Important Landmarks and Attractions in or near Bavaria
FC Bayern München- One of the most famous football teams in Europe.
Ehrenberg Castle (Austria)- Regional ruins from medieval castle built in the 1200s.
Burgruine Waldeck (Kemnath)- Castle Ruins and regional museum with medieval legends
Vulkanerkebnis Parkstein- Ancient castle ruins and a volcano adventure
Wiesent River Kayaking- Near Bamberg and Bayreuth, there are several places to set off and Kayak on the Wiesent.
Hodgarten Eremitage- Bayreuth located 18th century palace gardens with beautiful architecture.
Neuschwanstein Castle: Fairytale-style castle and filming site of classic movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Fugging, Austria- This tiny village became a novelty tourist destination for English speakers because of its explicit-yet-hilarious former name. In 2020, local legislation was passed to change the town name’s spelling to Fugging.
Swarovski Crystal Factory (Austria)- Tour the factory of the most famous crystal maker in the world.
Nuremburg- The Old City and Nuremburg Castle are essential tourist spots in the 2nd largest city in Bavaria, but Nuremburg isn’t just a quaint-and-quirky German city. The 20th century marked a dark, complex period for Nuremburg as a center for Third Reich command. The city is full of historical sites preserved from the Nazi regime, such as the Documentation History and Nazi Party Rally Ground, the Nuremburg Trials memorial, and Palace of Justice***. On a lighter note, the city is informally known for its smaller, thin Bratwurst sausages and traditional Lebkuchen variety of gingerbread. While you’re enjoying the cuisine, you can explore the German National Museum, the Imperial Castle, and the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall). In the holiday season, Nuremburg’s Christmas market is a must-see, but year-round, the Hauptmarkt, or main market, is also a popular destination.
Würzburg- Würzburg is the Northernmost city on Germany’s venerable Romantic Road. Home to the second largest winery in Germany, this college town has a renowned art and architecture scene that is just as beautiful at night as in daylight. Würzburg nightlife is anything but boring. Enjoy extravagance: visit the Residenz, one of the most ornate palaces in Germany, plus numerous baroque era castles, cathedrals, gardens, and plazas.
München (Munich)- Carve out as much time as you can for Munich because there is too much to see in one go! Between the largest state-owned beer hall in the country (Hofbräuhaus München), one of the most impressive inner-city parks in the world (English Garden), and a museum specifically for BMW, there is a lot of ground to cover. As the capital of Bavaria, Munich has a host of museums. The Baverisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian National Museum), Deutsches Museum (German Museum, and Deutschesmuseum Flugwerft Schleissheim (Aviation Museum) are just three of many renowned for history. Munich hosted the Olympics in 1972, which is chronicled in its enormous Olympiapark. As for palaces, Residenz (the Royal palace), Nymphenburg Palace, and Neues Schloss Schleissheim are the nearby staples. For a short excursion, visit Grünwald to see the Bavaria Filmstadt for a tour of film studios that produced iconic special effects in major films that were ahead of their time. In the city famous for its beer gardens and Oktoberfest, anyone can find something of their taste, especially if you visit the famed Victuals Market. Also on our list of must-see architecture and monuments are: Marienplatz Square, the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), Peterskirche (Church of St. Peter), Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), Lethel (neighborhood), the Siegestor (Victory Arch) and the Bavaria Statue.
Regensburg- Visit the oldest brewery in Bavaria, or simply enjoy some of the most picturesque medieval architecture and views in Germany. Regensburg was an imperial Roman fortified city and trading center because of its rivers: the Regen, Naab, and Danube. The three rivers connect in central Regensburg and offer many options for daytime or dinner cruises along the waterfront.
Stuttgart: Stuttgart has a conveniently located airport that is a starting point for many European low-budget airlines. From there, most European destinations are just a short flight away for under $100. Stuttgart also has several popular tourist sites, such as the Porsche Museum, the Mercedes-Benz Museum, a 10th Century Old Castle, and a sleek modern public library with unparalleled city views.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: A quaint little fortified town on the Romantic road, where the river Tauber flows delicately between old-style timbered houses and shops. Each Friday and Saturday at 8pm, English speaking guests can meet in front of the beautiful Rathaus (city hall) in Market Square for a historical tour of the city, led by the legendary Night Watchman. For a bit of the gorier history, two most popular options are the Historiengewolbe (The Rothenburg Dungeon) and the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum. A crowd favorite is the scenic walk along the Stadtmauer, or Tower Trail, where tourists can see the city walls and gates that kept Rothenburg safe from invaders. For a break from dark age history, stop by Weingut Glocke, a centuries-old, family-owned winery, with a restaurant and hotel in Old Town.
The capital of Germany is a treasure trove of interesting things to do. It’s a center of commerce and history, but also a magnet for music lovers from Rock to EDM. It’s worth noting that the city of Berlin makes a concerted effort to allow travelers to explore museums and destinations cheaply, which makes Berlin the youthful, artsy city it is.
Our advice? Purchase a Museum Pass and a City Bus Tour. You’ll have easy-to-understand, quick, scenic transportation between major tourist attractions, and access over 30 Berlin museums.
On the topic of museums, as you can expect, Berlin is heaping with fantastic exhibitions. On the first Sunday of every month, many if not most Berlin museums are free, but you must register for museums and time slots online in advance. Research and online reservations are the best way to guarantee entry to your choice of museums. The German History Museum requires advanced planning, as do the German Spy Museum and Museum Island, especially during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural magnate, hosting five historic museums of broad subjects. Those interested in the classics, antiquities, ancient global art, and archeology will not want to miss Museum Island. It also houses the old National Gallery.
For World War II history, visit the Topography of Terror, which is housed in the collection of buildings that belonged to SS Leadership and Reich Security Commanders. The Brandenburg Gate, although it occupied many roles over the course of history, served as a Nazi monument during World War II. Bebelplatz, now a public square with architectural centerpieces planned by German Kaisers, was the site of the Nazi Book Burning in 1933, and is most impactful to visit at night, wherein you can imagine the crackling bonfire of thousands of books written by Nazi enemies. There is no charge to visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, or better known as the Holocaust Memorial, outside of Checkpoint Charlie. The Judisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum) is a fascinating and chilling experience to learn about Jewish history before, during, and after Nazi reign.
The most-trafficked sites in Berlin are arguably Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Walk and Memorial Site, but they are integral to the history and understanding of Berlin as a divided city during the Cold War. To learn about Modern Leadership, visit the Reichstag Building, which houses the German Bundestag, or the national Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Liechtenstein- A quirky sovereign microstate that isn’t quite defined as—or big enough—to be a country. Sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, it is one of the smallest nations in Europe, and one of the wealthiest. Liechtenstein is famous for its skiing and fantastic alpine views. Liechtenstein has several beautiful castles and ruins to visit, including Burg Gutenberg, Schellenberg, and Vaduz in its capital. For such a small area, there are quite a few random-and-interesting museums, like their extensive state art gallery, a Calculator and Typewriter Museum, a Museum of Electricity, the Traditional Farmhouse Museum, a Postal Museum, and many more. Many travelers enjoy the Liechtenstein Trail, where scenic hikes pass through the country’s many attractions.
Innsbruck (Austria)- It’s safe to say that just about anywhere in Innsbruck has an unbelievable view of the Alps above. The name Innsbruck translates as ‘bridge over the Inn River,’ and there are 12 historic bridges between the two sides of town. You’ll have countless palaces and architecture from the era of the Hapsburgs. Innsbruck also gives access to the best ski and snowboarding spots, plus hikes, biking, and paragliding in the mountains.
Salzburg (Austria)- Explore a city echoing with music of classical composers. The birthplace of Mozart and a gathering place of musicians, this city has culture beyond compare! See Salzburg’s unique mix of old Austrian and modern architecture between Old Town, numerous gardens, and palaces. Other interesting attractions include the popular Sound of Music movie tour, and the Red Bull Hanger.
Prague (Czech Republic)- Prague is more than a day trip from Bavaria, but it’s worth it to experience the graceful, old-European feel of the Czech capital. It’s also a glimpse into the part of the world behind the Iron Curtain until 1990. Visitors praise the unmatched lagers, suggest visiting the old Astronomical clock in Old Town Square, and rave about the pub and club scene. Prague is a must-see for history buffs: from the Jewish quarter to the KGB museum, to the Communism Museum. It’s also a not-so-secret flocking ground for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts.
College Towns in Bavaria-
German Universities are world renowned for their rigorous coursework and high rankings. But many Americans are surprised to learn that German universities rarely charge tuition. This brings a wide array of native Germans and international students to study at German schools. University towns often appeal to those interested in culture and history. They also attract many young people with amenities such as eateries, breweries and wineries, concert and sports venues, and clubs.
- Technical University of Bavaria (TUM)
- Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München
- Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
- Universität Regensburg
- University of Bayreuth
- Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
- Universität Augsburg
- Hochschule Augsburg
Bavarian sites that preserve history of the Holocaust:
After World War II, German leaders built a foundation for information and knowledge about Naziism in schools and society. In an effort to never forget the genocide or inhumane acts that happened in Germany and beyond its borders under SS control, Nazi concentration camps and landmarks were preserved as entirely as possible in museum form.
In Bavaria, two Nazi Concentration camps still exist and are open to the public as museums: Dachau and Flossenburg. These museums preserve harrowing accounts of the Holocaust. While they are not meant for everyone, they are an important part of German history and world history.
Dachau, a particularly infamous deadly camp, now educates tourists about horrors committed before and during World War II. First intended for political prisoners and forced labor, Dachau became a system of over fifty smaller camps. While thousands of deaths were undocumented, historians can confirm 32,000 deaths at the main camp at Dachau.
In Northern Bavaria, Flossenburg Concentration Camp was built by the SS to serve as the center for over 100 satellite camps nearby. Flossenberg was a strategic location for quarries and arms production, and many prisoners worked to death in mines and factories. At least 30,000 deaths are believed to have occurred at Flossenburg and its sub-camps.
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