As any citizen of the world will likely already be aware, Berlin is a metropolis full of amazing history and culture, as well as a diverse entertainment and restaurant scene. However, Berlin is not the only city in Germany, as fascinating as it might be. You should cast your net farther and visit some other, equally interesting parts of Germany. Regardless of whether you want to go solo or with a partner, here are some places which may well grab your interest if you want to see something a little less crowded than the likes of Berlin or Munich.
Sometimes called the ‘Little Brother’ of Berlin, Leipzig is close to the German capital, but also has that grungy-but-cool feel that Berlin is well-known for. However, it is also closely linked to classical music, with composers like Bach, Mendelssohn and Wagner all spending significant time here at one point in their lives. The city appears very modern, but there are also fantastic historical sites like the St. Nicholas Church, Grassi Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts. The Leipzig Zoo and the massive market square in the middle of town are also definitely worth a look if you’re up for something relaxing.
Like many German cities during World War II, Duisburg was heavily bombed and needed to be rebuilt almost from scratch afterwards. Nevertheless, the city is thriving again and there are many interesting places to check out. The oddly-named Tiger and Turtle is an interactive art installation with twisty stairways and impressive views of the city, and the Landschaftspark is one of the most fascinating city parks in the world, having once been a steelworks factory. To finish it off, the Kamp Abbey (dating back to 1123) and the DKM Museum of Art are must-sees in Duisburg. Owing to its closeness to some nightlife, such as the casino and theatre, the 4-star Wyndham Hotel is becoming perhaps the favoured place to stay for many who visit Duisburg.
Unlike Dresden or Duisburg, Heidelberg was barely touched in World War II, so many real historical sites still remain to this day. Particularly known as a university town, much like Oxford in the UK, Heidelberg has a lot to offer for anyone wanting to experience a more traditional side of Germany, full of beer steins, sausages, and cuckoo clocks. In terms of things to see, there’s the Old Bridge (more or less what you would expect!), the Heidelberg Castle, and the Church of the Holy Spirit. A picturesque and lively city, Heidelberg is beautiful in the day or night, all year round.
For anyone wanting a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of a modern city, then Rugen Island is most certainly your antidote. Set in the Baltic Sea, here you’ll find arguably the best beaches in Germany, along with stunning chalk cliffs at Jasmund National Park, quaint little villas, and idealistic seaside resorts. Many tourists also love to visit Rugen Island because of the historical factor, as you’ll discover an ancient lighthouse, castle, and a fishing area that appears as if you’ve gone back in time.
The last on this list could well be regarded as a bit touristy, but it’s still an incredible place and divergent from any major city. Here, the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle is what everyone really comes to see. Once a palace for King Ludwig II, this castle sees around 1.4 million visitors every year, all flocking to witness the beautifully-carved walls and gorgeous spires. Said to be an inspiration to Walt Disney when he created the castle in Sleeping Beauty, Neuschwanstein is as grand as you’d imagine and is undoubtedly worth the effort to get there.