Celle is a charming, small German town about 90 minutes south of Hamburg. My travel buddy, Ally, has close family friends who live here, and they were so kind to invite us to stay with them for a few days. The husband is originally from Celle and the wife is originally from a town near Berlin. The two have two adorable children.
While in Celle, I realized that spending time with locals is a quick way to learn and appreciate the culture. Together, we explored the town’s many restaurants, cafes and castles, and we even ventured to nearby towns (like the picturesque Lüneburg, where we enjoyed shopping and delicious German dinner).
I strongly recommend staying with locals if you are planning an extended trip, even if it’s as simple as staying in an Airbnb with a local host/hostess. I am confident you will have a fulfilling experience, similar to the one I had in Celle!
Don’t miss it
German cuisine is simply one of a kind. Be sure to try schnitzel, potatoes, Nuremberg sausages, spätzl, bratwurst, German cake and lots of bread. The food alone is a reason to visit Germany (although I can think of a hundred other reasons).
I really enjoyed getting a true feel for German life. We picked up the kids from school, ate a traditional German breakfast each morning, ran errands and enjoyed dinner with the family in the evenings. Our host family couldn’t have been kinder — offering us coffee each morning and hot tea each evening.
Must try food/drink
Schofferhofer beer, or as our German hostess would say, “ladies beer.”
If in Hamburg, try the popular “fischbrötchen.” When I saw the fish still had its head, I freaked out and changed my order. I later redeemed myself when visiting Dubrovnik in Croatia and traveling to Ravello in Italy!
Wish I had more time for
We took the train into Hamburg for the day but returned to Celle without getting a feel for the much-talked-about Hamburg nightlife. I have been told by many Germans that it’s quite fun! Instead, we hung out by the water, drank a few German brews and shopped around (which I also recommend!).
Here’s a hint
When visiting small towns like Celle, it’s easy to visit other nearby small towns. We popped into the adorable Lüneburg for a day. The architecture in the Old Town of Lüneburg is absolutely fantastic. It’s just how you would imagine a small German town to look. There were many delicious restaurants and cafes in Lüneburg, as well!
In the home of a very kind German family.
After meeting a few Germans in Bruges, Belgium, he decided last minute to cancel our plans for Copenhagen, Denmark, and instead, head south to visit them by traveling to Freiburg, Germany. It was absolutely worth it — Freiburg is a gem.
Looking for more cities off the beaten path in Germany? Read this travel guide to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.