More than steins and sausages – seven German destinations you can fly to directly from Manchester
If you’re thinking of a long weekend in Germany at this time of year, the image immediately conjured up is probably one of giant steins of beer, bratwurst sausages and Lederhosen. Millions of tourists pour into Munich each year for Oktoberfest – which, despite the name, actually gets underway this Saturday, and culminates at the start of next month. Last year alone, more than 20,000 of these seasonal visitors flew to Munich from Manchester Airport.
While this quintessential celebration of Bavarian culture remains Germany’s biggest tourist draw, western Europe’s most populous country offers much more besides – and this time of year is a particularly busy one in the cultural calendar.
Manchester Airport offers direct links to no fewer than seven major German cities – and each has something slightly different to offer.
Served directly by easyJet and Lufthansa
205,000 passengers have flown to Munich from Manchester so far this year
Bavaria’s largest city is at the heart of the region’s cultural scene, including its famous Oktoberfest celebrations, where over 5.5 million litres of beer will be consumed in the coming weeks. Nearby Neuschwanstein Castle is thought to be the inspiration behind Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle, and Munich is also a great base from which to explore the Bavarian Alps.
Served directly by easyJet and Ryanair
155,000 passengers have flown to Berlin from Manchester so far this year
On 3 October Germany celebrates Unity Day, marking the day when, in 1990, East and West Germany were unified. Berlin, the country’s capital, sees some of the biggest celebrations, with street parties centred on some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Reichstag (parliament building), Brandenburg Gate and the remnants of the Berlin Wall. Festivities last for three days and many of the city’s museums and cultural institutions open their doors to visitors for free.
Served directly by easyJet
30,000 passengers have flown to Hamburg from Manchester so far this year
Hamburg started life as an industrial port but is an increasingly popular destination for a city break. Its unlikely connection to The Beatles provides a link to the North West – the newly formed group played a number of small-room gigs here in the early 1960s before becoming internationally famous and a street is named after them – ‘Beatles-Platz’ – complete with steel statues of the band. The Miniatur Wunderland recreates some of the world’s most famous sights in miniature and boasts the world’s biggest model railway.
Served directly by Lufthansa
260,000 passengers have flown to Frankfurt from Manchester so far this year
The Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt book fair) is the world's largest trade fair for books and takes place in mid-October. On the weekend of 21-22 October, it opens its doors to the general public. Frankfurt’s other cultural attractions include its Old Town (Altstadt) with a medieval central square, and Main Tower, one of the EU’s tallest buildings, with sweeping views from its restaurant and observation deck on the 53rd floor.
Served directly by Ryanair
70,000 passengers have flown to Cologne from Manchester so far this year
Cologne’s imposing 800-year-old cathedral is the tallest twin-spired church on the planet and a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every day. Its medieval walls and Old Town are remarkably well preserved and the city is hugely popular for a weekend getaway.
Served directly by Eurowings
75,000 passengers have flown to Düsseldorf from Manchester so far this year
Düsseldorf is the gateway to the Rhine-Ruhr region, where it and a number of other major German cities (including Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Essen and Duisburg) have grown into one another over the years to form Germany’s largest continuous urban area.
The interlinked cities are well-connected by public transport and offer a plethora of things to see and do, from the German Football Museum in Dortmund to the Folkwang gallery in Essen displaying works by Picasso and Matisse.
Served directly by easyJet
55,000 passengers have flown to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg from Manchester so far this year
The biggest city in Germany’s south-west is under an hour away on public transport from its nearest airport, EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, which is located where the borders of Germany, France and Switzerland meet. Its Colombischlössle Museum displays some of the world’s oldest archaeological finds, including stone age artifacts. The surrounding area is one of Germany’s biggest wine regions and many local wineries offer tours.
You can find out more about booking a trip to Germany on the Manchester Airport website – visit www.manchesterairport.co.uk/destinations-and-guides.