10 Pivotal Things Germany Is Most (In)Famous For (Although You Won’t Love #10)

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Ah, Germany—a land where beer flows like water, history speaks volumes, and engineering is a point of national pride. In this article, I’ll be diving into the 10 most famous—or sometimes infamous—things that make Germany truly stand out, from the joyous festivities of Oktoberfest to some chilling reminders of the past.

Germany is a country that doesn’t do anything halfway. Whether it’s the sheer scale of the Berlin Wall’s historical impact or the breathtaking beauty of Neuschwanstein Castle, there’s always something that grabs your attention. And let’s not forget the Autobahn—where else can you drive as fast as your car allows without getting a speeding ticket?

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As someone who appreciates both hearty meals and fascinating tales, I can tell you that German cuisine and its legendary Christmas markets offer something for everyone. And if you’ve ever marveled at the efficiency of German engineering or felt the passion of a football match, you already know that this nation has a special kind of magic.

So, buckle your seatbelt, and let’s explore what makes Germany such an incredible place to visit.

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10 Pivotal Things Germany Is Most Famous For

1. Oktoberfest 🍺 (And Beer Culture)

Germany is famous for its beers and for food reason. With over 1,300 breweries adhering to strict purity laws, Germany is a sanctuary for anyone who worships at the altar of hops and barley.

Whether you’re enjoying a crisp pilsner or a hearty dunkel, Germany’s beer culture exemplifies the nation’s commitment to quality, tradition, and the complex art of brewing.

And of course, it’s also home to one of the world’s most famous festivals. This is where you can experience a celebration where everyone dresses in lederhosen and dirndls, dances on tables, and drinks beer from mugs the size of your head. If this sounds good, Oktoberfest is the event for you.

This legendary festival, held annually in Munich, is the world’s largest beer fest and a must-visit for beer enthusiasts and party-goers alike.

Read more about Oktoberfest here.


2. Berlin Wall 🏙️

The Berlin Wall is one of the most famous man-made constructions in the world. It’s impossible to think of the Cold War, of East and West Europe, without thinking of the Berlin War.

Today, it’s a concrete reminder of Cold War tensions. This colossal open-air canvas is now a hotspot for tourists who enjoy espionage tales, daring escape stories, and vibrant political art. The Wall once split Berlin and symbolized a world divided.

Visiting sites like the infamous Checkpoint Charlie or the colorful East Side Gallery is like turning the pages of a massive history textbook. These remnants of the Wall are poignant reminders of Germany’s tumultuous past and, more importantly, the indomitable human spirit.

Read more about visiting the Berlin Wall here.

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Berlin Wall

3. Neuschwanstein Castle 🏰 (And Castles In General)

Germany is famous for its castles and there are many here to visit, each with its own tales of knights, lords, and damsels in distress (or not). From the imposing Hohenzollern to the romantic Heidelberg, these architectural wonders offer glimpses into the medieval past.

Exploring these stone giants is like wandering through a live-action RPG, where every tower and turret ignites your imagination. Plus, who doesn’t love the idea of hosting a dinner party in a grand hall with tapestries and chandeliers?

But Germany takes this a step further with its most famous castle of all.

Imagine a castle that practically screams for its own Disney movie, and you’ve got Neuschwanstein, Bavaria’s crowning glory. This fairytale fortress, commissioned by King Ludwig II, perches on an Alpine ridge, a real-life storybook scene that inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Read more about Neuschwanstein Castle here.

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Neuschwanstein Castle

4. German Cuisine 🍽️ (Especially Sausages & Schnitzel)

Some of Germany’s food items are as famous its beer. Who doesn’t love a hearty German wurst (sausage) or schnitzel? And there are more items you’ll know beyond this.

German cuisine is known for being hearty and that’s where its magic lies.

Take schnitzel, for example—a breaded and fried masterpiece so large it might just qualify as a sleep aid. Then there are the sausages: bratwurst, kielbasa, currywurst… you could say Germany has a sausage for every mood and occasion.

Whether it’s for a casual beer garden afternoon or a serious street food binge, these meaty delights never disappoint.

And let’s not forget about pretzels, as twisted and delicious as your journey through Germany itself. Pair these with a hefty serving of sauerkraut, some rich gravies, and maybe a Black Forest Cake for dessert, and you’ve got a feast that’s a national treasure.

Click here to read our guides to German food.

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Nürnberger Bratwurst, another regional favorite

5. Autobahn 🚗

Germany is home to the world’s most famous freeway – the Autobahn.

Imagine a motorway where speed limits are frequently just friendly suggestions, and your sensible sedan suddenly feels like a race car. With stretches that are famously unrestricted, the Autobahn invites you to channel your inner Mario Andretti.

It’s not just about speed, though. This engineering marvel epitomizes efficiency and safety, blending German precision with a need for velocity. For car enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies, a spin on the Autobahn is a dream come true.

It’s a place where the open road and high performance converge, offering an unmatched driving experience that has car lovers from around the globe revving their engines with excitement.

Click here to read our guide to the fabulous Autobahn.

6. Black Forest 🌲

The Black Forest is well known as a magical realm of dense woodlands, rolling hills, and charming villages—a place that seems to have leaped straight out of a fairytale. Which is because it did!

Home to such characters as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, many of us all over the world grew up listening to tales set in this forest.

This region is perfect for those seeking adventure and enchantment. Hike or bike through its lush trails, discover quaint towns that look frozen in time, and maybe even lose yourself—hopefully less dramatically than Hansel and Gretel.

And what’s a visit without a cuckoo clock? These intricate timepieces, meticulously handcrafted, add to the forest’s mystique. The Black Forest is, without a doubt, a beautiful testament to Germany’s natural wonders and a perfect escape into nature’s embrace.

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Black Forest

7. Christmas Markets 🎄

One of the world’s most famous Christmas attractions, Germany’s Christmas Markets shouldn’t be missed. They are the epitome of holiday cheer.

Imagine a winter wonderland where cozy wooden stalls glitter with festive lights, vendors sell everything from hand-carved toys to heartwarming mulled wine (Glühwein), and the air is filled with the scent of roasted almonds and gingerbread.

Starting in late November, towns and cities transform into festive wonderlands, each market unique yet universally magical. Whether you’re in Berlin, Munich, or a tiny village, these markets offer a delightful mix of shopping, food, and festive atmosphere.

Indulge in seasonal delights like stollen and bratwurst, and don’t forget to buy a quirky ornament or two. These markets are not just a shopping experience—they’re a cherished tradition that warms even the coldest of winters.

Click here to read our guide to the best Christmas Markets.

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Cologne at Christmas

8. Engineering and Automobiles 🚀

When it comes to engineering and automobiles, Germany’s name is synonymous with precision, reliability, and cutting-edge technology. Home to auto giants like Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, Germany has revolutionized the car industry, making it a global benchmark for excellence.

Whether it’s the roar of a BMW engine or the sleek design of a Mercedes, German cars are not just vehicles—they are works of art that embody meticulous craftsmanship and innovative design.

But the engineering prowess doesn’t stop at cars. From high-speed trains to groundbreaking machinery, Germany has turned efficiency and durability into an art form. So, if you’re wondering why your car starts every morning without fail, you probably have a German engineer to thank.

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Volkswagen Car Towers at Autostadt

9. Football ⚽

When it comes to football (or soccer for you Americans and us Australians), Germany is a powerhouse of talent, passion, and fervor. The nation’s love for the beautiful game is evident in its impressive list of accolades, including multiple World Cup victories.

Whether it’s the Bundesliga—a top-tier league that attracts millions of fans—or the national team’s thrilling performances, German football is a spectacle of skill, strategy, and sheer excitement.

Iconic clubs like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund boast fanbases that could rival the population of a small country. In fact, my kids favorite teams are all in Germany and they cheer for the national team, despite the fact that we are Australian.

Matchdays turn cities into seas of cheering, chanting, and, occasionally, weeping supporters draped in their team’s colors. If you’re looking to experience football culture at its finest, Germany is the place to be.

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10. The Third Reich 💔

We can’t finish this list without addressing the elephant in the room. Unfortunately, the thing Germany may be most famous for is the Third Reich.

This dark chapter in German history from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler’s rule marks a time of immense national and global tragedy. The horrors of the Holocaust, World War II, and the widespread devastation still echo today.

However, Germany’s commitment to remembering and learning from this painful past is commendable. Memorials, museums, and preserved historical sites serve as solemn reminders and educational tools.

They ensure that the atrocities of the era are neither forgotten nor repeated. The Third Reich is a crucial part of Germany’s history, a period that has shaped the nation’s resolve for peace, democracy, and human rights in the years since.

Holocaust Memorial in BerlinPin
Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

There is also so much more to German’s history than this awful chapter. It’s a shame that it overshadows the many better chapters that came before it. You can learn more about Germany’s history here.

Germany is a treasure trove of experiences that range from the jubilant atmosphere of Oktoberfest to the profound history captured by the Berlin Wall and the Third Reich. Every corner of the country offers a blend of the past and the present, from the fairy-tale castles like Neuschwanstein to the sleek modernity of its world-renowned automobiles.

Whether you’re savoring a hearty bratwurst at a Christmas market or zooming down the Autobahn, Germany promises a journey filled with unforgettable memories. So, pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to immerse yourself in a country that’s as diverse as it is captivating. Your next great adventure awaits!

Learn more interesting and amazing things about Germany with this guide to things you may experience for the first time in Germany or this guide to the most beautiful Old Towns. You can also find all our guides to German culture here.

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Sharon Gourlay in the Rhina Valley

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon first fell in love with Germany back in 2000 on her first visit. She loves the long history, the picturesque Old Towns, the castles, the food, everything really! Since then, she has visited many times and loves writing about Germany here so you can enjoy it too. In fact, Sharon loves German culture so much that she sent her kids to a German primary school in Australia. She especially loves Berlin and towns with charming Old Towns like Celle and Quedlinburg. Sharon also has a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and understands the nitty gritty of travel planning. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to Germany whether it's your first or tenth time!

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