If you’re a fan of beer, wine, beautiful sights, and European culture, then Germany should be your next travel destination. While it often gets overlooked in favor of other European destinations such as France, Spain, or the Netherlands, Germany is a country that’s rich in history, culture, and nature and you can find tons to explore here.
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Whether you’re looking for a fun trip full of nightlife, sports events, and festivals, a relaxing getaway with stunning hiking trails, or an exciting holiday full of museums, landmarks, and attractions, you can find all of this and more in Germany. But if you’ve never been, you might not be sure where to start. Here are 11 top places to visit in Germany.
Berlin is the capital of Germany and arguably the best place to visit for tourists. This city is full of fun tourist attractions, including the incredible Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Berlin Television Tower, and Charlottenburg Palace. Plus, even after you’ve spent the day visiting these attractions, you can spend the entire night partying in one of Berlin’s many great nightlife districts.
The city caters to all kinds of tastes. For instance, those who love museums will love Museum Island. Sports fans can catch games at the Berlin Olympic Stadium or the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Music fans will find bars, clubs, and concerts covering all genres. The food scene is also amazing, with plenty of bratwurst and Berliner doughnuts as well as all kinds of international foods.
Here at Winetraveler, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Mosel Valley. If you’re a practiced wine enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with this famous German wine region and some of the wines it produces. Undoubtedly, the most famous grape variety grown here is Riesling, but quality Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay is also made. On the red front, Pinot Noir is the dominant variety. Archeology has also shown that winemaking throughout the area is nothing new, considering that a number of ancient Roman wine presses have been found.
This region is just as vast as it is beautiful, yet it perhaps doesn’t receive the attention it deserves given that there are over 5,000 wine producers crafting delicious red and white juice in over 125 towns. Topographically, the Mosel stands out for its steep-sloped vineyard terraces, and during harvest virtually all grapes are picked by hand. We recommended using Frankfurt as a base and taking a day trip to the Mosel Valley with a private guide.
If you’re looking to take an extended European vacation to the region, both Belgium and Luxembourg are not far from the Mosel.
Although it’s not the capital, Munich is another huge German city that has tons to offer. The city is full of beer halls, markets, palaces, and festivals, meaning you’ll find something to do at any time of the year. What’s more, the city is close to Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, making it a good spot for those who want to take day trips to other European countries.
Football fans will know Munich as the home of the Allianz Arena, where you can easily catch an FC Bayern Munich game. Beer fans will know it as the home of Oktoberfest, the world-famous beer festival where you can enjoy delicious food, funfair rides, and plenty of alcohol. It’s also home to attractions such as Munich Residenz, Nymphenburg Palace, and the English Garden.
For an incredible day trip experience, step outside of the city and venture into the Bavarian countryside to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which is the same castle that inspired Disney to model the Cinderella castle off of. You can schedule a highly-rated day trip from Munich right here.
Nuremberg is another one of the many great places to visit in Germany. If you’re a fan of castles, historic architecture, and awesome museums, then this is the spot for you. Many people visit this city to see sights such as the Altstadt, City Walls, and Nuremberg Castle. It’s also a top spot for history buffs, especially due to its connection to World War 2.
Even if you’re not a big history buff, you can still find plenty of fun things to do in Nuremberg. The Nuremberg Christmas Market is one of the biggest Christmas markets in the world and runs from November 26 to Christmas Eve. You can also check out the Nuremberg Zoo, plenty of cool museums, or even take a day trip to Munich or Prague.
When discussing Germany, we have to keep talking up the wine. Pfalz is an important wine region in the country, though it’s perhaps not as well know as Mosel. Like the Mosel, they produce a substantial portion of Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Noir, but it’s actually the red Dornfelder grape that is continuing to step up in popularity and worth keeping an eye on. Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc-based wines are also produced. Over 10,000 organizations grow grapevines here and sell to a variety of winemakers.
For the traveler, this is a beautiful region to visit if medieval towns and laid-back vibes are your thing. The countryside is stunning, with a variety of castles and valleys that dot the landscape. In fact, it’s a little-known secret that exploring Pfalz on bike or on foot is perhaps the best way to experience the region. Locals tend to be extremely friendly, and they take pride in their wine and cuisine. So after a long day of being outdoorsy, settle into a quaint bed and breakfast and try local, seasonal dishes.
There are a number of high-end hotels and restaurants throughout Pfalz, but if we had to pick one place to stay, it would be on a vineyard at Wohlfuhlhotel Alte Rebschule.
Dresden is one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, especially due to its mix of Baroque, Renaissance, and Modern architecture. You’ll be amazed by sights such as the Frauenkirche Dresden, the Zwinger, and the Dresden Royal Palace and Museums. You’ll also find many museums and galleries throughout the city.
It’s also one of the best hubs for day trips in the entire country. Many people use Dresden as a jump-off point to explore the Saxon Wine Route and the breathtaking Saxon Switzerland Mountains. If you feel like venturing a little further, Dresden is also close to Berlin, Prague, and Warsaw, making it easy to visit three iconic cities across three countries.
Füssen is a small town in the Bavarian Alps that’s perfectly located for lovers of nature and history. As you walk around the old town, you’ll feel like you’re walking around the scenery of an old German fairytale. What’s more, you can visit the High Castle of Füssen or even set off on one of the numerous nearby hiking trails to get some of the most incredible views of the region.
Neuschwanstein Castle (which we mentioned earlier) and Hohenschwangau Castle are both a 5-minute drive away, although they’re also close enough to reach on foot if you want to take a hike and enjoy the sights. Not only are these castles beautiful in themselves but they also offer incredible panoramic views of the surrounding area. You should also check out the Bergwaldpfad hiking area which gives you views right over the Austrian border.
Also known as the Rhine District, this centrally-located wine region in Germany is arguably the favorite amongst German wine enthusiasts, foodies and history buffs. It’s popular with travelers for its annual Rheingau Music Festival (summer), its wine festival in March, wine auctions held at Kloster Eberbach, beautiful landscape, and cultural aesthetic. On the wine side, it differentiates from the Mosel in that one of its classic grapes (Riesling) tends to be a bit less petrolic in flavor and more fruity.
The region is dotted with gorgeous little wine villages that follow the river for miles, all with vineyards often running right up to the water’s edge. For architecture and history lovers, you’ll find no shortage of monasteries and castles throughout the landscape. The locals here also tend to be friendly, and we highly recommend stumbling into some of the beer halls and wine bars you encounter along your route (rent a car).
Düsseldorf is an incredible city that offers a mix of historical architecture with stunning modern sights. Shoppers will love Konigsallee, a road known for offering all kinds of luxurious retail outlets. It’s also home to many cool museums and galleries, including the Kunstsammlung and Classic Remise.
Luckily, Düsseldorf is also full of nature in case you want to escape the big city vibes. You can check out its many beautiful parks, walk along the Rhine Embankment, or head further out to the hiking trails that surround the city. It’s also an excellent hub for day trips. Not only is it within an hour’s drive of Bonn, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen, and Dortmund, but it’s also right next to Belgium and the Netherlands.
With a beautiful old town, many annual events, and a lively atmosphere, Cologne is another one of the best places to go in Germany for an exciting city break. You can visit many cool landmarks here, including Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that survived bombing raids during both World Wars. It also has many great museums and galleries, including Museum Ludwig and the Cologne Chocolate Museum.
Cologne is also known for its unique culture. The city has a set of “Kölsche Grundgesetz” or ground rules, such as to keep a sense of humor and let go of bygone times. This means it’s a prime place for fun, entertainment, and mixing with locals, which is reflected by its plethora of bars, nightclubs, concerts, and events such as the Cologne Festival.
Rothenburg, or “Rothenburg ob der Tauber”, is a small German town that’s often described as a fairytale town due to its medieval architecture. If you’re looking for a quaint yet unique and inspiring destination, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is perfect for you as you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time when you enter this stunning location.
It’s not just great for history lovers, either. Rothenburg is often used as a jump-off point to explore the “Romantic Road”, a scenic route beloved by many German tourists. It’s also a great place to explore markets, cafes, and medieval-style pubs and restaurants. It’s also close to Nuremberg, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt if you feel like visiting somewhere livelier.
Take The Trip
With world-famous festivals, amazing Christmas markets, beautiful views from the Alps and German countryside, and metropolitan hubs known for their great food and nightlife, you won’t regret a holiday to Germany. Whether you prefer a lively city, a romantic medieval town, or somewhere in between, these are some of the greatest places to visit in Germany.
Of course, this is just a shortlist, and you might also want to consider other destinations for your German itinerary. For instance, destinations like Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Koblenz, Leipzig, and Regensburg are all worth visiting. Whatever you decide, you’re sure to find somewhere that you’ll love in this incredible and diverse country.
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