Germany or the UK? It might sound like a simple question, but it really isn’t. Germany and the UK are both massive tourist destinations and offer substantial history to discover. If you are drawn to one, you will likely be drawn to the other as well, creating a difficult decision.
The overlap isn’t just limited to history; the countries have similarly outgoing nightlife cultures as well. And, since they are both Western European countries, you can also expect roughly similar temperatures. Even locals have overlapping reputations! You can expect queues, order, and reserved locals in both – particularly avoid these things in Germany to stay in everyone’s good books. With so many similarities, how, you may wonder, are you going to choose?
Before you start pulling your hair out, we’ve compiled a comparison guide between the two. Germany or the UK? No problem. We’ll explore all the pros and cons of both destinations.
Germany or the UK: Attractions
One of the most difficult comparisons when debating between Germany or the UK is their attractions.
Germany and the UK excel at maintaining historical attractions. A major draw to both countries is the castles – the most famous being Windsor Castle or Edinburgh Castle in the UK and Neuschwanstein in Germany.
Since both countries had heavy involvement in the World Wars, you can also expect many military and political attractions.
In Germany, you’ll find the German Tanks Museum, Museum of Military History, Museum of World War 1, Berlin Wall, and Bavarian Army Museum. For an intense immersion in tragic history, you can also visit concentration camp memorial sites like the Dachau Concentration Camp.
In London, you’ll find the Churchill War Rooms, the National Army Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum, and the Royal Air Force Museum. And that is just to name a few! You can also watch the Changing of the Guards and tour the Cavalry Stables to witness the military firsthand.
The benefit of the UK for historical attractions is the sheer scale of options. These attractions are just based in London, so you can imagine the options when traveling the rest of the UK. Another benefit of the UK is that many museums and attractions are free.
Winner: It is a tough call. We’d recommend Germany to learn more about the impact of World War and the UK for more general history. Overall, the UK wins this round.
Germany or the UK: Nature
Nature is another challenging comparison point, with both countries renowned for their scenery. The UK has fifteen National Parks, and Germany has sixteen – so there is a shared value for preserving and appreciating natural scenery.
The UK has a mixture of countryside villages like the Cotswolds and bleaker wilderness like the Highlands and Yorkshire Dales. Its villages are popular for ramblers and hikers who want a romantic glimpse of country living before finishing the day with a hearty meal in a traditional pub. Whereas, in more remote areas, you’ll find more adventurous challenges like the Three Peaks, Ben Nevis, or even Mount Snowdon in Wales.
The most famous National Parks in Germany are the Black Forest, Berchtesgaden, Bavarian Forest, and Saxon Switzerland. Germany is surrounded by alpine and forest scenery rather than quaint country village scenes and miles of moorland. There is a definite sense of remoteness but a less empty atmosphere than the UK’s moorland. Of course, there are also the German Alps to explore.
Both Germany and the UK have inspired the masses through their nature. Romantic poets like Wordsworth even traveled to Germany from the UK to experience its natural scenery, writing about both destinations in his esteemed works.
However, there is a definite difference between Germany and the UK’s scenery – so consider carefully between them.
Winner: Germany wins this round for its stunning alpine scenery.
Germany or the UK: Price
Overall, while you can visit budget areas in Britain, Germany is the cheaper holiday option of the two.
While the UK has many attractions, especially in London, that are free, the overall cost is slightly higher for most factors. You can expect to pay more for meals at restaurants, beer, public transport, and rent if you choose to stay for a month or more.
There are ways to cut costs in the UK, for example traveling by National Express coach rather than the train. For example, a train from London to Manchester can cost over $130 for a single trip, while you can catch a bus for under $20. However, often on shorter trips, cost-cutting just isn’t worth it, as even in this instance, a bus would take six and a half hours compared to two on the train.
If you plan to travel the UK slowly, use hostels, and visit mostly free attractions, it can be possible to keep to a small budget. However, we’d recommend choosing Germany for a more cost-effective holiday, particularly for a short break.
I’ve compiled a comparison table of typical costs using data from Numbeo.
|Inexpensive restaurant meal||Imported beer||One way ticket on public transport||Monthly apartment rent in the city center||Gasoline (one liter)|
Winner: Germany wins this round.
Germany or the UK: Nightlife
Oof. Nightlife is a difficult aspect to compare.
The UK is known for its lively at best, rowdy at worst, nightlife culture. In the pubs, you can expect football fans every game day – donning team shirts and chanting their favorite songs as they get progressively more drunk. In the clubs, the UK takes raves very seriously. Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds are all particularly known for their clubbing scene. Of course, there are also plenty of cocktail bars and at least one sophisticated rooftop bar per city. And, keep an eye out for touring bands and music artists, as the UK has a competitive live music scene.
In Germany, there is a larger focus on clubbing and all-night raves. You will find bars and pubs, sure. But on a Friday night, there will be more people lining up for club entry than taking a seat at the cocktail bar. However, like the UK, keep your eye out for touring artists, as there is also a strong live music scene in Germany,
Of course, you just couldn’t mention German nightlife without mentioning Berghain. The Berlin club is inside an old warehouse and looks completely abandoned during the day. However, at night, it is known as the techno hub of the city and is famed for its ridiculously strict entrance policies. What are these policies, you ask? Nobody knows. Berghain is so difficult to enter that it has become a tourist attraction to try to get past its bouncers.
Winner: While Germany gives the UK nightlife a run for its money, the UK is our winner here. Its friendly, outgoing nightlife makes it a fun partying destination.
Germany or the UK: Weather
Deciding between Germany or the UK based on weather? You can expect mostly similar temperatures, hours of sun, and rainfall. The closeness of countries means that they share an almost identical climate.
However, if you want to get really detailed, Germany is a few degrees hotter on average throughout the summer. While, in winter, the UK is quite a few degrees hotter than Germany.
Therefore, if the temperature is really important to you, Germany might be better for a warmer summer destination. While, if you want a warmer winter destination, choose the UK.
I’ve compiled a temperature comparison table using mean temperatures from Weather2Travel.
Winner: While there is a slight difference, this round is a draw as the weather in Germany and the UK is so similar.
Germany or the UK: Beaches
Since Germany is landlocked apart from its Northern coast, the UK has a clear advantage to beaches being an island.
Cornwall, Devon, North Wales, and the Scottish Isles are particularly renowned for their beaches’ beauty. Whether you visit in winter or summer, you’ll find people exploring the UK’s beaches – even in the more remote spots. The UK also has many folk tales and cultural history linked to its beaches, including Robin Hood’s Bay and Merlin’s Cave on Tintagel Haven Beach. Plus, you can spot whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and many more marine wildlife in the surrounding ocean.
In Germany, the islands of Sylt and Langeoog are most famous for their beaches. Since they are located just off the coast of Germany, you’ll have to catch a (worthwhile) ferry to reach them. Otherwise, there are beaches like Strand Cuxhaven, Hundestrand Gromitz, or even the nudist beach Bathe Ording North on the mainland.
Winner: The UK takes an easy win for its beaches.
Germany or the UK: Accommodation
Germany and the UK have a similar variety of accommodation options, although UK prices tend to be slightly higher. As we’ve previously established, this is particularly evident for longer stays as the monthly rent is noticeably higher in the UK than in Germany.
In a survey on shorter UK accommodation, ‘41% of respondents’ preferred an Airbnb or B&B to a hotel. So, while there may be plenty of accommodation options (9.8 thousand to be precise) in the UK, Airbnb and B&Bs are the more popular choices for holidays.
This may be because of the notorious UK hotels prices, which Finder’s results show to be an average of $95.77 per night outside of London and $200.73 inside London. You will find that London prices skew your budget for traveling the UK a lot.
In Germany, there were 12,829 hotels as of 2021, with an average net room price of $102.16. So, if you are looking for a budget-friendly destination, we’d advise choosing Germany. You’ll also get more for your money, as budget UK hotels can compromise more noticeably on quality and comfort.
I’ve calculated the UK’s average room price across the country and provided an average price comparison in the table below.
|Room price per night ($)|
Winner: Germany is our winner here, as its accommodation is much cheaper on average than the UK’s.
Germany or the UK: The Conclusion
Overall, despite Germany and the UK drawing with an equal number of wins, we’d recommend choosing the UK.
The UK has more diversity, with English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish culture to discover. Plus, it has better beaches, marine wildlife spotting, and friendlier nightlife. While you will have to plan more carefully for budget-conscious travel, we believe the UK is the best choice in your ‘Germany or the UK debate’.