Looking to connect to your roots? Family heritage travel to Germany is a perfect way to dive in! German-Americans are the largest ethnic group in the United States, and there is SO much info out there to help you trace your ancestors’ roots.
From Bavaria to Bonn, Germany is one of Europe’s greatest treasures. It is a dream destination for kids of all ages, and it’s a trip that you will never forget.
Ready to follow in your family’s footsteps? Here is everything you need to know about family heritage travel in Germany.
Family Heritage Travel to Germany: Where to Start
First things first, start researching. Before you can organize your family heritage travel to Germany, you want to get as much info as possible.
The best starting point is GenWiki. It is an extensive source of genealogy records for all German-speaking countries in the world.
Once you have done as much research as you can, it’s time to start packing. Of course, every family is going to have their own unique adventures in heritage travel to Germany, so every path will be different.
Finding Your Roots Around Germany
Germany is about three times the size of New York state or half the size of Texas. With the second largest population in Europe, this is one of the biggest countries in Europe. Come ready to take this place on!
Featuring vast mountains in the south, forests of the west, and rolling plains in the north, Germany has a diverse landscape. It’s also renown for its culture and cuisines. If your kids love hot dogs, come ready to see how many of the 1500 sausage types you can try!
Made up of 16 states, each region of Germany has its own unique culture. And a diverse climate! We are taking ice-cold winters and steamy summers. Your experience of family heritage travel in Germany will vary quite a bit depending on when and where you go.
Tip- When you are looking for a family trip abroad, check out kids fly free airlines. It will save you some serious cash!
Map Your Ancestors’ Path
Plan plenty of time to really experience your ancestors’ home. Take in the landscape and soak in what it was like to live back then. Walk the streets. Explore the neighboring villages. If you can uncover precisely where your family worked and/or lived, take their commute. Attend the local church where they were baptized. Try to get a sense of what their daily lives were like. The small daily things are so much more meaningful than to than wedding pics or gravestones.
German villages are serious about preserving historical sites, even small family homes, so there’s a good chance that you can find your great grandparents’ house. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find the old property books, so spend your time researching. That’s part of the fun really! Kids of all ages can take part in planning family heritage travel in Germany.
Make family trees. Dig through historical documents. When you hit a wall at some point, you can learn a lot by reading about the lives of others. Regional museums are a great source of information that will paint of picture of what life what like at that place and time.
Finding Your Family in Germany
If your ancestors are from Germany, there’s a good chance that you have distance relations still living there. Reach out! Your distant cousins would probably love to meet you and your family for a coffee. Even if they aren’t available, they might have some interesting photos or other things to share with you.
Experience German Culture First Hand
Taste the local food. Hear German music. Seek out festivals! There are elements of German culture that were universal and still celebrated. If you plan to visit the Oktoberfest in Munich, check out the Oide Wiesn, which is more kid-friendly. However, there are more than 10,000 festivals per year in Germany! Just check an events calendar before you and plan to check out as many as you can.
As you explore, you are certainly going to find some new fave foods. Find a family-friendly cooking class to take home the best souvenir: recipes! If you are short on time or the littles aren’t quite ready for a long course, go for Professor YouTube. A few basic ingredients and a fun video can create the perfect afternoon.
Family Heritage Travel to Germany: Best Family Stops
Regardless of where your family is from, there are a few spots in Germany that your kids are going to love.
Of course, your kids are going to love Europa Park! Germany’s largest theme park has over a hundred attractions, including 11 roller coasters that’ll knock your socks off. Psst… they just opened a new indoor water park called Rulantica with over 32,600sqm fun all year round.
There are so many cool themed hotels at Europa Park that are ultra kid-friendly. Take your pick of medieval-themed hotels, Mediterranean style resorts, and “night in the museum” escape! For a more affordable option, try the family-friendly Pension Jäger in Rust.
Hotel Schloss Waldeck
Come from German royalty? Who needs a fancy claim to fame when you can be lady and lord of Hotel Schloss Waldeck, a vast fortress above Edersee Lake. The kids can wander around with flashlights to tour the property, go out treks around the lake, and admire the amazing fireworks.
Kids who love sweets (is there any other kind?) will flip for the Chocolate Museum of Cologne. And it’s less than an hour from the Haribo factory in Bonn. Check out their factory store. It’s easy to get around Cologne, Bonn, and down to Sealife Königswinter. Maritim Hotel in Cologne is a handy, kid-friendly spot in the heart of it all.
Explore the LEGOLAND Themed cottages, LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel, and LEGOLAND Castles.