German Language Guide for Travelers + Free Download!

English is a Germanic language, but that doesn’t mean that German is intuitive at all for English speakers. Because English also draws heavily on many other languages, especially romance languages such as French, German vocabulary looks almost unrecognizable to any English speaker!

German is spoken mainly in Central Europe, in the countries of Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. It’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the European Union and in the world, so as you can see, it’s pretty useful to know German!

Pronunciation

If you come across these letters in German, pronounce them this way:

ä as in let

äu or eu as in toy

ei as in fine

ie as in green

ö as in worm (without the r sound afterwards)

sch as in shop

sp as in spiel

st as in sht

ü as in tea (while rounding the lower lip

z as in mats (ts sound)

ß as in moss (double s sound)

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Or, if you prefer it in PDF form for printing, click here.

Until next time, happy travels!

7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Belgium

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2 months ago, a coordinated bombing attack occurred in Brussels. In the aftermath, controversy surrounding Belgium and its security issues began to swirl. Some travellers I know have put off their trips to Belgium because of their fears for their safety and security. However, my opinion is different. Read on to find out why I will still continue to visit Belgium!

#1 Gorgeous architecture

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Europe is ubiquitous for gorgeous buildings everywhere, but in Belgium, there’s an even better reason: not only are the buildings gorgeous, their architectural styles vary from town to town so you will never be bored.

#2 Waffle trucks

To be honest, I think this might be my favourite part about Belgium. Their waffles can be a little bit pricey, but they’re all over the place, and really, who doesn’t enjoy waffles day in, day out?

#3 A flower carpet

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Every other year, a flower carpet blankets the Grand Place in Brussels. There are some things in life that are just so majestic that you can’t really imagine it unless you see it in person. This is one of them. I have never seen so many flowers in my life, grouped together at one time. Never, except for in Brussels.

#4 The most beautiful public transit system

So the Belgians get a kickass railway, bus, and metro system, as well as a fancy flower carpet? No fair!

#5 Delicious chocolate

I kid you not, chocolate is a reason to live, and Belgium is full of it! At home, we fawn over Belgian/Swiss/Peruvian/[insert faraway country name here] chocolate, but in Belgium, most of the chocolate is Belgian! Their chocolate is just a beautiful way to replenish all the calories you just shed by walking around.

#6 Cheap but still amazing hotels

In Brussels, I stayed in a clean, reputable, nice hotel that went for under 70 euros a night, which is pretty good for a hotel close to the epicentre of the city. Good hotels in Belgium are everywhere, if you know how to find them!

#7 Because acts of terrorism are incredibly rare

My stance on acts of terrorism is this: Terrorism is rare, but it is always going to be a risk. In a global context, Belgium is one of the safest countries there is. I think that it’s important to be aware of risk, but also to understand that disproportionate fear should not impact how we live our lives.

4 reasons why you shouldn’t visit the Atomium

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It’s hard to see all of Brussels in a few days, so you definitely should not be stopping at this tourist attraction. Here are 4 reasons you should skip the Atomium entirely and spend your time elsewhere.

1. The content is not worth the money. Though the tickets aren’t expensive, there’s not a whole lot inside the Atomium that’s worth seeing.

2. The wait times are insane. When you first get to the Atomium, you line up to get a ticket. Then, you make your way outside and stand in a snaking line that extends out of the main building and curves around the foundations. Once you’re in, you line up again to wait for the elevator to bring you up. Then, you line up again to go down. I’d estimate that of the time you spend in the Atomium, at least an hour and a half is spent waiting in line.

3. The customer service is especially poor. Staff lack good judgement and problem solving ability.

4. The elevator is prone to problems. If, or should I say when the elevator gets stuck, you will wait an hour in stifling heat as attendants bar people from using the emergency stairway to descend. One day, it’s going to end really badly.

If you insist on seeing the Atomium, I suggest viewing it from the outside. Really, the outside is much more impressive than the inside. But save your time and cash, because going up the Atomium is not worth it.

Happy travelling!

-Chelsea