Vacationing in Germany is a combination of culture, history and beauty. With an abundance of mountains and forests and many small towns and historic cities, tourists are spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a unique place to check out. Those who want to experience the arts and sightsee can check out the metropolitan areas, such as Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich, while the Black Forest, Rhine Valley or Bavarian Alps are great for those interested in recreational activities. Everyone can find something to do in Germany that suits their interests and enables them to have a good time.
If you want to make the most of your trip, here are some of the best activities that you should do in Germany:
- Climb the Reichstag dome
Ever since Hitler was able to impose emergency law because of the February 1933 fire and consolidate his one-party state, the Berlin landmark has been a major site for German identity and politics. Buttressed by the Berlin Wall, unused under the rule of East Germany and bombed in the war, it wasn’t until 1999 that it became the German parliament’s modern home. You can visit the glass dome and check out some great views of the capital, along with a timeline of the turbulent history of the building.
- Explore the Hamburger Kunsthalle
Located in Hamburg, one of Germany’s most important museums is the Hamburger Kunsthalle that spans about 700 years of art history in Europe. You can get a chance to get a first-hand look at Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Casper David Friedrich, which is the paradigm of German Romanticism. There are also major works by Rembrandt, Canaletto, Tiepolo, van Dyck and Holbein. Don’t forget to check the exciting exhibition program at Kunsthalle, which includes some women artists for offsetting the Old Masters.
- See the Holocaust Memorial
Defying the conventions of standard memorials is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is just south of the Brandenburg Gate. It features no focal point, name or date and comprises 2,711 concrete slabs of different heights in the form of rows and boasting narrow paths in between. The site is accessible day and night throughout the year, free of cost, but you should go just after dark or first thing in the morning if you are after a bit of solitude.
- Take a look at Elphi
Hamburg’s skyline’s new pride and joy is ‘ElPhi’, or the Elbphilharmonie, and it is also one of the world’s most acoustically advanced auditoria. The spectacular building is situated on the Elbe River and is a combination of a soaring glass structure and a red-brick harbor warehouse. You can see the reflections of the surrounding water and the sky. Even if you decide not to get concert tickets, the building itself is definitely worth seeing from the outside, or from the viewing platform of the public Plaza that offers a 360-degree view of the harbor and the city.
- Swimming in the Konigsee
One of the greatest pleasures of Germany is freshwater paddling and there are thousands of spectacular lakes to choose from. The pine forests near Berlin offer mellow waters, or you can check out the sparkling Alpine pools. If you have to select just one, you can opt for the Konigssee, with startling mountain faces flanking this pristine beauty.
- Go by Karl Marx’s house
More than 200 years ago, Karl Marx was born in southwest Germany in a picturesque house in Trier. However, his intellectual legacy remains as inflammatory and influential as ever. Whether you condemn the man for enabling tyrannical communist regimes or hail him as a prophet of globalized capitalism, you will come across some interesting material in his birthplace-turned-museum on his ideas and their exposure. There is also a gift shop to be found, which has marked-up souvenirs, including Marx champagne.
- Go biking through the Black Forest National Park
The Black Forest National Park is spread across 100 square kilometers and tucked between the market town of Freudenstadt and the spa center of Baden-Baden. This park is the perfect example of the Schwarzwald region at its evocative best. Its high mountains, deep valleys and almost-pristine coniferous forest boast a fairytale touch. You can get bike, maps and hike routes from the National Park Center in Ruhestein.
- Check out Liquidrom’s saunas
Germans are fond of sweating it out. The length and breadth of the country boast thermal baths, historic spa towns and elaborate sauna complexes that are revered for their relaxation benefits and health. There is also the Hamam that offers female or male-only hours, which you can opt for if you don’t want an all-gender naked experience. With its four (nude) saunas, striking architecture and a saltwater pool that has underwater electro music, Liquidrom is a modish choice.
- Enjoy the seaside in Rugen
Most people don’t consider Germany a beach destination, but with its national parks, white-sand shores and beautiful copses of elm, oak and chestnut, the Baltic coast has plenty of Riviera charm. Rugen is the largest island in Germany and was beloved by Caspar David Friedrich, Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann and it is considered the jewel in the Ostee crown. There are sandy beaches stretching for 60 kilometers, along with extensive bike trails, great sailing and white chalk cliffs.
- Look at the Statis headquarters
The Stasi Museum is located in the eastern Lichtenberg district of Berlin and it is in the same grey concrete complex where the Stasi Headquarters were once located. There is a permanent exhibition highlighting the people who worked for the Stasi and the oppressive and insidious methods they had employed. However, the museum’s chilling centerpiece can be found upstairs in the preserved offices of the Minister for State Security, Erich Mielke. He took the post in 1957 and was the most notorious and despised officials in the history of East Germany.
Whether you are a history buff, architecture enthusiast, urban lover, or a nature fan, there is something for everyone in Germany.