The Coolest Car Museums in Germany
So here's the thing - there are very few museums that I find interesting enough to want to see the whole collection and car museums as a type are among those few. Germany is known for its automotive industry, so it's no wonder that there are some amazing options here to admire gorgeous cars. Read on to discover the coolest car museums in Germany (and some of them go way beyond cars in their collections, which makes them even more interesting, in my opinion).
Technik Museum Speyer
Location: Speyer, Rhineland-Palatinate. Closest cities are Mannheim and Heidelberg
Technik Museum Speyer has all sorts of stuff to see - vintage cars, fire engines, utility cars, motorcycles, etc. It also has the largest space flight exhibition in Europe, including the prototype of space shuttle Buran. On top of that, in the outdoor area you can see large boats and planes, including a submarine that you can also explore from the inside.
A cool fact about Technik Museum Speyer is that it's open 365 days a year, so if you fancy a visit on a bank holiday like Christmas or New Year's, that's not a problem! Do check the website for opening hours before heading out though. The entrance fee is €17 at the time of writing (May 2020).
Several times throughout the year, Technik Museum Speyer also invites car enthusiasts for a big meetup, where people show off their cars and check out what the others are driving. If you want to be a part of that, you can check the dates here.
Technik Museum Sinsheim
Location: Sinsheim, Baden-Württemberg. Closest cities are Heidelberg and Heilbronn
Sinsheim is the brother museum of the one you just read about in Speyer. The two aren't all that far away from each other either, so there's even a package deal available on the website, consisting of entry to both museums and a night at a hotel. If you want to see both, whether you opt for the package or not, I would definitely recommend planning one day at each museum instead of trying to squeeze both into one day, as there is a lot to cover. Just like its brother museum, Sinsheim is also open 365 days a year, so you can visit anytime.
The car collection in Technik Museum Sinsheim includes vintage cars, American cars, Mercedes, Maybach and modern(ish) sports cars. There is plenty to look at. Also, if you wanted to see a DeLorean in real life (the car used in the Back to the Future films), you can find it here. But that's not all, the grounds of the museum are vast and it's not just cars that you can explore.
If you venture into the outdoor exhibition space, there are some amazing planes to see. I am not just a petrolhead but also a plane freak (who went through a period of telling anybody who'd listen about pitot tubes and Air Crash Investigation, *awkward*), so for me Technik Museum Sinsheim is paradise. I started flying to places long after the Concorde stopped, so it was a fantastic experience to be able to see the real thing. Not a tiny model, but the full-blown airplane. Even more exciting was the fact that the Concorde's Russian brother, Tupolev TU-144 is standing right next to it. I didn't even know the Concorde had a Russian brother!
There's even more to see - locomotives, motorbikes, agricultural and military machinery - something to suit every taste. The ticket price is €17 at the time of writing (May 2020) and it's money well spent. Technik Museum Sinsheim is probably my all-time favourite museum of all.
Location: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg
I've always been a Mercedes fan, so this museum has long been on my must-see list, and now I've finally had the chance to visit it. The collection is arranged in a cool way - not only do you look at the cars, but you also get an overview of the key historical events that took place as those cars were manufactured, which really helped set the scene, in my opinion.
The cars on display are not just the normal passenger ones, there are also trucks and buses. Of course, the cult classics like the 300SL, both gullwing and convertible, have a place of honour.
I also really liked the celebrity car section. Did you know that Princess Diana had a Mercedes SL which she was forced to give back because of the pressure to not drive a foreign car? Well that SL is now in the museum for you to admire.
The entry costs €10 at the time of writing (May 2020), but do check the museum website for the most up-to-date information.
Incidentally, the Porsche museum is also located in Stuttgart, so if you're staying in Stuttgart for a bit, you might as well visit both. I haven't had a chance to visit the Porsche museum yet, what with the whole coronavirus drama, but it's on my list, so watch this space, I might add my impressions about it at some point.
BMW Welt & Museum
Location: Munich, Bavaria
If you are visiting Munich and at all interested in cars, you can't miss BMW Welt (Welt is translated as 'world' from German). It's located next to the Olympic park (if you are using the subway, the stop you need to get off at is called Olympiazentrum) and also, naturally, next to the factory and headquarters of BMW.
The place is split into two parts. The first part is BMW Welt, which is kind of like a giant car dealership. There is no fee to enter and you can see the new BMW and Mini models standing around. Some are open and people can just get in and see how it feels.
The more expensive models, like the i8 are locked, and you need to talk to a salesman and have pretty serious intentions to get in. Why? Well, the place is swarming with children (or at least it was when we visited), who of course are all pulling at the doors of the cool-looking i8, and the salesman told us that if he opens the car for us to sit in, then he won't be able to say no to all those children and their parents. So unless it's a particularly empty day I don't think they'll let you try it. The even more posh and expensive Rolls Royce, also part of the BMW Group was roped in, so people don't get too close.
But for most other cars, if you have time on your hands to queue behind all the kids, you can check the cars out both outside and inside.
The second part is the actual BMW Museum. That requires tickets to get in, which cost €10 at the time of writing (May 2020), but do check the website when planning your visit for the most up-to-date information.
At the museum, you can explore the history of BMW and admire stunning classic cars as well as youngtimers. I admit I didn't know much about BMW as a brand and didn't even know they made such pretty cars back in the days! BMW also produced motorcycles and plane engines, so there will be some exhibits dedicated to that too.
Please note that the opening hours for BMW Welt and BMW Museum are different, so time your arrival well to avoid disappointment.
Location: Munich, Bavaria
This is more of a sidenote whilst on the subject of Munich rather than an official entry on my coolest car museums in Germany list, and let me tell you why. Deutsches Museum has a large car collection, and we really wanted to see it. What we didn't realise was it's not actually a single museum building, but several locations. Normally, I would do a bit more research in advance, but this time, we were gifted tickets as a surprise present during our trip to Munich and naturally rocked up at the main museum location. Having spent ages looking for cars and finding none, we then discovered that the cars are held at a completely different address. By then it was too late to go there, so we pretty much wasted the ticket and our time as we saw lots of things that we weren't all that interested in. For that reason, I can't judge how interesting the car exhibition really is, but you can make up your own mind if you want to.
So, learning from my mistakes, a word of wisdom to fellow car enthusiasts - if you want to see cars in the Deutsches Museum, when you are looking for the address on Google maps, type in Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum (German museum transport centre is the English translation). They also have a plane exhibition in yet another location called Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleißheim in the suburbs of Munich.