There are countless interesting places in Germany, and it’s no wonder, as it’s the 6th largest European country with an immensely rich history and culture. So, to ensure you don’t wander when traveling to Germany, we’ve selected nine of the most fascinating landmarks that are definitely worth visiting.
Also, don’t forget that Germany is a beer powerhouse, so don’t miss the opportunity to taste beers from local breweries along with typical dishes such as Bratwurst, Eintopf, Pumpernickel, Spätzle, Zwiebelkuchen, and many more, depending on which federal state you are in.
1. The Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) – Berlin
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Germany and a symbol of Berlin. This monumental 26-meter-high gate was completed in 1791 and originally served as an entrance to the city, but only the German emperor could pass through it. Today, it stands as an iconic monument, symbolizing the division and subsequent reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. You can visit it both during the day and at night when it is beautifully illuminated.
2. Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein) – Schwangau
It is perhaps the most famous castle in the world because of its fairytale atmosphere, which inspired Walt Disney to create Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland and also appears in the company’s logo. This fascinating structure was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century. What’s interesting is that the castle combines many architectural styles, making it impossible to categorize it into just one. If you want to experience an authentic romantic atmosphere, where else but here?
3. Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) – Cologne on the Rhine
When it comes to the “most” German landmarks, we can’t forget about the Kölner Dom, which is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Its exceptional architecture and imposing height make it unmistakable. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and serves as the seat of the archbishop. Interestingly, construction of the cathedral began as early as 1248, but it wasn’t fully completed until the late 19th century. If you climb up to the tower, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city and the Rhine River.
4. Marien Square (Marienplatz) – Munich
The history of Marienplatz dates back to the 12th century when this central square in Munich began to take shape. Originally, it served as a grain and salt market, but today, it is the cultural heart of the entire city. In the center of the square stands the Marian Column (Mariensäule), which was built in the 17th century to commemorate the end of the Swedish occupation of Munich. The square is also home to the Old Town Hall, dating back to 1475, and the neo-Gothic New Town Hall from 1905, whose tower houses a carillon of 43 bells that chime twice a day.
5. Sanssouci Palace (Schloss Sanssouci) – Potsdam
Sanssouci Palace is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany and was a favorite summer residence of Prussian kings. Its elegant gardens, extensive park, and beautiful architecture have earned it the reputation of being a rival to the French Versailles. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by 2 million people annually.
6. The Largest Model Railway (Miniatur Wunderland) – Hamburg
Among other “largest” landmarks in Germany is the world’s largest model railway, which continues to expand. Train enthusiasts will feel like they’re in paradise in this three-story exhibition set in a revitalized warehouse. The model showcases various places from around the world, including the USA, Scandinavia, Italy, and Rio de Janeiro.
7. The Eagel’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) – Berchtesgaden
It’s the mountain retreat of Adolf Hitler and his closest associates, a gift given to the leader by Martin Bormann for his birthday. It was an extensive complex with underground tunnels and bunkers. Hitler visited here a total of fourteen times. Although very little of the original structure remains, it is still a popular tourist destination, primarily among enthusiasts of “dark tourism”, and there is also a luxurious modern hotel located here.
8. Städel Museum (Städelsche Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie) – Frankfurt on the Main
It is a perfect German landmark for all art lovers. Founded in 1815, this gallery houses 4,000 paintings spanning from the medieval period to the present day, along with other art objects, photographs, and an extensive library.
9. Classic Remise – Düsseldorf
If art doesn’t rev your engine, but the sight of beautiful cars makes your heart race, you can’t miss the Classic Remise in Düsseldorf. For all “petrolheads,” around three hundred classic automobiles are waiting to be admired. You’ll find global brands like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Aston Martin, and you can even purchase some of them on the spot.
10. Zwinger – Dresden
This impressive Baroque palace complex was built in the 18th century by order of Augustus II the Strong and is now among the most visited landmarks in Saxony. When traveling to Germany, you should allocate an afternoon to visit it. The courtyard of Zwinger (originally intended to be part of a castle that was never constructed) is surrounded by fountains, statues, and, above all, several pavilions where you can see a range of rare artworks, the world’s largest collection of porcelain, or an exhibition of historical physics and astronomical instruments.
11. Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Bavaria
If you want to transport yourself to a magical historic town, which are becoming increasingly rare to find, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is just the place for you. Thanks to its preserved medieval streets, city walls, and historical ambiance, the town is a favorite among filmmakers and even made an appearance in Harry Potter.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber managed to escape destruction during both the Thirty Years’ War and World War II, making it perfectly preserved.
During your visit, be sure to try the local sweet specialty called “Schneeball,” explore the historic underground, or visit the year-round open special Christmas shop.
12. Bastei Bridge (Basteibrücke) – Saxon Switzerland
When you feel like immersing yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty of Germany, a visit to this stone bridge is a must. Perched high above the stunning canyon of the Elbe River, it offers a mesmerizing view of rock formations, forests, and the river below. Built in 1851, it was the very first purely tourist structure in Europe, and the idea was a brilliant one, as it continues to attract hordes of tourists to this day.
The bridge is accessible to visitors in the Saxon Switzerland region, a popular area for hiking and rock climbing. You can walk along the bridge to reach an observation platform, where you’ll be greeted with a magnificent panorama of the surrounding landscape, including the rock town of Rathen and the nearby Neurathen Castle.
13. Aachen Cathedral (Aachener Dom) – Aachen
Aachen is a historical spa town that’s worth a visit in its own right. Besides its beautiful architecture, Gothic town hall, and technical university, you’ll find another UNESCO World Heritage site here – the Aachen Cathedral, also known as the Aachener Dom.
The construction of this impressive cathedral spanned from the 8th century to the 18th century, and its architectural style uniquely combines elements of both Gothic and Romanesque design. Since the time of Charlemagne’s foundation, a total of 30 kings and 12 queens have been anointed or crowned here. Today, the cathedral serves as the seat of the bishop and is a popular tourist attraction.
Germany is a country full of cultural landmarks, beautiful nature, and rich history. Thanks to its diversity, it has something to offer to almost every traveler, so don’t hesitate to pack your bags and embark on an adventure.