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5 historic countries like Germany full of old-world flair
Fairytale forests, charming town centres and great beer – these countries like Germany have it all.
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The alluring country of Germany is a beautiful blend of medieval history and modern landscapes. Rugged forests abound, housing well-kept castles and well-maintained walking routes, while remnants of World War II scattered across the nation act as reminders of the days when the country was divided.
If you’ve fallen in love with Germany but feel as though you need to spread your wings a little, these countries have a similar feel and landscape that you’ll no doubt fall in love with, too.
Rich in imperial history, alpine mountains and baroque architecture, Austria is like the more regal sister of Germany.
Culture vultures in particular are bound to love Austria for its fine museums and for being the home country to such illustrious classical musicians as Mozart and Strauss.
- Top three cities to visit: Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck.
- Must-see castle: Hohenwerfen Castle.
- Beer of choice: Bevog.
Rugged mountains, historic buildings and a wealth of German-speaking cities make Switzerland the next best thing to Germany.
Bordering Germany in the south, parts of Switzerland could be mistaken for Germany’s Bavaria. Its Christmas markets are some of the most traditional in the world and with mountains bordering basically every town, it’s a haven for hiking enthusiasts, too.
- Top three cities to visit: Geneva, Basel and Zurich.
- Must-see castle: Gruyères Castle, Fribourg.
- Beer of choice: BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes).
Belgium has a lot more in common with Germany than the colours of its flag.
Comprising of Dutch, French and German speaking regions, Belgium is a country of medieval castles and sweet small towns similar to those in Germany. It brews some of the best beers in the world, too.
- Top three cities to visit: Brussels, Brugge and Ghent.
Poland is often compared to Germany, and with its series of lakes, charming old town centres and cheap beers, it’s with good reason!
This Eastern European nation is a landscape of lush countryside and sparkling lakes. Similar to Germany, it’s rich in World War II history and is a must for history buffs.
- Top three cities to visit: Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk.
- Best castle: Książ Castle.
- Beer of choice: Artezan.
From its ornate castles to its cheap steins and medieval taverns, the Czech Republic reads like it comes straight from the pages of a fairytale.
Boasting a landscape of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings amongst a modern setting, Czech Republic is a unique throwback to a bygone era. Cobblestoned laneways lead to well-preserved castles and during Christmas its old towns transform into merry Christmas markets similar to what you’d find in Germany.
- Top three cities to visit: Prague, Brno and Cesky Krumlov.
- Best castle: Prague Castle.
- Best beer: Matuška.
OK, you caught us, Hahndorf is not a country… but it is very much a little piece of Germany in your own backyard. That’s gotta count for something, right?[description]Established in 1839, the town of Hahndorf in Adelaide Hills is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. Officially a state heritage area, much of the town has maintained its German appeal with stores selling chutney, apple strudel and Australia’s longest hotdog, and one of the most authentic German Christmas Markets in the nation.
- Top three things to do: Cooking schools, visit the Hahndorf Farm Barn farmyard and wildlife park, and shop the Christmas markets in December.
- Best bars: Gulf Brewery and the Pantry wine bar and restaurant.
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