Germany may have a reputation for being a no-nonsense travel destination, but it has some surprisingly quirky places to stay if you know where to look.
We’re talking tents hanging in trees for an overnight stay like no other (although it’s not ideal for someone with limited bladder capacity), a hotel that pays tribute to the humble potato, and even a wolf enclosure.
The country is currently open to fully vaccinated Britons aged 12 and over for holidays (children are exempt) and with temperatures rising and sunshine, this is the perfect excuse to start holiday planning again.
Check out our top picks of the weird and wonderful stays in Germany…
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Tree tent, Allgäu
The Höllschlucht forest ropes course is an adventure park with treetop activities, similar to our Go Ape. It lies in the foothills of the Alps near the Austrian border in the Allgäu, west of the popular town of Füssen, famous for its Neuschwanstein Castle.
Activities on offer here include a few ways to sleep in the trees, either on a platform around the trunk or in a flimsy looking tree tent on a portaledge, with rope ascent and descent.
Not ideal for those with limited bladder capacity.
Sleeping on the platform is £104 per person per night, camping in the tree is £225, both including dinner and breakfast. Learn more at www.waldseilgarten-hoellschlucht.de.
Germans are notoriously fascinated with sustainability, with the country’s Green Party a key player in national politics.
So it’s no wonder that there are very environmentally conscious communities there, most notably the pretty village of Schmilka on the banks of the Elbe, south-east of Dresden.
Schmilka is located in the Saxon Switzerland National Park with many hiking trails and its own river steamer stop.
The houses, many of which offer accommodation, have solar, wind and hydro power, and the village bakery uses a wood-fired oven.
A double room at the Hotel zur Mühle costs £158 including breakfast. Learn more at schmilka. en.
Potato Hotel, Lower Saxony
Northern Germany has plenty of productive farmland, and this humble hotel in the Lüneburg Heath, southeast of Hamburg, celebrates every possible potato goodness known to man. Everything is potato-inspired, including the restaurant’s menu (potato soup, potato salad, potato goulash, even potato pudding) chased by potato schnapps.
The wellness program uses spud-based lotions for their “antiseptic, moisturizing and cell-renewing effects.” Each of the 35 rooms is named after a specific type of potato, and sacks often lie on the doorstep of the farmer next door.
Double rooms from £92 per night including breakfast. Learn more at kartoffel-hotel.de.
Zeppelin hangar, Brandenburg
What’s effectively a giant, overheated greenhouse about 40 miles south of Berlin has been repurposed into a year-round resort with sandy beaches, lagoons and palm trees.
Originally built as a base for a heavy airship project that didn’t take off from the ground, it was reborn as Tropical Islands, with a rainforest, a shopping street, and a “tropical sea” the size of three Olympic-size swimming pools. And that’s just the inside – there are even more water attractions outside. There are tents, cabins or hotel rooms and on weekends it can be lively late into the night.
Safari Tents from £63 pp P. per night, including breakfast and access to all attractions. Learn more at www.tropical-islands.de.
Hotel Wasserturm, Cologne
Alamy Stock Photo)
It was once the tallest water tower in Europe and supplied hundreds of thousands of households with drinking water. Today, the 150-year-old, converted building is one of the trendiest places to stay in downtown Cologne.
Its curved walls with beautiful old stonework and portholes mean that many of the furnishings have had to be specially designed and it has just reopened after a major refurbishment. From the circular rooftop bar, which specializes in products from German distilleries, you have a wonderful view over the city.
Double rooms from £95 per night, excluding breakfast. Learn more at www.wasserturm-hotel-cologne.com.
Wolf enclosure, Lower Saxony
Around a dozen Canadian and European gray wolves live in a five-hectare forest enclosure about 32 kilometers southeast of the northern city of Bremen.
During the day the Wolfcenter Dörverden is a family attraction with a visitor centre, restaurant, playground and the chance to meet some of the more cuddly residents, Cosmo and Luna.
At night, however, when the crowds have gone, the privileged few can sit on the roof of a “Tree Inn,” huts on stilts overlooking the enclosure, and join in the howling.
A night for two people costs £393, including breakfast. Learn more at www.wolfcenter.de.
Many German farms, especially in the north, offer holiday accommodation, mainly aimed at families. Sleeping in a hay barn is a regular part of this, although hay is sometimes replaced by straw due to its allergenic properties.
Sleeping bags are essential, of course, and you probably don’t want to spend more than a few nights before returning to the comfort of sheets.
A farm on the Baltic Sea coast like Gut Sophienhof, which also has more conventional huts, is on the safe side.
Costs £50 for two people per night including breakfast. Learn more at www.gutsophienhof.de.
Caravan Hotel, Berlin
Nothing unusual about staying in a caravan, you might say.
But Berlin, a travel destination disruptor in many ways, has reinvented the caravanning concept, placing an eccentric collection of vintage mobile homes in a former factory in trendy Kreuzberg and naming the result a hotel.
The downside is that the bathrooms are shared unless you prefer one of the loft rooms at the factory. There is a café in the garden courtyard so you don’t have to stay cooped up.
Caravans, which sleep two, start from £57 per night, excluding breakfast. Learn more at Hüttenpalast.de.
Monastery, Northern Bavaria
Many German monasteries are self-supporting businesses with breweries, farms, restaurants and guided tours.
Kloster Kreuzberg near Bischofsheim, east of Frankfurt, is one of them.
It also has a significant number of guest accommodations, with no obligation for guests to embark on any sort of spiritual journey; In the hills of the top of northern Bavaria you could just be a hiker. The rooms are simple, the beer is good and the meals are cheap.
Double rooms from £34pp per night including breakfast. Learn more at kloster-kreuzberg.de.
Beach bed, Schleswig-Holstein
If you would rather have your beach stay a little more… real, you can camp officially (otherwise illegally) on certain Baltic Sea beaches by renting a specially adapted beach chair. These traditional beach chairs made of wicker, which can be rotated to protect them from the wind and sun, now have a new sibling in the form of sleeping beach chairs, a double bed with a canopy, so to speak.
Fall asleep under the stars, with gentle waves as your lullaby and the whole of the Baltic Sea for your swim. There is usually some sort of attached toilet facility so you don’t have to use the sea for everything.
From £50 per night. Learn more at sh-tourismus.de.
Brewery Hotel, Bavaria
The Unesco-recognized city of Bamberg was once the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, but is best known today for its nine breweries, which are still located within the city limits. Some are known for special beers, like Schlenkerla, whose Rauchbier – smoky beer – tastes like smoky bacon.
And then there is the Bambergator, brewed by Fässla, which will blow your mind with 8.5%. Fässla’s maze of rooms and courtyards also offers overnight accommodation, and after a night out on the Alligator you’ll be thankful you only have to crawl upstairs and sing along.
Double rooms from £50 per night, excluding breakfast. Learn more at faessla.de.
Former Nazi holiday resort of Rügen
Once the tallest building in the world, the Colossus of Prora was a holiday resort built in the 1930s on the island of Rügen, a beautiful white-sand spot on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast.
Originally part of the Nazis’ “Strength through Joy” program, the building was nearly three miles long when completed. During the post-war communist era, it became a military base.
Today it is a kilometer shorter and much of it is still unused, but parts have been converted into holiday apartments, museums, youth hostels and hotels. One of these is the Dormero, a modern new development that focuses on wellness and fitness.
Double rooms from £97 per night, excluding breakfast. Learn more at dormero. en.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/europe/germanys-quirkiest-stays-hotel-celebrating-26651525 Germany's quirkiest accommodations from a hotel that celebrates potatoes to a wolf's enclosure