Germany has some fantastic attractions that bring tourists to the country from all over the world. Every year, the German Tourism Board drafts a list of landmarks, museums, points of interest and generally fantastic days out to highlight the 100 most popular attractions in the country. And a familiar name currently stands at the summit of this list for the second year in a row.
Having received an average of 1 million visitors per year since it launched in 2001, Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland has the honour of being the most-loved place to visit in the country. It might be surprising that so many people find a miniature railway so exciting, but it is the sheer size and intricacy of this attraction that makes it such a must-see.
Visiting Miniatur Wunderland
Located within the historic, UNESCO-listed Speicherstadt warehouse district of Hamburg, Miniatur Wunderland features nine different themed worlds, each depicting a different country. From Norway to Italy, the USA and, of course, Germany, each nation is portrayed in fantastic detail, including recognisable landmarks and other cultural representations.
This is, in essence, a miniature railway (the world’s largest, in fact), but it is also so much more than that. Cars move along the streets, planes taxi around the airport before taking off into the sky, building and street lights twinkle on and off and, naturally, trains glide over more than 10 miles of track. You can even watch a space rocket blast off from a miniature Cape Canaveral.
In total, there are around 1,500 trains, nearly 200 different types of other vehicle, over 260,000 little inhabitants and thousands of buildings in which they work, live and socialise. This interactive exhibition also has more than 200 different push-button actions that allow visitors to control things like car washes, cherry pickers and medieval knights’ sparring sessions. Each one is custom-made and suggested by the staff.
And the closer you look, the more you see. There are plenty of quirky scenes created for the amusement of visitors – from fishermen being chased by polar bears to a couple taking the opportunity to sunbathe in privacy amongst a field of sunflowers. Stick around and you’ll notice that things never stay the same for very long. Every 15 minutes, the displays in Miniatur Wunderland simulate the change from day to night with the use of complex lighting transitions.
Current prices are €7.50 for children under 16 and €15 for adults. There are also group rates available and you can book a guided tour to help you understand more about the work that goes into the operation of this mesmerising attraction. Special events take place throughout the year as well. For example, ‘Culinary Trip around the World’ gives you the chance to taste food from the various countries featured in the displays.
Another Attraction Soon To Grace The Top 10
Miniatur Wunderland is not the only attraction that Hamburg can boast amongst Germany’s 100 most popular sights. The city is home to four of them in total, with one particular highlight beginning to make a stir. A new addition to the skyline in 2016, the Elbphilharmonie (concert hall) has a distinctive design and has been attracting music and architecture fans since it opened.
Currently at number 51 on the list, it is expected to jump towards the top ten when the next figures are released around August. The building, which highlights Hamburg’s maritime history with its wave-like construction, saw more than 4 million people through the door in its first year and has quickly become another fantastic attraction for the city. As well as the Grand Hall, where visitors can enjoy world-class performances, there are rehearsal rooms, workshop rooms, a hotel, a restaurant and a panoramic viewpoint over Hamburg.