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Just last month, Germany was crowned the best country in the world, according to an annual index ranking Western countries by a variety of ideas (like culture, creativity, investment, national perception, and social equality). The best way to celebrate, of course, is to raise a pint — but however do you choose from the endless options? Here’s what beer to order in each of Germany’s biggest beer cities. Bottoms up!
If you’re pining for an old-fashioned Christmas, get yourself to Germany’s Christmas markets. In the country that gave us so many of our Christmas traditions, the festive markets range in size from dozen to hundreds of booths. They’re sprinkled through tiny towns and metropolitan cities alike, all serving up gluhwein — the popular mulled wine — and roasted chestnuts for crowds seeking traditional, locally made decorations and gifts. Here, four destinations that are especially worth a spot on your itinerary, plus what to buy there.
Why sleep in a concrete-and-glass building when you can stay in a vintage trailer, a Boeing 747, or even in a wine barrel? These quirky hotel concepts are totally refreshing — and they give obsolete spaces a sustainable second life.
Oktoberfest — officially kicking off in Munich today for a week — is expensive. From the €10 euro beers to three-foot pretzels to $100+ costumes, if you’re going to do it right, the celebration isn’t anywhere near cheap. So why would any thrifty traveler include this Germany pitstop on their itinerary?
In short, it’s an unbeatably festive, uniquely preserved Bavarian tradition. When else do you get to join thousands dressed in traditional garb clanking steins and singing to the accordion tunes of a live Lederhosen-clad band? And it’s much more than just guzzling beer. These tents are surrounded by an incredible array of amusement park rides, food vendors, and grassy knolls for breaks (or naps).
The better question, we think, is: How to experience this be on a budget?
Lots of hotels have impressive art collections, but these ones go a step further and function as stand-alone museums as well as accommodations.
Benesse House, Japan
The Tadao Ando-designed Benesse House is located on the tiny Japanese island of Naoshima, a fishing community turned “art island” that hosts the Setouchi Art Triennal and is home to several permanent art installations and excellent museums. Guests of the Benesse House are granted access to the museum even after typical hours and have exclusive access to a six-seat monorail that runs up to the hotel’s Oval annex. Guest rooms in the museum are available in four styles and are decorated with drawings, paintings, and prints from the artists on exhibit. Rates start at $330.
Have a hankering for airline food? Apparently some people do.
German online grocer AllYouNeed.com and Lufthansa are in the testing phase of a new service called Air Food One that makes deliveries of airline-style food once a week in the cities of Dusseldorf and Cologne.
The meals are inspired by the airline’s business class menus and include steak filets, chicken in pepper sauce, and cod. Entrees go for about $13 a pop, according to CNN. They don’t come precooked like traditional airborne meals, so customers have to heat them up themselves.
Deliveries do not come with folding tray table or flight attendant, so suffice to say, you won’t get the full airplane experience.
Would you order airline food at home?
If you’re traveling internationally or even just across the country, chances are you’ll have a layover somewhere during your journey. Rather than waiting for hours inside the airport, why not take advantage of your location and head into the city? You’ve already paid to get there, after all. Whether you’ve landed in Honolulu or London, Beijing or Reykjavík, these cities are easy to visit from the airport, even if you just have a few hours.
Swiss Air Lines is offering some good fares to a number of European cities for the fall and winter, but you will have to make your mind up quickly as the sale ends at midnight tonight. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready to make a spontaneous booking, take a look at our handy checklist. Otherwise, you can book through our Travel Search tool, or visit the airline’s web site directly.
Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and many others countries speak the English language. But sometimes talking with the locals there can feel as foreign to U.S. travelers as communicating with those in, say, Thailand. To help clear these up, here are a few words that our stateside readers are all familiar with — but that mean something completely different in other English-speaking places around the world.
Travel is filled with emotions. Anytime you go somewhere, you’re giving yourself the chance to be delighted, to fall in love, to feel out of place, to find comfort. That’s a big part of why we like to get out there — and yet sometimes nothing in the English language adequately explains these experiences. Or at least not as succinctly as these foreign travel-related words we’ve gathered below. We’re keeping these in our back pocket for the next time we’re grasping for a word to capture a specific, evocative moment from our journeys, and we invite you to do the same.
Flight: booked. Hotel: reserved. Language podcasts: Completed. What else do you need to prepare before jetting off on vacation?
Most of us would probably never think that feeding pigeons in parts of Venice could get us fined as much as our plane tickets there cost. Likewise, while we always leave a substantial tip after dining at a restaurant in North America, the practice is a foreign concept to many international visitors. Needless to say, very diverse cultural customs abound around the world. Here are a few quirky ones that we love and think are useful to know for preventing cultural mishaps abroad.
After a year-long absence from Eurail’s Select Pass program, France officially returned to the network last month, becoming the 27th participating European country. (Other changes: Eurail has chosen to do away with passes that allow travel between three and five pre-selected countries, in lieu of a four-country pass only.) To celebrate, we’ve put together three wanderlust-worthy itineraries for taking advantage of the newly revamped program.
Barcelona has its Sagrada Familia. Sydney has its white-hooded Opera House. And other places? Well, they’ve got steps – lots and lots of them. As the examples illustrate below, epic staircases aren’t just a way to reach higher ground. They can be major attractions unto themselves. From the fabled Ha’iku Ladder in Hawaii, to Norway’s never-ending Flørli Steps, these jaw-dropping ascents aren’t for the faint of heart. But once you get to the top, we think you’ll agree the views more than make up for the effort. Read more
Compared to most of Western Europe, Berlin is a bargain. Hotel rooms cost about half the price of rooms in Paris or London, and it’s easy to fill your belly for fewer than five bucks. The city’s affordable activities and creative spirit make it a budget traveler’s dream. And there are plenty of free things to do — from museums and monuments, to public parks and open-air karaoke. Here are some of the best free things to do in Berlin. Read more
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