During the Corona pandemic, I have done many Road trips in Germany and was particularly excited about the beautiful cities in our country. Germany has an incredibly rich history and a fascinating cultural heritage. Each city has its own history, sights and special features, but which one is the most beautiful? This question is often asked and is difficult to answer. From Hamburg's Hanseatic flair to the vibrant metropolis of Berlin and the traditional yet cosmopolitan Bavarian capital of Munich, German cities are as diverse as the country's regions. Which city you find the most beautiful will depend much on your personal preferences. In this post, I would like to give you some ideas for your own discoveries.
In Search of Germany's Most Beautiful City
In this post, I talk about beautiful cities that are my favorite cities in Germany based on my personal experiences and adventures. I list these in alphabetical order and tell you about my personal highlights of each city. Of course, there are cities I don't know yet (for example, Görlitz, Lübeck and Lüneburg), so I can't judge them, but I will revise this article regularly and add more beautiful cities to it.
At the end of this post, you will learn which are my top 3 cities in Germany. Let my suggestions inspire you and find out which are your personal favorites. Let's go!
1. Berlin: Germany's Exciting Capital
Berlin is with its colorful diversity, impressive sights and the incomparable cultural offer definitely one of the most fascinating cities in Germany. In addition, Berlin is a very green city with countless parks, lakes and forests. Hundreds of kilometers of water run through the city. On a boat tour on the Spree and Landwehrkanal you can get an overview of the most important sights such as the UNESCO World Heritage Museum Island, Chancellor's Office, Bellevue Castle and Berlin Cathedral - and that without any traffic jams!
Berlin is more a part of the world than a city.
However, Berlin also has its challenges. One of these is that the city has no real center due to decades of division into East and West. As a result, Berlin is perhaps less easily accessible to visitors than other major German cities such as Munich or Hamburg. Albeit, it is the traces and scars of history that contribute to Berlin's appeal: A visit to Berlin without East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz seems impossible.
Even the darkest chapter of German history, the Nazi era, has left many traces in Berlin. On January 30, 1933, the Nazis celebrated Hitler with a torchlight procession through the Brandenburg Gate and transformed Berlin into the center of their terror within a few months. At the former site of the Reichsführung-SS, Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and Gestapo, there is today the memorial site Topography of Terror with changing exhibitions and a permanent exhibition about the seizure of power and the rule of the National Socialists between 1933 and 1945.
Last but not least, from Berlin you can enjoy trips to the Brandenburg countryside , for example to Potsdam with its castles and parks, for hiking in the Märkische Switzerland - e. g. on the Bollersdorf height -, or you visit a concert in the summer in the Chorin Monastery Ruins, the most important example of North German brick Gothic in the Mark Brandenburg.
Berlin is also worth a visit during Advent. In the capital there are a variety of Christmas markets for every taste. One of the most beautiful and popular of Berlin's Christmas markets is the Christmas Magic at Gendarmenmarkt.
- Join a guided tour of the Reichstag building to search for historical traces and be amazed by Norman Foster's spectacular glass dome .
- Explore the sights of Berlin-Mitte from Alexanderplatz via the Museum Island and the street Unter den Linden to the Brandenburg Gate.
- Enjoy Berlin's sights from a different perspective on a "bridge ride" while relaxing on board a ship that takes you across Berlin's waterways.
- In Potsdam, admire the palaces and gardens of Sanssouci, the "Prussian Versailles" (part of the UNESCO World Heritage "Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin„).
Hotel tips for Berlin: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Motel One Berlin-Spittelmarkt (advertising link): Stylish mid-range hotel just a few steps from Spittelmarkt subway station, 5 minutes by subway to Alexanderplatz! Great view from the upper floors.
Hotel Mercure Berlin Wittenbergplatz: (advertising link): Modern 4-star hotel. Only 1 minute walk from KaDeWe, 8 minutes walk to Bahnhof Zoo. Ideal to explore the former center of West Berlin and quickly reach all corners of Berlin.
Garden Living (advertising link): Beautiful boutique hotel 500 m from the main train station, with romantic courtyard.
2. Bremen: Brick Gothic and Weser Renaissance
Bremen plays a special role in my biography. I lived and worked here for 8 years. My workplace was at the Domshof, a square framed by magnificent Weser Renaissance style bank houses So I was out and about in the city center every day. My daughter was also born in Bremen. So you can imagine that this city is very close to my heart.
But I don't think I'm off base when I say that Bremen's city center, with its many Gothic brick buildings, the unique expressionist Böttcherstraße,the winding alleys of the old town in the Schnoor quarter and the beer gardens on the Weser banks is simply beautiful.
Here I'm nothing, and would like to be something,
Because this city is real, and real is rare.
At Bremen's main attraction, the market square, you can spend hours if you want to take a closer look at the many sights. The grandiose City Hall and the huge Statue of Roland, both built at the beginning of the 15th century, are since 2004 UNESCO World Heritage sites - as outstanding symbols of the development of civic autonomy in the Holy Roman Empire. The most photographed sight in Bremen is probably the bronze statue of the Bremen Town Musicians by Gerhard Marcks on the west side of the town hall.
The Embankments (Wallanlagen), Citizen's Park (Bürgerpark) and the Rhododendron Park are among the most beautiful urban green spaces in all of Germany. At the entrance to the trendy Ostertor/Steintor district (nowadays simply called "The Quarter" ), the Bremen Art Gallery is a museum of international standing with works from 700 years of art history (including Dürer, Monet, van Gogh, Picasso, Beckmann and Cage as well as the so-called "Worpswede painters").
Bremen also has great events to offer around the year, like the Open air market in October - the north german answer to the oktoberfest. The Bremen Christmas Market - one of the largest and most beautiful in Germany - takes place around the UNESCO World Heritage City Hall and Roland in Bremen takes place. It was expanded a few years ago to include the Schlachte magic on the banks of the Weser, which makes the market even more attractive.
Bremen is for me one of the most underrated major cities in Germany and is definitely one of my top 10.
- Marvel at brick Gothic and Weser Renaissance at Bremen's market square (with UNESCO World Heritage City Hall and Roland,).
- Stroll through the unique Böttcherstraße and along the Weser to the old town district Schnoor.
- Take a day trip to the North Sea coast of Lower Saxony and experience the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea, a unique ecosystem on our planet.
- In the artists' village Worpswede (about 25 km from Bremen) in the middle of the Teufelsmoor, follow the traces of the painters Paula Modersohn-Becker and Heinrich Vogeler, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and many other artists.
Hotel tips for Bremen: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Motel One Bremen(advertising link)Centrally located near the market square, Schnoor and Schlachte. Easy to reach by streetcar from the main station. Ideal for your city trip.
H+ Hotel (advertising link)If a central yet quiet location is important to you, you are in good hands in this 4-star hotel. Only a few steps to the market square, the Weser and the Schnoor.
Parkhotel Bremen (advertising link)If you want to treat yourself to something special, I can recommend this traditional hotel in the distinguished district of Schwachhausen, located directly on Holler See. 5-star luxury in wonderful surroundings and still quite centrally located.
3. Dresden: Baroque Splendor at the Elbe River
The Saxon capital probably offers the most impressive city skyline in Germany. World famous buildings like Zwinger, Semper Opera House and Church of Our Lady characterize the baroque cityscape of the Elbe metropolis. The oldest building in the city, the former Catholic Court Church, is the largest church in Saxony and is considered the last masterpiece of Roman Baroque.
Several top-class museums are located in the former residential palace: The Historical and New Green Vault, the Coin Cabinet, the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs), the Armory and the famous Turkish Chamber. The Green Vault burglary on November 25, 2019made headlines worldwide - several objects of inestimable value were stolen from the treasury of Augustus the Strong.
The people of Dresden don't ask you if you like the city. They tell you.
This makes me think that cities can be classified
into two categories: the self-confident and the others.
All the magnificent buildings, which today shine again in their old splendor, are reconstructions. The Old Town of Dresden was destroyed to a large extent in the final phase of World War II by aerial bombing attacks . The ruins of the Frauenkirche were declared a "memorial against war" by the GDR government. It was not until after the fall of the Wall that reconstruction began in 1994 and was completed in 2005. The reconstruction of the Residence Palace with all its famous museums even lasted until 2013.
Dresden also offers a lot of variety for shopping fans : The Prager Straße is one of the most popular shopping areas in Europe and offers a variety of boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Dresden is known not only for its sights, but also for its festivals: Each year in May, the International Dixieland Festival takes place, where jazz musicians from all over the world present their skills. In June, the international music festival "Elbhangfest" and in July the Dresden Castle Night attracts visitors to the city. The final event in December is the Striezelmarkt, the oldest Christmas market in Germany, which has been held on the Old Market Square since 1494.
So there are many reasons why Dresden is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany - sightseeing, culture, shopping or festivals - here you will definitely find something to your taste! But what makes Dresden unique are the Baroque architecture and the art treasures of Augustus the Strong, which gave Dresden the nickname "Elbflorenz" .
- Visit the world famous Semper Opera, best in combination with a guided tour through the historical old town.
- Take a boat trip on the river Elbe! Especially in Dresden this is worthwhile, because from the ship you have a wonderful view of the baroque skyline on the Elbe banks.
- Discover the cultural landscape of the Dresden Elbe Valley, which was a UNESCO World Heritage Site until 2009. The title was lost with the construction of the Waldschlösschen Bridge, but the area has not become less worth seeing. This is another reason why I highly recommend doing a boat trip when you're in Dresden.
- Undertake a Excursion to Saxon Switzerland. The Elbe Sandstone Mountains are a natural wonder just outside Dresden.
Hotel tips for Dresden: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Hotel Indigo Dresden - Wettiner Platz, an IHG Hotel (advertising link): This chic boutique hotel is located near the old town and receives many positive reviews. An underground parking garage is available. The breakfast is praised, but is also very expensive at €21.
INNSiDE by Meliá Dresden (advertising link)Design hotel in the historic old town. From the SkyBar you have a direct view of the Frauenkirche. You can use the wellness area with sauna, steam bath and fitness center free of charge. The hotel also has its own parking garage.
MotelOne Dresden - Palaisplatz (advertising link): Despite quite small rooms, MotelOne is a good choice in a convenient location in Neustadt. The beds are comfortable, the streetcar stop in front of the door and the sights in Dresden's old town are within 15 minutes walking distance.
4. Hamburg: Maritime Flair and the World's Largest Warehouse Ensemble
Germany's second largest city (after Berlin) inspires with its maritime flair, a vibrant cultural scene an exciting nightlife. For several years, the Hanseatic city on the Elbe has been thrilling with modern architecture, which forms a fascinating connection with the historical buildings. The Elbphilharmonie, opened in 2017, is Hamburg's newest landmark. It has given the city a new stage for top-class concerts, which alone attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. The "Elphi" is the HafenCity's tourist magnet -currently the largest inner-city development project in Europe. On an area formerly belonging to the free port, a total of over 6,000 apartments and up to 45,000 jobs will be built here by 2025 (at the earliest).
From an administrative point of view, HafenCity also includes the historic Speicherstadt, another highlight of Hamburg and together with the Kontorhausviertel and Chilehaus UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015. The red brick buildings built into the water between Baumwall and Oberhafen form the largest warehouse ensemble in the world. In addition to offices, apartments and stores, the former warehouses from the 19th century now house some of Hamburg's most popular attractions, such as the Miniature Wonderland and the Hamburg Dungeon.
Legendary is the Hamburg Kiez, the Reeperbahn including its side streets in the St. Pauli district. At the site of the famous Star Club, however, only a memorial plaque commemorates the performances of the Beatles in the early 1960s. On the Kiez, there are not only the establishments typical of red-light districts, but also the Wax Museum Panopticon, as well as musical and theater stages, such as the Operetta House (Operettenhaus), the St. Pauli Theater , as well as Schmidt's Tivoli.
Hamburg is the best republic.
Its customs are English and its food is heavenly.
From the St. Pauli Landing Bridges it is not far to another Hamburg landmark, the Michel. The 132 m high tower of the beautiful baroque church St. Michaelis can be seen from almost every point in Hamburg's city center. From the viewing platform of the Michel you have a magnificent view of the Elbe and over the city.
You can experience one of the most beautiful sides of Hamburg in the heart of the city at the Binnenalster. Like the much larger Outer Alster - an adventure and nature paradise in the middle of the city - this artificial lake was created by damming the river. Hamburg's most famous shopping and promenade is the Jungfernstieg, which was already built in 1665 on the southern bank of the Binnenalster. From the cafés and restaurants as well as the open staircases on the shore you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Binnenalster with the Alster Fountain and the impressive silhouette of Hamburg's most prestigious hotels - the Hotel Atlantic and Hotel Four Seasons.
As befits a major city, Hamburg offers a variety of festivals and events, such as the Hamburg Harbour Birthday, founded the Elbjazz Festival, the Christopher Street Day, and the Reeperbahn Festival for musical newcomers. Three times a year the Hamburg DOM one of the largest public festivals in Germany. In the Advent season Hamburg attracts with traditional as well as unconventional Christmas markets - the most visited is the Historic Christmas Market at Rathausmarkt - Visitors from home and abroad to the city.
I love Hamburg's Hanseatic flair, which I particularly enjoy at the Binnenalster and in the Speicherstadt. That alone makes the city always worth a visit for me. The cultural offerings and the many attractions are unparalleled! Thus, Hamburg is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Germany!
- Explore Kontorhaus Quarter, Chilehaus, Speicherstadt and HafenCity on foot. Take a break at one of the beautiful cafés in the Speicherstadt along the way.
- Discover the Port of Hamburg and the Speicherstadt on a boat trip.
- Take a walking tour of Hamburg's city center including City Hall, St. Petri, Gänsemarkt, Mönckebergstraße and Binnenalster.
- Take a trip to the Old Land (Altes Land) just outside Hamburg to get to know Germany's largest contiguous fruit-growing region. Visit one of the picturesque former Hanseatic cities Stade or Buxtehude with its many beautiful half-timbered buildings.
Hotel tips for Hamburg: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations explorations
Henri Hotel Hamburg Downtown (advertising link)Comfortable hotel, ideal for sightseeing, right in the center, 5 minutes walk from the main train station, 90 m from the subway station Mönckebergstraße. Guests praise the good location and facilities, as well as the delicious breakfast.
Holiday Inn - Hamburg - HafenCity, an IHG Hotel (advertising link): New hotel directly at the S-Bahn and U-Bahn station HafenCity, a few minutes walk to the Speicherstadt and the Elbphilharmonie.
Hotel Wedina at the Alster (St. Georg) (advertising link)Great location to explore the city center of Hamburg. A few steps from the Alster, to the main station about 8 minutes walk.
5. Heidelberg: The Most Sublime Ruin and the Most Famous Walk in Germany
The castle ruins high above the city is one of the most romantic places in Germany and testimony to an eventful past. You have to earn the famous postcard views of Heidelberg Castle and old town by hiking the Philosophenweg on the Heiligenberg .
Germany's oldest and most famous university town is especially popular for its romantic atmosphere, its historic old town and its idyllic location on the Neckar river. The city is surrounded by forests, which invite for long walks. The most beautiful part of Heidelberg's old town is around the upper, eastern part of Main Street (Hauptstraße), where the Old Bridge, the university and the view of the castle form the cityscape.
A ruin must be rightly situated, to be effective.
This one could not have been better placed.
All this already attracted the romantics of the late 18th and early 19th century to Heidelberg, first and foremost Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The British painter William Turner contributed significantly to the Heidelberg boom with his famous paintings of the Heidelberg castle ruins.
Throughout the year, Heidelberg has beautiful festivals that attract a mixed national and international audience to the beautiful university city, such as the Heidelberg Spring (March/April) or the Castle Festival (June/July). In my opinion the Heidelberg Christmas Market is one of the most beautiful in Germany and a good reason to visit the city in December
With its student atmosphere, the great cultural offer, the historical buildings , as well as magnificent viewpoints Heidelberg is pretty high on the list of the most beautiful German cities for me.
- Take a ride on the cable car from Corn Market to probably the most famous castle ruin in the world, Heidelberg Castle, and enjoy the second best view of Heidelberg from the Great Terrace.
- Walk from Bismarckplatz across Theodor-Heuss-bridge along the Philosopher's Path and across the "Old Bridge" (Karl-Theodor Bridge) back to the city center. Enjoy the best view of Heidelberg from Philosopher's Garden and the Meriankanzel (!) .
- Stroll along the Main Street from Bismarckplatz to Market Square with side trips on both sides. From Corn Market you have a beautiful view of the castle. The oldest university library Germany is worth a visit!
- Take a trip to the Schwetzingen Castle, the former summer residence of the Palatine electors, about 12 km west of Heidelberg,
Hotel tips for Heidelberg: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations explorations
BS Boutique Hotel (advertising link): Charming, barrier-free hotel in historic building. The tastefully furnished hotel is located in a quiet area of Neuenheim, very close to the Philosophenweg. The rooms are distributed between an old and a new building. You can reach Heidelberg's old town in 10 minutes on foot.
Heidelberg Excellence Hotel (advertising link): Middle class hotel in good location, few minutes walk to Bismarckplatz and Hauptstraße (old town). Nearest bus/tram stop is Adenauerplatz (directly accessible from the main train station with some lines). Good price-performance ratio.
Hotel-Restaurant Hackteufel (advertising link): Cozy, somewhat old-fashioned hotel in the middle of the old town at a reasonable price. However, due to the downtown location, it can get noisy. Parking in P12 (valley station of the mountain railroad) at discounted price of 10€/day.
6. Leipzig: Bach City and Cradle of the Peaceful Revolution
Coffee and Leipzig belong together. Germany's first coffeehouse musicians entertained their guests in Leipzig: In the 18th century, Georg Philipp Telemann played music with the Collegium musicum in the coffeehouses around the market square. Bach's coffee cantata is considered the pinnacle of Saxon coffeehouse music. The baroque "Coffee Tree" was opened in 1694 and is one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe.
From the "Coffe Baum" it is only a few steps to St. Thomas Church,in the courtyard of which you will find Johann Sebastian Bach's bronze statue, who came to Leipzig in 1723 as Thomaskantor and music director, a position he held until his death in 1750. During this time he also directed the St. Thomas Boys Choir, which still maintains the musical legacy of its most famous former cantor with performances all over the world.
Oh, how I always envy Leipzig for its music.
After a few steps from St. Thomas' Church, you reach the market square with the Old Town Hall, one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Germany. At its rear is the Naschmarkt. On its northern side the is the baroque Old Stock Exchange. In front of it is a monument to the young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who studied in Leipzig and got inspiration for at least one scene of Auerbach's Keller in the nearby Auerbach's Keller .
An important role in the history of the German reunification played the St. Nicholas Church. In 1999, a replica of one of the palm-crowned columns inside the church was set up in the churchyard as a peace column in memory of the Monday demonstrations and peaceful revolution .
The Monument to the Battle of the Nations was built to commemorate the fallen of one of the bloodiest battles in history. The Battle of the Nations or Battle of Leipzig took place in the October 1813 between Napoleon and his allies and the coalition armies of Austria, Prussia, Sweden and Russia. You have to climb 364 steep steps in a rather narrow corridor to get to the top of the Monument to the Battle of Nations. The 360° view of Leipzig and its surroundings will make you forget the effort - I promise!
With major events such as the Leipzig Book Fair (March), the Bach Festival Leipzig (June) and the Leipzig Christmas Market - one of the most traditional and largest in Germany - Leipzig offers great events for every taste all year round. Due to its fascinating history, the many beautiful cafes and the youthful atmosphere Leipzig is clearly one of my favorite cities in Germany!
- Climb the Monument to the Battle of the Nations and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Leipzig and its surroundings.
- Stroll through the Mädler Passage,Leipzig's most beautiful shopping arcade, and go on a journey back to Goethe's student years in Auerbach's Keller .
- In the Museum in the Round Corner, the former headquarters of the GDR's State Security Service, find out about the Stasi's methods and machinations.
- Take a boat ride in the Neuseenland just outside Leipzig, where the remaining holes of the open-cast lignite mine have been transformed into a unique recreational landscape with 19 lakes.
Hotel tips for Leipzig: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Motel One Leipzig-Augustusplatz (advertising link)Because of the convenient downtown location, this is my first choice when I'm in Leipzig. You can park in the parking garage under Augustusplatz at a reduced rate.
Seaside Park Hotel Leipzig (advertising link)Beautiful 4-star Art Nouveau hotel directly across from the main train station (ideal if arriving by train!). Excellent breakfast buffet in the unfortunately windowless restaurant.
Trafford Sky Homes (advertising link): Apartments in a listed building with roof terrace in the middle of the old town.
7. Munich: Top-Class Museums and Bavarian Lifestyle
Munich enjoys a global reputation in many respects: as a Center of the Arts, as most livable city in Germany, as German beer and veal sausage capital, home to global players from a wide range of industries, most expensive city in Germany ... The superlatives for the Bavarian capital are almost endless. Add to that the charming location with lakes and mountains on the doorstep.
The heart of the city beats on Marienplatz and around. THE tourist attraction on Marienplatz is the bell and figure show in the Town Hall tower, which makes its rounds daily at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. (from March to October also at 5 p.m.). A few steps away from the town hall stands Munich's landmark, the Church of Our Lady, a late Gothic brick hall church. Munich's oldest parish church, St. Peter's Church (built in the 11th century), is on the north side of Viktualienmarkt,where well-heeled Munich residents can stock up on delicacies on weekdays. Here you can take a break in the popular beer garden .
One of the most famous historical buildings in Munich is the Residence, which is located on the equally famous Odeonsplatz. This largest inner-city palace complex in Germany was the Residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918. The magnificent rooms and richly endowed art collections speak for the artistic sense and political ambitions of the ruling house of Wittelsbach. After the end of the monarchy in Bavaria, the residence was converted into a museum in 1918. The Cuvilliés Theater from the 18th century in the Residence is considered the most beautiful rococo log theater in Europe.
If you like shopping, you will love to stroll through Neuhauser Strasse and Kaufinger Strasse, as well as the exclusive Maximilianstrasse, Munich's most expensive shopping street.
Between art and beer, Munich is like a village nestled between hills.
For art and technology fans, Munich's world-class museums has a lot to offer. In the Alte Pinakothek 800 works of old masters from Dürer to Raphael to Velázquez are on display, collected by the Wittelsbach dukes and electors. In the Neue Pinakothek directly opposite, European art from classicism to art nouveau is presented. Here you will find, for example, works by Caspar David Friedrich, Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, van Gogh and Gaugin. The Pinakothek of Modern Art,which unites four museums under one roof, is Germany's largest and possibly also most beautiful museum for modern art, with works of the 20th and 21st century by Beckmann, Kirchner, Chagall, Dalí, Picasso and many others. The German Museum is Europe's largest technical and natural science museum. Car fans will love the German Museum Traffic Center and BMW World .
In the west of the city you can visit Nymphenburg Palace, summer residence and favorite palace of the Wittelsbach dynasty. It is one of the largest castles in Germany and Europe. Ludwig II, later builder of Neuschwanstein Castle and other magnificent Bavarian castles, was born here.
In the midst of all this culture, don't forget to take plenty of time to stroll through the picturesque downtown area and the English Garden to take, one of the largest parks in the world with many attractions. In the city's numerous beer gardens you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, typical Bavarian dishes and of course the famous Bavarian beer in the warm season. In September (!) the Oktoberfest every year millions of tourists from all over the world to the largest folk festival in the world. With a wide range of Christmas markets - from the classic, the Munich Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) aroundMarienplatz, to the alternative TollWood Winter Festival - December is also quite an appealing month to travel to Munich, especially since the snow-covered mountains are just outside the city gates.
The contrast between tradition and modernity, art and commerceyou can observe everywhere in Munich makes this city tremendously attractive. Munich is regularly voted the most livable city in Germany - for those who can afford it.
- Explore the city center between Karlsplatz (Stachus) and English Garden on foot.
- Enjoy the dreamlike view of the city from one of the viewing platforms of City Hall, Frauenkirche or St. Peter's Church.
- If you are in Munich for the first time, a visit to the Hofbräuhaus is a must!
- Take a day trip to the beautiful Munich surroundings, for example to Lake Ammersee, Lake Starnberg or Lake Chiemsee.
Hotel tips for Munich: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Motel One Munich-Haidhausen (advertising link)Proven Motel One standard near the Ostbahnhof. With the S-Bahn only 15 minutes to Marienplatz!
Hotel Freisinger Hof (advertising link): 4-star hotel in the green (at the English Garden). Bavarian restaurant with beer garden. By streetcar approx. 30 min. to Marienplatz.
Boutique Hotel Splendid (advertising link)Charming hotel in the beautiful Lehel quarter (city center). Cozy courtyard with terrace and small garden.
8. Nuremberg: Light and Shadow of German History
Nuremberg is one of the most historic German cities. It is known as Imperial city, Dürer city, city of toys and the Christkindlesmarkt, gingerbread , as well as Bratwursts, but also the NS Party Rallies and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.
The Imperial Castle is probably Nuremberg's best-known landmark. In the "Golden Bull" of 1356, Emperor Charles IV had stipulated that every newly elected emperor must hold his first imperial diet in Nuremberg. Alongside Frankfurt as the city of the election of kings and Aachen as the city of the coronation of kings, Nuremberg was thus a power center of the empire.
In the final phase of the World War II, Nuremberg's Old Town was almost completely destroyed. In 1947, it was decided to reconstruct the city in a simplified way.Some historic buildings were preserved despite considerable damage (including the Imperial Castle, the Town Hall Wolffscher Bau, the Church of Our Lady, St. Sebald and St. Lawrence). Most of the reconstruction work had already been completed by 1955.
A wonderful place to experience the charms of the old Nuremberg is Tiergärtnertorplatz, which is preserved as a closed medieval square. In fine weather, many visitors simply sit down on the cobblestones with their drinks and enjoy the hustle and bustle. Albrecht Dürer's House,where the master lived from 1509 until his death in 1528, is located at the edge of the square. The exhibition in the house provides insights into the life and work of the most important German artist of the Renaissance.
Every working day, there is a food market at Nuremberg's Hauptmarkt a food market takes place. During the Christmas season here will be the stalls of the world famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas market) built up. Until the Second World War, the main market was an architectural gem of Nuremberg. After the war, the square was rebuilt only in a very simplified form. The only historical buildings are the Church of Our Lady and the Beautiful Fountain. The main attraction of the church is the "Männleinlaufen" below the clock face, where every day at 12 o'clock the seven electors circle their emperor Charles IV. Like Nuremberg's two other large churches, St. Sebaldus , as well as St. Lawrence, the Frauenkirche houses important works by artists such as Veit Stoß, Peter Vischer and Adam Kraft.
Nuremberg shines among the cities like the sun among the stars.
The Germanic National Museum is the most important cultural history museum in Germany. The Nuremberg artists Albrecht Dürer, Veit Stoß and Adam Kraft are represented with numerous works. One of the most significant exhibits is the oldest globe in the world from Martin Behaim which shows the world still without America. The Karthäusergasse in front of the Germanic Museum was redesigned in 1993 by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan as the "Way of Human Rights" .
The New Museum - State Museum of Art and Design with its 100-meter-long curved glass facade is a masterpiece by Berlin architect Volker Staab. The highlight of the equally spectacular interior design is a staircase spiral that evokes associations with New York's Guggenheim Museum. The Neues Museum shows on more than 3,000 m2 Art and design from the 1950s to the present.
An impressive place of remembrance is the Memorium Nuremberg Trials. Since November 21, 2022, in the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, you can experience the media installation "Court Room 600: Time Travel" At the historic site of the Nuremberg Trials, this virtual journey through time takes you back to the period of the trial between November 20, 1945 and October 1, 1946. Outside the courtroom, a permanent exhibition in several exhibition rooms provides information about the prehistory, participants and course of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.
Hardly anywhere in Germany are the legacies of the Nazi dictatorship as visible as in Nuremberg. The former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where the mass events of the NSDAP were held, is today Nuremberg's largest recreational area with lakes, parks, soccer stadium, ice hockey arena and car racing track. The Documentation Center is currently being rebuilt, but there is an interim exhibition on the history of the area. In addition, the association Geschichte Für Alle e.V. (literally "History For Everyone") excellent guided tours of the site .
For me, Nuremberg is without any doubt a highlight among the major German cities. Here you will meet all facets of German history. Moreover, there is no other city where you can get such a good impression of what large German cities looked like in the Middle Ages.
- Visit the Imperial Castle, where all recognized German kings and emperors held imperial, court and judicial days between 1050 and 1571. Stroll through the castle garden and enjoy the view of the city from the fortress.
- Get closer to Germany's most famous Renaissance artist, Albrecht Dürer, at the house where he lived and worked. Relax afterwards with a beer or coffee on the medieval Tiergärtnertorplatz in front of the house.
- On the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, learn more about the darkest period in German history.
- Take a day trip to the beautiful medieval town of Bamberg, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is only an hour's drive from Nuremberg.
Hotel tips for Nuremberg: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Art & Business Hotel (advertising link): I love this hotel because of the fantastic breakfast, the friendly ambience and the ideal location near the main station. In summer you can have breakfast in the courtyard! Discounted parking in the station garage (you get an exit ticket at the hotel).
Park Plaza Nuremberg (advertising link): Comfortable hotel ideally located between the main train station and Frauentor (right at the entrance to the old town).
Hotel FIVE (advertising link): 3-star hotel with terrace in the middle of Sebald, 2 minutes walk from the main market. Ideal for Nuremberg sightseeing.
9. Regensburg: Medieval City in a Prime Location
When it comes to beauty, hardly any German city can rival Regensburg. The British star architect Norman Foster even called Regensburg "one of the most beautiful cities in the world". The churches, family towers and patrician houses from the 13th and 14th centuries as well as the spacious squares and the sunny weather reminded me strongly of San Gimignano. The view from the Danube bank beyond the Stone Bridge in Stadtamhof on the old town of Regensburg can hardly be topped.
As an exceptional example of an intact medieval trading town, the old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006. In 2021, the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" was expanded by the Danube Limes Regensburg's Porta Praetoria - that after the Porta Nigra in Trier best preserved ancient city gate north of the Alps.
The St. Peter's Cathedral is considered the main work of Gothic architecture in Bavaria and towers over Regensburg's old town, visible from afar. 1100 beautiful medieval stained glass windows, which are among the oldest stained glass windows in Europe and outstanding works of art - such as the Annunciation group with the famous laughing angel and the silver high altar - characterize the interior of the cathedral.
Regensburg is beautifully situated. The area had to attract a city.
At one of the most beautiful places of the city, the Haidplatz, you can still spend the night in the Gasthof Goldenes Kreuz (today Hotel Goldenes Kreuz) like in former times Emperor Charles Vwho lodged here when he attended meetings of the Imperial Diet. On a plaque attached to the house you can read that an affair between the emperor and the Regensburg Gürtlerstochter Barbara Blomberg 1547 the hero of the naval battle of Lepanto, Don Juan d'Austria, sprang.
As befits such a magnificent city, Regensburg also has a palace: the former Benedictine Abbey of St. Emmeram became the princely family Thurn and Taxis In 1812, in the course of secularization, it was transferred to the Kingdom of Bavaria as compensation for the cession of postal rights. You can visit the state rooms, the cloister and part of the park on a guided tour. The attached Basilica of St. Emmeram with the magnificent baroque decor of the Brothers Asam you shouldn't miss out on either. Here have the St. Emmeram, emperors, kings and members of the Perpetual Reichstag found their final resting place.
But what makes Regensburg so appealing, besides all the sights, is its fresh and youthful flair despite the sometimes narrow, dark alleys - over 20 % of the inhabitants are students. You can enjoy Bavarian delicacies and fine cakes in wonderfully located beer gardens and wonderful coffee houses.
If you love visiting Christmas markets, Regensburg is an ideal travel destination for December: the historic old town provides the perfect setting for beautiful markets such as the Romantic Christmas Market at Thurn and Taxis Castle, the Lucreziamarkt on Haidplatz and the Christkindlmarkt on Neupfarrplatz.
- Listen to the entertaining stories of your guide on a Guided tour through the Regensburg old town .
- Admire the stained glass windows and other artwork in the Regensburg Cathedral.
- Marvel at Valhalla,the hall of fame, which rises high above the Danube a few kilometers downstream of Regensburg, which Ludwig I. had built as a memorial to formative German personalities.
- Enjoy the view of the old town of Regensburg, Weltenburg Monastery and the spectacular Danube Breakthrough on a boat trip to Kelheim.
Hotel tips for Regensburg: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Hotel Golden Cross (advertising link): The most historic hotel in Regensburg! Located directly on the beautiful Haidplatz, in the middle of the old town. What more could you want!
Hotel Orphée - Big House (advertising link): Baroque building with baroque interior in the heart of the old town.
Elements Hotel (advertising link): Modernly designed rooms in a 16th century building in the historic city center.
10. Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Romantic Old Town and Great Church Art
I admit - Rothenburg ob der Tauber is more of a village than a city. But: It is extremely charming and has everything that visitors expect from a typical German town: An intact city wall with towers and gates as well as a city center with many restored half-timbered houses. And of course the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Shop. It is picturesquely situated on a hill and from many vantage points you can see the lovely Tauber valley .
Despite wartime destruction, Rothenburg managed to preserve a harmonious medieval townscape without the building sins of the post-war period. With the Altar of the Holy Blood in the City Church of St. James and Holy Cross Altar in the Church of St. Peter and Paul in the district of Detwang you can see two masterpieces by Tilman Riemenschneider probably the most important German sculptor of the early Renaissance.
If you are in the area - for example, to visit Nuremberg or Würzburg, then definitely make a detour to Rothenburg - don't miss it! Enjoy the medieval flair and a summer evening in the beer garden directly on the Tauber! In December the Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt - one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany - gives the romantic town an additional magical glow. And when a few snowflakes fall, you'll feel like you're in a winter wonderland!
- Visit the St. Jacob's Church with the Altar of the Holy Blood by Tilman Riemenschneider
- Circumnavigate Rothenburg along the city wall with its gates and towers
- Admire the ensemble of buildings around the market square with the town hall, the council drinking house, St. George's fountain, St. Mary's pharmacy and the butcher's shop
- Take a selfie at Rothenburg's most popular photo spot, the Plönlein
Extra Tip: My friend Ina Elser is a city guide in Rothenburg and offers entertaining and informative tours in German, English, French and Spanish language on. She will tell you a lot about Rothenburg that you won't find in any travel guide!
Hotel tips for Rothenburg ob der Tauber: these hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Hotel Eisenhut (advertising link): Comfortable hotel in historical walls, next to the Käthe Wohlfahrts Christmas Village. With garden, terrace and restaurant.
Burghotel (advertising link): Historical house from the 13th century. Quiet location on the edge of the old town, with a view of the Tauber Valley from the breakfast room and some rooms. The hotel has a wellness area and a restaurant with terrace and rose garden. From the Burghotel you can go directly to the garden of the Dominican monastery.
Romantic Hotel Markusturm (advertising link): Historic hotel in a building from the 13th century, next to the St. Mark's Tower in the medieval old town. With traditional restaurant and courtyard terrace.
11 Weimar: Germany's cultural center
Weimar's significance is of a spiritual nature. It consists less of imposing buildings than the feeling of traveling back in time to the 18th and 19th centuries, when Weimar was the spiritual center of Europe .
The "Golden Age of Weimar" refers to the time of the interaction of Goethe and Schiller in the "Ilm-Athens". Thus, the most famous monument of the two stands in front of the German National Theaterwhich Goethe directed from 1791 to 1817 and at which they both worked together for several years.
Why did Weimar become Germany's cultural center in the Classical period, and not Berlin or Munich? Duke Carl August I of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach,who like his mother Anna Amalia an avid lover of art, stopped in Frankfurt in 1774, where he invited Goethe, already world-famous at the time for "The Sorrows of Young Werther" and "Goetz von Berlichingen," to Weimar. This was the beginning of a lifelong male friendship as well as the Weimar Classicism. Superstar Goethe attracted other poets and scholars to Weimar, including Schiller and Herder. In a time of great changes and revolutions, a diversely talented generation of artists met a princely house that was willing to support them financially as well. Goethe's first residence in Weimar - the garden house in the park on the Ilm - and also his house on the Frauenplan were gifts from the duke. The enormous range of geniuses in the fields of literature, theater, philosophy and music made the Weimar Classical period so unique. The UNESCO World Heritage Site "Classical Weimar" comprises 16 objects, including Goethe's and Schiller's residences, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library and the park on the Ilm with Goethe's garden house.
The history of German culture is inconceivable without Weimar.
The "Silver Age" followed in the years after 1850, when composers such as Franz Liszt , as well as Richard Wagner worked in Weimar.
Weimar shone once again in the period around 1920, when Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus and attracted such important artists as Lyonel Feininger, Gerhard Marcks, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer and Wassily Kandinsky to the art school. Due to the increasing power of the Nazis in Weimar, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925. Since 1996, three Weimar Bauhaus sites have been part of the Bauhaus UNESCO World Heritage sites.
During the darkest period, the Nazis established the largest concentration camp on German soil, the Buchenwald concentration camp, at the gates of the city. Visible from afar is the 50 m high bell tower in the center of the complex, which was erected in 1958 to commemorate the 56,000 dead of the camp.
But besides the museums and memorials, which are all worth visiting and make Weimar an interesting destination for a city trip, people also like to celebrate here. The Goethe Wine Festival around Goethe's birthday, August 28, the Onion Market in October and the Weimar Christmas in December might give you additional reasons to visit Weimar.
I've been to Weimar twice before for four days each time and will go again in December. I love to walk through the Park on the Ilm, and Goethe's garden. Not only the poet memorials, but also the great Rococo Hall of the Anna Amalia Library, the Historical cemetery and the Bauhaus Museum have left a lasting impression with me. Weimar is definitely one of my favorite cities in Germany!
- Sightseeing tours, without which you should not leave Weimar and which all belong to the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Classical Weimar count Anna Amalia Library, Goethe's Residence, Schiller's Residence, Park on the Ilm with Goethe's Garden House, Historical Cemetery with Prince's Crypt (with the coffins of Goethe and Schiller); the City Palace is currently being renovated and is expected to be closed until 2030.
- Enjoy the view of Weimar from Belvedere Palace and stroll through the parks like the Weimar nobility and their illustrious guests in their days
- Find out more about the most important design and art school of the 20th century in the Bauhaus Museum with more than 13,000 exhibits.
- Take a day trip to Erfurtwhich is only 24 km away from Weimar, visit the Petersberg Citadel, the Cathedral Hill with two cathedrals and medieval old town with the Krämerbrücke.
Hotel tips for Weimar: These hotels are a good starting point for your explorations
Hotel Elephant Weimar, Autograph Collection (advertising link): The classic! Traditional 5-star hotel right on Weimar's market square.
Hotel Schillerhof (advertising link): Modern hotel in a quiet central location, 100 m from the German National Theater.
Boutique Hotel Amalienhof and Apartments (advertising link): Historic boutique hotel in Weimar's old town, 100 m from Goethe's Residence. Winter garden and roof terrace (overlooking Goethe's garden).
Conclusion: My Top 3 most Beautiful Cities in Germany
What a task to choose 10 out of all the beautiful cities in Germany, and then to choose again from these 10! It really wasn't easy for me. The result will probably surprise you - and it breaks my heart that I can't include Weimar and Heidelberg in my top 3. So here is my ranking:
- Regensburg - the most beautiful
Since this post is about the most beautiful German city - not the most interesting, historic, culturally significant - this place goes to Regensburg for me. The intact medieval townscape with the many gender towers - you don't see that in this form anywhere in Germany. In addition the wide places, View from the Stone Bridge and the Danube bank on the city - simply beautiful!
- Berlin - the most diverse
In fact, Berlin is my favorite city in Germany. Nowhere is the cultural offer larger than here. In addition, there are here the greatest museums, beautiful parks and lakes,and - what is particularly important to me - you can go deep into the german history immerse myself. I have been to Berlin many times in the course of my life and I always discover new and exciting things. Berlin is constantly changing and never gets boring!
- Nuremberg - the most German
I have discovered Nuremberg - like Regensburg, Würzburg and Bamberg - only in 2022 and was immediately thrilled! From the early Middle Ages to the main war crimes trials after the Second World War, this city represents all facets of German history. In addition, Nuremberg is the Prime example of a medieval German city with the powerful Imperial Castle, a largely intact city wall and many Bridges and towers. I liked Nuremberg so much that I went twice last year!
And What Do You Think?
As I said before, my selection of the most beautiful German cities is completely subjective and can change at any time. I am very interested in what your favorite city or cities are in Germany. Maybe it's even a city that I haven't mentioned. Write me in the comments what your favorites are and what excites you about this city or these cities! I am already very curious.