Top Ten Attractions in Germany
Europa-Park-Straße 2, 77977 Rust, Germany
+49 7822 776688
Germany's largest amusement park recently unseated Neuschwanstein as the most visited site in Germany! It may not have the romance of the castle, but it does have mind-blowing rides, lands modeled on the different countries of Europe, and a mouse mascot that may remind you of someone else.
Our guide covers everything you need to plan a trip to Europapark including information on admission, how to get there, where to stay and visiting in winter.
How is the Weather in Germany?
01 of 04
German Weather in Spring
As soon as those first rays of sun come out (even if it’s still chilly), you'll see many Germans laying out in parks, sitting at the many outdoor cafes and biergartens, and beginning to enjoy the eagerly anticipated summer season.
Events in Germany for Spring
Spring kicks off with the arrival of whimsical cherry blossoms across the country. Most notable in Bonn and Berlin, these pink-topped tress are celebrated everywhere.
Formally welcoming the spring are a spate of spring festivals. One of the largest Spring Festivals is in Stuttgart, but almost every city has a festival with rides, bier, and live music. Berlin's Karneval der Kulturen is another crown jewel of the season highlighting the multiculti (multicultural )
Average Temperatures in Germany for Spring
March: Average low 33° F, average high 47° F
April: Average low 39° F, average high 58° F
May: Average low 47° F, average high 67° F
What to Wear in Spring in Germany
As any time of year, the weather in Germany is unreliable. Spring often arrives hesitantly with late flurries of snow blowing in til April. And April is infamous for weather that changes from sun to rain to hail within hours. A common saying is,
April, April, der weiß nicht was er will
(April, April, you don't know what you want)
So bring those layers and always pack some wet weather gear. Luckily, restaurants are prepared for these conditions and heat lamps and blankets are readily available for outside seating.
Articles on Germany in Spring
- Bavaria in Spring
- Berlin in Spring
- Hamburg in Spring
- Frankfurt in Spring
02 of 04
German Weather in Summer
Everyone in Germany eagerly looks forward to summer. Vacations are planned, bikes are rolling, beers are drunk and everyone is at least half on feierabend (end of work day).
Events in Germany for Summer
Germany comes alive in summer. There are festivals galore from the non-stop dancing of Fusion Festival, to Germany's CSD (aka Pride) events, to the multi-day fireworks of the Rhine in Flames. German summer is full of epic festivals.
Average Temperatures in Germany for Summer
In summer, you can enjoy long, sunny days, with temperatures often hovering in the 65 to 75° F. Temperatures occasionally spike to low 100s and you should be prepared that few homes or even businesses have air conditioning. But the summer months are also the time when precipitation in Germany is high, so don't forget your umbrella.
It is usually warmest in the south of Germany. The Palatinate wine region in the southwest is even blessed with a Mediterranean climate so exotic fruits like figs, lemons, and kiwis grow.
June: Average low 51° F, average high 72° F
July: Average low 54° F, average high 76° F
August: Average low 55° F, average high 76° F
What to Wear in Summer in Germany
Finally! The summer months mean you can whip off that scarf and put on your swimsuit.
Not so fast – Germany's weather is fickle. While it is frequently sunny, humid and occasionally downright hot, rain also storms in and thunderstorms are a frequent occurrence at the beginning of the season. So wear your swimsuit, but never quite pack the rain gear away.
Articles on Germany in Summer
- Germany in Summer
- Munich in Summer
- Berlin in Summer
- Germany's Best Festivals in Summer
- Germany's Best Beaches
03 of 04
Weather in Fall
In September and October, the weather in Germany is still pleasant with golden days ablaze in colorful fall foliage. Germans call these last warm days of the year altweibersommer (Indian summer) and revel in the last rays of light.
Events in Germany for Fall
Oktoberfest – the biggest folk festival in Germany – opens in late September to October for 16 glorious days. Along with this festival, many towns have smaller harvest festivals with equally herculean feats of drinking.
The Day of German Unity on October 3rd is a national holiday. While Halloween still isn't much of a thing, pumpkins have their own festival and November 11's St. Martin's Day has children in torchlight parades after dark. Embrace the cool with the opening of Christmas markets in late November.
Average Temperatures in Germany for Fall
September: Average low 49° F, average high 67° F
October: Average low 40° F, average high 58°F
November: Average low 34° F, average high 47° F
What to Wear in Fall in Germany
Put that scarf back on. The wind picks up and leaves began their spectacular change.
German weather turns cold and rainy. In November, the days are getting noticeably shorter, cold, and gray, and early snow is not unheard of.
Articles on Germany in Fall
- Germany in Fall
- Top 6 Places to See Autumn Leaves in Germany
- Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit)
- Everything you need to know about Oktoberfest
04 of 04
Weather in Winter
Bundle up! Temperatures in German winter often dropping below zero. In turn, there are great winter sports in Germany, especially in places like the Bavarian Alps. Christmas markets are also in full swing, bringing the holiday spirit.
Events in Germany for Winter
Christmas markets are the highlight of the season. Social events center on them and everyone stops in for at least one glühwein. This is also a time for family and many Christmas traditions.
Note that January and February are a bit quitet and people tend to hibernate outside of several notable events like Berlinale and Berlin Fashion Week.
Average Temperatures in Germany for Winter
December: Average low 27° F, average high 41° F
January: Average low 23° F, average high 40° F
February: Average low 25° F, average high 41° F
What to Wear in Winter in Germany
It gets COLD out there in winter. Wear proper winter wear of heavy snow-proof jackets, long johns or tights beneath pants, slip-proof boots and woolen hats, and scarves. .
Articles on Germany in Winter
- Germany in Winter
- Everything about German Christmas Markets
- 8 Drinks to Endure the German Winter
- Top Ski Resorts in Germany
- German Christmas Traditions
The Top 12 Attractions in Frankfurt, Germany
Head Up to the Main Tower
Main Tower, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
There is no better way to see Frankfurt than from the top of the Main Tower, the city's only high-rise open to the public. The building is named after the German river Main, which runs through Frankfurt's city center.
Take the elevator up to the 650-feet high platform to enjoy sweeping views of Frankfurt’s skyline. Here you can enjoy a cocktail and meal at the Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge, located on the upper floor of the tower. The restaurant offers international cuisine and 26-foot panoramic windows.
The Best Time to Visit Germany
01 of 04
Germany in Spring
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Germany. After a long, cold winter, the whole country welcomes the beginning of the warm season with meals outdoors, a full court for cherry blossoms, traditional Easter celebrations and spring fairs. People are eager to visit Biergartens as soon as possible and if the weather allows, they open as soon as early as May.
Note that as temperatures rise, so do prices for flights and hotels – but they are still considerably lower than in the peak season of summer. May is generally considered one of the best seasons to visit with pleasant weather and loads of national festivals like May Day and Karneval der Kulturen.
02 of 04
Germany in Summer
Summer is the height of the travel season in Germany. Enjoy warm temperatures, long and sunny days, although be aware that the country receives its maximum rainfall in midsummer.
No matter the weather, there are colorful open-air festivals, biergartens are well and truly open and enjoyed, swimming in outdoor pools and beaches and many outdoor activities. This is the party season of drinking outdoors and taking your clothes off (yes, really).
Also remember that these summer pleasures often translate into the highest airfares and hotel rates, and lines in front of popular tourist attractions can become very long. Make sure to book early!
03 of 04
Germany in Fall
Fall is a great time to visit Germany. The summer crowds return home and local wine festivals are in full swing, with the changing of the leaves providing a lovely golden hue to the landscape. And as temperatures drop, so do airfares and hotel rates.
The only exception to this drop in popularity: If you visit Oktoberfest in Munich, be prepared for high prices on housing and flights. Over 6 million make their way to the Fest each year and prices can double or triple for accommodations. The best plan is to make your Oktoberfest travel arrangements as early as possible (although here are some tips to make the most of a last-minute Oktoberfest visit).
And bring your jacket and scarf as German fall weather can be very wet and feature sudden cold snaps. Nevertheless, September and early October are some of the best times to visit Germany, especially when the warm summer days extend into fall known as Altweibersommer (Indian summer).
04 of 04
Germany in Winter
Take advantage of fewer crowds and lower rates in the winter months – with the exception of Christmas time when the holiday season is at its peak. Germany's iconic Christmas markets draw thousands of international visitors. Some of the best can be found in the oldest market in Dresden and the sprawling and historic Nuremberg market.
After Christmas and the wild New Years Eve celebrations, things quiet down considerably and locals dream of going anywhere else…until the weather warms once again and it is spring.
On the plus side, this cold weather results in some great winter sports and fantastic down-hill and cross-country skiing in Germany. German ski season generally runs between Christmas and the end of March.
The 10 Best Cities to Visit in Germany
Munich is known in Germany as München. It is the capital of Bavaria and gateway to the Alps. This quintessential German city is the land of lederhosen and giant schweinshaxe (ham hocks) and Oktoberfest. This is what most people think of when they think of Germany.
The city offers first-class museums and regal German architecture like Marienenplatz and its famed glockenspiel, as well as the Nymphenburg Palace. Here, the people have their own proud accent, history, and traditions. Many Münchenerscount themselves as Bavarian first, and German second.
Munich is fancy, but that doesn't mean the people don't know how to have fun. This is also the home of favorite locations like the English Garden with its well-known FKK (nudist) lawn and surfing canal.
Even more famous than the city's many sights is its world-famous beer. A beloved export, it is best enjoyed in the city; in its traditional beer halls, biergartens, or within the glorious beer tents of Oktoberfest. With more than 6 million visitors every year, the largest beer festival in the world is an event not to be missed. (Not that it is the only beer festival of the year).
Holocaust Memorials in Germany
01 of 10
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The architect Peter Eisenmann designed Berlin's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. After a contentious competition to decide the winner, no one was really chosen, but Eisenmann's design eventually started taking shape.
It is laid out on a 4.7-acre site between Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. The centerpiece of the sculpture is the “Field of Stelae” with more than 2,500 geometrically arranged concrete pillars. You can enter from all four sides and walk through the unevenly sloping field, becoming lost amidst the increasingly towering columns. All slightly different in size, wandering through evokes a disorienting feeling that you can only experience when you make your way through this gray forest of concrete. The adjacent underground museum holds more personal touches such as the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims and select stories of their journey.
Just across the street in the Tiergarten lies the small Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism, and moving towards the Reichstag is the newly opened Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism. Much more discrete, you can also find the placard marking where Hitler's Bunker once stood in the vicinity.
02 of 10
Dachau Concentration Camp
The concentration camp of Dachau, 10 miles northwest of Munich, was one of the first concentration camps in Nazi Germany and would serve as a model for all subsequent camps in the Third Reich.
Visitors to the memorial site follow the “path of the prisoner,” walking the same way prisoners were forced to after their arrival in the camp. You will see the original prisoner baths, barracks, courtyards, and the crematorium, as well as an extensive exhibition and various memorials.
03 of 10
You might not notice these memorials walking around German cities. Stolpersteine literally translates to “stumbling stone”. There is so much to see at eye level, it is easy to miss the subtle, gold plaques placed within the sidewalk at the entrance of many residences, businesses, and still empty spaces.
This project by German artist Gunter Demnig commemorates victims of the Holocaust in cobblestone-sized brass memorials marked with a name (or names of the family), date(s) of birth, and a brief description of their fate. Usually they state “Hier wohnte” (here lived), but sometimes it is the place the person studied, worked, or taught. The ending is usually the same, “ermordet” (murdered) with the infamous locations of Auschwitz, Dachau…
04 of 10
Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen
About 30 minutes north of Berlin lies the memorial site Sachsenhausen, a former concentration camp in Oranienburg. The camp was erected in 1936, and until 1945 more than 200,000 people were imprisoned here by the Nazis.
Sachsenhausen was in many ways one of the most important concentration camps in the Third Reich: It was the first camp established under Heinrich Himmler as Chief of the German Police and its architectural layout was used as a model for almost all concentration camps in Nazi Germany.
After the camp was liberated on April 22, 1945, by Soviet and Polish troops, the Soviets used the site and its structures as an internment camp for political prisoners from fall of 1945 to 1950.
In 1956, plans began to form to transform the camp into a national memorial. It was opened on April 23, 1961, and is now open to the public as a museum and a memorial.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Concentration Camp Buchenwald
More than 250,000 people from 50 nations were imprisoned in the former camp Buchenwald, close to the city of Weimar.
The memorial site houses various exhibitions and you can also see the former grounds of the camp, the gatehouse and detention cells, watchtowers, the crematorium, the disinfection center, the railway station, SS quarters, the quarry and graveyards. There are signposted walks throughout the extensive site, including the routes taken by the former patrols.
06 of 10
The Jewish Museum in Berlin
The Jewish Museum Berlin is not only a holocaust museum–its historic exhibition chronicles “Two Millennia of German Jewish History” and documents Jewish life in Germany from Roman Times to present day.
But the striking architecture of Daniel Libeskind’s building makes palpable the feelings of those who were exiled and lost: The shape of the museum is reminiscent of a shattered Star of David, irregularly shaped windows are cut into the steel-clad facade, bizarre angles, and “voids” stretch the full height of the building. The Holocaust Tower and the art installation “Fallen Leaves” are just another moving and unique experience.
07 of 10
Concentration Camp Bergen Belsen
Along with the death camp in Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen in Lower Saxony became an international symbol for the horrors of the Holocaust. Anne Frank was imprisoned in this camp and died of Typhus in March of 1945.
Today, the grounds of the former concentration camp are a cemetery with various sculptures commemorating the ones who suffered and died at Bergen Belsen. There is also a newly opened Documentation Center, which houses all documents, photographs, and films exploring the history of the camp.
08 of 10
Neuengamme Concentration Camp
The Neuengamme concentration Camp, which was housed in a former brick factory in the outskirts of Hamburg, was the largest camp in the North of Germany, comprising of 80 satellite camps between 1938 and 1945. In May 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, a redesigned memorial site was opened, including several exhibitions that document the history of the site and remember the suffering of over 100,000 people imprisoned here. Fifteen historic concentration camp buildings on the site are preserved.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Concentration Camp Flossenbürg
The concentration camp Flossenbürg, built in 1938, is located in the Upper Palatinate region in Bavaria. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an influential German pastor and theologist, was imprisoned here and died only 23 days before Flossenbürg was liberated in April 1945. The Memorial offers a guided tour in English, which includes parts of the historic exhibition “Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, 1938-1945.”
10 of 10
House of the Wannsee Conference
Visitors can stand in the very room where the “Final Solution” (ie the Holocaust) was planned out. Now a memorial site, the House of the Wannsee Conference is another mandatory historical stop for people retracing the steps taken toward the mass genocide of approximately 11 million people.
Top 10 Things to Do in Bavaria, Germany
Tour the Disney-Like Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
+49 8362 930830
The world's most famous castle, Neuschwanstein, is nestled in the Bavarian Alps and comes straight out of a fairy tale. King Ludwig II designed his dream castle with the help of a theatrical set designer, and it has inspired modern fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland.
Take a tour through the flamboyant castle's interior. Highlights include a gaudy grotto, the Throne Room with its giant crown-shaped chandelier, and the lavish Minstrels' Hall.
Germany’s Best Scenic Drives
01 of 04
Germany’s Romantic Road
Follow the fairy tale by driving the Romantische Straße (Romantic Road). This 261 mile long drive through Bavaria was actually created by English-speaking travel agents in the 1950s, but the allure of castles still brings in visitors from around the world.
The road leads you from the Franconia wine country to the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein in the foothills of the German Alps.
Along the way, you can enjoy the Bavarian countryside, which is dotted with picturesque towns, half-timbered houses, hidden monasteries and romantic hotels. Also on the route is Würzburg with its Residenz, walledRothenburg ob der Tauberand the Castle Hotel of charming Colmberg.
Note this is the most popular German scenic drive and can get very crowded in summer with lines of tour buses trundling in. One way to see the cities minus the masses (even in high season) is to stay overnight in one of the smaller towns once the buses have taken most of the people on to their next destination.
02 of 04
German Castle Road
If you want to see as many castles as possible in the least amount of time, take a ride on the Castle Road. Travel back in time with a route lined with more than 70 castles and palaces. Visitors will find everything from romantic ruins, to picture perfect castle museums, and even castle hotels.
The Castle Road, which is over 625 miles long, consists of a series of small, winding back roads with easy to follow signs. If you want to plan it out before you get behind the wheel, the website is in English and has a very good map of the route, including exact distances between castles and cities.
It starts in Mannheim and leads you all the way to Prague in the Czech Republic. With so much to see on the Castle Road, it is recommended to pick just a few castles that you want to explore in depth and enjoy the magnificent view of the other castles from afar.
03 of 04
German Fairy Tale Road
Explore the country of the Brothers Grimm along the Fairy Tale Road, which connects the towns and landscapes that were the inspiration for their most famous fairy tales; hike in Little Red Riding Hood's forest, visit the castle of Sleeping Beauty, and climb up the tower from where Rapunzel let down her hair.
The Fairy Tale Road starts in the town of Hanau, the birthplace of the two brothers Jacob and Wilhelm; it brings you to their home in Steinau where they grew up and through all the cities where the Brothers Grimm studied and worked.
Almost all the towns along the Fairy Tale Road offer family-friendly activities, such as puppet shows, parades, concerts, and lovely statues of your favorite fairy tale characters. The route is particularly lovely around Christmas when Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets) lend their considerable charm.
04 of 04
German Wine Road
The German wine road in Rhineland Palatinate is the country’s oldest scenic drive. Starting in the southwest of Germany, the 50 mile long route snakes through Germany’s second largest wine growing region all the way to the French border.
The Romans started developing wine here almost 1,000-years ago, and the Germans have perfected it. Celebrate the vine in quaint wine villages, old-world restaurants, colorful vineyards, and local harvest festivals. Soak up some local flavor at open-air farmer’s markets and wine festivals, which are celebrated throughout late spring, summer, and especially during the fall.
Note that on the last Sunday in August the wine route is closed for traffic and only open to walkers, hikers, bikers, and inline skaters who visit the seasonal open-air wine bars along the way.
What to Do in Boppard, Germany
01 of 08
Follow the Loop in the River
Boppard is centered on the Rhine and easily identified by its proximity to nearby Bopparder Hamm, the large loop in the river. The word Hamm comes from the Latin hamus, which means “hook” – fitting for such a dramatic u-turn.
Trek up to Vierseenblick (Four-Lake View) for segmented views of the river that make it look like four separate lakes. You can hike to the viewpoint or take a chairlift (April to September) for an easy 20-minute ride over vineyards than forest. From here you can also see (and plot a visit) to castles Burg Liebenstein and Burg Sterrenberg. Or cruise the Rhine for an ideal view of this UNESCO site.
Back in town, take an after dinner stroll of Rheinallee, a pedestrian promenade along the water bordered by boat docks, chic cafes, and cozy wine taverns.
02 of 08
Get Medieval at the Castle
Boppard's Electorial Castle (or Alte Burg, “Old Castle”) is one of the few along the Middle Rhine that has never been destroyed. Visitors can explore its full 13th century majesty right along the water's edge in the center of town.
This is unusual as most castles were placed high away from the townsfolk on the highest hilltops. But this castle's placement was intention as its placement on the river allowed it to extract tolls on every boat and good that passed by on the Rhine.
The castle extended and morphed throughout its history. During the French Revolution, Boppard Castle was used a a hospital and during the 19th century it acted as a prison. In the 20th century, the west wing housed the police station.
Today, its grace has been restored with extensive renovations taking place between 2009 to 2015. The Thonet Museum, honoring famous Boppard son and furniture maker Michael Thonet, is housed in the castle as well as the Boppard Museum.
03 of 08
Go Wine Wandering
Surround yourself with the prized product of the region – wine. The Romans started growing wine here about 2,000 years ago and it has been perfected to an art form. The valley's geography is ideal for vineyards with a sunny south-facing incline.
The vineyards of Boppard Hamm are the largest in the Middle Rhine valley, divided into different areas known as Elfenlay and Weingrube and Mandelstein. Workers are constantly perfecting the vines, but visitors can simply enjoy walking along the grounds and sampling everything from riesling to müller-thurgau to pinot noir – produced right here. If you prefer to drink with a guide, Boppard Tourism offers vineyard tours with tastings.
Return to the city of Boppard to sample more wines from the area in the cozy atmosphere of a wine tavern, like Weinhaus Heilig Grab, Boppard’s oldest wine tavern dating back over 200 years. Or if you arrive at the end of September, the wine harvest begins and a wine festival celebrates the haul.
04 of 08
Admire Roman Ruins
The Roman influence isn't just found in the wine, but in preserved ruins. The best example of this is the Roman Fortress. This is one of the best-preserved Roman fortresses in Europe.
Römer-Kastell (or Römerpark), just south of Marktplatz, is an archaeological site with original 4th-century Roman ruins. There are 28 semi-circular towers and walls that still stand nine meters high. Though the site is a shadow of itself as stronghold (the walls were once 3 meters thick), visitors can picture the place as it once was with a wall panel that depicts the original Roman town of Bodobrica.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Walk the Town Wall
Despite the development of the city, great care has been taken to maintain medieval elements. For example, many of the medieval town walls remain and are living pieces of the city. One of the town gates, Ebertor, has been transformed into a hotel.
These sections of the wall once separated the Altstadt (old town) from its expansions in the west (Niederstadt or “Lower Town”) and east (Oberstadt and “Upper Town”). Other elements, like Säuerlingsturm (tower), have been moved to make room for newer construction like the Hunsrückbahn (train).
06 of 08
Get Holy at the Church
The Church of St. Severus is a beautiful example of late Romanesque architecture. 13th-century Severuskirche was built on the site of Roman military baths and a 6th century Christian church. Its towers define the city skyline.
Restorations since the 1960s have left it in impressive shape. The church features a grand cross with a crowned Jesus from 1220. The organ was refinished, wall paintings were freshened and the interior was restored as recently as 2010. In an unusual move, the church was even modernized with the market square lowered to make it barrier-free.
Even if you don't enter the church, you can't ignore its presence. The church has five bells (all which have survived since the medieval ages) and they ring out across the town at 10:00 and 12:00.
St. Severus is a registered monument and was raised to a Basilica minor in February 2015 by Pope Francis.
07 of 08
Dine with the Locals
Consistently ranked the number one restaurant in Boppard, expect a boisterous local crowd and good German cooking at Severus Stube (Untere Marktstrasse 7). Everything from Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) to Kasseler (smoked pork) is one the menu, ready to be washed down with bottles of local wine for a fair price.
The building is a classic in the heart of the city, half-timbered with outdoor seating on the narrow cobblestone street in the summer.
As this is a favorite with locals and tourists, reservations are recommended. While a little German is appreciated, staff is generally fluent in English and English menus are available.
08 of 08
Ride the Train Up, Up, Up
Hunsrückbahn is a picturesque railway runs among the trees and above the valleys and through the tunnels from Boppard to Emmelshausen. It is one of the steepest railways in Germany, and certainly one of the most scenic. On the six-kilometer climb between Boppard Hauptbahnhof to Boppard-Buchholz, the tracks climbs 336 meters. This charming stretch of rail has been designated a protected monument.
For those into a more active journey, take the Hunsrückbahn up the most unpleasant part of the hike to Buchholz or Emmelshausen and then amble down to Boppard. Hiking info and maps for the area (in German) can be found in this brochure.
Tickets can be purchased at the station or on the train. A single ticket can cost as little as 1.85 euros, but tarif depends on how far you ride the train. Though this rain line is operated by Rhenus Veniro , tickets for Rhineland-Palatinate and Schönes-Wochenende-Tickets (discount fares) are also valid on the Hunsrückbahn.
Germany’s Most Beautiful (And Unique) Libraries
01 of 06
Benediktinerabtei Metten Bibliothek
Metten Abbey has many names: St. Michael's Abbey at Metten, Benediktinerabtei Metten, Abtei Metten as well as Kloster Metten. Founded in 766 in Bavaria, it is located in the dreamy area between the Bavarian Forest and the Danube. Though its location is firmly on the ground, its library looks like it dropped straight from heaven.
The monastery underwent an array of changes before being secularized in 1803, then becoming a monastery again by 1830. Today, the abbey has many side enterprises like a Gymnasium.
Opened in 1726, the interior holds a elegant ballroom from 1734, a refectory (dining room) with modern stained glass windows, a ceiling fresco from 1755 and the legendary baroque library. Visitors enter beneath the allegorical figures of wisdom and religion looming from the ceiling. Its elaborate stucco decor and massive bookshelves hold 35,000 volumes. Of particular importance is the Mettener Antiphonar from 1437 with the lyrics and melodies of all songs of the breviary.
There is also a modern library available to the everyday reader.
Visitors can gawk at this incredible library during a guided tour by the brethren. Note that photography is verboten (forbidden).
- Address: Abteistr. 3, 94526 Metten, Bavaria, Germany
- Phone: 49 991 9108009 91 / 91 08 – 0
02 of 06
Once located in Wilhelmspalais — an actual palace — in the center of Stuttgart, it's hard to believe any change could be an upgrade. But this library's 2011 move to its ultra-modern building has proved popular with locals and library fans alike.
Formally known as the Stadtbibliothek am Mailänder Platz, this massive cathedral to the written word has a floor area of 20,200 m² and an event room for up to 300 people. The outside features a double façade of embossed glass building blocks with slats that can slide to prevent glare and a solar power glass roof. For visitors, the double façade means there is a wrap-around balcony with breath-taking views of the city, as well as a rooftop terrace.
Inside, a total of 500,000 media units are available for public use. The library is formatted as a cuboid with an empty central section called the “Heart”. There are several floors underground and five stories rising up 40 meters. Special features include a sound studio, music section with LPs, notation software and software for scanning sheet music plus musical instruments, children's floor, library for insomniacs (cubby system open 24 hours), an art lending library, and an online animation library. At the top, charity-run Café LesBar provides refreshments for the body once the mind is sated.
The construction budget added up to nearly 80 million euros and it shows in its austere design. It was selected from an architectural competition with South Korean Eun Young Yi emerging as the winner. The library's stunning look has proved popular with pictures circling the globe and by winning the 2013 library of the year.
- Address: Mailänder Platz 1, 70173 Stuttgart
- Transport: U-Bahn U5, U6, U7, U12 or U15 – Stadtbibliothek stop
- Phone: 0711 21691100
- Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00 – 21:00
03 of 06
Stiftungsbibliothek Waldsassen, located in a Cistercian Abbey, is one of the most important art libraries in Bavaria. Its construction began in 1433 and it has continued to transform while retaining its old-world allure with nearly 100,000 visitors every year.
Four large frescoes depict scenes from the life of Cistercian saint, Bernard of Clairvaux, with the vault of the library covered in intricate stucco design. Along with the masterful frescoes, there are massive wood carvings such as the ten life-size figures supporting the heavy ceiling of the hall. The figures symbolize the different facets of pride, like stupidity, hypocrisy and ignorance. In contrast to these negative features, pillars of intelligence like Plato, Nero, and Socrates elevate the room.
- Address: Basilikapl. 2, 95652 Waldsassen
- Phone: 09632 920025
- Hours: (Winter) Wednesday to Sunday 13:00 – 16:00; (Summer) Tuesday to Friday & Sunday 10:30 – 16:30; Saturday 9:30 – 16:00
- Admission: 3.50 euro; 2.50 euro reduced
04 of 06
Benediktinerabtei Maria Laach Bibliothek
Founded in what was Belgium in 1093, this monastery library in Maria Laach is one of the best preserved and most beautiful libraries of the 19th century.
That said, it did undergo a traumatic transformation when the abbey of Maria Laach was abolished in 1802. The library was dismantled along with the existing book stock, about 3,700 volumes. In 1892, the Benedictine monks resettled the monastery and re-stocked the library. About 69 manuscripts from this library can be found in other places in Germany and beyond, with only two manuscripts returned to their original home. Today, the library has 260,000 volumes in the new reading room with about 9,000 printed before 1800. The oldest section is in the Jesuit Library with rare books kept in a renovated cowshed with climate control. It is now one of the largest private libraries in Germany.
The library also was entangled in controversy surrounding the Nazi regime as rumors swirled that the monks actively and voluntarily collaborated with the Nazis. This was depicted in Heinrich Böll's Billiards at Half-past Nine.
The library is closed to general opening hours, but is open with prior registration. If you just want access to its resources, two-thirds of its stock is available online.
Continue to 5 of 6 below.
- Address: 56653 Maria Laach
- Phone: 49 0 2652-59322
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In typical Berlin fashion, its most beautiful library is free, charming, and community oriented. Located on a corner near trendy Kollwitzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg, many people pass without realizing this “tree” is quite different from others that dot this green city. The Bücherwald (book forest) is actually multiple logs bolted together, featuring shelves of random books available to the public. It is the first environmentally-friendly and publicly accessible bookshelf in the city, although it was proceeded by a similar project in Bonn.
Opened in June 2008, this unique and free lending library was created by BAUFACHFRAU Berlin eV, an educational institution for women working in the building industry. The trees were collected from Grünewald, a leafy forest in the west, in a way that adheres to sustainable forest management.
The library can hold up to 100 volumes, mostly in German and English, from serious literature to children's books. While some books enjoy a long stay in their urban forest home, others have crossed oceans and only stop in for bit. All of the books can be tracked through the bookcrossing site, following their fascinating journeys not just within their pages, but the history of the book itself. “Bookcrossing” has also become one of the many new words to infiltrate the German lexicon. To participate in this community project, simply take a book or leave one behind.
- Address: Kollwitzstraße 83 (corner of Kollwitzstraße and Sredzkistrasse), 10435 Berlin, Germany
- Hours: Always open
06 of 06
Oberlausitzische Bibliothek der Wissenschaften Görlitz
Oberlausitzische Bibliothek der Wissenschaften includes 140,000 volumes and is a public scientific library located near Dresden in the historic city of Görlitz.
It was founded by historian and linguist Karl Gottlob Anton and landowner Adolph Traugott von Gersdorf to support the ideas of the Enlightenment. It holds materials ranging from legal texts to natural sciences to historical literature. Originally, only members of the their society could access the collection. But today the collection is open to the public and sightseers who simply want to enjoy a beautiful library.
Housed in a baroque building, the collection includes 14,000 years of regional history. For example, it holds historical maps, archives of the Upper Lusatian Society of Sciences, archaeological collection of ancient pottery, as well as the life's work of poet and composer Leopold Schefer. While the materials cover modern texts to ancient works, almost all of the materials have been digitized and are available online for research and use, free of charge.
- Address: Richard-Jecht-Haus, Handwerk 2
02826 Görlitz;Barockhaus Neißstraße 30, 02826 Görlitz, Germany
- Phone: 49 0 03581/67-2283
- Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 to 17:00; Friday 10:00 to 13:00; Visit to historic Büchersaals Tuesday to Sunday from
10:00 – 17:00
- Admission: 5 euro (3.50 reduced); Tours 3 euro (2 reduced)
- Address: Richard-Jecht-Haus, Handwerk 2