Whether this is one of your first trips to Germany or not, there is no shortage of things to do and see. From history to art to culture to the outdoors, Germany attractions are plentiful. In an effort to help give you an idea of what you could do on a vacation, here is a list (in no particular order):
The most famous of Germany's castles, and one of the three commissioned by King Ludwig II, overlooks the gorgeous Hohenschwangau valley. If the architecture looks familiar, it's because Walt Disney used the castle as inspiration when designing the Sleeping Beauty Castle for Disneyland. Hundreds of artisans from around the globe took sixteen years to build but a third of the planned castle, and it was never finished. However, its sweeping turrets and alabaster walls still make Neuschwanstein a beautiful sight and a prime tourist attraction in Germany.
Berlin, a draw in of itself, contains a myriad of individual sights to see. Remnants of the infamous Berlin Wall can be found in parts of the city, and the last remaining gate, the Brandenburg Gate, can be found along the western end of Unter den Linden Boulevard. Those with a fondness for Prussian history will want to visit the Charlottenburg Palace; it's the oldest surviving Prussian palace. The Soviet War Memorial and its statues bearing tribute to the Russian soldiers who died fighting Hitler is another must-see. Beyond the immense amount of history available, Germany's capital city also offers a remarkably diverse zoo which features over 13,000 different species.
The Romantic Road
The Romantic Road
With over 220 miles of enchanting vistas, the Romantic Road is one of the most picturesque of Germany attractions. It ranges from the River Main in the north and winds its way south to the Alps, passing through walled towns and villages. Originally a trade route during the middle ages, the remnants of the past can be found along its enchanted roads. Gothic cathedrals and ancient churches are nestled near quaint country inns. The adventurous traveler will find no shortage of gentle farmlands or sprawling forests to walk in.
While much of your Germany vacation will be filled with light and joy, the concentration camp Dachau provides an essential balance in perspective. Built in 1933, it's unique among the concentration camps as it served as a training ground for those that would staff the other camps, such as Auschwitz in Poland. A guided tour is available and recommended for visitors to fully grasp the horrors that took place there. The inscription in a statue, "Never Again," reminds the German people that while some of their history might be dark, they have resolved to prevent such things from reappearing.
Lake Constance is perhaps the largest aquatic tourist attraction in Germany. Shared with both Austria and Switzerland, more than four million people rely on the lake, also known as Bodensee, for drinking water. The shallow, warm waters are a key element in the quarter million birds that inhabit the area either year-round or during winter migration. Bird watchers might spot some rare species such as cormorant.
The Black Forest
Don't let the ominous name fool you, the Black Forest is a wonderful place to visit on your vacation and is quite sunny during the summer. The thick covering of dark fir and pine trees earned this stretch of hills and valleys its namesake. Those with a love for quiet hikes or cross-country skiing will make the Black Forest a priority. More over, travelers looking for reasonably priced accommodations will delight in the affordable country inns.
Resting comfortably upon the River Rhine, Cologne (Köln) possesses a host of unique characteristics that are popular Germany attractions. The city has its own dialect and style of making beer. However, besides its beautiful riverside view, Köln is known for two things: its cathedral and its fragrance.
Köln received its French name, Cologne, due to an immensely popular fragrant water created by an Italian merchant who had traveled to Germany to make his fortune. Composed of lavender, rosemary, and a few other ingredients, the perfume was marketed as a cure-all and Eau de Cologne was in demand for many years.
The Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the biggest edifice of its kind in the country. Amazingly enough, the construction took place over the course of 600 years. While there were some pauses in building between 1248 and 1880, one look at the cathedral and its towers that spiral into the sky reveals why it took so many years to complete. Kölner Dom's most treasured artifact is the Sarcophagus of the Magi, a great gilded piece that is the largest reliquary among the western world.
A German vacation is not complete without a visit to Heidelberg. Its beautiful castle perfects the town's skyline. From a scenic vantage point along the walls, you can get a tremendous view of Heidelberg. Yet those who seek the most picturesque vistas will go the extra mile up to Königstuhl. It's a long way, but on a clear day you can see for miles and miles.
The Frisian Islands
At first glance, you might not think these North Sea islands worthy of mention as a tourist attraction in Germany. However, they offer a unique experience to anything else on this list: crisp sea air and miles and miles of sandy beaches.
Perhaps the signature attraction, each year Bavaria hosts several weeks of beer drinking and celebration. However, enjoying a liter of good German ale isn't the only reason to attend Oktoberfest; live music of all different genres can be found and costumed performers will certainly delight. The only warning is that parking can be a nightmare and it is advised that you take a bus or train instead of driving. No matter how you get there though, you can't go wrong with taking part in this essential bit of German culture.