9 must-see sites in Germany
Germany has soared onto the traveler's radar in recent years with its incredible mix of dramatic landscapes, vibrant cities and historic landmarks. In celebration of this dynamic country, we're profiling nine of its must-see sites and attractions.
1. Berlin's Brandenburg Gate
A symbol of Germany's reunification, Brandenburg Gate provides a spectacular gateway to Berlin, one of Europe's most dynamic and historically rich cities. Modeled after Propylaea in Athens' Acropolis, the gate was unveiled in 1791 as a celebration of the city's status as Prussia's capital, known originally as Friedenstor, “the Gate of Peace." Its history since has been rather tumultuous, but when the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989, it became what it was always intended to be: a symbol of peace and unity.
2. Cologne Cathedral
Though Cologne can't claim to be Germany's most picturesque city, it does embody a spirit that justifies the local slogan of "Köln ist ein gefühl," or "Cologne is a feeling." That feeling is one of liberal-minded freedom and unashamed hedonism, so it's not surprising that it offers some of the best nightlife in all Europe. And then there is the history. Roman walls dating back to 38BC emerge unannounced as you explore the city, a reminder of its past before you finally find yourself staring open-mouthed at its most famous structure, Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral), a Gothic masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage Site so vast and intricate it took seven centuries to complete.
3. Frankfurt's Römerberg
Frankfurt is known as a high-powered conglomerate of steel and concrete skyscrapers, but at its heart lies the Germany of your imagination. Head for Altstadt — Frankfurt's old town — and you'll find yourself in the Römerberg, the city's most picturesque square. Home to Römer, the city hall since the 15th century, it was here that President John F. Kennedy addressed the crowd during his historic visit in 1963. With their stepped gable facades, the buildings here transport you back in time to what feels like a film set. It's a lifetime away from the hustle and bustle of the modern city that surrounds it.
4. The Black Forest
The setting for countless Grimm Brothers' fairy tales, the Black Forest takes its name from the dark, oppressive canopy of evergreens looming above the forest floor — fertile ground for big bad wolves, you might imagine. In truth, you're more likely to uncover great adventures than wolves in here, for the Black Forest is a vast expanse of hills and valleys, rivers and forests, ripe for exploration on foot or by bike. En route you'll discover some of Germany's most charming small towns dotted throughout the landscape, offering half-timbered houses, luxurious spas and a slower pace of life.
5. Neuschwanstein Castle
Schloss Neuschwanstein is a fairytale castle in southwest Bavaria that served as the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle — a creation that has to be seen to be believed. The vision of 'mad' King Ludwig II and built between 1869 and 1886, Neuschwanstein was designed to be the King's personal fiefdom, a vast turret-topped edifice climbing high into the sky. "There will be several cozy, habitable guest rooms with a splendid view of the noble Säuling, the mountains of Tyrol and far across the plain," he enthused.
6. Berlin's Museum Island
On a small island in Berlin's Spree River sits the city's Museumsinsel – Museum Island – a collection of five grand buildings that house the city's finest works of art. Built between 1824 and 1930 and lauded as Berlin's ' Louvre on the Spree' and 'Acropolis of the arts,' Museumsinsel is in itself one of Berlin's finest works of art. Afforded UNESCO World Heritage Site status since 1999, it takes you on an archaeological journey covering the cultures of Europe and the Near East over six thousand years. In a city awash with history and culture, this qualifies as truly unmissable.
7. Bavaria's Allgäu Alps
Spread across 150km in the south of Germany, Allgäu is a land of rugged Alpine peaks, lush green forests, vast lakes and clean Bavarian air. Blessed with thousands of signposted trails that run at altitudes to suit all, this is a hiker's and rambler's paradise. A proliferation of small villages, spas and health retreats en route make the region well worth exploring at length. Those with more energy can add in canoeing, paragliding and, from December until April, skiing and snowboarding. While other mountain ranges further south are higher, none are as dramatic as the Allgäu Alps.
8. Berlin's Wall
No visit to the capital city would be complete without a tour of its infamous wall. Sadly there's less of it to see than you might imagine. Once stretching 155km, the Berlin Wall completely cut West Berlin off from East Berlin during the post-World War II period. It stood from 1961 until 1989 and today only about 2km remains, with the longest and best-preserved stretch being the East Side Gallery, so named for the murals added by international artists. Though East and West have since merged into one, signposted walking and cycling tours will guide you back along the former border's route.
9. Munich's Oktoberfest
Attracting some 6 million visitors each year for the last decade, Munich's legendary Oktoberfest is an event worth traveling serious air miles for. What claims to be the world's largest folk festival began in 1810 as a five-day celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Since then, five days has become a full two weeks, but the same spirit of revelry remains: Oktoberfest is a chance to eat, drink and be merry, while you feast on oversized sausages, spit-roasted ox and enormous steins of Munich beer. Expect a headache, but also memories that will last a lifetime.
If you go
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
Cargo-only flights support U.S. military and their families
March 30, 2020
We are helping to keep military families connected by increasing the frequency of cargo-only flights between the United States and military bases in various parts of the world — including Guam, Kwajalein, and several countries in Europe. Last week we began operating a minimum of 40 cargo-only flights weekly — using Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft to fly freight and mail to and from U.S. hubs and key international business and military locations.
We are going above and beyond to find creative ways to transport fresh food and produce, as well as basic essentials from the U.S. mainland to military and their families in Guam/Micronesia. On Saturday, March 28, we operated an exclusive cargo-only B777-300 charter to transport nearly 100,000 pounds of food essentials to Guam to support our troops.
In addition, we move mail year-round all over the world. In response to COVID-19, and in support of the military members and their families overseas, we implemented a charter network, transporting military mail to Frankfurt, which is then transported all over Europe and the Middle East. Since March 20, we have flown 30,000+ pounds of military mail every day between Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Frankfurt (FRA). On the return flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, we have carried an average of 35,000 pounds of mail to help families stay connected.
"Keeping our military families connected with the goods they need, and keeping them connected with loved ones to feel a sense of home, is of critical importance. As a company that has long supported our military families and veterans, our teams are proud to mobilize to lend a hand." — United Cargo President Jan Krems.
Our cargo-only flights support customers, keep planes moving
March 22, 2020
We have begun flying a portion of our Boeing 777 and 787 fleet as dedicated cargo charter aircraft to transfer freight to and from U.S. hubs and key international business locations. The first of these freight-only flights departed on March 19 from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) with the cargo hold completely full, with more than 29,000 lbs. of goods.
Getting critical goods into the hands of the businesses and people who need them most is extremely important right now. To support customers, employees and the global economy, we will initially operate a schedule of 40 cargo charters each week targeting international destinations and will continue to seek additional opportunities.
With coronavirus (COVID-19) creating an increased need to keep the global supply chain moving, we are utilizing our network capabilities and personnel to get vital shipments, such as medical supplies, to areas that need them most.
"Connecting products to people around the world is the United Cargo mission," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "That role has never been more crucial than during the current crisis. Our team is working around the clock to provide innovative solutions for our customers and support the global community."
On average, we ship more than 1 billion pounds of cargo every year on behalf of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit unitedcargo.com.
To our customers,
I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.
The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.
Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.
The role of connector is one we're privileged to play in the moments that matter most in your life – weddings and graduations, birthdays and business trips, events large and small – and it's that responsibility that motivates us most to get back to our regular service, as soon as possible.
That is why it is so important our government acted on a comprehensive relief act to ensure our airline – and our industry – are ready and able to serve you again when this crisis abates.
I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.
This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.
While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted. And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.
Right now, aircraft flying the United livery and insignia, flown by our aviation professionals, have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. We're also using several of our idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from U.S. locations as well as to key international business locations. At the same time, we are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.
While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.
Stay safe and be well,
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.