Wolfsburg hosts the worldwide headquarters of the Volkswagen car manufacturer. It was built and founded in the 1930s as a place to live for the employees of Volkswagen (literally: People's car) and the factory still dominates the scenery. While it was founded by the Nazis and Hitler personally loved all symbolism associated with wolves (he interpreted his first name to be related to the word "wolf"), the town only officially got its name after the war being called "Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben" (city of the strength through joy car near Fallersleben) during the Nazi-era. Wolfsburg is a rare case of a German town that was founded in the 20th century (other examples include Salzgitter and Eisenhüttenstadt) and as such it is often ridiculed as bland, generic and without history, however the suburb of Fallersleben (the author of Germany's national anthem, Hoffmann von Fallersleben is originally from that town) used to be an independent town and there is a castle, that gave Wolfsburg (literally castle of the wolf) its name. During the 50s and 60s Wolfsburg attracted many immigrants and most of them came from Italy, which is still visible in the city today, and some of the Italian quarters have gotten the nickname Castellupo (Italian calque of Wolfsburg) over time.
The Mittellandkanal and the railway-line (which both existed before Wolfsburg was founded) served as primary drawing factors to put Volkswagen there, and still serve as a rough dividing line with most of the plant north and most of the city south of it.
Wolfsburg is easily accessible by road and rail.
The main line rail station is located at Wolfsburg Hauptbahnhof, Willy-Brandt-Platz 3, and there are regular services to many destinations. There is regular direct ICE service from/to Berlin (in fact some people use the ICE for their daily commute on that route) but for many other connections you'd have to change trains in Brunswick and/or Hanover. There are big parking lots next to the train station and you can easily leave your car there for several days.
By road simply take junction 5 off of the A39 and head towards Wolfsburg-Morse.
While there is an airport close by, it is mostly used by VW and thus chances are for most flights you will fly to/from Hanover (IATA: HAJ) or Hamburg (IATA: HAM). Frankfurt airport(IATA: FRA) is also often an option worth considering.
Perhaps surprisingly for a city built on for and by the automobile, walking is the best option. Everything is close to each other in the city and the downtown core is largely pedestrianized. Wolfsburg has a public bus system that will get you to most suburbs and outlying parts of town. There is no light rail or tram, but regular rail service also has stops in Fallersleben (technically part of Wolfsburg, but much older) and several other places.
Wolfsburg is quite a modern city having been built, in the main, from 1938 on to house workers from the newly built VW factory. However, its castle dates from 1600 and today houses the Stadtmuseum. It has a rundown of the city's history from 1938, when the VW plant was founded, to the present day. There's also a small regional history museum and two art galleries that host rotating exhibitions.
- AutoStadt. AutoStadt is the home of Volkswagen AG. AutoStadt theme park is a city in itself and offers entertainment, dining, tours, driving, and more. Visit the website to plan your day or days at the AutoStadt in Wolfsburg.
- Phaeno Science Centre, Willy Brandt Platz 1 (just south of the railway line and the canal opposite Autostadt). Tu-Fr: 9:00-17:00 Sa&Su: 10:00-18:00 open on select mondays and most holidays. A visit is an absolute must. It is a new building designed by Zaha Hadid and is a breathtaking and revolutionary space. While the architecture was a bit controversial with locals at the time of its construction, the museum - focused on science and the likes - is a good place to take the kids to but also a fun place for adults to "toy around" with their inner child, observing and exploring phenomena as diverse as fire tornadoes, brain waves or vacuum. adult: 12.50€ child: 8€ reduced 9.50€ half the price 90min. before closure.
- Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg.
- VfL Wolfsburg (soccer club Wolfsburg), Volkswagen Arena, ☎ +49 5361 8903903 (ticket hotline). The town's first division soccer club that has enjoyed some success in recent years both for their male (German champion 2008/2009) and their female (winner of the UEFA champions league, the German cup and the German championship in 2012/2013) side. As many German soccer teams won their first championships before the city of Wolfsburg was even dreamed of, accusations of lack of tradition and "artificialness" have bugged the team as well as the city. € 15-70, children € 6-35.
Porschestraße is the principal commercial street of the town and was pedestrianized after serving as one of the prime traffic axes in the earlier years of Wolfsburg's history. There are several chains and mall along this road as well as some regular events such as farmer's markets.
- Designer Outlets Wolfsburg, An Der Vorburg 1, ☎ +49 5361 893 500. M-Sa 10:00-19:00 Sun 13:00-18:00. Wolfsburg Outlet Shopping Centre is a place to find designer discount brands. They have brand shops such as Diesel, Adidas, Fossil, Nike, Puma, Clinque, Calvin Klein and many many more.
- Sausalitos, Porschestraße 32, ☎ +49 5361 8670310. M-Th 12:00-01:00, F 12:00-02:00, Sa 17:00-02-00, Su 17:00-01:00. Restaurant and cocktail bar.
- Trattoria Incontri, Goethestraße 53, Wolfsburg, ☎ +49 5361 437254. M-Sa 11:30-23:00, Su 16:00-23:00. Good pizzeria.
- La Tavola, Rothenfelder Straße 21b, Wolfsburg, ☎ +49 5361 12949. Classic Italian food. Mid range.
- Restaurant Aqua, Parkstraße 1, Wolfsburg, ☎ +49 5361 607091. Gourmet food on offer from the multi-Michelin star chefs at the Ritz-Carlton. Expect to pay handsomely for the experience. Splurge.
- Brackstedter Mühle, Zum Kühlen Grunde 2, ☎ +49 5366 900.
- Café & Bar Celona, Porschestraße 32, ☎ +49 5361 8486467. M-Th,Su 09:00-01:00, F,Su 09:00-03:00.
- Irish Pub WOB, Goethestraße 61, ☎ +49 5361 2724711. M-Tu 17:00-01:00, F 17:00-03:00, Sa 12:00-03:00, closed Su.
- Leonardo Hotel Wolfsburg, Rathausstraße 1, ☎ +49 5361 207 0. Ideally located within the centre of the city. Mid Range.
- Global Inn, Kleiststraße 46, ☎ +49 5361 2700. Quality rooms. Close to main VW factory.
- Parkhotel Wolfsburg, Unter den Eichen 55, ☎ +49 53615050. Check-in: 1500, check-out: 1200. Great facilities but on the pricey side Mid-Splurge.
- Ritz-Carlton, Parkstraße 1, ☎ +49 5361 60 70 00. Discover a city known for its high-tech surrounding with modern art and contemporary architecture.
- Seehotel am Tankumsee, Eichenpfad 2, Isenbüttel, ☎ +49 5374 9100. Good sized room and reasonable breakfast. Good restaurant although a little expensive. Ideal location if you want to be out of town, but will need a car.
- Brunswick close enough for some to commute daily, this town's historical center is a welcome refreshment after the bland architecture of Wolfsburg.
- Quedlinburg is just a short ride on the Autobahn away and can be done in a day trip. Quedlinburg was an important royal residence as early as the 10th century and thankfully survived later centuries pretty much intact.