Germany is one of the great jewels of Europe, with a tremendous amount of famous places to see, including the effervescent cultural riches of Berlin, the smooth business mecca of Frankfurt, the castle-overflowing goodness of the Bavarian Munich, and the historic grandeur of Nuremberg, but there are also many less-known places that are worth a look for the travelers that wish to go beyond Germany’s surface.
Passau – This small city is near the Austrian border, and offers plenty of historical landmarks to explore, including the City Town Hall and St. Stephan’s Cathedral. There are also many cobble-stone streets where you can leisurely stroll through and enjoy a town that has been in existence for over a thousand years. Passau is also right by the Danube River, so you can take a boat tour or even kayak.
Weltenburg Monastery – The oldest monastery in Bavaria is, interestingly enough, also the oldest monasterial brewery in the world. Monks in Bavaria really know their beer! The Dunkel beer they brew is known for its rich and dark taste, and what better place to taste a beer than a thousand year old stone building overlooking the Danube River? Of course, once you’ve finished the brilliant beer, you will be enthralled by the church’s design and architecture, especially the intricate frescoes.
Spreewald – For a change of pace, visit this beautiful UNESCO protected biosphere reserve in the Brandenburg region. Only an hour away from Berlin by train, it has a stunning collection of forests, meadows, streams, and traditional houses. To explore everything that Spreewald has to offer, you will likely use a combination of boat and foot to travel. There are boat and bicycle tours available as well.
Darmstadt – Located 30 minutes south of Frankfurt, this city has one of the most curiously named castles in the entire world: Castle Frankenstein. It is rumored that none other than the writer of Frankenstein herself, Mary Shelley, was inspired to write the famous book after seeing the castle on her travels. In addition to historic buildings, Darmstatd also has more modern architecture that is well worth a closer look, especially the twirling Waldspirale house.
Bacharach – A tiny town one hour away from Frankfurt, the city of Bacharach is famous for two things: the towering Castle Stahleck, with superb views of the Rhine, and its vineyards. The name Bacharach comes from the God of Wine, Bacchus, so be sure to take a tasting tour through the vineyards and then hop on a boat tour through the Rhine!
This just goes to show that there’s more to see in Germany than the more tourist trodden trails. After all, the country originally managed its own feudal states before it got integrated into the country that we know of today, meaning: more history, more culture, more places to see, and of course, more travels.