The author enjoys traveling the world and visiting educational attractions such as museums where he can learn more about the local culture.
Being in the middle of Europe makes Germany easy to reach by road, rail, or plane. The country offers urban and natural experiences as well as historical wonders ranging from medieval castles to modern cars. This variety of vacation experiences makes the entire country an ideal spot for family vacations.
Start your explorations in Hamburg at Miniatur Wunderland, the most popular attraction in the country. This world’s largest train layout shrinks the world to 1/87th scale and includes such delights as an airport with planes that “fly,” highways with moving cars, cruise ships plying rivers with real water, and hundreds of thousands of tiny people going about their business in replicas of America, Venice, Hamburg, and Scandinavia.
Because there are so many little things to see, you can easily spend all day here. Lines to enter can be long, so it's best to reserve tickets online. The website also shows expected wait times.
BMW Museum in Munich
While you’re in a train mood, take the super-fast Intercity-Express or Ice to Munich, the fun-loving capital of Bavaria. The city is worth several days for the variety of attractions that it offers.
A visit to the always active Marienplatz, the city’s main square, is a must, if only to see the glockenspiel (clock) perform its animations. For automation of a different kind, the BMW Plant shows on guided tours how both robots and people creates its cars. You can then find out about the history of the brand at the nearby BMW Museum.
Cap off the day at the English Garden, one of the biggest urban parks in the world. Acres of greenery beckon the kids to run around as you relax at the Japanese teahouse or imbibe a local brew at the two beer gardens.
As a true fairy tale experience, Neuschwanstein Castle inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. While you can visit it on public transportation, the bus and train routings are a bit convoluted. It’s better to go on a tour, especially if you have kids. Many such excursions include a bike ride around the nearby Alpsee, a beautiful lake.
From the picturesque town of Hohenschwangau, the more adventurous hike through a steep trail past mountain and forest views to reach the edifice. A carriage or bus is also available. A half-hour guided tour of the interior is also available but it's best to buy these from the town before heading up to the castle.
Zeppelins and the Stone Age
For more lakeside fun, head for the resort town of Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance, or Bodensee. This Alpine body of water invites exploration through all kinds of watercraft that ply routes all across the water. You can take a ferry for the 41-minute crossing to Romanshorn in Switzerland for beautiful views of the area. At Friedrichshafen itself, you’ll find plenty of ice cream shops on the boardwalk serving all kinds of confections.
Take some time to visit the Zeppelin Museum, which features a full-size replica of some of the Hindenburg’s interior that you can enter, including the lounge and passenger cabins.
You can also travel back in time about 3,000 to 5,000 years to the PfahlBauh (Lake Dwelling) Museum, which duplicates a Neolithic lakeside village complete with homes and workshops where everyone can try their hand at Stone-Age crafts and activities. The museum is about an hour bus ride from Friedrichshafen.
You can easily spend many days exploring the natural and man-made wonders of the iconic Black Forest. The medieval town of Freiburg acts as a convenient base and is worth visiting for its daily farmer’s market and charming cobblestone streets.
If you want to buy or just admire some intricate cuckoo clocks, you’ll find several shops specializing in this craft at Triberg. Just beyond this town, you’ll discover some beautiful waterfalls at the end of a winding path through the trees. You can also hike to the Ravenna Gorge, framed by a towering railway viaduct known as the Ravennaschlucht.
© 2019 Aurelio Locsin
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 17, 2020:
I would love to explore the Black Forest and see the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on January 27, 2019:
What a lovely visit to bring back many places we've enjoyed in Germany. Our German friends took us to Neuschwanstein in a horse-drawn carriage; it was cold so we all had rugs to cover us. We also went to a number of other famous places. It was all a lovely experience, thank you for reminding me.
Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on January 27, 2019:
Germany wasn't high on my list, Audrey, until I started doing research on it and discovered how many neat things there were to visit. I'm glad I went.
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 27, 2019:
I've always wanted to visit Germany mainly for the great composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven's historic sites. But now, after reading this article of yours, I see so many other places of interest to visit. Thank you!
Liz Westwood from UK on January 27, 2019:
I have not been to Munich or Neuschwanstein for many years. But we were in the Black Forest 2 years ago. I would like to travel to Germany again.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 26, 2019:
I have a good long-time friend who lives in Herrenberg. We got to visit Freiburg, Wurtzburg, and other areas in the Black Forest area. It is so beautiful there. We also made a short trip into Switzerland on the Glacier Express train.