From The scenic foothills of the Alps to the icy waters of the North Sea, Germany offers a wide variety of destinations for travelers to explore. There’s Baroque architecture, wineries, mythical forests, fairytale towns, cities steeped in history, and some of the most breathtaking castles in the world.
From the Hanseatic ports of the north to the museums of Berlin to the picturesque Alps of Bavaria and everything in between, there’s no shortage of spectacular places to see throughout the country. Here are the best places to visit in Germany.
The mountain-shrouded, beer-loving regional capital of Bavaria, Munich is a metropolis steeped in history and surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of the Alps. The city is perhaps known best, however, as being the site of Oktoberfest, which takes place every September and involves massive beer tents, millions of liters of some of the best beer Germany has to offer, and delicious Bavarian food.
Munich itself features a mix of green parkland, beautiful baroque buildings, and a hint of medieval history. Popular sightseeing attractions here include the Frauenkirche with its iconic domes, the expansive Marienplatz, and the tranquil Englischer Garten.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Overlooking the Tauber River, the walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber looks like something out of a fairytale. Famous for its well-preserved medieval center known as the Altstadt, the town is easily explored on foot and is thought of as the “crown jewel” of Germany’s famed Romantic Road. With its half-timbered homes, cobbled lanes, and 14-century fortification walls, it’s easy to see why so many people are drawn to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. There’s also a great Christmas Market here every December.
Neuschwanstein Castle is probably the most photographed place in Germany, as well as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Perched high above the quaint town of Hohenschwangau, the castle was built by King Ludwig II, who was known for living in daydreams, rather than reality. Neuschwanstein Castle was also the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
A great base for exploring northern Bavaria, Nuremberg is one of the popular cities in the area and boasts quite a bit of history itself. While the city was once a major center of the Holy Roman Empire, it’s possibly better known as one of Nazi Germany’s hubs and the site of the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
The town center still retains a beautiful, historic look, however, with tree-dotted cobbled squares, half-timbered buildings, and the keeps and bulwarks of the formidable Nuremberg Castle.
Perched wonderfully in the Bavarian Alps, the peaceful town of Berchtesgaden is a picturesque hill town surrounded by abundant natural beauty. The mirror-like waters of Konigsee, the wooden balconies blooming with flowers flowing over the half-timbered houses, and the fresco facades of the town square all create an idyllic mountain escape. Visitors can also explore the Berchtesgaden National Park surrounding the town, as well as the infamous Eagle’s Nest.
Bamberg is a Bavarian town full of character, built on seven hills and boasting an Old Town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with preserved half-timber buildings, grand mansions, and winding cobblestone streets. This area is also charmingly bisected by canals and channels.
Along with being a postcard medieval town, Bamberg also has an unrivaled beer culture. Many people come from all over Germany and beyond for the town’s breweries.
Widely associated with its former division into East and West by the Berlin Wall and its World War II history, the capital city of Germany is now a unified, vast, diverse city full of sightseeing attractions, nightlife, and culture.
Countless tourists come to Berlin every year to see the famous historic structures, such as the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, and what remains of the Berlin Wall. There’s Museum Island as well, bursting with all manner of classical antiquities and history. The city also has its fair share of artsy galleries, cafes, and clubs.
Before sustaining heavy damage from bombings during World War II, the city of Dresden was considered to be Germany’s “Jewel Box,” home to stunning architecture and art. Nearly destroyed to oblivion during the war, Dresden has become the country’s “phoenix city.”
Visitors come from all over to see the Zwinger Palaces and the Frauenkirche, as well as the pristine facade of the Semper Oper that adorns the Town Centre. This is all clustered neatly along the winding River Elbe.
Home to the largest harbors and docks in Germany, Hamburg has earned the nickname of “Germany’s gateway to the world.” The city features masterful buildings like the Rathaus, while the Schanzenviertel district has plenty of student energy. There’s also the infamous streets of the Reeperbahn that give Hamburg a bit of an edgier side.
The Rhineland is almost a mythical place clinging to the winding path of the Rhine River, carving its way through German hills. Some of the best cultural landscapes and stunning castles in Germany can be found within the region’s deep-cut valleys, including terraced vineyards, picturesque towns, and around forty medieval castles.
The most famous of the natural attractions in The Rhineland is the Lorelei, the most narrow and deepest part of the Rhine Gorge. The best way to truly experience the beauty of the “Romantic Rhine” is a river cruise.
Home to the oldest university in the country, Heidelberg has a long academic history that visitors can retrace with the scenic Philosopher’s Walk. Other historic gems include the Altstadt, Heidelberg Castle, and the medieval Old Bridge. The Haupstrasse is packed full of art galleries, museums, restaurants, pubs, and shops selling cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and quintessential German items.
Situated along the Rhine River, the city of Cologne may not be the prettiest place to visit in Germany, but it’s still worth a stop. There’s an outstanding arts and culture scene here, as well as buzzing nightlife and a variety of attractions. The city also has impressive landmarks like the Twelve Romanesque Churches and the Cologne Cathedral. If you love beer, drinking Cologne’s trademark Kolsch is a must.
Leipzig is often referred to as the “most happening city in Germany,” vying with Berlin when it comes to history and art. The city boasts a pulsating underground scene, numerous hotspots that showcase German masters like Schiller and Goethe, and a sprawling Renaissance-age Old Town Hall. Art galleries and studios abound among the Baroque opera houses and the Thomaskirche, while pubs, old taverns, and clubs dot the Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse.
Many people have long sought out Baden-Baden’s curative pleasures, from Barack Obama to Queen Victoria. Ths classic spa town, the “town so nice they named it twice,” is home to numerous luxury wellness hotels that take complete advantage of the region’s natural hot springs and the surrounding Black Forest.