Germany today maintains the continent’s most powerful economy. However it is probably best known for its World War II history and the country’s even more recent times when it was split into East and West.
Everybody knows about the Berlin Wall, which came down less than 30 years ago. There’s a load of culture, natural beauty, and much older history to discover in this large European nation.
You’ll find much of this in Bavaria, southern Germany, where you can soak up the Bavarian Alps. Explore some truly charming medieval towns, and get involved in the infamous Oktoberfest.
In the north, you can explore beaches and old port towns from the Hanseatic period. Berlin wows with its famous clubs and huge museums, as does Frankfurt with its skyscraper-laden cityscape.
Plan your trip to this fantastic European travel destination with our list of the best places to visit in Germany.
A federal state and the capital city of Germany, Berlin is widely associated with its World War II history and former division of East and West Germany by the Berlin Wall during the Cold War.
Since the fall of the historic wall in 1989, Berlin today is now a vast, unified city diverse in ethnic groups and abundant in sightseeing attractions, culture and nightlife.
Many tourists are drawn to Berlin’s famous historic structures, which include the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and the Holocaust Memorial.
Although most of the Berlin Wall was demolished, there are some portions still standing near Checkpoint Charlie and the Reichstag.
Set in a scenic spot at the foot of the Alps. Fussen is the last stop on the Romantic Road and can be found right in the south of Bavaria. Just a kilometer from the Austrian border.
While the enchanting town is well worth exploring in itself, most people visit for the three fairytale castles that lie nearby.
Although Hohenschwangau and Hohes Schloss look impressive with their prominent hilltop positions, arresting architecture, and imposing turrets and towers, the real showstopper is Neuschwanstein Castle.
Commissioned by King Ludwig II, the one-time royal retreat looks so magical that Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was modelled on it.
Fussen has a quaint, well-preserved old town that is home to pretty, pastel-colored buildings and the 9th century St. Mang’s Abbey. The nearby hills and mountains also have countless nature trails for visitors to explore.
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3. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Renowned for its magnificent medieval old town, its well-preserved architecture, and charming cobbled streets, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most popular stops along Germany’s Romantic Road.
Rothenburg is also famous for the stores that carry Christmas items all year round and for having an outstanding Christmas market each December.
Overlooking the banks of the Tauber River, the Franconian town looks very much as if it has just emerged out of a fairytale. Beautiful old buildings can be found within its ancient walls.
Be sure to visit the Town Hall, the seat of city government since medieval times. Climb the steps of the 13th-century hall’s tower for stunning views of the city.
Best known as the origin of the world famous Oktoberfest, Munich is a major international hub for research and technology.
The capital of the state of Bavaria. Munich is Germany’s most prosperous city, boasting research universities. Global companies like BMW and state-of-the-art science museums such as the Deutsches Museum.
However, Munich is not all business. This vibrant city offers one of Germany’s best culture scenes, presenting several sophisticated opera houses and theaters like the National Theater.
The city center is an attractive blend of classic and modern architecture, teeming in historic churches, medieval walls and royal palaces as well as bustling shopping centers and art galleries.
Munich also offers its share of lush green spaces. Which include the English Garden, one of the world’s largest public parks. Munich is home to sports teams consisting of basketball. Ice hockey and a championship football club.
With historic treasures like the medieval Old Bridge, the Heidelberg Castle. The Church of the Holy Spirit and the Knight St. George House, it is no wonder that Heidelberg is a popular tourist attraction.
The city center’s main street. Haupstrasse, is packed with pubs, restaurants, open-air cafes, shops and markets selling the likes of beer steins, cuckoo clocks and German sausages.
Not far from the Old Town is Thingstatte, an outdoor amphitheater, originally constructed by the Nazi regime to promote propaganda events. Today, this intriguing site is the scene of concerts, celebrations and other special events.
Home to Germany’s oldest university, Heidelberg’s long academic history can be retraced along the Philosopher’s Walk. A scenic footpath often walked by many earlier philosophers and professors.
Likewise, the city’s arts and history can be experienced in its many theaters, galleries and museums that include the Carl Bosch Museum. Palatinate Museum and Bonsai Museum.
Before it was severely damaged from World War II bombings, Dresden was known as the Jewel Box because of its lavish collection of stunning art and architecture.
After many years, the city has restored much of its former glory. The capital of the federal state of Saxony, Dresden is one of the largest urban districts in Germany, serving as an important center of government and culture.
Dresden offers several interesting landmarks such as the beautiful plaza of Bruehl’s Terrace and the magnificent palace complex known as the Zwinger.
The Old Town also contains a number of historic sites like the stunning Frauenkirche cathedral. Impressive art galleries and museums abound in the city.
Particularly the Green Vault, which houses thousands of exquisite precious gems, jewelry pieces and fine art works.
As one of the largest Baltic seaports in Germany, Lubeck is located in the country’s northern-most state, Schleswig-Holstein.
Founded in 1143, Lubeck served for several centuries as the capital seat of the Hanseatic League. Although it was the first German city to be bombed and damaged during World War II.
Lubeck still retains much of its medieval architecture, making it a popular tourist destination. Dominated by seven Gothic churches.
The city’s Old Town presents an attractive setting of romantic medieval architecture intertwined with modern day infrastructure. A walk through the old, narrow streets offers views of historic sites like the stunning cathedral.
The 12th century Town Hall, the famous Holstentor (the old city gate) and the house of Thomas Mann, the 1929 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The bustling streets of Huxstrasse and Fleischhauerstrasse are lined with restaurants, art galleries, book stores and souvenir shops.
A stroll along the city’s harbor allows tours of old Hanseatic warehouses and old shipping vessels now fashioned into museums.
8. Romantic Rhine
Stretching between the cities of Bingen and Bonn, Germany. The Middle Rhine flows through a dramatic geological formation called the Rhine Gorge.
This region features a spectacular landscape dotted with medieval castles. picturesque villages and terraced vineyards. Tourism flourished here after aristocrat travelers brought much attention to the area during the Romanticism period of the 19th century and the area became known as the Romantic Rhine.
The inspiration behind poems, painting, operas and legends, the Romantic Rhine today is a major tourist destination in Germany. A journey through the Romantic Rhine presents splendid views of medieval castles perched on nearly every hillside.
Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, these castles range from ruins to fortresses and majestic palaces. One of the most well-preserved is the Marksburg Castle while other significant ones include Stolzenfels, Pfalzgrafenstein. The Electoral Palace and the Stahleck Castle, which offers overnight accommodation.
Bathed in color and history. The charming villages along the Rhine Gorge provide excellent sightseeing opportunities as well as cafes, shops and hotels. The town of Bacharach is particularly beautiful in its setting of half-timbered buildings. Cobblestone streets and terraced vineyards.
Once the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire and home of several German kings, Nuremberg is now the second-largest city in Bavaria and acts as an important economic, cultural and social center.
Due to its wealth and prestige, arts, architecture and culture have long flourished in the city. Marvelous museums, gorgeous Gothic churches.
And an impressive imperial castle can be found dotted about its medieval old town. Much of its historic center was rebuilt and restored following the heavy bombing campaigns that destroyed most of Nuremberg in WWII.
Many people now associate the city with the infamous Nuremberg Trials; however, its rich art and cultural scene, interesting historical sights.
And fantastic cuisine and nightlife make it a popular place to visit. It also hosts the largest Christmas Market in Germany, where visitors can buy gingerbread and local handicrafts and sample traditional sweets and gluhwein.
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10. Black Forest
Named after the dark, dense woods that cover its valleys, hills, and mountains. the Black Forest is nestled in the southwest corner of Germany.
One of the most picturesque and popular places to visit in Germany. it is home to lots of natural sights and charming towns and villages.
Tucked away amidst its confines are gushing rivers, sparkling lakes. And flower-filled meadows, as well as a myriad of lovely hiking trails and cycling paths that take you past stunning scenery.
The sunniest and warmest part of the country lends itself perfectly to outdoor activities, with skiing and snowboarding available in the winter months.
The forested mountain range also has its fair share of historic towns. Freiburg – the ‘Jewel of the Black Forest’ – and the spa town of Baden-Baden attract the lion’s share of visitors.
In addition, centuries-old abbeys and monasteries can be found here and there. As well as scenic vineyards, fairytale castles, and modern ski resorts.