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Top 100 attractions

Germany’s tourist organisation has recently published its latest top 100 tourist attractions, based on the feedback of international visitors.

Once again Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland leads the way. It headlines as a model railway, but it is so much more than that. A triumph of model-making creativity, it combines humour and ingenuity in a series of different national scenes, with day and night lighting to bring it all to life.

That’s followed by Germany’s theme park, Europa Park, which also has snapshots of different European countries in its various villages, and is considerably better value than bigger brand theme parks.

Then comes Neuschwanstein, Bavaria’s soaring castle on a rock, creation of a bonkers king. It certainly makes a great photograph, but its interiors are rather less inspiring. In that respect, Ludwig’s other bonkers castles, particularly Linderhof, are more interesting.

Fourth on the list is Dresden, the German Prague, a much overlooked destination, partly because it is not easily reached, down in the nation’s easternmost corner. Paddlesteamers, vineyards, and the mountains of Saxon Switzerland all make this a worthwhile trip.

There are plenty of well known places in the top half of the list, including the Black Forest and the Romantic Road, and there are also lesser known attractions, such as the Moselle Valley, actually far more bucolic than the much-touted Rhine Valley. Bamberg, with its plethora of UNESCO registered buildings and its multitude of breweries is a real find, as are the Harz Mountains and the privately-run steam railway that chunters up and down them through summer and winter.

Of the more unusual inclusions, we would particularly single out the Wadden Sea, that shallow southern fringe of the North Sea between islands like Nordeney and Sylt and the mainland, where the water retreats so far on low tide that you can actually walk out to islands. And all the industrial tourism landmarks of the Ruhr, including the world’s prettiest coal mine, Zeche Zollverein. A superlative example of what can be achieved with a creative imagination and shedloads of taxpayer cash!

Click here for the complete listing.


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