Places need to be attractive enough for tourists to want to visit, but at the same time…
Germany is a well-known, popular holiday destination that has so much choice when it comes to places to visit. The downside of this popularity is that towns and cities can become so overcrowded that it can affect the local residents’ quality of life. This problem is particularly evident in many European hotspots like Barcelona and Venice. The challenge for governments and the tourist industry is to find the right balance between making places attractive enough to appeal to visitors without affecting the happiness and wellbeing of local residents.
As we have become more aware of the damage modern life has had on our environment, many of us have started to think more about how we travel. Responsible and sustainable travelling has become trendy. In other words, the way in which we choose to travel needs to match our lifestyles. It’s no good being ‘green’ at home if we are not responsible when we go on holiday.
Tourism boosts the economy
Some places wouldn’t survive without the revenue from tourism
Modern technology plays a huge part in inspiring people to discover the world. With destinations being shared on online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, the tourist industry is booming. For many countries, the tourist sector creates a vital boost to the economy by creating employment, as well as financing the cost of maintaining historical landmarks and attractions.
Aeroplanes have become taxis
Alternatives urgently needed
As flying becomes cheaper, it is no longer reserved for the rich. However, our desire to use this mode of transport to travel around the world comes at a cost. It has a huge impact on the environment that is a challenge for the western world. Many of us are now questioning the way in which we travel from A to B. Alternatives, like the train, are becoming more popular, and going on holiday by car, as a family, can be a lovely experience too. Breaking up the journey and staying in different countries for a night or two can make the whole trip both interesting and exciting.
Top tourist attractions are busy during the summer holidays
Try out some hidden, not so well-known places
I totally understand why travellers want to see the top tourist attractions when they travel abroad. However, I can highly recommend going against the grain, and visiting somewhere off-the-beaten track or travelling in low season. You’ll be surprised just how many hidden gems there are in Germany, and it certainly won’t make your experiences any less memorable.
Top 10 travel destinations in Germany
The tourists have decided
According to a survey by the German national tourist board (GNTB), the top 10 travel destinations in Germany in 2017 were:
- Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg (the world’s largest model railway and miniature airport)
- Europa-Park entertainment park.
- Neuschwanstein Castle.
- Lake Constance and the Mainau flower island; Reichenau Island (a UNESCO world heritage site).
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber old town.
- Dresden old town, Frauenkirche Church, Semper Opera, Zwinger.
- Heidelberg Castle and old town.
- The Phantasialand Entertainment Park.
- The Hellabrunn animal park in Munich.
- Mosel Valley.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all amazing places that 32,000 travellers from 60 countries have chosen. I’ve been to number 2, 4 and 8 so far, and I’m planning to go to number 1 this year. As I’m passionate about travelling in my home country of Germany, I would certainly like to see many more places.
Most of the top 10 places can be very busy during the summer holidays, so if you’d like to tick them off your ‘must-see’ list, I would suggest going in early spring or autumn. In my opinion, even winter can be a nice time of year to go on holiday – as long as you pack the right clothes. We’ve spent some lovely holidays on various German islands in March, and we’ve always been lucky with the weather.
If you’re looking for a less touristy holiday experience, it’s important to do a bit of research beforehand. This year, holidu, a German holiday website, published a list of European tourist traps in terms of how busy they are and value for money. Here is holidu’s list of extremely busy places, which should be avoided during the summer holidays:
- Markus Square (Venice).
- Uffizien (Florence).
- Place du Tertre (Montmartre, Paris).
- Westminster Abbey (London).
- Cliffs of Moher (County Clare, Ireland).
- Blarney Stone (Blarney, Ireland).
- Prager Burg (Prague).
- Mainau Island (Lake Constance).
Mainau flower island – busy and expensive
Lake Constance has so much more to offer
Mainau Island, also known as the island of flowers, attracts millions of tourists every year. According to holidu, visitors are happy to pay the extortionately priced 21.50€ entrance fee. This is the price for an adult during the summer season, which starts in mid-March. If you’re a gardener you’ll know that March isn’t the best time to visit if you want to see any flowers. A better time to visit would be during the summer months – but do bear in mind that it will be busy.
Personally, I don’t think the British need to travel all the way to Germany to see beautiful gardens as Britain is full of the most amazing parks and gardens. I’d recommend visiting places or discovering things that are more typical of Germany – from its food, beer and wine to its wonderfully diverse landscape.
Lake Constance is stunning. The beautiful villages that are dotted around the lake (Lindau, Constance, Meersburg, Langenargen…), are well worth discovering. In my opinion, people often feel pressured to visit the attractions that are recommended in all the guidebooks and apps. But isn’t it the little back streets or off-the-beaten track places that show us the true beauty of a place?
Top 20 places in Germany
My personal recommendations
It wasn’t easy to find my top 20 places to visit from all the places I’ve been to. Here is my list:
- Lake Constance.
- Juist island.
- Sylt island.
- Lake Tegernsee.
- The Rhine Valley.
- The Moselle Valley.
- The Black Forest.
- Bad Tölz.
- Norderney island.
- Heligoland island.
- Spiekeroog island.
There are so many more hidden gems that I’ve been to over the years. If you’re interested in discovering more about Germany, stay tuned and look out for my weekly blog posts. If you don’t want to miss them, you can sign up for my weekly newsletter, where you’ll get them sent straight to your inbox.
Enjoy your next trip, wherever you’re going. And if you’re going to Germany, it would be wonderful if you’d share your experiences with our community. You can also join our closed ‘I love Germany’ Facebook group as a platform to exchange tips and get inspiration for your next trip to Germany.