World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Tourism in Germany

Article Id: WHEBN0000580850
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tourism in Germany  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, Transport in Germany, Outline of Germany, Tourism in Germany
Collection: Tourism in Europe, Tourism in Germany
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tourism in Germany

Tourists in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate during Festival of Lights
physical map

Germany is the seventh most visited country in the world,[1][2] with a total of 407.26 million overnights during 2012.[3] This number includes 68.83 million nights by foreign visitors, the majority of foreign tourists in 2009 coming from the Netherlands, the United States and Switzerland (see table). Additionally, more than 30% of Germans spend their holiday in their own country. According to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Reports, Germany is rated as one of the safest travel destinations worldwide.

The official body for tourism in Germany is the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), represented worldwide by National Tourist Offices in 29 countries. Surveys by the GNTB include perceptions and reasons for holidaying in Germany, which are as follows: culture (75%), outdoors/countryside (59%), cities (59%), cleanliness (47%), security (41%), modernity (36%), good hotels (35%), good gastronomy/cuisine (34%), good accessibility (30%), cosmopolitanism/hospitality (27%), good shopping opportunities (21%), exciting nightlife (17%) and good price/performance ratio (10%) (multiple answers were possible).

In 2012, over 30.4 million international tourists arrived in Germany, bringing over US$38 billion in international tourism receipts to the country.[4] Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly to contribute over EUR43.2 billion to the German GDP. Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 4.5% of German GDP and supports 2 million jobs (4.8% of total employment).[5]


  • History 1
    • Statistics 1.1
  • Countryside 2
    • Health 2.1
    • Regions 2.2
    • Theme routes 2.3
    • Winter sport 2.4
  • Cities 3
    • Berlin 3.1
    • Munich 3.2
    • Hamburg 3.3
    • Events 3.4
    • Trade fairs 3.5
  • Most visited... 4
    • Protected areas 4.1
    • Landmarks 4.2
    • Theme parks 4.3
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The history of tourism in Germany goes back to cities and landscapes being visited for education and recreation. From the late 18th century onwards, cities like Dresden, Munich, Weimar and Berlin were major stops on a European Grand tour.

Spas and Seaside resorts on the North and Baltic Sea (e.g. Rugia and Usedom islands, Heiligendamm, Norderney and Sylt islands) particularly developed during the 19th and early 20th century, when major train routes were built to connect the seaside spas to urban centers. An extense bathing and recreation industry materialized in Germany around 1900. At rivers and close to natural landscapes (along the Middle Rhine valley and in Saxon Switzerland for example) many health spas, hotels and recreational facilities were established since the 19th century.

Since the end of World War II tourism has expanded greatly, as many tourists visit Germany to experience a sense of European history and the diverse German landscape. The country features 14 national parks, including the Jasmund National Park, the Vorpommern Lagoon Area National Park, the Müritz National Park, the Wadden Sea National Parks, the Harz National Park, the Hainich National Park, the Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Bavarian Forest National Park and the Berchtesgaden National Park. In addition, there are 14 Biosphere Reserves, as well as 98 nature parks.

The countryside has a pastoral aura, while the bigger cities exhibit both a modern and classical feel. Small and medium-sized cities often preserved their historical appearance and have old towns with remarkable architectural heritage - these are called Altstadt in German.


Bavaria is the German state with the most visitors.
4.124 M
2.594 M
United States
2.310 M
United Kingdom
2.294 M
1.631 M
1.581 M
1.573 M
1.401 M
14.01 M
Hotel guests by country of origin in 2013 [6]

The table below shows the distribution of national and international visitor nights spent in each of the sixteen states of Germany in 2008. With 76.91 million nights spent in hotels, hostels or clinics, Bavaria has the most visitors. With 14.300 nights per 1,000 population, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has the highest density of tourists.

state # of nights
in 2008
in million
of whom
foreign visitors
in million
Baden-Württemberg 43.62 8.90 4.1
Bavaria 76.91 17.30 6.1
Berlin 17.77 6.18 5.2
Brandenburg 9.41 0.86 3.7
Bremen 1.65 0.34 4.2
Hamburg 7.66 1.42 4.3
Hesse 27.30 6.69 4.5
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 23.83 1.07 14.3
Lower Saxony 36.92 3.73 4.2
North Rhine-Westphalia 41.52 8.39 2.3
Rhineland-Palatinate 18.45 4.17 4.6
Saarland 2.26 0.32 2.2
Saxony 15.70 1.63 3.7
Saxony-Anhalt 6.70 0.52 2.8
Schleswig-Holstein 21.07 2.40 7.4
Thuringia 8.68 0.60 3.8



About 242 million nights, or ⅔ of all nights spent in hotels in Germany, are spent in spa towns.[7] Germany is well known for health tourism, with many of the numerous spa towns having been established at a hot spring, offering convalescence (German: Kur) or preventive care by means of mineral water and/or other spa treatment. Spa towns and seaside resorts carry official designations such as Mineral and mud spas (Mineral- und Moorbäder), Healthy climate resorts (Heilklimatische Kurorte), Kneipp cure resorts (Kneippkurorte = water therapy resorts), Seaside resorts (Seebäder), Climatic resorts (Luftkurorte), and Recreation resorts (Erholungsorte). The largest and most well known resorts also have casinos, most notably at Bad Wiessee, Baden-Baden (Kurhaus), Wiesbaden (Kurhaus), Aachen, Travemünde and Westerland (Kurhaus).


Dune on the North Frisian island of Sylt
Stubbenkammer on the Baltic island of Rügen

The most visited tourist regions in Germany are the East Frisian and North Frisian Islands, the Baltic Sea coasts of Holstein, Mecklenburg and Vorpommern, the Rhine Valley, the Bavarian and Black Forest, and the Bavarian Alps.

The table below shows the five most visited rural districts in 2008:[8]

rank district # of nights in 2008
1 Nordfriesland 6.96 million
2 Rügen 5.57 million
3 Oberallgäu 5.29 million
4 Ostholstein 5.27 million
5 Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald 4.41 million

Other popular regions include

Theme routes

A cuckoo clock, symbol of the Black Forest.

Since the 1930s, local and regional governments have set up various theme routes, to help visitors get to know a specific region and its cultural or scenic qualities. The table below shows some of the most prominent theme routes. Other popular German theme routes include parts of the European Route of Brick Gothic and European Route of Industrial Heritage, the Harz-Heide Road, Bertha Benz Memorial Route and Bergstrasse.

List of theme routes (incomplete)
Route Established Theme Length
German Wine Road (Deutsche Weinstraße) 1935 Palatinate wine route 85 km
German Avenue Road (Deutsche Alleenstraße) 1993 Tree-sided avenues and lush countrysides 2900 km
Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) 1950 Romanticism 366 km
Black Forest High Road (Schwarzwaldhochstraße) 1952 Black Forest 60 km
Castle Road (Burgenstraße) 1954 Castles in Germany 1,000 km
Road of Weser Renaissance (Straße der Weserrenaissance) Weser Renaissance 350 km
Romanesque Road (Straße der Romanik) 1993 Romanesque architecture 1,195 km
German Ferries Route 2004 Fords, ferries, bridges and tunnels 250 km
German Timber-Frame Road 1990 Timber framing (Fachwerk) 3,000 km
German Clock Road (Deutsche Uhrenstrasse) Cuckoo clock Manufacturers, clock-face paintings workshops,
museums, Black Forest and Baar villages, landscapes
320 km
Industrial Heritage Trail (Route der Industriekultur) Industrial heritage of the Ruhr area 400 km
German Fairy Tale Route (Deutsche Märchenstraße) Fairy tales and legends of the Brothers Grimm 600 km

Winter sport

The main winter sport regions in Germany are the Bavarian Alps and Northern Limestone Alps, as well as the Ore Mountains, Harz Mountains, Fichtel Mountains and Bavarian Forest within the Central Uplands. First class winter sport infrastructure is available for alpine skiing and snowboarding, bobsledding and cross-country skiing.

In most regions, winter sports are limited to the winter months November to February. During the Advent season, many German towns and cities host Christmas markets.


In terms of numbers of overnight stays, travel to the twelve largest cities in Germany more than doubled between 1995 and 2005, the largest increase of any travel destination.[9] This increase mainly arises from growth of cultural tourism, often in conjunction with educational or business travel. Consequently, the provision and supply of more and higher standards of cultural, entertainment, hospitality, gastronomic, and retail services also attract more international guests.

The table below shows the ten most visited cities in Germany in 2012. Other cities and towns with over 1 million nights per year are Rostock, Hannover, Bremen, Cuxhaven, Bonn, Freiburg, Münster, Lübeck, Wiesbaden, Essen and Regensburg.

Frankfurt am Main
Top ten city destinations in 2012 by number of overnight stays (millions)[3]


Berlin has a yearly total of about 135 million day visitors, which puts it in third place among the most-visited city destinations in the European Union. Berlin had 781 hotels with over 125,000 beds in June 2012.[10] The city recorded 20.8 million overnight hotel stays and 9.1 million hotel guests in 2010.[11] In the first half of 2012, there was an increase of over 10% compared to the same period the year before.[10]



In 2007, more than 3,985,105 visitors with 7,402,423 overnight stays visited the city.[12] The tourism sector employs more than 175,000 people full-time and brings in revenue of €9.3 billion, making the tourism industry a major economic force in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Hamburg has one of the fastest-growing tourism industries in Germany. From 2001 to 2007, the overnight stays in the city increased by 55.2% (Berlin +52.7%, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania +33%).[13]

A typical Hamburg visit includes a tour of the city hall and the grand church St. Michaelis (called the Michel), and visiting the old warehouse district (Speicherstadt) and the harbour promenade (Landungsbrücken). Sightseeing buses connect these points of interest. As Hamburg is one of the world's largest harbours many visitors take one of the harbour and/or canal boat tours (Große Hafenrundfahrt, Fleetfahrt) which start from the Landungsbrücken. Major destinations also include museums.

The area of Reeperbahn in the quarter St. Pauli is Europe's largest red light district and home of strip clubs, brothels, bars and nightclubs. The Beatles had stints on the Reeperbahn early in their careers. Others prefer the laid-back neighbourhood Schanze with its street cafés, or a barbecue on one of the beaches along the river Elbe. Hamburg's famous zoo, the Tierpark Hagenbeck, was founded in 1907 by Carl Hagenbeck as the first zoo with moated, barless enclosures.[14]


The table below shows some of the largest annually recurring events in Germany:

type event location season # of visitors notes
Volksfest Oktoberfest Munich September/October 6.0 million
Volksfest Cannstatter Volksfest Stuttgart September/October 4.2 million locally called "Cannstatter Wasen"
Fair Largest Fair on the Rhine Düsseldorf July/August 4.0 million
Sport event Sailing regatta Kiel Week Kiel July/August 3.5 million
Maritime festival Hanse Sail Rostock 2nd weekend of August 1.1 million one of Europe's biggest events for sailors
World Marathon Major Berlin Marathon Berlin September
Carnival parade Cologne Carnival Cologne February 1.5 million number of visitors for Rosenmontagszug
Gay pride Cologne Pride Cologne June/July 1.2 million
contemporary art exhibition Quadriennale Düsseldorf Düsseldorf September/January only held every 4 years
documenta Kassel Kassel 0.9 million only held every 5 years
Music festival Techno music Love Parade varies June/July 1.6 million * Further Events have been canceled following the Love Parade tragedy in 2010
Rock music Bochum Total Bochum June/July/August 1.0 million
Rock music Rock am Ring and Rock im Park Nürburgring and Nuremberg May/June 0.8 million
Classical music Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival throughout Schleswig-Holstein July/August 0.2 million
Anniversary Port of Hamburg birthday Hamburg May 7 1.0 million
Fireworks show Cologne Lights Cologne July 1.0 million
Rhein in Flammen Bonn May 0.5 million
Wine festival Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim 2nd and 3rd Weekend in September 0.6 million
Film festival Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival) Berlin February 0.5 million Film festival

Note: This list only includes the largest, annually recurring events in selected categories. This list may be incomplete.

Trade fairs

visitors at IAA 2007
The Leipzig Book Fair in 2012

Germany is home to several of the world's largest trade fairgrounds, and many of the international exhibitions are considered trend-setters or industry leaders. Thousands of national and international trade fairs, conventions and congresses are held in Germany annually. In 2008, 10.3 million people visited the 150 largest trade fairs alone. More than half of these visitors come from abroad, more than one third from countries outside Europe. The table below shows some of the most visited trade fairs.

trade fair ground city trade fair industry # of visitors[15][16] notes
Messe Frankfurt Frankfurt am Main Internationale Automobilausstellung (IAA) motor show 850,000 in 2009 held in Hanover every other year as a truck show
Frankfurt Book Fair books 300,000 in 2008
ISH heating, ventilation and air conditioning 201,000 in 2009 biennial
Messegelände Hanover CeBIT computer expo 334,000 87,000 foreign visitors
Hannover Messe industrial technology 250,000 in 2011 world's biggest industrial fair
Messe München International Munich BAUMA construction machinery 530,000 in 2013 triennial
BAU architecture, materials, systems engineering 212,000 in 2009 biennial
Messe Berlin Berlin International Green Week (IGW) sustainable agriculture 425,000 9,000 foreign visitors
Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) consumer electronics 240,000 in 2012
Messe Düsseldorf Düsseldorf Drupa print media 390,000 230,000 foreign visitors, quadrennial
Boot Düsseldorf boats 267.000 43,000 foreign visitors
Kunststoffmesse (K) plastics 242,000 in 2007 triennial
koelnmesse Cologne gamescom video games 245,000 in 2009 organised by Leipzig Trade Fair until 2008 as Games Convention

Note: This list only includes trade fairs with 250,000 visitors per year or more. This list may be incomplete.

Most visited...

Protected areas

The table below shows the most visited protected areas in Germany.

rank protected area location type # of visitors in 2002[17] # of visitors in 2008
Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park Mecklenburg-Vorpommern National park 2.50 million 3.00 million[18]
Saxon Switzerland National Park Saxony National park 2.15 million 2.90 million[19]
Bavarian Forest National Park Bavaria National park 2.00 million
Jasmund National Park Mecklenburg-Vorpommern National park 2.00 million
Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park 1 Lower Saxony National park 2.00 million
Berchtesgaden National Park Bavaria National park 1.50 million
Harz National Park Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt National park 1.50 million
Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park 1 Schleswig-Holstein National park 1.50 million
Mainau Island Baden-Württemberg 1.30 million

Note: This list only includes protected areas with 1 million or more visitors per year. This list may be incomplete.

1 World Heritage Site in Germany


The Cathedral of Cologne is Germany's most visited landmark

The German Tourism Association (Deutscher Tourismusverband) irregularly publishes statistics on the most visited landmarks. With an average of over 6 million visitors entering Cologne Cathedral per year, the cathedral is Germany's most visited landmark. Second and third places go to the Reichstag building in Berlin and the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Other much visited architectural landmarks include the Drosselgasse in Rüdesheim (3.0m), the medieval old towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (2.5m), Monschau (2.0m) and Bad Münstereifel (2m), the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Holsten Gate in Lübeck 1.

rank landmark location subject # of visitors in 2002[17] # of visitors in 2007
1 Cologne Cathedral 1 Cologne Gothic Cathedral 6.0 million 6.0 million[20] in 2004
2 Reichstag building Berlin Bundestag 2.70 million 2.70 million[21] in 2006
3 Hofbräuhaus Munich Brewery 1.80 million[22]
4 Heidelberg Castle Heidelberg Renaissance architecture 1.30 million
5 Neuschwanstein Castle Schwangau Castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria 1.25 million 1.36 million[23]
6 Zwinger and Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Dresden Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden 1.20 million
7 Fernsehturm Berlin Television and observation tower 1.10 million
8 Aachen Cathedral 1 Aachen Imperial Cathedral 1.0 million 1.5 million[24]

Note: This list only includes physical landmarks with 1.0 million visitors per year or more. This list may be incomplete.

1 World Heritage Site in Germany

Theme parks

The table below shows some of the most visited theme parks or related facilities in Germany.

The Atlantica SuperSplash in Europa-Park
Name Location Sort Nr. of visitors in 2002[17] Nr. of visitors in 2008
Europa-Park Rust Amusement park 3.5 million 4.0 million[25]
VW Autostadt Wolfsburg Automobile park 2.1 million
Nürburgring Nürburg Formula One park 2.0 million
Therme Erding Erding Water park 1.5 million
Movie Park Germany Bottrop Amusement park 1.3 million
Legoland Deutschland Günzburg Miniature park 1.3 million
Berlin Zoological Garden Berlin Zoo 3.0 million
Phantasialand Brühl Amusement park 1.75 million
Heide Park Resort Soltau Amusement park 1.6 million
Deutsches Museum Munich Museum 1.4 million
Hamburg Planetarium Hamburg Planetarium 0.4 million

Note: This list only includes the largest theme parks/facilities in selected categories. This list may be incomplete.

See also


  1. ^ "Interim Update" (PDF). UNWTO World Tourism Barometer (UNWTO). April 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  2. ^ http://dtxtq4w60xqpw.cloudfront.nets/all/files/pdf/unwto_highlights13_en_hr_0.pdf
  3. ^ a b Zahlen Daten Fakten 2012 (in German), German National Tourist Board
  4. ^ "Tourism Highlights 2013 edition" (PDF). UNWTO. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  5. ^ "2013 Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Report Germany" (PDF). WTTC. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  6. ^ Touristenzahlen Statistisches Bundesamt, Stand 2013
  7. ^ Overnight stays by groups of communities, Statistisches Bundesamt, Wiesbaden
  8. ^ "Tourismus- und Hotelatlas 2009-2010" (PDF) (in German). Georg & Ottenströer. p. 8. 
  9. ^ Städte- und Kulturtourismus in Deutschland, German Tourism Association (DTV)
  10. ^ a b "Strong tourism and convention destination Berlin". visitBerlin. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Berlin-Tourismus 2010 mit neuem Rekord" (PDF). Amt für Statistik (in German). Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Staff (29 February 2008), Newsletter Nr. 18 (PDF), Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, retrieved 13 August 2008  (German)
  13. ^ Staff (11 July 2008), Umsatzbringer und Jobmotor Tourismus (in Deutsch),  
  14. ^ Rene S. Ebersole (November 2001). "The New Zoo". Audubon Magazine ( 
  15. ^ Euro Fair Statistics 2008, Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (FKM)
  16. ^ Audited Trade Fair and Exhibition Figures 2008, Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (FKM)
  17. ^ a b c Deutscher Tourismusverband, German Tourism Association (DTV)
  18. ^ Mehr als drei Millionen Besucher jährlich, Die Welt, 15 October 2008
  19. ^ Immer mehr Besucher im Nationalpark, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, 12. March 2010
  20. ^ Der Kölner Dom, Hessischer Rundfunk
  21. ^ Das Parlament, February 2008
  22. ^ Zapfhahn 2007, Hofbräuhaus, page 9
  23. ^
  24. ^ Tourismus-Barometer, Aachen district, 2008
  25. ^ Europa-Park Facts, March 2010
  1. Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland (Federal Statistical Office)
  2. DZT / World Travel Monitor
  3. World Tourism Organization

External links

  • Official Germany tourism website (German) (Arabic) (Czech) (Danish) (English) (Spanish) (Finnish) (French) (Hebrew) (Hungarian) (Italian) (Japanese) (Korean) (Dutch) (Norwegian) (Polish) (Portuguese) (Russian) (Slovene) (Swedish) (Chinese)
  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Germany travel and tourism at DMOZ
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.