Germany is one of our favorite cities in Europe. From fairytale castles to historic monuments, medieval towns, world-class museums, magnificent churches, and palaces, the German cities and towns offer us with some of the unique and fascinating attractions. There is so much to do and see in the beautiful country of Germany. If you are planning a trip to Germany soon make sure to add these cities and towns to the top of your bucket list.
Munich City is the capital of the Bavarian region in Germany. Most of the top Munich attractions are located in the old town which has impressive architectural buildings and magnificent churches some of the which are centuries-old. The city is home to some of the best museums including Munich Residenz, Deutsches Museum, Dachau Concentration Camp, and BMW Museum.
Marienplatz is the main square of the Munich Old Town. The bustling square is surrounded by numerous historical buildings 14th-century Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) and the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) which houses the 100-year old Glockenspiel. Close by are some of the magnificent churches – 17th-century Theatine Church, 15th-century Frauenkirche, St. Michael’s Church a beautiful Renaissance church and the St Peter Church is a remarkable Romanesque church.
A tour of the Nymphenburg Palace walks visitors through the lavish royal apartments and rooms, ornate chariots and porcelain used by the royal families.
One of the major draws for tourists to Munich is the Oktoberfest that takes place around the first week of October. It is the world’s largest beer festival and is held annually in Munich. There are several beer gardens around the city. English garden is one of the largest public gardens which is dotted with numerous monuments and beer gardens. Viktualienmarkt is a popular food market in Munich which sells fresh produce, there is also a beer garden in the market.
If you have a few days in Munich, the city is also a perfect base to explore some of the amazing places on a day trip from Munich like the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein, the charming town of Nuremberg, Rothenburg, Salzburg, and others.
Cologne is one of the largest and history-rich cities in Germany. The city is also one of the oldest city in Germany with 2000 years of history. There numerous historic attractions in Cologne but the major draw for the tourists is the colossal Cologne Cathedral. The cathedral decorated with statues and intricate carvings on the exterior and remarkable stained-glass windows in the interior with highest Gothic vaults is an architectural masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hohenzollern Bridge is another top attraction in Cologne, it is a railway bridge crossing the Rhine and has 6 tracks. The pedestrian walkway on the bridge offers great views of the Rhine River and the Cologne City. The bridge is decorated with over 40,000 Love Locks from one end to other which is a marvelous sight to behold.
There are numerous interesting museums in Cologne like Ludwig Museum, Romano-Germanic Museum, Fragrance Museum, Chocolate Museum, Historic tram including the Dom Treasury located in the Cologne Cathedral.
The Gothic Cologne Cathedral is the major point of interest in Cologne but there are dozens of Romanesque churches which are equally remarkable and are a must visit on a trip to Cologne.
One of the largest cities in Germany Nuremberg is a beautiful city in northern Bavaria. The old town of Nuremberg is home to historic buildings and churches from the medieval times including St. Lorenz Church, Frauenkirche, St. Sebaldus Church, Town Hall, Nuremberg Castle, and Handwerkerhof Alt.
The Nuremberg Castle sits on a hill overlooking the historical center of Nuremberg. The castle complex consists of towers, courtyard, an imperial Chapel, a deep well, a museum on the history of the city of Nuremberg and history of the castle with a multimedia show on the Imperial Castle.
One of the top things to do in Nuremberg is to wander the narrow alleys and explore the pretty bridges spanning the River Pegnitz and the squares with gorgeous fountains. Do not miss the Weissgerbergasse street which is lined with colorful half-timbered houses on either side. These half-timbered houses make for the postcard-perfect picture of the city of Nuremberg.
Hauptmarkt is a large food market selling fresh fruits, vegetables, spices alongside delicious street food. Hauptmarkt also hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.
If you are visiting with kids do make sure to visit the Nuremberg toy museum with over 12000 toys and Nuremberg Transport Museum with trains and steam engines.
Fussen is a charming town in the Bavarian region of Germany popular as the base to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle. Tourists usually visit Neuschwanstein on a day trip from Munich and completely overlook the small town of Fussen. The top Fussen attraction is its old town which has cobblestone alleys lined with colorful buildings some of which are decorated with paintings. You will also find plenty of restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops tucked away in these alleys.
The Hohes Schloss (High Castle) is a late-Gothic castle located on a hill overlooking the town of Fussen. The castle once served as the summer residence of the Lord Bishops of Augsburg. The castle interior is decorated with paintings, stucco artwork, bas-reliefs, and Gothic wooden ceilings. The State Gallery in the High Palace houses a collection of late Gothic and Renaissance paintings and sculptures.
Kloster St Mang is a former Benedictine monastery in the Baroque style dating from 8th-century. The crypt of the Klosterkirche is decorated with paintings dating from 980 Ad and which are oldest preserved frescos of Bavarian region. The Museum of Fussen located in the Monastery of St Mang houses the finest collections of historical lutes and violins from 17th to 19th centuries.
Berlin the capital and the largest city of Germany is also one of the top tourist destinations. The city has numerous historical monuments, memorials, architectural buildings, and world-class museums. Some of the top Berlin attractions are 18th-century Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall, Reichstag the seat of the German parliament, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Kaiser Willhelm Memorial Church, Berlin Cathedral and Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park. Each of these attractions has a significant history associated with them.
The 17th century Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin. The tour of the palace walks through the lavish baroque rooms and rococo State Apartments and the garden which has the Mausoleum, the Belvedere and the Neue Pavilion.
Museum lovers cannot miss a visit to Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to famous museums in Berlin. These museums Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum), Bode-Museum, Neues Museum (New Museum), Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) and Altes Museum (Old Museum) are known for the outstanding collections of art and historical artefacts.
If you are visiting with kids add these attractions to your list – Aquarium Berlin, Tierpark Berlin which is Europe’s largest animal park and Zoo Berlin home to over 1,000 species. Read this post for a guide to where to stay in Berlin on your visit.
One of the top places to visit in Heidelberg is the Heidelberg Castle. After being struck by lightning and being destroyed by the French troops the castle is now in ruins. The guided tour of the castle walks through the lavish castle rooms and the history of the castle. The castle looks imposing even in ruins and offers great views of the city.
The old town of Heidelberg has several beautiful squares surrounded by brightly colored Baroque and Renaissance buildings, cafes, and restaurants. Marktplatz is one of the beautiful squares which hosts farmers’ market on weekends. The Heiliggeistkirche or the Church of the Holy Spirit dominated the Marktplatz, one can climb the tower of the church for amazing panoramic views of the old town.
Heidelberg is home to Germany’s oldest university – the Heidelberg University founded in the 14th century. One can take a tour of the Student Prison and the Old Assembly Hall. The Student Prison was for students who would break a law. Assembly Hall is a neo-Renaissance hall with ornate interior and is used today to host celebrations and events.
Philosopher’s Walk or Philosophenweg is a walking path along the Nectar River dotted with parks, gardens, monuments, and memorials. The walk offers great views of the old town, the Heidelberg castle and the river.
Germany’s oldest city Trier is a historical city founded by Romans and hence you will find numerous well-preserved Roman structures here. One of the major Trier attractions is the Porta Nigra gate which is about 2000 years old. Other attractions not to miss are the ruins of Roman baths, a Roman amphitheater, Archaeological Museum displays Roman artifacts and a 2nd century stone bridge over the Moselle River.
The City Museum located next to the Porta Nigra gate holds an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures including numerous Medieval and Renaissance artworks.
The Hauptmarkt is the main square surrounded by colorful medieval buildings including 16th-century fountain Petrusbrunnen, Marktkreuz, 15th-century Steipe which houses the city council, the Red House, and the church of St. Gangolf.
Trier is also home to some of the imposing churches. Constantine’s throne room or Constantin Basilica from Roman times is one of the oldest churches, the magnificent Trier Cathedral dates back to the 4th century AD and is the oldest church in Germany and the 13th century Church of Our Lady or Liebfrauenkirche is the oldest Gothic church in Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a beautiful town in the region of Bavaria and is part of the popular Romantic Road in Germany. The town has a well-preserved old town which draws visitors for its medieval buildings, cobblestone streets and colorful half-timbered buildings.
The Plonlein is the most photographed square in the old town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber which shows a pretty half-timbered house with cobblestone alleys on either side.
Marktplatz is the main square surrounded by several important buildings including the 13th century Rathaus (Town Hall) and the Ratstrinkstube (a former Council Tavern).
Close to the Marktplatz is the magnificent 15th century St. Jacob’s Church (Kirchengemeinde St. Jakob) which features remarkable wood carvings and 700-year-old stained glass. Another major attraction is the Old Town Walls, take a walk along the town walls dotted with gates and towers which offers wonderful views of the city.
The old town also has some fascinating museums. The Medieval Crime Museum exhibits artifacts on crime and punishment in Europe, especially during the medieval times. The Christmas Museum is one of its kind which keeps the festive mood alive throughout the year. The exhibits consist of decorations, toys, Santa Clauses, Christmas tree decorations, artifacts on Christmas traditions and more. The History Museum walks visitors through the turbulent past of the town with exhibits from 16th and 17th centuries.
The city of Leipzig is popular for its rich architectural heritage which includes 16th-century Renaissance-style buildings and baroque trading houses, and mansions. Markt is the main square surrounded by historic buildings including the 16th century Old Town Hall which houses the Museum of City History. The square is the venue for the weekly market, the Easter market, and the Christmas market.
The city has some of the magnificent churches including the 13th-century Gothic church of St. Thomas Church and St. Nicholas Church which is a Gothic and Baroque Church
Leipzig is also home to some of the great museums like Leipzig’s fine arts museum which holds an exhibition on Medieval arts and some great German Renaissance masters. The Grassi Museum houses 3 museums – the Musical Instruments Museum, Ethnography Museum, and the Applied Arts Museum.
An iconic landmark of the city is the Monument to the Battle of the Nations which is a monument dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the 1813 Battle of Leipzig. The monument comprises of two stories with the lower featuring 8 statues representing fallen soldiers and the upper storey has 4 statues representing faith, fertility, bravery, and sacrifice.
Dresden is a historic city set on the banks of the River Elbe. The iconic landmark of the city historic center is the Frauenkirche built in the 18th century. Frauenkirche is located in the Neumarkt square which is one of the main squares in the old town surrounded by Baroque gabled houses. From Neumarkt, if you walk towards the Schlossplatz square you will find the Procession of Princes which is a 101 m tiled mural.
Semper Opera House is one of the famous opera houses in Germany. You can either see a performance or take a guided tour of the marvelous interiors. Zwinger Palace is an imposing Rococo-style palace from 1728. The palace is home to 3 museums – Old Masters Picture Gallery with over 700 paintings, the Porcelain Collection and the Museum of Mathematics and Physics. Dresden Cathedral or Sanctissimae Trinitatis Cathedral is a magnificent Baroque cathedral from the 18th century. Also worth a visit is the Dresden Royal Palace one of the oldest buildings in Dresden featuring different architectural styles from Baroque to Neo-renaissance. The palace houses several museums and galleries – New Green Vault, a historic museum, Dresden Armory, Munzkabinett which has a large numismatic collection and a huge collection of prints and drawings.
Visit the Bruhl’s Terrace after dusk for amazing views of the illuminated city and its golden reflection in the Elbe River.
If you have more time in Dresden then do visit Moritzburg, one of the beautiful castles in Germany. There is a small zoo in the castle garden and many pavilions and small palaces.