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Backpacking in Germany
Travelers exploring Germany certainly aren't short of attractions and culture to occupy their time; from bustling, bohemian metropolises to picturesque countryside and idyllic Bavarian castles, the country is home to more than 5,000 museums and an internationally renowned nightlife scene.

Although (like much of Western Europe) Germany can be expensive, backpackers will find that super-efficient transport, a range of free cultural attractions and plenty of good Germany hostels make it an excellent travel destination, even on a budget.

Major Cities

The capital Berlin is a cosmopolitan city with a youthful, trendy vibe. Boasting some of the best (and most hedonistic) nightclubs in the world, it's also an intriguing destination with a long and fascinating history – making it appeal to all types of travelers.

On top of numerous museums and galleries, popular attractions include the Reichstag (Germany's Parliament) and the Love Parade, an annual street festival which started just before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

Frankfurt, meanwhile, offers backpackers with a different view of the country's rich cultural heritage and past. With the acclaimed writer Goethe arguably the city's most famous resident and St Paul's Church the seat for the first elected German parliament in 1848, Frankfurt played a significant role in 18th century life.

Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg, is another popular destination with backpackers. Highlights include the baroque St Michaelis Church, Germany's oldest Stock Exchange and the 17th century Krameramtswohnungen (small traders' flats), all of which can be found in the attractive Old Town (Aldstadt).

The city has been known as the 'Gateway to the World' because of its port, as five million Europeans emigrated to the Americas from here between 1850 and 1939. Today, the waterside is worth a visit for its Sunday fish market which has been held at the docks nearly every week since 1703.

Fairs and Festivals

Germany is also a great place for cultural fairs and festivals, and backpackers will often find themselves in the midst of an exciting event in either own of the major cities or a smaller town.

One of the biggest – and well-known – festivals is Oktoberfest, which attracts millions of visitors each year. It takes place in Munich each September, but travelers hoping to experience Oktoberfest are advised to book a hostel in Germany several months in advance to ensure a bed because of its overwhelming popularity with backpackers from across the world.

There are also a number of wine festivals which take place during the summer months (from May to November) in the wine-producing regions of the Rhineland and the Moselle Valley. Stalls selling local vintages are set up in towns and villages, with the celebrations concluding with the crowning of a 'Wine Queen.'

Less alcohol-based fun can be found at the Carnival which is held in Bonn, Mainz, Cologne and Dusseldorf. The festivities include lively processions with masks, traditional costumes and fancy dress.
About the Author
Before settling down and becoming a copywriter for HostelBookers.com Paul Scottyn did a backpacking tour of Germany, he checked out a variety of hostels in Germany.
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