When we think of Germany, that suddenly reminds us of Oktoberfest, beer, land of football champions, sausages and Angela Merkel. However, Germany is more than what we see on television or cinema. Germany offers many different opportunities for fun and unforgettable memories and is a worthwhile country to visit.
Here are our top 10 best cities that you should visit during your German trip. Germany is a tourist and visitor friendly country with it’s the public transportation and ease of access. You can easily manage to move around and check out the hot spots.
A lot of surprises await you here in terms of parks and forests areas, palaces and castles, historical monuments and museums, Christmas markets, buzzing nightlife, and the list is never-ending.
One suggestion for your visit is to make sure that you carry important SOS numbers and are also aware of major German holidays (so that they don’t unexpectedly ruin your plans). On Sundays, expect shops to be closed except pubs, cafes and restaurants.
So lets get started from the bottom of our list:-
This second largest Bavarian city was a popular base of Nazi era. It had earlier witnessed a lot of pre-war Nazi rallies and post-war Nuremberg trials. Now the city bustles with a lot of students and tourists crowd. It is renowned for its medieval architecture, the rebuilt Nuremberg Castle and the “Stone Towers” in Altstadt (old town). The main hot spot for photo sessions is the 14th century Fountain (Schöner Brunnen) at the main market (Hauptmarkt) and a Gothic Church nearby. Here don’t forget to enjoy their world famous Gingerbread.
9. Rugen and Sylt
The German islands of Rugen and Sylt are located near Baltic Sea and North sea respectively. Rugen and Sylt are the top travel sites among Germans for recreational purposes. These islands are famous for beautiful beaches, captivating landscapes and camping sites. You can also enjoy a perfect family afternoon at Rugen’s Hiddensee, an auto-less small island that is reachable via a short ferry.
Sadly, not many outsiders know about these islands including Usedom. This now gives us curiosity to explore these places.
Discover this city if you are truly an opera aficionado. It is near Nuremberg, so you can include this destination in your itinerary. It is less visited compared to other big cities, but its student population makes it a city of active nightlife. It also boasts impressive baroque and rococo architectures.
Marvel at the majestic palaces of Bayreuth, for instance, the New Palace (Neues Schloss) and Old Palace (Altes Schloss) in Hermitage. The city celebrates plenty of festivals annually (including operas) and is a home to various museums. Check out the USP of Bayreuth by visiting Festspielhaus, Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt Museums. The freshly brewed Franconian beer at local Biergartens would surely delight you.
This place is certainly worthwhile to enjoy in daytime. It is filled with many lavish palaces, gardens (some are under UNESCO status), charming Russian and Dutch areas and many more. For history buffs, Potsdam is a paradise. Sites you should not miss during your trip are…
- Sanssouci Palace (designed after Versailles of Paris)
- Cecilienhof Palace- especially its Great Hall. It was here that Potsdam conference of 1945 was held. It still restores the original round table with many historic photos, flags and documents.
- Picturesque Russian area Alexandrowka and the Dutch Quarter
- Glienicke Bridge for the history buff who is interested in the Cold War
Get enchanted by the multiple picturesque views that this castle offers. The real fun would be its hiking areas. The visit will be little costly but its experience will pay off. You can get there easily with trains from Munich. Try exploring this castle in summers or autumn, otherwise you will find some areas being closed or wont see much in foggy and snowy weather.
You will love the gorgeous views of mountains, the town of Schwangau and of the castle itself from a small bridge at the castle’s vicinity. Expect 5-6 hours of tour duration, if you visit it completely. At the end of this tour, it feels so relaxing after the adventurous hike to grab some beer or hot wine (Glühwine) at some of its nearby pubs.
Cologne is associated with its symbolic gothic church, Cologne Cathedral, whose construction took almost 600 years. The beauty of Koln’s medieval architecture is unquestionable. The city also boasts 12 Romanesque Churches including St. Gereon. The other highlights of this city are- Chocolate Museum and University of Cologne (one of the oldest universities in Europe). The city has a rocking nightlife with hell of a lot of party hot-spots. You would find visitors spending their evening in pubs and enjoying the famous local beer Kölsch.
Dusseldorf is a place known for business (for trade shows), arts, fashion and nightlife. Most of the tourists stroll and gather around the Altstadt (old town area). Over 300 bars and nightclubs are found in this historic district, so you have many options for a great night out with your friends. That’s the reason why this old town is nicknamed the “longest bar in the world”.
Don’t forget to taste Düsseldorfer Beer i.e. Altbeer, which is top fermented and contains a lot of hops. Your visit is incomplete without trying this local beer.
Dresden was earlier known as “Florence at the Elbe”, due to its rococo and baroque city centre, which was devastated during the 2nd world war. Now the city is a focal point of historic landmarks and cultural institutions. Its hallmark is Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). The best part is that almost all of the major sites are accessible via foot. They are all closely situated in the old town area.
The other remarkable centre includes Semper Opera House, where you can have a memorable evening. The Zwinger Palace is a perfect example of German baroque architecture. It was earlier a party palace for the royals. Today the visitors enjoy themselves in the garden area in front of Zwinger bell clock.
Today, Munich is associated with Oktoberfest, BMW and gigantic Brezels. But the Bavarian capital also houses a lot museums including BMW auto museum. The eminent churches for you to visit here are- Frauenkirche, or Church of our Lady and Asam’s church. You can feel the festive atmosphere in all the seasons. The Oktoberfest, hence its name takes place in October and last for 16 days offers a lot of German cuisines. Ensure that you are visiting Munich’s Biergartens and world famous Beer Hall (Hofbräuhaus). A well-known hot spot for tourists is Rathaus (Town hall) at Marienplatz. Its unique feature is its Glockenspiel, where some figures come alive to mark each hour. We suggest you to visit it in weekdays, to avoid heavy crowds.
The number one destination will surely be Germany’s capital, which is a home to many historic sites, museums, palaces and green areas. In the heart of the city (Berlin Mitte), you can visit almost all of Berlin’s major tourist spots by walking or by having guided bike tours. These include- Brandenburg Tor, Siegessäule, Reichstag, Soviet War Memorial, Holocaust Memorial and many more. How about eating out in a restaurant at Berlin’s Fernsehturm (TV Tower) at the 203rd level while enjoying a panoramic view of the whole city. Oh, we have to mention the other highlights of the city that are not to be missed are the open air mural collection at Berlin’s East Side Gallery, Berlin Wall Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, and Tempelhof. If you love walking, then you will be happy with the abundance of parks and forest areas for a great family picnic grill. Check out the area of Grunewald.
So, in your opinion which other German city should also be listed under the top list. Share with us by commenting about your likes and dislikes about any particular city or landmark. Hope with this Top 10 list your German tour will be memorable.