A country of gorgeous landscapes, beautiful castles, and delicious beer, Germany is an amazing place to visit for any traveler. It’s home to impressive architecture, art, history, nightlife, fairytale towns, and of course, the world-famous beer festival known as Oktoberfest. If you only have 1 week in Germany, here’s the best itinerary for seeing the best highlights of the country.
Getting Around Germany
If your preferred mode of transportation is the train, Germany has plenty of regional and InterCity trains, as well as InterCity Express (ICE) trains, to help you explore the country. Buying a rail pass may be the best option for traveling this way, providing you with unlimited rail travel throughout Germany for a specific time period.
Rail passes also sometimes give you discounts on various tours or discounted admission to city attractions. It’s important to note that you should check if the route you want to take is covered by the pass beforehand (most are covered). You can buy the German Rail Pass with Deutsche Bahn or I’d also recommend the Eurail Pass. In addition to the One Country Pass, Eurail also offers the Global Pass that lets you easily travel through Europe by train.
You can also choose to rent a car for a week if you prefer the independence a road trip through Germany offers.
1 Week in Germany Itinerary
Day 1-2: Munich
Start your 1 week Germany itinerary in Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Marienplatz Station is only about a 30-minute train ride from the Munich Airport and the city center is just an easy walk from there. There are a wide variety of things to do in Munich to easily fill two days.
Munich Old Town
The Old Town of Munich is a perfect place to start exploring the city with its neo-Gothic new town hall and medieval architecture. If you want a good overview of Munich, join a free walking tour. I recommend Sandemans New Europe tours. They offer a few other interesting tours for the city along with their Free Tour of Munich.
The Englischer Garten is a great place to relax, especially at the lakeside beer garden for lunch. This 18th-century park is the largest park in Germany. During the summer months, the park is usually full of visitors, but fortunately there’s plenty of space.
Munich boasts several interesting museums covering a variety of topics, such as art, science, and history. If you have time for just one museum, the Deutsches Museum would be a good choice.
The Viktualienmarkt is over 200 years old and features more than 100 food stalls, making it a great place to explore in the evening when you start getting hungry for dinner. You can find everything from fresh produce to Bavarian delicacies, including abundant artisanal cheeses.
If you’re a fan of beer, you may have heard of the famous Hofbräuhaus in Munich. This three-story, massive beer hall dates back to the 16th century and is a must for any beer lover in the Bavarian beer capital. Reservations are strongly recommended since the place is always packed.
Day 3: Neuschwanstein Castle
Few castles are as iconic as the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Located around two hours from Munich, it’s easy to visit as a day trip. Situated on a hilltop near Füssen, this 19th-century, fairytale castle was built by King Ludwig II, also known as the “Mad King.” After heading back to Munich, end your day with one of the city’s many beer tasting tours or pub crawls.
Day 4: Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Romantic Road)
Germany’s Romantic Road, or Romantische Straße, is a picturesque route with mountain views, traveling through towns like Wurzburg, Augsburg, and possibly the best, Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located around three hours away from Munich. With its colorful timbered houses and cobbled streets, the charming town looks like something out of a fairy tale. There are a couple unique museums in town, as well as the Night Watchman tour on Friday and Saturday nights. Take a walk along the town walls for great views of the town and surrounding countryside.
Day 5: Dresden
After a day exploring the quaint medieval town of Rothenburg, head north to the city of Dresden on the Elbe River. A place where modern times and history meet, Dresden was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Today, it’s one of the most unique cities in Germany, featuring Baroque architecture mixed with modern artistry.
The Dresden Frauenkirche is a Baroque-style church and one of the city’s iconic landmarks. Originally built as a Romanesque-style church in the 11th century, the church was torn down and rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 18th century. It was then destroyed in World War II during the bombing of Dresden. The Frauenkirche was rebuilt after Germany’s reunification and is now a prominent feature of the city skyline.
Located at the Royal Palace, the Green Vault in Dresden is where you’ll find the Royal Treasury. This treasure trove of jewelry and art is one of the most guarded chambers in Europe.
The Zwinger Palace is situated in the heart of Dresden and is one of Germany’s most famous Baroque buildings. The building dates back to Augustus the Strong and is considered a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. Today, it’s home to internationally renowned museums and hosts theater and music performances.
Day 6: Hamburg
Drive or take the train to get to Hamburg from Dresden, which takes a little over four hours. The central boulevard connecting the Old Town of the city to the New town is a picturesque area worth exploring. Perhaps the best way to get a good overview of Hamburg is to take one of the free walking tours.
One of the best things to do in Hamburg is exploring the Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse complex in the world of its kind. This surprisingly beautiful iconic sight is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with great views to be found thanks to its many canals and bridges.
Miniatur Wunderland is a miniature airport museum and model railway that boasts the claim to fame of being the largest of its kind in the world.
Do you love chocolate? If yes, then the Chocoversum may be the perfect attraction for you in Hamburg. Along with taking a tour to learn how chocolate is made, you get to try samples of many different chocolates! As an added bonus, you can even create your own chocolate bar.
There’s more to the Reeperbahn than being Hamburg’s Redlight District. It’s also the nightlife and entertainment district for the city, and a great place to end your day in Hamburg.
Day 7-8: Berlin
Berlin is just around a 90-minute train ride away from Hamburg, with trains leaving on an hourly basis. While you spend just a day in Berlin, I’d recommend at least two days due to all of the things to do.. To get acquainted with the city, I suggest taking another free walking tour.
Situated in Berlin’s government district, the Reichstag is Germany’s most iconic and significant historic building. A trip up to the Reichstag dome offers an excellent view of the surrounding city.
The Brandenburg Gate is the city’s only remaining historic gate, as well as a symbol for the reunified Germany. If you’re visiting Berlin, you at least need to stop and maybe take a picture of this iconic landmark.
The Tiergarten is the largest garden in Berlin and is a great place for a relaxing stroll in the heart of the city. If you’re traveling with children, it’s also a great spot for families with being home to a zoo.
Head to the East Side Gallery on the Berlin Wall for a look at the artsy side of the city. This open-air gallery features murals and other artwork along the largest remaining section of the wall.
A painful reminder of the atrocities commited during the Holocaust, the Holocaust Memorial is made up of thousands of slabs on gray pillars as a way to remember those who lost their lives.
Museum Island is home to five museums and is a World Heritage Site. Filled with art, archaeological artifacts, ancient architecture, and more, the museums here consist of The Neues Museum, The Alte Nationalgalerie, The Altes Museum, The Bode Museum, and perhaps the most famous of all, The Pergamon.