Luxury hotels, events and experiences to look out for in 2018

Germany may not be the first country people think of when planning a summer holiday. But look closer, and there’s a lot to love. A peaceful northern shore. Southern forests, mountains and sun-drenched vineyards. And cities that spring into life with countless festivals and cultural events. Here are just nine summer experiences to get you started.

1. Catch up with contemporary art in Berlin

From June to September, galleries across Berlin will play host to the 10th Berlin Biennale. Titled 'We don’t need another hero', exhibiting artists will explore recent geopolitical shifts around the world and the contradictions and complications of life.

2. Go to a music festival

From underground techno (in an underground bunker) to heavy metal, Germany is home to some of Europe’s biggest and most diverse music festivals. Forget about camping in muddy fields, though. Plenty of festivals take place in city centres, such as Berlin’s ever popular Classic Open Air in Gendarmenmarkt, where orchestras perform under the stars. Or base yourself at a Boutique Hotel Heidelberg Suites or Hotel Die Hirschgasse Heidelberg to attend indie festival Maifeld Derby, in nearby Mannheim, in style.

If you prefer your music on a more intimate scale, drop into the Orania.Berlin Salon. This luxury Berlin hotel holds weekly jazz performances, along with a calendar of literary and cultural events.

Orania.Berlin

3. Take things slow on the Baltic Coast

Closer to Denmark than to Berlin, Germany’s northern shore is famously laid-back. The long beaches attract surfers and (perhaps surprisingly) sunbathers – and you’ll never be fighting for space on the sand. This stylish area is dotted with historic buildings that house fine dining restaurants and an exclusive spa, all fringed by a private beach.

4. Swim at an open-air lido on the Bodensee

With the sunlight glinting off the lake and mountains on the horizon, Konstanz is an endlessly photogenic spot for a summer break. Rather than simply admiring the view, do as the locals do and take to the water at one of the city lidos. Moos is a good option for families, with play areas and plenty of shaded spots between the trees. 

5. Explore fairy-tale landscapes in Bavaria

The deep forests, remote valleys and soaring peaks of Germany sparked the treasured folk stories collected by the Brothers Grimm. Thankfully, the reality of these landscapes is much sunnier, with wooden chalets instead of gingerbread houses and fine dining menus replacing trails of breadcrumbs. 

Alpenhof Murnau, Germany

6. Go wine tasting in Deidesheim

With its half-timbered buildings, Deidesheim feels like a suitably historic place to explore Germany’s centuries-old wine industry. In August, stalls pop up on the Marktplatz for the annual wine festival. Come along to taste the fruits of some of the most celebrated local vineyards, including the Basserman-Jordan wine estate. To get even closer to the source, you can stay at the former Basserman manor house turned boutique hotel, Ketschauer Hof .

7. Take a spa break – 19th century style

Natural hot springs turned Baden Baden into the must-visit luxury destination of the 18th and 19th centuries. The stylish spa town attracted celebrities and royalty including Queen Victoria, the Queen of Prussia and the composer Berlioz, becoming known as ‘Europe’s summer capital’. Stay at Belle Époque hotel to soak up Baden Baden’s historic grandeur. And be sure to visit the Friedrichsbad, a magnificent roman-style bath house where people have been taking the thermal waters since the 1860s.

8. Learn something new in Heidelberg

Heidelberg University welcomed its first students in 1386. So it’s no surprise that over the centuries, this lively student city has amassed expertise on everything from medicine to literature and philosophy. Plenty of people stay over the summer to learn German. But if you’re here for a luxury city break, treat your mind at its eclectic museums. Favourites include the Pharmacy Museum and its antique apothecary bottles, and the graffiti-filled Studentenkarzer – an 18th century university prison for rule-breaking students.

9. Play a round of golf in Mulheim an der Ruhr

Boutique Hotel Villa am Ruhrufer, Germany

Described as the ‘city on the river’, Mulheim an der Ruhr is the perfect place to tee off and practise your swing. With free shuttles to its two own golf courses Mülheim an der Ruhr Raffelburg and Kosaido International Golf Club Düsseldorf, Boutique Hotel Villa am Ruhrufer Golf & Spa gives you the perfect excuse to play both courses.