At the end of the summer, it will be 11 years since I moved to Germany and, believe it or not, I still have a long list of things that I haven’t done! Here are 10 things that I still want to see, do or experience in the country that I currently call home.
My Germany Bucket List
1. Do a bike tour of the Altes Land region
The river Elbe marshes downstream from Hamburg are a huge orchard dotted with cute little villages and centuries-old farmhouses: perfect for an idyllic bicycle ride on a sunny weekend.
2. Go camping on Heligoland
I’ve wanted to visit this North Sea island renown for its spectacular red cliffs ever since I first heard about it a decade ago. It’s a 4-hour catamaran ride from Hamburg so I’d love to stay a couple of nights on the island to explore and enjoy.
3. Visit Germany’s charming islands
While we’re on the subject of islands, there are two more destinations that are pretty high on my list. The first is Rügen with her white chalk cliffs and ancient beech forests. The second is the windy and ruggedly beautiful archipelago of the East Frisian Islands in the North Sea.
4. Experience Alstereisvergnügen
During particularly cold winters, when ice on the Alster lake in the middle of Hamburg reaches at least 20 cm thickness, a festival is celebrated on the ice. Food and mulled wine stands are built up and different attractions take place. It the last 15 years this festival has been celebrated only once – in 2012 when I was in Scotland for a visiting fellowship and enjoying balmy +10 C weather.
5. Participate in a Kohlfahrt
It is an old North German custom that takes place mid-winter when kale (Grünkohl) is harvested. It is, literally, a “cabbage walk” around the countryside filled with games and drinking crowned by a hearty meal of Grünkohl at a local pub or restaurant. Both times I was supposed to take part in a Kohlfahrt it sadly didn’t work out so this one’s still on my bucket list.
6. Hike or ski in the Harz mountains
Coming from a country whose highest point is 312 meters above sea level, I’m a sucker for mountains. The Harz mountain range is just a few hours drive from Hamburg and, from what I hear, it’s a beautiful place with pretty historic towns, rivers, and lakes. And, of course, mountains perfect for long walks in the summer or skiing in the winter.
8. Do a wine tour
Germany has 13 wine-growing regions. I’m sure that one of these days I can finally manage to do a proper wine tasting tour in at least one of them. Preferably with my girlfriends. And, of course, with some sightseeing on the side.
9. Visit Munich
Well, to be honest, I have been to Munich once but we couldn’t find a good parking place in the city center, drove further, and visited Nuremberg instead. Munich remains on my bucket list and I would love to spend a few days getting to know the beautiful Bavarian capital.
10. Watch a concert at the Elbphilharmonie
Ever since Hamburg’s stunning concert hall welcomed guests for the first concert in early 2017, tickets have been selling like hotcakes. But I’m certain that one of these days I’ll get my hands on a couple as well!