How To Visit Germany – I can’t believe this bucket list for Germany is already the seventh post in my series “10 Best Places to Visit…”. After stories about France, Italy, Spain, England, Greece and Portugal, the country I unfortunately only had the chance to visit once was Germany.
Located in Central Europe, Germany borders nine countries: Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. And as a tourist destination, the country is highly sought after for its natural and cultural diversity, which includes historic forts, picturesque villages, forested areas and large urban centers.
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So, do you want to know more about the 10 best places to visit in Germany (besides Berlin)? Keep reading!
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The capital of Germany is a city with a rich historical past dating back to the 13th century. Long before the country, as we know it today, existed, Berlin was already part of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701), the German Empire (1871-1918), the Weimar Republic (1919-1932) and the Third Reich (1933 – 1945).
Although World War II destroyed much of its infrastructure and led to the Cold War – which led to the division of Germany into two states and the construction of the Berlin Wall – the city managed to recover. Today, Berlin is one of the largest and most important cultural, political and technological centers in Europe. And there are so many things to see, do or visit that finding time for everything is the hardest part!
First, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the main monuments of this German city and was built in the 18th century in the neoclassical style. Right behind, it would be remiss not to mention the Reichstag building, the current seat of Germany’s federal parliament. Also not to be missed are the various Holocaust and Cold War memorials spread across the city.
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The Island Museum is another of Berlin’s most visited attractions and a place I would most like to visit when I visit Germany again. The complex of five museums – the Old Museum, the New Museum, the Old National Gallery, the Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum – was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999!
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and has the second largest port in Europe after Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium). It is precisely in Hamburg Port that you will find the Speicherstadt (“Warehouse City”), the largest warehouse district in the world!
Both Speicherstadt and the adjacent Kontorhaus business district (including the Chilehaus office building) were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015. The harbor area is also home to the Miniatur-Wunderland (a miniature exhibition about railways) and the Elbephilharmonie Hamburg (modern). Concert hall, built in an old warehouse).
Hamburg is also famous in Germany for its nightlife and adult entertainment. On the Reeperbahn street, there are many bars, restaurants and nightclubs, as well as strip clubs, sex shops and brothels, similar to what happens in Amsterdam’s red light district.
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Hamburger Kunsthalle, the city’s most famous art museum, is another must-see. Spread over three interconnected buildings, its collection is unique, covering more than seven centuries of art history from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Did you know that Munich (in German, München) is closer than Berlin to other major European cities such as Zurich (Switzerland), Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria) and Milan (Italy)? The city is also the capital of the state of Bavaria, the largest in Germany.
Anyone visiting Munich will immediately recognize that the city is directly associated with the “world’s most famous beer festival” (Oktoberfest), as well as highly-competitive football (FC Bayern München) and the automotive industry (BMW).
This city in Germany has a historic center with several buildings in the Gothic style, such as the Neues Rathaus (“New Town Hall”) and the Frauenkirche, also known as the Münchner Dom (“Munich Cathedral”). Marienplatz, Munich’s main square, home to the Neues Rathaus, is home to the city’s oldest and largest Christmas market: the Christkindlmarkt.
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Still, in the historic center, you can explore the Viktualienmarkt (food market), the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl (an ancient brewery), and the Residenz (a former palace that now serves as a museum). Finally, try to include extra time to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a day trip from Munich!
Cologne (in German, Köln) is one of the European cities I have most wanted to visit, and at the end of 2019 I made that dream come true. Located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, it is the fourth most populous urban center in Germany after Berlin. , Hamburg and Munich.
With more than 2000 years of history, this German city is mainly known for its cathedral (Kölner Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996), university (Universität zu Köln, Europe’s largest and oldest) and Christmas. Markets, which take place in the streets and squares of the historic center.
The Hohenzollern Bridge and the Kolntriangle building are two of the best places to watch the sunset, but you can always opt for a boat trip on the Rhine River for a special evening. If you want to feel like a local, be sure to visit the Belgian Quarter with its many shops, bars, restaurants and cafes.
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Cologne is an important cultural center in this region of Germany with dozens of museums and art galleries. The ones I highly recommend are the Ludwig Museum, the Romano-Germanic Museum and the Chocolate Museum. If you’re looking for historical tours, you can always add a day trip to see the Augustsburg and Falkenlust Palaces in Bruhl, which have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Frankfurt (in German, Frankfurt am Main) may be Germany’s fifth-largest city, but it is also the largest financial center in Europe. This is because it is the seat of institutions such as the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
The German city also stands out in terms of transportation by air or land. For example, Frankfurt Airport is one of the busiest in the world, and Frankfurt Cruise is the most used highway intersection in the European Union.
With a strong heritage from the Middle Ages, Frankfurt has many monuments, houses, churches and other buildings with the architecture of the period, especially in the historic center. It is located in the Romerberg, the main square of both the Romer (city hall) and the Alte Nicolaikirche (“Old Church of St. Nicholas”).
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Very close to this tourist spot you can see the Frankfurter Dom, the majestic Gothic cathedral, as well as the Frankfurter Goethe-House. The latter is the birthplace of poet, novelist and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and currently serves as a museum.
Düsseldorf is the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne and the most populous state in Germany. Interestingly, the city is mostly located on the right bank of the Rhine, while Cologne is more developed on the left bank of the river.
Despite the medieval historic center, the most touristic area in Düsseldorf is the Königsallee (“King’s Avenue”), which opened in 1804. This avenue is considered one of the most elegant in Germany and has many designer stores and art galleries. and gourmet restaurants.
This German city has a steady stream of museums, exemplified by the Kunstpalast and the Kunstsamlung Nordhein-Westphalia, as well as parks and gardens. In this case, you can visit Nordpark, Hofgarten or Wildpark Grafenberger Wald (the latter also has a zoo).
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Still, the city’s landmark is the impressive 240-meter-high concrete structure, the Rieterm (“Rain Tower”)! If you have the opportunity to include a day trip to Schloss Benrath, enjoy it! The Pink Palace was built in the 18th century and is just 12 km from the center of Düsseldorf.
The city of Leipzig was founded in the 12th century as a trade center, with two important roads of the Holy Roman-German Empire running through it: the Via Regia and the Via Imperi. Currently, it is part of the Federal State of Saxony in East Germany.
From the 18th century, Leipzig became a very important cultural and artistic center, especially for literature (due to Johann Christoph Gottsched, Christian Furchtegott Gellert, Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) and music (due to Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Schumann and Richard Wagner).
Leipzig has two churches worth visiting: the Thomaskirche (Bach’s remains are here) and the St. Nicolaikirche (where the composer also worked). And like other cities in Germany, Leipzig gathers many art and music museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, the Grassi Museum of Applied Arts, the Bach Museum, the Schumann House and the Mendelssohn House.
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As for monuments, the most famous is, without a doubt, the Völkerschlachtdenkmal (“Monument to the War of the Nations”). At 90 meters high, the structure commemorates Napoleon’s victory in the war against Bonaparte.
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