A Car Enthusiast’s Guide To The Best Car Museums In Germany
Germany is renowned for its engineering and ingenuity and there is one area in which this nation has excelled in both these departments: automobiles. In fact, you’d do well to find a car manufacturer or luxury marque from Germany that’s not recognized the world over.
For over 130 years, Germany has built high-quality machines with excellent functionality ranging from Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, to Porsche. Though the interior and exterior designs keep changing, most of these vehicles shout class, style, and luxury, even from a distance.
With such an illustrious automotive history, it’s no surprise that Germany is home to some of the most interesting and smart factories and motor museums. The best part is that they are all open to the public!
If vehicles captivate you, then making a trip to various car museums in Germany will be an exciting and educational adventure for you. Museums in Germany are as famous for classy cars as they are for spectacular architecture.
If you have no idea where to start, take a look at our list, it provides some of the best car museums in Germany that you can plan to visit.
Best Car Museums to Visit in Germany
BMW Welt & Museum, Munich
Adjacent to each other on the BMW campus in Munich, the BMW Welt and Museum (Welt means world) serve two distinct purposes. The museum tells the history of BMW as a brand specifically, showing the technical development all through their company’s history.
The museum currently presents 120 exhibits in the space of 5,000 square meters creating the best car scene in Germany.
It is composed of engines, motorcycles, aircraft, turbines, and vehicles in multiple variations. There are futuristic looking conceptual models from as far back as twenty years ago, in addition to the actual models.
The Welt, on the other side, showcases current production cars across the spectrum of the entire BMW Group (including Rolls Royce and Mini) as well as pre-production and concept cars. It is essentially a giant showroom, so the cars you see are available for sale and many models can be rented by the hour. If your driving skills are a little rusty or you’d like to hone your technique, you can even take a lesson from a driving professional.
There are also exquisite cafes and restaurants in the building. You can even pick up your brand new BMW, Rolls Royce, or Mini straight off the production line here.
Address: Am Olympiapark, 80809 Munchen, Germany
Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart
The company we now know as Mercedes Benz is widely credited for inventing the modern automobile, which traces its beginnings to the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Built in 1885 by the German Carl Benz, it was a self-propelled vehicle for carrying people, widely regarded as the world’s first practical automobile and the first car put into series production. It was patented and unveiled in 1886, and the original cost of the vehicle was 600 imperial Germany marks, approximately 150 US dollars (equivalent to $4,524 in 2021).
The primary museum structure was designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and opened in 2006. The museum has been designed like a double-helix with a clover leaf pattern. The exhibits it houses include 160 vehicles and over 1,500 displays on any given day. It claims to be the only museum in the world that can document, in a single continuous timeline, about 150 years of auto industry history starting from the first product created in 1886. The shell of the museum is made of glass and aluminum. Exhibit space is spread over nine floors, encompassing a total of 17604 square feet.
Most displays are strictly hands off, although a few are served up for visitors to enjoy more directly, such as a massive, multi-colored school bus, which classes of visiting students are allowed to board.
Many of the motorsport display vehicles are arranged on a banked track-shaped exhibit floor. You’ll see the earliest Mercedes Benz racing cars up to today’s Lewis Hamilton F1 machines.
Among the most popular of museum attractions is the SL 320 previously owned and driven by Princess Diana. Just behind Diana’s red roadster is one of the famous armored Pope Mobiles previously provided to the Vatican by Mercedes-Benz.
By the time you reach the lower floors, which house the various restaurants and the museum shop, you’ll have traveled through more than 130 years of automobile history, as lived and written by Mercedes-Benz.
Address: Mercedesstrasse 100,70372 Stuggart, Germany
Porsche Museum, Stuttgart
Porsche Museum is yet another awe inspiring car museum in Stuttgart. It is located just across town in a place called Zuffenhausen, which is easily accessible even by public transportation.
This breathtaking architectural wonder officially opened to the public on January 31, 2009, so it isn’t many years past its 10th birthday. The design of this remarkable facility is credited to Viennese architect Delugan Meissl, and written descriptions barely do it justice; photos help tell the story, but you have to stand at the entrance and see it in person to grasp the sheer power of the design concept.
The museum comprises 5600 square feet of exhibit space, plus an immaculate workshop and storage, a truly world-class steak restaurant, the company’s archives, a comprehensive museum shop, and other miscellaneous spaces. There’s a full service Porsche dealer just across the driveway from the museum proper, and a variety of Porsche factory office and assembly buildings surround the museum site.
Visitors are led on a remarkable journey that takes into account the company’s model lineup evolution, to include tractors (called Scheleppers), military vehicles, and the genesis of the company’s efforts in Motorsports. It includes everything from hill climbs and rallies to Les Mans, Indy Car racing, and Formula 1.
Besides the depth, breadth, and beauty of nearly everything you see, you’ll be impressed with how few of the cars are surrounded by ropes, and stanchions. Naturally, no touching is allowed, but you’ll in many cases enjoy clean, unobstructed looks at each exhibit, and equally clear photo ops. The signage is informative, without being over the top or taking too long to read, and there are a variety of hands-on learning experiences for the youngsters.
Address: 70435 Stuttgart Zuffenhausen, Germany
Audi Museum Mobile, Ingolstadt
Audi is one of the top three car manufacturers in Germany. This marque manufacturer builds vehicles that mix plush with technical innovation.
The museum showcases the history of Audi cars. Also on display are other models that have joined together to form the Auto Union during the 1930s: Wanderer, DKW, Horch, and NSU.
The huge open elevator, also called paternoster, is one of the museum’s distinctive features. It offers constantly changing views of various models manufactured from the 20th century to date.
In the museum you get to learn the history and success story of Audi and motor racing through hands-on, interactive exhibits and over 100 impeccably maintained cars and motorbikes.
The Audi Forum complex includes, besides the museum, various restaurants and an arthouse cinema.
Address: Auto-Union-Strasse 1,85045, Ingolstadt, Germany
Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is home to Germany’s biggest car inventor. The museum is housed in a former clothing factory and is near the Volkswagen Werke, a new VW car factory. This car museum is home to around 130 cars on permanent display, from the earliest Volkswagen Beetles to the later concept models.
At Autostadt, you can also tour a nearby holiday park that attracts over 2 million visitors a year. In the park are pavilions for each of the makes now owned by VW: Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche.
At the multi-brand Zeithaus Museum in the park there is a variety of vehicles on permanent display from all those manufacturers whose makes marked significant milestones in the auto industry.
Also in the park you can shop, eat and drink, or even enjoy the circus festival held in late June to early July.
Address: Stadtbrücke, 38440, Wolfsburg Germany
August Horch Museum, Zwickau
Zwickau was the Detroit of the former German Democratic Republic and it has been a manufacturing point for automobiles since 1909. Beginning with Horch, on to the formation of Auto Union, then the ubiquitous two-stroke Trabent during the cold war period, and on to a modern Volkswagen plant in the city today. This museum tells the whole story.
It is a very nice place to visit and a good reason to explore this area of the former East Germany. The museum is attractive and the cars are lovingly displayed.
Address: Audistance 7,08058, Zwickau, Germany
Classic Remise, Berlin
This is an interesting and very different sort of automotive display. Not actually a museum at all, this is a collection of cars owned by individuals and by dealers, some being offered for sale, some being stored, and others being restored on the site by shops that are there for that purpose. All this is housed in an historic late-19th-century train maintenance facility.
Admissions is not charged, there is a nice restaurant on site, and the whole experience is unique and enjoyable. Naturally, the collection on display will vary at any given time.
There is another Classic Remise located in Dusseldorf.
Address: Wiebestrasse 36-37, 10553, Germany
Other Related Activities
Our title says “the Best Car Museums to Visit in Germany” but you can’t complete a tour of German car museums and factories without also including these car enthusiast-driven activities.
Racetrack Nurburgring, Nurburg
If you love speed, head to Germany’s most famous racetrack, the Nurburgring. Established in 1927, it has been regarded as the toughest Grand Prix circuit of all.
The classic original track is 14 miles and called the Nordschleife. It consists of winding, narrow, country roads that were once the most terrifying motor racing track in history. The track was deemed “too dangerous for competitive racing” but you can still experience the track in your own car.
There are several versions of the Nurburgring track, but most car enthusiasts are usually attracted to the classic 14-miler and the modern day Grand Prix track called the “Ring.”
Home to the Formula 1 world championships, Nurburgring offers plenty of opportunity for Michael Schumacher fans to experience the thrill of racing first hand.
You can drive laps in your own car, hop in a speedy BMW Ring Taxi, visit an interactive exhibit, or take safety-driving classes. There are even two hotels overlooking the start and finish line of the race track.
Address: Otto Flimm-Str, 53520, Nurburg, Germany
Short for Bundesautobahn, which means roughly “federal motorway” in German, the autobahn isn’t a particular stretch of road or track, but rather just what you’d call a freeway in German.
What makes Germany’s autobahn stand out is that, outside of sections that are urban or undergoing construction, the 130 km/hour speed posted (about 80 mph) isn’t actually a legal limit, but rather a suggestion. This means that about 70% of highways crisscrossing Germany are technically available for you to drive as fast as you please.
Many tourists opt to rent a sports car by the hour or for the day from one of Germany’s iconic brands just to test the limits of its performance on Germany’s open roads, and you can, too!
To learn the ins and outs of driving the Autobahn, this website is very informative:
The V8 Hotel Motorworld Region Stuttgart, Boblingen
As we have seen, Stuttgart, the city about two hours from Frankfurt in southwest Germany, is the destination city for auto enthusiasts. It has the speedy Autobahn on its doorstep, is the home to the headquarters of Mercedes and Porsche, and it seems like everywhere there’s a gleaming Maserati or Ferrari driving by.
Along with the two Stuttgart car museums, there is also a car-themed hotel nearby in the heart of the Motorworld region.
The V8 Hotel has more than 150 rooms between two separate buildings including 26 car-themed suites. Absolutely no detail was overlooked: from the benches and lobby desk modeled after a car’s interior to a light installation and coffee tables fashioned out of hubcaps.
In the themed rooms, chairs mimic tailgates and helmets and room numbers are marked by custom license plates. Each one is unique and designed by artists who source genuine salvaged vehicles to create beds from Porsches and Jaguars that are past their prime.
Address: Charles Lindbergh Platz 1,71034 Boblinger, Germany
If you’re looking for innovation, engineering excellence, historic achievement, and a sense of style then you owe it to yourself to visit the best car museums in Germany.