Germany-wide survey Explore the most popular tourist destinations in the area

Düsseldorf · Around 25,000 travellers from all over the world have voted for their favourite sights in Germany - including some from this area.

Phantasialand in Brühl, here the Taron roller coaster, is one of the most popular German tourist destinations.

Phantasialand in Brühl, here the Taron roller coaster, is one of the most popular German tourist destinations.

Foto: Phantasialand

Thirty-nine-and-a-half million individuals visited Germany last year - making it the ninth most visited country in the world, surpassing such destinations as the UK. The nation’s variety attracts tourists from every part of the globe, from the white sandy beaches in the far north to the picturesque lakes and stunning Alpine landscapes.

North Rhine-Westphalia is home to many of Germany's top 100 attractions

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) conducted an online survey among some 25,000 international tourists who had already visited Germany. Foreign visitors were invited to nominate their personal highlights. The query - "What is the must-see attraction for holidaymakers in Germany?" was intentionally left open-ended. Consequently, the ranking is based on the answers given by tens of thousands of respondents.

The outcome: for the first time in years, the top spot has been claimed by Europa-Park in Rust, Baden-Württemberg, supplanting Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland. Other well-known and expected attractions on the list include the charming town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Baden-Württemberg, Neuschwanstein Castle and the Black Forest. One of the top three attractions in Germany is also a destination in North Rhine-Westphalia: Phantasialand in Brühl made it to third place. At the theme park, visitors can immerse themselves in six different themed worlds such as 'Deep in Africa', 'Mexico' and 'Mystery'. The Nürburgring in the Eifel region is in fifth place.

Cologne Cathedral in 18th place

The next place from NRW, slightly lower down the list, is Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which landed at the 18th spot. This comes as no surprise, as the cathedral is an iconic landmark of North Rhine-Westphalia's largest city. Not far away is another cathedral that has played an important role in German history: Aachen Cathedral, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive building, where the kings of the Holy Roman Empire were once crowned, was ranked 23rd.

The city of Aachen came 28th, ahead of Cologne, which came 34th. Today Cologne is a popular destination for its pub and club scene, its many historic buildings from different eras, and the openness of its people. It also scores with its customs. The Cologne Carnival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, including many from abroad.

If you prefer peace and nature, the Eifel National Park ranks 40th in the world's top 100 attractions. Hikers, ramblers and nature enthusiasts in particular have clearly chosen this destination as one of their favourites. The state capital of Düsseldorf, which came 71st, is worth a visit for other reasons too. From the architecturally intriguing Media Harbour to the truly world-famous Altstadt and Japanese Quarter, tourists find the Rhine metropolis captivating.

The quaint town of Monschau in the Eifel region also makes an appearance in the ranking, claiming the 81st position. Located close to the Belgian border, Monschau is not only popular with day-trippers from North Rhine-Westphalia, but also with international tourists. The picturesque old town with its half-timbered houses is a particular magnet for visitors.

A city that just made it into the top 100 in Germany, in 95th position, is Münster in Westphalia. Likely the most cycle-friendly city in Germany, it holds particular appeal for students and has a distinctive charm of its own. The historic old town centre around Prinzipalmarkt - where the Peace of Westphalia was signed centuries ago - is a major attraction for tourists.

Whether it's historic buildings, modern cities or simply the thrill of a rollercoaster ride - NRW clearly has a plethora of attractions for international tourists.

(Original text: Paul Küchler; Translation: Jean Lennox)