Gary’s Big German World Heritage Adventure

12 Mar

The route of my road trip

Starting Monday, March 11 I will spend 2-weeks driving around Germany with the goal of exploring 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 27 of which I have not previously visited.*

I am excited to be doing this trip for several reasons. I love road trips because there is a freedom you have when driving that doesn’t exist when you are traveling by train or plane. I love visiting UNESCO sites and Germany has the 5th highest number of them in the world (37). My ancestors also came from Germany in the 19th Century. Outside of a great aunt who spoke German, I didn’t experience much in the way of German culture growing up. (Being German became highly unfashionable in the United States with its entry into WWI.)

The sites are a mix of 19th century industrial sites, forests, cathedrals, monasteries, Roman ruins, paleontology digs and gardens.

The trip will be done in conjunction with Tourism Germany who has organized (in a highly efficient German fashion I might add) my itinerary, my lodging in the different cities as well as providing me with contacts at the various sites I’ll be visiting. The logistics of this trip like this isn’t easy and I owe them a great deal of thanks for helping me put this together.

27 locations in 2 weeks sounds like I will be very busy, and I will be, but it isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Most of the sites are cultural sites which consist of a single building or a relatively small area, such as the inner city of a small town. Having visited dozens of similar sites in the past, I have a good feel for how long it takes to visit them (usually 1-2 hours). Also, because Germany has so many sites, you are usually never more than a 1-2 hour drive from the next one. There are a few clusters that are in very close proximity which will occasionally let me visit 3 in one day.

Most days on the trip will involve visiting a site in the morning in the city where I spent the night and then visiting another site in the afternoon about 30-90 minutes drive from the morning location. When you think of it in those terms, it isn’t really that bad.

I will also be doing something a bit different in that I will be trying to edit photos nightly. I usually wait weeks or months before I post photos from a trip. Because I dedicate a daily photo to each UNESCO site I visit, I want to begin posting as quickly as possible. That means the first photos will hopefully appear Monday evening. You should also brace yourself for almost a month of daily photos from Germany.

I also (finally) have a sim card for my iPhone, so you can follow along in real time as I post updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Here is a complete list of the sites I’ll be visiting as well as my schedule. I will mostly be staying in small towns, but I happen to be in your area, feel free to contact me. I might not have a lot of time, but can usually meet up for drinks in the evening.


March 11

  • #1 Jasmund National Park (Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany)
  • #2 Stralsund (Historic Centres of Stralsund and Wismar)

March 12

  • Wismar (Historic Centres of Stralsund and Wismar)
  • #3 Lübeck (Hanseatic City of Lübeck)

March 13

  • #4 Bremen (Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen)

March 14

  • #5 Bremerhaven (The Wadden Sea)*
  • #6 Essen (Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen)

March 15

  • #7 Aachen (Aachen Cathedral)

March 16

  • #8 Kolbenz to Bingen (Upper Middle Rhine Valley)
  • #9 Trier (Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier)

March 17

  • #10 Völklingen (Völklingen Ironworks)
  • #11 Saalburg (Frontiers of the Roman Empire)

March 18

  • #12 Darmstadt-Dieburg (Messel Pit Fossil Site)
  • #13 Lorsch (Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch)
  • #14 Speyer (Speyer Cathedral)

March 19

  • #15 Maulbronn (Maulbronn Monastery Complex)
  • #16 Reichenau (Monastic Island of Reichenau)

March 20

  • #17 Unteruhldingen (Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps)
  • Neuschwanstein Castle *Not a UNESCO World Heritage Site*

March 21

  • #18 Steingaden (Pilgrimage Church of Wies)
  • #19 Regensburg (Old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof)

March 22

  • #20 Bayreuth (Margravial Opera House Bayreuth)
  • #21 Bamberg (Town of Bamberg)

March 23

  • #22 Würzburg (Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square)
  • #23 Hildesheim (St Mary’s Cathedral and St Michael’s Church at Hildesheim)

March 24

  • #24 Alfeld (Fagus Factory in Alfeld)
  • #25 Goslar (Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz
    Water Management System)

March 25

  • #26 Quedlinburg (Collegiate Church, Castle, and Old Town of Quedlinburg)
  • #27 Dessau-Rosslau (Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz)

March 26

  • #28 Muskauer Park

Here is the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites I have previously visited:

  1. The Wadden Sea (Netherlands/Germany)
  2. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust (Germany)
  3. Cologne Cathedral (Germany)
  4. Wartburg Castle (Germany)
  5. Classical Weimar (Germany)
  6. Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau (Germany)
  7. Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany)**
  8. Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg (Germany)
  9. Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (Germany)
  10. Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin (Germany)
  11. Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (Germany)

* The Wadden Sea site is shared by the Netherlands and Germany. I previously visited the site in the Netherlands but was extremely disappointed with the photos I took. What makes the Wadden Sea special is what happens at low tide and my previous visit was at high tide. I’m looking forward to taking some much more representative images.

**Dresden was delisted by UNESCO in 2009 because of a bridge that was built on the Elbe river. I strongly disagree with the decision to delist and decided to keep it on my list of sites.

Gary’s Big German World Heritage Adventure

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