25 Best Things to See And Do In Germany

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Have you always wanted to visit Germany?  Are you planning a trip but having difficulty with your travel itinerary?  Read on, fellow traveler as we review the 25 best things to see and do in Germany.

The Best of Germany

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

The exquisitely designed Neuschwanstein Castle is ensconced in the former village of Hohenschwangau, high above the Bavarian woods in Germany.  This is the famous castle that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.  It’s the country’s “most photographed building.”  Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the castle in the mid-1800s.  He intended it to be a retreat.  Ludwig II has a well-known love of classical music.  Thus, when the castle was completed, he dedicated it to the composer Richard Wagner.

2. The Berlin Wall Remains, Berlin

Ground for the infamous Berlin Wall was broken on August 13, 1961.  It was erected specifically to prevent East Berliners from escaping the Soviet-run East German state.  It would remain as a symbol of universal oppression until it was finally torn down in 1989.  Today the remaining Berlin Wall fragments are little more than sections of graffiti-covered concrete.  Nevertheless, these world-famous historic albeit dilapidated remnants still draw thousands of visitors every year.

3. Erholungspark Marzahn, Berlin

Erholungspark Marzahn is a popular public park in Marzahn, Germany.  Opened in 1987, it spans an area of over 100 hectares (250 acres).  It combines cosmopolitan beauty with eastern tranquility.  It is highlighted by a Chinese garden.  Here you will see the traditional architecture, pavilions, ponds, watercourses, and ceremonies symbolic of such countries as Korea and Italy.  This artistic lush location is one that should not be missed by anyone who travels to Berlin. 

4.Berchtesgaden National Park,  Berchtesgaden 

This large national park is meant to be a relatively undisturbed place complete with crystal clear lakes, rolling meadows, sheer rock faces, quaint little villages, and verdant forests.  You can walk, hike, or bicycle along the clearly marked trails here amidst the beautiful scenery here.  Don’t miss seeing lovely Lake Königssee.  This lake is said by some to rival the beauty of even Norway’s fjords as the lake is significantly cleaner.

5.  Aachen Cathedral, Aachen

This famous Roman Catholic church, also known as the “Imperial Cathedral”, this place of worship was inspired by churches then located in the Eastern Holy Roman Empire.  It was consecrated in the year 805.  It is officially the oldest cathedral in northern Europe.  From 936 through 1531, this cathedral witnessed a total of 42 coronations: 30 German kings and 12 German queens.  Since the Middle Ages, it has been additionally adorned, thus making it a complex architectural masterpiece.

6. Sylt, Schleswig-Holstein

Sylt is one of the North Frisian Islands in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.  Veteran visitors often refer to it as the “St. Tropez of the North” and sometimes call it serene because it features a relaxed atmosphere, peaceful  picturesque lighthouses, lots of sunshine, and soft sand dunes.  It blends world-class glamor and flourishing nature.  Here you’ll discover enthralling scenery and tranquil coves and classy boutiques and busy restaurants.  Waves of tourists arrive on these shores every summer.

7.  Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate

Burg Eltz or Eltz Castle is situated in the lush Elzbach Valley in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.  It is one of the most beautiful castles in the entire country and one of Europe’s few medieval fortresses to still be in one piece.  You have to walk up a bit of a hill to reach the castle but, as they say, it’s worth it.  Admire the conical towers, detailed Gothic ornamentation, and flushable “15th-century lavatories” too.

8.  Schloss Herrenchiemsee, Herreninsel

Bavaria’s King Ludwig II of Bavaria acquired Schloss Herrenchiemsee in 1873.  He decided to build a royal palace in the center of the largest lake in Bavaria.  (The name Schloss Herrenchiemsee means “New Palace” in English.

It would be both his final and most opulent undertaking.  It would take more time, work, and money than his previous pair of palaces.  This castle was modeled on famous Versailles.  It remains a symbol of overabundance and vanity.

9. The Würzburg Residence, Würzburg 

The Würzburg Residence in Würzburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The famous Archbishop Johan von Schonborn was reportedly obstinate regarding his construction requirements and thus this luxurious, unique building was constructed in the Baroque style of architecture.  A team of the most successful architects from Austria, France, and Germany was enlisted to create this impressive, U-shaped palace.  It has a total of 300 rooms and is surrounded by impressive, impeccably groomed gardens as well.

10. The Upper Middle Rhine Valley

Online sources indicate that the Middle Rhine Valley has played an important part in many cultural transitions between the Mediterranean and the north for centuries.  Indeed, it has served as one of the most important transportation routes in all of Europe.  Perhaps most interestingly, the upper 65-kilometer (40-mile) stretch truly reflects a sense of harmony between man and his environment.  It is highlighted by old, historic towns, idyllic, strong castles, and sun-soaked vineyards.

11.  The Dresden Elbe Valley,  Saxony

The Dresden Elbe Valley in Saxony is both a throng of exciting events and unpretentious natural beauty.  This little 20-kilometer (12.5 miles) stretch of the valley combines nature with culture and makes it a perfect place for a weekend getaway.  This soothing and yet stimulating spot features bucolic villages, colossal bridges, historic centers, magnificent churches, and towering castles.  Despite being bombed in 1945, it remains a special mix of culture, economics, education, and politics.

12. Cologne Cathedral, Cologne

It took almost 600 years to build the famous Cologne Cathedral.  Interestingly, even later additions emulated the original ancient design.  Truly a marvel of engineering, it was deemed an official UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.  Situated on the former site of an old Roman temple from the 300s, it is elaborately decorated and is now home to a stunning trio of golden-crowned skulls believed to be from none other than the famous Three Magi.

13. The Wies Church, Bavaria

The Wies Church is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  No one is certain why this humble-looking whitewashed building was built in the middle of nowhere.    The interior will surprise you.  There is a definite incongruity between the raw, rugged outside surroundings and the surprisingly intricate interior.  Be sure to get a good look at the famous crying portrait of the Scourged Saviour in all its spiritual glory to complete the overall experience of your visit.   

14. Museum Island, Berlin

Museumsinsel, or Museum Island, is a group of buildings from the 1800s.  Built in the neoclassical style of architecture, this is the most portentous museum complex on the planet.  It’s located on the tip of the isle in the shining Spree River.  These five museums host grand collections of both historical and ethnological and historical commodities and a gorgeous group of gorgeous art pieces such as beautiful Byzantine and antique items and numerous stunning sculptures.

15. The Old Town Of Regensburg, Regensburg

Founded by the ancient Romans back in 179 A.D., this city is a prosperous place of culture and trade.  The old town is the best preserved medieval city in the country.  Stroll through this UNESCO World Heritage Site and take in the German artistry, history, and romanticism.  Unscathed by several wars, this “outdoor museum” remains brilliantly preserved.  See the churches, towers, and patrician houses as you journey through the Middle Ages.

16. Sanssouci Park, Potsdam

The park’s name, Sanssouci, is essentially sans souci meaning “without worries.”  This park used to be a mere terraced garden used by famous Frederick the Great.  It was here he would try to forget all his royal burdens.

He had a large home built here for his convenience.  It would be followed by other structures as time passed.  The orchard was turned into a rather extensive park and soon the property included luxurious palaces with expertly landscaped gardens.

17. Old Town of Quedlinburg, Quedlinburg 

This town dates back to the time of the Carolingian Dynasty in the 800s.  Once little more than a group of wee villages, it is now a valuable source of history and romance for any and all who come here.  Explore the cobblestoned streets past multi-colored houses and decorative old-day tenements, flowered gardens, and truly Instagramable temples as well.

18. The Weimar Museums, Weimar 

Weimar used to be a hot spot for the likes of Bach, Goethe, Liszt, Nietzsche, Schiller, and others.  Today it’s a place for travelers with intellectual leanings.  There are several noteworthy museums in this 1,000-year-old town.  This unofficial “center for German Enlightenment” includes awesome architecture, too.  This is a great place to get a little education on your vacation. 

19. Schlenkerla Brewery And Tavern, Bamberg 

If you get to Germany too late for Oktoberfest, a visit to this smoked beer brewery in the old section of Bamberg will help make up for it.  This historic brewery is located in the heart of what some travelers call “southern Germany’s Center of Enlightenment.”  The town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its architectural style has influenced the entire country.  But again, visit for the exceptional barley beer tapped straight from the barrel.

20. Maulbronn Monastery, Maulbronn 

Also known as Kloster Maulbronn, Cistercian monks opened this monastery in 1137.  Experts report that it is one of the best managed medieval monastic complexes north of the famous Alps.  According to legend, during a long trip from Alsace, some monks stopped in this place to give their mules water.  They took a liking to the area and decided to build a settlement there.  Hence the name Maulbronn which means “mule well.”  Get it?

21. Picturesque Trier

The city of Trier is ensconced on the banks of the mighty Moselle.  It is over 2000 years old.  Thus, it is the oldest town in Germany. 

It’s not only special for its age; it has also been the home of six Roman emperors.  Naturally, that means Trier is home to an august array of ancient oddments, many of which are also perfectly preserved.  For example, the Porta Nigra (or Black Gate), a critical component in the city. 

22. Europa-Park, Rust 

Popular Europa-Park is both fun and educational.  It is found in a top resort and it looks like a tiny version of Europe.  Irrespective of your age, race, or gender, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.  Sample some freshly baked bread from the quaint “Quartier Francais”, visit the popular Russian MIR space station, see Italy’s hot spots, then head for the Silverstone Race Track where you can take a riotous ride in a Formula 1 racing car. 

23. Brandenburger Tor, Berlin

Superficially, Brandenburg Gate in Germany appears to be nothing more than a large gate.  Ah, but there’s a story behind this specific gate.  Before the demise of the Berlin Wall, this 60-meter (197 foot) tall gate was found near the end of Unter den Linden.  Thus, it was part of the physical separation between the city’s east and west sides.  Today it is seen as more of a towering trademark of peace and unity for people all over the world.

24. BMW Museum, Munich 

Munich’s popular BMW Museum is a fine example of cutting-edge architecture.  Both the exterior and interior indicate that manufacturing BMWs is about more than just prestige.  It’s also about using personal expression and artistry to somehow merge inspiration with reality.  Regardless of your level of automotive interest or knowledge, veteran visitors say when you leave the museum, you will have a new respect for the industry. 

25. Modelleisenbahn Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg 

The Modelleisenbahn Miniatur Wunderland (Miniature Wonderland) is in the city of Hamburg, Germany.  It includes 11 kilometers (6.84 miles) of miniature train track and travels through the USA, Scandinavia, the famous Swiss Alps, and, of course, several different places in Germany.  You will find that everything here has been built with great care and is highly detailed from the trains and train stations to the little trees that line the train tracks.  It is the largest of its kind and is valued at $12.5 million.

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