Read these 28 Sightseeing Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about German tips and hundreds of other topics.
The city of Weimar is located in the county of Thuringia on the river Ilm in central Germany. The city was Germany's cultural center during the 18th and early 19th century. Famous German authors and poets, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Friedrich von Schiller, and Christoph Martin Wieland, lived and worked here. The town looks medieval with its many narrow streets (Gassen), old, gabled houses (Fachwerkhaeuser), and numerous architectural landmarks. Visit the 15th century parish church, which contains an altarpiece executed by the German painter and etcher Lucas Cranach the Elder. Go to the Palace of the Grand Duke, which was built in the 18th century. Take a tour of Goethe's home, which is now a museum. You might also be interested in the Goethe-Schiller archives, or in the archives of the German philosopher and poet Friedrich Nietzsche.
When in Hesse, don't miss:
- Frankfurt, Germany's New York on the Main, with its historical town center, city hall & opera house
- Limburg castle and the church with 7 towers on the river Lahn
- the ceramic museum at Hoehr-Grenzhausen (souvenirs)
- the Karlsaue (castle) & orangery at Kassel, and the Documenta exhibition (annual event)
- the old university at Marburg, dating back to the late 19th century (new gothic)
If in or around Berlin, don't miss:
- the Spreewald (woods and rivers) in the Niederlausitz area. If possible, take a boat trip.
- Brandenburg's Sanssouci (" without worries") castle and its gardens, built in rococco style by Frederic the Great. Truly Prussian.
- Neuruppins temple garden
- the ruins of the gothic brick monastery of Chorin, which was built by the Zisterzien's order in the 13th century. Summer conserts are held there, too.
Try to see the following:
- the Rhine river. Boattrip highly recommended.
- Duesseldorf, the city of fairs (good shopping opportunities)
- Cologne's Museum Ludwig/Wallraf-Richartz Museum, home of one of the most valuable German painting collections
- Bonn's Art & Exhibition Hall with a sculpture park
- Aachen's imperial palace erected by Charlemagne, and Aachen Minster
- Muenster's Prinzipalmarket with patrician houses and a gothic city hall
- Historic Nordkirchen Manor House in Muensterland
- Warendorf, a center of German horse riding
- Carnival on the Rhine (February)
If you are in Schleswig-Holstein or Hamburg, visit Helgoland. This island and holiday resort makes for a nice day-trip with bird watching opportunities, plenty of original Northern German restaurants and tax-free shopping.
You might also want to go to the Hanse city of Luebeck to see buildings dating back to the 13th century, or to the sea castle of Gluecksburg, which was the residence of the dukes of Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluecksburg during the 17th & 18th century.
The Schwarzwald Net
The Schwarzwald Net compiles information and stories about the region with particular emphasis on hiking, sightseeing tours, historic trains, ski slopes, accommodation, addresses and recipes. Very comprehensive. Pages are in German. Give it a try!
Go to Hamburg's landmark, the Michaelskirche, which was burnt down twice, but always rebuilt. Sample Hamburg's specialities at the fishmarket (also great for souvenirs). Don't miss Hamburg's harbour. Take a walk on the river Binnenalster, which will lead you to Hamburg's better shopping centers.
The Archive on Witchcraft - the country's only one - is located in the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg. General information on the subject is provided, books can be obtained, and you can even attend a discussion group conducted by a lecturer. For more information contact:
phone: + 49 (0) 40 48 25 53
fax: + 49 (0) 40 48 22 42
The island of Ruegen with its chalk-cliffs is a must. Try to visit Ahlbeck, the biggest seaside resort of the county. It is located on the island of Usedom. Original 19th century flair. - Also worth seeing: Schwerin castle, which used to be the residence of the princes of Mecklenburg.
Muenchen (Munich) on the Isar River is the capital of Bavaria and a major city in south central Germany. It attracts many tourists with its festivals (Oktoberfest), cultural landmarks, baroque and rococo buildings, elegant shopping opportunities, vivid nightlife, old breweries, great food and last, but not least, its castles and churches. Visit the baroque Nymphenburg Castle (1664), the Marienplatz with the city hall (Neues Rathaus), and the 15th-century Frauenkirche, a gothic brick cathedral. Go to the Maximilianeum (1874-1877), the home of the Bavarian parliament. Take a trip to the Hellabrunn Zoo, which is one of the largest zoological gardens in Germany. Relax in the English Garden, a large park with lake, a Chinese pagoda and an art gallery (Haus der Kunst). For sources of more detailed information, check out my booktips (travel guides).
Bavaria (Bayern in German) is a state in the southeast of Germany. Bavaria is the largest state of Germany. Its state capital is Munich, which is also the largest Bavarian city. Other important cities are Nuremberg (Nuernberg), Augsburg, and Regensburg. Bavaria's population is largely Roman Catholic. Bavaria is famous for its many monasteries, baroque churches, picturesque castles, and universities. If you are traveling through the area, make sure to visit Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II's fairytale castle.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is reputed to be the best-preserved medieval town in Europe. The town has walls more than a mile long that incorporate numerous towers and turrets. It is the heart of the Romantische Strasse (Romantic Road). The town and its surrounding area is full of old castles, cathedrals, picturesque villages and fairytale houses, even gingerbread houses.
The Medieval Crime Museum is the only museum of law in the European area. It features unique exhibits on four floors (such as instruments of torture, rare books, graphic arts, coats of arms, seals, crafts, trades, patents ...) and gives you an insight into thousand years of history of law in Europe. All displays are explained in English. Opened daily.
Burggasse 3 - 5
D - 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
phone: + 49 (0) 9861 - 5359
fax: + 49 (0) 9861 - 82 58
Places to see:
- Hannover's baroque garden, Herrenhausen, with plenty of sculptures & fountains
- Braunschweig's Dankwarderode castle and its roman-gothic cathedral
- Stade's picturesque half-timbered houses
- Eastern Friesland and its lush countryside (they also sell great tea)
- the old town of Lueneburg and its heath & sheep ("Heidschnucken", special wool, good souvenirs)
- Goslar's market, town hall and Emperor's Palace (gothic)
- the Harz mountains, its health resorts, skiing opportunities and speciality cheese ("Harzer Kaese")
This museum calls itself the smallest film city in the world. It is a must if you are interested in model railway landscapes, castles, public gardens, scenes for children's films and small scale models. The trains are actually running. Very cheap admission (DM 4 for adults, DM 2 for kids).
Mini World Museum
Galgengasse 1-3/Entrance Judengasse
D - 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
phone: (+) (49) (0) 9861 - 92686
open: April - October, December: daily, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., January - March, November: Tuesday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Black Forest (Schwarzwald) region is located in the southwest of Germany, bordering on France. It is famous for being one of Germany's most beautiful areas. Most of it is `hill country`, with lots of pine trees, a lush vegetation and countless idyllic waterfalls. The Feldberg (1493 m) is its highest peak. Whatever your travel objectives, you will be able to
fulfill them in the Black Forest. You will find lots of German tradition and art, great hiking and skiing facilities, various health and family resorts, picturesque farms, historic towns, old universities and great food. Summer is an ideal time for hiking in this area. A winter vacation in the Black Forest is a truly unforgettable experience.
Don't miss those historical markers:
- Wernigerode, its castle and its timber-framed houses
- the eastern part of the Harz mountains with dense woods and deeply carved, picturesque valleys
- the medieval town of Quedlinburg
- Emperor Barbarossa's legendary resting place, the Kyffhaeuser
-Martin Luther's house and museum at Wittenberg
Aachen is a major city in the Bundesland (state) of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has been a health resort since the 1st century AD. It has the hottest mineral springs in central Europe. It is thought to be the birthplace of Charlemagne, the founder of Carolingian culture. Thirty-two emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned at the Aachen cathedral. Visit the town hall, which is built on the ruins of Charlemagne's palace, the 13th-century cathedral with Charlemagne's tomb, and the many museums (of particular interest is the Newspaper Museum with more than 120,000 papers in some 30 languages). The city was severely damaged during World War II, but was largely rebuilt by 1966.
If you enjoy the diversity of baroque art, this palace is worth a visit. You will see a beautifully preserved facade, numerous stucco works, rooms full of antique furniture and beautiful gardens, all of which date back to 1700. Special guided tours in foreign languages are available throughout the year.
Palace Schwetzingen, the summer residence of the Princes-Elector of the Palatinate
Schwetzingen (on A 6, between Mannheim & Sinsheim, on A 5 between Frankfurt & Karlruhe)
open April to October Tuesday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., November to March Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
guided tours: continuously April to October, November to March on Fridays at 2 p.m., on Saturdays & Sundays
also at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
phone: + (49) (0) 62 02 - 81482
Bremen is a major German city in the northwest. It is located on the Weser River. The city is the capital of the state (Bundesland) of Bremen. Combined with Bremerhafen, it is a major seaport. If you go sightseeing in Bremen, don't miss the Altstadt (old town) with its medieval flavor, narrow streets (Gassen), gabled houses (Fachwerkhaeuser) and gothic and renaissance buildings. Visit the romanesque Cathedral of Saint Peter (11th century); the 15th-century town hall (Rathaus), which is a blend of gothic and renaissance styles; and the 17th-century merchants' hall (Schütting).
The museum is located in a 15th century house and is home to more than 800 dolls & puppets, which were produced by French and German toymakers in the past 200 years. You'll also find doll houses, kitchens, chambers, shops, theaters, trains, carriages, tin toys, farms, schools, carousels, handcarved wooden toys and other accessories of a child's world of the past.
Doll & Toy Museum
D - 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
phone: + (49) (0) 9861 7330
fax: + (49) (0) 9861 867 48
open: March - December 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., January and February 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The town of Flensburg is located in Schleswig-Holstein right at the border to Denmark. It is the most northern of all German towns and quite old. Some buildings date back to the 12th century. Visit the Nordertor (a 16th century arch) and the historic city center. Take advantage of border traffic and buy excellent cheese and dairy products from Denmark.