Germany. It is a country known for its rich history, great beer and fine architecture. The nation is full of great cities for you to get out and about to explore.
The close proximity to the UK means that it’s never too difficult to have a few days away in Germany. From Manchester Airport, no fewer than seven German cities can be reached through direct flights.
One of these is Munich, and it is around this time of year that people from across Europe head to the city's famous Oktoberfest. Despite its name, the festival gets underway this coming weekend (September 16) and finishes in October.
Thousands of people make the journey from Manchester Airport over to Munich for Oktoberfest. However, there is far more to Munich and other German cities than beer and sausages.
Manchester Airport has compiled a list of the seven German destinations you can fly to directly from our region. The German capital of Berlin joins Munich on the list, and each of the cities have plenty of things for you to do on your next trip.
Munich is served directly by easyJet and Lufthansa, with 205,000 passengers flying in from Manchester so far this year already. Munich is the largest city in Germany’s Bavaria region. It is home to rich culture, a culture that includes the famous Oktoberfest where over 5.5 million litres of beer will be consumed in the coming weeks. Neuschwanstein Castle, which is located less than a two hour drive from the city, is thought to be the inspiration behind Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.
Berlin is served directly by easyJet and Ryanair and 155,000 passengers have flown to Berlin from Manchester so far this year. Berlin, the country’s capital, sees some of the biggest celebrations, with street parties centred on some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Reichstag (parliament building), Brandenburg Gate and the remnants of the Berlin Wall. Festivities last for three days and many of the city’s museums and cultural institutions open their doors to visitors for free.
Hamburg is served directly by easyJet and 30,000 passengers have flown to Hamburg from Manchester so far this year. Hamburg started life as an industrial port but is an increasingly popular destination for a city break. It's unlikely connection to The Beatles provides a link to the North West – the newly formed group played a number of small-room gigs here in the early 1960s before becoming internationally famous and a street is named after them – ‘Beatles-Platz’ – complete with steel statues of the band. The Miniatur Wunderland recreates some of the world’s most famous sights in miniature and boasts the world’s biggest model railway.
Frankfurt is served directly by Lufthansa and 260,000 passengers have flown to the city from Manchester. The Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt book fair) is the world's largest trade fair for books and takes place in mid-October. On the weekend of October 21-22, it opens its doors to the general public.
Frankfurt’s other cultural attractions include its Old Town (Altstadt) with a mediaeval central square, and Main Tower, one of the EU’s tallest buildings, with sweeping views from its restaurant and observation deck on the 53rd floor.
Direct flights to Cologne are operated by Ryanair and 70,000 passengers have flown to Cologne from Manchester so far this year. Cologne’s imposing 800-year-old cathedral is the tallest twin-spired church on the planet and a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every day. Its mediaeval walls and Old Town are remarkably well preserved and the city is hugely popular for a weekend getaway.
Served directly by Eurowings, 75,000 have flown in from Manchester this year. Düsseldorf is the gateway to the Rhine-Ruhr region, where it and a number of other major German cities (including Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Essen and Duisburg) have grown into one another over the years to form Germany’s largest continuous urban area.
The interlinked cities are well-connected by public transport and offer a plethora of things to see and do, from the German Football Museum in Dortmund to the Folkwang gallery in Essen displaying works by Picasso and Matisse.
Freiburg is served directly by easyJet and 55,000 passengers have flown to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg from Manchester so far this year. The biggest city in Germany’s south-west is under an hour away on public transport from its nearest airport, EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, which is located where the borders of Germany, France and Switzerland meet. Its Colombischlössle Museum displays some of the world’s oldest archaeological finds, including stone age artefacts. Fans of wine will be keen on Freiburg as the area surrounding the city is one of Germany’s biggest wine regions and many local wineries offer tours.