Travel bloggers share their favorite German cities and what you can’t miss if you visit them
You already know this: Germany is FULL of awesome cities, castles, places, food, traditions, etc. Unfortunately, all of them can’t be squeezed into a short vacation. So, I asked 6 travel bloggers to share their favorite cities in Germany, what to do, what you shouldn’t miss and how much time you should spend there. This will hopefully give you an idea of where to go and what to see. My personal recommendation for a first time Germany visit would be Hamburg (3 days), Berlin (3 days), Munich (3 days), a small town, and – if you’re into history and old stuff – The Castle Road. The perfect time to visit is definitely summer, from June through September. I can’t guarantee you sunny weather, but lots of outdoor festivals where you can dive into German culture, drink beer and dance on benches – tiny versions of Oktoberfest.
All pictures are from the bloggers.
When you dream of visiting Germany, perhaps you imagine romantic fairytale castles perched high up in the mountains or big bustling cities like Berlin or Munich. Or perhaps you imagine towns with alley after alley of endless half-timbered houses straight out of a Disney movie, walking down picturesque cobbled-stoned roads that transport you to another time, where time moves a bit slower.
Located along the romantic Rhine River, Bacharach is brimming with cobbled-stoned streets lined with colorful houses, quaint little corners to have a romantic moment in and endless vineyards on the hills surrounding the small town.
You won’t find any of those big name fast-food restaurants as it’s all about authenticity and a more relaxed environment. Here, you’ll find traditional mom-and-pop restaurants and taverns cooking home cooked meals. Enjoy a traditional schnitzel at Restaurant Rusticana and feel at home by striking up a conversation with the owners.
Top off any visit to Bacharach with a stroll through the alleys while devouring some savory Riesling or Rose flavored ice cream. Only fitting when in Germany’s wine valley!
Sights of interest include the Altes Haus, Wernerkapelle, St. Peterskirche, a romantic corner of town called Im Malerwinkel, Burg Stahleck, walking the town fortifications and hiking the vineyard paths!
Looking for somewhere unique to stay? Consider staying in a castle perched above the town! Burg Stahleck has overlooked the town since the 12th century and has been a youth hostel since 1925-27.
While the town is easy to explore by foot within just a few hours, it’s worth extending your time here for 1-2 days to truly enjoy the surroundings, and eat plenty of Riesling ice cream!
Berlin! Not only one of my favorite cities in Germany but also one of my favorite cities ever. Until some time ago, I didn’t consider Germany as an interesting travel destination. How stupid was I? After visiting Berlin for the first time, I went back for a second time and I’m sure that I will go back again and again (maybe even very soon, who knows).
Berlin has soooo much to offer. Extensive history, vibrant life, culture, crazy nightlife and much, much more. The Brandenburg gate, The Reichstag, Holocaust Memorial, Berlin Dome and The East Side Gallery are must-visits in every Berlin journey. They are the most famous landmarks. Besides these, though, make sure to go to the viewing platform of Park Inn Hotel, instead of the one at the TV Tower (it’s cheaper and I believe it’s way better). Other places to keep in mind and not to miss are also Tempelhof and Teufelsberg.
Except for party paradise, Berlin is also vegans’ paradise. You can find many vegan restaurants and cafes.
A few days – 4-5 – will be enough to see the highlight of the city, but if you want to feel more of the unique vibe, stay for least ten days or why not even longer.
Frankfurt has a reputation for being a boring, finance-focused city with not a lot of personality. Compared to cities like Berlin it is a little more straight and narrow but there is a lot of local culture and cool parts of the city to be explored.
Because the city is located right in the centre and has the second busiest airport in Europe it’s the perfect place to stop and enjoy for a couple of days on your way to other destinations. In summer, people can enjoy the pop-up cafes and bars that appear on the banks of the Main. Or take a stroll through the beautiful surroundings of the Palmengarten. There are also numerous outdoor food and wine festivals so check out what’s happening on your travel dates.
In winter, Frankfurt boasts one the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. The traditional, fairytale-esque main square comes alive with lights, music and hundreds of stalls. You can try everything from mulled wine to waffles on sticks and enjoy a real winter wonderland. For rainy days Frankfurt has a host of great museums to keep kids and adults entertained. Try the Senckenberg or Städl Art Museum.
Frankfurters are very proud of their traditional food and drink and most of them are delicious, too! There are lots of authentic Frankfurt restaurants dotted around the main tourist area. But for an excellent value meal head to the ‘Apfelwine Solzer’ in Borneheim. Green sauce, handcheese and apple wine are top of the must-try list!
Do you like historic buildings, amazing fish sandwiches, the Beatles, crystal clear waters, and secret underground tunnels? Then Hamburg just might be the German city for you! If you like nature, head to the peaceful Planten un Blomen park. If you want to rock a little more, go to Beatles Square, where you can see a statue of all five Beatles who played in Hamburg (including Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe, but not including Ringo Starr). For fans of architecture, don’t miss the stunning city hall, aka the Rathaus. Any museum or history lover will think the Maritime Museum is a great introduction to the history of sailing. And if you are traveling with children, don’t miss taking them to Miniatur Wunderland, a model train replica of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the United States, among other places. If you’re hungry after all that exploring, check out the many seafood restaurants in the city. I recommend the Pannfisch at Hamburger Fischerstube or one of the fish sandwiches at Breucke 10, right on the Elbe. If you’re more adventurous, there’s always labskaus (corned beef, potatoes, and onion with a fried egg on top) at Zum Brandanfang. But my favorite thing to do in Hamburg is take a walk through the Elbe Tunnel, which is a delightfully creepy pathway that goes under the Elbe River. Don’t miss the designs on the walls of the tunnel, which look like various sea creatures. On the other side, you can get great views of the city of Hamburg. You can even stay here and watch the sunset. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day in Hamburg! But you will want to have at least two to three days to get a sense of everything the city has to offer.
*Here’s another Hamburg tip from me, Jennifer of Discovering Legacies, because I used to live here: Definitely visit the beach in Blankenese and get lost in its Treppenviertel. For amazing food, check out Landhaus Scherrer. It’s a bit more on the expensive side, but worth every single penny!
Partying and craziness are best done on the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s Red Light District. There’s a street only for men – the Herberstrasse. Women, if you enter, eggs and other things may be thrown at you. Good luck!
My favorite German city is, by far, Hannover. It is the self-identified “understated” city and capital of the state of Lower Saxony. Why does that name sound familiar? The current Royal Family of England are direct descents of the Royal Family of Saxony. There are so many things to see in do in Hannover, that a weekend wasn’t enough – I could have easily spent a week exploring all of the museums, and monuments, and walking the red thread. My biggest “can’t be missed” items are the Herrenhausen gardens within the city, and Schloss Marienburg outside of the city limits. They are by far the most amazing palace and gardens I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. The Castle is untouched by war, rare in any part of Germany, but especially in Lower Saxony, as the gardens were inspired by the Versailles Gardens. Just as beautiful, far less crowds. Hannover is a must see city on any Germany tour.
Munich is the center of Bavarian culture and loaded with fun things to do. Center your visit in the historic area around the iconic Neues Rathaus (new city hall) in Marienplatz. The old town center is very walkable and several attractions are within a few blocks of each other. Climb the tower of St. Peter’s Church for a spectacular view of the city or tour the Residenz for a taste of the splendor of days gone by. Check out the even more opulent Nymphenburg Palace, a few kilometers from the city center, and take a stroll through its beautiful gardens. You can also visit the Munich Olympic Park and enjoy the unique architecture or visit one of the sports venues. Venture a few minutes outside of the city to get a sobering dose of history at the Dachau concentration camp. It’s far from a pleasant experience, but it’s important to learn from. Don’t miss the Viktualienmarkt in the city center – it’s the rare spot that appears to be loved by tourists and locals alike. There you can wander among stalls selling sausages, fruits, vegetables, and beer. Its lively atmosphere can’t be topped, and it’s a great spot to grab a drink or a snack. The world famous Hofbrauhaus is also nearby, and no trip to Munich would be complete without a visit there for a beer and traditional German dishes with a band playing in the background. The Rathaus also has a fantastic restaurant called the Ratskeller located inside of it. For dessert, try the Spaghetti Eis that can be purchased at ice cream stands around the area – it’s ice cream that is pressed through a noodle press to resemble spaghetti and topped with delicious fruity red sauce. In order to truly experience everything that the city has to offer, give yourself 2-3 days depending on your pace.
Jennifer from this blog, Discovering Legacies 🙂
If you want to visit another cute fairy tale town off-the-beaten-path, come check out my hometown Schwäbisch Hall for a day if you’re in the area (Baden-Württemberg). Start with a breakfast or brunch at the Cafe am Markt, explore the old market square and St. Michael’s church. I’ve been to many many churches in various countries, but I’m lucky to have a gorgeous one in my hometown as well! Schwäbisch Hall is well worth a visit during summer because of its beer garden by the river, the plays on the 52 steps of our church, the picturesque half-timbered houses, the Comburg Monastery, and our traditional Salzsieder, who you should catch performing sometime for a very German experience. If you want to experience a mini version of Oktoberfest, join Jakobimarkt at the last weekend in July. For food and a view, dine at Sudhaus during sunset or find great Italian food at Pulcinella. Art lovers, go to Kunsthalle. The Freilandmuseum is a special treat for history buffs: Whole buildings have been transported and re-erected at one place, so you can walk from century to century, starting with the 13th, and find out how people were living back then.
This is a small town, so don’t be irritated if someone keeps staring at you when you blab with your loud American voice, wear something “out of the ordinary,” or have a tattoo on your face ;)!
Your favorite city wasn’t mentioned? Let us know about it in the comments 🙂
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