On a road trip across Germany earlier this year, my wife and I made a four-hour detour to visit Miniatur Wunderland. It's Hamburg's most popular tourist attraction and it was, without question, worth the trip.
Miniatur Wunderland is the Guinness Book of World Records-certified largest model railroad in the world, with more than 150 staff. Its 9.5 miles of track covers 14,000 square feet of layout.
But it's not the trains that really take your breath away — it's all the scenery. Individual sections covering Germany, Austria, America, Scandinavia, Switzerland, the fictional German city of Knuffigen, as well as Wunderland's home city of Hamburg are spread across several floors. Work on an Italian section has been underway for three years. The airport was a multi-million dollar project that could be a museum.
When you're actually there, the backdrop and all the people fade away and you're sucked into the world that they've created. The level of detail is so astonishing that it would take several days to really see everything — and even then, you'd miss some little details. Wunderland's promotional video is worth a watch, too.
Miniatur Wunderland is open daily, though hours can vary depending on the season. Admission is 13 euro for adults and 6.50 euro for children.