My father was stationed in Germany for three years and I fell in love with this beautiful country. I learned German in school and always thought I would go back and live there one day. That didn't happen, but I have been able to visit it several times. Here are some of my favorite places.
When we lived in Germany in the 1970s, you couldn't easily travel to Berlin. In the 1980s, I explored West Berlin as part of a school trip. We crossed over to East Berlin for a very surreal day. I remember there was no traffic, nothing was open, and the city seemed empty. There was real fear as we came through Checkpoint Charlie to re-enter West Berlin. In 2010, I again visited a reunited Berlin and everything was so different. The capital city of Germany offers an enormous amount of things to see and do. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum Island offers five different museums ranging from art to history. Those into history should visit the Memorial of the Murdered Jews as well as Checkpoint Charlie. The Berlin Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in Europe with over 1500 different species to see. For relaxation, try one of the thousands of swimming lakes surrounding the city.
Though Munich might be best known for Oktoberfest, there is much more to explore in this city. Marienplatz is the center of the city, a social hotspot surrounded by beautiful, historical architecture. The massive Englisher Garten offers vast lawns and groves, and even surfing in the Eisbach River. Car lovers can also enjoy the BMW museum, which even houses Elvis Presley’s BMW. Another must-see is St. Peter’s Church, where you can enjoy an incredible view of the city from the top of the tower. Take the time to venture out of the city to explore the nearby fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein built by King Ludwig I and used as the basis of Walt Disney's castle.
One of my fondest memories of our time in Germany was taking a Rhine River cruise to Cologne. This historically significant city is situated on the Rhine River and is home to the Cologne Cathedral, the most visited landmark in all of Germany. Climbing the hundreds of steps to the top of the spire is worth it for the spectacular view. You can view artifacts dating as far back as the 10th century. For more modern art, the Ludwig Museum features avant-garde and pop art. And no trip to Cologne is complete without visiting Old Town, where you can experience what the city was like before it was destroyed in World War II.
This port city’s most popular spot is Speicherstadt, a warehouse district with plenty of visitor attractions. The oldest warehouse is home to the International Maritime Museum, which has artifacts dating back thousands of years. Another warehouse is filled with Miniature Wunderland, where those who love miniature trains can enjoy models of cities around the world. The city’s tallest building is the new Elbphilharmonie, which is not only a great place to enjoy music, but the architecture with curved windows is a wonder all its own.
5. Rothenburg ob der Taube
My favorite place in Germany is Rothenburg, especially at Christmas. We visited this quaint town on Germany's Romantic Road dozens of times. It is one of the most photographed towns in Germany. Walk atop the ancient walls that surround the city. The Medieval Crime Museum gives a quirky insight into the harsh world of medieval justice. St Jakobskirche was completed in 1471 and is home to the Altar of the Holy Blood which is an intricately carved altar by one of Germany's master sculptors, Tilman Riemenschneider. The center panel depicts the Last Supper in lifelike detail. There is a large Christmas Museum that preserves rare antique ornaments and also has a wide selection of Christmas-themed gifts to decorate your home.
When you are ready to explore Germany, contact me and we can start planning your trip.