Exploring Germany, Wolfsburg – The city of cars
The first question that comes into mind when you hear the word Wolfsburg is very often “where is that?” Located in Lower-Saxony and being home to 125,000 people, this northern German city is not what you would call a metropolis. Yet, when people hear that this is the place where one of the biggest car manufacturers – Volkswagen – is headquartered, their interest is awakened very quickly. Even though you may be a little sceptical at first, (especially with the recent VW emissions scandal!) this city is definitely worth a visit.
As someone who was born in Wolfsburg, I am not only going to inform you about the typical tourist spots but give you a few more hints on the things you will definitely enjoy visiting.
As mentioned before, Volkswagen is both the biggest company in the region as well as an employer for half of the city which makes Wolfsburg – needless to say – a magnet for car fans: Just pay a visit to the “Autostadt” (a museum that focuses on the technology and construction) or the Volkswagen factory itself and you will not only get an insight on the technical, but also on the social and historical aspects of an entire region!
The wonderful thing about smaller cities is that you can manage to reach everything within walking distance so once you have been to the most famous attraction you can directly walk over to an interactive museum called “Phaeno” which is housed in a really impressive building (by world famous architect Zaha Hadid) and allows visitors to directly participate in many different science experiments.
Not only is Germany famous for its vehicles but also for its football (who was the 2014 world cup winner again?;-)) why don’t enjoy a good German Bundesliga football match in the Volkswagen Arena, home of Champions League candidate and last year’s DFB Cup winner VfL Wolfsburg? Tickets are affordable, but also high in demand so it is definitely better to buy them as soon as you have booked your journey.
Since Wolfsburg has also quite a rich Italian culture due to the Italian migrant workers that arrived in the 1960’s, you will find a lot of excellent Italian restaurants and pizzerias such as “Trattoria Incontri” and “Pizzawald” (my favourite – great pizza for a reasonable price) at the Piazza Italia where you also find other shops that cater for those looking for authentic Italian goods. Should you be in a hurry, then I would recommend the “Vapiano” (an Italian restaurant chain that offers delicious pasta dishes). If you want to try typical German food then “Zum alten Tannenhof” would be a good alternative. Another possibility is to enjoy Sushi in an original Japanese restaurant called “Sushi Bar Berlin” (my advice is to go there between 12.00 and 17.00 because prices are reduced to just €3 during that time!).
If you simply want to go out for a drink in the evening, then I would highly recommend the “Kaufhofpassage” – an alley full of bars and pubs. The one that I’m used to visiting is “Bar Celona” (cosy atmosphere where you can talk without being disturbed by all the noises surrounding you).
Even though Wolfsburg is a young and quite futuristic looking city, it also has a history that goes way back to the 14th century. If you want to take nice family portraits outside or see Wolfsburg’s roots, then make sure you go all the way over the “Berlin Bridge” and you will see the Wolfsburger Schloss – a very beautiful and big castle.
This is what I like about Wolfsburg: Even though it’s very modern, there are a lot of green places if you look a little further. Just visit the old parts of town (Fallersleben and Vorsfelde), take a swim in the Allersee (big lake), relax at the Allerpark near Allersee or go all the way up to Klieversberg (and enjoy the most gorgeous panorama of the city) – you will know what I mean!
If you are looking for a little bit more excitement, take a swim in one of the biggest waterparks in Germany called Badeland or visit the “Hallenbad” a former indoor swimming pool that has been converted into a cultural centre which offers concerts, a cinema that shows independent movies and other cultural highlights.
As you can see, it might not be Germany’s biggest city, but it definitely has a lot to offer and is absolutely worth a visit. Who knows – perhaps this will be your next destination if you decide to visit Germany?!