Getting to travel someplace new is always a wonderful privilege filled with feelings of adventure and awe. When you’re going to be exploring a new land, it’s easy to spend entire evenings pursuing the internet looking at all the sights that you could go and see while you’re away, planning out each little detail of the trip, packing and repacking in your head to make sure you’re ready for anything—the following aims to help with that process for one location in particular: Germany.
The focus will be on sights and locations which rich elements of history available for you to enjoy. Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. Germany is a massive country filled with vibrant cultures and it would be impossible to capture all the magic in a single article.
Let’s start this list off with a bang, shall we? Neuschwanstein is one of the world’s great castles and served as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle by the team at Disney. Situated at the top of a large hill in the Bavaria region of Germany, this glorious palace was commissioned by King Ludwig II as a place of retreat and a way to honor Richard Wagner.
The castle is built in the style known as castle romanticism, which circles around a romantic reinterpretation of the middle ages and was built between 1869 and 1882. The castle was used to store plunder during the second world war and has been a popular tourist destination for many years. It’s worth noting that you need to book a tour if you want to enter the castle and no photography is allowed on the inside.
One of the biggest cities in Germany, the capital Berlin has been home to a series of intense historical moments and is packed full of historical sights worth seeing. Many of these historical elements have been incorporated into everyday life in the city, making it an excellent place to visit. You can spend a few hours in bars and galleries that are tucked within power stations and WWII bunkers, visit Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie, as well as countless historical museums.
Museum Island is a cluster of five museums that has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site and are packed with history. The bust of Nefertiti, while controversial, can be seen as well as many other aspects of world history. Beyond this, the Berlin Wall can still be visited; the East Side Gallery is the most well-preserved portion and is covered with works of art.
Schloss Charlottenburg might also be worth your time if you’re interested in history; it’s an extensive baroque palace that captures the feeling of Prussian royalty. There’s also the Jüdisches Museum which explores 2000 years of Jewish history within Germany, not just the horror of the Jewish experience leading up to and throughout world war two. This is an excellent place to start if you’re looking to gain a sense of the historical context within which some of humanity’s more horrific atrocities occurred.
Finally, while in Berlin, check out the Brandenburg Gate. Both Napoleon and Hitler marched beneath this neoclassical city gate. Throughout its long history, the gate hosted many major historical events and because of this has come to represent the tumultuous history of Europe but also the unity and peace that followed.
Second World War Sights
While on the topic of the tumultuous history of Germany, there are many sights that are profoundly heavy and moving, yet part of the historical experience of Germany. You can find Auschwitz day trips as well as visits to many other lesser-known sites related to Hitler’s regime and the terrors that befell common people as a result. It is worth noting that you might need to schedule a little time after some of these sights for doing nothing other than sitting and processing, as these horrific historical locations have a way of pulling even the most energetic traveler into a state of deep contemplation.
Known as the city of both art and beer, Munich is well worth your attention while visiting Germany. The city is filled with galleries and pubs galore, as well as picturesque streets that seem to have avoided the passing of time for hundreds of years. You can visit the royal Nymphenburg Palace and many more world war two locations.
The above list is, of course, only the beginning. Germany is a huge country with a rich culture that has endless opportunities for learning and exploring, especially for history buffs.