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15 unmissable places in Germany

15 unmissable places in Germany

Discover 15 must-see sights and monuments in Germany, from the Brandenburg Gate to Neuschwanstein Castle and the Black Forest.

Football fans from all over Europe will be heading to Germany for the 2024 European Championship, when the country will not only showcase its passion for the game, but also its cultural and natural wonders. If you’re there to support your team, why not take the opportunity to explore some of Germany’s incredible sights. From the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to the enchanting Black Forest and the vibrant city of Munich, the country has plenty to offer. Join us on a journey through 15 must-see places that will make your visit to Germany for the European Championship an unforgettable adventure.

1. Brandenburg Gate

Let’s start in Berlin, where the European Championship final will be played. This is where you’ll find one of the symbols of the German capital, the Brandenburg Gate. Of the 18 city gates that once existed, it’s the only one left. Located on the Pariser Platz in Berlin, the gate was commissioned by King Frederick William II in 1788 as a symbol of peace, and is known internationally for its artistic and historical value. A bronze statue of a chariot driven by the goddess of peace is perched on the top.

 

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2. Neuschwanstein Castle

If a fairy-tale castle exists, it is Neuschwanstein Castle. About two hours’ drive from Munich, Neuschwanstein is majestically situated atop the lush forests that surround it. Did you know that this fortress was the inspiration for the castle in the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty? It’s definitely a dreamy sight well worth exploring if you find yourself in Bavaria.

3. Cologne Cathedral

Next on our list is Cologne, where five championship matches will be played. The top attraction of this city is the centuries-old cathedral. UNESCO included this cathedral in Cologne on its 1996 list of World Heritage Sites, stating that the “Cologne Cathedral is an exceptional work of human creative genius.” When it opened in 1880, it was the largest Gothic church in northern Europe. Fortunately, it survived World War II and stands to this day with its 12 bells and Shrine of the Three Kings.

4. Black Forest

The Black Forest in southeast Germany is characterized by lush coniferous forests, extensive meadows, glacial lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and charming rural towns such as Gengenbach, Seebach, Durbach, and Triberg. The best way to explore the region is by car so that you can go at your own pace and stop wherever you want.

 

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5. Museum Island

Museum Island, located in Berlin next to the Spree River is a fantastic complex of museums. Here you’ll find the Bode Museum, New Museum (home to one of the world’s most famous sculptures), Old Museum, Old National Gallery, and the Pergamon Museum; together they provide a substantial dose of culture that art lovers will adore. In 1999, the island was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

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6. The Berlin Wall

A symbol of the division of Berlin, Germany, and the world in general, the Berlin Wall separated the German capital into East and West for almost thirty years. Germany, having been located between the two opposing blocks, suffered the consequences of the Cold War first hand. The wall cut through 192 roads (103 miles), and more than 130 people died trying to cross to the other side through what was known as the “death strip.” Traces of the wall are still visible thanks to a marked route through the city streets.

 

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7. The Old Town of Bamberg

Nicknamed “the city of the seven hills of Germany,” Bamberg is a Bavarian city that was the center of the 18th-century Enlightenment movement. Additionally, it was an important archbishopric and has a spectacular imperial cathedral commissioned by Henry II, with the intention of expanding Christianity to eastern Europe. In the old town, you’ll also discover buildings from the 11th to the 19th century. A few highlights are the Altes Rathaus (town hall) decorated with murals and the Romanesque cathedral with its four towers.

8. Saxon Switzerland National Park

The Saxon Switzerland National Park is located near Dresden and borders the Bohemian Switzerland National Park. With an area of more than 35 square miles, this space is a dream for all outdoor sports lovers with its endless hiking routes and rock formations perfect for climbing.

9. Schwerin Castle

The Schwerin Castle, located on an island of Lake Schwerin, was the residence of the dukes of Mecklenburg, although it was previously a stronghold of the Polabian Slavs. The idyllic surroundings enhance the already charming building, which has a beautiful interior full of handmade artifacts, paintings, and valuable furniture. Today, the palace is open to the public and boasts an interesting onsite art museum.

10. Reichstag

The Reichstag is the headquarters of the Bundestag, the German parliament, and is located in Republic Square. An iconic building, it receives a multitude of visitors interested in delving into German history and its politics. You can choose between going on a guided tour, listening to a plenary session or climbing up the dome to the rooftop terrace to experience a spectacular panorama of the German capital.

 

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11. Old Town of Heidelberg

Just an hour’s drive from Frankfurt, Heidelberg will host five English Championship matches. If you’re in town, you don’t want to miss the Alstadt (Old Town), which is the highlight of Heidelberg. The city is also home to Germany’s oldest castle and university (founded in 1386). Ohterwise on the charming shores of the Neckar River, it’s worth exploring the Karl Theodor Old Bridge and its lively main street, Haupstrasse, with a plethora of restaurants, bars, and shops.

 

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12. Lake Constance

In the basin of the Rhine River lies the spectacular Lake Constance with a surface area of more than 190 square miles distributed across Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The area around the lake is popularly known as the German Côte d’Azur due to its water sports, mansions, and top-notch restaurants. On the German side, the island of Lindau stands out as a charming location, as do Friedrichshafen and Meersburg.

 

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13. Munich

The kick-off of the European Championships will take place in Munich’s Allianz Arena on June 14, which is the perfect opportunity to discover this city. At the mere mention of Munich, Oktoberfest is usually the first thing to spring to mind. However, the Bavarian capital has a lot more to offer. With alpine views, the city enjoys natural scenery that couples nicely with its cosmopolitan vibes, rendering the city one of the best places to live. Start your visit in Marienplatz, the city’s hub, and don’t miss the Deutsches Museum or the Allianz Arena.

 

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14. Bavaria’s Castles

South of Munich lies a lush region studded with the various palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Although we’ve already mentioned the Neuschwanstein Castle, which is probably the most famous of them all, Hohenschwangau (the palace of youth), Linderhof (inspired by the Palace of Versailles), and Herrenchiemse (on the Chiemsee islands) are all well-worth a visit. From Munich, several excursions depart that allow you to visit these castles and beautiful villages, such as Oberammergau, in a single day.

 

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15. The Port of Hamburg

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany and will host the European Championship five times this summer. The city has much to offer, but the top attraction is undoubtedly the port. Over the centuries it’s been so important that it’s been called the “Gateway to the World”. Today, the HafenCity district is a modern neighborhood with futuristic architecture and significant buildings such as the HafenCity University and the Elbphilharmonie, a world-famous concert hall. Step aboard one of the tour boats to admire the fantastic harbor area.

 

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