Best Cities in Germany: 16 Beautiful Cities in Germany
Post card worthy places? Check. History filled cities? Check. Fairytale castles? Check. Art, night life, culture and good food? Check. Germany truly has the best of everything, which is why I’m sharing the best cities to visit in Germany.
As most of you already know, I’m not encouraging travel during this time. We need to stay home. What I am doing is inspiring your wanderlust for future trips after this is all over.
Germany has a little bit of everything. It’s filled with history and culture. With art and amazing architecture. With fairy-tale castles and post-card worthy towns. Old Towns filled with cobblestoned streets and coffee shops, and too good to be true nightlife. With good food and even better beer. There’s really not much more you can ask for from a country.
Situated in Central and Western Europe, Germany covers some 357,022 square kilometres. It’s filled with so many incredible places that it can be hard to choose where exactly to go, which is why I’ve created this guide to all the best cities to visit in Germany.
Of course, there’s so many more that I could talk about, but if I did it be here for a month. So, I’ve narrowed it down to 16 best cities to visit in Germany, and tried to include a good mix of everything – fairy-tale towns, history and river side city life. Let’s get in to it!
Which is the Most Beautiful City in Germany?
Germany’s capital is full of life and history, and put simply, you just can’t miss it. It’s one of a kind and truly has everything, so it’s no shock that it’s one of the most popular places to visit in Germany. Berlin has a dark past which isn’t forgotten.
You’ll find historical sites and memorials scattered around the city – you can’t miss the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Check Point Charlie, the Reichstag Building, and Brandenburg Gate. Its sobering to experience, but important to remember and learn.
You’ll also find Berlin’s different neighbourhoods filled with art, nightlife and lots of hidden gems. There’s also East Side Gallery, Berlin Cathedral and of course, Museum Island. Berlin is also home to many hip neighbourhoods, and you have to experience the night life, and try your hand at getting in to Berghain, a notoriously hard to get in to nightclub.
There’s also plenty of cool day trips you can take from Berlin that are worth while, such as a Potsdam day trip from Berlin. You need to spend atleast a few days in Berlin, if not more, to truly see and experience everything it has to offer.
One of my personal favourite places in Germany, Cologne is a gem just an hour north of Frankfurt. Filled with gothic architecture, Cologne is certainly one of the best cities to visit in Germany. It’s authentic and real, with hidden gems everywhere. The city spans the Rhine River and is over 2000 years old. Wander the streets of the Old Town, looking for the next authentic spot to stop for a Kolsch (traditional Cologne beer).
Easily the most famous attraction in Cologne is Cologne Cathedral, an impressively designed cathedral in the centre of the city. Gothic in design, you can also climb to the top for amazing views of the city. You can also spend time at the Museum Ludwig, taking a cruise on the Rhine River, or hanging a lock of the Hohenzollern Bridge.
Heidelberg is stunning, and one of the fan favourites in Germany. Located in the German State of Baden-Wurttemberg, Heidelberg is a university town which is situated on the River Neckar. A romantic city and well worth a visit for its baroque architecture, and especially the ruins of its renaissance castle. You’ll quickly fall in love with this authentic German City.
You absolutely have to visit Schloss Heidelberg, the ruins of a gorgeous castle perched above the city, and wander Altstadt, the Old Town, where you can shop, drink, eat and explore.
You can also visit the Old Bridge, and one of the many museums. For some incredible views, head to Philosophenweg, a 2km path high above the river which makes for a great walk and some amazing views.
Nuremberg is just stunning, and I adored it so much. Just an hour from Munich, many people skip Nuremberg, which surprises me. There’s gorgeous cobblestoned streets, amazing food and castles. There’s also so much history, dark history.
Home to the Nazi Rally Parties and later the Nuremberg Trials, Nuremberg rose from the ashes and rebuilt itself to the beautiful city it is today – and stands as a reminder to both tourists and locals.
Visit the Documentation Centre and Nazi Rally party grounds to learn the dark history of the city and feel like a princess as well as admire amazing views of the city from Nuremberg Castle. You can also spend endless time admiring the gorgeous Old Town, and of course, shopping. Nuremberg is also home to one of Germany’s best Christmas Markets which are definitely worth a visit.
I feel like Munich is the heart of Germany, and of course you have heard of it. The home of the famous Octoberfest, the city is alive all year round. Munich hosted the 1972 Olympics, and it truly is an authentic German city. If you are there during October, you’ll be at the heart of the Octoberfest fun, and if you are a soccer fan, be sure to catch a Bayern Munich FC Game.
You can’t miss having a beer at the famous Holfbrauhaus brewery, and a trip to Olympia Park. Admire the beauty of Nympehnburg Palace, and relax in Englischer Garten. You also can’t miss Marienplatz, Karsplatz, and St Peters Church. Munich is also the base for many incredible day trips, including the Eagles Nest, Salzburg, and the important trip to Dachau Concentration Camp.
The heart of Bavaria, it’s also close to the Black Forest. Munich is worthy of atleast 3 or 4 days, if not more. It’s the kind of place to just relax and enjoy the atmosphere. There are so many amazing landmarks in Germany, including many near Munich. Read all about the best German Landmarks to find out more!
Located in the North of Germany, Hamburg is a major port city which is crossed by many canals. The city has been named as Germany’s ‘most liveable’ city, but it’s also a great place to visit for a few days. The architecture is amazing, particularly lining the canals, and the city is filled with history, culture and nightlife.
You can walk to canals and admire the beauty of Speicherstadt, relax in the huge Planten un Blomen park, get a little wild at St Pauli, and appreciate the architecture of Hamburg Rathaus. 3 times a year Hamburg becomes the home of Hamburger Dom, a huge market and fair that can’t be missed if you are in the area at the time.
With rides, fair food and over 100 stores, this is the best way to experience a German Fair. The dates vary each year, so check online in advance if you want to be there for the fun!
Located in Western Germany, Essen is the nine largest city in Germany. Its regional history focuses on steel production and coal mining, although it is extremely modernised today. The Krupp family (now ThyssenKrupp), were major influencers on the building the city in to one of the most important coal and steel production sites in Germany, and today you can visit the huge Krupp family villa.
Visit the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, which is now a UNESCO Heritage Site, and visit the Ruhr Museum to learn the history of the industrial area. You can also relax in Grugapark, visit the Essen Philharmonie and explore the quaint and gorgeous historical buildings of the Kettwig Historical District.
What is known to be the financial and transport hub of Germany, Frankfurt isn’t all just business. It’s one of the most convenient places to fly in and out of Germany from, but there’s so much to do while you are there.
Frankfurt is located directly on the river Main, and you’ll find museums, shopping and gorgeous buildings wherever you go. The bustling city is the perfect place to spend a few days at the start or end of your Germany trip.
You can’t miss exploring the post-card worthy Romerberg, the views from Main Tower and the Stadel Museum. There are amazing spots for food and drink, and you can really get a taste for the German Cuisine, and of course, the German Beer. A must visit is Café Hauptwache, an authentic café/restaurant which has been open for over 100 years. Frankfurt is also a great place to base yourself for some amazing day trips!
Located in the South-West of Germany, Tubingen is a traditional university town which is home of one of Europe’s oldest universities. The city is home to endless historical buildings, and you’ll find people lazing in the sun on a sunny day. The gorgeous buildings and pathways are the sort of place that you can just get lost exploring.
Wandering the Old Town is a must, and you can’t miss an opportunity to climb up to Tubingen’s very own castle – Hohentubingen Castle, which also features impressive views and an onsite Ancient Culture Museum.
Visit St George’s Collegiate Church in the middle of the city and climb the 170 stairs to the top for even more impressive views, and if you are up for a little adventure, go boating on the river. Make sure to visit Am Markt square in the centre of the Old Town for a post-card worthy square where you can shop in the markets or stop by for a drink at one of the cafes.
Situated in the East of Germany and rebuilt after the WWII, Dresden is the capital of the German state of Saxony. Filled with baroque wonders, the city was beautifully rebuilt after it was bombed, and is full of history. With endless impressive architecture and a great art scene, a visit to Dresden is a must during your time in Germany.
Admire the impressive dome of Frauenkriche and wander the Neumarkt area surrounding it, and admire more architecture at Zwinger Palace, Semperoper, Dresdner Residenzsschloss. Admire renaissance art at the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister and admire the views from Brujl’s Terrace. You also can’t miss Dresden Cathedral and the unique courtyards at Kunsthofpassage.
The third largest city in Northern Germany, and an economic hub, Hanover is often forgotten by tourists when visiting Germany. It’s well worth a visit for its architecture, its gardens and its Old Town.
The Herrenhauser Gardens are beautiful, and one of the most popular attractions in Hanover, and the Berggarten is the number one garden you should head to, followed by Georgengarten.
The New and Old Town Halls are both worth a visit, and of course you can’t miss Hanover’s Old Town, Marktkirche. A short day trip from Hanover means you can visit the gorgeous Marienburg Castle, which is certainly worth it if you have the time.
A popular manufacturing hub in the South-West of Germany, Stuttgart is the capital of the German state Baden-Wurttemberg. Notably home to the Porsche and Mercedes headquarters, the city is filled with beautiful gardens around it’s bustling centre, Stuttgart certainly deserves its place on this list of the best cities to visit in Germany.
Along with visiting both the Porsche and Mercedes Benz Musuem’s, you can also visit the Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Garden, and the Library of Stuttgart. Schlossplatz is the heart of Stuttgart, and there’s plenty of parks worth spending time in, such as Killesbergpark.
Konigstrabe is the place to go for some amazing shopping, and you can head to the Markthalle to taste some traditional German specialities and experience everyday German life.
The most populated city in the German state of Saxony, Leipzig is a hub of trade and culture. Located 160km south-west of Berlin, the city played a role in the fall of communism in Eastern and Central Europe in 1989, through its demonstrations at St Nicholas Church.
Visit the gothic St Thomas Church, and the baroque St Nicholas Church, and admire the Volkerschlachtdenkmal, a piece of architecture which is now a monument to the battle of Leipzig. There’s always something happening at the Market square, where Christmas and Easter Markets, fairs and fresh food markets are held.
On any normal day, it’s also worth a visit to admire the architecture and stop for lunch in one of the cafes. Don’t miss the Atles Rathaus, part of the Old Town which is definitely worth exploring. There’s also plenty of museums to explore and hidden gems to find.
Located in North-West Germany and on the Weser River, Bremen is a gorgeous city that is home to the headquarters of many large companies and has a slightly gothic feel. Mostly known for its large role in maritime trade, it’s home to many UNESCO heritage sites and is just an all-round great city.
You can visit the stunning Bremen Cathedral and Town Hall, and spend endless time in the Marktplatz, which features those picturesque German buildings and amazing spots for a bite to eat or a drink. There’s also the Schnoor Quarter, the oldest neighbourhood in Bremen, and Schlachte, on the banks of the river, where you can go to relax, or also for a fun night out.
Located on the Rhine River, Dusseldorf is the second largest city in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, following Cologne. Known for its art, fashion and cultural scene, it’s one of the most underrated cities in Germany. Fashion, art and shopping lovers will love the city – and its home to some amazing food, and plays host to the Kirmes fair every July.
Wander along the Rheinuferpromenade and admire the views along the river, where you can also opt for a river cruise or simply lounge in the sun.
The Alstadt Old Town is equally beautiful, and the place to go for nightlife in Dusseldorf. Shop on Konigsallee, a high-end shopping boulevard, and head to the top of Rhine Tower for some amazing views. On a clear day, you can make out the towers of Cologne Cathedral in the distance.
Located in the North of Bavaria and an easy day trip from Munich, Rothenburg is the most beautiful German Medieval city, and truly post card worthy. It’s one of those places that almost doesn’t look real.
The Old Town and Marktplatz are the heart of Rothenburg, which feature cobblestone streets lined with medieval and colourful buildings.
You can spend hours just exploring the area – stopping by in one of the many cute cafes, and of course the boutique shops. You can also stop by at the famous Christmas shop which is open all year round to pick up an authentic German Christmas decoration.
Things to Know Before Visiting Germany
Getting there and away
Germany has many international airports, some bigger than others. Depending where you plan on starting and finishing your German adventure, there are several airports.
Notably, Frankfurt airport is one of the busiest and main international airports in Germany, and offers the most direct flight options, most of the time. Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg and Munich also offer main international airports. Find the best options and deals on flights on Skyscanner.
Getting around Germany is relatively easy and straight forward. For travelling long distances and between different German cities, the DB train system is the way to go. The trains are fast, comfortable and convenient, and by far the easiest way to travel between destinations in Germany itself.
In all major cities, you’ll find easy to use trams and train lines for getting around, and taxis are always readily available. For smaller cities where public transport is not as common, book central accommodation and you’ll find you’ll be able to work to most major attractions.
The currency in Germany is the Euro. Credit cards are accepted at most major retailers. Always carry cash for smaller purchases, and for use in some businesses in smaller cities. ATMs are readily available in all major cities throughout Germany.
I hope I’ve inspired you to visit Germany, or helped narrow down some cities for you to visit on your next trip. My advice? Visit as many of these gorgeous German cities as possible.