Germany is currently one of the 10 most-popular countries on Earth in terms of visitation. According to some statistics, the Germans entertain in excess of 30,000,000 official visitors annually. And such a persistently-high number of tourists would imply that there’s enough diversity in Deutschland to suit all tastes. In this article, we will look at some of the top reasons outsiders choose to see this part of the world.
A Rich Nation
We all fantasize about spending quality time in the tropics. But in reality, the nations that entertain the most travelers also tend to be the richer ones, and Germany is considered a top 10 country in terms of overall wealth.
One of the ways the country’s high economic standing is evident is in its citizens earning, on average, a little over $50,000 per year, which also puts the country within the top 20 in that regard. By contrast, the global per capita income is said to be less than $1,000.
What this means in more practical terms as far as us travelers are concerned is that for instance Deutschland boasts a top-notch infrastructure. Indeed, according to some rankings, it has the best infrastructure on the entire globe. So while traversing the country and traveling throughout cities such as Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne and of course the capital of Berlin, you are guaranteed a first world travel experience.
Relatedly, even though Germany isn’t the biggest country out there, it is home to a generous number of international airports currently at 36. This is obviously a country that takes international traffic and visitations seriously.
A Rich History
There are a number of exquisite, humongous castles from the days of old that the Germans have preserved and made accessible to visitors. For instance, Schwerin Castle, situated on a small island within a lake, is a site with a history dating back over 1,000 years. It has over 650 rooms in total and is currently being utilized by the government, though again, there is a museum, etc. to be found therein.
Likewise Hohenzollern Castle is situated at a very-scenic location, though in its case on top of a mountain which shares the same name. That particular facility, also having its own museum, is 140 rooms wide/tall and also is about 1,000 years old.
What is generally considered to be the main castle in Germany though, as far as tourism is concerned, is Nueschwanstein. It’s located in a somewhat remote part of Bavaria but still entertains about 6,000 visitors daily over the summer and approximately 1,400,000 annually. This is a more-recent structure, having been built for King Ludwig II, aka “the Fairy Tale King”, who was around during the 19th century. And verily, this structure does look like a castle straight out of a fairytale.
Nueschwanstein is also massive, being envisioned as having over 200 rooms in all. Ludwig died before the building was completed, and it remains so to this day. But that said, the rooms that are finished and publicly accessible are exquisite and the surrounding environment, picturesque.
World War II History
When it comes to contemporary history of Germany, one can’t help but to think of World War II. That was a very-complex conflict in that a number of nations/actors were involved, and as fate would have it Germany was one of WWII’s epicenters. So there are a number of memorials, museums and things of that nature which can be visited in Deutschland, representing different sides of the war.
For instance, the grounds upon which the Nazis used to rally, has been around Nuremberg – including their former Congress Hall, which stands as the largest Nazi historical site still in existence – has been preserved and is of major historical significance and tourism interest.
On the other end of the spectrum there are a number of sites which commemorate their Jewish victims, some of which were originally concentration camps, such as the Dachau Memorial and Museum or the Mittelbau-Dora Memorial. Russia was also heavily involved in Deutschland during WWII, and accordingly Berlin houses an intriguing structure known as the Soviet War Memorial.
As developed as Germany may be, it is also known for possessing large areas that are naturally beautiful. In fact over 30% of the country is forested, which is a pretty high percentage compared to some other First World nations.
Indeed, there are enough scenic natural attractions in Germany that a tourist could plan a trip revolving around them alone, even beyond the captivating beauty that tends to surround the castles noted above.
That particular itinerary would have to consist of at least a couple of lakes, such as the Schrecksee, Eibsee or Müritz National Park. And as a testament to Deutschland’s development again such sites, as remote as they may be, are also very accommodating to visitors.
Another interesting location for nature enthusiasts is the Saxon Switzerland National Park, which is located in Germany and borders another national park, the Bohemian Switzerland, which is officially part of the Czech Republic. Besides sporting the usual type of biodiversity you find in such locations, Saxon Switzerland also has an interesting rock formation known as the Bastei (Bridge), itself being a major tourist attraction. And before reaching there you may pass through the adjacent Rathen, a village known as a “spa town”, which is actually a thing.
The Snow-capped Mountains
Skiing is also a well-recognized recreational activity in Germany for those who enjoy the country’s snow-capped mountains. Accordingly there are a number of world-class ski resorts that visitors can patronize, such as Garmisch-Partenkirchen, an entire ski town found in Bavaria. And/or you may opt to visit other locations where this sport is practiced like Oberstdorf (also in Bavaria) or Feldberg, the latter being found in the Black Forest, which itself is considered by many to be a must-see natural wonder.
Beautiful Coastal Areas
Moreover, whereas Germany is in one of the colder parts of the world, it is a coastal country and as such does have its own beaches/islands, some of which are notable tourist attractions. At the top of the list generally tends to be Binz Beach, situated on the island of Rügen, which itself holds a number of different beaches. Environmentally-minded visitors may also opt to patronize Langeoog Beach, a location that is only legally accessible by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriage.
Meanwhile, Ording Beach is located in St. Peter-Ording, another natural-spa town, set on sort of a peninsula extending out into the North Sea. Also to note, there are more than a few nudist beaches in Germany, where naturism, as it is sometimes called, is actually a trend.
So all things considered, coastal areas are not one of Germany’s biggest draws. But the Germans do have distinct beaches, including some found on inland lakes, such as Berlin’s own Wannsee Beach.
One of the ways in which Germany’s standing as a cultural superpower is manifested is via the high attendance level at a number of the country’s annual festivals.
One of the most popular events, as you may already know given the country’s international reputation, is what is referred to as a Volksfest. Or more simply put, this is when a bunch of people get together and revel in beer and wine.
There are actually a few different Volksfests. For example, there is the Cannstatter Volksfest, which is held from September and into October. This particular event is also affectionately referred to by some as being the Stuttgart Beer Festival, since it is held in the city of Stuttgart, and there’s a lot of booze consumed.
At the same time of year the Oktoberfest, which you’ve undoubtedly heard of even if you’ve never been to Deutschland, is concurrently ongoing in Munich. We would venture to guess that these venues see many of the same attendees. But that said, Oktoberfest is known to entertain over 6,000,000 people annually, with 15% of them being foreigners. And in fact it holds the distinction of being the biggest folk festival on the face of the Earth, so of course there’s a lot more to enjoy than just alcohol.
Family Oriented Festivals
If you’re looking for even more family-friendly festivals, you may decide to take the kids to the Largest Fair on the Rhine in July, the Cranger Kirmes in August or Freimarkt in late October. These events, which are respectively held in the cities of Dusseldorf, Heme and Bremen, themselves are known to respectively attract over 4,000,000 guests annually.
Kiel Week, which holds the distinction of being the largest boat-racing event in Europe, if not in the entire world, doesn’t reach that high of attendance numbers but does come close. So during the summer and into the fall would be the best time to visit Germany, if you intend to patronize one of its extremely-large festivals.
On paper, it may not read as if Germany is that diverse, with about 14% of its 80,000,000 strong population – or approximately 11,000,000 people, based on some of the more modest statistics – coming from outside nations. And whereas most of them tend to also be from neighboring European countries, the fact is that Deutschland is well known for its multiculturalism. Indeed as it currently stands, the only nation that has more foreign-born residents is the United States.
So whereas Germany may have been known to possess harrowing tolerance issues in days past, such is not the case currently. Yes, racism is still intact, but many groups of foreigners still survive and thrive in Deutschland, especially in cities like Frankfurt and Brussels. Also, the government itself strongly encourages diversity, as evident for example by the Karneval der Kulturen, aka the Carnival of Cultures, which is held in Berlin annually (and usually in May).
Also to note, the gay community is welcome in Deutschland. In fact one of the biggest annual gatherings in the country is a LGBT event known as Cologne Pride which, during the summer of 2022, attracted in excess of 1,000,000 attendees.
Germany is situated in a part of the world that gets the full four-season treatment – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Also, many of the popular Western holidays are practiced in this country, with some even originating from this region.
So for instance, Christmastime is taken very seriously – in a festive, colorful and oftentimes white way. So outside of summer and fall (i.e. the festival seasons), this is generally considered to be the best time of year to visit Germany.
And if so, you may decide to visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village and the adjacent German Christmas Museum. The latter is in fact a world-class museum dedicated to Christmas, while the former reputedly boasts more Christmas decorations than anyplace else in the entire world. And whereas it would be most tempting to visit these sites during the holiday season, they are actually open to visitors throughout the year.
There are also parts of Germany, such as Oberammergau in Bavaria, where you can enjoy a sleigh ride over the snow. No, the carriage is not pulled by reindeer but rather horses. Yet and still, it’s not the kind of experience you can commonly enjoy elsewhere.
Beautiful Christmas Markets
Deutschland is also home to a number of major markets that specialize in Yuletide goods, i.e. what are otherwise known as Christmas markets. These can be found in different locations throughout the country. And you may be wondering as to why the Germans take Christmas so seriously. Well, it is understood that this is one of the parts of the world where the holiday originated before being Christianized.
How much the Germans contributed to the legend of Santa Claus is a matter of debate but it is also well-known that Germany is from where the Christmas tree traces its origins. So Germans possess what can be referred to as Christmas pride, and they definitely know how to get lit for the holidays.
Some of the sites and events on this list are such that any standard itinerary for someone visiting Germany may include them. But as you can gather, this is not a country of one-sided or monotonous tourism, and there is plenty to do and see therein. So this post is designed to give you a better idea of what the country has to offer. Of course, it doesn’t contain every tourist attraction in Germany but it does delineate the main reasons why this particular nation is perennially near the top of the list of the most visited countries in the world.