10 Lesser-Visited Places in Germany We Can’t Wait to Visit Post-Lockdown

We’ve pulled 10 of our favourite destinations from Germany’s Top 100. Whether you want to channel the optimism of the Bauhaus school in Dessau, parade about the fairy-tale palaces of King Ludwig II or simply fancy a leg-pumping hike amid glorious scenery, we’ve got you covered.

In partnership withGerman National Tourist Office

Once lockdown restrictions allow, we're going beyond the obvious haunts and seeking out Germany's lesser-visited locales. Our compass? The Top 100, a definitive list of Germany's most precious treasures, including centuries-old architectural masterpieces, small (but culture-rich) cities and lush, mountainous nature trails.

If you're anything like us, your provisional 2021 travel schedule is already looking a little tight - too tight for a 100-stop tour of Germany's under-radar hotspots, that is. Fret not. We've whittled down the list to a tidy top 10. Whether you want to channel the optimism of the Bauhaus school in Dessau, let your pent-up imagination run free at the fairy-tale palaces of King Ludwig II or simply fancy a leg-pumping hike amid glorious scenery, we've got you covered.

Beyond Berlin: 10 of our favourite under-radar destinations in Germany

Helgoland

Pocked by fisherman's huts slicked in dazzlingly bright lacquers of paint and set on an archipelago in the North Sea, this charming little island feels more Scandinavian than it does Germanic. Once a colony of the Danes and later the Brits, Helgoland today dances to the beat of its own drum - islanders have a dialect and traditional dress all of their own. Come here for delightfully sparse, sandy beaches and a wealth of biodiversity. Twitchers, bring your binoculars.

Berchtesgaden

France, Switzerland and Austria are always painted as quintessentially Alpine destinations, but what about Germany? We're shunting the obvious crags and rambling our way around Germany's portion of Alpine bliss, specifically at Berchtesgaden. It's the only National Park in the German Alps, but it has the lot - verdant pastures, meandering rivers, timid but majestic four-legged wildlife and Instagram-worthy hiking trails. Strap yourself in, folks.

Speicherstadt Warehouse District

For us, the best bit of a weekend city break is heading out on aimless rambles, especially if the city in question is home to a towering great warehouse district like Speicherstadt in Hamburg. These neo-gothic brick mansions - relics of Hamburg's industrial past - are now speckled with characterful museums such as the Automuseum Prototyp (petrolheads, here's looking at you) and the delightfully kitsch Minitatur Wunderland.

Bauhaus school in Dessau

What could be a better balm for the frustrated craftspeople of 2020 than a visit to the Bauhaus school in Dessau? Just shy of a century ago, Walter Gropius launched his utopian vision of a new world - one with quality, handmade crafts at its core - from this iconic building, not far from Berlin. "Limitation makes the creative mind inventive," Gropius once said; how very 2020 of him. We're heading here pronto.

Sylt

Forget timber-clad villages, tumbling flower boxes and lederhosen-clad locals. The island of Sylt presents an altogether different perspective on modern Germany. A haven for some of the country's wealthiest holidaymakers, this island in the North Sea (referred to as the Martha's Vineyard of Germany) is a go-to spot for recharging drained batteries - so much so that the legendary Lanserhof is currently building its next spa among the dunes here.

Linderhof Palace

In our age of mental wellbeing, perhaps we ought to have a little more sympathy for "mad" King Ludwig II. This, the only palace he saw through until completion, is like Versailles in miniature - a testament to his eccentric, creative genius. We'll admit, the interiors are a little gaudy for our taste, but from the outside its pure symmetry and bizarre perspectival tricks of the eye make it look like the backdrop of a Wes Anderson movie.

Eifel National Park

Over the past decade, the rewilding movement has gained ground as a slew of climactic crises has forced us to reconsider our relationship with nature. At the forefront of Germany's efforts is Eifel National Park, 110 square kilometres of rugged woodland with the slogan "let nature be nature". Expect to spot Eurasian eagle-owls, black storks and wild cats (small ones, don't worry) as you traipse around this timeless nature reserve.

Dresden

This gloriously baroque city is one for those with a more-is-more mentality. Beyond the outrageously decadent facades and countless golden statuettes that survey Dresden, you'll find plenty of modern curiosities. For starters, check out the Pillnitz Castle, where you'll find a glasshouse designed to protect a precious, 230-year old flowering camellia, and Touched Echo, a mesmeric, bone-conduction memorial for the victims of the famous 1945 bombings.

Medieval Crime Museum

We're suckers for quirky museums - the more unbelievable, the better. Old-school goths and those with a penchant for historical trivia should stop off at Rothenburg's Medieval Crime Museum. An original torture chair made for exorcising witches, a piggy mask designed for public humiliation and a handful of ye olde torture racks comprise just some of the gruesome but compelling artefacts in its collection. This one's not for the faint of heart.

Heidelberg Castle

It might be one of the most swarming Renaissance castles in the world, but, to our shame, we've never visited. Onwards to 2021. Having been fashioned and refashioned by countless German princes over the past four centuries, this sprawling complex is a real palimpsest of historical styles. Once you've revelled in regal pomp, get cosy in the castle's namesake city which is scored by the river Neckar and dotted with traditional, family-run restaurants. We're pencilling it in for Valentine's weekend.

The Lowdown

To see the full list of Germany's top 100 sights and attractions, click here.

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