Germany offers some of the best architectural wonders of the world. At the same time, you will be able to see a Germany that has still maintained its historical roots to this day. This Germany is seen in the rural towns that are even today, concrete-free. It is the seventh-most-visited country in the world; a fact that is not surprising since it spends the most on international tourism (as of 2012), second only to China. It is also one of the safest travel destinations in the world. Known for its cultural and political history, this country has a truckload of attractions for all age-groups. In this article, we'll look at some of the most famous tourist spots, monuments, and cities that are attractions in themselves.
Did You Know?Germany has 14 national parks, 14 biosphere reserves, and 98 nature parks.
The capital city of Germany, Berlin has several attractions that might hold your interest. One-third of the city comprises forests, gardens, lakes, rivers, and parks. A must-see place is Museum Island - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Charlottenburg Palace, the largest palace in the city and the oldest surviving Prussian palace, is a great wonder. The other place to visit is the Soviet War Memorial, which was built as a tribute to the Russian soldiers who died fighting Hitler. The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is one of the most famous sights in the country. The reconstructed Ishtar Gate of Babylon at Pergamon Museum is another great tourist spot. The Berlin Zoological Garden is Europe's most-visited zoo. Internationales Congress Centrum, Europe's biggest convention center, is located in Berlin.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial
Built in the medieval town of Dachau, this was the first concentration camp built by Nazi Germany. Thousands were taken as forced labor and many were killed. It was built in 1933 on the grounds of an abandoned factory. Several years after it was freed by American troops, former prisoners built a memorial at the same location. Today, you will see an inscription that says 'Never Again' in 5 languages, written on a wall at the site. It is a perfect place to witness a part of the political history of this country.
Located on the banks of the Rhine, this city is the best place to go if you want to see some spectacular medieval architecture. It is home to thirty museums, hundreds of galleries, and beautiful medieval houses. The University of Cologne, one of Europe's oldest and largest, is located here. It is also home to the Cologne Cathedral, the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne and a World Heritage Site. Most of the buildings in this city are reconstructed as the city was heavily bombed during the Second World War, which resulted in almost complete destruction and 95% reduction in population. This reconstruction gives the city a unique look. While here, you must visit the Twelve Romanesque churches, medieval houses such as Gürzenich, and some of the tallest buildings in the country such as the Colonius and KölnTurm.
This city was the center of romanticism in the country and is thus called The Romantic City. It is located on the banks of the river Neckar, in a steep valley in the Odenwald. The ancient towers, bridges, and the Heidelberg Castle towering over the old town is a breathtaking sight. One of the oldest universities of Germany, the Heidelberg University (founded in 1386), is still active in Heidelberg. The Alte Brücke or Old Bridge offers the best views of the baroque-style Old Town. The Philosophenweg or Philosopher's Path, where philosophers were once seen taking an evening stroll, is still an important attraction.
The Black Forest
Located in southwestern Germany, this wooded mountain range is famous for several attractions. It has a rich mining history; today, certain mines in the Kinzig valley, Muenster valley, etc., are re-opened for public viewing. Historic towns such as Freiburg, Calw, and Gengenbach are a part of this range and showcase a Germany that is different and unique. A visit to the Black Forest Open Air Museum is also a must; it showcases lives of 16th- and 17th-century farmers from the region. Other attractions include the Triberg Waterfalls and the gorge of the River Wutach.
The Frisian Islands
The Frisian Islands are an archipelago in the east of the North Sea, along the coasts of Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. The German Frisian Islands constitute islands that are inhabited and those that are uninhabited. The island of Juist is famous for its fresh air. Similarly, the island of Baltrum has been a seaside health resort. Other islands that tourists flock to are Langeoog, Spiekeroog, and Wangerooge.
Munich has some really great attractions to offer. On your visit to Germany, this is one city you're absolutely going to love. Some of the best attractions in the city are The Englischer Garten, St. Luke's Church, Marienplatz, The Frauenkirche, The Bavarian National Museum, The Ludwigstrasse, The Maximilianeum, The Nymphenburg Palace, The Glyptothek, and The National Theatre Munich. Also, the city hosts the annual Oktoberfest; this 16-day festival in September-October attracts approximately 6 million people from all over the world.
Lake Constance is one of the most scenic freshwater lakes in the world. Situated in the Alps between Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, it makes for a great tourist destination. The three German islands on the lake are a must-see. These are Mainau (famous for its gardens), Reichenau (a World Heritage Site), and Lindau (famous for shopping at Maximilianstraße). The lake is Central Europe's third largest; 39 mi is its maximum length, with maximum width being 8.7 mi.
The Romantic Road
In the 1950s, travel agents designated a route as the 'Romantic Road' or the 'Romantische Straße' to promote tourism. This 220-mile road is a highway between Würzburg and Füssen. Earlier a trade route, today it links some of the most picturesque towns and castles of the country. On this road, you'll see landscapes that are what the tourists describe as quintessentially German. The entire route has brown-colored signs for easy travel.
This castle is truly one of the best in the world and has been an inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. Built in 1869 by King Ludwig, it survived both the World Wars due to its secluded location. It's a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace, and its location on top of a hill make it a great tourist spot. Sometimes, as many as 6,000 people visit it during peak season.
Germany is a very beautiful country. You need to plan your travel well in advance so that you do not miss any of the attractions mentioned above.