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.
Visited Jan 2011: See World’s Largest Pig Museum
#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. While I haven’t made it to the Zugspite itself yet, I have hiked in it’s shadows. See Hell Valley Gorge – The Best €3 I Have Ever Spent, and Partnachklamm: The Winter Jewel of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
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. As of Nov, I haven’t been here yet, but I did make it to Rothenburg ob der Tauber a medieval city that was touristy, but impressive. I finally made it and enjoyed spending the day exploring. Post coming soon.
#4: Ludwigsburg Palace Tour
I’ve been to Ludwigsburg Palace, only a 20km drive from Stuttgart, but only to the outside and the grounds on several occasions for the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival that is held there every year. 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. Done in May, I liked it so much: Schloss Ludwigsburg: My Favorite Castle Tour in Germany.
#5: Dachau Concentration Camp
Not the happiest place in Germany 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. Done in Nov, but no post as of yet.
#6: Mercedes Museum
Another museum located right in Stuttgart. It’s 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. I did this and wrote about my visit Mercedes Benz Museum, but frankly I was much more excited by the nearby and more humble World’s Largest Pig Museum and the Bread Museum located an hour away in Ulm.
#7: Frontiers of the Roman Empire
I’ll admit that I came across this site 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. I visited both the Roman Limes and the Roman Limes Museum.
#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. Done, but no post as of yet. In the meantime, check out these other interesting destinations in the Black Forest: Barefoot Park: Germany’s Quirkiest Attraction?, My Favorite Castle Ruins in Germany, Tips for Hiking in the Black Forest, and Hiking in the Black Forest.
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 architecture. I love visiting 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. Also done, no real post done yet, but the Dreikönigenhaus is located in Trier, and Trier is included in My 3 Favorite European Christmas Markets.
#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. Done, but no post will follow. I felt I should have appreciated it more than I did, but history buffs may enjoy it.
#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), and to Linderhof Palace I have yet to go deep into the Allgäu. And this is where lies some of the best hiking in Germany. This too just barely slips under the 3 hour drive mark. Still not done – this year!
#12 Place to Visit in Germany – ???
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. This would easily be Maulbronn – My Favorite City in Germany followed by Scwaebisch Hall – My 2nd Favorite City 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?