Some of the most popular German cities are detailed below.
Berlin is the German capital and one of the most populated cities in Europe (coming second only to London). Berlin nestles in the north-east of Germany and is wildly diverse, bursting with both history and vitality. The remains of the Berlin Wall still attract visitors, but so do the 200 art galleries, 150 theatres and 3 premier opera’s.
The Berlin Wall separated East Germany from West Germany and stood as a symbol of the Cold War until it was pulled down in 1989.
Berlin has a population of 3.5 million people.
Although by no means the oldest capital city in Europe, Berlin still boasts some impressive sights of historical interest, including the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg gate, and the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial Church.
60% of Berlin is made up of parkland and water, making it one of Europe’s greenest cities.
Berlin is renowned for its fantastic shopping with some of the best shops in the city to be found on the Kurfurstendamm.
The Charlottenburg Palace is Berlin’s only surviving royal residence and it dates back to the 17th century. It was badly damaged during the Second World War but has since been painstakingly reconstructed. The palace features beautiful examples of baroque and recoco design as well as an extensive formal garden complete with its own theatre.
Although there had been plans in place for a Holocaust memorial since 1988 it took 11 years for the plans to be approved. The design was created by an American architect and has proven to be quite controversial since its construction. The memorial is strikingly made up of over 2,700 individually sized grey stone slabs. None of the slabs feature names, dates or any other kind of markings and they are arranged to form a disorienting wave-like pattern. The unusual monument can be visited night and day and is known officially as ‘The Monument to the Murdered Jews’ in Europe.
Berlin Zoo opened in 1844 and has become a world famous attraction. King Friedrich Wilhelm IV gifted the city with the money to build the zoo and even donated animals from his own menagerie to help fill it. Nowadays Berlin Zoo boasts 1,400 different species in the form of 15,000 animals! The panda’s are by far the most famous and popular animals in Berlin Zoo and they attract a fair amount of media attention. Rather than keep its residents in cages the Zoo allows its animals to roam in replications of their natural habitats.
Pergamon Museum was built back in 1930 and is a dominant presence on Berlins Museum Island. The Pergamon is divided into three sections: the Near East Museum, the popular Greek and Roman Antiquity Collection and the Islamic Art Museum. Although the museum was partly destroyed during the Second World War the majority of exhibitions survived after being re-housed or ‘walled in’ for safekeeping.
Frankfurt might not be the official capital of Germany but it’s certainly the financial capital of the nation. Frankfurt sits on the Main River in the Southwest of the country and is dominated by skyscrapers. The city which lent its name to a sausage is also home to Europe’s second busiest airport and some of the world’s largest trade fairs.
One of Germany’s largest Christmas markets is held on Frankfurt’s main shopping street, the Zeil.
The main church in Frankfurt is Bartholomew’s Cathedral whish was built in the Gothic style in the 14th and 15th centuries.
One of the city’s biggest festivals is the Museums Riverbank Festival. As one of the country’s biggest cultural activities it attracts an average of 3 million visitors.
The Frankfurt skyline is dominated by the Commerzbank Tower, one of the EU’s two largest skyscrapers.
The frankfurter sausage (known as a hot-dog sausage in the US) is one of the world’s most widely eaten sausages. They are made out of highly seasoned beef and pork and are named for the city they originated in.
The Zeilgalerie shopping centre is located in Frankfurt’s main shopping district and is as famous for its interesting architecture as its 10 floors of stores and restaurants. It was first opened in 1992 and features a rooftop terrace from which visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Frankfurt.
One of the most historically important buildings in Frankfurt is the city’s town hall Zum Römer. There’s been a town hall on the site since the 1400’s but over the years the building has been repeatedly and significantly expanded. In the 19th century it was extended across the street and a covered bridge was created to connect the two halves. The striking red-stone bridge was called the Bridge of Sighs after its famed Venetian counterpart.
Frankfurt’s impressive Cathedral is the Kaiserdom. From its creation in the 13th century until the end of the 18th century German kings and Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned within its walls. The Kaiserdom was destroyed twice, once by fire in the late 1800’s and again in the Second World War. It now stands as it was rebuilt in 1950-53.
The city is by no means all skyscrapers and finance, Frankfurt is also home to the large and beautiful Palmengarten Park. It was originally developed for scientific purposes as well as for recreation, and particularly the study of exotic plants. Palmengarten Park is full of green/glass houses, including the 5,000 sq metre Tropicarium.
Munich is a beautiful Bavarian city, and one of the few German cities to escape the Second World War unscathed. Rococo and Baroque architecture abounds – but it isn’t the buildings which draw the biggest crowds. Oktoberfest is held in Munich every year and the beer-based festival is overwhelmingly popular, as are Munich’s many beer gardens.
Munich is located in southern Germany, a mere 50 kilometres north of the Alps, which makes it a prime skiing destination.
The city was founded by Henry the Lion (Duke of Saxony and Bavaria) in 1158.
Munich is thought by many to be the beer capital of the world.
World-famous car company BMW is based in Munich.
Munich is also generally considered to be Germany’s most expensive city.
This might not be an attraction which appeals to everyone but the four-cylinder BMW tower and bowl shaped museum is a must-visit for any car fans. The evolution of cars and motorbikes are on display, as is the history of the influential car company.
The main square in Munich is the Marienplatz and tourists are always drawn to the bustling heart of the city. The Glockenspiel clock is also an impressive sight to be seen. At 11am 12pm and 5pm thirty-two life size figurines perform the 16th century cooper’s dance around it.
In 1972 Munich hosted the 20th Olympic Games and the Olympic Park built for the occasion is not only still standing but is now a major tourist attraction. The swimming pool, ice-rink and football pitch are all in frequent use, and adventurous visitors even have the option of participating in a daring Olympic Stadium roof climb.
For over 500 years the Residenz Palace in Munich was the place Bavarian Monarchs called home. It was first built in 1385 but underwent significant expansion in the 1500’s. Over the years more and more rooms were added until it became a real hodgepodge of styles. During the Second World War much of the palace was destroyed but careful restoration has returned it to its former glory.