The world’s largest miniature wonder, Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg has been voted the most popular tourist spot in Germany for the second year running. Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway system in the world where visitors can see not just the railway, but also an airport, as well as miniature versions of Hamburg, the mountainous German region of the Harz, the Austrian Alps, France, Italy, North-America and Scandinavia, replete with buildings, bridges, roads, rivers and several construction sites.
Hamburg’s own miniature replica is spread over a rather large 200 sqm and the ‘bustling’ miniature is home to even 50,000 inhabitants or Wunderländers and comes with Hagenbecks Tierpark Zoo and Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station in Hamburg which receives over 1500 trains every day.
With so many wonders, it is no surprise that it has been voted the most popular tourist destination in Germany and more than once. According to a press release, between December 2021 and June 2022, over 15,000 international tourists from 30 countries voted to choose their favourite tourist destinations in the country.
Following Miniatur Wunderland this was EuropaPark Rust, which was also able to defend its second place. Rothenburg ob der Tauber took third place for the first time. Neuschwanstein Castle, Phantasialand Brühl, Germany’s capital Berlin, the Black Forest National Park, the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Criminal Museum, Dresden, and the Moselle Valley followed.
‘‘For 10 years in a row, the Top 100 ranking presents Germany’s tourist destinations and sights. The ranking not only provides a snapshot of international awareness and popularity. The lively participation is also a vote for the appeal of the destination brand, Germany in the international competition,’’ says Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the Board of Directors of the German National Tourism Bureau (GNTB).
Since 2012, visitors on Germany Tourism’s website have been able to use a free text field to name the tourist destinations they consider particularly recommendable. From this, the GNTB develops the ranking of the Top 100, says the press release.
“History, culture, and natural beauty perhaps best describe the essence of vacationing in Germany. With its many historic cities and quaint small towns, along with an abundance of forests and mountains, Indian visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing unique places to visit in this beautiful part of Europe,” says Romit Theophilus, Director German National Tourist Office (GNTO), India.
In addition to the overall ranking, the survey results are structured into clusters: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, cities, urban highlights, natural highlights, leisure & animal parks, museums, national parks, regions, castles and palaces.
In terms of heritage sites with the UNESCO recognition, the Dome of Cathedral of Cologne is the most popular heritage site in the country followed by the Heritage Museum Island in Berlin.
In cities, the winner is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a small town in northern Bavaria, about 200 km south of Frankfurt and 250 north-west of Munich. Rothenburg is known for its medieval architecture. Half-timbered houses line the cobblestone lanes of its old town. The town walls include many preserved gate houses and towers, plus a covered walkway on top. It is followed in popularity by other better-known cities like Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg.
In Natural Wonders category, the Romantic Road takes the top spot, followed by Rhein River and Konigssee. Southern Germany’s Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) is a picturesque 350 km route through the forests and mountains of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. In the north, it starts from Würzburg, a wine-region city known for the Residenz, an 18th-century baroque palace with a Tiepolo fresco and it winds down some of the best landscapes in Germany to end at Füssen, in the foothills of the Alps, near King Ludwig II’s iconic Neuschwanstein Castle, another very popular spot.