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Our 5 worst German tourist traps - and top alternatives

The Local Germany
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Our 5 worst German tourist traps - and top alternatives

Ready to kick the queues, kitsch, selfie-stick wielding crowds and overpriced schnitzel? Check out our guide to Germany's worst tourist traps and discover their lesser-known (and sometimes superior) alternatives.


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Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin 

Checkpoint Charlie, the best known crossing point between East and West Berlin during the forty year division. Iconic it may be, but it's also crowded, kitschy and home to a rather one-sided museum. If you really want to learn about what the Wall did to Berlin, you'll find all the info you need at the excellent Dokumentationszentrum Berliner Mauer in Bernauer Strasse.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

A real-life fairytale castle on a hill, built by mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It's pretty, we get it, but we don't think it's worth the hours-long queues or the hoards of tourists armed with selfie sticks - 1.4 million of them every year. Almost as picturesque is the nearby Linderhof Palace, or Schloss Linderhof, the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II. And, with just 430,000 visitors a year, you don't have to elbow your way in to see it.  

Hofbräuhaus, Munich

So you're in Bavaria on holiday. We know all you want is an impossibly large glass of beer and a plate of sausages served by waiters in Lederhosen. The classic option is Hofbräuhaus in Munich. That's if you can get a table - it's always rammed with tourists. But don't worry if you don't get in, Munich's old town is packed with alternative beer halls steeped in history, so many that we can't name them all here. One good bet is the Schneider Bräuhaus.

Zugspitze, Bavarian Alps

If you've been skiing in Germany, you've probably been to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, arguably the country’s best known ski resort. But all the tourists mean there's no peace on this piste. Looking for a family friendly resort without the crowds? If you are willing to go to a smaller resort, the Allgäu region is full of alternatives. Just two hours drive away is the much quieter, but still family friendly, Oberjoch-Unterjoch-Bad Hindelang. 

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne 

Cologne Cathedral is often packed, especially during the summer months or around Karneval season in February. But this gothic pile is, dare we say it, actually pretty ugly. Just half an hour's drive east is another world heritage site, the lesser known Kaiserdom in Aachen, one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe. Emperor Charlemagne is buried here and for centuries it served as the coronation site for Germany's medieval kings and queens.



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