BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Mercedes; Germany is famous for its cars who zip down the Autobahn - after all, the automobile was invented in Germany in 1886 by Carl Benz. Today, car enthusiasts will find many opportunities to celebrate the Auto in Germany: From car museums and car factory tours, to scenic drives, race tracks, and the Autobahn, here are the best places to enjoy the best of Germany's cars.
1. BMW World Munich
For BMW fans, Munich offers no less than three points of interest, all in walking distance from each other: The BMW Museum, which traces back the history of the famous car; the architectural masterpiece "BMW World", which is the delivery center for BMWs and also houses exhibition halls, design ateliers, and workshops for kids; and of course the BMW plant itself, which offers fascinating tours: Put on your safety goggles and factory coats and watch how giant conveyors lift the 3-series BMW to be welded by computer-controlled robots.
2. Volkswagen Factory Wolfsburg
The Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg prides itself in being the largest auto plant in the world. Its adjacent “Autostadt” (car city) is a theme park dedicated to the automobile and offers everything car enthusiasts of all ages dream about. There is a huge car museum, several pavilions dedicated to various VW models, driving courses for adults and kids, restaurants, a hotel, and of course the factory itself, which offers interesting tours. Another highlight: Embark on a glass elevator which takes you to the top of the 160 feet high glass Car Tower; they hold up to 800 custom-ordered cars, which are picked up by their buyers fresh from the factory.
If prefer love a slower pace, then make the journey your reward and take a road trip. Germany offers many scenic drives and themed roads that will lead you past quaint villages, medieval castles, and unspoiled countryside. From the Romantic Road, and the Castle Road, to the Fairy Tale Road, and the Wine Route, check out the roads best traveled in Germany.
The last new “Trabi”, the car produced in the former GDR, hit the road in 1991, but the vehicle has gained cult status in Germany ever since; although the Trabi is neither fast nor efficient, the cute car has sentimental value and is a powerful symbol of a time gone-by. Most Trabis, which have plastic shells and smoky two-stroke engines, disappeared from Germany’s streets, but you can still experience the Trabi on special sightseeing tours in Berlin, where you can get behind the wheel of the cult car yourself.
The International Motor Show, which takes place in Frankfurt every other year, showcases the latest, fastest, and most sustainable in auto technology. Visitors can not only marvel at the displayed cars, but also get behind the wheels during free test runs on Frankfurt’s roads, including the Autobahn. For more hands-on experience, the Motor Show also features an outdoor go-kart track, off-road courses, and eco-training classes.