There are so many things you can do in Germany and some things that you have to do that any list can only be incomplete. But since you are unlikely to be spending the rest of your life in Germany, here are a few things to make it easier to begin. Pack your bags and get ready to visit absolutely unique sights.
As cliché as it sounds, but you have to see Berlin. Berlin is at its height right now and you should go before its magic wanes. You can spend a weekend or you can spend a month, there will always be more to see and do. In fact, there are so many attractions, Berlin deserves it’s very own list.
Whether you want to go shopping, visit a museum, see a concert, walk through the Brandenburg Gate or climb the Alexanderplatz, you will not be bored.
When in Berlin, you will stumble over culturally or historically significant sites at every turn, without even having to look. Getting into the Berghain is far more difficult and it is likely that you will spend hours standing in line and then get turned away anyway.
The Berghain is a techno and electronic music club and it has been on the list of the Top 100 clubs since 2008. It is kinky, it is loud and it will be an experience you won’t forget.
Once you’re done learning how to pronounce the name, join the over one million people that visit this castle annually. Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned this castle and it was built, though never finished, in the 19th century. It might seem familiar to you, as it inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Neuschwanstein was supposed to have more than 200 rooms, but only 15 rooms were completed. These are splendid enough to warrant a visit, though.
Inner German border
You don’t need to be a history buff to know that Germany was divided after World War II. The wall, often known as the Berlin Wall, stood from 1961 until 1990 and is an important piece of German history with ramifications until today.
There are more than 30 museums dedicated to the German wall and you should visit at least one site. Maybe then you will finally understand why the Germans love David Hasselhoff so much.
This church is an outstanding example of Protestant sacred architecture from the 18th century.
The bombing of Dresden during World War II destroyed the church, and it was only reconsecrated in 2005, serving as a war memorial until then. While in Dresden, make sure also to see the Rococo style Zwinger palace.
Construction on the Wartburg started in 1067, so this castle is nearly 1000 years old. Martin Luther hid in the Wartburg under the pseudonym Junker Jörg and completed his translation of the New Testament into German.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also liked the castle and planned to open an art museum in it.
Lake Constance borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland so it’s the ideal place for you to compare different German accents. Technically, no borders exist in the lake, so no one is entirely sure where one country ends and another begins.
You can visit one of the islands or the bordering towns. It is also an important region for wine-growing, so you might just want to relax with a glass of wine on the banks.
Follow the crowds and visit Germany’s most visited landmark. It’s a breathtaking example of Gothic architecture and if that’s not enough to take your breath away, then you can climb the nearly 400 steps to see the bells.
Or you could even stand inside the bells as Cologne Cathedral has the largest free-swinging bell in the world, the Bell of St. Peter, weighing no less than 24 tons.
The Lorelei is a rock on the bank of the river Rhine. Legend has it, that a beautiful blonde girl used to sit on the rock, singing and combing her hair and luring sailors to their deaths.
She is the German version of a siren. If you don’t have time, read at least one of the poems or listen to one of the songs about this place.
Ulm Cathedral is not technically a cathedral but rather a church. But that is mainly semantics. What should interest you, is that it is the tallest church in the world.
If the stairs in Cologne Cathedral didn’t do you in, the 768 steps in this church will.
A World War II and Holocaust Memorial
While Germany has many wonderful things to offer, it also has a horrible history of committing terrible crimes against the world and Jews in particular. You haven’t been to Germany unless you have seen at least one memorial commemorating the victims of World War II and the Holocaust.
It’s a shame that Germans live with until this day, and you will never understand them without understanding their history.
Jakob Fugger the Younger founded this social housing complex in 1521 and it is the oldest social housing complex in the world that is still in use.
You will never believe it, but yearly rent in the Fuggerei is 0,88 EUR, and a daily Our Father, Creed, and Ave Maria for its founder. It is currently hosting 150 Catholic people in need.
Whether you come for the cake and stay for the lakes or come for the forest and stay for the German Clock Road, you are sure to spend a relaxing and beautiful holiday in this mountain range.
You can dive, you can surf, or you can gamble away your money in the casinos in Baden-Baden.
The Alps are Europe’s highest mountain range and if you visited its entire 1200 kilometers, you would visit eight European countries. You don’t have to climb the Mont Blanc to enjoy the Alps.
But you could go skiing or imagine Hannibal crossing the Alps on a horde of elephants. If you’re a fan of cheese, then this is the place to be.
You might want to visit Munich just to go to the Oktoberfest, but if you ever recover from your hangover, consider having a look at the symbol of the Bavarian capital.
One of its attractions is the Devil’s Footstep, a footprint that according to folklore was left by the devil when he marvelled at the church.
This fish market processes nearly 15 percent of all the fish sold in Germany. 36,000 tons of fish pass through this market every year, so you are not likely to leave here hungry. If this sounds too smelly for you, there is plenty else to be seen in Hamburg.
You can visit the harbour or the largest warehouse district worldwide, the Speicherstadt. Hamburg is also the home to Germany’s most famous red-light district, where John Lennon played an entire concert with a toilet season around his neck before the Beatles were world famous.
Wuppertal Suspension Railway
Berlin passed on this train and they are the poorer for it. The train traverses the entire city and while you might view it as a tourist attraction, 82,000 citizens use it daily to get to work or to school or to Wuppertal’s lovely zoo.
Be sure to have a local tell you the story about how Tuffi, the elephant, fell out of this hanging train in 1950. The Schwebebahn has been in use since 1901 and only one fatal accident occurred since then, making it the safest method of transport worldwide. Unless you are an elephant, maybe.