Though it remains far less well known or understood by foreigners than some other European countries, since reunification Germany has gained a higher profile as a travel destination. The most popular destination is Berlin, one of the most fascinating capitals in Europe. Many of Germany’s other major cities have proud histories as independent city states or as capitals of kingdoms in their own right. But the tourist attractions in Germany are by no means limited to the cities and many other great attractions can be found in every part of the country.
The Rügen Cliffs are located in the Jasmund National Park in the northeast of Rügen island. Facing constant erosion the chalk cliffs tower high above the Baltic Sea. The 118 meter (387 feet) high Königsstuhl (king’s chair) is the most majestic part of the cliffs. The undisturbed forests behind the cliffs are also part of the national park.
The Romantic Rhine is the most famous section of the Rhine, running between from Koblenz to Bingen. The river Rhine carves its way here through steep vineyard-covered hills topped with countless castles and ruins. The river has been an important trade route into central Europe since ancient times and a string of small towns has grown up along the banks. Constrained in size, many of these old towns retain a historic feel today.
Located in Dresden, the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is a Lutheran church that was completely destroyed during WWII. The church reconstructed using original plans from the 1720s and reopened in 2005. The city of Coventry, which was raided by the Luftwaffe donated the golden cross for the dome of the church. Since its reopening, the Frauenkirche has been a hugely popular tourist attraction in Dresden. In 2009 the church was visited by President Barack Obama.
See Also: Where to Stay in Dresden
The historic city Lindau is located near the meeting point of the Austrian, German and Swiss borders in the eastern part of Lake Constance (Bodensee). The city is connected with the mainland by bridge and railway and has about 3,000 inhabitants. Full of medieval and half-timbered buildings, Lindau is quite a popular tourist attraction.
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The Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest Volksfest in the world with over 6 million visitors annually. Despite the name, the Oktoberfest starts at the end of September until the first weekend in October. An important part of Bavarian culture, the festival has been held since 1810. Visitors enjoy a wide variety of traditional fare such as Hendl, Schweinebraten, Würstl, Knödel and large quantities of German beer.
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Easily the greatest Gothic cathedral in Germany, Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) has been Cologne’s most famous landmark for centuries. Construction of the Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 and took, with interruptions, more than 600 years to complete. It is dedicated to the saints Peter and Mary and is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne.
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The Holstentor is one of the two remaining city gates of the city of Lübeck. Built in 1464, the gate now serves as a museum. Because of its two captivating round towers and arched entrance it is regarded as a symbol of Lübeck. Together with the old city center (Altstadt) of Lübeck it is one of the top tourist attractions in Germany.
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Located in the Neckar river valley, Heidelberg is one Germany’s most popular tourist destinations. During WWII, the city was almost completely spared by allied bombings which destroyed most of Germany’s larger inner cities. As a result, Heidelberg has retained its baroque charm of narrow streets, picturesque houses and the famous Heidelberg Castle.
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The Brandenburg Gate is the only surviving city gate of Berlin and symbolizes the reunification of East and West Berlin. Built in the 18th century, the Brandenburg Gate is the entry to Unter den Linden, the prominent boulevard of linden trees which once led directly to the palace of the Prussian monarchs. It is regarded as one of the most famous landmarks in Europe.
See Also: Where to Stay in Berlin
The ultimate fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein is situated on a rugged hill near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. It was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castles in the Disneyland parks. The castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria who was declared insane when the castle was almost completed in 1886 and found dead a few days later. Neuschwanstein is the most photographed building in the country and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany.