Things to Do in Germany - page 4
Famous for his delicate and anatomically precise etchings, woodcuts and prints, Albrecht Dürer was a Northern Renaissance artist who lived all his life in Nuremberg between 1471 and 1528. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the city became one of Germany’s most successful commercial centers and also the focus of a great artistic flowering. Dürer was at the heart of this creative movement, visiting the great Renaissance cities of Italy, regularly attending courts of European royalty and revolutionizing printmaking. His iconic works include The Apocalypse, a number of self-portraits, books on the human anatomy and many sublime animal prints as well as friezes for civic halls in Nuremberg and altar pieces in Prague.
The Albrecht Dürer's House is afachwerkhaus, a half-timbered townhouse with a steep wooden roof and of an architectural style seen all over Bavaria. This is where he lived for many years and has been restored to its original 16th-century state; a costumed guide in the guise of his wife takes English-speaking tours from room to room, explaining the mechanics of life in the Dürer household. Printmakers work in the top-floor studio and reproductions of Dürer’s art are on display throughout the museum.
The Dresden Castle (Residenzschloss) is a Renaissance castle that was home to Saxony's kings and electors starting in the late 1400s. It was built with defense in mind and has limited gates and massive walls. The palace burned towards the end of World War II, and reconstruction began in the 1980s. Today it houses the Dresden State Art Collections. The museums here include the Coin Cabinet and the Collection of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, the first two collections to return to the museum after reconstruction began. Other museums include the New Green Vault, the Historic Green Vault, the Turkish Chamber, the Armory, the art library, and several other collections and galleries.
Visitors can explore the artwork, antiques, and other unique items found in the different sections of the palace to get an idea of what royal live was like during the renaissance period and other times throughout history. There are two courtyards attached to the palace, which have been enclosed in recent years for more practical use as part of a museum.
SEA LIFE Konstanz, on the shores of Lake Constance, is an educational, family-friendly aquarium featuring a variety of species, both native to the area and from further afield. Interact with the animals at the rock pool, learn about their behavior, and watch feedings.
Inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France, Bavaria’s 19th-century Linderhof Castle is one of the country’s most magnificent structures. The smallest in a trio of elaborate royal palaces built by King Ludwig II (also known as the “Mad King”), Linderhof was the only one he saw completed.
Standing 67 meters (220 feet) high and topped with a 35-tonne gilded figure of Victoria – the Roman goddess of victory in battle – the Berlin Victory Column was inaugurated in 1873 to commemorate Germany’s (or Prussia, as it was called then) victory over Denmark in the Danish-Prussian War of 1864. Lovingly nicknamed ‘Golden Lizzie’ by Berlin locals, the sandstone memorial was designed by German architect Heinrich Strack and sits on a red granite base adorned with columns; it originally stood in Königsplatz, which is today’s Platz der Republik. In the run up to World War II, the column was moved to the center of the Tiergarten park as part of Hitler’s plan to rebuild Berlin as the grandiose capital city of the Third Reich. The viewing platform at 50 m (164 ft) gives panoramas over the gardens and down the Strasse des 17 Juni 31 to the landmark Brandenburg Gate – ironically today a symbol of Germany’s freedom from tyranny – but visitors have to climb 285 steps up a winding spiral staircase to get there.
Bebelplatz is a public square in the central ‘Mitte’ district of Germany’s capital city, Berlin. Today it is best known for being the site where some 20,000 newly banned books were burned by bonfire in 1933 on order of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, because they conflicted with Nazi ideology. The square is surrounded by notable historical buildings, including the German State Opera (Staatsoper); St. Hedwig’s Cathedral (built in 1747 and modeled after Rome’s Pantheon, it was the first Catholic church built in Germany after the Protestant Reformation); and the former Royal Prussian Library (Alte Bibliothek) which is now part of Humboldt University.
All of the buildings on Bebelplatz were destroyed in World War II and reconstructed afterward. An easily overlooked monument in the center of the square simply contains a pane of glass, which the visitor can look through to see many rows of empty bookshelves underground. A nearby plaque quotes the 19th-century German poet Heinrich Heine with, ‘Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.’
Germany’s soccer legacy takes center stage at the German Football Museum (Deutsches Fussballmuseum) in Dortmund—a fitting tribute to the highs, lows, and cultural importance of the sport. Opened in 2015, the museum is packed with memorabilia, multimedia displays, and fun interactive exhibitions, making it a must for soccer fans.
Approximately 12,000 ships per year deliver and pick up goods at the sprawling Port of Hamburg. The port takes up about an eighth of the city and is easiest to see on a river cruise. Learn about Hamburg’s maritime history during a visit to the MS Cap San Diego, a museum ship that travelers can step aboard and explore.
With its rows of designer boutiques and luxury department stores bordering a serene tree-lined canal, King's Alley (Konigsallee) is surely one of Germany’s prettiest boulevards, as well as being Dusseldorf’s busiest shopping street. First laid out back in 1802, Konigsallee was originally named Kastanienallee (Chestnut Avenue), but was renamed in honor of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1848, as an apology for the notorious incident in which Dusseldorfers bombarded his carriage with horse manure.
Today, the famous shopping street is best known by its nickname ‘Kö’ and is a popular hangout for both locals and tourists, offering a huge range of shops, restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes. Along with an impressive number of flagship designer outlets and jewelry boutiques, the Kö is home to the Sevens mall, the Kaufhof Kö department store and a number of 5-star hotels, while many shoppers can be found escaping the crowds for a stroll beneath the chestnut trees or a coffee break on the banks of the canal.
Standing at the intersection of two historically important trade roads, Via Regia and Via Imperii, St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig dates to 1165. The oldest church in the city, it was originally built in a Romanesque style, but was enlarged and converted into a Gothic hall church in the 16th century. An octagonal central tower was added at that time as well. Martin Luther is said to have preached at the church, which has been Protestant since 1539. The interior of the church is notable for the pillars in the nave that end in palm-like flourishes. Johann Sebastian Bach once served as the music director for the church and several of his works debuted in the church in the 18th century.
The church gained national prominence in 1989 due to peaceful demonstrations outside the church protesting communist rule in Germany. Today, it remains one of the largest churches in the Saxony region of Germany, holding up to 1400.
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The Goethe House & Museum is the site where the great German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in 1749. Goethe’s former house is a fantastic and tangible example of the living style of the 18th century Frankfurt's gentry. The house was technically Goethe's parents', and he lived here until moving to Weimar where he died in 1765.
Main features include Goethe's original writing desk and the library on the fourth floor, where Goethe composed his famous epistolary,The Sorrows of Young Werther, and where he began writingFaust. The rooms are decorated with a charming mix of reproduction and original furnishing. The museum is a picture gallery dedicated to the Age of Goethe. The Goethe House & Museum offer an intriguing a peek into 18th century lifestyles and Goethe’s early years.
Munich's historic Victuals Market is the city’s main destination for gourmet Bavarian goods. Its stalls—many family-run for generations—overflow with exotic fruits, fresh vegetables, truffles, flowers, spices, sausages and hams, artisanal cheeses, honey, and much more. Snack as you go or gather items for a picnic at the nearby park.
The Alster Lakes—the Inner Alster (Binnenalster) and Outer Alster (Aussenalster)—are the scenic heart of Hamburg. Created when the Alster river was dammed in the 12th century, the lakes are linked to the Elbe River via a maze of canals and lined with green parks and waterfront promenades.
The former royal palace of the Bavarian monarch, the Munich Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany and is open to visitors to see its spectacularly adorned rooms and royal collections. The complex of buildings in the Munich Residenz contains 10 courtyards and the museum displays 130 rooms. The three main parts of the Residenz are the Königsbau, the Alte Residenz, and the Festsaalbau, which is also home to the Cuvillies Theatre.
Get a feel for palace life in the Residenz museum which features the collections of porcelain, silver, paintings, and classical antiquities amassed by the Wittelsbach monarchs. The Antiquarium's Renaissance collections is especially breath-taking. Step outside the elaborately decorated rooms to the beautiful Court Garden or check out the Treasury (Schatzkammer) for a display of the royal jewels, gold objects, and ivory.
The ornate Schöner Brunnen is a landmark fountain in the cobbled Market Square (Hauptmarkt) of Nuremberg’s medieval Altstadt (Old Town). Created by local stonemason Heinrich Beheimby, it is a highly decorative, three-tiered masterpiece of religious imagery, adorned with 40 gaily colored, sculpted figures representing characters from the Holy Roman Empire.
At 62 feet (19 meters) high, the fountain has been restored several times over the centuries, and most of its original stone carvings are now preserved in the German National Museum (Germanisches Nationalmuseum). The wrought-iron fence that surrounds the Gothic fountain was designed by Paulus Kühn of Augsburg in 1587 and has a famous golden handle that must be twisted for good luck.
The Market Square itself is lined with multi-gabled townhouses and the ornate façade of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), the site of a daily food market, as well as the famous Nuremberg Christmas Market (Christkindlesmarkt), which sees visitors pour in from all over Europe.
One of the former Free Imperial Cities located along Bavaria’s Romantic Road, Donauwörth boasts an impressive location at the meeting point of the Wörnitz and Danube rivers. Today, the small town is best known for its eye-catching architecture, painstakingly restored after WWII and characterized by the rainbow of painted townhouses that line the Reichstrasse, Donauwörth’s main street.
Once you’ve finished snapping photos, be sure to pay a visit to the quirky Käthe-Kruse-Puppen-Museum, which pays homage to the town’s famous handcrafted dolls, then pass through the imposing city gate, Rieder Tor, and cross the bridge to the scenic Ried Island on the Wörnitz River.
Kreuzberg is the trendiest district in Berlin and makes up the western side of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg area. The neighborhood is comprised of many art galleries and museums, the infamous Checkpoint Charlie, and endless bars and restaurants that host the district’s diverse population of students, artists, and a large Turkish community.
Standing proud on the western edge of Frankfurt’s central Römerberg square, Frankfurt City Hall (Romer) is both the city’s administrative headquarters and one of its most memorable landmarks. Characterized by its pink three-peaked façade, stepped gables and domed bell tower; it’s a regal feat of medieval architecture.
The oldest church in Munich, St. Peter's Church, or Peterskirche, is a Roman Catholic establishment built in the 12th century in the Bavarian Romanesque style. The interior of the church features the magnificent Mariahilf-Altar, Gothic paintings & sculptures, and a ceiling fresco. But even these beautiful works of art can't top the bizarre gem-studded skeleton of St. Mundita, who stares at visitors with false eyes and jeweled teeth.
From the spire of "Old Peter", as the church is known to the locals, are spectacular views of the oldest part of Munich. Remember to check the colored rings at the bottom, a white ring means the Alps are visible, making the hike to the top even more worthwhile. Although the spire was almost completely destroyed duringWorld War II, it was fully restored with the traditional architechture.
The Berlin City Hall (Rotes Rathaus), with its striking façade, is one of the German capital city’s most important landmarks. Named the “Red City Hall” because of the materials used in its construction, the brick building was completed in 1869. The neo-renaissance building was designed as a multi-winged complex, in round-arch style, featuring three inner courtyards and a 243-foot (74-meter) tower.
Since 1991, the Rotes Rathaus has served as seat of the Governing Mayor and the Senate of Berlin. There are several rooms well worth visiting inside the Rotes Rathaus. The Hall of Arms, with windows that represent all the emblems of Berlin, and the emblems of all the districts of the city, is used as a reception room for guests of state. The Grand Ballroom is used for larger events like receptions and ceremonies. One of the most beautiful rooms is the Pillar Hall, with its orange-colored, groin-vaulted ceiling and its many busts. Formerly home to the building’s library, the Pillar Hall now hosts exhibitions and events. The hallway on the third floor holds the portraits of every honorary citizen of Berlin, painted by Rolf Dübner.
King's Square (Königsplatz) was initially built to serve the urban notions
of King Ludwig I, who wished to integrate culture, administration, Christianity and Bavarian military in one massive green space. The king opted for a European Neoclassic style based on the Acropolis in Athens. He even had two museums built in the same style; first was the Glyptothek, where he could house his sprawling collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, and second, the Bavarian State Collection of Antiques, which contains Greek, Etruscan and Roman artifacts. King Ludwig I also commissioned the Propylaea, an imposing and austere gate which served as a memorial to his son, the Bavarian prince Otto of Greece.
Despite this architectural and urban prowess, the square is now infamous for being the place where the Nazi party held marches and mass rallies during the Holocaust. In fact, the national headquarters of the Nazi party, the Brown House, was located on Brienner Straße just off the square. It was even featured in a Nazi propaganda film, The March to the Führer. Two temples were built on Königsplatz to honor the 16 Nazis killed in the failed coup attempt by Adolf Hitler to seize power in 1923 – they were later on destroyed (except for their platforms, which are still visible today) as part of Munich’s denazification by the US Army in 1947.
However, not all Nazi constructions were systematically demolished; the Führerbau, for example, where the Munich Agreement was signed in 1938, still exists to this day and houses a music school.
Today, Königsplatz has returned to its pre‐war appearance and remains one of Munich’s most significant attractions. It is now regarded as the center of Munich’s museum quarter, the Kunstareal.
One of the largest urban parks in the world, the English Garden (Englischer Garten) is Munich’s most popular green space, boasting over 48 miles (78 kilometers) of walking and cycling trails. It offers plenty to explore, including a Japanese teahouse, a boating lake, and traditional beer gardens.
The looming steel peaks of the Iron Bridge (Eiserner Steg) have framed Frankfurt’s skyline since 1869; a homage to the city’s industrial age. The only footbridge across the Main River, the Iron Bridge links the Old Town and Römerberg Square on the north bank, with Old Sachsenhausen and the Museum Embankment on the south bank.
The view along the tree-lined banks of the Main River is Frankfurt’s most famous, looking out across the skyscraper-studded skyline. Running through the heart of Frankfurt, the Main River is the longest within Germany, flowing 327 miles (527 kilometers) from Bamberg to Mainz, and traversing three German states before joining the Rhine River.
- Things to do in Berlin
- Things to do in Munich
- Things to do in Hamburg
- Things to do in Frankfurt
- Things to do in Cologne
- Things to do in Rostock
- Things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Things to do in Passau
- Things to do in Potsdam
- Things to do in Kiel
- Things to do in Luxembourg
- Things to do in Czech Republic
- Things to do in Bavaria
- Things to do in Northern Germany
- Things to do in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern