The 26 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany - A Germany Itinerary
It’s a difficult thing to assess what cities to include when we’re talking about the most beautiful cities in Germany and that’s because Germany has some truly magnificent cities.
Honestly, there are some beautiful places in Germany, and I’m blessed to have travelled to so many, but, in this case, I wanted to tap my friends in travel on the shoulder. With my content, I’m always trying to make it as valuable for you as possible, and sometimes that means knowing what I don’t know, and asking others who do.
To be fair, I’ve been to Germany a few times, and planned a Germany itinerary or two, but I haven’t done a deep dive, except for Berlin, a city I adore. I do like Munich though, which may speak volumes about my affinity for large beer halls.
There are a honestly so many beautiful cities in Germany that it’s terribly difficult to narrow it down, hence why I’ve included the “26 most beautiful cities in Germany.” A top ten list just wouldn’t do it justice.
NOTE: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means, simply, that I may get commissions from some of my recommendations. That being said, my opinions are fully my own.
What to Pack For Germany
Obviously, it’s going to depend on the season when you’re thinking about what to pack for Germany, but I’m going to include a small list of items that I’d love to have with me when I’m visiting the most beautiful cities in Germany.
I want to make executing your Germany itinerary as easy as pie and, as such, I want to include a few items here for you.
And, buy your guidebook of choice, but I’m partial to Rick Steves, as you’ll know.
The 26 Best Cities in Germany
I’m more or less actually asking about the most beautiful cities in Germany from my travel blogging friends, but I think both apply in some regard. I hope that this list provides a comprehensive list of place to visit in Germany, which will aid you in planning your Germany itinerary whatever time or season that you’re visiting.
Chelsea from Pack More Into Life:
Stuttgart may not come to mind immediately when you think of beautiful quant towns in Germany, but after spending almost 3 years living near Stuttgart, we fell in love with the city. Stuttgart is the capital of southwest Germany and surrounded by wine growing regions.
It is well known for its car manufacturing factories that produce sleek and shiny new Mercedes-Benz and Porches. You can take a tour of either car museum to view their vehicles throughout history. If you are in the market for a new sports car, you’ll be treated to a factory tour, a 3-course meal at their on-site casino and then a visit to the Porsche Museum for a detailed tour of your new car! Zoom zoom!
Stuttgart also delights outdoor enthusiasts with its sprawling greenspaces which include popular parks such as Schlossgarten, Killesbergpark and Wihelma, one of the largest zoos and botanicals gardens in Europe. Killesbergpark is a personal favorite for us with its Killesbergturm tower with 174 steps to the top to enjoy the views of the city of Stuttgart. Or perhaps you are traveling with children? Then check out the playground, gardens and petting zoo area. Either way, the variety inside the park will delight anyone on a nice day and there are plenty of biergartens to enjoy a nice glass of German beer.
If historic buildings suit your fancy, then don’t miss Soltitude Palace, built in the 19th century as a hunting lodge for Duke Carl Eugen von Wurttemberg.
In addition, transportation is easy with the use of trains or buses, making Stuttgart the perfect city to visit.
Want to read more about things to do in the Stuttgart area? Head over to my family friendly travel blog.
Leanna from Well Traveled Nebraskan:
Germany is no stranger to historic, cobble stoned streets, colorful buildings and rich culture but one city in the heart of Bavaria is often overlooked by it's popular neighbors like Munich and Nurnberg, making it an ideal destination.
Regensburg is the absolutely perfect stop for anyone traveling around Germany. You can spend just an afternoon or a whole weekend (ok, or longer!) here and still have more to discover.
While the city sets itself apart during the winter months for Christmas markets, you can't go wrong anytime of year. If it's a fest you are wanting to experience, Regensburg has unique ones all spring and summer, the most popular being a traditional Bavarian fest, called, "The Dult" where Liederhosen and Dirndles, fresh beer, giant pretzels and oompah bands make for the ultimate German experience.
Whether you just love to wander by foot in cities with pastel buildings or love history, Regensburg has you covered. It's home to one of the oldest stone bridges in the world, claims to have the oldest "fast food" restaurant, and you can still find excavations being done today on ancient Roman empire ruins!
Stephanie from History Fangirl:
Dresden’s reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe dates back to the eighteenth century, when the Kings of Saxony began a series of building projects that would lead Dresden to be nicknamed “the Florence of the North.” It was this beauty that the city would believe would protect it during World War II, but the Allies bombed it anyway because of its strategic position in the war.
The bombing of Dresden has been memorialized in books like Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Jörg Friedrich’s The Fire. The city has spent seventy-five years trying to put back together what it lost in that single campaign. Nearly every major landmark and important building is a reproduction, painstakingly created building-by-building to restore the city to its former glory. Begun under the East German communist leadership, the residents of Dresden worked to awaken the lost craftsmanship and techniques that were nearly gone forever so that they could recreate their city from the ground up.
When visiting, its impossible to miss some of these most important sites. However, I also recommend taking the time to cross the Elbe River and visiting Dresden Neustadt. This neighborhood
sustained less damage during the war, so even though its name means “New City” much of the architecture is comprised of original baroque buildings. The are known as the Inner Neustadt is full of street art, funky bars and cafes, and delicious local cheese. Too many tourists skip visiting this side of the river, but you don’t need to make that mistake!
Clare from Live 4 Travel:
Trier is a beautiful city, just 10km from the Luxembourg border and located along the Moselle river. It was founded by the Celts in the 4th century BC before being conquered by the Romans in the 1st Century BC. It is also the oldest city in Germany and was one of the largest in the Roman Empire and today there is still evidence of the Roman Ruins throughout the city.
Karl Marx the German philosopher was also born in the city in 1818 and the house he was born in is now a museum dedicated to his life and writings.
The most famous Roman Ruin visitors normally see when they first enter the city is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Porta Nigra (Black Gate), the city gate which was built around 170 AD. Originally there were 4 gates to the city but this one is the only surviving one and is still well preserved. It’s a great place to visit and the views from the top are amazing.
The other Roman sites you can visit are the Amphitheater, Roman Bridge, three Roman Baths, Cathedral and Churches.
Not far from the Porta Nigra you will find the centre of the city, with a large pedestrianised square, surrounded by colourful buildings and a fountain in the centre, there are many street performers entertaining the crowd. There are also lots of restaurants in this area for when you get hungry and want to try the local cuisine.
Trier is not just famous for its Roman structures, but also Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and neo-classicism. It is only a small city so you can walk around and explore most of it in a day, but it’s a city that keeps taking your breath away.
Erin from Little Miss Kate:
While visiting Germany, we stopped in a beautiful little town called Sankt Goar known as St.Goar which acts as a great base to explore the Rhine Valley. We stayed in Hotel Winzerhaus,which was small and quaint and made you feel right at home. Our room had a beautiful window that offered a view of the Rhine Valley.
St.Goar is a tiny town nestled in the hillside of the Rhine River, and offers picturesque views. While visiting we were able to enjoy a private wine tasting in an underground cellar, and enjoyed their famous Riesling and Eiswine (Ice wine). The Rhine Valley is known for producing sweet tasting wines. The town is known for having the largest beer stein in the world inside of the Beer stein shop which offered beer steins of all shapes and sizes. One of my favourite place was the Birkenstock shoe store, as they make the most comfortable sandals ever, in my opinion.
I love Birkenstock shoes and sandals and since St.Goar is the headquarters for Birkenstock the prices are the best in the world. St.Goar is also home to the world’s largest cuckoo clock. St.Goar offers many shopping options, and restaurants or you can just simply stroll along the Rhine River and enjoy the view. St.Goar has Germanic charm and beautiful views you don’t want to miss as you can stand along the edge of the Rhine River and view the entire Rhine Valley, with multiple castles in the hill tops.
Rheinfels Castle offers tours to explain the castle’s history and offers a panoramic view of the Rhine Valley. While we didn’t take a cruise, there are many options of cruise boat tours that will take you along the Rhine River.
Patrick from German Backpacker:
When it comes to beautiful cities in Germany, people immediately think about places such as Munich and Heidelberg - while Berlin hasn’t the reputation to be extremely picturesque. However, Berlin is still my favourite city of Germany with plenty of beautiful areas and spots to visit.
What I like most about Berlin is its diversity. The city is huge, offering plenty of attraction, monuments and sites, ranging from museums to culture, history and nature. If you want to escape the busy streets, head to the “Tiergarten” park where you can enjoy a stroll in the peaceful nature. Take a boat ride or walk along the Spree through the heart of Berlin, passing by the famous Brandenburger Tor and the “Museum Island”. If you’re looking for some alternative kind of beauty, head to hip and upcoming East Berlin, where you’ll find the East Side Gallery – parts of the former Berlin Wall painted with colourful Graffiti.
While Berlin can be a little bit grey and depressing in the winter (at least until the Christmas markets start), I recommend visiting especially in spring and summer. During these seasons, the city comes alive and is full of colourful events, parties and festivals – and your visit certainly won’t be boring!
Lucy from On The Luce:
Packed with historic charm, Erfurt is set right at the cultural heart of Germany. It escaped wartime bombing and was preserved under East Germany's Communist rule, meaning its cobbled streets and medieval buildings are beautifully unspoilt, and visiting is like stepping back in time.
The city's most postcard-perfect spot is the Krämerbrücke or Merchants Bridge. It's one of Europe's few inhabited bridges with a row of colourful half-timbered, tall buildings lining each side of the bridge. This was where medieval merchants would sell woad dyes to travellers passing though on trade routes through Germany. People still live and work on the bridge and you can shop there for local artworks, crafts and jewellery.
Grab an ice cream from Eiskrämer and enjoy it with the best view of the bridge from the gardens behind it. Or climb to the top of St Edgidius church tower at the end of the bridge for a panoramic view of the city from above. But the Krämerbrücke is just one of Erfurt's charms. The Domplatz (Cathedral Square) has not one but two grand churches right next to each other. The combination of the ornate Gothic St Mary’s Cathedral and the three spires of St Severus Church dominate the city skyline. In summer the staircase between the churches is turned into an open-air theatre.
There's also the pretty Fischmarkt square where you can grab a beer and bratwurst in summer or a Glühwein in winter and watch the world go by. Or explore St Augustine’s Monastery where Protestant Reformer Martin Luther became a monk and the hilltop Fortress Petersberg. Erfurt's scenic views and relaxed charm make it one of Germany's hidden gems.
Carolyn from Holidays in Europe:
If you are looking for one of the most beautiful towns in Germany, look no further than Fussen.
This pretty Bavarian town is ideally situated at the end of the Romantic Road and is close to lakes, mountains and King Ludwig’s famous castles, Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, but it also has a lot to offer in its own right.
Wandering around the streets is like walking in your own fairytale. Every corner you turn results in another ‘ooh’ or ‘aah’ moment.
The pedestrianized old town is lined with brightly coloured buildings, many of which are adorned with beautiful frescoes. Cobbled streets and alleys are home to a busy shopping precinct and in summer, the tables and chairs of cafes and restaurants spill onto the streets for alfresco dining.
As you stroll around Fussen, be sure to visit Konditorei Kurcafe for a selection of the most amazing cakes and pastries you’ll ever see.
Just beside the old town is Hohes Schloss (High Castle), which was once the summer home of the Lord Bishops of Augsburg. The late-Gothic style castle, with its distinctive orange roof, boasts an attractive clock tower and 500-year-old trompe l’oiels.
Fussen’s varied architecture reflects the town’s 700-year history. There’s a medieval town wall, Gothic houses, baroque churches and a former Benedictine abbey – and all of this is surrounded by the Bavarian Alps.
To appreciate the beauty of Fussen from another angle, hop aboard a boat in Fussen for a cruise on Lake Forggensee, or take the cable car to Mount Tegelberg where you’ll enjoy 360° views of Fussen and surrounds.
Whichever way you spend your time in Fussen, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s one of the most beautiful towns in Germany.
Mayuri from To Some Place New:
Munich is a beautiful city of Germany. It is the capital city of the state of Bavaria and also one of the most prosperous German cities. Munich is sprinkled with history in every nook and corner.
Marienplatz in Old Munich is one of the popular squares here. It was the birthplace of many revolutionary and historical events like the Thirty years war and the Nazi Beer Hall Putsch. The Nazi party led many rallies out of Munich and it is not a surprise that the city has a large number of museums and memorial sites including the Dachau concentration memorial site.
Munich’s beauty lies in its old city halls, opera houses, century old markets and tall churches with wonderful rooftops. The history of Oktoberfest originated in Munich and is an integral part of German heritage.
Not a history fan? You can visit the English gardens or the many beer-gardens in the city to relax and unwind. Munich is also home to the A-class cars - BMW (Bavaria Motor Works) and has a museum for car-fanatics.
European Union’s superstar is Germany and Munich’s prosperity speaks to it. The city’s infrastructure is modern which makes traveling and exploring the city even more beautiful and accessible to all travellers.
Munich is a must-visit city in your German travel itinerary. From Munich, one can cover a lot of other German cities like Nuremberg, Fussen and Rothenburg in a day. It is also a perfect option for exploring the Austrian city of Salzburg.
Lauren from The Down Lo:
You’ve probably never heard of Garmisch- Partenkirchen, but that’s exactly the point. Home to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, for some reason, when people think of the European Alps they picture Austria, France, and Switzerland. But German skiing can compete with the best of them.
An easy 1.5-hour train ride from Munich that involves a cogwheel train straight up the mountain and then a scenic (albeit cramped) gondola ride, this Bavarian ski town hosted the 1936 Winter Olympic Games (the first-ever to offer competitive alpine skiing) and is a treasure trove for winter sports enthusiasts. But make a point to peruse the charming village and colorful ski chalets before heading up the mountain. There are public skating rinks, curling classes, picturesque Gothic Churches, and a giant statue of famous German author, Michael-Ende Kurpark.
Zugspitze is home to three glaciers and breathtaking 360-degree views of 400 peaks that span four different countries, and you can walk right across to the Austrian side – no passport required. Even if you don’t like board sports or deep powder days, there’s plenty to do on the mountain. High-speed tobogganing trails run parallel to the ski runs and are insanely fun (and a throwback to your childhood days). But the resort’s best-kept secret is it’s hidden igloo hotel, Iglu-dorf, where you can spend the night (pack layers) or visit for fondue and a frosty beverage. It’s worth a visit just to see the elaborate snow carved creation or sunbathe at altitude.
Barbara from Travel Gear For Kids:
Monschau is one of those scenic little towns that you wander around in and can’t help but fall in love with. Situated in the German Eifel, it’s surrounded by lush green hills and it looks exactly the same as it did 300 years ago.
The town has all the features you’d wish for a romantic and cultural getaway: a burbling stream, a medieval castle and stunning timbered houses.
As the cultural hub of the Eifel region, there’s heaps to do both in and outside of town.
Take a look at the Rotes Haus (Red House), a beautiful building very distinct of the traditional timbered houses in the town. Built around 1760 by a cloth manufacturer, it has now been turned into a museum that shows luxurious Rococo, Louis XVI and Empire style furnishings. The main attraction, however, is the wooden self-supporting staircase.
Another must-see is the Burg Monschau, a castle on the hill overlooking the village built in the 13th century. As a youth hostel resides in the Burg, only a part is open for the public.
A wonderful moment to visit is in summer during Monschau Klassik, an open air classical music festival that is held on the courtyard.
In the middle of the historic center, the former tax office now houses the Art and Cultural Center in which 12 artists exhibit their work.
The historical mustard mill is still in operation today. Originally it was operated by a water wheel, nowadays it works on electrical power. But you can still see the miller at work and taste no less than 19 different kinds of traditional Monschau mustard in the mill shop.
Other places in town that are worth checking out, are: the Glass Works who often offer demonstration of the old glass blowing craft, the Felsenkeller Brewery Museum and the Weiss Printers’ Museum.
Monika from TravelWorldOnline Traveller:
There are many beautiful cities in Germany and we have visited quite a few over the years. One, however, has really surprised us: Bad Kissingen in northern Bavaria. We spent three days there this fall and had time to get to know this town quite well.
Bad Kissingen has been a spa town, almost as soon as the first hot springs were discovered centuries ago. Thus Bad Kissingen has a long history to look back on. It started as a „normal“ town on a river. But that changed quickly, when several hot springs were found by shepherds. Sheep usually are attracted by salt. People soon found out, that the waters of these springs taste different depending on the minerals and the amount of salt contained in them.
Originally the springs were outside the city limits. That has changed, too. Today four of them are in the center of the spa district: the Pandur and Rakoczy springs as well as the Luitpold and Max springs. Their waters can be tasted in the historic drinking hall, which is one of the impressive buildings the Bavarian Kings had built over the years. T
hey wanted to build a town to relax in for their people. In this they have certainly exceeded themselves. The buildings around the center of the spa quarter of Bad Kissingen are simply breathtaking. If you visit Bad Kissingen, I recommend taking one of the guided tours that give you a chance to enter the halls and interior gardens of these buildings otherwise closed to the public. It’s like entering a secret paradise, that takes you back to more opulent times full of royal pomp.
Paulina from Paulina On The Road:
Bacharach is for me one of the most beautiful German towns that I came across in the last years. I just need to say: half-timbered houses, located at the heart of the Romantic Rhine and surrounded by lush vineyards! Well, let’s go beyond the quaint setting, because Bacharach has much more to offer!
Surrounded by an almost intact fortification wall, Bacharach is attracting visitors since the 18th century. That’s why you can find several paintings of Bacharach from romantic painters such as William Turner.
Like so many quaint towns on the Rhine, Bacharach made its money from collecting taxes from the ships passing down the river. In order to absorb the romantic, absolutely relaxing atmosphere, I recommend to start your tour at one of the medieval entrance gates, make it to “Altes Haus”, the prettiest and oldest house (1368) in town, stroll on the main street “Koblenzerstrasse” packed with wine terraces.
Take “Rosenstrasse” to your left and walk up to the Northern entrance gate, from here it’s only 5 minutes to reach the “Postenturm”, the best place for panoramic views over the Rhine river and charming Bacharach village.
When visiting Bachrach you should definitely include a stop in one of the numerous wine bars and taste the local wine. Riesling is the most popular wine and it is particularly refreshing in warm summer evenings.
I was particularly intrigued by the Gothic ruins of a massive chapel, the Wernerkapelle, which lays on the way to the castle Burg Stahleck. For me, Bacharach village is the best place to enjoy the (wine) Romantic of the Rhine river.
Clare from Epic Road Rides:
Wiesbaden, in the west German state of Hesse, just 40 km from Frankfurt, may not be top of every list of Germany’s most beautiful cities. Yet we think that’s an oversight.
Its regal architecture and impressive public buildings lend it a rarified air and its long history as a spa town, that goes all the way back to Roman times, means it got serious historical pedigree.
The town sits on mineral springs and was popular with dukes who made it their home, in part for the health-giving properties of the waters. Stately monuments such as the beautiful, Neoclassical Kurhaus (Spa House) reflect this.
Near the Kurhaus is the Kurpark which was landscaped in 1852 and contains a gorgeous lake with a fountain. The park is a great facility year around and also gives the opportunity for people to come together to see concerts and major football tournaments on big screen TVs.
A funicular train, built in 1888, is also a remnant of the town’s illustrious past as a 19th-century spa resort. The train takes you up the Neroberg hill and gives superb views to Wiesbaden and the Rhine Valley below. The train still uses water ballast to travel up and down the 245m hill, making it one of only a few railways in the world to operate in this way.
Finally, Wiesbaden is full of stunning churches. Most obvious is the red Neo-Gothic church in the centre of the old town, but we were also blown away by St Elizabeth’s Church, the Russian Orthodox Church. This is the church in the photo. It was completed in 1885 and built as a memorial to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mikhailovna who died in childbirth.
Wiesbaden is a delight, and we highly recommend a visit.
Laura and Lance from Travel Addicts:
The historic town of Wurzburg, Germany may be one of Germany’s most beautiful. The town is most known for the Royal Residenz, which is one of Europe’s most impressive royal palaces. Originally, it was home to the Prince-Bishop of Wurzburg, but it has had many famous (and infamous) residents.
Napoleon Bonaparte stayed here in May 1812 while he was en route to his unsuccessful invasion of Russia (supposedly he didn’t sleep well, which contributed to his loss in the battle). Behind the Residenz, the royal gardens are not be missed. By European standards, the gardens are small, however, they are incredibly beautiful and offer a wonderful setting for a picnic. It’s not uncommon to see couples here having wedding photos taken.
In the heart of Wurzburg, the Old Main Bridge stretches across the Main River. Many visitors will make the comparison to Prague’s Charles Bridge. Architecturally, they are both very similar and both are adorned with statues. Towering above the city across the river is the Marienberg Fortress, erected in response to the invading Swedish army.
Wurzburg is also the heart of the Franconia wine region. Many of the hillsides along the river are covered in vines. The white Franconian wine (and its distinctive bottle) are less popular than many other kinds of German wine (e.g., the Mosel valley), but the wines from here are good.
Andrew Dobson of Dobber Nation Loves:
Chic Dusseldorf is North Rhine-Westphalia’s capital – a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city of swish hotels, contemporary art and designer labels. Though its surface glitter is underpinned by the business acumen of its banks and corporate headquarters, fashion houses and advertising agencies, it’s the confident ease with which Dusseldorf enjoys its prosperity that strikes visitors most forcefully, from the Altstadt’s bars and restaurants to the chichi boutiques on stately Konigsallee.
Dusseldorf’s worldly flair is nothing new, for when Napoleon passed through in 1806 he thought the city a “little Paris.” Today Dusseldorf offers an inspiring dichotomy of ancient history and an invigorating contemporary art and architectural movement, which seems to have sprung out of the soil thanks to Frank Gehry and Will Alsop.
Over the past decade, the redundant harbour south of the parliament has been reinvented as the hip Medienhafen, with advertising agencies alongside slick nightclubs, restaurants and eye catching buildings by celebrity architects. Particularly distinctive are the wobbly silver-and-white Neuer Zollhof towers by Frank Gehry. If you enjoy an agreeable day of weather this is Dusseldorf’s best hood for strolling, bar hopping and people watching.
In need of a thirst quench? On the main floor of one of Frank Gehry’s iconic Neuer Zollhof towers, hip Meerbar offers a chic interior and sun drenched patio for those looking to sip the city’s top cocktail creations. The extensive cocktail list offers classic concoctions, creative spins and champagne infused sippers. I ordered a trilogy of thirst quenchers: mint muddled Sour Rhubarb Mojito, peach perfect Bellini and lemon twist finessed Gimlet.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Oliver from Aciu:
Two hours northwest of Munich, sitting perched above the Tauber River is Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You will find this beautiful place on the Romantic Road, in the iconic state of Bavaria. This medieval town is thought to date back to the 10th century and showcases the classic Fachwerk houses that Germany is famous for.
There is so much history here. During the Second World War, the US commanders knew the historical significance and the unmatched beauty of Rothenburg. So they decided to send 6 soldiers to negotiate (successfully) the surrender of the town to prevent any further damage to it.
What made me fall in love with this place is that it has a bit of everything. From the German Christmas Museum to the Medieval Crime Museum there is something for everyone. Rothenburg is unique, in that it is a walled city, and is almost exclusively closed to vehicular traffic. This means you will have to park on the outskirts and walk in. Walking through Rothenburg, you can imagine what it would have been like to live here 800 years ago during the Renaissance.
Inside, you will be in awe of the architecture and its buildings. I highly recommend climbing the narrow staircase to the top of the tower above the town hall. From there you have a 360º view of the towers, the wall that surrounds it, and the main square below. All of which is back dropped by the lush German countryside. Make sure you take the time to walk on the town wall and visit all the unique gates that lead into the city.
I’ve seen a lot of places in my travels, and by far this is one of the most beautiful. We spent a half a day here and could have spent much more. This is a must-see place when you visit Bavaria. Much like we did, you too will fall in love.
Sabrina and Kati from Moon & Honey Travel:
Bamberg delights visitors with its striking baroque architecture and historical treasures. Flaunting beautiful pastel facades and riverside houses, this Bavarian city is a visual treat like no other. But, don’t just take my word for it. UNESCO has listed the entire historic town as a World Heritage Site.
Now that you’re impressed (hopefully), let’s talk about some of Bamberg’s most iconic sites. Straddling the River Regnitz, the 14th century Altes Rathaus (old town hall) is reason enough to venture to Upper Franconia. This fresco-covered building is steeped in legend. The story goes that the Bishop of Bamberg refused to provide the town’s citizens land for the construction of their much-desired town hall. So, the clever townsfolk created an artificial island in the middle of the river, whereupon they built their Rathaus.
Bamberg also boasts an imperial cathedral that harbours the handsomely carved tombs of the holy imperial couple Henry II and Cunegund. Other notable architectural highlights include the Alte Residenz (old palace) from the 16th century and the Neue Residenz (new palace) from the 18th century.
Today, Bamberg’s claim to fame is its smoked beer. Some people say it tastes like liquid bacon. Before you leave Germany’s most beautiful city, grab a half-liter of Rauchbier in an atmospheric beer hall. You’ll have no problem finding one, because Bamberg has 10 family-run breweries.
Sebastian from Between Distances:
Moin, moin! That's the traditional northern German greeting you'll hear in Hamburg. Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg is seen by many Germans as the country's true capital of cool.
Hamburg, the city I'm lucky enough to call home, manages to be both gritty and classy—like a punk wearing an expensive suit. From the impressive red-brick architecture of the Speicherstadt warehouse district, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to the bohemian streets of the Sternschanze neighborhood, Hamburg is a city that combines history with attitude.
Hamburg is known all over Germany for the Reeperbahn, also known as “Germany's most sinful mile.” This street and the neighborhood around it, named St. Pauli but simply known by locals as Kiez (hood), is home to Germany's most famous red light district. The nightlife in this part of town is legendary and has been immortalized in songs and even literature. Follow the neon lights down to Park Fiction, a little green area overlooking the river Elbe and the city's majestic harbor, to enjoy a cold beer with the locals who gather there every warm summer afternoon.
Hamburg is a city where you'll find World War Two bunkers covered in graffiti turned into climbing walls. Hamburg is a also city of sounds: Live music is often heard around town as there are several street fests that take throughout the year. Criss-crossed by canals, Hamburg is home to more bridges than any other city in the world. Also, three rivers run through the city, and ferries are part of the local public transport system—and even though Hamburg is not directly on the coast it has a beach where to spend idle afternoons watching giant container ships cruise by.
Corinne from Reflections En Route:
Goslar, a city in Lower Saxony on Germany's famed "FairyTale" road, is well-known for its beautiful old town. Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, it has over 1500 half-timbered houses painted gray, black, and many other colors. Walking through the alleys of the old town, keeps you looking from one gorgeous house to the next.
Important buildings such as the Rathaus and even the Imperial Palace are made of stone, not wood, but they are stunning in their own rights. However, the half-timbered houses are what people come to see. The aged wooden beams, around the stuccoed walls, are brightly painted in an array of colors and highlighted with bright greens, reds, and gold.
Within the town there are plenty of outdoor restaurants, museums, art galleries, and boutiques that offer everything from books to handmade souvenirs. At one end of town, there is the Rammelsberg mines which is what brought wealth and luxury to the city.
There is plenty to see and do in Goslar, but for the most part it’s wonderful just to stroll through the old town, and maybe stop off at an outside cafe for a local beer.
Kirstie with The Family Adventure Project:
At first glance, the former East German city of Leipzig city may not beguile you. But don’t worry, you just haven’t tuned in yet. Get yourself down to the fountain studded space between Oper Leipzig opera house and the Gewandhaus concert hall to glimpse the beauty of this Saxon city. Better still, get yourself a ticket and spend an evening inside either or both. Because Leipzig is all about music; from the buskers outside the impressive Hauptbahnhof to the choirboys from St Thomas Church (Thomaskirche,) and from the interactive outdoor music trail to the Mendelssohn Haus museum where you can conduct your own digital orchestra. But save some time for the visual arts; the Spinnerei Galleries are just some of the converted industrial buildings that wow with the scale of their architectural and artistic ambition.
On a sunny day, rent a canoe and go boating through the city. You’ll feel like part of a landscape painting yourself as you paddle from narrow canal to reed strewn river to the wide open Cospuden See. Stop and chill out on the beach or arrange for a bike to pedal back into town along the waterways as the day fades.
In winter the Christmas market winds through the city centre, accompanied by a sparkling tree and Ferris Wheel. Nearby is the University’s rebuilt Paulinerkirche. Pop in and see if there’s a concert on because that’s what this city does best. But if not, don’t despair, there will definitely be a singing Santa along soon.
Bianca from Nomad Biba:
Set on the Rhine river, Germany's fourth-largest biggest city is also one of its most beautiful. With a rich history that spans over 2,000 years, Cologne features a diverse display of architectural styles. From ancient Roman walls to medieval churches, to impressive post-war constructions and innovative modern buildings; architecture and history fans can see it all in Cologne. It is really no wonder why it has become the region's cultural hub.
Without a doubt, the most iconic site in the city is the Kölner Dom, Germany's largest cathedral. Set in the heart of Cologne, this impressive masterpiece of Gothic architecture was listed in 1996 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plus, you go up to the top and admire the breath-taking views of the city. Cologne also has an impressive collection of museums and galleries, which cover a wide range of topics, from archaeology to religious art, to chocolate and sports.
Another big draw of Cologne are its people. Locals are friendly and open-minded. In fact, Cologne has a reputation of being one of the most liberals places in Germany, which can definitely make visitors feel welcome. And you can definitely feel this laidback vibe when you wander around its streets.
Also, if you visit Cologne do not miss the chance to try its local beer, Kölsch, which is an integral part of the city's culture, and some of the traditional typical Rheinland dishes, such as Sauerbraten and Schweinshaxe. Finally, to see Cologne from a different angle, it is nice to head to the river for a nice evening stroll or even to hop onboard on a sunset cruise.
Freiburg im Breisgau
Cate from International Desserts Blog:
My vote for most beautiful city in Germany is Freiburg im Breisgau. Located in the Black Forest, just an hour from France and Switzerland, Freiburg is a medieval university town with a lot to offer visitors of all ages.
Not only is Freiburg one of the sunniest and warmest cities in Germany, it’s also a very green city with lots of cyclers, footpaths, and public transportation. Freiburg offers many things to do, like shopping at the daily farmer’s market, comparing the old Martinstor and Schwabentor city gates (when I lived there we called Martinstor “McDonald’s Tor" because there’s a McDonald’s connected to the medieval gate), climbing the Münster cathedral tower (be sure to look for the old bread measurement guide on the outside of the cathedral), enjoying an afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen at a cute cafe (try a Milchkaffee and a piece of Black Forest Cake) or touring the local Ganter brewery.
You can also take a nice long walk along the Dreisam river (and if it’s a hot day you can even wade into the shallow river) or hike the trail up the Schlossberg for a gorgeous view of the city. Take the cable car back down if you get tired of walking. Freiburg also has many cobblestone streets to explore but be careful not to fall into one of the city’s Bächle —the old water filled gutter system that runs through the streets — if you do, according to local legend, you’ll marry a Freiberger! If you have time for day trips, I recommend hiking to the top of Schauinsland (which you can reach by tram), taking the train to Titisee Lake or heading to Colmar, France or Basel, Switzerland.
Maria from Europe Up Close:
Starnberg is a small city in Bavaria, just 30 minutes by train from Munich. It sits right on beautiful Starnberg Lake, which is also its biggest attraction and a paradise for outdoor lovers. Here are some fun things to do while in Starnberg in any season:
A walk around Starnberg lake and through the pedestrian zone in Starnberg are probably the most popular things to do in this city. There are many cute cafes and shops and you can easily spend a few hours exploring this cute town.
Starnberg Museum is another popular spot. What I like most about this museum is the contrast between the modern architecture of the main museum building and the old farmhouse built in 1520. You will learn interesting facts and stories about Bavarian traditions, the history of the region and the city of Starnberg.
Hiking and Biking are popular activities around Lake Starnberg from Spring to Fall. There are many trails to choose from and you will find something fun for all ages and abilities.
Summer is the time for water sports: from sailing, swimming, rowing, paddle boats, SUPs, and kayaks, all these fun activity are available in Starnberg, whether you just visit for a quick day trip from Munich or you spend several days in the city. And if you like to explore Lake Starnberg without getting wet yourself, you can book one of the many sunset dinner cruises - a real highlight, I promise!
Winter is also a great time to visit Starnberg. While there are certainly better spots for skiing in the Alps, Starnberg offers a few lifts and easy downhill slopes that make it great for beginners or families with small children. Sledding, ice skating, and cross-country skiing are also great outdoor activities in the winter. If you visit in December, make sure to visit the cute little Christmas Market (check for the dates, as it is usually only taking place for a few days in December).
Starnberg might be a small city in the Bavarian countryside, but it has a lot of charm and lots to offer.
Lindsay from I’ve Been Bit:
Imagine walking down the streets of an adorably yet quaint town where vines grow above you, linking houses together as if they’re connected on some higher level you can’t quite grasp. The sun peaks through their leaves as if to say a quick hello as you carry about your day.
If you’re wondering where this magical place may be, it’s a town called Winningen in the state of Rheinland-Palatinate.
Situated along the Mosel River just a short 15 minute drive from Koblenz, the town is a wine-lover’s paradise. How about sleeping in a wine castle that dates back to the early 1900s? Yes, it’s possible in Winningen! If that’s not enough wine for you, sip and savour a number of vintages from the 16 wineries within the village alone. If you’re worried about transportation (we have to indulge responsibly after all), don’t be! The entire city is walkable and these wineries are all within 5 blocks of one another.
Dispersed between them are a number of incredible restaurants and bakeries - all with that old world charm. With tempting eats and vintages rounding every corner, be sure to not overdo it. You won’t want to miss out on some of the greatest views of the city. It’s a bit of a trek as you’ll have to tackle the Traumpfädchen Moseltraum, which loosely translates to “dreamy path, Mosel dream”.
If it’s got dream in there twice, it has to be good, right? With views like this, I’d have to say they sure got the name right!
Kati of Queensland & Beyond:
Saarburg is a beautiful medieval town in the Moselle region, a part of Germany that isn’t exactly short on picturesque towns.
Located some 25km south of Trier and close to the Luxembourg border, Saarburg is surprisingly accessible by public transport (train) from Trier, Frankfurt or even Luxembourg City. But there’s also plenty of car parking if you’ve got your own transport.
Like other towns in the region, Saarburg is surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills but what makes Saarburg special is that it’s pretty much off the tourist trail. You’ll only meet other fellow travellers if they happen to discover it by accident like we did.
This little town beguiles on a number of levels.
For starters, there’s the ruins of the medieval Saarburg (Saar Fortress), dating back to at least the 9th century and which you can explore for free to your heart’s content. Climb up to the tower and you’ll enjoy fantastic panoramic views over Saarburg and the surrounding Saar Valley. It’s picturesque even on overcast days.
Then there are gorgeous half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets and alleys, and a waterfall in the centre of the Old Town! In fact, follow the Leukbach waterfall and you’ll soon discover historic water wheels churning outside old houses.
Where the Leukbach Canal flows through the heart of Saarburg, it’s flanked by cafés and restaurants. Not surprisingly, this part of the Old Town is aptly known as ‘Little Venice’, and makes for a perfect Kaffee & Kuchen stop.
Lastly, if you’ve meandered around this beautiful little town, peak into one of the historic churches, poke around the Mühlenmuseum (mill museum) or find out how church bells were made once upon a time at the Glockengießerei (bell foundry).
Gizelle from Our City Travels:
Bonn, a city near Cologne, may not be as popular as the other major German cities. But it is one of the oldest german cities and is unofficially the country's second capital. Like most German cities, Bonn's Old Town is a treasure trove of architecture, history, and many wonderful stories. There, the birthplace of music genius Ludwig van Beethoven now stands as a museum, if you are a music enthusiast, this is a must-visit for you. Familiarize yourself with an archive of his works, see the chamber music hall, and meet other music lovers in the library and publishing house, too.
In spring, a number of streets lined up with cherry trees are the most instragrammable spots. It adds to the charm that Bonn already has on ordinary days. The Gründerzeit buildings Bonn is known for is a must-see, whether cherry blossoms are in full, and when not. The lines of building in stucco elements brings walking around a nostalgic feel.
Bonn houses its major museums at what is called the Museum Mile. These museums are dedicated to art (Kunstmuseum Bonn and Bundeskunsthalle), history (Haus der Geschichte), science and technology (Deutsches Museum Bonn), and natural history (Museum Koenig).
The botanical gardens, the Poppelsdorf Schloss, the Bonn Minster (one of the oldest churches in Germany), and the Electoral Palace (housing University of Bonn's main building in the city center) are must-visit places in Bonn, too. And of course, it is home to Haribo, you can explore their factory outlet and have a taste of each gummy bear as you fancy.
Melynda from Traveling Mel:
Berchtesgaden is a cute little town in the Bavarian Alps near the border with Austria. It’s full of lovely hotels, houses, and shops decked out with flower boxes in the summer and lights and garland in the winter. The lodge style buildings, many painted with murals, scream “Bavaria!”
On the south is Berchtesgaden National Park, home to Königssee, said to be the cleanest lake in Germany.
Berchtesgaden is partially known for its role in Nazi history. Like many other Germans, then and now, Hitler vacationed in Berchtesgaden. The Kehlsteinhaus (known as the "Eagle's Nest") was a gift to Hitler on his 50th birthday and buildings throughout the town were used by the Nazi regime.
Despite its history, Berchtesgaden is one of my favorite places to be for the holidays. We spent a month nearby and took forays to the Christmas Market with all its jingle and lights, the Bräustüberl Hofbräuhaus with its giant beers and yummy pretzels, and Berchtesgaden National Park where we ferried across the lake and hiked to an Ice Chapel.
Berchtesgaden National Park is popular in summer with hikers climbing high into the craggy mountains. In winter, skiers make many of the same trips.
Berchtesgaden is even beautiful underground. We took a tour of a working salt mine, which in true German fashion, was filled with lightshows and video screens. Music pumped through speakers in the ceiling of the mine as we crossed a small lake in a boat. It was strange and wonderful.
I’m not much of a shopper, but the shops in the Marketplatz line the pedestrian-only Old Town and invite you inside. Cafés and restaurants beckon from the edge of the stone street. It’s old and new and everything is beautiful.
Where to Stay in Germany
If you appreciated this list of the most beautiful cities in Germany and feel comfortable about moving forward with your Germany itinerary, then feel free to start searching below.
Building Your Germany Itinerary
I hope that this post on the most beautiful cities in Germany gives you a better picture of where to visit in Germany, and some of the top German landmarks. There are truly so many places to visit in Germany that is can be overwhelming, so let’s hope this post serves to dissipate some of that overwhelm.
I’ve been to Germany several times, but if this post has taught me anything, it’s that I’ve still got plenty of work to do, and I need to get myself back there as soon as possible. Who doesn’t love a place known for historic towns and cities, pretzels, and quality beer.
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