Mention a trip to Germany and most people think the revelry of Oktoberfest and lederhosen will define the travel experience. In fact, Germany offers some of the most scenic vistas in all of Europe. Coupled with vibrant arts and culture, and of course, war history, your itinerary is sure to be non-stop. So remember to stop and smell the Rosen when you hit up some of these destination ideas for your next vacation to Deutschland.
Thomaskirche / St. Thomas Church, Leipzig
Classical music aficionados will enjoy a journey to this largest city in Saxony. Over the centuries, more than 500 composers have lived and worked in this magical metropolis, everyone from Wagner to Schumann to Mahler and the list keeps going. In fact, people flock to this 12th century church to pay homage to the final resting place of Johann Sebastian Bach, who was choir director of the church (cantor) from 1723 until his death. Visitors today are welcome to attend a performance of the St. Thomas Boys Choir and tour the premises. Get your Air on and enjoy!
Nationalpark Jasmund / Jasmund National Park, Rugen Island
Take the bridge from the quaint town of Stralsund and you’ll arrive at the beautiful isle of Rügen. The star attraction of this largest island in Germany is known as Nationalpark Jasmund, famous for its haunting chalk cliffs soaring 161m above the mighty Baltic Sea. It’s unique geologic formations and primeval beech forest have earned the nature reserve a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
4711 Flagship Store, Cologne
Literally the source for eau de Cologne, the flagship 4711 fragrance shop in the Glockengasse is the sweetest smelling place you’ll likely ever visit. Home of the legit eau de Cologne in its iconic aqua and gold bottle, visitors stop in to stock up on the infamous vetiver-toned scent. Developed in the 18th century by a Carthusian monk for its curative powers, it remains one of the most identifiable fragrances in the world. Also while in Cologne, grab a ride on the Cologne Cable car and get a birds-eye view of not only the city, but a nudist spa. Don’t worry, you’ll be too high up to really see anything. We think.
Marienplatz / Munich
As far back as the year 1158, Marienplatz has been the main square of the city. Thousands converge here to explore the impressive Gothic styles of the New Town Hall building, and of course the world-famous Glockenspiel. Three times a day, people gather to see this classic, kitsch feature of Munich, when the largest glockenspiel in Germany dazzles audiences with its irreverent animatronic tale. Also of note, is the gold-plated statue of Mary that’s watched the crowds from the center of the square since 1638. There’s history on all sides of the Marienplatz so take your time exploring and remember say hi to “Old Peter” while you’re there.
Museum Island / Berlin
While the much of the city was destroyed during WWII, Berlin remains the quintessential destination on a visit to Germany. Historical spots like Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate are not to be missed of course, but one of the most beautiful days you can spend in Berlin is a visit to Museum Island. Located along the Spree River, the island house 5 distinctive museums for every artistic inclination. The Altes Museum houses artifacts from the Greco-Roman antiquity period. Pre-historic exhibits and Egyptian art, including the bust of Queen Nefertiti, are located at The Neus Museum. The Pergamon Museum includes ancient Babylonian marvels like the Ishtar Gate. A vast coin collection as well as sculptures can be found at the Bode Museum, and finally the Alte Nationalgalerie offers the largest collection of 19th century paintings and sculptures in Germany. You’ll be so schooled, you might as well get your Art History degree afterwards.
Neuschwanstein Castle / Bavarian Alps
Often heralded as the most photographed building in Germany, the Neuschwanstein Castle was the direct inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. Built in the late 19th century, it never saw any battles or acted as any sort of miltary fortification like most historical castles. In fact, it was always intended as simply a whimsical retreat for King Ludwig II of Bavaria who was reputed to have lived in the world of his imagination far more than he did in reality. Not hard if you were calling this place home.