserved historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprised of three historical districts of the episcopal town, the island town and the market gardener’s town. It’s authentic medieval charm and style is said to be a real glimpse into the constriction of European towns during the Middle Ages.
I will be sure to spend my time at a traditional tavern and sample from hearty German dishes, but it’s not all about the old here as I sneak a peek at the modern artistic talents on show at the Levi Strauss museum.
Lastly, I arrive in Forchheim where I get to experience the one thing we all know and love Germany for – the Annafest beer festival! I will dabble my taste buds in a spot of Whiskey tasting at a local distillery but I am beyond excited to finally be heading to a local beer and folk festival.
This beer festival is in in a town called Annafest and has been celebrated here since 1840. It includes rides, attractions, Baverian music and all manner of true Franconian hospitality.
It’s always good to save the best until last.
These are just the highlights of what will be nearly a week spent in a country I am getting to uncover bit by bit, year on year. Join me via the hashtag #JoinGermanTradition and the live social feed board as I share with you the eccentricities and timeless traditions of this corner of Germany, that only rightfully ends with a proper German beer and where I can hopefully don a dirndl to round off my traditional journey in style.