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)
World's largest pig museum in Stuttgart, Germany

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.

#3:  Regensburg

Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a former European medieval trading centre 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.  I’ve visited and enjoyed it but haven’t written about it yet and that was two years ago.  Probably need to go again to refresh my memory.

#4:  Ludwigsburg Palace Tour

Schloss Ludwigsburg has a fantastic castle tour - one of the best in all of Germany!

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

The modern shaped Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

The Mercedes-Benz Musuem is one of the most popular attractions in Stuttgart.

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

#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 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?

Comments

  1. Steffy says

    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

  2. Expat in Germany says

    @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.

  3. Andrew says

    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.

  4. Jozef Maxted says

    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.

  5. Norbert says

    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! :)

  6. Jeremy B says

    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!

  7. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says

    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!

  8. inka says

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

  9. Cam @ Traveling Canucks says

    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!

  10. Expedia Coupon Codes says

    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.

  11. Expat in Germany says

    @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!

  12. Renee says

    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!

  13. AsianGirl says

    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! =)

  14. Expat in Germany says

    @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 :)

  15. ricky says

    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

  16. Expat in Germany says

    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!

  17. Julia says

    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.

  18. Laurel@ExpatGermany says

    @Julia – I haven’t made it to Berlin, but it’s near the top of my list. Stuttgart isn’t that well known to tourists, but it is still amazing at how much there is to do here. Sorry to hear that you only have a few hiking areas, I can see how not having a map would be a bit of a problem :)

  19. Laurel@ExpatGermany says

    nnonamoose (http://annonamoose.wordpress.com/) has left a new comment on your post “12 Places to Visit in Germany”:

    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.

  20. Laurel@ExpatGermany says

    @nnonamoose – No one knows about the pig museum, even J.P. who has lived here for 12 years and is German had never heard about it. Go figure. We’ve made it to the pig museum so watch for an upcoming post on it.

    I hadn’t heard about the Fairy Tale Garden in Ludwigsburg. Will definitely have to check it out, thanks for the tip!

  21. Painting Holidays says

    I spent 6 months in Regensburg and it is the most wonderful place – so much to do and see and the food was really good too. I would definately recommend it.

  22. Eastgale says

    @Laurel
    “Stuttgart isn’t that well known to tourists, but it is still amazing at how much there is to do here. ”

    I think Germany on the whole isn’t that hot a spot for tourists. At least on my side of the globe, you hear people want to go to France, Italy, Spain, etc etc constantly, but you hardly ever hear people list Germany as their dream tourist destination.

    I know I didn’t list Germany as my top spot to visit before I actually went there. Now I constantly think that Germany does deserve a much more prominent reputation for her beauty. It is a pretty incredible place, and I have only manage to get a glimpse of it. I wish I can go back and explore further!

    • Laurel@ExpatGermany says

      I agree, I hadn’t even heard of Stuttgart until I met my German fiance and I agree that Germany isn’t on the whole a hot spot for tourists. I had certainly planed to go to France, Italy and Spain before Germany, but I’m amazed at what a beautiful country it is and how much there is to do here. Hope you’re able to come back and check it out some more soon!

  23. Nicolai says

    Königsee in Berchtesgadener Land is stunning! Take the early morning boat across the lake, hike up some of the surrounding peaks, visit Berchtesgaden, the Eagles Nest. I went in the autumn which was spectacular with the colours. Chilly mornings with fog coming down the mountains, but warm days. Very romantic. Stayed in a small family run hotel which was excellent.

    Bamberg is worth a visit and a few days. It’s an old medieval town on the UNESCO list.

    Partnaklamm in Garmisch is well worth if you’re fond of hiking. It’s a long gorge that cuts into the mountainside with caves and tunnels, gushing water and waterfalls. Some awesome hikes up the mountains with fantastic view of the alps. Lots of farms that sell home grown produce and places where you can have some solid german cooking.

    Oberammergau is also a charming little town. Typical German alpine houses with the paintings (Luftmalerei) on the walls. On some of them you can see an entire story from the brother Grimms being depicted. Rent a bike and cycle through some great landscape to Ettal Kloster (Abbey) and to the Linderhof Palace.

    Bodensee is also a great place. Lots of small quaint, old towns along the lake, wine making and a touch of Italy. Lindau and Meersburg on the German side of the lake (Bavaria) are fantastic for exploring.

  24. Kevin says

    The Celts did not migrate from Scotland or Ireland, they originated in the eastern steps of Hungary and populated most of mainland Europe in what was then called the Gauls from just before 700BC. The Celts were fist mentioned by the Greeks who were trading with them for salt.

  25. Julo, Travel via Germany says

    I would add Bayreuth at the 12th place, which is my favourite German city. It is very nice especially during Christmas!

  26. says

    Thanks for this page! I’ve been living in Mannheim, and feel like we’ve done all of the ‘main’ places in Germany… so I am in search of not-as-popular locations to round out our last year here, and a few of these we haven’t done, and look fantastic! So thank you!
    I would also recommend Baden-Baden (my all-time favorite in Germany so far) and I have done both the spas and the bath house, and highly suggest giving them a try. The casino too, if you want to feel like hanging out with James Bond types for an evening. Freiburg is also in my top 5. I don’t know how far the Deutsch Weinstrasse is exactly from Stuttgart, but one of the best weekends I’ve had in this country was a bike-ride there last fall right when the leaves changed. It was gorgeous… Miltenberg is quaint and had a fantastic (local, non-touristy) little Christmas market, and Ladenberg is right down our street and another of the 2000-year-old Germany towns. It’s a bit sleepy, but worth a visit (and go to Die Kartoffel for an amazingly cozy dinner.) Anyway, those would be my additions to your list, and I am super excited to try some of yours!! Thanks again!

    • says

      Thank you so much for all your suggestions. I love Baden-Baden as well, especially the castle ruin there. I never made it to Freiburg when I lived in Stuttgart and am kicking myself now. Biking the Weinstrasse sounds amazing. I haven’t been to Miltenberg or Ladenberg either and love old towns. Thanks for sharing.

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