Sure, the United States of America are on the other side of the globe, but maybe one or two of you dare the experience of visiting Germany? Right in the middle of Europe, Germany has a population of around 83 million people. Compared to the US's 326 million people it seems fairly small. But that's where I live.
When I went abroad and lived for a year in Illinois I realized how little the average American knew about my country. So here are 11 things that are definitely worth a trip to Germany!
Everyone knows Oktoberfest, I guess. It's the world's largest beer festival and travelling funfair, held annually in Munich, Germany. Over six million people from all around the world attend the two-week event every year. Fun fact: in 2013, 7.7 million litres (1,700,000 imp gal) of Oktoberfest Beer were consumed!
2. Neuschwanstein Castle
Germany has to offer some breath-taking castles. Schloss Neuschwanstein is a Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill in above the village of Hohenschwangau, in the south of Germany. Over 1.3 million people visit the beautiful castle annually, enjoying the views and panoramas around it.
3. Brandenburg Gate
Built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II, the 18th-century neoclassical monument can be found in Berlin. It is one of the best-known landmarks of Germany and was often a site for major historical events. Today, the Brandenburg Gate is considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.
Sanssouci, a palace in Rococo style, was the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. It's located near Berlin and is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. The palace's name is a French phrase, which translates as "without concerns", "without worries" or "carefree". It symbolises that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power.
5. The Black Forest
Although Germany is often associated with good cars and fast Autobahns, this country has to offer a lot more nature than you thought. The magical Black Forest with its dark, densely-wooded hills is one of the most visited upland regions in Europe. It's a heaven for hiking, skiing, or relaxing in one of the magnificent spa facilities.
With the Bundestag convening here officially since April 1999, the Reichstag is now the second most visited attraction in Germany. The historic edifice has a huge glass dome at the very top with a 360-degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape. The main hall of the parliament below can also be seen form the inside the dome.
7. Rugen Island
Rügen is Germany's largest island by area and is located in the Baltic Sea. The island is linked to the mainland by road via the Rügen Bridge and is a very popular tourist destination. Long sandy beaches, lagoons and open bays characterize Rügen, which Jasmund National Park was awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
The Berlin Wall Memorial commemorates the division of Berlin by the Berlin Wall and the deaths that occurred there. The monument includes a 60-metre long section of the wall as it was when the Wall actually fell. The Gedenkstätte was created in 1998 by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of Berlin.
9. Romantic Rhine
The Rhine Valley ranks among the most impressive regions of Germany in terms of its culture and history. Hillside castles, regional cuisine, hospitality and vineyards await you in this area. With medieval castles perch high above the river alternate with forested hillsides, attracting many tourists on boat trips.
10. Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral in Cologne. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and is a renowned monument of Gothic architecture. It was declared a World Heritage Site and is one of Germany's most visited landmarks, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day.
11. Zugspitze Massif
The Zugspitze massif creates a frontier between Germany and Austria and is surrounded by steep valleys. This area of outstanding natural beauty offers many attractions for its visitors. Excellent panoramic restaurants, tunnels completed with viewing windows, or a viewing platform at the very top are just a few.
If you've never been to Germany, you should definitely put this country on your travel list. You won't regret it, I promise!