Due to the global pandemic, we have unfortunately not been able to travel as much as we would like to lately. Hotels are closed, museums and castles are not open to visitors; all of this takes away the fun and joy of travelling. That's why we haven't left the country for over a year and have only visited places nearby (a wedding was the exception, but that doesn't count as travelling, does it?). Of course with sufficient distance and only within the current rules.
This small list shows a selection of our favourite places we have visited since the pandemic started. These places captivate with their lovely old towns, great museums and extensive parks. We are big fans of parks with spacious green areas, small castles and pretty fountains and statues, as you can see from this list.
Potsdam is the capital of Brandenburg and the former residence of the kings of Prussia. The city is rich in parks and castles and the cultural landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Babelsberg film park is one of Europe most modern film studios, in 1926 “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang was produced here.
The capital of Brandenburg is home to 20 palaces and castles from the Prussian era and therefore has UNESCO World Heritage status. The most famous of these palaces is certainly Sanssouci Palace, which King Frederick the Great had built as a small summer palace with a vineyard.
However, we particularly liked the three parks: Sanssouci Park, Babelsberg Park and the New Garden:
- Park Sanssouci with Sanssouci Palace, the New Palace and the Orangery Palace is a little paradise for all fans of the Baroque.
- Park Babelsberg is a little hillier and more wooded, but offers plenty to see with Babelsberg Palace, the former Berlin Courthouse and the Flatow Tower.
- The New Garden is surrounded by two large lakes and is home to the Marble Palace, a fake temple ruin and the world-famous Cecilienhof Palace - where history was written.
The city centre also offers real architectural highlights with the Old Town Hall, the State Parliament building and the Protestant Nikolai Church. In addition, the Dutch Quarter with its neat gabled houses made of dark red brick and the Russian colony Alexandrowka are absolutely worth seeing.
Berlin is the capital of Germany and the most populous city in the European Union. Since 1991, the city has been the seat of the federal government, the Bundestag and many embassies. Well-known sights are the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, the entire Museum Island in the Spree and many more.
It's really not necessary to write much about Berlin, because everything has been said as it's already been written about many times. We were particularly taken with the Museum Island – six world-class museums packed close together onto one very small island. That's some quality you don't come across very often.
The East Side Gallery, part of the Berlin Wall, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the Stasi Museum and especially the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe are also absolutely worth a visit. Even though they may not be the most beautiful places, they are so important because they remind us of the worst times in this countrys history and remind us not to make the same mistakes and remain silent like generations before us did.
Dresden is the capital and the second-largest city in Saxony. The international cultural city on the Elbe is known for numerous important buildings such as the baroque Zwinger, the reconstructed Frauenkirche, the Residenzschloss and the Semperoper. Dresden is one of the greenest cities in Europe.
As the former residence of the kings of Saxony, Dresden impresses with its pomp and splendour. Here you are virtually in the midst of a baroque synthesis of the arts and monument to art and cultural history. Among many other highlights, the Zwinger, the Semper Opera House (a tour of which is highly recommended) and the Residence Palace are worthy of mention. But the completely rebuilt Frauenkirche on Neumarkt also exudes a charm all its own.
Dresden is one of those places that you should definitely visit several times because there is so much to see. We were particularly taken with nearby Pilnitz. An Asian-inspired castle surrounded by a beautiful park – what a lovely place.
Quedlinburg is a town in the Harz Mountains in Saxony-Anhalt. The old town, with about 2,000 half-timbered houses from eight centuries and some Art Nouveau villas, is one of the largest area monuments in Germany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city also has a railway station for the Harzer Schmalspurbahn.
Red-orange tiled roofs as far as the eye can see, speckled with a few dark slate roofs. Narrow cobblestone streets with colourful half-timbered houses packed tightly together. This is Quedlinburg, a beautiful little town with UNESCO World Heritage status in the Harz Mountains.
Strolling through the streets and alleys with almost 2,000 half-timbered houses from eight centuries and climbing up to the collegiate church on the Schlossberg are a great experience and take you back in time.
Kassel is the third largest-city in Hesse. It once was the capital of the Landgraviate and later of the Electorate of Hesse. That's why the city impresses with castles and parks such as the orangery or the Wilhelmshöhe mountain park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The documenta Kassel is also well known.
Park Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel is Europe's largest mountain park and has UNESCO World Heritage status. Here we spent a lovely, warm afternoon surrounded by green spaces and small forests.
The climb up to the Hercules, along the water features with many artificial waterfalls, is really worth it because the view from the top is incomparable. With good weather conditions, you can see the whole of Kassel and the surrounding area.
This quote sums up my thoughts on travelling during the pandemic well. Germany is a beautiful country full of culture and history and has a lot to offer. Maybe the beautiful things are often closer than you think.
Nonetheless, we are looking forward to the end of this catastrophe, when life returns to the "new" normal and we can see, visit and experience cities and places outside of this country.