10 Great Places To Visit in Germany
While Germany is a beautiful, diverse country with an impressive culture and plenty of travel opportunities, it rarely tops travelers’ lists unless they are planning a trip to Oktoberfest or a Rhine River cruise. I don’t know why and how this is happening, but I do know that deep forests, fairy-tale castles, and picturesque towns are not to be missed. Aside from all the excellent beer, the most beautiful Christmas Markets, and plenty of activities in Germany, you’ll soon wonder why you’ve never visited the country sooner.
Although the list could have two or three times larger. There is no doubt that these destinations are some of the most beautiful in Germany, thanks to their splendid architecture and undeniable charm.
Berlin has certainly changed the most in the last 20 years and is certainly one of the most interesting cities in Europe. In the past few decades, it has emerged as Europe’s capital of cool with an eclectic mix of fashion, music, and design.
With its pulsating nightlife, more than 170 world-class museums, galleries, and philharmonics, and stately relics that still tell the story of its turbulent past, Berlin is a cultural city always on the move.
The craft beer scene is surprisingly strong for Germany. Brewdog took over the American-owned Stone Brewery and is worth a trek to. In the city be sure and try a Berline Weiss mixed with either Raspberry or Woodruff syrup.
Make the most of your time in Berlin with a visit to Museum Island on the Spree River and to the fantastic East Side Gallery in which paintings by artists from around the world are displayed on the Berlin Wall. Besides that, you can go shopping at Kurfürstendamm, the city’s most famous avenue; get a taste of the Berlinese coffee culture in the Mitte (the historical heart of Berlin), and experience the city’s incredible nightlife in Friedrichshain.
You won’t want to miss the city’s many Christmas markets if you plan to vacation in winter. The selection is impressive, and they all sell high-quality products. No matter what your style is, whatever your interests are, you’ll find it in the city! From traditional to alternative, from British-inspired to Scandinavian-inspired, to environmentally-friendly and designer-focused, there’s something for everyone in the city!
A world-renowned cathedral, a vibrant arts scene, and some of the funkiest locals make Cologne a wonderful European city break, whether you’re seeking art, culture, or thermal spas. Germany’s fourth-largest city is one of its most libertine destinations, along with Berlin.
Cologne’s most beautiful sights include its UNESCO-listed cathedral (Kölner Dom); the Hohenzollern Bridge, famous for its love locks; the Altstadt (Old Town) with its lovely landmarks and historic buildings; and the fashionable Agnesviertel and the Belgian Quarter.
While visiting Cologne be sure and drink some wonderful Kölsch beer. My favorite beer-drinking spots are Fruh (across from the Dom) and Peters Kolsch. Kölsch is part of the very fabric of Cologn, just as Alt beer is to Dusseldorf or Rauch Beer is to Bamberg. It is an element of the city’s cultural heritage as important as the annual Carnival.
Don’t miss the Cologne Carnival if you’re in Cologne in November. The festival is widely regarded as one of the best in Europe, if not the world.
The city along like Berlin was extensively bombed out in World War II but they have done an outstanding job with the rebuild.
3. The Romantic Road
There is no better way to experience german culture, picturesque scenery, and a medieval atmosphere than along the Romantic Road. Travelers get to see some of Bavaria’s most picturesque attractions along this route between Würzburg and Füssen including the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, the baroque city of Würzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Germany’s best-preserved medieval town, and the picturesque Pfaffenwinkel region, with its quaint villages and pilgrimage churches.
Even though the route is quite touristy and can get busy during the summer months, it offers a truly authentic experience of Germany, one that is full of local hospitality and rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.
The city of Hamburg has it all – historical architecture, striking futuristic buildings, and some of Europe’s best nightlife. The country’s second-largest city boasts an abundance of parks and green spaces, a historic center filled with treasures, and more bridges than any other. Along the riverbank are fine dining restaurants, museums filled with world-class art, and the Town Hall, a masterpiece of neo-renaissance architecture.
For those with more contemporary tastes, the HafenCity district is one of Europe’s most ambitious inner-city developments. Along the Hamburg waterfront, the area is home to towering skyscrapers, elegant glass facades, and airy promenades, as well as a shimmering concert hall (Elbphilharmonie) designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.
On the other hand, the UNESCO-awarded Speicherstadt is the largest warehouse district on earth, with a unique ensemble of Neo-Gothic brick buildings with oak pilings and waterways.
If sex is your thing, Hamburg has a Red Light area that rivels the more famous Amsterdam one.
The capital of Saxony, Dresden, is a vibrant city that is one of the most celebrated cultural cities in Germany. There are a number of architectural treasures in Dresden, including the Zwinger Palace – one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture, the impressive Brühl’s Terrace, and the Dresden Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church that dominates the skyline.
Dresden’s charm lies not only in its scenic location on the Elbe River, but also in its cozy neighborhoods and magnificent green spaces. Dresden is full of gorgeous spots waiting to be discovered, such as the charming Baroque Quarter – full of interesting shops and a breathtaking array of baroque architecture; the lively and fashionable Neustadt; and the delightful Großer Garten – Dresden’s most delightful park.
World War II buffs know the city for the infamous firebombing of the city. These days though history buffs can make easy day trips to two famous World War II P.O.W. camps. Colditz Castle was one of the toughest camps to escape from and has a great tour. You can get there via train. If you rent a car I highly recommend going to Poland to go to Zagan. Here you will find Luft Stalag III, known for two escape plots by Allied POWs, one in 1943 that became the basis of a fictionalized film, The Wooden Horse, based on a book by escapee Eric Williams. The second breakout—the so-called Great Escape—of March 1944. A heavily fictionalized version of the escape was depicted in the film The Great Escape, which was based on a book by former prisoner Paul Brickhill. I cannot tell you how many times I have read those books or watched the movie.
Munich is the capital city of Bavaria and one of the most beautiful and liveable cities in Germany. It is known primarily for the world-famous Oktoberfest, but its appeal reaches far beyond the local beer culture.
As you travel through the “cosmopolitan city with a big heart”, you will find magnificent architecture, castles, museums, and beautiful parks, but also an exuberant atmosphere brimming with creativity.
There is no shortage of sightseeing, fine dining, shopping, and entertainment in Munich. Popular Munich attractions include the Marienplatz – Munich’s beating heart; the Deutsches Museum (German Museum), often regarded as the world’s largest technological museum; there is also the legendary Hofbrauhaus brewery and the stunning Englischer Garten (English Garden). You can actually see surfers in the Englischer Garten which is a sight to behold.
A couple of my favorite things to do when people are visiting is to take them to the BMW museum or to the nearby Olympic Park with its wonderful buildings.
7. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Garmisch is a ski town in Bavaria in southern Germany which borders Austria. Nearby is Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, at 2,962 metres (9,718 ft) above sea level.
A number of Nordic and alpine Ski World Cup races are held here, often on the Kandahar Track outside of the town. As an integral part of the Four Hills Tournament (Vierschanzen-Tournee), a ski jumping contest is traditionally held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year’s Day.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen epitomizes Bavarian culture. Walking around town you see locals wearing lederhosen and dirndl.
Nature is the main highlight here. The area is great for hiking and biking and the Partnach Gorge. Partnach Gorge’s introduction to massive rock faces is a surreal experience that is hard to compare with anything else. The gorge below you is filled with water that rushes through. It is wild and boisterous. It is difficult to imagine how much water has hollowed out the mountain over the centuries. The trail offers new and breathtaking perspectives as you stroll past the impressive rock faces.
Read the full Garmisch-Partenkirchen review here: https://europeantravel.blog/garmisch-partenkirchen-bavarian-wonderland/
8. The Mosel Valley
One of Germany’s most breathtaking sights, the Mosel Valley is lined with terraced vineyards, half-timbered medieval villages, and hilltop fairytale castles.
A 195-kilometer long tributary of the Rhine flows between Trier and Koblenz, marking one of the top winemaking regions in Germany. This is a wonderful destination for those looking to get away from their hectic lives, experience German culture, and indulge in wine tasting.
Among the highlights is the wonderful Roman city of Trier; Cochem, with its majestic castle and picturesque riverfront promenade; the sleepy village of Beilstein; and the elegant Art Nouveau town of Traben-Trarbach.
Late summer/early fall is a great time to visit Germany’s idyllic Mosel Valley when the villages come to life with vibrant harvest and wine festivals featuring live music, street parades, and local produce.
As one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, Görlitz appeals to visitors with its serene cobblestone alleys, beauty-filled squares, and a variety of architectural styles from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque.
It’s located in Saxony, near the border with Poland, and you can walk right to its Polish twin city, Zgorzelec, if you cross the Neisse river via the pedestrian bridge. Around 4,000 listed buildings adorn the immaculate Old Town, along with an array of cafés.
Görlitz’s historical sites have been featured in movies like Inglourious Basterds, The Book Thief, and The Reader.
10. Bamberg, Germany
The picturesque Bavarian town of Bamberg is often known as the Rome of Franconia because of its seven hills. There are winding cobblestone streets, spectacular mansions, and a variety of preserved half-timber buildings in its UNESCO-protected Altstadt, and there is an intense beer culture.
Bamberg is famous for its Rauch Beer which is a smoked beer. It is hard to really choose my favorite place to drink there but Fassla, Spezial and Mahr’s are always great spots.
The Wilde Rose Keller has everything you would expect from a classic beer garden. The atmosphere is tranquil and shady like entering the woods. The pebbles crunch beneath your feet, old keg fillers and full casks are strewn along the edge, and potted plants and ferns mark out the more intimate spaces among the majestic trees. There is enough room on its grounds to seat 1500 people and still have room left over for a kids’ playground. In case of inclement weather, an ornate wooden loggia provides shelter. If you look closely at the intricate woodwork, you’ll notice the six-pointed brewers’ star carved at regular intervals in the corners of the lattices.
The local Weyermann Maltery has a great tour and produces some great beers and spirits in their pilot plants. It was also used as the outdoor setting as the Wonka candy factory in the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory movie.
There are brightly painted fishermen’s houses along the Regnitz river, the city hall stands on an island, and its ancient 11th-century cathedral is one of the most important in Germany.
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