7 Must-see Videos About Germany: Culture, Cuisine and the Best Travel Destinations
There’s a lot more to Germany than Oktoberfest (though that can be a wonderful experience, too!).
Whether you’re daydreaming about visiting Germany or actively planning a trip, it’s important to know about all of the diverse, fascinating and historic regions the country has to offer.
What better way to learn about them than with some real-world videos about Germany? The videos in this post will help any German learner become familiar with the sights and sounds of Germany across five regions.
- How to Get Language Lessons from Videos About Germany
- 7 Must-see Videos About Germany
- Top 10 Must-see German Tourist Attractions
- German Food and What You Should Eat in Germany
- Bavaria: Land of Castles and Oktoberfest
- Berlin: Capital of a Nation (Once Again)
- The Rhine River: Flowing Past Many German Variations
- Frankfurt: Finance and Transportation Hub
- The North: Land of Chocolate (and a Chocolate Museum)
- Where to Learn Travel Phrases for Visiting Germany
How to Get Language Lessons from Videos About Germany
Turn on closed captioning. Once you open the video link, at the bottom of the screen, on the right hand side, you’ll see “CC.” Click on that once and it’ll give you German captions to follow along with. Seeing and hearing the words together can help boost your comprehension significantly.
Just be sure to take any “auto-generated” YouTube captions with a grain of salt.
If you want to be sure that you can understand (and learn from) any German video, I suggest using a language learning program like FluentU.
Every video on FluentU comes with interactive subtitles where you can click on any word and get an instant definition and native pronunciation. When you’re done watching a video, there are tailor-made flashcards and personalized quizzes to make sure you remember what you’ve just learned! You can also review with full transcripts and vocabulary lists.
7 Must-see Videos About Germany
Before we explore all the diverse regions of Germany, let’s get inspired with some must-see destinations from all across the country.
While our videos about Germany’s regions give you an authentic look (they were created by and for German speakers in the German language), these ones are in English. They’re a great starting point if you’re still building up those German skills or just starting to learn about Germany.
Top 10 Must-see German Tourist Attractions
This video highlights great places to see in Germany including Heidelberg, Dresden, Goslar (a historic town in Germany), the BMW Museum and even lets you experience a fun ride along the Autobahn.
German Food and What You Should Eat in Germany
This is an excellent introduction to popular foods. It also gives a good overview of the variety that’s offered in various regions of Germany. Drinks and desserts are also featured.
Bavaria: Land of Castles and Oktoberfest
This video will introduce you to the largest regional dialect area in Germany and the area where many tourists go. That’s partly because there are so many castles.
Enjoy this video exploration of Schloss Neuschwanstein, the most photographed castle on the continent and Disney’s inspiration, among other landmarks.
You’ll also hear Bairisch (a Bavarian dialect). The dialect is spoken in southeast Germany and all along the Austrian border. One of the key differences you’ll notice is that they really like the “o” sound for vowels, no matter how the word is actually spelled.
My family is from the region so I’ve heard this firsthand. For example, in the morning my relatives would say to me, “Hast du gut geschlofen?” This made no sense to me. I didn’t have a clue how to respond. It took a few (sleepy) minutes for me to realize they were actually saying, “Hast du gut geschlafen?” (High German: Did you sleep well?) They changed that “a” to an “o.”
Another key pronunciation difference is that they really roll their “r’s.” Listen in the video as the narrator pronounces words like Wetter (weather) and traumlandschaft (beautiful landscape).
In terms of understanding spoken German, the Bavarian accent is one the most difficult to comprehend. You can make it easy on yourself in Munich during Oktoberfest, where one of the most important phrases at the famous Hofbräuhaus (brewery/restaurant) is “Ein Stein Bier, bitte.” (A glass of beer, please.)
Be prepared! That’s one liter of beer you just ordered.
Berlin: Capital of a Nation (Once Again)
It’s Germany’s largest city with almost 6 million people in the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan area. Berlin has its own speaking style known as Berlinerisch (Berliner) with some distinctive differences from standard German.
A key difference you’ll notice is that the letter “g” is usually pronounced like a “y” as in “yellow.” This is especially noticeable in a common word like gut meaning “good,” which now sounds like “yoot.”
As well, the very popular “ich” sound in German, as in mich, dich, sich, (myself, yourself, himself), which in English usually sounds like someone gargling, all make a “k” sound in Berlin.
This tendency is noticeable in the video above. Listen carefully as the narrator talks about how much he spends for things throughout the day. For example, in the phrase habe ich bezahlt… (I paid…), he pronounces the word Ich (I) a bit like “ick.”
Keep these points in mind as you visit the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall and the Reichstag (Parliament) Building, whether in the video above or in your real-life travels!
The Rhine River: Flowing Past Many German Variations
The Rhine has its start near Basel, Switzerland and winds its way north as the border between France and Germany. Along this stretch there are several significant variations of German including Schweizerdeutsch (Swiss German), spoken in places like Zurich and Basel, as well as Fränkish (Franconian), spoken in the cities of Cologne and Karlsruhe. Finally, as the Rhine flows into the Netherlands you’ll hear Niederdeutsch or Plattdeutsch (Lowland German).
In the area around Cologne and moving north along the Rhine, if you can understand a little German or a little Dutch you’ll probably understand enough Niederdeutsch to get along fine.
This is an area of Germany where you can really hear the “ch” (gargle) sound, and you’ll hear it in this video, too. Notice in phrases like von A nach B (from A to B), the “ch” is really vocalized. You’ll hear it again when the narrator talks about Hochschule (a university or college).
The video will show you many of the local sporting events, arts festivals, landmarks and more enjoyed by the cultures in the Rhine region.
The city of Cologne is the largest city in Germany that’s right on the Rhine. The city is famous for its architecture and also for how much of the city was destroyed by bombs during World War II.
You can see today that when they rebuilt, they tried to restore many of the historical buildings to their original style.
Frankfurt: Finance and Transportation Hub
If you’re coming by plane or train to Germany, chances are you’re coming to Frankfurt. As this video discusses, Frankfurt is an economic center of Europe with many major banks having their headquarters here (Deutsche Bank, the German Federal Bank and the European Central Bank).
About three minutes into the video you’ll see Frankfurt’s eye-grabbing, 600-year-old City Hall. As a visitor, it’s easy to catch a train there or to Zeil Strasse (meaning Row Street, as in rows of houses). As you’ll glimpse in the video, now Zeil Strasse even has a futuristic looking shopping mall named “MyZeil” on it.
Listen carefully in the video and you’ll hear English loanwords such as Aktion Skyline (Action Skyline), “commerce” and Techno-Musik (Music).”
While English is commonly understood in this big city, it helps to learn some German. Even phrases like Wo ist…? (Where is…?) and Was kostet..? (How much…?) can be helpful.
These phrases will come in handy if you want to attend fun events like the the world’s largest book fair or the world’s largest car show, both of which are held in Frankfurt.
The Frankfurt Book Fair has a history that goes back more than 500 years. It was in the Frankfurt area that Johannes Gutenberg first had his printing press. The International Moto Show (IAA) is the largest transportation show of both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Up until the early 1990s the show was held exclusively in Frankfurt but now commercial vehicles are shown in Hanover on alternate years.
Of course, you may like the answer to “Was kostet...?” from the book fair much better than the answer you get at the car show, where that lovely Lamborghini you want to test drive starts at $400,000. This is where phrases such as Nein, Danke (No, thanks) and Leider, nicht (Unfortunately/Sadly not) are good to know.
The North: Land of Chocolate (and a Chocolate Museum)
This area of northern Germany is home to the only coastline in the country. Germany has a shoreline along both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. It’s an area where their dialect is known as Friesisch (Frisian) especially along the border with the Netherlands.
In the video you’ll hear how people in this area of Germany often change their pronunciation of “t” to a “d” sound. Watch for it on words such as täglich (daily) and art (type or kind).
As for the chocolate… Hachez Chocolade started in Bremen in 1890. Hachez is one of the biggest chocolate producers right after Lindt chocolate from Switzerland.
While Hachez started and still operates in Bremen, the Chocolate Museum or Chocoversum that you’ll see in this video is actually in Hamburg. The great news is that the museum welcomes your participation, particularly tasting. You can even create your own chocolate bar.
For a really amazing taste experience, the Bremen Rathaus (Town Hall) and Ratskeller (Town Cellar) are hard to beat. Here you get not only the finest chocolates but also a wine cellar that dates back to 1405. Both the Town Hall and the cellar are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Some helpful phrases here include;
“Ein Glas, bitte.” (“One glass, please.”) Note that the “tt” in bitte will sound more like “bidda” because of the regional difference of “t” changing to “d.”
“Kann ich ein Stück probieren?” (“Can I try a piece?”) Or for a tiny piece, “Kann ich ein Stückchen probieren?“
Where to Learn Travel Phrases for Visiting Germany
As you explore Germany’s beautiful, fascinating regions with the videos below, don’t be surprised if the travel bug bites you! Here are some great resources to keep your learning going—and maybe even prepare for a real-life trip!
- “German Phrase Book”: This handy book will help you order in a restaurant, book a hotel room, ask for directions or even return something you bought. Many other topics such as transportation and making appointments are also covered.
- “Just Enough German”: This book takes you from crossing the border, to changing your money, to asking for directions to the tourist office, to common expressions used in a business meeting.
- “1001 Easy German Phrases”: The advantage to this book is it starts with German pronunciation. Then it looks at a variety of basic topics such as meeting people, eating out, shopping and going to the doctor or dentist.
To sum up, traveling through Germany is a lot of fun. Don’t let all the regional dialects deter you. All Germans are taught standardized German Hochdeutsch (High German) in school. They may have variations on pronunciation, but as you can see and hear from these videos about Germany, there’s also a lot they have in common.
Ramona Brown Monsour is a professional writer and ESL teacher. She is the creator of the digital newsletter, “About Canada: Culture, Immigration & Lifestyle.”