We all know landmarks are important for tourism, but what landmarks should we visit in Germany? There are so many landmarks to choose from, and it can be hard to decide. This penned exploration will help you find Germany’s most famous historical landmarks. It includes a list of landmarks along with their location and brief description. You’ll also find information about how to get there, opening hours, and contact details.
Germany has a long history that dates back to the early 1200s and has no shortage of historical moments over the previous two centuries. This has translated into plenty of historical landmarks and attractions for tourists to visit. From the mighty Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg to the imposing Berlin Tower in Berlin, there is much to see in Germany.
Most Historic & Famous Landmarks in Germany
There are many famous landmarks in Germany that you should visit. Here is a list of the most famous historical landmarks in Germany.
1. Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate, also known as the Berlin Gate. It is a monument in Berlin erected on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the restoration of order during the Batavian Revolution in 1788.
It is one of the most well-known sights in Germany, having been erected on the grounds of a former city gate that marked the beginning of the road from Berlin to Brandenburg an der Havel, formerly Brandenburg’s capital.
It is a well-known landmark of Germany, having replaced a former city gateway that marked the start of the road from Berlin to Brandenburg an der Havel, formerly the Margraviate’s capital. It’s in Berlin’s west end, near Pariser Platz at Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße.
Brandenburg Gate is located in Germany’s capital city Berlin and was completed in 1791. During World War II it fell into disrepair and became one of the landmarks most damaged by the war. It was renovated and opened to the public once again on December 25, 2002 – which would have been Frederick William III’s 200th birthday.
A total of 120 sandstone statues from Prussia and other German states were cleaned in Berlin at the start of 2009. Brandenburg Gate is the only remaining gate through which you can enter or leave Berlin via train or car. It is a renowned tourist attraction that remains one of Germany’s most famous landmarks.
Throughout its existence, the Brandenburg Gate has been a site for major historical events. It is now seen not just as a symbol of the tumultuous German history, but also as a symbol of how Berlin and Germany’s very nature has changed in such a short time.
See Related: German Travel Tips
2. Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is a Gothic church in Cologne, Germany. It was started in 1248 and completed in 1880. It is home to the famous Cologne Cathedral, which was erected between 1245 and 1281 and has a height of 157 m when its spires are included. The cathedral is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne (as well as the local bishop) for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cologne.
It is one of Germany’s most famous landmarks on the River Rhine. The cathedral area covers 4,717 square meters (48,910 square feet), and it is 144.5 meters long and 86 meters wide at its widest point.
The construction of this Gothic church began in 1248 after the previous church was destroyed by fire. The choir was finished in 1322, and the cathedral was completed with the addition of the towers between 1420 and 1540.
The Cologne Cathedral is a church in the northern part of Domshof square in Cologne, Germany. It served as the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and saw Catholic religious ceremonies for more than 800 years, which makes it one of the longest-used landmarks in Germany.
Work on the Cathedral did not resume until the 1850s, and it was rebuilt to its original Medieval design in 1880. The medieval architects of Cologne had planned a magnificent edifice to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fulfill its function as a religion for the Holy Roman Emperor.
Despite being unfinished during the medieval period. Cologne Cathedral was eventually created as a “masterpiece of outstanding intrinsic worth” and “a powerful testament to the Christian faith in medieval and modern Europe’s strength and perseverance.” Only the telecommunications tower is higher.
See Related: Best Museums in Cologne, Germany
3. Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle (German: Heidelberger Schloss) is a ruined castle in Germany that has become a popular tourist destination. The castle ruins are among the most significant Renaissance buildings north of the Alps and one of Europe’s most famous castles.
The ruin of the castle was reduced to rubble during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is located 80 meters (260 feet) up the northern slope of Königstuhl Hill, giving it a commanding view of old Heidelberg Castle.
The Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway’s intermediate station, which runs from Heidelberg’s Kornmarkt to the summit of the Königstuhl, is located within the castle grounds. The original castle was erected in 1184 and expanded to two castles in 1294; nevertheless, in 1537, a lightning bolt destroyed the upper castle.
The structures were further extended in 1650 before being damaged during later conflicts and fires. The castle was severely damaged by lightning on April 7, 1764, causing a fire that destroyed some of the reconstructed parts. The outstanding castle and city walls have been dubbed one of Europe’s most formidable medieval fortifications.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Heidelberg, Germany
Marienplatz is a central square in the city center of Munich. It has been the city’s main square since 1158. The square was first mentioned as “Nunen Platz” in 1247, but it bore several different names over time, including “Kreuzteufelplatz” (Devil’s Cross Square). In the 16th century, it was named “Mariental”, after the statue of Mary was erected at the site. This name is commonly used for this square even today.
The central point of Marienplatz is an equestrian statue by Johann Christian Feuchtmayer of Albert IV, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, on horseback from 1692. Marienplatz is also famous for its old-world glockenspiel. The glockenspiel is a mechanical instrument typically used in European folk music. It provides the iconic sound of Old Europe.
Glockenspiels are the most common bells in southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Hungary. Glocke is German for “bell.” Glocken is German for “bell.” Glockenspiel means “playful bells.”
The first glockenspiels were installed 500 years ago because they were less expensive to maintain than a carillon. This was before the invention of electric power, so it was crucial to keep a clock running without the aid of a clockmaker on a daily basis.
See Related: Best Parks in Munich, Germany
5. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a memorial in Berlin dedicated to Jewish victims of Nazism. It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold and comprised 2,711 concrete stelae arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.
The memorial comprises the outdoor Museum Hill and the underground Memorial Hall (Denkmalhalle). The hill was built on the site of the extensive Nazi party headquarters, though it is not directly accessible inside the building.
Before the monument’s unveiling, officials originally wanted to install nearly 4,000 stones. A new law was passed before the monument’s opening, stipulating memorials be accessible to wheelchairs.
After the re-estimation, 2,711 legal stones could fit into the designated regions. The stelae are 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 m (3 ft 1 in) wide, and vary in height from 0.2 to 4 m (7 ft 7 in).
The names of 54 registers, each with 87 rows going east-west at right angles and 87 rows going north-south, are arranged in neat columns. The attached “Place of Information” contains the names of about 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.
It was opened to the public two days later, on May 12, 2005, exactly 60 years after the conclusion of World War II in Europe. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate in Mitte. The construction cost was about €25 million.
See Related: Best Parks in Berlin, Germany
6. Monument to the Battle of the Nations
The Monument to the Battle of the Nations, also known as the Battle of the Nations, is a monument in Leipzig, Germany, dedicated to the 1813 Battle of Leipzig.
The monument was built for the city’s centennial in 1913 at a cost of six million goldmarks, mostly through donations. The monument commemorates Napoleon’s French army being beaten at Leipzig, which helped to pave the way to the conclusion of the War of the Sixth Coalition.
Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg led the Russian, Prussian, Austrian, and Swedish armies in the Second Coalition.
There were Germans on both sides because Napoleon’s troops included conscripted Germans from the left bank of the Rhine annexed by France as well as forces from his German allies of the Confederation of the Rhine.
The tower is 91 meters (299 feet) tall. From the top, there are stunning views of the city and surroundings. The substance is made use of extensively, as are the granite facings. It is widely regarded as one of Wilhelmine architecture’s finest examples.
The monument marks the location of some of the most violent combat, from where Napoleon ordered his troops to withdraw. It was also the site of fighting in World War II when Nazi forces in Leipzig made their last stand against American fighters.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Leipzig
7. Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century historicist castle on a steep hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.
The Bavarian kings commissioned the castle as a retreat and in memory of Richard Wagner. Ludwig II paid for the palace using his funds rather than public money, using extensive lending rather than public financing.
Neuschwanstein Castle was never completed for King Ludwig, although it began construction in 1869. The castle was intended to be the king’s private residence until he died in 1886, but that did not happen. Shortly after his death, the castle became accessible to the public. Since then, over 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Bavaria, Germany
8. Niederwald Monument
The Niederwalddenkmal is a monument in the Niederwald, Hesse, Germany, located near Rüdesheim am Rhein. The monument was erected between 1871 and 1883 to commemorate Germany’s reunification and is located within the Rhine Gorge, also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
The monument is made of bronze, granite, and marble. Germania is depicted with a sword in her right hand and a sheathed sword in her left.
Two lions act as her footstool; they are positioned above the coat of arms of four German states (Bavaria, Württemberg, Prussia, and Baden) created after the Franco-Prussian War.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Rhineland-Palatinate
9. Deutsches Eck
The Deutsches Eck is a city square in Koblenz, Germany, situated by the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. The “Deutsches Eck” was designated as a national monument in 1997.
The Deutsches Eck is where the Moselle joins the Rhine, which was once believed to be the point where Julius Caesar began his conquest of Gaul, setting off a chain of events leading to German unification.
Now it serves as a memorial to that war and was dedicated on 2 September 1839, the 40th anniversary of the battle, during the Vormärz era.
A statue of King William I was erected on top of the Deutsches Eck column; it is one of his earliest statues and first public portraits, executed by sculptor Johann Martin von Wagner.
The square also has two other memorials: to Prussia’s Marshal Blücher, who had his headquarters at the Deutsches Eck during the Rhine Campaign of 1814, and to the Grand Duke of Hesse, which was erected by students in 1848.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Koblenz, Germany
10. Reichstag Building
The Reichstag, also known as the German Parliament Building, is a historic structure in Berlin that houses the Bundestag, Germany’s lower chamber of parliament. It was built to house the German Empire’s Imperial Diet (Imperial Diet).
In 1894, the Reichstag was rebuilt after a fire, and it housed the Diet until 1933, when an arsonist destroyed it. After World War II, the building fell into disuse; the parliament of East Germany (the Volkskammer) met in the Palast der Republik in Berlin, while that of West Germany met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn.
The ancient building was made weather-proof and partially rebuilt in the 1960s. Still, no attempt at complete restoration was made until after German reunification on October 3, 1990, when architect Norman Foster restored it. It became once again the meeting place of the German Bundestag after its completion in 1999: modern Bundesrat.
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11. Sanssouci Palace
Sanssouci is a historic structure in Potsdam, Berlin, built by Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, as his summer palace. While Sansouci is smaller than its French Baroque counterpart and is more Rococo in style, it nevertheless has several temples and follies in its park, making it just as
The palace was created/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 for King Frederick II to provide him with a secluded place to unwind away from the grandeur and ceremony of Berlin.
The name emphasizes this, being a French phrase (sans souci), which means “without worries” or “carefree.” Sanssouci is a name used over the years to reflect a play on words, with a comma between the words Sans and Souci, i.e., Sans, Souci.
Kittsteiner argues that this might be a philosophical double entendre that means “without worry/concern” or another.
King Frederick’s personal preferences in the design and decoration of the palace had such a strong influence that it became known as “Frederician Rococo.” And his attachments to the palace were so great that he saw it as “a home that would survive him.”
In 1746, Knobelsdorff was dismissed because of a dispute about where to place the staircase of the palace. Knobelsdorff is responsible for many designs within Sanssouci, but he worked with Johannes Heinrich Meyer, the royal architect of Frederick’s brother Prince Henry.
Architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage rebuilt the castle. During the reign of Frederick William IV, it became a home. The architect Ludwig Persius was engaged to restore and expand the palace, while Ferdinand von Arnim was in charge of improving the grounds and thus providing an even better view from the castle. Until 1918, Potsdam was the official residence of the Prussian kings.
The palace became a tourist attraction in East Germany after World War II. Frederick’s body was returned to the palace and buried in a new mausoleum overlooking the gardens he had created following German reunification in 1990.
Sanssouci and its vast grounds were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, and the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg has been restoring the palace and its landmarks since 1993.
See Related: Best Museums in Berlin, Germany
12. Sanssouci Park
Sanssouci Park is a large park in Potsdam, Germany, that surrounds Sanssouci Palace. Following the terracing of the vineyard and the completion of the palace, additional grounds were incorporated into the plan.
A baroque flower garden with grass lawns, flower beds, fences, and trees was built to house 3,000 plates of remains of flowers. Some of the outbuildings that were built during this time were a small pheasant house, an apiary, and two pavilions: one for growing fruit and one where mulberry trees were kept to feed silkworms.
The park of Sanssouci covers 230 hectares of the palace’s total 1 km2 of grounds. The many non-palatial structures within its bounds house two museums, several clinics, and minimum security prisons. As well as the palace itself, the park contains an orangery and a belvedere tower for viewing the landscape.
It has temples to Egyptian divinities set amidst menageries representing different continents, classical buildings that served as guest quarters, twelve pavilions in Rococo style with their own garden areas, the famous labyrinth, and a series of tombs.
The park was laid out from 1744 to 1748 according to the Baroque master plan created by the gardener Carl von Effner for Frederick II of Prussia. The buildings within it are given Rococo architectural treatment while retaining their original forms.
The gardens of the numerous nurseries had a wide variety of crops, ranging from oranges to peaches and bananas. The entrance obelisk at the eastern park exit is adorned with figures of Flora and Pomona, associated with flowers, fruits, and vegetable gardens.
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13. Schwerin Castle
The Schwerin Castle is in Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s state capital, Germany. It is on an island in the city’s main lake, the Schweriner See. The dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg resided in the castle from 1219 until 1918.
The castle was built as a defensive fortification by the Slavic Redarier tribe after the incursions of Henry II into their area in 1008. In 1160, when Henry I of Germany had acquired Mecklenburg from Niklot, it became his residence as he worked to subdue the areas east of the Elbe River.
He had one built in the modern style and another reconstructed with an extended curtain wall and a rampart; a bridge connected both.
They constructed fortress palaces at Dömitz and Wismar, which imitated the king’s Bohemian model with round towers on the outer walls under Henry’s son, Henry II.
In Schwerin, parts of the ceiling painting were preserved in a special museum. After 1845, several periods of construction and rebuilding of Schwerin Palace took place under Duke Charles II.
During this, the famous historicist architects Gottfried Semper, Friedrich August Stüler, Georg Adolf Demmler, and Ernst Friedrich Zwirner were involved in the project.
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14. UNESCO-Welterbe Zollverein
The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a large former industrial site in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia.
It has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since December 14, 2001, and is one of the anchor points of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH). Today it is also a museum and exhibition center.
The first coal mine on the premises was founded in 1847; mining activities lasted from 1851 until December 23, 1986. For decades starting in the late 1950s, the two parts of the site, “Zollverein Coal Mine” and “Zollverein Coking Plant,” were among the most important coal mining sites in Europe.
The coking plant was built in 1936, closed in 1986, and then demolished bit by bit from 1988 to 2003. The last coal mine on the premises was closed in 1986. On January 1, 1987, Zollverein Coal Mine became a listed company.
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A Zwinger is a term for the outer bailey of a castle or town wall. It represents an exposed kill zone between two defensive walls to defend cities and castles. It is one of the historical landmarks in Germany.
Zwingers were built to improve castle and town wall defenses in the post-classical and early modern periods. The term is German and is generally left untranslated. However, it is sometimes translated as “outer courtyard.”
Presumably, alluding to the palace’s place as a castle’s defenses became obsolete and were converted into a palace or Schloss, but this misses its purpose as a killing ground for the defense.
The term zwingen may be derived from the German word for “to force,” which is linked to zwingen, “to force.” According to Esenwein, the Zwinger forced an opponent to negotiate it before attacking the main defensive line.
This function was designed to ensure that the besieging force could not avoid or delay the now heavily guarded forecourt but would be compelled to negotiate it. The Zwinger thus forced an adversary to negotiate under fire.
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16. Berlin Wall
Perhaps the most famous German landmarks of all… The Berlin Wall. The infamous Berlin Wall was a concrete barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1990. It aimed to keep citizens from fleeing the communist East Berlin and the capitalist West Berlin.
The wall came down in 1989 and was finally destroyed in 1990. This German landmark still has many features standing in the city today. If you’d like to understand where the Berlin Wall existed, here’s a map of the wall during its tenure and today.
There are some interesting things to see at the Berlin Wall. For example, you can visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, located near the old wall’s site. The memorial contains a museum and an information center about the Cold War, as well as a free-standing section of the wall.
There are also several art installations along the wall’s former route at the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is an open-air art gallery that contains paintings and murals from artists protesting the Berlin division.
East Side Gallery is located on the city’s east side, where it gets its name. The wall was first painted in 1990, just a few months after the Berlin Wall fell.
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17. Berlin Tower
The Berlin Tower is an iconic, famous German landmark in Berlin. It is 368 meters (1,207 ft) tall and can be seen from virtually every city corner. The futuristic Berlin TV Tower was completed over four years and opened in August 1969. The project represented Eastern Germany’s communist strengths.
The tower has a viewing platform that offers stunning views of the city, and it also features a restaurant and bar. To get to the Berlin TV Tower, take the S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz and walk there. The tower is located in the center of Alexanderplatz and is very tall, so it is easy to find.
18. Lubeck Town Hall
The Lübeck Town Hall is a historical landmark in the city of Lübeck, Germany. The building was constructed in the late 12th century and has been used as a town and city hall ever since. The Town Hall is one of the most famous and recognizable buildings in Lübeck, and it is a popular tourist destination.
The Town Hall is notable for its Gothic architecture, and it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The building is situated on the banks of the River Trave and can be accessed from the market square. The Town Hall is open to the public from Monday to Friday, and admission is free.
19. Lake Constance (Lake Konstanz)
Lake Constance is a beautiful lake in Bavaria, Germany, and is one of our favorite natural landmarks in Germany. The lake is located at the border of three countries, with great views of Austria and Switzerland, near the northern end of the Alpine Range.
Many beautiful towns dot the lake, all located in German Bavaria and Baden Württemberg, and are popular as a weekend getaway for locals. Konstanz, Friedrichshafen, Bregenz, and Lindau are some of the towns on this lake.
The best things to do in Lake Constance usually involve enjoying the natural surroundings. Some of the best activities include hiking, biking, and fishing.
There are also some lovely towns around the lake where you can enjoy shopping and dining. And don’t forget to take in the spectacular views of the Alps while you’re there.
20. Frankfurt Cathedral
The Frankfurt Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in Germany. The cathedral’s historical history is the key to its fame, as the foundations of the church date back to the seventh century.
The Frankfurt Cathedral is a large Gothic church in Frankfurt’s Old Town, and it was named after Bartholomew, the disciple of Jesus.
The Frankfurt Cathedral offers tours for visitors who want to explore the church more deeply. The cathedral offers different types of tours, such as a historical tour, a tower tour, and a choir tour.
The historical tour takes visitors through the history of the Frankfurt Cathedral, while the tower tour takes visitors to the top of the cathedral’s tower.
21. Mercedes Benz Museum
Opened in 2006, the Mercedes Benz Museum is a famous German landmark showcasing the country’s automotive prowess.
The museum is located in Stuttgart and is home to a large collection of vintage Mercedes Benz cars as well as other exhibits related to the automotive industry. The museum is a popular tourist attraction in Germany and receives over half a million visitors yearly.
The Mercedes Benz Museum is located in Stuttgart, Germany. It can be reached by car, train, or bus. The museum has a large parking lot and is accessible by public transportation.
22. Berlin Cathedral
The Berlin Cathedral is a Protestant church on Museum Island in the Mitte district of Berlin, Germany. It is one of the largest buildings in the city and one of the most famous landmarks in Berlin.
Construction of the cathedral started in 1894 and was completed in 1905. This is home to some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in Europe.
The Berlin Cathedral was heavily damaged during the Cold War. The West Berlin government wanted to demolish the cathedral and build a new one, but the East Berlin government refused. The two sides fought for control of the cathedral for years.
In 1961, the East Berlin government erected a wall around the cathedral to prevent the West Berlin government from demolishing the cathedral.
The cathedral is home to the Charlottenburg Organ, one of the largest pipe organs in Germany. It has more than 5,000 pipes and is 32 meters high. The organ was built in 1975 and is used for concerts and recordings.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Bonn, Germany
23. Bastei Bridge
The Bastei Bridge is a sandstone bridge that crosses stunning cliffs in the background and carries an inland river through the valley. The bridge was built in 1824 and is a popular tourist attraction for German and Czech tourists. The bridge is easily accessible throughout the year, but during the winter months, some sections are closed.
The Bastei Bridge is located in the Saxon Switzerland National Park in southern Germany, close to the border between Germany and Austria.
The famous landmark and bridge is a sandstone bridge that crosses stunning cliffs in the background and carries an inland river through the valley.
24. European Central Bank
The European Central Bank (ECB) is located in Frankfurt, Germany. It was founded in 1998 as the successor to the European Monetary Institute.
The European Central Bank is responsible for monetary policy and banking supervision for the euro currency zone. It has a Governing Council and Executive Board that make decisions about monetary policy and banking supervision.
The ECB is headquartered in Frankfurt, and the famous symbol of the European Union can be seen here in the full display right in the city center.
It’s not a famous landmark specific to Germany but an entire continent. This is right in the middle of this major city in Germany near the Main Tower that underpins the beautiful skyline of Frankfurt.
No wonder Germany is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world! From historical sites like the Berlin Wall to natural wonders like the Black Forest, there are options to suit various interests in this fascinating country. So if you’re planning a trip to Germany, be sure to add some of these landmarks to your itinerary.
This is especially true for the country’s most famous landmarks steeped in tradition. For example, it may be less apparent how much Germany’s most prominent monuments have influenced German culture than it would be with other nations’ major attractions.
From the Schwerin Castle to the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, each landmark has a unique story worthy of recognition for its contributions to national heritage.
See Related: Public German Holidays
What are some famous landmarks in Germany?
Germany is filled with history, and it’s hard to narrow the list down to just a handful of places. Some of the most important in Germany are Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, the Neuschwanstein Castle, and Dresden’s Zwinger Palace.
What is Zwinger’s purpose?
The Zwinger’s purpose is to serve as a representative collection of landmarks from all cultures and the arts. The Zwinger was created by August II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, under the rule of Frederick Augustus I in Dresden in 1730.
It is comprised primarily of an open plaza in front, with two main sections: one long section with low-lying buildings on either side and the other one short section with gateways on its own.
The gateway’s two towers can be found at either end of the long sections—the tower on your left when you enter through any gate facing east or west will be Hildebrandt Tower.
What are 3 landmarks in Germany?
Three landmarks in Germany to know are Brandenburg Gate, the Neuschwanstein Castle, and Dresden’s Zwinger Palace.
How many landmarks are in Germany?
Germany is filled with thousands of historic buildings, historic landmarks, famous monuments, castles, and natural landmarks – there are over 20,000 castles and ruined castles in Germany – you’d never be able to see them all in a year of traveling throughout the nation.
- Famous Castles in Germany
- How to Plan a Trip to Germany
- Germany Tourism Information
- Best Ziplines in Germany
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