Germany is one of the world’s best and safest holiday destinations

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Schwerin Castle.
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Island Museum of Berlin.
Updated 18 October 2017

Germany is one of the world’s best and safest holiday destinations

RIYADH: Germany, which ranks as one of the world’s best tourism destinations, is also regarded as one of the safest countries for business, medical tourism and leisure.
Since reunification, Germany gained a higher profile as a place to visit, thanks partly to the remarkable resurgence of Berlin, one of the most fascinating and exciting cities in Europe. But the appeal of the reunified Germany is not limited to the German capital only. There are hundreds of places to see in Germany besides hundreds of avenues to enjoy.
On the one hand, Germany is famous for lifestyle, art and culture; while on the other, it is equally important for business and leisure. Germany’s contribution to the world of art and classical music is undeniable, and provides a powerful pretext for a visit, whether to experience the glories of the Berlin Philharmonic or of Wagner’s Ring at Bayreuth, or to follow in the footsteps of great composers: Bach in Leipzig, Beethoven in Bonn.
“Germany’s reputation as the cradle of modernism is also well deserved. German modernism was preceded by the older traditions of the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo, each of which left a rich legacy of artistic and architectural treasures,” said a report on tourism released by the German government. Germany’s prowess in fine art is less well known, yet from the pioneering realism of Albrecht Durer to the ethereal Romanticism of Caspar David Friedrich, it’s a powerful tradition that is well worth discovering.
Most German cities of any size have excellent galleries, with Berlin and Cologne hubs of the European contemporary art scene. The pleasures of a visit to Germany are not only intellectual. Germany’s food culture is traditionally characterized by wholesome but hearty dishes, a vast array of sausages and excellent but calorific cakes. Yet the impact of immigration, travel and increasing culinary ambition has been powerful, and most towns nowadays offer a wide selection of international options, usually including Balkan, Greek, Italian and Turkish.
“Germany offers all what is praiseworthy and what one wants to see as well as experience,” said German Ambassador Dieter Haller, while referring to the growing popularity of German cities in terms of tourism. In fact, Germany is the seventh most visited country today with a growing number of wealthy tourists from Arab countries streaming into Germany. In fact, one unsung pleasure of a visit to Germany is the opportunity to meet its people.
In terms of medical tourism, Germany is far ahead. Many consider the German health care system as one of the best in Europe and around the world. German hospitals have been a primary health travel destination in Europe for hundreds of years and continue to lead the industry today. Patients from Eastern European countries such as Russia, Romania and Bulgaria, besides many Arab nations, who have the resources to pay for high quality medical services, usually seek medical care abroad and Germany is a primary choice.
Medical travelers from Great Britain and the United States are also attracted to Germany’s hospitals mainly because of the high level of medical care and technical advances offered by the German healthcare system. Coming to Germany as a medical tourist also enables the Western medical travelers to reduce the waiting times which are common in many other countries. Patients from the Gulf and Arab nations come to Germany to avail themselves of the expertise and reputation of the German doctors.
Germany is ideal as a destination for health and relaxation — whether travelling with the whole family, unwinding after a business trip or engaging in active pursuits. With around 200,000 km of walking trails and 70,000 km of cycle paths you can explore the country at its most unspoilt, getting close to nature while being kind to the environment. Along the way one will discover amazing and diverse natural landscapes. More than one third of the country’s land area is under some form of protection.
With a total of 16 national parks, 15 UNESCO biosphere reserves and over 100 nature parks, there are more than 130 preserved national landscapes just waiting to be explored. Indeed, Germany offers a wide range of options for sustainable travel. Its leafy towns and cities boast excellent public transport networks and a good cycling infrastructure. Hotels and restaurants support the use of regional produce within a very lively culinary scene that will delight anyone who enjoys good food.
Many attractions and amenities also cater for disabled guests through the ‘Tourism for all” project. The largest city in Germany’s federal state of Saxony, Leipzig is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene shaped by famous music composers like Bach, Richard Wagner and Felix Mendelssohn. Tourists today can enjoy performances of Bach’s music at the St. Thomas Church where Bach once served as choir leader and is now buried. Located in the Baltic Sea, Rugen Island is another attraction and is the largest island in Germany, connected to the mainland by the Rugen Bridge and Rugen Causeway.
Charming villas, romantic seaside resorts and beautiful beaches all draw tourists to Rugen Island, but the star attraction is the Jasmund National Park, famous for its unique chalk cliffs rising 528 feet (161 meters) over the sea. Another notable feature of Rugen Island is Cape Arkona, East Germany’s northernmost tip, where tourists can visit an old lighthouse, remnants of a Slavic castle and a picturesque fishing village.
Another major attraction is Romantic Rhine stretching between the cities of Bingen and Bonn, the Middle Rhine flows through a dramatic geological formation called the Rhine Gorge. This region features a spectacular landscape dotted with some 40 medieval castles, picturesque villages and terraced vineyards. The region’s most famous natural attraction is the Lorelei, the deepest and most narrow section of the Rhine Gorge, which features a large, treacherous rock that caused several boating accidents prior to the 19th century. The best way to experience the Romantic Rhine is by a riverboat cruise.
Another one of the most beautiful cities in Europe is Munich in Germany. Best known as the origin of the world famous Oktoberfest, Munich is one of the best places to visit in Germany with a great culture scene. Munich is home to several sophisticated opera houses and theaters like the National Theatre. The city center is an attractive blend of classic and modern architecture, teeming in historic churches, medieval walls and royal palaces as well as bustling shopping centers and nightlife venues. Munich’s Oktoberfest began in 1810 with a royal wedding celebration. Today, this famous beer festival draws millions of visitors every year to take part in the revelry that involves several gigantic beer tents, delicious Bavarian food and millions of liters of beer.
Then comes the capital city, which is the most important city not only in Germany but in the whole of Europe from tourism and business points of view. A federal state and the capital city of Germany, Berlin is widely associated with its World War II history and former division of East and West Germany by the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. Since the fall of the historic wall in 1989, Berlin today is now a vast, unified city diverse in ethnic groups and abundant in sightseeing attractions, culture and nightlife. Many tourists are drawn to Berlin’s famous historic structures, which include the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. Although most of the Berlin Wall was demolished, there are some portions still standing near Checkpoint Charlie and Reichstag.

Then, no one can deny the attraction of Cologne, situated on the Rhine River in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne is one of the most popular places to visit in Germany. The city offers a vibrant array of attractions, buzzing nightlife and a stellar arts and culture scene. Cologne also packs impressive landmarks such as the city’s informal symbol, the Cologne Cathedral, a stunning Gothic church. Moreover, the Twelve Romanesque Churches are magnificent examples of medieval architecture.
Another city in Germany which attracts sizeable number of tourists is Dresden. Before it was severely damaged from World War II bombings, Dresden was known as the Jewel Box because of its lavish collection of stunning art and architecture. After many years, the city has restored much of its former glory. The capital of the federal state of Saxony, Dresden offers a number of historic sites like the stunning Frauenkirche cathedral. The city also boasts many cultural institutions of which the Semper Opera is most widely esteemed.
As one of the largest Baltic seaports in Germany, Lubeck is a tourist place to see, it is located in the country’s northern-most state, Schleswig-Holstein. Founded in 1143, Lubeck served for several centuries as the capital seat of the Hanseatic League. Although it was the first German city to be bombed and damaged during World War II, Lubeck still retains much of its medieval architecture, making it a popular tourist destination. A walk through the narrow streets of the Altstadt offers views of historic sites like the stunning cathedral, the 12th century Town Hall and the old city gates of which the Holstentor is the most famous.
Any tourist visiting Germany should also not miss Heidelberg. With historic treasures like the medieval Old Bridge, the Heidelberg Castle, the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Knight St. George House, it is no wonder that Heidelberg is a popular tourist attraction. The city center’s main street, Haupstrasse, is packed with pubs, restaurants, museums, art galleries, shops and markets. Home to Germany’s oldest university, Heidelberg’s long academic history can be retraced along the Philosopher’s Walk, a scenic footpath often walked by many earlier philosophers and professors.
On the other hand, the most photographed building in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle, is also one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Nestled among the breathtaking beauty of the Bavarian Alps near the town of Fussen, this fairy-tale castle served as the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Constructed in the late 1800s, Neuschwanstein Castle was never built for defense purposes as most castles. Instead, this castle was created as a fanciful retreat King Ludwig II of Bavaria who had a reputation for abiding in daydreams instead of reality.

Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

Updated 21 July 2019

Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

  • 257,981 pilgrims benefited from the "preventive services" since the new initiative’s launch

RIYADH: One of the services provided by the Makkah Route initiative, which aims to smooth the Hajj journey of pilgrims and provide top-quality service, is to ensure that all health requirements are met.

The Communication, Relations and Health Awareness General Department of the Ministry of Health is implementing the initiative in two ways. 

The first is to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa (Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Tunisia). 

The second is to check that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

“Preventive measures” mean, for example, providing polio vaccines for pilgrims. The vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), is provided through the Pakistani health authorities at the departure area of the airport.

“The ministry is also deploying a team of five people qualified to supervise the application of health requirements and assess the vaccination procedure and the application of preventive measures,” the department added.   


The Makkah Route initiative aims to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa.

The initiative also ensures that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals.

The teams include 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.

The ministry’s procedures in the departure hall include prepping emergency clinics at the points where Makkah Route pilgrims are received. 

These clinics deal with urgent cases, prepare awareness information for pilgrims and coordinate with the General Authority of Civil Aviation regarding their distribution on the targeted airlines.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals, including 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.

The ministry stated that the number of health practitioners assigned to the service of pilgrims during Hajj “is more than 30,000.”

The ministry encourages volunteering during the Hajj season; it believes that it is a very important and noble service toward fellow citizens, nations and the religion, where Islam highly encourages volunteering and serving others.

The ministry is coordinating the major institutions and commissions via its Hajj volunteering link to register volunteers so that they can participate through the societal partnership program.

The missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices provide basic treatment services and refer patients to the ministry’s health facilities, keeping an eye on the overall health situation and reporting any suspicious infectious diseases. 

The ministry monitors all the health institutions and medical missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices to make sure the health requirements are being properly applied, to ensure pilgrims’ safety and guarantee an environment free of infectious diseases.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that so far that there has been no incidence of any epidemic diseases or quarantine cases recorded among pilgrims, who arrived and the health situation is reassuring.

Since the first of Dul Qaada, the ministry has provided preventive services, via access points, to 257,981 pilgrims, with a total rate of commitment to vaccination reached  87.4 percent for meningitis, 67.3 percent for yellow fever and 95.3 percent for polio.