Loading ...

What are the Best Cities to Visit in Germany?

Are you planning a Germany city break? Discover a curated list of the best cities to visit in Germany with links to deep dive and plan your itinerary.

Planning a German holiday? Wondering what are the best cities to visit in Germany including some choices that go beyond the usual suspects? 

In this guide to Germany's cities, I'll provide a snapshot of each destination to provide some inspiration for your German itinerary. 

Look at this post as your launchpad to an amazing city-focused trip to Germany with curated summaries of Germany's must-visit cities and hidden gems you may not have heard of. 

Each section of the guide links out to more detailed information about that destination to help you dive deeper as you plan your trip. Let's go!

Old meets new in Frankfurt City


Reasons to Visit: Munich is an ideal city break destination, and it comes alive in the spring. Munich is easily accessible via its international airport, served by national and low-cost carriers.

Things to Do:

  • Visit the Viktualienmarkt, a vibrant open-air market, especially during spring when it's bustling with fresh produce and local delicacies.
  • Take a walk from Marienplatz to Schwabing, passing by historical landmarks like the Rathaus, the Munich Residenz, and Siegestor.
  • Experience the Hofbräuhaus, a world-famous beer hall, and enjoy a traditional Maß of beer.

Rathaus in Munich, Germany


Reasons to Visit: Augsburg is a medieval town located less than an hour from Munich by train.

Things to Do:

  • Take a walk down Maximilianstraße, Augsburg’s main shopping street, and admire the medieval buildings and grand fountains.
  • Visit Augsburg's Rathaus, known for its lavish golden hall, and admire the ornate carvings and paintings.
  • Explore the Fuggerei, Europe’s first social housing project.
✨ Make the most of a Munich to Augsburg day trip

Gilded ceiling of Augsburg Rathaus


Reasons to Visit: Berlin is a vibrant city and one of the most popular weekend destinations in Europe. It's a great place to travel for a weekend anytime of year.

Things to Do:

  • Explore Messe Berlin, walk along the Spree River, and relax at a beer garden.
  • Take a walk through Mitte, Berlin's business district, and visit historical landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
  • Explore the area around Alexanderplatz, visit the iconic World Clock, and take a look inside the Rotes Rathaus.
Reichstag in Berlin Germany


Reasons to Visit: Düsseldorf is an ideal one-day city.

Things to Do:

  • Stroll through Düsseldorf's Rheingärtchen, a park filled with flowers and sculptures.
  • Visit Düsseldorf Altstadt, admire the architecture, and explore the restaurants and bars along the Rhine.
  • Shop at Königsallee and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants, making sure to sample the local Altbier.

Brick building with turret in Dusseldorf, Germany


Reasons to Visit: It’s one of the most interesting cities in Europe, with an edgy mix of old and new; it offers lots of 20th-century history; and it lies about halfway between Prague and Berlin.

Things to Do:
  • Admire the architecture, a mix of communist-era drab and a lovingly rebuilt medieval core.
  • See Frauenkirche Dresden.
  • Visit the squares surrounding Frauenkirche Dresden, which are among the most impressive of the city.

Frauenkirche Dresden


Reasons to Visit: Leipzig is a quintessential German university town. A one day trip to Leipzig is worth it if you're in Dresden or Berlin.

Things to Do:

  • Visit the Völkerschlachtdenkmal, Leipzig's Napoleon monument, climb the spiral stairs for panoramic views of the city, and attend a concert in the round chamber.
  • Walk around Leipzig City Centre, admire the architecture, and experience the vibrant atmosphere.
  • Experience Universität Leipzig, an integral part of the city, and admire the blend of old and new architecture.

Building covered in street art in Leipzig, Germany


Reasons to Visit: Regensburg is a charming winter destination in Germany, especially during the Christmas market season. It's a thriving mid-size German city that is less touristy than nearby Nuremberg.

Things to Do:

  • Explore the Regensburg Christmas markets and experience the festive atmosphere.
  • Visit the Regensburg Cathedral, admire the Gothic architecture, and warm up while exploring the interior.
  • Discover Regensburg's quirky statues scattered throughout the city, adding to its unique charm.

Carousel in the center of Regensburg


Reasons to Visit: Home to the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, considered the grand-daddy of all Christmas markets, Nuremberg offers a traditional holiday experience. Despite the destruction during World War II, Nuremberg maintains a medieval ambiance.

Things to Do:

  • Experience the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, enjoying the festive atmosphere and trying traditional treats.
  • Reflect on the darker side of history at the Nazi Documentation Center, which explores the rise and fall of the Nazi regime.

Castle in Nuremberg


Reasons to Visit: Frankfurt has excellent air and rail connections, making it a convenient base for a weekend city break. The city has a mix of modern skyscrapers, beautiful parks, and a historic city center.

Things to Do:

  • Explore Frankfurt City Centre, admire the contrast between skyscrapers and parks, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
  • Visit Die Kleinmarkthalle, one of the best food markets in Europe, sample fresh produce, and relax at the wine bar.
  • Watch the sunset on the Iron Footbridge (Eiserner Steg) for picturesque views of the Frankfurt skyline, and then cross over to Saschsenhausen.
✨ Deep dive on a visit to Frankfurt

Buildings in Old Town Frankfurt


Reasons to Visit: Mainz is a convenient 30-minute train ride from Frankfurt Airport, making it ideal for a workcation or a weekend trip.

Things to Do:

  • Wander through the Mainz Christmas Market, experiencing the festive ambiance and indulging in local treats.
  • Tour the Gutenberg Museum, exploring the history of printing and appreciating the exhibits.
  • Visit St. Stephan's Church, admiring the Chagall stained glass windows.

Grand door in Mainz


Reasons to Visit: It's an easy day trip from Frankfurt; it boasts stately buildings; and it’s a quintessential German university town.

Things to Do:
  • Take a walk from the train station to the heart of Old Town.
  • Visit Heidelberg Castle.
  • See a statue of Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, creator of the Bunsen burner.
✨ Spend a day in Heidelberg on a day trip from Frankfurt

View of Heidelberg Castle from below


Reasons to Visit: It’s possible to visit as a shopping-focused stopover on a day trip from Frankfurt to Heidelberg; it’s charming and off-the-beaten track; and many of the shops are open on Sundays.

Things to Do:
  • Visit Speyer Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • See Speyer’s clock tower.
  • Walk through the picturesque Old Town.
Stopover in Speyer on a day trip from Frankfurt to Heidelberg

Church towers in Speyer


Reasons to Visit: It’s less than 30 minutes from Essen by train and it’s the football capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Dortmund Christmas Market is the home of Germany’s largest Christmas tree, a massive structure that is 45 metres (150 feet) tall and decorated with 48,000 lights.

Things to Do:
  • Attend a football match featuring the home team, Borussia Dortmund.
  • Explore Dortmund's Christmas markets including comforting food and mulled wine.
Dortmund Christmas Tree


Reasons to Visit: Essen is part of the North Rhine-Westphalia region, known for its concentration of Christmas markets. The city is easily accessible by train.

Things to Do:

  • Explore the Essen Christmas market and enjoy the festive treats, especially the candied almonds.
  • Visit the Glockenspiel am Deiterhaus, a bright blue glockenspiel that brightens Essen's central shopping street.
Statue in front of a ferris wheel in Essen


Reasons to Visit: Münster offers a nice combination of five different Christmas markets spread around the town, connected by historical attractions.

Things to Do:

  • Steep in the festive holiday atmosphere.
  • Visit Münster's Hall of Peace, a historic building that reflects the city's rich history.

Brick buildings with red and white shutters in Munster


Reasons to Visit: Stuttgart offers a unique blend of traditional and modern attractions. Stuttgart is a great base to explore other Christmas markets in the region, such as those in Esslingen, Karlsruhe, and Ludwigsburg.

Things to Do:

  • Explore the many regional Christmas markets and enjoy the unique atmosphere of each one.
  • Visit the Mercedes museum to learn about the history of the automotive industry.
  • Check out the quirky pig museum.

Art deco sculptures and modern buildings in Stuttgart


Reasons to Visit: Despite being heavily bombed during World War II, Hamburg features numerous examples of lovingly rebuilt architecture. Hamburg was a gritty port city that has been revitalized as a digital advertising and publishing hub. Hamburg is said to have more bridges than Venice, Italy.

Things to Do
  • St. Michel’s Church: Visitors can climb the tower at St. Michel's Church to enjoy sweeping views of Hamburg.
  • Explore the Reeperbahn: Hamburg's Red Light District, the Reeperbahn, features casinos, sex shops, and clubs that were frequented by the Beatles early in their career.
  • Visit the Harbor at Sunset: Walking along the River Elbe at sunset allows visitors to enjoy the unexpectedly enchanting views of the harbor's illuminated equipment.
✨ Spend a weekend in Hamburg

Skyscaper in Hamburg


Reasons to Visit: Constance is a great home base for exploring Lake Constance (Bodensee). You'll find beautiful scenery, lakeside restaurants, and a unique opportunity to experience zeppelin rides.

Things to Do:

  • Take a zeppelin ride over Lake Constance.
  • Visit Meersburg Castle and explore its extensive grounds and historical exhibits.
  • Stroll through the town of Lindau, enjoying the charming harbor and views of the lake.

View of Meersburg, Germany from a zeppelin over Lake Constance

There you have it: a curated list of the best cities to visit in Germany. Which places will you choose to add to your German itinerary? Mix and match different vibes and experiences to plan the perfect trip.

Did you enjoy this post about my picks of the best cities to visit in Germany? Sharing is caring...


#DrJSabbatical,38,Adriatics,5,Africa,12,Americas,52,Argentina,7,Asia,40,Asia Pacific,25,AUNZ,21,Australia,13,Austria,5,Baltics,4,Barcelona,1,Belfast,1,Belgium,13,Berlin,3,Best of,405,Best of Europe,2,Beyond Dublin,31,Bologna,3,Boston,2,Brazil,2,Bruges,2,Brussels,2,Bucharest,2,Budapest,1,Buffalo,3,Bulgaria,2,California,13,Cambodia,6,Canary Islands,1,Canterbury,2,Cardiff,1,Central America,3,Central Europe,69,Chile,7,China,5,Christmas Market,4,Copenhagen,1,Cork,3,Costa Brava,3,Costa Rica,2,Croatia,2,Cyprus,1,Czech Republic,1,Denmark,3,Dresden,1,Dublin,51,Dusseldorf,1,Eastern Europe,8,Edinburgh,3,El Calafate,1,England,19,Essen,1,Estonia,1,Europe,236,Faversham,1,Featured,5,Financial District,1,Finland,3,Fisherman's Wharf,1,Flanders,1,Florida,3,France,19,Galway,2,Gdansk,1,Germany,19,Girona,1,Granada,1,Greece,4,Greece and Cyprus,5,Hamburg,1,Hangzhou,1,Hanoi,3,HCMC,2,Helsinki,1,Ho Chi Minh City,2,Hobart,1,Hoi An,2,Hungary,1,Hurling,1,Hyderabad,2,Iceland,5,India,5,Ireland,93,Ireland & UK,122,Ireland Road Trips,16,Italy,14,Itinerary,3,Jackson Square,1,Japan,12,Kaunas,1,Kilkenny,1,Kuala Lumpur,1,Kyoto,1,Languedoc,2,Lanzarote,1,Latvia,1,Leipzig,1,Liechtenstein,1,Lima,1,Limerick,1,Lisbon,17,Lithuania,2,Ljubljana,1,Lloret de Mar,1,London,9,Los Angeles,2,Louisiana,1,Lucerne,1,Luxembourg,2,Machu Picchu,1,Madeira,3,Malaga,1,Malaysia,1,Malta,1,Marrakech,1,Marrakesh,1,Massachusetts,2,Mendoza,1,Menton,1,Miami,1,Midwest,3,Modena,2,Monaco,1,Montpellier,1,Morocco,1,Muenster,1,Munich,1,Naples,1,Netherlands,4,New England,3,New Orleans,1,New York,9,New Zealand,8,Nice,2,Noe Valley,1,Nordics,19,Norrkoping,1,North America,43,North Beach,1,Northern Ireland,1,Norway,5,Nuremberg,2,Ollantaytambo,1,Osaka,1,Palafrugell,1,Panama,1,Paris,1,Parma,2,Patagonia,3,Pennsylvania,6,Perth,1,Peru,5,Philadelphia,1,Pingyao,1,Piran,1,Pittsburgh,5,Poland,9,Porto,1,Portugal,42,Puerto Natales,2,Punta Arenas,1,Queensland,1,Recent,102,Regensburg,1,Reykjavik,1,Riga,1,Rio de Janeiro,1,Rochester,1,Romania,3,Rotterdam,1,Rovinj,1,Russia,2,San Francisco,4,San Sebastian,1,Santiago,1,Scandinavia,10,Scotland,5,Seattle,3,Segovia,1,Seoul,2,SF - Further Afield,7,Sicily,3,Siem Reap,2,Singapore,1,Sligo,3,Slovakia,1,Slovenia,2,South Africa,1,South America,19,South Beach,1,South Europe,1,South Korea,2,Southeast Europe,14,Southern Europe,75,Spain,19,St. Petersburg,2,Stockholm,2,Strasbourg,1,Stuttgart,1,Sweden,3,Switzerland,12,Sydney,3,Taipei,2,Taiwan,3,Tallinn,1,Tasmania,4,TBEX,1,Telegraph Hill,1,Texas,3,Thailand,1,Tipperary,1,Tokyo,2,Top World Destinations,4,Torres del Paine,1,Transylvania,1,Trieste,1,Uganda,10,UK,29,Union Square,1,United States,46,Uruguay,1,Valparaiso,1,Vietnam,9,Vilnius,1,Wales,2,Warsaw,2,Washington,3,Western Australia,1,Western Europe,39,Westfield,1,Whitsundays,1,Wicklow,2,Wroclaw,1,WWI,1,Xi'an,1,Zurich,5,
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: What are the Best Cities to Visit in Germany?
What are the Best Cities to Visit in Germany?
Are you planning a Germany city break? Discover a curated list of the best cities to visit in Germany with links to deep dive and plan your itinerary.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog