30 May The Best Cities & Sights in Germany
The unique culture of Germany attracts travelers from all over the world. With a rich history, amazing cuisine and stunning architecture, there is much to enjoy in this country. In addition to favorites like Munich and Berlin, lesser known cities like Dresden and Rudesheim are also worth seeing. Check them all out below!
Munich is located on the shores of the Isar River. It is famous for Oktoberfest and gigantic “bretzels”, but it has much more to offer! Besides Oktoberfest, Munich is generally a quiet city with a history dating back to the 12th century.
1. Munich Residenz
The Munich Residenz is a huge palace complex with 10 courtyards and 130 rooms. It houses tons of arts in many different styles. Some must-see pieces include the Italian Renaissance Grotto Courtyard, the Antiquarian banquet hall and the gilded moldings in the Baroque Ancestral Gallery
2. Englischer Garten
Englischer Garten is a park located on the left bank of the Isar, behind the Residenz. It seems to go on forever and is one of the world’s largest urban parks. In fact, it is bigger than New York city’s Central Park.
Head to Hofbräuhaus to experience a beer hall, or Wirtshaus. Mozart was a regular to the Munich beer halls here and lived just around the corner.
4. St. Peter’s Church
St. Peter’s is Munich’s oldest church, built in the 1100’s. It was destroyed by fire in 1347 and reconstructed in the Gothic style. Many extensions have since been added, giving it a fusion of style in appearance. Climb the tower’s 299 steps for a great view of the city’s landmarks.
Freiburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany and carries a big historical and cultural past. The city is filled with cafes, breweries, and restaurants run by locals, where you can enjoy the traditional cuisine. The city is also popular as host of a huge variety of festivals including the Internationalen Kulturbörse in January and the Christmas market in December.
Münsterplatz is a cobble stoned pedestrian square full of historic monuments and markets. Spend an afternoon here perusing the market stalls and snack bars. Then, enjoy some of the best people watching in the city.
Markthalle is best described as an international food hall. With over 20 stalls serving specialties from all over the world, you’ll want to stop here on an empty stomach! In addition, you’ll find a lively champagne bar and live music in the evenings.
3. Frieburg Minster
The 116-meter tower of the Frieburg Minster took over 300 years to complete. It is one of the most beautiful in the world. In addition, it is an important symbol of the city.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Not to be confused with the Germany city of Rothenburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Germany. It’s name means “Red fortress above the Tauber”, as it is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River.
1. Medieval Wall
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is known for being Germany’s best preserved medieval walled town. The wall is 1.5 miles long and completely encircles the town’s historic center. In addition to its magnitude, stones of the wall are engraved with names of people from all over the world. These are people who “bought” a portion of the wall as a way to raise money to rebuild the city after WWII.
2. Plönlein (“Little Square”)
Plönlein is one of the most picturesque areas of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. In fact, you will recognize it from postcards in the souvenir shops in town. It is full of narrow, half-timbered buildings framed by the Kobolzell Gate and the Siebers Tower.
3. Burg Gate & Garden
Prior to 1356, the area that is now known as Burg Gate & Garden was home to the Rothenburg Imperial Castle. The castle was destroyed by an earthquake and the stones from these ruins were used to build the city walls. Today, the garden paths are a gorgeous place for a stroll. In addition, the area offers outstanding views of the valley surrounding the city.
Dusseldorf has grown from a collection of small villages to one of Germany’s most important cities. However, the city with village (“dorf”) in its name is still as quaint as it was in the past. It has a quiet, residential appeal with amazing architecture right on the Rhine riverfront. In addition, Dusseldorf is Germany’s fashion capital
1. The Rheinturm
The Rheinturm is a a round television tower directly on the river and a great place to grab a drink and views of the skyline. More importantly, it is the easiest way to determine where you’re at in the city. Since there is no true downtown or a discernible pattern to the street layout, the tower is key in determining what direction you’re going in Dusseldorf.
Rheinuferpromenade is a promenade on the right bank of the Rhine. It begins at the Parliament down to the harbor, so it is a great place to see much of the city. Plus, you can take in the river views along the way.
Berlin is the capital of Germany and a melting pot of cultures. It is both a historical and modern city. It is home to some of the finest contemporary architecture in all of Europe. In addition, it has a huge independent music and theater scene.
1. Museum Island
Museum Island is located in the middle of the River Spree and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to many museums including the Pergamom Museum, one of the most visited museums in all of Europe; the Bode Museum for sculptures, Byzantine and Antique art; the Neues Museum of ancient Egyptian art, and more.
2. The Reichstag Building
The Reischstag Building is home to the Parliament. It has a glass dome which represents the political transparency of the city. Entry is free but should be booked in advance to avoid long lines.
3. Berlin Cathedral
The Berlin Cathedral is considered one of the top 10 things to do in Berlin. The Neo-Renaissance style building was built in 1905. In addition to a beautiful edifice and interior, you’ll want to make your way to the top for incredible views of the city.
4. East Side Gallery
This 1316-meter long gallery contains 105 paintings by artists from all over the world. Most notably, all of the paintings were created on the Berlin Wall. It is a very unique site to see.
Dresden is the capital of the free state of Sazony. It is often referred to as the “Florence of the Elbe” and you’ll find many of Germany’s greatest artistic treasures here, as well as architectural styles varying from Renaissance to baroque and neoclassical.
1. Zwinger Palace
Zwinger Palace is one of Germany’s most famous Baroque edifices. In fact, it was originally built as a space for lavish court festivities for the royalty. Today it is a complex of beautiful gardens and museums.
2. Dresdner Residenzschloss
The Dresdner Residenzschloss is a Renaissance Palace which was formerly the residence for the Electors and then the Kings of Saxony. Today, it is a collection of museums. Most notably, it contains the Green Vault which holds the royal treasures.
Fürstenzug is located on the east side of the Residenzschloss. This porcelain mural is 102 meters long and records all 35 ruler of the House of Wettin.
Heidelberg is known as the “city of Mark Twain” and he spent much of his life here. In fact, he completed The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn here. It is a source of inspiration for many poets and artists today.
1. Altstadt (Old Town)
Heidelberg’s idyllic Old Town is full of cobblestone streets, historic landmarks, and plenty of patios for dining and drinking. This is a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon.
2. Church of the Holy Spirit
The Church of the Holy Spirit is Heidelberg’s main church. Today it is a protestant church. Scale the tower for amazing views of the city.
3. Haus zum Ritter (House of the Knight)
Haus zum Ritter (House of the Knight) is the oldest burgher house in the city. In fact, it was the only burgher house to survive the fire in 1693 and is now a hotel.
Other Noteworthy Cities in Germany
Rudesheim is a wine-making town with Riesling vineyards in the Rhine Gorge. Here you’ll want to see the Niederwald Monument, which honors the German defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871. You should also make a trip to Elbingen Abbey, a community of Benedictine nuns who run their own vineyard and sell their homemade wines.
2. Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bavaria)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is one of the busiest holiday destinations in the Bavarian Alps. It was also the host of the 1936 Winter Olympics. Don’t miss Hohenschwangau Castle, which is known as the inspiration for the Disney castle. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also home to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak at 2,962 meters.
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