Germany — Attractions
Germany’s attractions have a dual appeal for visitors: historic landmarks and natural wonders. Many visitors come to soak in German heritage and culture through its many castles, palaces, and museums. However, Germany is also home to plenty of natural attractions, which can be just as incredible as the buildings. Plan an itinerary that covers both sides of Germany to get the most of a trip here.
Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein)
The most iconic structure in Germany, Neuschwanstein was used by Walt Disney as inspiration for Cinderella’s castle. Built in 1892, it was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as his private retreat. The castle is perched atop a mountain and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding valley. Visitors should be prepared for an uphill stroll, as walking is the only way to get to the castle. Inside, view beautiful ceremonial rooms built in the Romanesque Revival style, and plenty of period furniture and artifacts.
Address: Schlossverwaltung Neuschwanstein, Neuschwansteinstrsse 20, 87645 Schwangau
Messel Pit Fossil Site (Grube Messel)
The Messel Pit contains some of the most important fossil findings in the world, with remains dating back 57 and 36 million years. What makes the Messel Pit especially interesting is the sheer quantity and quality of the fossils that have been discovered in a relatively small area. See bones of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. Visitors can walk around the pit, which has special viewing platforms, as well as see many exhibits in the visitor’s center. Taking a tour with one of the experienced guides is a must. More fossils recovered from the Messel Pit can be seen at the museum in Messel town, the Museum of Hessen in Darmstadt, or the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt.
Address: Welterbe Grube Messel GmbH, Rossdörfer Strasse 108, 64409 Messel
Located in Frankfurt, the Senckenberg Museum is the second largest natural history museum in Germany. Upon arriving, visitors will be greeted by a life-size dinosaur at the entrance. The museum showcases everything from bones and fossils, to animal exhibits and plants. The holdings of the museum are extensive and a full day can easily be spent exploring the various parts. There is also a small coffee shop and restaurant to rest your feet.
Address: Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
One of the most popular landmarks in Germany, the Cologne Cathedral is an icon of German architecture and religion. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and dates back to 1248. It wasn’t completed until 1880 and is considered to be the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. Its spires and beautifully carved facades are simply incredible. Inside, visitors will find a beautiful nave, stained-glass windows, and the treasure chamber, which houses the Shrine of the Three Kings. To fully understand the history, it is worth taking the guided tour. Mass is held at least once a day.
Address: Kölner Dompfarramt, Domkoslter 3, 50667 Köln
To get a glimpse of what Germany was like during the Cold War, head to Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. This area separated East and West Berlin at the height of the Cold War and saw many East Germans trying to cross the border into the West. The checkpoint was finally removed in 1990 after the Berlin Wall was torn down and Germany was unified. Today, visitors can see the history of Berlin and its significance at the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum.
Address: Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichstrasse 43-45, 10117 Berlin
Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss)
Heidelberg is a historic town located about an hour’s drive south of Frankfurt. This area includes the famous Heidelberg University and Church of Holy Spirits, well worth exploring. The castle, dating back to the 13th century has a long history with many additions over the years. These extensions have added character and a mish mash of different architectural styles. A guided tour is the best way to see the castle and its gardens. One of the fun sites is the Big Barrel (Grosses Fass), one of the biggest wooden barrels in the world filled with wine. Enjoy a glass at the nearby shop.
Address: Schloss Heidelberg, 69117 Heidelberg
Egyptian Museum of Berlin (Ägyptische Museum Berlin)
One of the highlights of a visit to Berlin, Germany is a visit to the Egyptian Museum, which is part of the Neues Museum. It is home to one of the best collections of Egyptian artifacts outside of Africa. Among the most famous holdings are the bust of Nefertiti and the portrait of Queen Tiy. The museum has an impressive collection of statues, reliefs, architectural pieces, and papyrus.
Address: Ägyptische Museum und Papyrussammlung Berlin, Geschwisster-Scholl-Strasse 6, 10117 Berlin
Johann Gutenberg is known as the inventor of printing, and the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz showcases his achievements and the history of writing. The most important attraction is the famous Gutenberg Bible on display. Visitors can experience the world of printing by learning about type-setting, printing presses, and more. There are excellent exhibits showcasing how printing has evolved and many interactive displays that visitors of all age groups can enjoy.
Address: Gutenberg Museum Mainz, Liebfrauenplatz 5, 55116 Mainz
Located in the port city, the Kunsthalle Hamburg is an art museum that is home to some of the leading paintings by Dutch artists from the 16th century and German painters from the 19th century. Considered to be one of the most important art museums in Germany, it is home to famous works by Paul Cezanne, Max Liebermann, Paul Gauguin, and Carl Blechen. The Galerie der Gegenwart has exhibits of modern, as well as Renaissance period art. The museum is housed in a historic building dating back to 1869.
Address: Hamburger Kunsthalle, Glockengiesserwall, 20095 Hamburg
Hohezollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern)
A breathtaking castle located in southern Germany, roughly 30 miles from the city of Stuttgart, Hohezollern Castle sits atop Mount Hohenzollern and affords great views of the region. The original building was constructed in the 11th century, but many additions having been made since. The castle was the ancestral home of the Hohenzollern clan and the many displays inside show off the treasures of the family.
Address: Burg Hohenzollern, 72379 Burg Hohenzollern