10 Places to Visit in Germany: Off the Tourist Track
It’s summer, you’re planning your summer vacation but you want to go somewhere that nobody else is going. Well, look no further! We have the low down on the 10 best places to visit in Germany that are off the tourist track, meaning they won’t be overcrowded with people snapping photos with their cameras and hitting you with their selfie sticks – yay! Ready to find out which places need to go on your new bucket list?
1. Island of Hiddensee
If you’re looking for somewhere to linger and relax then the Island of Hiddensee is for you! We’re talking endless stretches of white, sandy beaches, broad expanses of salt marsh, wild, craggy cliffs and beautiful pine forests: Hiddensee is a land of beauty and of contrasts. It’s a car free island in the Baltic Sea, 16.8 kilometres long, about 250 metres wide at its narrowest point and about 3.7 kilometres wide at its broadest point. Definitely a spot worth seeing if you want to admire nature and spend a few days chilling out!
2. Müritz National Park
This is THE place to go if you’re looking for a spot of hiking. Müritz National Park hugs the long eastern shoreline of Lake Müritz, which is by far the largest of the Mecklenburg Lakes in north-east Germany. It’s situated roughly in the middle between Berlin and Rostock, in the south of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, meaning it could be the perfect stop off between the port and the city. A 660-kilometre network of trails leads through an enchanting landscape characterised by ancient beech forests, mysterious marshes and huge expanses of water – including more than 130 lakes.
Aachen is a city that lives and breathes Europe. It is practically Europe in miniature. Aachen, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, has encapsulated the spirit, values and ideals of Europe since the days of Charlemagne. Indeed the Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity has been awarded at Aachen’s town hall since 1950. Aachen is famed for its beautiful cathedral and its Printen gingerbread – hat can be hard or soft depending on how much honey is in the recipe. It came into being when Napoleon cut mainland Europe off from imported sugar supplies, and is delicious topped with nuts, almonds of cherries – it’s a must try if you’re in the city!
4. Hainich National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Hainich National Park will captivate you with its slogan ‘leave nature toits own devices’. It is a large deciduous wooded area in Thuringia and is situated in central Germany not far from the town of Eisenach with the famous Wartburg Castle. The canopy walk, wildcat village Hütscheroda and various footpaths are great for everyone (they’re accessible for wheelchair users) and contain really interesting information boards to make your visit even more exciting! The ‘Brunstalweg’ adventure walk offers a guiding system for blind and partially sighted visitors as well as an audio guide. Wheelchair users can also tour the park by horse-drawn carriage.
5. Franconian Switzerland Nature Park
Sitting fairly central in Germany, with an area of over 2300 square metres, the Franconian Switzerland – Veldenstein Forest Nature Park in the triangle of Bamberg, Bayreuth and Nuremberg is one of the largest nature parks in the whole of Germany and has been recognised by the Association of German Nature Parks’ “Nature Park Quality Campaign”. It’s a great place to stop whilst checking out those typically tourist destinations like Bayreuth and Nuremberg to escape the crowds and grab a little piece and quiet. The park has a variety of habitats, including mixed forests, streams of flowing water, moors, grassland and arid land. Expect breathtaking scenes – you can’t get any better than that!
6. Wieskirche Pilgrimage Church
Designed in the late 1740s by Dominikus Zimmermann, the Pilgrimage Church of the Scourged Saviour at the foot of the Alps is considered a perfect example of Bavarian rococo architecture. It is located in the foothills of the Alps, in the municipality of Steingaden in the Weilheim-Schongau district, Bavaria, Germany. Around one million visitors come here every year from all over the world – to look, marvel, pray, attend services, enjoy the summer concerts and, of course, for quiet contemplation. Inside, the church is truly beautiful with ornate decoration that will blow you away.
7. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl
Everyone heads to that famous castle in Neuschwanstein, you want to stay off the beaten track but check out some of Germany’s favorite castles, well, here’s where you should go! In Brühl, a small town in the Rhineland, architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design have been brought together to create a first-class work of art. The palaces were built at the beginning of the 18th century by the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, Clemens August of Bavaria of the Wittelsbach family.A fine example of a German rococo ensemble, Augustusburg Palace and Falkenlust hunting lodge, along with their baroque gardens that connect them, have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1984.
8. Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg
Quedlinburg, which enjoys an idyllic location on the Romanesque Route in the picturesque Harz moutains, was an important royal and imperial town in the Middle Ages. With its historical layout and over 1,300 timber-framed houses from a period spanning six centuries, Quedlinburg is a fine example of a beautifully preserved medieval town. It also boasts a wealth of art nouveau architecture – the perfect place to wander around, check out the quaint buildings and enjoy some kaffee and kuchen whilst watching the world go by!
9. Old Town of Regensburg and Stadtamhof
Situated in south-east Germany, at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen River, Regensburg is the town of emperors and kings. It offers impressive perspectives of around 2,000 years of history, meaning it’s definitely a place for you history buffs to stop off at! The centre has over 1,500 listed buildings; of these, 984 form the ‘Old Town with Stadtamhof’ ensemble, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006. Regensburg Cathedral is definitely a place that shouldn’t be missed – it’s the only example of French Gothic cathedral architecture east of the Rhine and has a wealth of medieval stained glass that is unparalleled in Germany.
10. Wilhelmshöhe Park
And last, but by no means least, in the north Hessen city of Kassel, is baroque Wilhelmshöhe Park. The park comprises an area of about 2.4 square kilometres, stretching up to the Karlsberg mountain with the Hercules monument on the summit at 526.2 metres. Designed in the style of an English landscape garden, it is Europe’s largest hillside park. Together with Wilhelmshöhe Palace, it combines culture, nature and landscape architecture in perfect harmony. Whilst walking around the picturesque grounds, you can take in the amazing fountains and waterfalls along with the fabulous views of Kassel.
So there you have it, our list of places to visit off the tourist track in Germany. Have you been to any of them? Which will you be adding to your bucket list?