Most beautiful cities in Germany to visit this year!
Wondering about the best places to go in Germany? You are at the right spot. Germany is one of our all-time favorite countries – a destination loaded with history, dreamlike castles and cathedrals, romantic road, pretty villages, beer and schnitzels and so much more. Here are the 21 stunning towns and most beautiful cities in Germany to visit in your lifetime.
Most beautiful cities in Germany: 21 Best places to go in Germany
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Germany is officially known as the Federal Republic of Germany. It is located in Central Europe but is often recognized as a powerful elite Western European nation. Germany is characterized by dramatic landscapes from the Bavarian Alps to the Black Forest and the Rhine Valley, with fairytale castles sprinkled all over, football, beer fests, tons of history especially from the modern era to Cold War politics, and not to forget the likes of BMW and Porsche.
Germany is bordered by the countries of Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium and the Netherlands, and by the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.
To prepare for your trip to Germany, here are some important tips.
- Travel Documents and Schengen Visa: Germany belongs to the Eurozone of countries aka the European Union, which means that if you require a visa to visit the Schengen list of countries then you will also need one for Germany. EU nationals are visa-exempt. Citizens of the US and Canada can stay up to 90 days without a visa. However, after 2021, an online authorization called eTIAS is required.
- Currency: Euros are accepted in Germany. Credit cards are widely used.
- Essential Germany Guide Book: Get a full-color travel guide to Germany, both Kindle and Paperback options available. Check it out here
- Universal Travel Adaptor: Don’t forget to pack your universal adaptor
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: Comfortable walking shoes are a MUST on the cobblestoned lanes of Germany. Click here to buy my favorite pair from Sketchers
Munich – the Most beautiful city of Germany
Munich was our first ever European destination and for that very reason, it will have a piece of our heart forever. Truly Munich is the most beautiful city of Germany – the city is filled with history from all eras, is charming with cobblestone lanes and age-old traditions.
The city also lives up the “advanced/developed” city status in style! It is the perfect European holiday destination and here’s how you can make the most of your visit.
Start your Munich itinerary with the best of the medieval old world charm by visiting the Marienplatz or the Mary’s Square, the Munich Residenz, Old Pete Church and the royal brewery house. Don’t miss out on the Opera house and the Odeonplatz, which was home to Hitler’s Nazi rally Beer Hall Putsch. Finish your day by enjoying schnitzels and beer in any of the century-old Bavarian restaurants or go on a food tour in the oldest market in town – the Viktualienmarkt.
Munich is also home to many museums and beer gardens. Set aside some time to explore these. We highly recommend stopping by the English Gardens – the sprawling urban park with beer-gartens, fancy structures, and tons of lush greenery – they are perfect to enjoy summer time activities.
If you are planning a visit to the city in October, say, “Provst” and wear a dirndl to enjoy the traditional beer fest, called the Oktoberfest!
For a short day trip from Munich city, venture to the Dachau Memorial Camp site, which was a political concentration camp, once upon a time. It is located only 20 minutes outside of Munich (by train).
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: TYRP Munchen City Center Hotel | Book hotels in Munich
MUNICH TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search Munich tours and activities
Berlin – The Capital City of Germany
The coolest capital city of Germany – Berlin is a MUST visit for every urban dweller and history lover. Berlin is the third most visited city in Europe, right after Paris and London.
Berlin’s past was filled with poverty and it was the site of the Berlin Wall that split the country to east and west Germany. The Berlin Wall was built to stop residents of East Germany to cross over to the west side. The wall is now gone, but you can visit the East Side Gallery to understand it’s historic past. This is an open gallery filled with artistic murals.
One of the must-visit sites in Berlin is the Government District to explore the Reichstag. The Reichstag was constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire, today it no longer serves as the Parliament House and is open for tourists to visit.
A lot of the associations in Berlin reflect on the post Second World War period, and one such site is the Checkpoint Charlie – where US soldiers are dressed up at a checkpoint. This used to be the checkpoint where residents crossed east and west Germany. It is a popular tourist area for photos as well.
Another most popular attraction in Berlin is the Berliner Fernsehturm (aka Berlin TV Tower). The TV tower has a viewing gallery and a revolving restaurant.
Potsdamer Platz is one of the most iconic landmarks in Berlin. It is a large square and there are stunning architecture, ritzy hotels, and bustling shopping areas.
Head to the Museum Island to visit one (or five) of the interesting museums. The area is located in the central neighborhood – near the northern half of an island in the Spree river. There are tons of activities to do near the Spree river during warmer months.
Lastly, don’t forget to visit the Brandenburg Gate and Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial located nearby.
With such a rich history, you might think Berlin is boring, but this capital city is so modernized and has the coolest/trendiest pubs and neighborhoods. If not for its history and architecture, visit Berlin for its food and nightlife alone!
For accommodation for a short visit, we recommend staying in the central Mitte district of Berlin.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Art’otel Berlin Mitte | Grand Hyatt Berlin | Search hotels in Berlin
BERLIN TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search for activities in Berlin here
Nuremberg – The medieval city of Germany
Nuremberg is another Bavarian gem and it’s the second largest city in the state (after Munich). Known for its medieval architecture and stunning Christmas markets in the winter, Nuremberg was once called the most “German” of all cities by Nazi leader – Adolf Hitler.
During Hitler’s rule, the majority of the state rallies were held here, and today many of those de factor offices and rally sites are abandoned, and the city is slowly shredding that image to a medieval charming outlook.
Of what is left are the Nazi Documentation and the Congress building which is now a museum. Visitors are allowed to access the site as well as the museum and it is a must visit for every modern history lover.
Talking of the medieval charm, the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg (the Kaiserburg Castle) towers over the city. And the Altstadt, which means old town in German is forever picturesque with the charming central market square or the Hauptmarkt and the grand Gothic church – the Frauenkirche.
The Gothic church stands in the middle of the market square – all tall and beautiful! This is the site of the popular Christmas markets in the winter in Nuremberg, where the Hauptmarkt is all decked up, with lights and decorations.
Another characteristic trait to the city is the Pegnitz river canal that greets you right outside the old town center. Nuremberg is also home to a doll museum and it is perfect for a day trip from Munich. You can reach Nuremberg in 1 hour by train from Munich.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Park Plaza Nuremberg | Five Reasons Hotel & Hostel | Search hotels in Nuremberg
NUREMBERG TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours in Nuremberg
Cologne – One of the underrated beautiful cities of Germany
Cologne is one of Germany’s more underrated cities, but if you are looking for authenticity, culture, great beer and food without the crowds or price tag, then Cologne is the city to visit.
Cologne is a 2,000-year-old multifaceted city sprawled across the River Rhine in Western Germany.
It is well known for its soaring Cathedral and 12 large Romanesque churches, but churches aren’t all that Cologne has to offer. The city boasts fabulous botanical gardens, a charming Chocolate Museum, great beer, and some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Here are a few of the top things you can do in Cologne, like climb the striking Kölner Dom for aerial of the city. If you’re a fan of Warhol and Picasso, visit the Museum Ludwig, which also houses artwork by the artist Roy Lichtenstein.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to the famous Chocolate Museum. Explore the Old Town to see the most colorful Instagram houses in Cologne. Visit the observation deck of the KoelnTriangle for stunning views of the city at golden hour. For the best beers in Cologne, head to the trendy bars of the Belgian Quarter.
Enjoy your visit to Cologne hassle-free, by staying at the centrally located Hilton Cologne. Situated near the Köln S-Bahn station, this upscale hotel is a 4-minute walk from Cologne Cathedral and 7 minutes on foot from the Museum Ludwig.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hilton Cologne | Maritim Hotel Koln | Search hotels in Koln/Cologne
COLOGNE TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book activities here
Rostock – German City with tons of Hanseatic history
Spend a day in Rostock to step back into Hanseatic history. Situated near the Baltic coast, Rostock is one of Germany’s loveliest cities and oozes historic charm. Although the city was damaged by WWII bombing raids, mercifully much of its heritage was spared.
This includes the cobblestoned main square, (Neuer Markt), its 13th Century defensive walls and the pink arcaded town hall (Rathaus). Don’t leave town before stroking the head of the snake sculpture guarding the entrance to the Rathaus. Local tradition holds that this will bring you good luck.
St. Mary’s Church is home to one of Europe’s oldest astronomical clocks. Visitors gather at midday to witness and see the Apostles’ Procession when the clock’s six figures move past Christ in a solemn procession.
Rostock is also home to one of the oldest universities in the world with the main university building located on Universitätsplatz. Don’t miss Der Brunnen der Lebensfreude (Fountain for the Joy of Life) in front of this building, featuring 20 bronze sculptures of animals and people, and 18 water jets.
If you have time, why not take the train to the neighboring seaside resort of Warnemünde? Its sugar-white sand beach, dotted with characteristic deckchairs, stretches for over 9 miles. Perfect for strolling and relaxing.
For a night’s stay, head to Radisson Blu Hotel Rostock. Opt for this hotel for its prime location in the city centre, comfy beds, and great customer service.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Radisson Blu Hotel Rostock | Book hotels in Rostock
ROSTOCK TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours in Rostock
Bremen – One of the most beautiful cities in Germany
You cannot visit Germany and skip the beautiful city of Bremen – that might sound biased coming from a local but it is also a pure fact that Bremen is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany.
It surely is not as big as Berlin but offers tons for its visitors and it is great to visit at any time of the year.
One of the first stops should be the Market Square that is also home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The town hall is one of the most beautiful ones in all of Germany (or Europe) and is a stunning masterpiece of Brick Gothic and Weser Renaissance architecture. It is also the seat of the President of the Senate and Mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen – and has become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.
And just in front, you will find the famous Roland Statue – another UNESCO World Heritage site. This statue dates back to the early 15th century and symbolizes the freedom of the city. Also, while at the Market Square, rub the feet of the donkey. The statue of the famous Bremen Town Musicians is also located just next to the town hall.
When the weather is good, there are many outdoor cafes around, and you can soak up the atmosphere (and watch demonstrations, protests or some street artists – there can be a lot going on).
The old town is also a great place to relax, and you should not miss out – those narrow streets with houses dating back to the 15th century.
End the day at the Schlachte – our favorite promenade at the water with many different restaurants indoors and outdoors.
In the winter you have the Christmas Markets sprinkled all over the city center and in fall and spring, you have some fairs with carousels and food stalls. So, there is always a reason to visit Bremen.
We recommend staying close to the city center. The Radisson Blue next to the city center is one of the best places to stay.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Radisson Blue | Search hotels in Bremen
BREMEN TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours in Bremen here
Regensburg – Best places to go in Germany near the Danube
Regensburg, near Munich, is a must-see in Bavaria. In fact, it’s one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany. It’s also one of the most beautiful cities, with so many things to do.
Regensburg’s Gothic Cathedral is a masterpiece, built around 700 (and then rebuilt after a fire) and is still home to a fabulous choir today. It’s also a great way to orient yourself to this compact little village as you wander the cute cobblestone streets. Just look up and search for the spire!
Old Town is even home to an actual torture chamber located in the basement of the Old Town Hall. To visit, make an appointment for a guided tour in the helpful Tourist Office next door. You’ll see an interrogation chamber with a one-way mirror, racks, and a darken cell for the local drunks.
Regensburg is also home to Roman ruins. Just past a beautiful pastry shop in Old Town are remnants from Castra Regina, a Roman outpost that dates from the Roman occupation of the area in 179 AD/CE.
Be sure to visit the beautiful biergartens down by the Danube River if the weather is nice and walk over to New Town across the Old Stone Bridge. With more time, cycle the bike path along the river out to the Walhalla Memorial, a “hall of fame” dating from the 19th century with more than 2,000 paintings and plaques of notable Germans.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Goliath Am Dom Regensburg | Search hotels in Regensburg
REGENSBURG TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search activities and tours in Regensburg
Quedlinburg – the Best preserved medieval town in Germany
Quedlinburg is a beautiful small town in Northern Germany, which not many people have heard of. This is surprising, considering the fact that this is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in all of Germany.
Its entire Old Town area is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and this is just one of the few reasons you need to make your way to Quedlinburg in the near future.
The town is ‘flooded’ with colourful half-timbered houses, which makes it feel like a medieval fairytale. The reconstruction of the old houses is done under strict regulations so that they preserve their original look and do not lose authenticity. This makes Quedlinburg your perfect destination if you’re on a hunt for charming places to visit in Germany.
In the wintertime, there is a lovely Christmas market happening in the main town square. Christmas is celebrated in true Quedlinburg style, with the sounds of seasonal music, numerous food stands, and tons of fairy lights, lighting up this over a thousand-year-old city.
Some of the must-see places in Quedlinburg include the City Hall, the Castle on the hill, the region of Münzenberg, as well as the numerous stunning churches around the whole town.
For a comfortable stay, choose the Acron Hotel. The hotel is located about 10 minutes by foot from the city center, so if you don’t mind a bit of walking, this is the perfect option for everyone on a budget.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Acron Hotel | Search hotels in Quedlinburg
Würzburg – Prettiest city with impressive architecture
Pretty Wurzburg is a Bavarian city worth a visit for its traditional architecture, century-old castle and charming small-town feel.
You’ll find Würzburg in the south of Germany, easily accessible as a day trip from Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Stuttgart. While there are some specific sites to see, one way to spend time in Wurzburg is by wandering the city and soaking up the atmosphere.
Visit the Marktplatz (central market square) for people-watching and farmers markets, as well as peeping inside the impressive St Mary’s Chapel.
The most famous thing to do in Wurzburg is to explore the Wurzburg Residence, a UNESCO stately home with impressive artwork and gardens. Whether you go inside or wander the grounds, it’s one of the most decadent buildings in Wurzburg, aside from Marienberg Fortress.
Perched on top of the hill and overlooking the Main River, Marienberg Fortress is a great place to learn about Germany in days gone by. You can visit the onsite museum to learn about its history, or simply sip beers and soak up the surrounding views. Guided tours of Marienberg Fortress run for €3.50 from April to October.
On a sunny day, the best thing to do in Wurzburg is to relax on the bridge, listen to live music, and sip cocktails. A typical German drink is a Hugo made from Prosecco, elderflower, and mint.
It’s easy to see Wurzburg on a day trip from one of the surrounding cities. However, if you’re looking to stay over, Hotel Goldenes Faß is a comfy base with double rooms and tasty breakfasts.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Goldenes Faß | Search more hotels in Wurzburg
WURZBURG TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours and activities in Wurzburg
Frankfurt – Business and Financial hub city of Germany
Frankfurt is the business and financial core of Germany. Due to this fact, and its proximity to truly charming towns such as Heidelberg, Mainz, and Rudesheim, many travelers decide to skip the city when touring the area.
The reality is that Frankfurt is full of museums, parks, gardens, musical venues, open-air markets, shopping centers, and other attractions that would delight any visitor.
Spending at least one day in Frankfurt will give you a good idea of what the city is all about. A longer stay will allow you to go deeper into “Mainhattan” and plan interesting day trips.
Start a day of exploration by walking around the Inner City (the oldest part of town, reconstructed after WWII). In there, you will be able to see the colorful timber-framed houses at the Romerberg, the City Hall, St. Paul’s Church, St. Nicholas Church and the Hauptwache.
Food lovers should head straight to Kleinmarkthalle, an indoor venue with 60+ vendors selling all sorts of edible goods. During warm months, you will find outdoor markets at Kaiserstrade and Kaiserplatz. A 200+ stalls Christmas market takes over the Romerberg Square and Paulsplatz during the month of December.
It is highly advisable to do a cruise along the Main River (50 minutes to 1.5 hours). This activity will give you the opportunity to see the city’s skyline, unique bridges, and industrial zones. After that, stroll the Main River banks (and find a beer garden), check the Palmengarten or the Main Tower Observation Deck.
For a good night’s sleep, book accommodations at Adina Apartment Hotel, Hotel My Main or Moxy Frankfurt.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Adina Apartment Hotel| Hotel My Main | Moxy Frankfurt
FRANKFURT TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search sightseeing tours in Frankfurt
Lübeck – of old-world charm in Germany
Ever heard of Lübeck? We hadn’t either until we came to Hamburg – it turns out Lübeck is an excellent day trip from there (about 45 minutes via train, if you’re wondering)!
Lübeck was once the capital of the Hanseatic League, meaning it once had a very important role in the trade industry. It’s full of beautiful Brick Gothic architecture, like their famed city gate. And if you’re a marzipan fan, Lübeck is NOT to be missed! Niederegger, one of the most famous marzipan producers in the world, has a factory, café, and museum there.
What should you do in Lübeck? Glad you asked! First off, marvel at the stunning city gate – the Holstentor, then visit the impressive town hall of Lübeck – Rathaus.
If you are into museums, visit the free Marzipan Museum (also at Niederegger) and the Europäisches Hansemuseum to learn more about the Hanseatic League.
One of the coolest things to do in oldtown is to reach the top of the St. Peter’s Church and soak in amazing city views or the golden sunrays.
In the evening, try marzipan cappuccino at the Café Niederegger and play the trivia game to win a small marzipan bar or relish a marzipan ice cream at Marzipan-Speicher-Café.
Love Lübeck so much you want to stay the night? Motel One is a great choice! It’s located directly in the town center and comes with free (delicious) breakfast. Its cozy lobby is decorated with unique light fixtures and nautical elements, while a well-stocked bar makes it nice for a night out.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Motel One | Search hotels in Lübeck
LUBECK TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours in Lübeck
Cochem – Prettiest town along the German Romantic Road
Until a few years ago, Germany would not have represented a travel destination worth taking into consideration, mainly because many had no idea what gems are hidden there. But as you can see once you start discovering it, there is so much to put on your travel bucket list.
One of the amazing things to do here is to embark on a road trip on Germany’s Romantic road and discover beautiful towns in between vineyards. One of the towns that you should stop by is Cochem.
What’s so special about Cochem? It is such a small coquette town, with a castle perched on a hilltop, overlooking the colorful buildings nicely arranged at the bottom, in between vineyards, a colorful old town center, and many beautiful neighbors.
Take a boat on Mosel River, hire a bike and make your way through Germany’s vineyards, or simply sip a glass of delicious local wine on the banks of the river. Cochem will charm you with its quiet beauty and its laid back vibe.
For a night’s stay in Cochem – choose Aparthotel Cochem which is a convenient stay with a breathtaking view over the castle and the river, offering free parking spaces, within walking distance from the city center.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Aparthotel Cochem | Search hotels in Cochem
COCHEM TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book panoramic city tour in Cochem
Dresden – The architecturally rich city of Germany
No city in Germany has such a rich and varied architecture as Dresden. Here you can find wonderful examples of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, Modernist, and Postmodernist styles.
As you can imagine, there is a reason for such an enormous heritage. Dresden was the capital of the Saxon Kingdom and was also the largest city of now-defunct Eastern Germany. Though it suffered heavy bombings during World War, it’s been magnificently reconstructed.
Dresden’s city center showcases historic architecture. Its centerpiece is Neumarkt Square, where the famous Frauenkirche is.
Other important sites are nearby: Dresden Castle, the Cathedral, and the Semperoper. Our favorite spot, however, are the gardens of the opulent baroque Zwinger Palace. You cannot leave Dresden without visiting it!
If you are into historic palaces, you’ll be delighted to know you can stay in a few. We recommend the extravagant Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski.
To our pleasure, Dresden hosts fantastic modern architecture. There is an interesting oriental-inspired former cigarette factory, Yenidze. We loved everything about the Kunsthof Arcades, across the River Elbe from the old town. It’s a string of patios with artistic installations.
There is even a deconstructivist building. The famous architectural studio Coop Himelblau designed the quirky Ufa Cinema Palace.
Finally, you should not leave Dresden without understanding its recent past. Of the numerous socialist former Eastern German neighborhoods, the area around pedestrian Prager Street is the coolest.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski | Search more hotels in Dresden
DRESDEN TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours in Dresden
Saxon Switzerland – Yup! A stunning German Town
One of our favorite places to visit is Saxon Switzerland in Germany. And yes, Saxon ‘Switzerland’ is in fact in Germany.
More precisely in the south of the city Dresden, only 10 kilometers to the Czech Republic and Bohemian Switzerland. This area is part of the so-called “Sächsische Schweiz National Park” and probably one of Germany’s most amazing nature-places to visit.
The perfect destination for hiking and climbing, or just a relaxed day out in nature.
The best things to do in Saxon are to visit the Conquer Koenigstein Fortress, cycling along the beautiful Elbe River, go on a hiking trip on the famous Malerweg Route, do a tour on a historic steamboat and a visit to the Schandau Baths.
Here in Saxon Switzerland giant sandstone karsts dominate the landscape. The absolute highlight and a must-see is the Bastei Bridge, a rock formation so unique and special that it makes visitors speechless.
From the height, you will have amazingly beautiful views of the Elbe River and the marvelous landscapes of high cliffs around.
A highly recommended place to stay is at the Hotel Elbschlösschen. Guests are amazed by the fabulous location from which to explore Saxon Switzerland.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Elbschlösschen in Kurort Rathen
SAXON TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Take a day tour to Saxon from Dresden
The Rhine Valley – One of the best places go in Germany
The Rhine Valley is one of the best places to visit in Germany. In a 40-mile/ 65-km stretch of the Upper Middle Valley Rhine River, there are over forty castles perched on the hills on either side of the river, dozens of picturesque villages and either thick forests or lines of vineyards perched precariously on the steep slopes.
The most convenient way to see the Rhine Valley is on a Rhine River cruise; however, it is also possible to tour around by car. This gives more flexibility in visiting the castles (many are open to the public and some are even hotels) and is the only option in winter, but doesn’t have quite the magical view that you get from the river.
Cruises go in both directions between Koblenz and Rüdesheim several times a day from late spring to early fall/ autumn.
It is possible to get off the boat and spend a few hours or even stay overnight in one (or more) of the villages along the way.
Assmannhausen is surrounded by vineyards and is especially famous for Pinot Noir. You can also take a chairlift or hike into the hills above to see the Niederwalddenkmal, a large monument built to commemorate the Unification of Germany.
Bacharach features the Wernerkapelle, a clover-leaf-shaped Gothic ruin and the nearby Stahleck Castle which has a youth hostel inside. Boppard has adorable half-timbered buildings that make it look like a fantasy town. You can take a chairlift from Boppard up to Vierseenblick (“Four-Lake View”) where what looks like four lakes is actually four parts of the Rhine River separated in the view only by surrounding hills.
Two great hotel options are Hotel Burg Reichenstein, where you get to stay inside a medieval castle, and Altstadt Hotel Koblenz, a small boutique hotel right on the main square in Koblenz.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Burg Reichenstein | Altstadt Hotel Koblenz
RHINE VALLEY TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Rhine Valley Cruise Tour
Heidelberg – Pretty Idyllic town in Germany
One of our favorite places to visit in Germany is the idyllic town of Heidelberg. With the ruins of the Heidelberg castle and the Neckar River flowing, it is indeed one of the most beautiful and historic places one can visit in Germany.
Heidelberg can be visited on an easy day trip by train from Frankfurt.
While visiting Heidelberg, walking up to the castle and touring it is a must. You can take a cable car ride to the top if walking is not your thing. The view from the castle of Heidelberg is magnificent and the castle, although much of it is in ruins, is still very interesting.
We recommend buying an entrance ticket and taking a guided tour to better appreciate all the stories and history that the castle holds
After your visit to the castle, head to the Altstadt or Old Town of Heidelberg. It is one of the longest shopping areas in the world and has an amazing Christmas market in November and December.
Crossing the Alte Brucke Bridge and looking at the beautiful Neckar River is the perfect way to see more of the city. Look for the bronze monkey statue by the bridge entrance.
Legend says that rubbing his mirror will bring you money, rubbing his fingers will mean you will return to the city of Heidelberg and rubbing the little mice will bring you fertility.
Heidelberg is a university town and has long been a favorite of scholars and philosophers. Take the Philosopher’s Walk while you are there and enjoy the stunning views of nature that surround the city.
Our recommendation for staying in Heidelberg is to stay at the Marriott Heidelberg. It is located on the banks of the Neckar River and is within walking distance to almost everything.
Wherever you stay, whatever you choose to do, we guarantee that the idyllic town of Heidelberg will be one of your favorite destinations.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Marriott Heidelberg
HEIDELBERG TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours in Heidelberg
Stuttgart and Esslingen – Pretty & popular cities of Germany
When people think of Germany, they always think about the rich architecture of Munich, Bavarian castles or Berlin’s hipster scene. Stuttgart often gets forgotten, a true injustice in our opinion.
Stuttgart is the capital of Baden-Württemberg – our favorite German state to pronounce.
The city is sprawled over several hills and valleys and includes several very distinct “mini-cities”, or districts. It is this diversity in architecture and culture from one district to another that makes Stuttgart a must-visit destination.
There is also plenty to do in Stuttgart with the Mercedes Benz Museum, Wilhelma Botanical Gardens and Stuttgart Palace.
Our top tip for Stuttgart is to hop on a 15 minute train to Esslingen and enjoy a few hours there on a day trip. Have a walk around the historic town centre and climb up to the wall at Esslinger Burg for a fantastic view of the district.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin hotel | Book hotels in Stuttgart
STUTTGART TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search activities in Stuttgart
Hamburg – The culture, cuisine, and concert city of Germany
Hamburg is one of those places in Germany that are great all year round and there’s plenty to do no matter what type of traveler you are.
Even better is the fact that it’s in close proximity to other German cities that are more than worth a visit.
A great hotel to stay in is the Motel One Hamburg Am Michel. Despite the name, it’s actually a beautiful hotel conveniently located near the St Pauli District, home of The Reeperbahn.
The Reeperbahn is Hamburg’s Red Light District and even if you’re not into wild nights filled with debauchery, it’s worth taking a tour through the area no matter what time of year. St Pauli is also a great place for lively bars, restaurants, and clubs.
We highly recommend visiting Hamburg during the warmer months but most activities are perfect for any weather, you just maybe a little chilly.
The Supper Club is a bar and restaurant that also happens to rent stand up paddle-boards and kayaks for you to cruise down the canals. Of course, it’d be a more comfortable activity in the spring or summer but if you dress warmly enough, it’s a good fall activity too.
While Hamburg has a great bus and subway system that runs everywhere, you should try out the ferry that runs along the Elbe River. It offers great views of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which happens to be a great place to tour or take in a show.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Motel One Hamburg am Michel | Book hotels in Hamburg
HAMBURG TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search activities in Hamburg
Berchtesgaden – Home to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest retreat
Nestled among the rocky peaks of the southern German Alps, the town of Berchtesgaden became famous when it was selected to be the location for Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest retreat.
The Eagle’s Nest, or Kehlsteinhaus, sits up high on top of a steep ridge overlooking the entire valley. Getting to the top is a multiple-step process – but the views, both on the bus ride up and once you’re at the top – are a powerful reward for the planning required.
Though there is no formal museum, there are several display boards outlining the history of the building, plus a traditional German restaurant, beer garden, and gift shop.
The real star of the show is the breath-taking natural scenery: towering granite mountains surround a lush alpine valley and brilliant blue lake. Surrounding the actual building are numerous viewing stations with stand-mounted binoculars and information boards describing what you’re looking at. There are also several hiking trails serving a range of abilities.
Book your bus ticket online several weeks in advance, as they tend to go quickly. When you arrive at the bus station, you schedule your departure to the elevator station, and upon arrival at the elevator station, you schedule your return bus trip.
We recommend at least an hour to 90 minutes, and if you’re going to hike, probably two hours. If you wish to eat at the restaurant, add in another 30-60 minutes. There is a trail to hike up or down – but this would be a grueling multi-hour affair!
TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book a day tour from Munich to Eagle’s Nest
Fussen and Neuschwanstein Castle – A Fairytale in Germany
Bavaria is the largest state in Germany and one of the most scenic parts of the country.
You could spend weeks doing a tour of the various Bavarian castles but the one that should be at the top of your bucket list is Neuschwanstein (or Schloss Neuschwanstein). The castle looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale, with towers, turrets and an incredibly plush throne room.
Two years after the Austro-Prussian War, when Bavaria and Austria were conquered by Prussia, the Bavarian monarch, King Ludwig II, built Neuschwanstein. Stripped of real power to rule he spent his days in a fantasy world.
Neuschwanstein was completed in 1892 and opened to the public not long after. It’s now one of Germany’s most visited attractions.
Neuschwanstein’s stunning design was the inspiration for the castle in Walt Disney’s Cinderella as well as Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle. Surprisingly, only 14 rooms in Neuschwanstein are furnished, including the king’s bedroom, Singer’s Hall and the grotto.
To visit the castle, you need to join a guided tour and most tours include several Bavarian castles like Hohenschwangau Castle, Linderhof Palace and Herrenchiemsee.
The castle looks beautiful all year round but keep in mind that during peak season in summer so book your tickets in advance (or get there early).
Neuschwanstein can be visited as a day trip from Munich and is open from April to 15 October (9 am to 6 pm) and 16 October to March (10 am to 4 pm). The ticket office is in the village of Hohenschwangau.
RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Romantic Pension-Albrecht Hotel | Book hotels in and around Fussen
DAY TOUR TO NEUSCHWANSTEIN FROM MUNICH: Check out this day tour here
Preparing for travel to Germany Europe
Planning your trip to Europe – If this is your first-ever trip to Europe, consider reading our Europe 101 guide.
Schengen Visa – If you require a visa to travel to Europe, most likely it is the Schengen Visa (for those belonging to the Euro Zone or EU, doesn’t include the UK). Read our guide to applying for Schengen Visa.
Travel Insurance – Don’t forget to insure your trip. Get Travel Insurance quotes from World’s Nomads here.
Germany Travel Resources
- Visiting Germany in Winter – Guide to the best destinations to visit in winter
- Munich Itinerary – Itinerary guide for 3 to 7 days in Munich
- Munich on a Budget – Free things to do in Munich
- Dachau Bavaria – Guide to visiting Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
- Nuremberg – One day itinerary and day trip guide to Nuremberg
- Fussen and Bavarian Villages – Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and Bavarian Villages
- Central Europe in 2 weeks with Germany – Visit Munich, Budapest, Prague and Vienna in 14 days
- Europe – Get our 27 Europe in one week itinerary samples
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Love this list! Rostock and Lübeck are absolute gems, and I would go back to Hamburg in a second. I think the prettiest city I ever saw was Stralsund and prettiest natural areas were on the island Rügen and in the Berlin Wannsee area. Absolutely gorgeous.
Germany has some of the most charming and fairytale villages to explore.
Thank you for sharing these.
So true. It was our very first European destination, and we can’t wait to re-visit!