When planning your next family vacation or personal getaway, few countries can claim to have the combination of historic, natural, and modern sights as Germany. Be it World War II history, Roman architecture, or anything in between, Germany is rich with history, and despite popular opinion, they have much more good history than bad.
The natural sights in Germany are just as powerfull to behold. In the late Spring, everywhere you go you will see fields of Rhaps, an agricultural product that has bright yellow flowers. There are also beautiful rivers and mountains with stone castles. What's not to love?
Below you will se some great cities in Germany for you to visit along with a description of the sights and experiences you can find there.
Cologne, Germany On The Rhine
Currently Germany's fourth largest city, Cologne is home for over 10 million citizens in and around the city, and is a major cultural center for the country. On the western side of the country, Cologne lies on the Rhine River and is home to over 30 museums, one of the largest churches in the world, and even Roman archaeological sites. There are many things to do in and around the city including historic tours, scenic boat rides, and wonderful shopping.
Cologne offers the opportunities of a metro area with the beauty and romance of a very old city on the Rhine. The Dom of Cologne, or the Cologne Cathedral, is one of the largest Catholic buildings in the world, towers over the Rhine, with its trademark twin spires being seen from all over the city. It is also Germany's most visited landmark with an average 20,000 visitors per day. This Cathedral is simply a must visit. When planning your trip, be sure to allow time to look at all of the architecture inside and a hike up the amazing staircases that go up the inside of the spires and offer a breathtaking view of the city and the river.
The city also offers a great place for cyclists and pedestrians for both exercise and shopping alike. Also, commuting to other nearby cities is simple with the city and area's elaborate system of trains.
Weimar, Germany's Cultural Center
When planning any trip to Germany, you must visit one of the old cultural cities of the old East Germany. Long held as the cultural center of Germany, Weimar has a storied history, both good and bad. It was selected by the European Council of Ministers as the European Capital of Culture in 1999. The city was founded in 899 AD and currently has around 70,000 citizens. The city itself lies just east of the old East Germany-West Germany border near Leipzig. Weimar has been home to historic figures like musicians Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, and Johann Sebastian Bach, Martin Luther, artist Henry van de Velde, lens maker Carl Zeiss, writer Friedrich Schiller, and writer and physicist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
In Weimar you will find plenty of shopping, including a great outdoor market area in one of the city squares, where you can find amazing chocolates, fruits and vegetables, and some of the most beautiful pottery and china in the world. Around town there are many historical sites and museums including a short drive to Buchenwald, a Nazi concentration camp from WWII. Also, a short drive from Weimar is the city of Eisenach which is home to Wartsburg Castle. This is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament of the Bible after beginning the Protestant Reformation.
Trier, German Vacation Meets Roman Ruins
From the cultural center of Germany we go to the oldest city of Germany. Although Trier recognizes its founding as 16 BC as a Roman seat of power in the area of Gaul, some historians believe the town actually was founded by an Assyrian prince as much as 2000 years earlier. Either way the city holds much history. The city lies on the Moselle River in the far southwest of Germany, near the border with Luxembourg.
This area, as well as having much history, is a very rich wine area. You can take tours on the river, experience shopping downtown, or visit many museums and historical sites. The city is also a short drive from Luxembourg, so you can get two countries for the price of one. Trier was the home of many amazing people including Saint Ambrose and Helena (mother of Constantine the Great).
One place you absolutely must visit is the Roman Colosseum in Trier. It is made with dirt stands and a sand floor with cages beneath, similar to the one in Rome. The area it is located in is filled with many Roman archaealogical sites. Other places to visit are the Porta Negra, the Cathedral of Trier, and the Palace of Trier.
German Castle Road
Although there are plenty of historic sites spread all over the German landscape, the German Castle Road is a route of travel through Germany that can help visitors see many castles and palaces, ranging from ruins to private estates. This route stretches from Mannheim to Bayreuth, basically winding from west to east across the center of the country.
Several websites, including www.burgenstrasse.de/uk/Home.html give directions, descriptions and important dates to help you make your tour of the area the best it can be. They also include admission fees and times for tours to castles that are open to the public, so you can see these pieces of history up close and in person.
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Mimikat from Northeastern NY State, USA on July 08, 2011:
Thanks for a well written Hub; Germany is indeed a beautiful country.
Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 08, 2011:
Hi! Germany has a lot of beautiful places to offer like Cologne as you have said, Düsseldorf, the Rhine river, Münich, Heidelberg and many others. There are lots of castles as well. Thanks for writing about Germany. Have a good night.