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Expat in Germany: 12 Places to Visit in Germany

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

12 Places to Visit in Germany

My New Year's Travel Resolution this year is to travel more closer to home.  All too often we overlook interesting places just because they are close and they don't feel like "real" travel.  As part of this resolution, I've come up with 12 places to visit in Germany (one for each month) that are a 3 hour drive or less from where I live in Stuttgart, Germany.

Places to Visit in Germany #1: Schweine Museum in Stuttgart (Pig Museum)
The world's largest pig museum is right in my own city of Stuttgart featuring over 40,000 pig exhibits from all over the world.  I'll admit, I'm intrigued but may have to go alone as my German friends seem less than enthusiastic about spending an afternoon learning about the history of pigs. 


Places to Visit in Germany #2:  Zugspite Region
The Zugspite Region is home to Germany's highest peak - The Zugspite (2963m), crystal clear lakes and gorges.  As an avid hiker, I can't wait to explore this area and I have a feeling, this is one place where I will keep coming back to.  It is just under a 3 hour drive from Stuttgart.

Places to Visit in Germany #3:  Regensburg
 Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a former European medieval trading center where Gothic and Romanesque building dating back to to 90 A.D. can still be found.  I'm curious to learn more about medieval times and Regensburg is a great place to do so and is ~ a 2 hour 40 minute drive from Stuttgart. 


Places to Visit in Germany #4:  Ludwigsburg Palace Tour
 I've been to Ludwigsburg Palace, only a 20km drive from Stuttgart, but only to the outside and the grounds.  The palace is impressive and is considered one of the most impressive baroque palaces in all of Europe, but the real draw surprisingly is the tour itself.  I've heard from quite a few German and expat friends alike that the tour is the best castle tour they've EVER been on in Germany.  Instead of just touring a few rooms, this extensive 3 hour tour takes you into secret places - including servant quarters and secret stairwells used by the king's mistresses, giving visitors an inside glimpse into what life in a castle was really like.

Places to Visit in Germany #5:  Dachau Concentration Camp
Not the happiest place on earth to visit, but as I'm living in Germany, I feel it is important to visit a concentration camp and learn more about German history, however tragic it may be.  Dachau was the first Nazi Concentration Camp and is located near Munich, ~ a 2 hour drive from Stuttgart.

Places to Visit in Germany #6:  Mercedes Museum
Another museum located right in Stuttgart, and also one of the most popular museums in Stuttgart, although the Porsche Museum gives it some healthy competition.  The museum has over 1500 exhibits and shows the history of Mercedes.  I'm not really into cars, but have been told that it is still interesting even if I'm not that interested in cars.  Mostly, I'm curious to see what makes this one of Stuttgart's most visited sights, but this is admittedly the place I'm least excited to visit on my list. 

Place to Visit in Germany  #7:  Frontiers of the Roman Empire
 I'll admit that I came across this sight via a road sign pointing out the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The "Roman Limes" marks the border of the Roman Empire when it was at its largest in 2nd century A.D.  Today, all that is left are walls, fortresses, towers and settlements, but I am curious to see such a historical border that is ~ a 90 minute drive from Stuttgart.


Places to Visit in Germany #8:  Feldburg Mountain, Black Forest
Feldburg Mountain is known as the highest peak in the Black Forest, even though it really is a big hill and not a peak.  I have hiked quite a bit in the middle and northern part of the Black Forest which is 200km long, but never in the south.  Feldburg Mountain would make a great day hike and the view is supposed to be one of the best in the Black Forest.  At just under a 2 hour drive from Stuttgart you could easily make it a day trip, but with so much to see in the region, I plan to make it a weekend trip.

Places to Visit in Germany #9:  Trier
 Trier is the oldest city in Germany dating back to 16 B.C.  2000 years later there is still evidence of the Romans, most notably in the archecture.  I love visitng places where you feel transported back in time and this one just barely slips under the 3 hour drive mark with 4 minutes to spare, according to my GPS.

Places to Visit in Germany #10:  The Kelten Museum (The Celtic Museum)
Located just outside of Stuttgart is an ancient Celtic settlement and the Celtic Museum who migrated to Germany from Ireland and Scotland.  To be honest I don't much about the rest of the story, which is precisely why this museum is on my list, especially since it is less than 16km from Stuttgart.

Places to Visit in Germany #11 - The Allgäu
 I've noticed that when I've asked my German friends where the most beautiful place is in Germany they most popular answer is "the Allgäu" a pristine mountainous region in the south of Germany.  While I have been to the eastern Allgäu where the famous Neuschwanstein Castle is(the famous white one which Disney based their castle on), I have yet to go deep into the Allgäu, where lies some of the best hiking in Germany.  This too just barely slips under the 3 hour drive mark.

Places to Visit in Germany #12 - ???
I will visit another place within a 3 hour drive from Stuttgart in the next year, but one of the great things about traveling is that you keep discovering new destinations, so I plan to keep this one open to whatever new and exciting place I discover in Germany.

So there you have it, my 12 New Year's Travel Resolutions, all within a 3 hour drive or less from Stuttgart, which was my travel resolution - to travel closer to home.  I have a feeling that unlike many New Year's Resolutions, this will be a fun one to keep!

Have you been to any of these 12 places to visit in Germany?  Where are your close to home travel destinations that you plan to visit this year?

For more Travel New Years Resolutions check out this post by Adventures with ben:  8 New Year's Resolutions for Aspiring Travelers

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons:
Places to Visit in Germany:  Black Forest
Places to Visit in Germany:  Zugspite,
Places to Visit in Germany:  Trier
Places to Visit in Germany:  Regensburg
Places to Visit in Germany:  Ludwigsburg Palace
Places to Visit in Germany:  Allgäu
Places to Visit in Germany:  Roman Limes

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20 Comments:

At January 5, 2011 at 9:36 AM , Anonymous Steffy said...

Great post! I've lived in Mannheim..not far away from Stuttgart. Have you visited that area? Mannheim is ok, but Heidelberg is amazing..a post card town. There are loads of nice little sleepy towns along the river Rhein where you can find many beautiful old houses. It's def worth a check!
And The Allgäu is so beautiful! My dad wanted us to leave him there, when we were driving to Neuschwanstein.

Loved the post:)
Steffy

 
At January 5, 2011 at 10:34 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

@Steffy - thanks so much. I've driven past Mahheim, but confess I have yet to stop. Cool that you've lived there though. I agree that Heidelberg is amazing. I've been there 3 times already. LOL regarding your dad. and The Allgäu. I can't wait to explore more of this area.

 
At January 5, 2011 at 10:42 AM , Anonymous Andrew said...

I would recommend Baden-Baden when it gets warmer. There are health spas and such there in the middle of a pretty little forest village. I didn't do the spas, but there is a a roman ruin of a bath so the bathing in the area is a VERY old tradition.

Freiburg is within 3 of Stuttgart too. :) Come down out from Feldburg for a look.

Definitely do a post on the Pig Museum. Sounds awesome.

 
At January 5, 2011 at 10:48 AM , Anonymous Jozef Maxted said...

Definitely makes me want to visit Germany more. I have travelled through Germany but didn't really get any time to look around that much. Next time i'll hopefully be able to stay longer.

 
At January 5, 2011 at 11:53 AM , Anonymous Norbert said...

Of the 12 places, my top 3 are:
Mercedes Museum: Only because the building was designed by one of my favorite architecture firms, UNstudio.
Dachau Concentration Camp: I'm really interested in WWII history and I have visited a couple concentration camps. Would be interesting to visit the first one.
Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Again... Love history!!

Looking forward to read about your visits to these places! :)

 
At January 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM , Anonymous Jeremy B said...

Great places to visit! I've been to 1 of these = #5 Dachau. Great, humbling experience. SO much to see and do in Germany! Love the outdoors as well so completely agree with you on your choices!

 
At January 5, 2011 at 4:04 PM , Anonymous Christy @ Ordinary Traveler said...

Great list. I especially love the Allgäu. I often feel very lucky because I'm always excited to travel to places near me. There are so many great places if you are willing to look for them!

 
At January 5, 2011 at 10:14 PM , Anonymous inka said...

Next time I'm in Germany I must visit the Schweinemuseum. Only in Germany!! Great selection Laurel. Hope you get to see them all.

 
At January 5, 2011 at 10:40 PM , Anonymous Cam @ Traveling Canucks said...

Loved Trier! Such a cool city. Hard to believe its in Germany. My family's village is about an hour from Trier, along the Mosel River in wine country. Favourite part of Europe!

 
At January 6, 2011 at 1:06 AM , Anonymous Expedia Coupon Codes said...

Thanks for sharing informative read. All are great places to visit and I am very lucky because I always excited to travel to places near to me. There are so many great places if you are willing to look for them. All the places which you share in your lists are amazing and I am completely agree with you on your choices.

 
At January 6, 2011 at 1:23 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

@Andrew - Thanks for the Baden-Baden recommendation, it sounds great. Yes, Freiburg is also on my list, just not my official list:)

@Jozef - there's so much to see. I've been here over 6 months and the list of places I still want to go could easily be hundreds of items long.

@Norbert - Very cool that you know about the architecture firm of the Mercedes Museum! I haven't been to any concentration camps yet and am apprehensive, but still feel I need to go. I agree that the Frontiers of the Roman Empire should be very interesting. I'll post about each place as I get there :)

@Jeremy - thanks for sharing your experience about Dachau. I think a lot of people are surprised that Germany has a lot to offer in terms of the outdoors so I definitely had to include a few of these on my list.

@Christy - I'm really looking forward to spending more time in the Allgäu. Great that you have so many great places to visit near where you live - and there is no jet lag!

@Inka - I agree, only in Germany. There's also a Hammer Museum in Frankfurt, that sounds so bizarre that I may just have to check it out. I'll let you know how the Schweinemuseum is.

@Cam - Thanks for sharing your experience with Trier. Very cool that your family's village is so close!

 
At January 6, 2011 at 5:18 AM , Anonymous Renee said...

Wow...you are really opening my eyes about Germany. I've only flown through Germany and have yet to really visit. Great pics and great picks. Keep up the good work!

 
At January 6, 2011 at 8:04 AM , Anonymous AsianGirl said...

If you are open to suggestions for your number 12 spot, I highly recommend Chiemsee, although I am not very sure if it can be reach within 2 hours of Stuttgart, it is rather near the southern border. BUT! It is really a beautiful place that I can't help recommending to anyone that would listen!

It is a beautiful lake with fairy tale like scenery - in my eyes at least. And I love that place to pieces.

Find a nice spring day to visit Chiemsee and I think you wouldn't regret it, at least I didn't! =)

 
At January 7, 2011 at 10:13 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

@Renee - Thanks so much Renee! It's been a wonderful surprise to me as well to discover Germany!

@AsianGirl - Thanks so much for the suggestion. I'll have to check this out. It wasn't on my list but I plan to go to so many places that aren't on my list :)

 
At January 7, 2011 at 10:44 PM , Anonymous ricky said...

great list! too bad I've only been in Trier. Anyway, I live in Saarbruecken, the capital city of Saarland. I think you should visit Saarland too especially in summer. It's not very far from Stuttgart, it's nearer than Trier. A popular activity here is crossing the border between Germany & France by bike. That's so interesting. Lol

 
At January 10, 2011 at 5:02 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Thanks Ricky! Thanks for the suggestion, it wasn't on my list, but I love hearing about new places. Love the idea of crossing the border by bike. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

 
At January 12, 2011 at 3:20 AM , Blogger Julia said...

We've only been to a couple of places in Germany - Berlin and Bremen and loved them both. It looks as though you've got more than enough to be getting on with right on your doorstep, without having to travel too far! :)
Teeny bit jealous of your hiking areas. We've got loads round here but maps are not allowed (military property) so we only know a few trails.

 
At January 12, 2011 at 10:19 AM , OpenID annonamoose said...

What a great list. I used to live in Stuttgart, but I missed the pig museum!! (I live only about an hour away now, so it's still doable.) Have you been to the fairy tale garden in Ludwigsburg? Brush up on your Grimm's fairy tales and wait for the warmer weather.

 
At September 26, 2011 at 11:47 PM , Anonymous CFP Certification Wisconsin said...

I have visited Zugspite Region during my last Germany visit. I have visited Germany 2 times. It is honestly a beautiful country. There are also some really very beautiful sites to go. I like most Zugspite Region. I want to go there again and again.

 
At November 13, 2011 at 10:14 AM , Blogger bob dylan said...

Hello,
Great job on the blog. I enjoy your posts.

One hint: It would be really nice for you to post the google map link to the photo/city/trail you are writing about.

Keep up the great work. We just moved to Stuttgart this month and I will continue to check in.

Regards.

 

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