What to Do in Central Europe

Trips in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands,and Switzerland.

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Central Europe: The Bucket List

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Museum, Unteruhldingen, Germany (Photo credit: Amy S Eckert, c 2013)

Discovering Prehistoric German Dwellings, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Alpine chalets. Half-timbered wood-and-stucco houses. Long house-and-barn combos brimming with flower boxes. I had seen hundreds of these houses in southern Germany and Switzerland, in the Alpine landscape surrounding Lake Constance. Houses perched above water, on stilts? Impossible! A visit to the Pile Dwelling (Pfahlbau) Museum in Unteruhldingen, Germany, convinced me of just ...
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Diners in Bavarian Dress, Oktoberfest, Germany (photo credit: GNTB/Rainer Kiedrowski)

Celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

Germans seldom need an excuse to raise a frothy beer and exclaim “Prost!” But each autumn a new Oktoberfest rolls around, giving locals and tourists as good a reason as any to raise a toast and have another drink. Bavaria’s most famous festival is often called Wiesn by locals, a colloquialism ...
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Maulbronn Monastery (photo credit: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Ba.-Wü.)

Uncovering 860 Years of History at UNESCO Site Maulbronn Monastery

The road snakes through the German countryside, through forested hills and past tiny sparkling lakes in Baden-Württemberg. It’s a region famous for Germany´s Black Forest, the kind of place I always hope for when I plan a trip to Germany. Towns lie clustered along narrow, twisting rivers, their brick and ...
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Völklinger Hütte (photo credit: Amy S. Eckert c 2014)

Exploring Germany’s Industrial Heritage at UNESCO Site Völklinger Hütte

A city of rusting steel greets my eyes. No, not a city. A metropolis. Situated on the banks of the Saar River, just a stone’s throw from France and downriver from Saarbrücken, Völklinger Hütte towers over the landscape, the empty shell of one of the world’s largest ironworks. Its blast furnaces ...
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Central Europe: Travel Facts

Main International Airports: Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Prague.
Currency: Swiss francs. Liechtenstein uses Swiss francs. Hungarian forint. All others: Euros.
Population: Germany: 82,000,000. Switzerland 8,000,000. Liechtenstein: 36,000.
Capitals: Berlin, Germany. Vienna, Austria. Zurich, Switzerland. Budapest, Hungary. Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
Climate: Temperate. Winters range from mild (palm trees on Lake Geneva) to cold and snowy (especially at higher elevations and the more northern latitudes). Summers are not usually excessively hot. Moderate rainfall.
Major languages: German, Italian and French (in Switzerland)
More facts: All of Central Europe except for Switzerland and Liechtenstein are in the EU. None require Americans or Canadians to have tourist visas.
Time zone: Standard time for all of Central Europe is UTC + 1. See World Clock for seasonal adjustments.