There were lots of great visit ideas to be found again at this year’s major showcase for local German tourism attractions and destinations at the RDA Workshop in Cologne. Almost 1,000 stands attracted some 10,000 visitors from coach and tour operating companies based in Germany and neighbouring countries. GTO discovered even more tourism delights to include in group trips to Germany.
Life in miniature
Opened three years ago in Leer, near Bremen, the Leeraner Miniturland model village attraction features a 1,200 square metre hall housing a reproduction of the Ostfriesland region, East Frisia, Emsland and the adjacent Netherlands in 1:87 scale. An impressive ‘model of the model’ was on show at the stand at RDA.
A new gallery for cuckoo clocks
A new cuckoo clock attraction, Gallery Cuckooland, is due to open this year in Triberg in Germany’s Black Forest cuckoo clock country and to promote it at RDA, a suitably traditionally dressed couple carried sample exhibits around!
Exploring on the lakes
River and lake trips are very popular in Germany and there are a number of lesser known waterways where interesting vessels offer excursions including on Lake Müritz (actually the largest lake entirely in Germany) in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the north of the country, where amomgst the fleet of the Weisse Flotte Müritz company is the delightful Pullman ship Müritz.
Up close with animals
Amongst a number of German animal attractions who were exhibiting at RDA is the major Serengeti Park and Lodges, between Bremen and Hannover, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It features over 1,500 animals of 100 species specialising in African species plus adventure experiences. At the Wildpark Schwarze Berge, south of Hamberg, a woodland area that has a collection of animals ranging from Siberian ibex to European lynx, a new Wildpark Restaurant has recently opended designed to offer diners great views of the animals.
There are excellent family-run hotels throughout Germany as well as those of the major chains. On the north sea coast area of Heringsdorf, a dozen grand traditional Seetel Hotels are owned by a single family, ranging from three to five stars.
The best of Berlin
The booming tourism sector in Berlin – the fastest growing tourist destination among Europe’s major cities – continues to add new visitor offers. Featured at RDA were the Berlin Highlights Guide, a marketing consortium for attractions and activities that have joined together to present special offers to visitors.
Also, there was the forthcoming major international flower show IGA Berlin, taking place in 2017. One of the neighbourhoods of Berlin, Marzahn-Hellersdorf is specialising in a green environment with gardens and parks to enhance the area. There are already a number of different themed world gardens including Chinese, Japanese and Italian, with an English Garden due to open next year.
To help group visitors get around Berlin, a new BusStop 2015 guide helps you to navigate the city by coach including stopping and parking.
Also coming to Berlin later this year is a major new production at the Palast Theatre, The Wyld. It joins the city’s lively entertainment offer and is another production led by fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who recently opened his Mugler Follies in Paris.
Transport and technology attractions
Germany has a number of major museums focusing on technology, transport and industry. As well as the famous car manufacturer visitor attractions from Mercedes and Porsche in Stuttgart, and the unique Autostadt experience adjacent to the VW plant at Wolfsburg, we found some other excellent museums at RDA.
Claiming to be the largest private science, technical and transport collection in Europe are the two linked museums in the Odenwald area, Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim and Technik Museum Speyer. The Sinsheim museum is the only one to have both an example of supersonic airliner Concorde and the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 equivalent from the 1970s whilst the Speyer museum presents the largest exhibition on manned space flight outside Russia and the US.
Other attractions on this theme, and all in the Nuremberg area, include the major museum from rail operator DB, the oldest railway museum in Germany, the Motorrad-Museum looking at the history of motorcycle production in Nuremberg and part of the Museum for Industrial Culture, and the Maybach Museum (right) in Neumarkt celebrating the classic historic prestige German car marque.