Germany, like many other countries, has numerous hotels converted from palaces, castles, and other historic buildings. The range of prices for a night’s accommodation is wide, and depends on the services offered and the location of the establishment. Lodgings can be particularly expensive in the centers of larger cities. However, smaller towns located in the tourist areas often have rooms to rent at reasonable rates. Set amid country landscapes, charming, family-run hotels providing comfortable rooms and local specialities reflect the unique character of Germany’s back roads.
Hotels in Germany
Hotels in Germany are categorized according to the number of stars awarded for facilities, and not the standards of service. However, the star rating is no guide to the more subjective charms of a hotel, such as the style of decor or the kind of regional cuisine served. In larger cities, it is not difficult to find accommodation in deluxe hotels that are often part of an international chain. Away from the cities, high prices generally apply to rooms in comfortable hotels in beautiful locations or those provided within historic palaces or villas. There are many smaller hotels, too, offering good, affordable lodgings. Often the name Schlosshotel indicates a hotel within a palace. Many of these hotels are members of organizations such as Historic Hotels of Europe, who can provide further information.
A hotel labeled Garni suggests that there is no restaurant on the premises, only a dining room where breakfast is served. Apartmenthotels offer suites with equipped kitchens or a kitchen annexe.
Guesthouses in Germany
Guesthouses (Gasthof) can be found throughout the country, usually located in private houses that function as traditional bed and breakfast places. Often labeled as Pension or Hotelpension, the distinction between a small hotel, a pension, and a private B&B varies from region to region. Quite popular, they are a good value for money. Located in smaller towns and villages, they are cheaper than hotels; however, the standards of service and facilities offered are also lower. The rooms are usually cozy and comfortable, and equipped with TV and a bathroom. Guests can also expect a large German breakfast in most guesthouses.
Youth Hostels in Germany
Youth hostels (Jugendherberge) represent the cheapest option for a stay and can be located in almost every town, as well as major tourist areas in Germany. Some are housed in very attractive historic buildings. While they offer cheap lodging, the standards are still surprisingly good.
Accommodation is usually provided in double or triple rooms, as well as in dormitories. In order to stay at a youth hostel, guests must carry a membership card of the Youth Hostels Association (YHA), which can be obtained from the association in their home country. Prices vary between €12 and €25 per day, depending on the choice of room and the region where the hostel is located.
Camping in Germany
Summer is the best time for a camping trip to Germany, as most camp sites close between November and March. These sites are well equipped, and usually have access to a shared kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities, as well as refuse stations. Most offer power connections. Some also feature playgrounds and restaurants and organize sports activities. A lot of camp sites also have additional cabins apart from pitches for tents, motorhomes, or trailers. Visitors should reserve a spot well in advance if visiting during the busy summer season, especially at popular destinations.
Facilities and Prices
With a wide range of accommodation available – from the basic to the luxurious – the facilities available generally reflect the price paid. Luxuries such as swimming pools and saunas are more often available in high-end hotels. For simple accommodation in beautiful surroundings, guesthouses are a good option. However, prices are also heavily influenced by other factors, such as the time of year.
In resort areas, prices are highest in summer, while in larger cities, spring and fall are more expensive. Prices may also double if a city or region is hosting a special event. This is especially the case for commercial fairs and cultural festivals. In cities, hotels situated in the centers are particularly costly, as are establishments housed within historic palaces or charming villas. However, many hotels have reduced prices on weekends.