Reasons You Will Want to Plan a Visit to Germany

posted by Sharon April 17, 2020 26 Comments
Visit to Germany Castles on Rhine

When you think about planning future trips, you’ll find many reasons to consider a visit to Germany. A mix of the historic and the modern, German cities delight people in so many ways. If you are dreaming of travel to Europe, Germany can make your dreams come true. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in this diverse country, with examples of each. These are highlights of the enjoyable times I’ve been able to spend in this country.Old Bridge Medieval Towers Heidelberg

Enjoy the Fairytale Architecture

The half-timbered style, often described as “fairytale,” started in Northern Europe. Germany can boast of many beautiful examples of fairytale towns. The old town of Rothenburg is a prime example. As you walk through the Medieval town gate, you step out of the present and enter the world of centuries ago. Buildings line a maze of cobblestone lanes encircled by a high stone wall. You can easily imagine folks meeting at the bustling market square and then enjoying a stein of their favorite beer with friends.Rothenburg GermanyRothenburg Germany

The stone wall around Rothenburg offers a view of the town. Enter through one of the gates and climb into the wall. You can walk a section or two or all the way around. Look down below at the variety of colors of the shops and homes. Rothenburg Medieval Wall

Historic, enchanting and unchanged throughout the centuries, Rothenburg just might be the most beautiful Medieval town in Germany. 

Explore Historic Castles

The first time I cruised along the Rhine River in a small boat, I expected to see a castle or two. Instead, every few minutes, around the bend, another town and another castle came into view. I learned to my surprise that castles are easy to find in Germany. The country has so many that no one knows for sure the actual count. Estimates range from 20,000 to 25,000. Some are in ruins, some are restored, and some are open as hotels.Germany Castles on Rhine

The Middle Rhine is a prime area for spotting castles. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where about 40 castles once stood, and at least the ruins of many of them are still here. A cruise of a few hours will allow you to take in a good amount of the tiny, colorful medieval towns that line the river and the castles that stood guard along the way. Green vineyards line the terraced hills. It is truly breathtaking. Germany Castles on RhineEven more fun than seeing the castles from a distance is tromping around and exploring them. Here are 3 of my recommendations with a bit of information to help you decide where you want to go. 

Rheinfels Castle. For centuries, Rheinfels Castle was the region’s largest, most important fortress. Now the imposing castle—one of many along the UNESCO-listed Upper Middle Rhine Valley—is in ruins. The castle, located on a hill along the Rhine’s left bank above the town of St. Goar, dates to the 13th century. You can scramble over the rubble, walk through its subterranean galleries and tunnels, and visit the museum.Rheinfels Castle GermanyRheinfels Castle Germany

Nuremberg Castle. This castle was built in sections from the year 1037 on. German kings traveled from castle to castle, having no permanent residence, so for centuries this castle housed royalty. It sits along the Medieval wall that’s still intact around the city. Much of the castle fell victim to WWII bombs, but it has been rebuilt in the original style. Some of the artwork survived and can be viewed in the museum.Nuremberg Castle

You can climb the tower, ascending the winding staircase. The views from the top are worth the effort.

Heidelberg Castle. Heidelberg Castle stands watch above Old Heidelberg, as it has since the 13th century. Today it is a ruin distinctive in its red sandstone set against the green forest that covers the hills. Views of the Neckar River and valley will include this ancient castle sitting serenely above the town. And you can tour it, wandering through the roofless walls and the gardens and enjoying the few areas that are restored to earlier splendor.Heidelberg CastleHeidelberg Castle Germany

The castle withstood battles and tumultuous times. Finally, in 1689, the towers and walls that had survived waves of destruction were blown up with mines by the French. Only one building is restored to its former glory. The Fredrich Building shows what the castle enjoyed when life here was elegant. An Apothecary Museum in the castle displays medicines used through the centuries. You can easily spend a morning enjoying this large castle.Heidelberg Castle GermanyHeidelberg Castle Germany

Marvel at the Quirky and Unusual

You may find quirky museums and displays wherever your travels take you, but I found Germany to feature more of these than other countries. Here are a few that stand out in my memories.

DDR Museum, Berlin. While world famous, large museums occupy Museum Island in Berlin, you can also choose the smaller, kitschy DDR Museum. This one gives you a picture of life in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from the end of World War II to the fall of the Wall in 1989. This dark, crowded museum presents how strange life could be in East Germany. You can sit in a prison cell. See a full-size Trabant, the only car manufactured in East Germany. Learn that preschoolers went potty in long rows of wooden benches with holes, apparently on cue. It’s as if the displays call for you to marvel and be aghast at the same time.

The Art Bunker, Nuremberg. The bunker is in a tunnel system under the castle that was originally built to make beer. The beer cellar here became a hiding place for art during World War II. Hitler and just a few of his trusted men knew about it. Paintings, jewels, and other treasures remained hidden here until the end of the war. Some of it went back into place in Nuremberg, and other items were sent by the Allies to different countries. A tour guide takes you through the warren of pathways and tells about life underground when guards lived here 24/7.Art Bunker Nuremberg

Medieval Crime Museum, Rothenburg. If you go to Rothenburg, I highly recommend you visit this museum. Billed as “Europe’s most important museum for jurisprudence,” it showcases means of torture and punishment through the centuries. The official brochure recommends the museum for those “of a bloodthirsty disposition,” but I think anyone will find fascinating objects and history here.Rothenburg Medieval Crime Museum

Heidelberg University Student Prison. This small detention building at the esteemed university housed students who had committed minor crimes. Infractions included insulting authorities or playing jokes on them and participating in duels. From 1778 to 1914, bored and creative jailed students decorated the walls and ceilings with colorful art. The prison is preserved and open to the public.Student Prison Heidelberg University

Stroll Across Old Bridges

The Old Bridge, Heidelberg. While you will find countless rivers and bridges during a visit to Germany, I think that none will compare to this lovely bridge. It’s graceful arches cover the Neckar River at the foot of Heidelberg’s Old Town.Heidelberg Old Bridge

The current bridge is the ninth on this site. It was built in 1788 of sandstone and is sturdier than earlier wooden versions. Tall, distinctive white ramparts on the city side date from a Medieval iteration of the bridge.Heidelberg Medieval Towers

Pay Respects at Places of Remembrance

Germany played a central role in both World War I and World War II. While much of Germany’s war history was destroyed or built over, you can still find places that are a memorial to those who suffered. Here are 2 examples.

Documentation Center and Rally Grounds, Nuremberg. The building is what Adolf Hitler designed, and the rally grounds attached are where he spoke to thousands. The entire area is now a museum to document what took place here. The hope is that such a horror would never happen again. As you tour the Documentation Center and Rally Grounds, you learn about the holocaust and the trials of Nazi leaders that took place in Nuremberg after the war. It’s apparent that, as dark as that time was, goodness finally overcame the evil.Nuremberg Documentation Center

Flossenburg Concentration Camp. This was one of the hundreds of camps run by the Nazis during World War II. Flossenburg sits in the lovely forested land of eastern Germany, just a few miles from the Czech Republic. The attraction for the German war machine was the large granite quarry here. As the war went on, more and more prisoners from virtually every country in the European theater of the war were sent here to wrest granite slabs from the earth. Today, the quarry still produces granite, while the camp has become a peaceful memorial to those who died here.Flossenburg Memorial Flossenburg Memorial

The main building survived and now houses a team of researchers and administrators. They are involved in actively finding and naming prisoners and survivors.

See Famous Landmarks

Berlin, heavily bombed and damaged during World War II, has been rebuilt in contemporary styles. Not everything prewar is gone, though. Here are 3 landmarks that survived and are thrilling to see.

The Brandenburg Gate. The Brandenburg Gate towers above the center of Berlin. When you think of this city, this is likely the image that comes to mind. It dates from 1791 and was modeled on the Acropolis in Athens. In recent history, the gate was damaged during World War II, then caught in no man’s land when the Berlin Wall went up. The wall was literally a few feet behind the gate, blocking passage. For years, the historic gate stood visible but abandoned. Now it’s repaired and open once again to the public. You can walk back and forth between its pillars, taking in the beauty and symbolism of this monument.Brandenburg Gate BerlinBrandenberg Gate Berlin

The Reichstag. The Reichstag in Berlin is a fascinating pairing of the old and the modern, with layers of history, much like the city itself. Completed in 1894, it housed the government for decades. In 1933, a famous fire destroyed part of the building shortly after Hitler became Chancellor. He blamed others for the fire and closed the building, insisting this entitled him to grab more power for himself. Perhaps he actually engineered the fire. No one knows.

When Berlin was liberated in 1945, Russian troops rushed into the Reichstag, as it symbolized Germany. The building, damaged from WWII, wasn’t repaired by the Soviet occupiers. It wasn’t until after the fall of the Wall and the Communists left the city that the new, unified German government moved into the Reichstag and the interior of the building was modernized and a glass dome added.Reichstag BerlinReichstag Berlin

The Berlin Cathedral. The impressive Berlin Cathedral, with its magnificent dome, is a landmark in central Berlin. The church sits among the stately museums on Museum Island, with the Spree River flowing nearby. The Berlin Cathedral is the largest Protestant church in the area and is well worth a tour.Berlin Cathedral

A church was first built on this site in the fifteenth century. This was the court church to the Hohenzollern dynasty, the Prussian rulers, and then the German Emperors. Due to fires and restorations that destroyed earlier churches, the baroque-style Berlin Cathedral on the island today dates from 1905. Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to build a cathedral to rival St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. And he did.

The church suffered bomb damage in World War II. Restoration was completed in 1993. You can tour the inside and climb the 267 steps up to the dome for a magnificent panoramic view of Berlin sites.Berlin CathedralBerlin Germany

 

Is Germany calling to you? It’s never too early to gather information and consider what you most want to see. Getting around in Germany is easier than in many other places I’ve visited, due to the superb train system that covers about 22,000 miles. And it’s true that in Germany, the trains run on time. If you prefer, rent a car and drive (fast!) on the autobahn.Germany train station

Add in the steins of beer and the delicious cuisine, and a visit to Germany will charm you and add warm memories that will last you a lifetime. Heidelberg GermanyRhine River Germany

Linking up with Image-in-ing, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Wanderful Wednesday.

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Visit to Germany - Exploringrworld.com

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26 Comments

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Sarah | Travel for a Living April 18, 2020 at 5:15 am

Great read. I’ve grown up in Germany, so have obviously spent a lot of time there. But even I haven’t yet been to all the places you recommend (and to some I have been as a kid and just realised I really should go and revisit). So thanks for some memories from home

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Audrey April 18, 2020 at 5:17 am

The nuremberg castle tower reminds me of Tangled’s tower (Disney movie)

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Lynne Nieman April 18, 2020 at 5:42 am

Great pics! I have yet to visit Germany but there are some places on my list such as parts of the Rhine and Moselle and Bavaria. So yes, this post makes me want to plan a trip to Germany!

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Bliss April 18, 2020 at 6:20 am

Your pictures are lovely. Now I really want to go back to Germany.

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Disha Smith April 18, 2020 at 7:13 am

I’ve only spent around a week in Germany, but I want to go back and explore more. I would love to see more of the castles. Your pictures are so pretty!

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Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin April 18, 2020 at 7:57 am

Germany is so on my list for one day!!

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Emma April 18, 2020 at 7:59 am

Wow these photos are something else! looks and sounds so incredible! i can’t wait to book a flight

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Jiayi Wang April 18, 2020 at 8:14 am

Beautiful photos of this country! I loved Bavaria and your post reminded me of how much I want to go back to Germany and see Rothenburg especially! Have pinned this so that I can refer back to it when we can plan trips again! 🙂

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Vicky April 18, 2020 at 8:23 am

This looks incredible!! Only been to Germany once but this has me itching to go back. We went for the Christmas Markets so need to go back for the sight seeing!

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Chrissy K April 18, 2020 at 8:24 am

I love Germany. I have only been to Munich, but it made me want to explore more of Germany. Great post! Would love to make it back someday!

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Kriszti April 18, 2020 at 8:28 am

Germany is such an amazing country! I’ve only been to the Neuschwanstein Castle and Berlin so far but would love to explore the rest of the country too 🙂

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Emma April 18, 2020 at 8:32 am

I really want to plan another trip to Germany. Some of these German towns have the most beautiful style. And when I get tired of walking, there’s always a nice beer close by

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Ashley April 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm

This looks like a fairy tale! I’d agree that this is one of the most beautiful towns in Europe.

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Jean-Marie April 18, 2020 at 10:35 pm

Magnificent! Your photos are incredible! You have certainly convinced me about a trip to Germany!!

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Pia - Dream and Wanderland April 18, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Yeah, Germany! There are so many cool things to explore in Germany! You mentioned a couple of them! Also, a visit to other areas besides Berlin or Munich are worth to visit! Love that post!

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natalielaturno April 18, 2020 at 11:16 pm

Stunning photos. I can’t believe there are around 25,000 castles in Germany!! That is mind-blowing! I would love for there to be a castle around corner of my city. I have only ever visited Berlin in Germany, but I loved it so much and was fascinated by the history.

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Hannah April 19, 2020 at 12:09 am

I adore the fairytale architecture in Germany! Sadly, I’ve not visited as much of the country as I would like. I’d definitely love to go back and see more of it though and you’ve fueled my wanderlust! I might start planning a post-lockdown trip…. Thanks for the inspiration!

Hannah | https://getlost.blog/

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Tammy - Travelling Tam April 19, 2020 at 1:15 am

Wow so many great reasons and I agree with them all! I have only been twice (though once was just for a night as a layover so that doesnt count) and I was blown away by the architecture. There really is something fairy-tale like about it. And the castles in the mountains! That is something else! I’d love to go again in Winter in the snow and go somewhere remote and keep warm and cosy with hot wine and hearty food. Great post 🙂

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Michelle Segrest April 19, 2020 at 6:32 am

Germany is one of my favorite countries and you did a fantastic job of captured the amazing architecture and culture. The Medieval Crime Museum images are sobering and an interesting contrast to the gorgeous Heidelberg Bridge image. You did a great job of showing the history and the beauty, all of which make traveling to Germany so enriching.

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Carol April 19, 2020 at 7:45 am

I’m ready to go Sharon – thanks another great trip to Europe!

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Krystianna April 19, 2020 at 10:00 am

There are so many reasons to plan a trip to Germany! I was lucky enough to visit last spring while I was studying abroad in Dublin. I was in Munich for a few days and took a day trip to Fussen to see Neuschwanstein Castle. Unbelievable views there! I’d love to go back and visit more castles one day.

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Margy April 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm

My husband’s family was originally from Germany. Lots of history to explore but I think I would skip the torture displays. – Margy

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Juniieper/Jesh April 19, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Germany and France – castles, castles, castles, lol! It becomes different though when you live there. Our favorite places in Berlin were the Botanical gardens, the lake, the Gedachtnis Kirche, the open air art markets. Not to forget the coffee and dessert places. Anyways, my personal opinion – but your post is a wealth of information for the people on this side of the pond – may thanks from All Seasons, and have a lovely and healthy week!

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Stephanie April 19, 2020 at 5:41 pm

This is such an exceptional post. You really capture all that is great about Germany. The mixture of modern, quirky, and historical is really unique. I’ve only been to Germany once. This post REALLY makes me want to plan a trip there as soon as this pandemic is over! Truly kicked my wanderlust into over time!

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Helga April 21, 2020 at 4:59 am

Oh my, this is such a great post! I’m planning to do some trips to Germany after the pandemic!

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Yukti Agrawal April 21, 2020 at 5:53 am

Your post revived my Germany trip as I too loved many castles here. I agree that Germany has stunning castles and that too with a beautiful backdrop of German Alps.

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