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The 10 Best Cities and Towns to Visit in Western Germany

travel west germany

Western Germany has something for everyone – big, busy urban centers, fairy-tale towns, ancient cities, and picturesque hamlets. It promises some of the best architecture in the country, along with excellent wines, delectable cuisine, and generous doses of culture. Also, much of the landscape of western Germany is shaped by the two mighty rivers Moselle and Rhine, ensuring beautiful river views practically everywhere you go. Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting destinations in this part of the country.

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2. Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf, Germany

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The Fortress Ehrenbreitstein in Koblenz, Germany | © Lightboxx/Shutterstock

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10. Bacharach

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Germany Footsteps

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12 Unmissable Places To Visit In Western Germany Before You Die 😱

Western Germany, a land of breathtaking landscapes, historic towns, and cutting-edge culture, is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. This article is your guide to the 12 unmissable places that offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of this region, promising enchanting experiences that are as diverse as they are memorable.

Curating this list wasn’t a task taken lightly. We poured over travel blogs, sifted through countless reviews, and even conversed with locals to ensure the destinations we selected are truly unparalleled.

From the majestic Rhine River to the architectural marvels of Cologne and the hidden gems tucked away in quaint villages, our criteria were simple: places that blend natural beauty, historical richness, and cultural vibrancy.

best places in Western Germany

Introducing these sites, we aim to provide a vibrant mosaic of what Western Germany has to offer. Whether you’re an avid historian eager to tread through the corridors of time, a nature lover keen to explore scenic trails, or a culture enthusiast looking to dive into the local way of life, this list is tailored for you.

Our goal is to demystify the complexity of planning your journey by pinpointing destinations that promise an unforgettable adventure.

Let’s embark on this journey together, exploring the unique allure of Western Germany!

Traveling to Germany?  Click here to download your free Germany Trip Planning checklist .  We’ll help you get ready for your trip!  

Table of Contents

12 Best Places To Visit In Western Germany

Porta Nigra, Trier

Trier merits its place on this list as Germany’s oldest city, offering an unparalleled glimpse into Roman history outside of Italy. The city is home to an amazing NINE! UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Porta Nigra, an imposing Roman gate that serves as a symbol of Trier’s ancient grandeur.

The Trier Cathedral, with its mix of architectural styles, tells the tale of the city’s spiritual and cultural importance through centuries.

Trier’s unique blend of historical depth, including Roman baths and amphitheaters, alongside its vibrant contemporary life, epitomizes the living history museum vibe that few places can match. Here, history isn’t just to be seen but to be felt.

Click here to read our full guide to Trier.

Cochem

Cochem is not just a town; it’s a journey back into the fairy tales of your childhood. Dominated by the Reichsburg Cochem, a castle reborn from the medieval ashes into a picturesque fortress, the town offers panoramic views that are the epitome of the romantic Rhine landscape.

Cochem’s charm is augmented by its half-timbered houses and winding streets, leading visitors on a merry dance through history and beauty. The Moselle River adds a serene backdrop, inviting leisurely cruises that offer a unique perspective on the valley’s vineyards.

Cochem also serves as a cultural heartland, with wine festivals that celebrate the region’s viticultural heritage, making it a must-visit for those seeking both natural beauty and cultural richness.

Click here to read our full guide to Cochem.

3. Bacharach

Views of Bacharach from Postenturm

Bacharach stands as a testament to the enduring allure of the Rhine Valley, with its storied streets, ancient fortifications, and vine-clad hills. The town’s silhouette is defined by the Stahleck Castle, now a youth hostel, offering travelers the chance to wake up within walls that have echoed with centuries of history.

Bacharach’s beauty is not just in its buildings but in its spirit, with traditions and crafts that have survived the test of time. Its location on the Rhine makes it an ideal stop for explorers looking to delve into the heart of the Rhine’s romantic lore, making it a must-visit for those enchanted by history, nature, and the tales of old.

Click here to read our full guide to Bacharach.

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne’s inclusion on this list is secured by its monumental cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece that dominates the city’s skyline and symbolizes its resilient spirit. But Cologne is more than its cathedral.

It’s a cultural hub, with museums and galleries that span the breadth of human creativity, from the ancient Romano-Germanic Museum to the avant-garde Museum Ludwig.

Cologne’s vitality is seen in its streets, filled with the fragrance of its namesake cologne and the festive spirit of its Christmas markets and Carnival . The city’s openness, diversity, and warmth make it a microcosm of modern Germany, rooted in tradition yet eagerly facing the future. It’s one of my personal favorite cities in Germany.

Click here to read more about visiting Cologne.

5. Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf earns its spot for its pioneering role in fashion, art, and architecture, juxtaposed with its Old Town. The city’s Königsallee is a shopper’s paradise, offering luxury alongside the latest trends.

Meanwhile, the Altstadt (Old Town) tells stories of Düsseldorf’s history over Altbier in the “longest bar in the world.” The Rhine Embankment Promenade exemplifies the city’s lifestyle, blending leisure with beauty.

Düsseldorf’s cultural scene, from the innovative exhibitions at the K21 to the classical performances at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, showcases the city’s dynamic evolution from industrial powerhouse to a beacon of culture and refinement.

Click here to read more about visiting Düsseldorf.

Aachen

As the westernmost city of Germany and the site of Charlemagne’s palatine chapel, Aachen bridges cultures, histories, and nations. The city’s cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site, embodying architectural innovation and the Christian world’s spiritual heritage. It’s one of my personal favorite places to visit in Germany. You can just *feel* the history here.

Aachen’s historical significance as the coronation site for German kings adds layers of historical depth to the experience of visiting. The city’s renowned hot springs, which have attracted visitors from Roman times to the present, offer a unique blend of wellness and history.

Aachen’s commitment to European unity, embodied in the International Charlemagne Prize, reflects its past and aspirations, making it a city where history, health, and a forward-looking spirit converge.

Click here for our full guide to Aachen.

Old Town Hall in Bonn

Bonn’s tranquil charm belies its importance as the former capital of West Germany and a center of German culture and politics. The city is indelibly linked with Beethoven, whose birthplace is now a museum celebrating his life and work.

But the cultural tapestry of Bonn is woven with more than just musical notes; it includes a vibrant arts scene, a plethora of museums, and the Rhine’s serene beauty.

Bonn’s role in global diplomacy, as host to several UN institutions, adds to its cosmopolitan allure. The city’s parks and gardens, such as the Rheinaue, offer peaceful retreats, making Bonn a city where history, culture, and natural beauty coexist in harmony.

Click here to read our full guide to Bonn.

8. Monschau

Beautiful Monschau

Nestled in the rolling hills of the Eifel region, Monschau is a hidden gem of Western Germany. With its perfectly preserved half-timbered houses and winding river, the town appears lifted from a fairy tale.

Visitors are mesmerized by the historic Red House, showcasing affluent local living from centuries past, and the imposing Monschau Castle, which watches over the town. Local glassblowing artisans and mustards mills add a unique cultural flair, while the surrounding lush nature trails offer outdoor enthusiasts an idyllic setting.

Make no mistake, this isn’t just any town. Monschau is truly beautiful and different to other old towns in Germany. In fact, it’s my personal second favorite town in Germany.

Click here to read more about visiting Monschau.

Koblenz

The strategic and scenic importance of Koblenz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, is self-evident. The Deutsches Eck and its monumental statue of Emperor Wilhelm I mark the unity and might of Germany.

Koblenz’s history, however, stretches back over two millennia, offering layers of cultural heritage to explore, from ancient forts to picturesque castles. The cable car ride to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress provides not only a thrilling experience but also panoramic views of the UNESCO-protected Upper Middle Rhine Valley.

Koblenz encapsulates the romantic essence of the Rhine and Moselle, making it an essential stop for those drawn to the allure of rivers, vineyards, and castles.

10. Münster

Münster

Münster’s reputation as the “City of Cycling” is indicative of its forward-thinking attitude and commitment to sustainability. However, it’s the city’s rich history, particularly as the site of the Peace of Westphalia, that adds gravitas to its charming streets and gabled houses.

The Prinzipalmarkt, with its historic Town Hall, stands as a testament to Münster’s importance in European history. The city’s university infuses Münster with a youthful vibrancy, complementing its historical roots with a dynamic cultural scene.

Münster’s blend of history, education, and green living exemplifies the contemporary German city that values both its past and its future.

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe Kassel

Embrace the allure of Kassel, a city that seamlessly blends art, history, and natural beauty in the heart of the country. While located quite centrally within Germany, Kassel just slides into the list thanks to being in the state of Hessen.

Home to the renowned documenta art exhibition, Kassel exudes a creative energy that captivates visitors from around the globe. Explore the stunning Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a UNESCO World Heritage site boasting magnificent water features and the iconic Hercules monument overlooking the city.

Dive into history at the grand Wilhelmshöhe Palace, a testament to Baroque splendor and royal opulence. Learn about the famous Brothers Grimm at Grimmwelt.

With its vibrant cultural scene, picturesque parks, and a rich tapestry of architectural treasures, Kassel is a must-visit destination that promises an enchanting journey through art, heritage, and scenic wonders. There’s a surprising amount to do here for a city that’s rarely mentioned outside of Germany.

Click here to read a detailed guide to Kassel.

Xanten

Xanten is a unique fusion of ancient history and pastoral charm. The Archaeological Park, one of Germany’s largest open-air museums, brings the Roman past to life, allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of soldiers and citizens of Roman Germania.

The medieval Xanten Cathedral serves as a landmark of spiritual and architectural significance.

Xanten’s smaller scale does not diminish its appeal; instead, it offers a more intimate encounter with Germany’s layered history, from Rome to the Middle Ages. Its blend of historical immersion and natural beauty, set beside the Rhine, makes Xanten a microcosm of the region’s broader attractions.

Exploring Western Germany offers an unparalleled journey through rich historical tapestry, breathtaking landscapes, and modern innovation. Each location on our list, from the enchanting old towns to the awe-inspiring cities, stands as a testament to the diverse beauty and cultural heritage this region has to offer. As you plan your travels, remember that the true magic of these destinations lies not only in their scenic views and historic landmarks but in the stories and traditions that have shaped them.

Whether you’re a history aficionado, a lover of natural beauty, or a fan of contemporary culture, Western Germany has something special in store for you. Venture beyond the beaten path to uncover the unique charm of each place. These twelve unmissable spots are merely the beginning of what promises to be an unforgettable exploration of Western Germany’s heart and soul.

Looking for more information about visiting Western Germany? Find all our guides to Western Germany here or check out our one week itinerary for Cologne here that includes some of the highlights of West Germany. You can also find our list to the best places to visit in Northern Germany here , Southern Germany here and Eastern Germany here .

Related Articles:

Sharon Gourlay in the Rhina Valley

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon first fell in love with Germany back in 2000 on her first visit. She loves the long history, the picturesque Old Towns, the castles, the food, everything really! Since then, she has visited many times and loves writing about Germany here so you can enjoy it too. In fact, Sharon loves German culture so much that she sent her kids to a German primary school in Australia. She especially loves Berlin and towns with charming Old Towns like Celle and Quedlinburg. Sharon also has a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and understands the nitty gritty of travel planning. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to Germany whether it's your first or tenth time!

Over a period of 25 years in business I spent a great deal of time in this part of Germany, my routine was always the same, land in Frankfurt on a Thursday, drive to Dusseldorf-Benrath on the Sunday along the Rhine Valley Road. Many, many very happy memories of little hotels like the Lorelai in Sank Goar , the Rhine Terrasse at Benrath and my base in Kelsterbach the Columbas which I believe is no longer ther a shame it was a lovely family hotel

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travel west germany

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10 Most Amazing Destinations in Western Germany

By Carl Austin · Last updated on February 5, 2024

The west part of Germany is a region of contrasts, from heavy industry to romantic river cruises where vineyards and medieval castles reign. Yes, western Germany is definitely worth a visit. Many of the towns owe their beginnings to the Romans, and some ruins can be found today.

Several cities saw heavy destruction during World War II, but, thankfully, many important buildings and landmarks remained standing. To really get a feel for the region, you need to spend a few days in key towns. Plus, take time to explore the landscapes in between. You won’t regret it.

10. Dusseldorf [SEE MAP]

Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf is an international trade and business center, hosting numerous trade fairs throughout the year. It’s also known for its tech and fashion industries. Christmas is a good time to visit Dusseldorf, since it puts on one of the biggest Christmas markets in the country.

If merrymaking, not shopping, is your thing, don’t miss the Rhenish Festival that takes place in the New Year; it’s one big carnival. Dusseldorf also is a city of culture, with museums devoted to the fine arts, ceramics and film. Check out the stunning views of the city from the Rheinturm, a telecommunications tower with an observation deck.

9. Aachen [SEE MAP]

Aachen

Aachen is a spa and tech city now, but centuries ago, it served as the imperial palace for Charlemagne, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne ordered the building of the Aachen Cathedral in 796, and is buried there. The huge cathedral served as the coronation site for 30 kings and 12 queens of Germany.

The cathedral’s treasury, started by Charlemagne, is filled with religious objects, crowns and art work donated by various European rulers over the centuries. Other key sights in Aachen, located close to the border with Belgium and the Netherlands , include the 13th century city hall, which contains frescoes showing the life of Charlemagne.

8. Koblenz [SEE MAP]

Koblenz

Once a Roman stronghold, Koblenz is considered one of the most beautiful towns in West Germany. One of the best places to take in all this beauty is from Ehrenbreitstein Fortress above the Rhine. Located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers with mountains in the background, could it e otherwise. Because of its unique position, Koblenz makes a good place to start cruises on the rivers.

If you choose not to cruise, there’s plenty to keep you busy on land. The list includes the Deutsches Eck, a statue at the confluence, and the 13th century Lahneck Castle that inspired Goethe to write a poem.

7. Trier [SEE MAP]

Trier

Founded by the Celts in the 4th century BC, Trier is believed to be the oldest city in Germany. Known as Treves in English, Trier is located on the banks of the Moselle River smack dab in wine country. Be sure to try the Riesling, the region’s top wine.

Vineyards aside, Trier doesn’t lack in historical landmarks, including well-preserved Roman ruins such as the Porta Nigra Gate and the 4th century palatial Constantine Basilica, built for the emperor; it is a Protestant church today. The Trier Cathedral is home to a robe that Jesus is said to have worn when he died. There’s also a museum dedicated to native son Karl Marx.

6. Mainz [SEE MAP]

Mainz

Located west from Frankfurt , Mainz certainly has an impressive history. It was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC. Some 1,500 years later, it was the place where Guttenberg invented the movable type printing press, making books as we know them today possible.

About 80 percent of the city center was destroyed during World War II, so you won’t find an Old Town. But you will find a modern city with museums filled with artifacts from the past. This Rhine River city has Roman ruins, a seafaring museum with five Roman boats; the 1,000-year-old Mainz Cathedral of St. Martin, and the Church of St. Stephen with windows by Marc Chagall.

5. Frankfurt [SEE MAP]

Frankfurt

At one time, Frankfurt was an important city in the Holy Roman Empire. Today, Germany’s fifth largest city is known as the business and financial center of Germany; you’ll find the German Stock Exchange as well as the European Central Bank here. One of the top sights is the Roner, or city hall, that is composed of nine picturesque houses with peaked roofs. Your next stop might be the Gothic Frankfurt Cathedral, with its tower extending into the sky.

Kings of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned beginning in 1356. A third option might be the Archaeological Garden with a Roman settlement, other old buildings and a royal palace. Allstadt district has some notable old buildings, including the only half-timbered house to survive World War II.

4. Munster [SEE MAP]

Munster

Munster is a good place in Western Germany to burn up those calories from eating rich German food: just bicycle your way around town. A survey a few years ago found more inhabitants rode bikes than drove cars.

This Westphalian town has plenty of attractions you can bike between. Among them the restored 13th century St. Paul’s Cathedral with its 1540 astronomical clock with hand-painted zodiac; Prinzipalmarkt, an historic shopping street, and the 14th century St. Lambert’s Church with three cages that displayed corpses of revolutionaries in 1535. A pretty sight is the botanic garden founded in 1803; equestrians may want to check out the Westphalian Horse Museum.

3. Marburg [SEE MAP]

Marburg

Marburg, on the River Lahn, developed as the result of being on two medieval trade routes – from the North Sea to Italy and from Cologne to Prague. Located here is the oldest Protestant university in the world, founded in 1527 during the Reformation.

The Marburg Schloss or castle dominates the city from a nearby hill. Equally famous is St. Elizabeth’s Church, named from a Hungarian princess who moved her to work with the sick. She died in 1231 at age 24 and later became a saint. Other top sights are the city hall and the botanical garden.

2. Cologne [SEE MAP]

Cologne

If you like cologne, you can thank Cologne for this. It was invented here in 1709. While cologne may have put this Rhine-Ruhr city on the map, Germany’s fourth largest city is known for much more than that. Located near the border with the Netherlands and Belgium, Cologne is famous for its Gothic cathedral, attracting 200,000 visitors a day, making it Germany’s most visited site.

It’s also known for its university, one of the largest and oldest in Europe. Also check out the 12th century city hall, the oldest in Germany still in use today, and Hohe Strasse shopping street near the cathedral.

1. Romantic Rhine [SEE MAP]

#1 of Destinations In Western Germany

What could be more romantic than a cruise on the Rhine River! Maybe walking it, perhaps? The section between Koblenz and Rüdesheim is known as the Romantic Rhine. As you gaze on the medieval castles built on forested hillsides with lush vineyards below, you may think you’re the star of a fairy tale romance.

But romance didn’t build this magical scene; knights and princes did by extracting tolls from river users to pay for all this splendor, considered one of Germany’s best landscapes. Major castles include Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which overlooks Koblenz; Marksburg Castle on the gorge, and the 13th century Maus Castle.

Map of Western Germany

Map of Western Germany

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February 27, 2018 at 7:44 am

Been to some of these places — Cologne, Frankfurt, Mainz — and had a wonderful experience. Would like to visit the rest. Germany is worth much more than a hurried tour.

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From big, busy urban centres, to romantic river cruises, to picturesque little hamlets – a visit to Western Germany offers all this and much more.

Much of the landscape of the region has been shaped by the Moselle and Rhine rivers, which also ensures you’re bound to have beautiful river views almost everywhere you go. In addition to those views, vineyards producing up to 80% of Germany’s exported wines, and medieval castles abound. It won’t be hard to keep your camera busy!

Many of the towns in this region owe their origins to the Romans and some ruins can still be found today to explore. The region is also now an area of contrasts. Some towns were once known for their coal mining, and are now home to steel mills or chemical works, but even those towns have their charms and can be worth a visit like their ‘prettier’ neighbours.

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Cologne, in western Germany, spans the Rhine River. The 2,000-year-old city oozes culture, design, great food and gothic architecture. Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom is the focal point of the city overlooking the old town.

Contrasting the old with the new is the Rheinauhafen area where the architecture of the modern Crane buildings reflects the city’s industrial heritage.  For art lovers, the Museum Ludwig showcases a host of masterpieces and the city has one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe. Then there are coffee shops, great restaurants, beer houses and chocolate shops. Let’s explore…

travel west germany

MUST DO IN COLOGNE:

  • Cologne Cathedral : Magnificent Cologne Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most visited single landmark in Germany.  Known as Kölner Dom (Köln is Cologne in German) the views from the south tower across the city and over the Rhine are stunning and well worth climbing the 533 steps to the top. Just try not to pass through the bell tower at noon…
  • Have a Beer at Früh am Dom : It’s a tradition in Germany to visit a Brauhaus (beerhouse) on a Saturday afternoon. Früh am Dom is probably the most famous and lively beer house in Cologne and is the perfect spot to try Cologne’s Kölsch beer. The Kölsch is carried to your table in a special tray which holds around a dozen glasses. Every time your glass is refilled the tally will be recorded on your beer mat. When you’ve had your fill of Kölsch cover your glass with your beer mat and your waiter will sort your bill.
  • KölnTriangle : To do this you’ll also get to cross Hohenzollern Bridge (the love lock bridge) and a stunning Cathedral view. On the other side of the bridge is KölnTriangle which has 360° panoramic views over the Rhine and the city. For €3 take the lift to the top and watch as the sun sets and Cologne’s famous landmarks light up and reflect on the river.

Read about more  things to do in Cologne  on Suzanne’s blog The Travelbunny

Read Reviews for these Sights:    Cologne Cathedral   |    Früh am Dom   |    Town Mill  

FREUDENBERG

What makes Freudenberg special is the old town part which has almost identical half-timbered houses all over town, all in black and white colour.

travel west germany

MUST DO IN FREUDENBERG:

  • Walk up the stairs to the viewpoint : The stairs are located just outside the old town centre and lead up to a lush park on a hill. From here you get a panoramic view of the town where you see even clearer how well designed and coordinated Freudenberg is.
  • Eat local food from the region : Visit Verity the 20-metre high statue that guards the harbour. You’ll love or hate the divisive statue and will appreciate the true Damien Hirst style when you see Verity up close.
  • Walk around the old town centre : This is the highlight of any visit to Freudenberg. Stroll around the old half-timbered houses that ooze of history. Admire the beautiful and unique architecture.

Recommended by Alex of Swedish Nomad

If you are looking for a smaller German city with a significant history, look no further than Aachen. Located in the west, Aachen actually holds the title of Germany’s westernmost city! This makes Aachen great for visiting neighbouring countries like the Netherlands and Belgium.

The city is famous for being a spa city – meaning there are a number of natural thermal springs in the area. The spas are actually one of the reasons why Emperor Charlemagne made Aachen his official place of residence!

These days, Aachen has a beautiful old town (like many German cities). Here, you can wander the cobblestone streets and pass by shops, cafes, and a handful of great Aachen attractions . Be sure to also visit in the winter months when Aachen puts on its Christmas Market – it’s absolutely magical!

travel west germany

MUST DO IN AACHEN:

  • Visit the Aachener Dom : Located right in the heart of the old town, the Aachen Cathedral is a must-see. Construction on the original building began back around the year 800! You can wander inside to check out the incredible stained glass and stonework of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Check Out the Rathaus : Also known as the Town Hall, the Rathaus is a Gothic structure located in the old town. Originally constructed in the 1300s, it sits on the same land as a previous building. The building barely survived World War II bombings and today you can do a tour of the various rooms with lavish decors and history.
  • Eat Printen : Aachen is known for a specific kind of Christmas cookie when the holidays roll around – Printen! This gingerbread-like cookie is absolutely delicious and can be found at a bakery called Nobis , among others. Don’t worry, but you can enjoy Printen year round!

Recommended by Eric and Lisa of Penguin and Pia

R ead Reviews for these Sights:    Aachener Dom   |    Rathaus   |  Nobis

READ MORE: Looking for more great places to visit in Germany? Check them out here!

Marburg is a stunning isolated city in the middle of the charming Hesse region of Germany. It is famous thanks to its fairytale appeal since the legendary Grimm Brothers lived here and concocted their magical array of fables and stories within the poky streets of Marburg. Imagine coming across Cinderella’s slipper, Snow White and the 7 dwarfs and all kinds of mysterious items on the streets as you weave your way up from the low lying River Lahn up to the magnificent Schloss (castle) with its tremendous views over the city.

travel west germany

MUST DO IN MARBURG:

  • Climb up to the Schloss : Marburg’s Schloss (Castle) offers sensational views over the city. It’s a steep but rewarding climb up and on the way, you will be sure to pass by a few churches and a lot of references to the Grimm Brothers. Scale the castle walls, visit the museum or dine out at one of the cafes or restaurants at the top.
  • Explore the Fairytale of the Grimm Brothers : The local council have designed an easy to navigate path through the city as part of the Grimm Brothers pilgrimage. You can mark off each spot as you visit these interesting landmarks. There are 15 points to check out, from a wall of flying horses to cinderella’s missing slipper to a mirror on the wall straight out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You can also visit the Grimm Brothers House where all this magic began.
  • Pub Crawl by Night : At night, Marburg really comes alive with its vast array of diverse drinking dens. Head down the staircase into the basement of the famous Hinkelstein Pub and try the peach-infused beer, sip wine and indulge in the delightful food at Weinladele before retiring to Delirium on a special pub crawl. Once a year, Marburg also plays host to the famous 3 Day Marburg Festival and this is the perfect time to check out the lively atmosphere in the city’s many bars. A   Marburg Pub Crawl   is easy to organise and will be sure to have full of surprises.

Recommended by Jonny of Don’t Stop Living

Read Reviews for these Sights:    Landgrafenschloss   |    Hinkelstein   |    Weinladele   |    Delirium

Frankfurt is the fifth-largest city in Germany and is home to the European Central Bank, making it one of the largest financial centres in the world. Frankfurt is often referred to as   Mainhattan , which is a combination of the River Main that flows through the city and Manhattan, another city with impressive skylines. Like many cities in Germany, many areas of Frankfurt were destroyed during World War II, and the city has since been re-built. 

Frankfurt is the busiest airport in Germany and the fourth busiest in all of Europe primarily due to it being a main hub for Lufthansa, Condor and AeroLogic airlines. As a result, travellers to Europe may begin or end their trip in this German city and should plan to spend at least   24 hours in Frankfurt . 

travel west germany

MUST DO IN FRANKFURT:

  • Main Tower Observation Deck : The best views of the city and the River Main can be found at the Main Tower Observation Deck. The Main Tower is located in the Financial District and the observation is open daily to visitors. Adult tickets (as of August 2019) are €7,50 and ages 6-12 are €5,00. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
  • Sightseeing Cruise : A great way to see the city of Frankfurt is by taking a sightseeing cruise along the River Main. There are two companies that offer relaxing, one-to-two hour sightseeing cruises:   KD   and   Primus Linie .  Adult tickets (as of August 2019) through both companies are approximately  €10,00, with discounted pricing for children.
  • Roemerberg : The old town square of Frankfurt was destroyed during World War II but was rebuilt according to original plans following the war. The medieval-style square is popular to visit along with the shopping and restaurants near-by.

Recommended by Andrea of One Savvy Wanderer

Paderborn is a small city in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. It gains much of its identity from its river, the Pader, which at 4km is the shortest river in Germany. The Pader rises from underground springs in the city centre at a rate of 5,000 litres per second and joins the River Lippe on the outskirts of the city at Schloß Neuhaus. 

Paderborn first appeared on the map in the 8th Century when Charlemagne had a castle built next to the Pader springs. Since then the city has played host to popes, emperors and royalty. Following World War II, Paderborn transformed itself into a centre for industry and technology, as well as a becoming a University town.

travel west germany

MUST DO IN PADERBORN:

  • Schloß Neuhaus : With its stunning renaissance architecture, gardens and acres of water meadows Schloß Neuhaus is a fabulous day out. The moated Schloß can trace its history back to 1370, but it has been added to, damaged and repaired repeatedly in that time. The castle is situated at the confluence of the Rivers Pader, Lippe and Alme, creating the perfect space for a public park complete with playgrounds, wildlife areas and walks.
  • Find the Souce of the Pader : There are over 200 spings in the city centre that combine to form the River Pader. Around the springs are a series of city parks which are fun to explore accompanied by the constant sound of fast-flowing water.
  • The Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum (HNF) : This fascinating museum charts the history of computing from its birth to modern-day. The hands-on exhibits make the subject come to life, even for non-techy people.

Recommended by Liona of   Travels with Ted

Read Reviews for these Sights:    Schloss Neuhaus   |  Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum

READ MORE:   Looking for more great places to visit in Germany? Check them out here!

Düsseldorf can be found in the West of Germany and is easily one of the best cities to visit in the region. Best seen in the European shoulder seasons (i.e. spring or autumn) when the cherry blossoms are in bloom or the fall tones turn the city pretty shades of umber, you can’t go wrong by dedicating a long weekend (or more if you have time) to exploring the city.

travel west germany

MUST DO IN DUSSELDORF:

  • Drink beer at the “longest bar in the world” : In an area otherwise known locally as Düsseldorfer Altstadt, you’ll soon discover a particularly high concentration of micro-breweries, pubs, and inns, all selling delicious beers. If you so desire, you can even go on a pub crawl of sorts through this area of the city!
  • Discover the glittering and modern Media Harbour (the Medienhafen) : So-called thanks to the fact that it’s home to an abundance of media company headquarters, as well as its fair share of startups, the Media Harbour is home to some pretty unusual and quirky architecture, making it the perfect place for photography lovers to explore.
  • Explore the historic district of Kaiserswerth : For those who are looking for a historical experience while in Düsseldorf, a trip to the district of Kaiserswerth is an absolute must. Once a town in its own right, though it has since been incorporated into the fabric of Düsseldorf, Kaiserswerth boasts a castle which dates all the way back to the 12th-century and a hospital where Florence Nightingale once worked.”

Click here for more great things to do in Dusseldorf .

Recommended by Sophie of Solo Sophie

Read Reviews for these Sights:    Altstadt   |    Medienhafen   |    Kaiserswerth

Koblenz is one of my favourite places to visit in Germany. It may not be on the radar of many travellers but that makes it a particularly authentic experience and suitable for those who want to avoid large crowds. Located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle river, the medium-sized town boasts a particularly quaint setting. On top, its Ehrenbreitstein, one of the largest fortresses in Germany, creates a particularly quaint setting. 

travel west germany

MUST DO IN KOBLENZ:

  • Visit the old city centre and “German Corner” : The city centre is characterized by its cobblestoned streets and half-timbered houses. There are plenty of shops waiting for you to be discovered. Make sure to head to the “German Corner”, the most famous spot in Koblenz where the Moselle meets the Rhine river.
  • Ride a cable car : A cable car ride is a must in Koblenz. It takes you from the Rhine river bank up to the majestic Ehrenbreitstein fortress. From here you’ll enjoy breathtaking views over the Rhine and Moselle river.
  • Do a Rhine River Day Cruise : Koblenz is the departure point of many river cruises which will take you to the most beautiful castles and Rhine villages such as Bacharach, Oberwesel or the Lorelei Rock. In one day you can easily visit several villages in case you are based in Koblenz.

Recommended by Paulina of Paulina on the Road

Read Reviews for these Sights:    German Corner   |  Cable Car   |    Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

RESOURCES | PLAN YOUR TRIP TO GERMANY

To book flights, rental cars, accommodations, and activities for your trip, please check out our recommended travel providers, favourite apps and websites. 

These are a few tours we would recommend for your trip to Western Germany.

Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission but this does not affect the price to you. Please read our   full disclosure policy here . 

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The 52 Places Traveler: A Road (and River) Trip Through Western Germany

A four-day loop through the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Hessen was made all the better by unexpected company.

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By Jada Yuan and John Eligon

Our columnist, Jada Yuan, is visiting each destination on our 52 Places to Go in 2018 list . This dispatch brings her to West Germany, which took the No. 23 spot on the list; it is the 31st stop on Jada’s itinerary.

“Google Maps, where have you taken us?” I screamed at my phone for maybe the fifth time in an hour. I was blindly following a disembodied GPS voice off the autobahn and onto a series of hairpin turns down a mountainside in southwestern Germany’s Black Forest. My travel companion, John Eligon , a national correspondent covering race for the Times who happened to be in Germany on a journalism fellowship, just laughed and laughed. Soon, though, we were both speechless.

The thick trees had opened up to a view of an endless river valley and mountains covered in evergreens so dense they indeed looked black. We felt powerless to do anything but pull over and take pictures that will never do it justice. If this is what happens when robots take over the world, I might be O.K. with it.

And that was just the start of our four-day loop through the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Hessen. It marked the third proper road trip of my 52 Places trip ( Chilean Patagonia and Iceland were the other two). And it was made all the better by having unexpected company, who spoke German and knew the country well from having studied abroad here and visited many times. Here is a look at our trip from each of our perspectives.

JADA: We seemed to have similar road-trip styles: Head to a signpost destination and do a lot of meandering along the way. Once I drove from Frankfurt to meet you in Stuttgart, I didn’t care where we went, as we eventually got to the ice age caves in the Swabian Jura, or Swabian Alps, which was a reason this area was on the 52 Places list.

JOHN : I think you picked a perfect route to give you a diverse look at Germany.

Frankfurt is really a cosmopolitan city. More than half of its inhabitants or their parents were born in another country. It is a city of finance, beautiful riverbanks and Germany’s main airport. Locals tell me that people there are pretty open-minded and inviting.

At the same time, Baden-Württemberg, the southwestern German state that was on the itinerary, is known to be more conservative and maybe more traditionally German as foreigners might envision the country.

JADA: Frankfurt felt really alive to me. A friend’s husband took me around before you and I met up, and explained that Germans see it as ugly and functional. The city was flattened during World War II, so it’s now a hodgepodge of Modernist architecture mixed with reconstructed medieval buildings.

And then, as soon as we went 30 minutes south on the autobahn, it was like stepping into a Grimm’s fairy tale. I really wanted to see the Black Forest Open Air Museum Vogtsbauernhof , where we got to wander through farmhouses from the 1600s, and the world’s largest cuckoo clock in Triberg-Schonach (which wasn’t cuckooing when we got there). But it wasn’t necessary to go out of our way to get a sense of German traditionalism. Pretty much every village in that part of the country felt frozen in time, in a beautiful way.

Unexpected Encounters

JOHN: After leaving the cuckoo clock, we snaked through the countryside; I did a double-take when we were driving through this speck of a village, Flözlingen, and I saw a black man sitting outside of a garage. Being a black man myself, I am always interested in hearing the stories of black people I meet in Germany — a small but growing part of German society.

Patrick Koffi Agbavon-Wolf, with blue overalls and a cigarette, was winding down after a day of factory work. He’s 52 and originally from Togo but has been in Germany for more than two decades, settling here after several visits to Europe.

What struck me was that he said he did not really have to confront the far-right, xenophobic populism that is growing in Germany (and all over Europe, for that matter). Not that he was naïve to the challenges presented by that rise; but I think that Mr. Agbavon-Wolf represented how immigrants can sometimes integrate into quiet corners of the country, even as debate rages over their place in German society.

JADA: I talked a lot more to Mr. Agbavon-Wolf’s co-worker, Milan Skoric, 48, a Croatian immigrant. He trains Rottweilers — the town of Rottweil was only 14 minutes from Flözlingen — and spoke great English after living in the United States for four years. What struck me most, though, was the way he talked about America as a place he loved but would never get to see again because of what he believes is a hostility toward newcomers. It’s been disheartening during my travels to see that America has earned this reputation.

JOHN: I was happy to experience their hospitality; they wouldn’t let us leave without giving us beers from the local brewery, Hirschbrauerei Flözlingen .

Unfortunately, all that talking set us back on our journey to Lichtenstein (a municipality, not to be confused with the nearby principality of Liechtenstein). We arrived around midnight and almost didn’t get to check in to our hotel because there was no nighttime front-desk service.

JADA: The one boon of all our bad timing is we often got to see Germany’s fiery sunsets over fields of hay or sunflowers. Two travel lessons learned: call small hotels and warn them if you’re coming in after 8 p.m., and plan for dinner or you’ll end up eating sad schnitzel in a gas station. Lichtenstein was way more remote than we’d anticipated, but at least it was stunning in the daylight.

JOHN: I certainly saw that the next morning when I went for a run into the woods and ended up taking a hike. I struggled up the mountainside, beneath a beautiful canopy of trees and rugged track.

It ended up being totally worth it, though. At the top of the incline, I reached Lichtenstein Castle. I did not have the 2 euro entry fee with me — I don’t typically run with cash — but one of the groundskeepers was nice enough to let me in for a quick peek. It was built in 1842 at the edge of a cliff for a rich art collector who wanted to live in a castle.

That collector had an amazing view. You can see the entire Echaz valley: lush greenery surrounding charming houses with pitched roofs.

Ice Age Art

JADA: The whole trip had been building up to Archäopark Vogelherd , a newly named Unesco World Heritage site that contains some of the six caves in the Swabian Jura where archaeologists have found ice age art, among the oldest examples of figurative art in the world.

The park felt more like a children’s museum, with activities like racing the clock while dragging a sled of hides and throwing spears into foam mammoth targets. There is also a delicate 40,000-year-old figurine of a mammoth carved from a mammoth tusk — art that apparently grew out of inspired boredom, since hunting and gathering only took up a few hours of the day. But I think we were both most intrigued by the Euro-centric way the exhibits described how Neanderthals migrated to Germany from Africa, followed by homo sapiens.

JOHN: Yes, the story was definitely framed from a white European perspective. I was happy to see a sign explaining that Africa was the cradle of mankind.

What the park may have lacked in excitement was totally made up at Charlotte’s Cave in Giengen-Hürben, a 15-minute drive up the road. It was very cold inside the three-million-year-old cave (they provided jackets), which formed after an earthquake allowed water to seep into the mountainside and wipe out much of the limestone.

JADA: It was a ton of fun squeezing through all the tiny entryways. I loved the story the guide told, about how the cave’s namesake, Queen Charlotte of Württemberg, visited in 1893, but she didn’t get to see the whole thing because the passages got too narrow for her hoop skirts.

Highlights, Food and Booze Edition

JOHN: Though we didn’t get to climb the 530-foot-tall steeple of the minster in Ulm because it was inexplicably closed, we found a silver lining: an outdoor wine festival right next to it.

JADA: Germany is famous for its beer, of course, but this part of the country is really known for its dry white wines. Rieslings get a bum-rap in the states for being too sweet, but after trying these, I’m convinced we’re just importing the wrong stuff.

JOHN: I prefer dry reds. And apparently there are some good pinot noirs in Germany as well.

JADA: The food recommendation you gave me that I liked the most was maultasche, at a beer garden on the Neckar in Tübingen. It’s a Swabian specialty, a dumpling filled with minced meat (there’s a veggie version, too). I had mine in a soup with a tasty broth.

JOHN: That quick stop we made in Tübingen was a highlight for me. One-third of the city’s 85,000 residents are university students. Culturally, it’s an interesting mix of young and vibrant and classically traditional: the old brick city wall that bordered a main thoroughfare stood right across from a crowd of millennials gathered at sidewalk tables, enjoying libations.

JADA: Of all the meals I had, my favorite was my first one in Frankfurt with Ed, my friend’s husband. We went to the Erzeugermarkt Konstablerwache market on a Saturday and ate fresh slaws and Frankfurt’s famous grüne sosse, a green sauce that’s creamy and herby, and drank apfelwein (apple wine), which is kind of a cross between cider and vinegar and really refreshing if you add soda water to make a spritz.

And, as you know, I have a bit of an ice cream addiction. At the market, I was able to sate myself with yogurt ice topped with fruit preserves.

JOHN: It would be hard not to have an ice cream addiction in Germany. It’s sold at shops on every corner! Last year, Germany produced more ice cream — 517 million liters — than any other European country, according to Germany’s Federal Statistics Office .

King of the Castles?

JADA: I knew Germany had a lot of castles — estimates put it at 25,000 , but there’s no official count — but I didn’t realize just how accessible they would be. I loved that these structures built for royalty have now basically turned into public parks.

On the way to meet you, I stopped by Frankenstein Castle , overlooking the town of Darmstadt. It actually once housed a mad scientist who experimented with human body parts and is said to have inspired Mary Shelley’s novel. They were having a medieval festival with sword-fighting demos; I got to shoot a bow and arrow.

And then a couple hours later I was at the spectacular Heidelberg Castle , the crown jewel of a picturesque university town on the Neckar river and filled with tourists. But I really liked how after the castle shut down, Heidelberg residents showed up to wander its vast parks and take in the view with, say, a bottle of wine they’d brought from home.

JOHN: Heidelberg may have been the most spectacular, but I think we’d probably both agree that the Rheingau is the place to go for castles. Just a short drive from Frankfurt, this picturesque region is marked by the Rhine River, which winds through it. On our boat ride along the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which is another Unesco World Heritage site , it seemed like we saw a different castle with every turn of the head.

We only did part of the route, getting off at the St. Goar castle, but if you did the entire trip from Rüdesheim am Rhein to Koblenz, you can see about 40 hilltop castles in a 40-mile stretch. And, of course, the region has wineries galore. Interestingly enough, though, unlike many other wine regions in the world, you don’t taste wine at the vineyards here. Instead, there are wine shops in towns where there are tastings.

JADA: It’s the part of our trip I would repeat without hesitation. Ed had given me the blueprint on how to do it. We drove to Rüdesheim am Rhein and, with help from the tourist office, hopped on one of many commuter boats heading downriver toward Koblenz. If you get an early boat, you can make at least two pit stops to explore towns or grab some wine, and then keep going downriver on the next scheduled boat.

The way back is slower because it’s upriver, so we took the speedy train that runs along the Rhine and cut our travel time by two hours. Pretty much every second, you’re looking at cute villages or hills covered in vineyards. It made me regret the two decades of my life I had spent riding New York City subways to work.

JOHN: It was a fortunate circumstance that we sat next to a man named Clemens on the boat. He lives in Munich but was on his way to Koblenz for work. He’s a lawyer and had court the next day. The 65-year-old could have just taken a train all the way, but he realized that he had never taken this beautiful boat ride that was right in his backyard.

JADA: The heavy downpour that started right after we boarded was a bummer, but in a magical moment, the rain cleared up just around the time we reached the famous Lorelei rock, which juts out of the water just before the tiny town of St. Goarshausen. Clemens told me it was named after a young siren who used to sit on the rocks, singing, distracting men in passing boats so they crashed to their deaths. As we floated by, a group of women started singing a song of Lorelei they said they had all learned in school, and then others on the boat joined in. It was wonderful.

Jada’s Practical Tips

Transit I showed up at the train station car rental center in Frankfurt with an online reservation at Europcar, only to be told there were no cars and I should have booked 24 hours in advance for my reservation to be “guaranteed.” Expedia let me book at three other rental counters; none had cars. Renting at the airport, a short train ride away, though, was fast and easy.

Tech Download apps like Moovit or RMV for directions to get around Frankfurt. The U-Bahn subway system doesn’t show up in Google Maps.

Dining German summers are all outdoor socializing, but you’d be wise to take up the local practice of covering your drink after every sip. There are bees buzzing everywhere.

John Eligon, a national correspondent covering race, is currently in Germany on a reporting fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @jeligon and on Instagram at johneligon .

Jada Yuan is traveling to every place on this year’s 52 Places to Go list. For more coverage, or to send Jada tips and suggestions, please follow her on Twitter at @jadabird and on Instagram at alphajada .

Previous dispatches:

1: New Orleans

2: Chattanooga, Tenn.

3. Montgomery, Ala.

4. Disney Springs, Fla.

5. Trinidad and St. Lucia and San Juan, P.R.

6. Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

7. Kuélap, Peru

8. Bogotá, Colombia

9. La Paz, Bolivia

10. Los Cabos, Mexico

11. Chile’s Route of Parks

12: Denver, Colo.

13: Rogue River, Ore.

14: Seattle

15: Branson, Mo.

16: Cincinnati, Ohio

17: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

18: Buffalo, N.Y.

19: Baltimore

20: Iceland

21: Oslo, Norway

22 and 23: Bristol, England, and Glasgow, Scotland

24 and 25: Tallinn, Estonia, and Vilnius, Lithuania

26 and 27: Arles and Megève, France

27 and 28: Seville and Ribera del Duero, Spain

29: Tangier, Morocco

Next dispatch: Ypres, Belgium

Jada Yuan is the 52 Places Traveler . She spent over a decade at New York Magazine and its websites as a contributing editor and culture features writer. Her cover stories and features have appeared in Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Elle, Glamour and Bloomberg Businessweek. More about Jada Yuan

John Eligon is a Kansas City-based national correspondent covering race. He previously worked as a reporter in Sports and Metro, and his work has taken him to Nelson Mandela's funeral in South Africa and the Winter Olympics in Turin. More about John Eligon

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Home » Destinations » Europe » Germany » 5-14 Day Germany Itinerary: A Guide For Planning Your Perfect Germany Trip

5-14 Day Germany Itinerary: A Guide For Planning Your Perfect Germany Trip

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Itineraries for Germany Pin

Plan Your Perfect Germany Itinerary with These Detailed Templates!

If you’re looking to plan the perfect trip around Germany, you are in luck! We’re passionate about exploring Germany because it’s a great country – and because Lisa is German!

Jokes aside, we’ve been lucky enough (and have made it a point) to see lots of different parts of the country – from the sea in the north to the mountains in the south. That said, Germany can be a tough country to plan a route or road trip through because there is just so much to see and do!

So, whether you’re looking for the best week in Germany or a Germany itinerary that covers 5 days or 14 days – here’s our master guide with 7 detailed Germany itineraries by train and/or by car! We’ve got cities, attractions, hotels and accommodations, directions, and distances to help you plan the best Germany travel route for you!

We’ve got other great posts to help you plan a visit to Germany:

  • Must-Knows + Tips for Travelling to Germany for the First Time
  • Helpful German Phrases to Get You By
  • Discover 30 Beautiful Places in Germany
  • Our Top Hostels in Germany (Stayed at all of them)

Table of Contents

Things to Consider When Travelling in Germany

Before you plan your trip to Germany, there are some things that you should know and keep in mind to make planning easier and to have a successful trip. While you probably know that the currency used in Germany is the Euro, here are some other topics that you should consider as well.

Best Time of Year to Visit Germany

Germany is actually a destination that you can visit year round – but it is important to plan accordingly and go in with the right expectations. If you’re planning a trip during the spring – let’s say from March to May – you could absolutely have beautiful weather… but it may also just rain a lot.

Unfortunately, the weather can be quite difficult to predict. However, as long as you prepare for different possibilities, you can have a great time no matter the weather! Generally you can say that Germany has a moderate climate with cool and rainy winters (more snowy the farther south you get) and warm – but not overly hot – summers.

July and August are usually the warmest months with an average temperature around 20°C. However, there can be days where you have 30°C. Of course, this can vary depending on the exact location you’re travelling to. Often, it is colder by the north coast than it is farther south. 

We would honestly recommend that you avoid visiting the country in July if you dislike crowds since this is when the majority of kids are on their summer break from school. As a result, some cities can get quite busy.

Typically, we would recommend travelling in May or June and then from the end of August until the end of September (or even the middle of October). However, there is also a great reason to plan a Germany trip during the winter because of the many beautiful Christmas markets that you could visit at that time of year!

Public Transportation in Germany

Public transportation in Germany is quite good, especially when compared to North America. Yes, sometimes us Germans like to complain about the “Deutsche Bahn” – the German train company – but at the same time we are also super glad that it exists and works well. 

If you’re wondering: Yes, all the itineraries mentioned below can absolutely be done if you want to take the train (minus the odd day trip to a castle here and there). If you want to check a train connection and/or buy tickets in advance you can do so on the DB Website . Alternatively, you can also download the DB app to your phone. We both have it and use it regularly. 

As an alternative to the train, you can sometimes also use the bus to get from one city/town to another. Since 2013 (before this date it wasn’t allowed), long distance buses have established their presence in more and more cities and are now a popular way to get around for people who are more conscious of their money.

Unfortunately long distance train tickets can sometimes get quite expensive if you don’t book in advance – so the bus can be a good alternative in some cases.

The most popular long distance bus company in Germany is probably Flixbus. We have also used them multiple times to get between cities. If you want to look at the schedule and/or book a ticket, you can do so on their website .

In addition to the trains and long distance buses, the public transport within the cities is also usually pretty good – especially in bigger centres. Many of the cities – or transport associations – have their own transport apps. So, if you know where you are going and plan on using the local buses, trams, metros, etc. then downloading the local transport app would be a great idea!

Car Rental in Germany

If you want to rent a car and plan a Germany road trip, then that is certainly an option as well. Driving in Germany is generally pretty safe and people are not usually as reckless as in some countries in the south of Europe. However, it can get a little crazy in bigger cities like Berlin or Munich – especially if you are not used to driving in bigger centres. 

In Germany, you drive on the right side as it is done in the United States, Canada, and many other countries as well. You have probably heard of the “Autobahn” – that’s simply the German name for our highway system. If you follow any of these itineraries, you’ll drive on many different highways. 

While it is true that there is no speed limit in some parts of the Autobahn, there are lots of sections where there are actually speed limits in place. You can usually find limits imposed at/around construction zones along the way – so don’t think you can just speed all the time.

And PLEASE don’t drive on the Autobahn like you would on a highway in the United States or Canada – pass on the left and then get back over . If you’re going slower than other cars, there’s no need for you to be in the left (or even in the middle) lane. You can probably tell that this is something that Lisa complains about in Canada frequently, haha. 

Since Germany is such a popular destination, there are lots of different rental car agencies to choose from. You can compare prices from different agencies for the duration of your trip with this handy rental car comparison tool . Please make sure to read the fine print so you know whether you need extra insurance, etc.

Also please be aware that many people in Germany drive cars with a stick shift. Rental cars with automatic transmissions exist, but the numbers available are usually lower and these cars might be slightly more expensive.

We’d also recommend that you reserve an automatic car well in advance if you need one – just so you can make sure that one is available for you. It probably wouldn’t be fun learning how to drive a stick shift while on a road trip in a foreign country. 

Travel Insurance for Germany

If you’re planning a trip to Germany and you’re not from another EU country, then you should make sure to get travel insurance for the duration of your trip!

While you’ll probably be fine, accidents do happen and it could get really expensive if you’re not covered. That’s why we always travel with insurance.

If you live in another EU country and have health insurance there, you can get the blue health insurance card with which you are covered in other EU countries in emergency cases, as well.

If you don’t have that option – or are from outside of Europe – we recommend that you get private travel insurance.

Germany Itinerary 5 Days

If you only have a few days to travel through Germany, then have a look below at the two 5-day itineraries we have created. For these itineraries, we have assumed that you are not already in the country so they all start and end in bigger cities.

This should help make it easier for you to fly in/out of an airport with good connections if you are coming from overseas.

Depending on your preferences, you can choose between a trip through the northern part of Germany or a trip through the south of the country (mainly Bavaria). If you are interested in bigger cities and/or harbours, then we’d recommend the northern route.

In case you prefer half-timbered houses and beautiful old towns, then you should have a look at the southern route instead. Of course, you can always modify any itinerary to better suit your interests!

Germany Itinerary 5 Days – North

This 5-day Germany itinerary through the northern part of the country can certainly be considered a “sampler-type” of itinerary since you get to see the two biggest cities in the country – but not much more than that.

That’s completely fine though – you can only see so much in five days anyway. If you are interested in bigger cities and don’t have more than a few days, then this itinerary would be great for you!

The total driving time for this itinerary would be about 5 hours 30 minutes with a total distance of approx. 520 km. Of course, this can change depending on the route you are taking and the time of day you are travelling. Commuter traffic could add quite a bit of travel time to your journey.

blue map of northern germany itinerary with arrows

Day 1+2: Berlin Day 3: Bremen Day 4+5: Hamburg

Day 1+2: Berlin

domed building with german flags flying in berlin on germany itinerary

Berlin is a great place to start your adventure since it is the German capital, has multiple airports close by, and has really good train connections.

Since Berlin is such a popular tourist and business city, the car rental industry is well established and there are many different rental agencies to choose from.

— Compare prices from rental car companies in Berlin here

However, since you are only visiting bigger cities on this relatively short itinerary, we believe that a rental car is probably not necessary. Instead, for this trip, it might make more sense to take the train.

Since Berlin is such a big city with lots of things to do, it is worth it to spend (at least) two days in the city. So, remember to book your accommodation in Berlin for two nights .

Accommodation in Berlin : Berlin is a massive sprawling city with loads of different areas to stay and different accommodation options. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Berlin .

If you are travelling to Berlin with a car, you’ll need a place to park. Check out Park Plaza Wallstreet Berlin Mitte for a stay right in the middle of the city close to Museum Island and other top attractions. It also has a tasty breakfast. Park Plaza has free parking on the street near the hotel (if available) or else it’s for a fee (but a reasonable price considering you’re in the middle).

If you are arriving into Berlin by train, you can check out NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie . Located in the city centre right near the top sight “Checkpoint Charlie”, this popular hotel is in the heart of the action/attractions and is easy to get to via modes of public transit (metro – called the “U” for U-bahn).

If you are searching for a hostel/hotel, check out PLUS Berlin . Located over near the East Side Gallery (the piece of the Berlin wall with the artwork on it), Eric stayed here and really liked it! It’s also very easy to get to using public transit and is close to other areas to go out, etc.

Must-see Attractions in Berlin:

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall)

We have also written a whole article about classic tourist attractions in Berlin in case you’d like some more inspiration. If you’re looking for some tips on how you could spend a day in Berlin, have a look at our One Day in Berlin Guide .

Day 3: Bremen

historic town hall and church tower in bremen town square

On the third day of your 5 days in Germany, you’ll head for Bremen. We’d recommend that you do the drive/train ride in the morning so you have enough time to explore the city once you get there.

Bremen is a hanseatic city with a nice old town – the market square with the town hall and the cathedral is especially popular. In German-speaking countries, the city is also known for a tale called the “Town Musicians of Bremen” by the Brothers Grimm. You’ll come across the animals of the tale (donkey, dog, cat, and rooster) many times as you stroll through the city.

The drive from Berlin to Bremen will take you approximately 4 hrs 10 min by car , but only around 3 hrs by train . If you take the train, try to book in advance if you can as this will usually save you some money.

Accommodation in Bremen: Bremen is a popular city to explore and it’s also on the larger side so you’ll find plenty of accommodations to suit your needs. There are hotels in the city centre/old town which put you within walking distance of the river and top attractions. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Bremen .

For a popular choice in the historic middle, you should check out the very popular Radisson Blu Hotel Bremen . Funny story – we know there’s underground parking because we parked there when we visited Bremen by car.

If you want to stay closer to the train station just outside the historic centre (but still very central), check out the Dorint City-Hotel Bremen . This lovely and also very popular hotel is close to the pretty Windmill and flower gardens and has water views just outside the old city walls.

Must-see Attractions in Bremen:

  • Marktplatz with Town Hall and Cathedral
  • Böttcherstraße
  • Schnoorviertel

If you want some more tips for Bremen, have a look at our detailed Things to do in Bremen Guide .

Day 4+5: Hamburg

boats in water with docks and glass opera house building behind in hamburg

Hamburg is the second-biggest German city and the last stop on this short itinerary. We have been to Hamburg numerous times now and it is actually one of our favourite bigger German cities. You’ll find that the atmosphere of the city is very different than in Berlin. Not necessarily better or worse – just different.

Interesting (and slightly irrelevant) fact: The cities you visit on this itinerary are the three city states that exist in Germany in addition to the 13 area states such as Bavaria, Nordrhine-Westphalia etc.

The drive from Bremen to Hamburg is actually pretty simple and should only take around 1 hour 30 minutes by car and just around 1 hour if you take an ICE (fast train) . The train connection between these two cities is great with trains running pretty frequently. That should make it quite easy to find a train connection that works for your schedule.

Accommodation in Hamburg : Hamburg is popular city with loads of different accommodations and areas to stay in. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Hamburg .

If you are travelling to Hamburg with a car, you might want to check out the Mövenpick Hotel Hamburg . Located in an old water tower, this unique hotel has a number of cool features with stunning views and parking onsite. It’s very popular – and also close to public transit for getting around!

If you are travelling to Hamburg by train, ARCOTEL Rubin Hamburg is a great hotel option for you to check out. Located in the cool area of St. Georg, you can easily walk to the hotel from the train station. It’s also walkable to other parts of the city centre and other attractions.

If you are looking for a hostel in Hamburg, you might want to check out Generator Hamburg as a reliable and popular hostel stay close to central station and the heart of the city.

If you want more details about accommodations in the city, we have a more detailed guide on where to stay in Hamburg .

Must-see Attractions in Hamburg:

  • Speicherstadt
  • Elbphilharmonie
  • St. Pauli Piers

As one of our first ever articles on Penguin and Pia, we actually wrote a short Hamburg Guide . Have a look if you want some more Hamburg inspiration. Unfortunately it’s not nearly as detailed as our newer article – looks like it’s time for an update!

Germany Itinerary 5 Days – South

If you would like to explore the southern part of Germany instead of the north, then we would recommend the following 5 days Southern Germany itinerary. Compared to the northern itinerary, this trip includes stops in some smaller towns and cities. So, if you are interested in seeing some places of various sizes, beautiful old towns, and maybe a castle, then this might be a good itinerary for you.

The driving distance of this trip is just around 680 kilometres with a total driving time of approx. 7 hours . Depending on your mode of transportation, this can – of course – vary slightly.

blue map of southern germany itinerary with arrows

Day 1: Munich Day 2: Regensburg Day 3: Nuremberg Day 4: Stuttgart Day 5: Munich

Day 1: Munich

tall tower with flags of new town hall in munich germany itinerary

We are starting (and ending) this itinerary in Munich since it is an easy airport to fly in and out of from other parts of the world. If you are coming from another part of Europe by train, the connections to Munich are also usually pretty good.

Munich is the third-biggest German city and a very popular tourist destination. International travellers often mainly know the city because of the Oktoberfest which happens every year from the middle of September until October.

However, there is so much more to do and see in Munich than just the “Wiesn” (as the Oktoberfest is sometimes called as well). We are always happy to return to Munich because there is just so much to explore.

If you are thinking about renting a car for this itinerary, then you’ll be happy to know that it is quite easy to get a rental car in Munich. You can either pick it up directly at the airport after you land (if you arrive by plane) or in the city centre before you head to the next stop on this journey.

— Compare prices from rental car companies in Munich here

Accommodation in Munich: Munich is very large and popular city so finding a place to stay is no problem. The issue becomes that there are too many places to choose from! That said, you can check here for accommodations and hotels in Munich .

Specifically, we stayed at the very popular H2 Hotel München Olympiapark and we would highly recommend it for the value for money. The hotel has nice, cozy rooms, a super great breakfast buffet, and has a metro station steps from the front entrance to take you to the city centre.

There’s also onsite parking which makes this hotel perfect if you are travelling to Munich by car. The famous Olympic Park and BMW Museum are close by, too!

If you want to stay a little more in the city centre, then check out the Platzl Hotel Superior . This trendy hotel is in the heart of the Old Town just steps from top attractions like Marienplatz and the famous Hofbräuhaus. It’s also easy to get to the central train station either walking or on the metro.

If you are looking for more details on accommodations in this massive city, we wrote a detailed guide on where to stay in Munich .

Must-see Attractions in Munich:

  • Marienplatz with New Town Hall
  • Olympic Park
  • Victuals Market
  • English Garden

We also have a great little guide on how to spend one day in Munich if you want more details.

Day 2: Regensburg

river flowing with cathedral behind and bridge crossing it in regensburg germany

On day two of your trip you’ll be on your way to Regensburg, a small city in Bavaria on the Danube river. Due to its location by the river, Regensburg is a popular stop for people on a river cruise. So don’t be surprised if you see many different tour groups in the Old Town.

We recently spent a couple of days in Regensburg to get to know the city better and enjoyed our time there. One of the highlights is the Old Stone Bridge in the city centre which was built in the 12th century. We actually filmed a small YouTube video in Regensburg – which you can watch here if you are curious about what the city looks like.

The journey from Munich to Regensburg takes approximately 1 hr 20 minutes by car and around 1 hr 30 minutes by train . If you decide to travel by train – and especially if you are travelling with other people – we would recommend that travel with a “Bayernticket” (Bavaria Ticket). This ticket for train travel within the state of Bavaria usually allows you to save some money compared to regular prices.

Accommodation in Regensburg:  If you are staying a night in Regensburg, you’ll have a number of great accommodations to choose from. To get started, you can check here for accommodations and hotels in Regensburg .

When we visited the city, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express – Regensburg and really liked it. It’s a newer hotel and it really shows. The breakfast was excellent and there is even an onsite parking garage if you are travelling with a car. It’s not in the Old Town or near the river – but we did walk there one day and it only took about 15 minutes.

If you are travelling by train and you are on-foot, then check out the Altstadthotel Am Pach . This simple hotel is located right in the heart of the old town so you’re close to everything there is to see and do in Regensburg – including the beautiful Danube River. They also have breakfast included.

Must-see Attractions in Regensburg:

  • Old Stone Bridge
  • St Peter Cathedral

We are currently still working on our Regensburg Guide – but we’ll link it here once it is published.

Day 3: Nuremberg

red rooftops of german old town in nuremberg germany travel itinerary

On the third day of this 5 day Southern Germany itinerary you’ll drive – or take the train – from Regensburg to Nuremberg. Nuremberg is a medium sized city in a part of Bavaria called Franconia. If you pay attention, you might notice that the dialect spoken here is quite different from that spoken in Munich and other places farther south.

Lisa actually grew up in this part of Germany so she has been to Nuremberg many, many times. Last year we also went to explore the city together and had a great time. Travellers from abroad mainly know the city for the Nuremberg Trials which took place there after World War II. You can certainly learn alot of history in this German city!

Since Nuremberg is quite close to Regensburg the drive won’t be long – giving you slightly more time to explore the city.

The journey takes approximately 1 hour 10 minutes by car and between 1-2 hours by train depending on which train you take (some stop more often than others). Once again, a regional ticket – such as the Bavaria Ticket – will probably save you some money if you travel with more people.

Accommodation in Nuremberg : Since Nuremberg is a very popular city to visit in Germany, there are many, many places to stay scattered throughout the city centre and around it. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Nuremberg .

When we visited, we stayed at Five Reasons Hotel and Hostel and we really liked it. Located just inside the medieval city walls, we were really close to the train station and yet also steps from top attractions like the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. The place was bright and great value for the price which we liked a lot.

Close to Five Reasons, we had friends stay at the Sheraton Carlton Nuremberg and they loved it. We actually saw it with our own eyes – it had a pool with views of the city among other perks. There’s also a parking lot right across from the hotel if you’re coming to Nuremberg by car. It’s walking distance to the old centre and the central train station so best of all worlds!

Must-see Attractions in Nuremberg:

  • Imperial Castle of Nuremberg (Kaiserburg)
  • Documentation Center + Nazi Party Rally Grounds
  • Albrecht Dürer’s House

As is the case with Regensburg, we are also still working on our article for Nuremberg. Once it’s live, we’ll link it here.

Day 4: Stuttgart

Stuttgart is the capital of the German state called Baden-Württemberg and the only place on this itinerary that is not located in Bavaria. The city is mainly known for being a “car hub” since both Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have their headquarters there. There are also museums dedicated to both car brands.

Stuttgart is a bit smaller than Munich but there is still a lot to see. In fact, one day won’t be enough to see the whole city – but it’ll allow you to get a good first impression. Next to the car museums, you could visit some of the many green spaces and/or old buildings that the city has to offer.

Driving from Nuremberg to Stuttgart by car will take you approximately 2 hours 15 minutes. If you have the time, you could even take a small detour and stop in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, known for its picturesque Old Town.

By train , the journey from Nuremberg to Stuttgart will take between 2 hrs 10 minutes and 2 hrs 30 minutes – depending on the type of train you are taking. Try to book your ticket in advance if possible as this can save you some money.

Accommodation in Stuttgart: There are many places to stay in Stuttgart – especially in the city centre. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Stuttgart .

If you’re travelling to Stuttgart with a car, check out the Abalon Hotel ideal . Located very much in the city centre, this popular hotel has an underground parking garage and offers a good breakfast selection.

If you’re travelling to Stuttgart by train, you can check out the Pension am Heusteig . This guesthouse-style accommodation doesn’t have parking but offers a great breakfast and is a doable walk or metro ride from the train station. Funny enough, these two accommodations are very close to one another!

Must-see Attractions in Stuttgart:

  • Schlossplatz
  • Mercedes-Benz Museum
  • Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Day 5: Munich

On the last day of your trip you’ll make your way back to Munich since it is usually easier to leave Germany through the Munich airport than smaller airports in the surrounding area.

However, if you don’t have to get to an airport – and/or are taking the train home – you could also stay an extra night in Stuttgart if you wanted. Both cities are worth spending an extra few hours in – so you really just have to see what works best for you.

If you decide to get back to Munich, then the journey from Stuttgart to Munich will take approximately 2 hours 20 minutes by car and just slightly less (2 hrs 15 minutes) by train .

Accommodation in Munich : We already went over accommodations in Munich in Day 1 of this itinerary. So, you can head back up for the full details – but we would highly, highly recommend the H2 Hotel München Olympiapark as great value for money with great breakfast, parking, and a metro stop outside the front door.

Don’t forget we also have our detailed guide on where to stay in Munich if you want to have a deeper look at accommodations in the city.

We also have a post on spending one day in Munich if you want more details about the city!

Germany Itinerary 7 Days

If you have slightly more time to explore Germany, we have also created two 7 day Germany itineraries for you. Similar to the 5 day itineraries, we made two different itineraries since it’s pretty much impossible to see the whole country in just a week.

Instead of a northern and southern itinerary, this time we have focused on the western and eastern parts of the country. But please don’t read too much into that description – we use the terms quite loosely. As always, you’re welcome to modify any part of the itinerary to make it better fit your schedule/interests.

Germany Travel Itinerary 7 Days – West

For this itinerary, the total driving time would be around 14 – 15 hours and the distance would be slightly over 1100 km . For these calculations, we included the day trip to Monschau (and back to Cologne) as well as the day trip to Freiburg im Breisgau (and back to Stuttgart), which would be a longer day trip anyway.

So, depending on which day trips you decide to add on to (or remove from) this itinerary, your driving time and distance could be noticeably different than the estimates given above!

blue map of western germany with arrows

Day 1: Cologne Day 2: Day Trip to Monschau/Aachen Day 3: Koblenz Day 4: Frankfurt Day 5: Heidelberg Day 6: Stuttgart Day 7: Stuttgart / Day Trip to Freiburg im Breisgau

Day 1: Cologne

metal bridge over river with cathedral in background in cologne germany itinerary

As we have already explained above, we like to start these itineraries in bigger cities to make it easier for people from overseas to get to Germany and start their adventure without hassle. Cologne is Germany’s fourth-biggest city (by population) and has two pretty good airports (Airport “Köln Bonn” and Airport “Düsseldorf”) close by for those coming from far away.

If you want to rent a car for this itinerary, it should be pretty easy to get one in Cologne since it’s quite an international city with lots of visitors.

— Compare prices from rental car companies in Cologne here

Cologne is a pretty spread-out city so you won’t be able to see the whole city in a day or two. However, the highlight of the city is certainly the Cologne Cathedral which is located right next to the central station and the Rhine River.

Make sure to plan some time to visit this impressive building – we always spend much longer in there than we originally plan. It’s free to enter so it can get very crowded depending on the day and time you’re visiting.

Accommodation in Cologne : Cologne is a very big city with multiple areas to stay in. As such, there are lots of accommodation options across the city. Wherever you book, remember to book your accommodation for two nights since you will go on a day trip and then return to Cologne on the second day. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Cologne .

We have stayed in the Lindner Hotel City Plaza and loved it. The floors all have themes (we got Cologne Zoo with animals), the breakfast buffet is absolutely fantastic, and it’s a short walk to the Cathedral along one main street. There’s also parking available at/near the hotel for those with a car.

If you want to stay more in the heart of the city centre, check out something like the CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom . It’s popular, centrally located with shops and restaurants around, and only a short walk to the train station.

If you are looking for a hostel in Cologne, Eric once stayed at Cologne Downtown Hostel and it was honestly excellent. There’s a grocery store right below it and it’s located in the city centre. It also has a large balcony to enjoy the sunshine from!

Must-see Attractions in Cologne:

  • Cologne Cathedral
  • Cologne Chocolate Museum

Day 2: Day Trip to Monschau/Aachen

large cathedral with tower and dome in aachen with blue sky behind

On the second day of this Germany itinerary, you have a few different option: you can either spend another day in Cologne if you feel like you haven’t seen enough of the city yet or take a day trip to Monschau or Aachen. Both of these are two places not too far from Cologne.

Monschau is a popular day trip in the area mainly because of its picturesque buildings in the old town. In fact, you probably have already seen photos of it on social media. To get to Monschau from Cologne, you can either drive or take a combination of trains and buses.

Getting to Monschau takes around 1 hr 40 minutes by car and approx. 2 hours by public transport . To visit Monschau by public transport, you can take the regional train from Cologne to Aachen-Rothe Erde and then take Bus #66 from there to Monschau.

Must-see Attractions in Monschau:

  • Monschau Castle

If you want to go on a day trip but don’t want to venture that far, then Aachen would be another great option. This city is actually Germany’s most western city very close to the borders of The Netherlands and Belgium.

We’ve lived close to Aachen for a while and have written a whole guide full of things to do in Aachen that you should read if you want more information. In our opinion, one day is the perfect amount of time to explore the city since it doesn’t have that many attractions and the old town in the city centre is quite compact (but still very pretty).

Getting from Cologne to Aachen is also very easy. It takes approx. 1 hr 20 minutes by car and just around 50 minutes by regional train . You should look into getting a “Schönes Tag Ticket NRW” for the day if you’re travelling with more people as this can save you some money.

Must-see Attractions in Aachen:

  • Aachen Cathedral
  • Elisenbrunnen

Day 3: Koblenz

tall horse and rider statue overlooking river in koblenz germany

From Cologne, your journey continues to Koblenz – another city on the Rhine River. Koblenz is a smaller German city with a population of slightly over 110,000 inhabitants.

There are quite a few castles and nice hikes in the area which are easy to reach from Koblenz – just in case you decide that you don’t want to spend the day in the city. Depending on the time of year, you could also look into booking a boat tour on the Rhine river. This way, you get a unique perspective of the beautiful region.

Getting from Cologne to Koblenz is pretty easy and will take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes by car and between 50 minutes and 1 hr 10 minutes by train . We really like this train journey since the tracks follow the river for a majority of the trip. As a result, you get some really nice views – and might even spot some of the beautiful castles in the area!

Accommodation in Koblenz: Koblenz is certainly not a huge city – but you’ll still find a good number of places to stay for a night or two. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Koblenz .

For a hotel right in the city centre, check out the Sander Hotel . This lovely hotel is super popular and close to shops and the rivers. If you are arriving to Koblenz by car, there is onsite parking at the hotel. However, since the city is smaller you can also easily reach the hotel by walking from the central train station.

Must-see Attractions in Koblenz:

  • Deutsches Eck
  • Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
  • Koblenz Cable Car

Day 4: Frankfurt

timbered buildings with statue in frankfurt old town germany itinerary

The next stop on your itinerary is Frankfurt, arguably one of the country’s most popular transport hubs due to the busy Frankfurt airport. Frankfurt is an interesting city that divided people: some people really enjoy it while other people don’t like it at all. To be fair, we haven’t spent enough time in the city to really solidify our opinion.

Either way, we do believe that Frankfurt is a stop that you shouldn’t miss if you are trying to get to know different areas of Germany. Known as the financial hub of Germany, this city with its many skyscrapers can feel quite a bit more modern than other German cities. However, the city also has a beautiful, historical market square that you should visit.

The journey from Koblenz to Frankfurt is another easy one – and if you are taking the train (we would recommend that!), you’ll once again follow the Rhine River for big parts of the journey and be rewarded with some great views.

The train ride will probably be between 1 hr 25 minutes and 2 hrs 12 minutes long – depending on the connection you choose. By car , the trip will take around 1 hr 30 minutes . Of course, this can vary depending on traffic.

Accommodation in Frankfurt : There are loads of places to stay in Frankfurt given its popularity and size. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Frankfurt .

A great option in Frankfurt is the Motel One Frankfurt-Römer . Located very much in the heart of the city centre close to the old town and river, this cool hotel has underground parking if you are arriving to Frankfurt by/with a car. It also serves up a great breakfast!

If you are arriving by train to Frankfurt, you should check out Fleming’s Express Hotel Frankfurt . Located literally right beside the central station (which is in the city centre), this upscale hotel is very popular because it’s very affordable and also has a great breakfast.

Must-see Attractions in Frankfurt:

  • Palmengarten

Day 5: Heidelberg

colourful town hall in heidelberg germany itinerary

After your day in Frankfurt, you’re heading to Heidelberg which is actually one of our favourite German cities. The highlight of the city is certainly the castle on top of the hill which is visible from many different parts of the city.

Heidelberg is smaller than Frankfurt so you can see quite a bit in just 24 hours. The Old Town is beautiful and lots of attractions are located there. Our highlight was probably the tower climb of the Church of the Holy Spirit. From up there, you get a beautiful view of the Old Town. A very close second was the cable car ride up to the Königstuhl which was lots of fun – even in the rain.

Getting from Frankfurt to Heidelberg won’t take too long. The journey will be approximately one hour by car and between 45 minutes and 1 hr 30 minutes by train – depending on which type of train you are taking.

Accommodation in Heidelberg: If you’re heading for Heidelberg (good choice), there are lots of great places to stay. You can check here for hotels and accommodations in Heidelberg .

We stayed a little outside the old town – but close to the train station – at NinetyNine Heidelberg City . This hotel was really, really great. The beds were comfy and the decor has animals everywhere – you have to see it to understand!

There’s onsite parking (paid) and street parking (free, but not guaranteed) if you are travelling with a car. There’s also a tram stop right outside the hotel to get directly into the city centre in minutes.

If you are looking to stay in the historic old town, then check out colourful hotels like  Hotel Holländer Hof  which overlooks the river or Hotel Zum Ritter St.Georg which is literally overlooking the main Marktplatz.

Must-see Attractions in Heidelberg:

  • Heidelberg Palace
  • Church of the Holy Spirit (mainly tower climb)

If you want to learn some more about Heidelberg and what there is to do, you can read our detailed Heidelberg Guide here .

Day 6: Stuttgart

The next day you will drive to Stuttgart, a city that we’ve already mentioned in one of our Germany itineraries for 5 days. As we have already mentioned, you’ll probably really enjoy Stuttgart if you are interested in cars.

Even if you aren’t, there is still lots for you to explore. Did you know that wine also plays a huge role in Stuttgart and the surrounding region? If this is something that interests you and you’re there in the summer (specifically around the end of August), then you should stop by the “Stuttgarter Weindorf” (“wine village”) – but obviously, please don’t drink and drive.

As for getting from Heidelberg to Stuttgart, the journey will take you approximately 1 hr 20 minutes by car and between 40 minutes and 1 hr 30 minutes by train . As mentioned before, the time differs depending on the type of train you are choosing.

Accommodation in Stuttgart: Stuttgart has many places to stay so you can check here for accommodations and hotels in Stuttgart .

Be sure to see the Abalon Hotel ideal if you have a car. This hotel has underground parking available and a tasty breakfast. It’s also in the city centre which makes sightseeing easy.

Those coming to Stuttgart by train should look at the Pension am Heusteig . It’s a guesthouse that is located not too far from the first hotel here and it’s a doable walk or metro ride from the central station.

Day 7: Stuttgart / Day Trip to Freiburg im Breisgau

pink building in old town germany with autumn leaves around

For this itinerary, you can decide how you would like to spend your last day. You could either spend another day to explore more of Stuttgart (and maybe relax for a bit) or you could head farther south and spend a day in Freiburg im Breisgau. We really enjoyed spending time in this small city in the south of Germany during our visit.

We are currently still in the process of writing our Freiburg guide, but we’ll link it here once it’s done. However, a good way to start your exploration of the city is by wandering the old town.

In Freiburg, you’ll find that many of the cobblestoney streets have small water-filled runnels – called Bächle – running alongside it. Sometimes they even have small yellow ducks in them!

The journey from Stuttgart to Freiburg im Breisgau is slightly longer than most other parts of this itinerary. It takes approximately 2 hrs 30 minutes by car and around 2 hours by train . Since this train journey will probably include at least one ICE (the fast train), we’d recommend that you book your train tickets early if you can to save some money.

Must-see Attractions in Freiburg:

  • Freiburger Münster (Cathedral)
  • Schlossberg + Tower
  • New + Old Town Hall

Germany Travel Itinerary 7 Days – East

If the other week-long Germany itinerary doesn’t interest you and/or you really want to visit the German capital Berlin, then you might prefer this eastern route instead.

The driving time would be just slightly over 10 hours and would be approximately 900 km driving distance – including the day trip to Potsdam (which would honestly be easier with public transport, though)!

blue map of eastern germany travel itinerary with arrows

Day 1: Berlin Day 2: Berlin / Day Trip to Potsdam Day 3: Dresden Day 4: Erfurt Day 5: Bamberg Day 6+7: Munich

Day 1: Berlin

Once again, this itinerary begins in Berlin since it is one of the big cities that is easier to get to for people coming from overseas. Similar to the five day itinerary that started in Berlin, you’ll stay two nights in the German capital. There is just too much to see to spend only one day – and even in two days you wouldn’t be able to explore everything.

In case you’ve already been to Berlin on a different trip and/or aren’t a huge fan of big cities, we also give you the option of a day trip to Potsdam (a city close by) on the second day. More on that below.

Accommodation in Berlin : Finding a place to stay in Berlin can be tough because there are just so many options. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Berlin .

If you have a car, check out Park Plaza Wallstreet Berlin Mitte . Located right in the middle of the city close to Museum Island, this hotel has a great breakfast and free parking on the street behind the hotel. Otherwise, parking is paid but for a decent price for the city centre.

Those without a car travelling by train should see the NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie . If you want a hotel close to a top attraction that is easy to get to with public transport, this is definitely one of them!

Across the city, PLUS Berlin is a really good hostel/hotel that Eric stayed at a few years ago. It’s a big place but it was a great stay over by the East Side Gallery (part of the Berlin Wall with the graffiti on it).

As already mentioned above, if you want to read some more about Berlin, check out our articles on Things to do in Berlin and How to spend one day in Berlin .

Day 2: Berlin / Day Trip to Potsdam

large building with green dome behind and blue sky behind in potsdam germany

On your second day, you can choose between spending another day in Berlin to see more of the German capital or going on a day trip to Potsdam – which is a smaller city not far from Berlin.

Potsdam is actually the capital city of the German state called Brandenburg. It’s most popular attraction is probably Sanssouci Palace with the beautiful Sanssouci Park surrounding it.

During our visit, we also enjoyed walking through the Dutch Quarter with its small shops and cafes. Since the city isn’t too big, one day gives you a chance to get a good impression and check out some of the more popular sights.

It is also very easy to get to Potsdam from Berlin. If you decide to drive , it’ll take you approx. 40 minutes , but it could be longer – traffic depending. We would honestly recommend that you do this day trip by taking public transport. This way, you don’t have to worry about traffic and/or finding a parking spot.

For trains, you can take the S-Train #7 (S7) from Berlin Central Station (as well as other train stations) straight to Potsdam Central Station. The journey will take around 35 minutes with trains running very frequently throughout the day.

Must-see Attractions in Potsdam:

  • Sanssouci Palace
  • Dutch Quarter
  • Cecilienhof

Day 3: Dresden

tall church towers with old bridge crossing river in dresden germany itinerary

The third day of this Germany itinerary will take you from Berlin to Dresden which is a German city close to the Czech border. To be honest, we haven’t spend that much time in Dresden yet – and it’s certainly on our list of places to visit this year.

One of the city’s main attractions – the Zwinger – is known across the country and a sight that you shouldn’t miss during your visit. It’s a beautiful palace built in a baroque style.

Fun fact: When Lisa was a kid, she didn’t actually know that the “Zwinger” was a palace. Since that word can also mean “dog kennel” in German, she was always confused as to why people would want to visit it during their time in Dresden!

As for getting from Berlin to Dresden, the drive will take you around 2 hrs 10 minutes by car  and  around 2 – 3 hours by train.  Once again, this depends on which connection you choose.

Accommodation in Dresden:  There are a number of accommodations in the compact “Innere Altstadt” close to the River Elbe for you to choose from. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Dresden .

For a great hotel option right in the old town, look no further than the Star Inn Hotel Premium Dresden im Haus Altmarkt . You’re a short walk to the train station, the river, and all the best old sights in Dresden if you stay here and arrive by train. If you come to Dresden by car, the hotel has discounted underground parking available.

Another option right in the old town (and even closer to the river) is Aparthotel am Schloss . Since this is an apartment-style hotel, it’s a great option if you are looking for more of a base to relax in a “home away from home”. It’s a very popular choice, too – and also has onsite parking.

Must-see Attractions in Dresden:

  • Frauenkirche

Day 4: Erfurt

colourful old houses on bridge with tower behind in erfurt germany

Erfurt is a popular city to visit in the middle of Germany – and it’s also the capital city of the German state Thuringia. We’ve spent some time in Erfurt a few months ago and instantly fell in love with the city. Its size is perfect (in our opinion) – giving you enough things to do without feeling overwhelming.

Maybe you’ve seen photos of one of the city’s most popular attractions, the Krämerbrücke. This bridge is not only pretty to look at and photograph, it’s also unique in the sense that there are buildings on the bridge and when you’re walking on it, you can’t actually see the water running below.

Visiting the bridge and climbing the tower of the Ägidienkirche, a church at one end of the bridge, is something we’d certainly recommend during your time in the city. We actually filmed a short video of our time exploring Erfurt. If you are interested in seeing what parts of the city look like, then you can find our video here .

Getting to Erfurt from Dresden won’t take you too long. It will take approx. 2 hours 20 minutes by car  and between 2 and slightly over 3 hours by train .

Accommodation in Erfurt:  Since Erfurt isn’t a huge city, there aren’t a ton of accommodations – but certainly more than enough to find one that works for your style and budget. You can check here for hotels and accommodations in Erfurt .

We stayed at  Gästehaus in der Gotthardtstraße  and really liked our stay. It’s located in a quiet neighbourhood just north of the city centre – a short walk to the Krämerbrücke. The host was lovely, the room was cozy, and there was secure onsite parking for those driving to Erfurt.

If you want to stay RIGHT in the city centre then you should check out  Hotel Krämerbrücke Erfurt which is right beside the famous bridge. This might be a good place to stay if you are travelling to Erfurt by train and you’re on-foot.

Must-see Attractions in Erfurt:

  • Krämerbrücke
  • Erfurt Cathedral
  • Citadel Petersberg

For more details, have a look at our Things to do in Erfurt article .

Day 5: Bamberg

yellow old town hall building with bridges over river in bamberg germany

Bamberg is a small city – or larger town – in the German state called Bavaria. It’s actually located in a region called Franconia, which is noticeably different from the Bavaria that you might know in the area surrounding Munich, etc.

We’ve been to Bamberg multiple times over the years (it’s also close to the part of Germany where Lisa grew up) and are always happy to come back. Bamberg is known for its cute, historic old town which is actually a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the most popular buildings the city has to offer is the Old Town Hall (shown above) which is built on an artificial island. The story behind it is quite interesting.

The drive from Erfurt to Bamberg is doable and will take approx. 2 hrs by car and around 3 hrs by train . On the way, you’ll drive through quite a few tunnels since you’ll drive through an area known as “Thuringian Forest”.

Accommodation in Bamberg: Bamberg is a small place to visit so there aren’t a ton of options but still enough to find what you’re looking for. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Bamberg .

Anywhere you stay is basically in or close to the old town/city centre. For a place to stay with parking (for those arriving by car), check out Welcome Hotel Residenzschloss Bamberg . It’s located right on the river.

You might also want to see Palais Schrottenberg  to stay right in the middle of the Old Town! For reference, the train station is a short walk to the north of the river – not far from these places in the centre.

Must-see Attractions in Bamberg:

  • Bamberg Cathedral
  • Old Town Hall
  • Alte Hofhaltung

If you want some more information about Bamberg, please read our detailed Bamberg, Germany Guide .

Day 6+7: Munich

From Bamberg, your journey will continue to Munich which will be the last stop on this 7 day eastern itinerary. Not only is this the third biggest city of the country, it is also one of the most internationally known destinations in Germany.

Whenever we come back to Munich, we always enjoy our time there. For some reason, the atmosphere always feels more laid back than in other big German cities and the people are usually quite friendly. We might also be a little bit biased, though, since Lisa grew up in this part of the country and is more used to the mentality, dialect etc. than in other parts of Germany.

For this itinerary, you’ll spend two days in Munich since there is quite a lot to see. Next to the obvious attractions like the Marienplatz with the New Town Hall and the Frauenkirche close by, there are also lots of museums and other things that you can explore.

If you’ve already been to Munich before and/or decide that one day in the city is enough for you, you could also opt for a day trip on one of these days. We’ve just recently written a whole Day Trips from Munich Guide , which you can browse through to get some inspiration!

Driving from Bamberg to Munich will take about 2 hrs 20 minutes by car and between 2 and 3 hrs by train . If you decide to only take regional trains instead of the ICE (fast train), you should look into getting the Bayernticket. This can save you some money, especially when you’re travelling with more people.

Accommodation in Munich:  Since Munich is so large and popular to visit, there is definitely no shortage of places to stay! You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Munich .

That said, we loved our stay at H2 Hotel München Olympiapark . Located up by the famous Olympic Park, we’d highly recommend it since it was amazing value for money. The breakfast was huge and delicious and there’s a metro station outside the lobby door that takes you into the heart of the old town in minutes. There’s also parking if you are arriving by car.

For a hotel that is a little more central, you should see the Platzl Hotel Superior this hotel is really popular – and for good reason. It’s located around the corner from attractions like Marienplatz and the famous beer hall, Hofbräuhaus.

For more help looking into accommodations and neighbourhoods in Munich, check out our where to stay in Munich guide .

(Check out our guide to one day in Munich if you want more details on things to do and see.)

Germany Itinerary 10 Days

Although we have tried to create short itineraries that allow you to see more than just the standard cities, it is no doubt easier to see more of Germany if you are able to travel for longer than one week. To give you a couple different options that you could look at (and then potentially modify), we have created two 10-day Germany itineraries.

Once again, we believe that ten days would not be enough time to see the whole country – and even if you managed to do that it would be too stressful (in our opinion). Both of the following itineraries give you a good mix of bigger and smaller cities as well as a few interesting day trips. So, have a look and see which one you like better!

Germany Itinerary 10 Days – North

If you’re interested in seeing more of the northern part of Germany and experiencing the mentality and way of life of people in the flatter part of the country, closer to the sea, then have a look at the following 10-day itinerary!

The total driving time would be slightly less than 17 hours with a distance of approx. 1470 kilometres. For these calculations, we have included the day trips to Schloss Drachenburg, Lübeck, and Flensburg. So, if you decide to skip any of these, your driving time and distance would obviously be slightly lower.

blue map of northern germany with arrows between cities

Day 1: Frankfurt Day 2: Bonn Day 3: Day Trip to Schloss Drachenburg / Cologne Day 4: Münster Day 5: Hanover Day 6: Hamburg Day 7: Day Trip to Lübeck Day 8: Day Trip to Flensburg Day 9+10: Berlin

Day 1: Frankfurt

Similar to some of the other itineraries mentioned in this article, we start this 10-day itinerary in Frankfurt. By now you should probably already know why – Frankfurt has the biggest airport of the country which should make it easier for people coming from overseas to get to Germany and start their adventure.

Furthermore, Frankfurt is quite centrally located so it is easy to get to many different cities from here. So even if you decide against following our itineraries step-by-step, Frankfurt would be a good starting point!

— Compare prices from rental car companies in Frankfurt here

Accommodation in Frankfurt : You’ll find plenty of places to stay in Frankfurt. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Frankfurt .

One really popular hotel in Frankfurt is the Motel One Frankfurt-Römer . This Motel One is near the river and walking distance to lots of things in the city centre. If you are coming to Frankfurt with a car, Motel One has underground parking which can make life easy! They also have a nice breakfast.

A hotel option closer to the train station is Fleming’s Express Hotel Frankfurt . This hotel is just to the north of the main station which makes it a great option if you are arriving by train and have no car. It’s popular because it has a great breakfast and is good value for money.

Day 2: Bonn

tall church spire and open public square with blue sky above in bonn germany

On the second day, you’ll head from Frankfurt to Bonn. As you might know, Bonn used to be the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany during the time that Germany was split into two countries. Later, the capital was relocated from Bonn to Berlin.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of Germany during your time in the country, then Bonn would be a good city to do that in. For example, you could visit the so-called “Haus der Geschichte” which is a museum about the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.

It won’t be difficult to get from Frankfurt to Bonn since the two cities are not too far apart. The journey will take approximately 1 hr 50 minutes by car and between 1 hr 20 minutes and 2 hrs if you take the train . Once again, we’d recommend that you book your train ticket in advance if possible.

Accommodation in Bonn: There are a number of accommodation options in Bonn which you can choose from – many are right in the city centre/old town. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Bonn .

Keep in mind to book your accommodation for two nights for this itinerary. (You could also spend the following night in Cologne if you day tripped to there, though).

For a great hotel in the heart of the old town, check out BrauHotel Bonn . You can easily walk here from the central train station but they also have a and parking garage close by if you arrive by car. There’s also a craft beer bar on the ground floor!

Another option is the Hilton Bonn . This hotel offers you amazing views of the Rhine River. It’s a bit north of the city centre but still very much close to it. There is parking but it can be expensive so keep that in mind when you book.

Must-see Attractions in Bonn:

  • Bonn Minster
  • House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (Haus der Geschichte)

Day 3: Day Trip to Schloss Drachenburg / Cologne

On day three of this itinerary, you can choose to stay in Bonn, or go on one of two day trips: to Schloss Drachenburg (a castle not far from Bonn) or to Cologne which is also close by.

Schloss Drachenburg is actually a private villa/mansion that was built to look like a castle in the 19th century. Today, it is a popular attraction in the area.

From Bonn, you can either drive to Königswinter by car (and then leave your car at the car park) or take public transport to the Königswinter/Clemens-August-Straße station. You can find more information about that and opening hours etc. on the offical website .

If you are not a huge fan of castles, then you might opt for a day trip to Cologne instead. In this case, you might even decide to change your base and spend the night in Cologne instead of returning to Bonn at the end of the day. That is definitely an option that you can choose since there are lots of accommodation options in Cologne as well.

Getting to Cologne from Bonn will take you around 40 minutes by car (this can obviously depend on traffic) and only approx. 25 minutes by train . Just a quick warning: Trains can get very full if you are travelling during rush hour traffic – so try to avoid that if you don’t like being surrounded by lots of people in a small space.

Day 4: Münster

large palace building with laneway and trees beside in munster germany

The next day you’ll head from Bonn – or Cologne – to Münster. Since Bonn and Cologne are so close, the journey wouldn’t really differ much from either city.

Münster is a smaller German city that we really enjoy. To be honest, it sometimes reminds Lisa of Copenhagen – mainly because of the many bikes that you can see all around the city. The University of Münster plays a big role in the city and the vibe – depending on which part of the city you are in – is noticeably younger.

One of the highlights of the city – for locals and visitors alike – is the lake Aasee which is located quite centrally. When the weather is nice, there are always people sitting on the grass enjoying the sun and maybe even out on the water (depending on the time of year). You can rent a small paddle boat to explore the lake from a unique perspective.

The journey from Bonn to Münster should take you slightly less than 2 hrs by car and between 2 hrs and slightly more than 3 hrs by train . If you want to save some money and are travelling with other people, then you should look into getting an “NRW Schönes Tag Ticket”. With this ticket, you wouldn’t be allowed to travel on ICE’s (the fast train), but the connections using only regional trains wouldn’t be much longer.

Accommodation in Münster: Münster might feel small but it’s actually pretty spread out and offers accommodations for all styles and budgets. You can  check here for accommodations and hotels in Münster .

If you want a popular hotel option right in the centre, the  H4 Hotel Münster  is a short walk to the heart of the historic centre. It also has onsite parking for those travelling to Münster by car – but you can easily walk there from the train station in the south of the city centre.

Must-see Attractions in Münster:

  • Münster Prinzipalmarkt
  • Historic Town Hall
  • Münster Cathedral

For a more detailed guide, have a look at our Things to do in Münster, Germany article .

Day 5: Hanover

large building with dome behind blooming trees in park with water beside hanover germany

The following day you are travelling from Münster to Hanover. In German “Hannover” is actually written with two “n”, so don’t be surprised if you see it being written slightly differently.

Hanover is the biggest city and the capital of the German state called Lower Saxony. Compared to some other cities on this itinerary it is a less popular tourist destination. To be fair, even we haven’t spent that much time in Hanover yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to change that soon. However, that’s not to say that Hanover is not worth a visit.

Not only can you explore some beautiful gardens and interesting museums in the city, but it is also located pretty much halfway between Münster and Hamburg. That makes it a great stop to break up the journey and spent another day in a city that allows you to explore without too many other (international) tourists around.

By car , the journey from Münster to Hanover will take you around 2 hrs . If you choose to travel by train instead, it will take you approximately the same amount of time .

Accommodation in Hanover: Hanover is a larger city but the accommodation are still relatively packed together in and around the historic city centre. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Hanover .

For a stay right in the city centre, check out the Hotel Loccumer Hof . This popular hotel is a very short walk from the central station which is perfect if you are arriving to Hanover by train. That said, they also have parking onsite so this hotel works well if you arrive by car!

For another hotel option, check out the Arthotel ANA Prestige am neuen Rathaus . This boutique hotel is directly across from the beautiful New Town Hall in the south end of the city centre by the greenspace and water! They also have a really nice breakfast and parking available.

Must-see Attractions in Hanover:

  • New Town Hall
  • Marktkirche
  • Herrenhausen Gardens

Day 6: Hamburg

On day six of this 10-day itinerary you’re on your way to Hamburg. If you’ve read the details of any of the shorter itineraries in this article, you’ll know that we really like Hamburg.

The city offers modern areas, such as “HafenCity”, mixed with historic (e.g. “Speicherstadt”) and alternative areas (“Sternschanze”) . This makes exploring the city all the more interesting – there is truly something for everyone. During your time in the city, we’d also recommend that you climb the tower of the St. Michael’s Church. From up there, you get a beautiful view of most parts of the city.

The journey from Hanover to Hamburg won’t be long. Depending on the route you are taking (Highway A7 or A1), it’ll take between 1 hr 30 minutes and 2 hrs by car . If you opt for the train , you can expect the journey to take between 1 hr 15 minutes and 1 hr 30 minutes . This depends on the connection you choose.

Accommodation in Hamburg : Hamburg has many, many places to stay. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Hamburg .

The Mövenpick Hotel Hamburg might be a good option if you have a car while you travel around Germany. This cool hotel is inside an old water tower which gives guests stunning views of the city around. There’s also parking onsite and it’s close to a transit stop for getting around the city.

Located not too far from the central train station, ARCOTEL Rubin Hamburg makes for a good hotel option if you don’t have a car. It’s located in St. Georg which is a lively area within walking distance of the city centre.

Those that need hostel for their stay in Hamburg might be happy with Generator Hamburg . It’s a popular hostel in the city and is close to the train station for easy getting around. If you’re unsure about where to stay, you can always check out our detailed guide on where to stay in Hamburg .

Once again, if you’d like to read our (very) short Hamburg guide, you can find our Things to do in Hamburg article here .

Day 7: Day Trip to Lübeck

old red brick wall with green spires in lubeck germany

For the next couple of days, we decided to include some day trips from Hamburg. This allows you to stay in one accommodation for longer than just one night and gives you the option to see some more of Hamburg as well. If you don’t want to visit any other cities and want to spend more time in Hamburg instead, then feel free to skip one or both of the day trips mentioned.

Lübeck is the closer one of the two day trips mentioned from Hamburg. Within Germany the city is mainly known for its delicious “Lübecker Marzipan” (Lübeck Marzipan) – but of course there is much more to the city than just that. One of the highlights is the Holsentor, a red-brick city gate dating back to the 15th century.

The journey from Hamburg to Lübeck will take you slightly over 1 hr by car and just around 45 minutes by train . In our opinion, that’s great for a day trip since it gives you lots of time to actually see the city instead of spending a lot of time in the car/on the train.

Must-see Attractions in Lübeck:

  • Marienkirche
  • Heilig-Geist-Hospital

Day 8: Day Trip to Flensburg

church up on hill with houses below and shoreline in front flensburg germany

For the following day, we have another day trip option for you. The journey to Flensburg is slightly longer than to Lübeck – but it would be worth it. Flensburg is a smaller German city in the north of Germany, very close to the Danish border.

Since it is located close to the water, shipping plays an important role in the city to this day. If you’re interested in learning more about that, then the Maritime Museum would be a good place for you to visit.

Another thing we would recommend is a walk along the Rote Straße. Here you’ll find different “Hinterhöfe” (similar to backyards) with cute cafes and small shops.

Getting to Flensburg from Hamburg should take slightly less than 2 hrs by car and the same amount of time by train . As already mentioned, it would be a longer journey than to Lübeck, but if you want to experience a smaller, maritime city, the trip would be worth it!

Must-see Attractions in Flensburg:

  • Historischer Hafen (Historic Harbour)
  • Flensburger Schifffahrtmuseum (Maritime museum)
  • Museumsberg Flensburg

Day 9+10: Berlin

On the second to last day of this itinerary, you’ll head from Hamburg to Berlin where your journey ends. This allows you to spend two days in the German capital. Since there is so much to do in Berlin, we’d recommend that you do some research beforehand to narrow down which attractions you’d like to visit.

If you’ve never been to Berlin before classics like the Brandeburg Gate and the Reichstag would be a good place to start. We’ve written a few different articles about Berlin – one about classic attractions (link below). Maybe these will be a good starting point to gather some more information!

The drive from Hamburg to Berlin will be one of the longest mentioned as part of this itinerary – so you should keep that in mind. It’ll take approximately 3 hrs 20 minutes by car (with traffic it could be longer), but just 1 hr 50 minutes by train .

It’s a popular train route since it connects the two biggest German cities so trains run frequently throughout the day. Once again, we’d recommend to book your train ticket in advance to get one of the discount tickets and save some money.

Accommodation in Berlin : As the capital city, there are lots of accommodation options for Berlin. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Berlin .

Those travelling to Berlin with a car should look into the Park Plaza Wallstreet Berlin Mitte for a hotel in the city centre with free street parking available. There’s always paid parking for a reasonable fee if those are full and you’ll be close to top attractions.

The NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie is a popular hotel option for those coming to Berlin by train since it’s close to attractions in the city centre and you can get there very easily with the metro.

Finally, if you need a hostel/hotel, check out PLUS Berlin . This is where Eric stayed a few years back and really enjoyed it. You’ll be close to the East Side Gallery – the part of the Berlin wall with the artwork on it. It’s also easy to get in and out of the city centre from here.

Also feel free to have a look at our guide on Berlin Attractions and tips for a day in Berlin .

Germany Itinerary 10 Days – South

This 10 day Germany itinerary begins and ends in Frankfurt – so it’s pretty much a small loop through the southern part of the country. If you want to be closer to the mountains (for part of the trip at least) instead of the sea, then this itinerary might be better suited for you than the other 10 day version.

For this itinerary, the total driving time would be slightly over 17 hours with a total distance of approx. 1330 kilometres. This includes the day trips to Neuschwanstein Castle, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Tübingen. So depending on if/how you modify the itinerary, these estimates could differ.

blue map of southern germany with arrows between cities

Day 1: Frankfurt Day 2: Würzburg Day 3: Nuremberg Day 4: Munich Day 5: Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle Day 6: Day Trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen Day 7: Ulm Day 8: Stuttgart Day 9: Day Trip to Tübingen Day 10: Frankfurt

Similar to the northern version of this itinerary for 10 days, you begin your adventure in Frankfurt. During your day in the city, you shouldn’t forget to visit the Römerberg with the beautiful half-timbered houses. If you want to get a nice few of the city from above, then you should look into visiting the Main Tower as well.

Frankfurt is also a great place to pick up your rental car – if you decide to complete this itinerary by car instead of using public transport. You can either pick up a car at the airport or at different spots in the city centre. This obviously also depends on the rental company you choose.

Accommodation in Frankfurt: Frankfurt is full of accommodation options – from the city centre to the airport. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Frankfurt .

For a hotel in the heart of the city, check out the Motel One Frankfurt-Römer . Complete with underground parking, good breakfast, and a top location in the centre and close to the river, this hotel is a decent option if you are travelling around with a car.

For those not travelling with a car (and taking the trains around Germany), check out Fleming’s Express Hotel Frankfurt . This nice looking hotel is really popular for its breakfast, price, and the fact that it’s steps from the central train station.

Day 2: Würzburg

old town buildings with bridge over river in wurzburg germany itinerary

On day two of this itinerary, you’ll be on your way to Würzburg, a small German city that we’re always happy to return to. Similar to Stuttgart, Würzburg is located in a region that is known for its wine.

As such, it comes as no surprise that a highlight in Würzburg is to drink a glass of (white) wine on the Old Bridge across the Main river. We’ve done that multiple times and would especially recommend it during the evening when it gets dark.

Another thing you shouldn’t miss in Würzburg is the short walk up the hill to Marienberg Fortress. Up there you can not only explore the old fortress, but you also get a beautiful view of the old town and other parts of the city.

We actually wrote a whole guide about Würzburg (link below) where we not only talk about things to do but also mention some great cafes and restaurants!

The drive from Frankfurt to Würzburg will be a short one. It should only take you around 1 h 20 minutes by car and between 1 h 07 minutes and 1 hr 50 minutes by train depending on the type of train you’re taking (ICE vs. regional train).

Accommodation in Würzburg: Würzburg isn’t a huge city so you’ll find a number of places to stay packed together in the city centre and a number of other hotels and guesthouses around. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Würzburg .

On a recent trip, we stayed at the  Best Western Hotel Würzburg-Süd . It’s a little south of the city centre but the tram stop is right outside the hotel so you’re into the historic city centre in minutes. There is also an onsite parking lot if you’re arriving to Würzburg by car. We booked this one last minute but we would stay again.

If you want to stay a little more central, then you can check out Hotel Strauss . With a location close to the river, the train station, and the city centre – it’s a great option fo those arriving by train.

We also once stayed at  Hostel Babelfish for a budget accommodation and it was honestly not too bad, either. It’s right across from the train station for easy access in and out of the city.

Must-see Attractions in Würzburg:

  • Marienberg Fortress
  • Würzburg Residence

If you want more tips for visiting Würzburg, have a look at our detailed Things to do in Würzburg Guide (+ insider tips) .

The next day you’ll be on your way to Nuremberg, which is another city in Bavaria that we really like. In German, Nuremberg is actually written/called “Nürnberg” – just an FYI, so you’re not confused when you see this written somewhere.

As we have already mentioned in the description of one of the shorter itineraries, there is a lot of history to be found in the city. Not only can you explore an old castle in the middle of the city, you can also learn a lot about Germany’s dark history if you’re interested.

Getting from Würzburg to Nuremberg will take approx. 1 hr 20 minutes by car and between 53 minutes (ICE) and 1 hr 13 minutes (regional) by train . If you’re travelling with more people and decide to just take a regional train, look into getting a “Bayernticket” as that could save you some money.

Accommodation in Nuremberg : Nuremberg is a larger and well-travelled city in Germany so you will have no problem finding a place to stay! You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Nuremberg .

We ended up staying in the very popular Five Reasons Hotel and Hostel and we enjoyed our stay. The room was bright with new furnishings. It’s also located just inside the old city walls so we were close to the metro, a short walk to central train station, and also close to the heart of the old town!

Very nearby was the Sheraton Carlton Nuremberg – we had friends stay there. They really liked this hotel which had a swimming pool with city views and other great perks. If you are arriving to Nuremberg by car, there’s a parking lot across the street from the hotel as well as street parking around. The train station is very close as well so it’s a great location overall.

  • Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds

Day 4: Munich

On day four of this Germany trip, you’ll be on your way to Munich. As you might know Munich is the capital of the German state called Bavaria and there are lots of things to do in this city.

That’s why you’ll spend three nights in Munich. This way you can explore the city in more detail if you want or go on a couple of day trips from Munich to see other popular attractions as well. It’s really up to you.

The journey from Nuremberg to Munich won’t be overly long and it’s a route Lisa has driven many times. It’ll take you around 2 hrs by car (of course traffic depending) and between 1-3 hrs by train.

Since this is a popular train route, there are lots of different connections of varying length – some are quick and others are slower trains with more stops. Since that’s the case, we’d recommend that you plan in advance and try to catch a better connection to avoid an unnecessarily long train ride!

Accommodation in Munich: Since Munich is such a popular and large city, there are plenty of accommodation options for you to choose from. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Munich . Just remember to book your accommodation for three nights if you are following this itinerary!

We stayed at the H2 Hotel München Olympiapark which is a very popular hotel because of the price and the value. It was a prefect stay. The breakfast was amazing, they had parking, and the location was great – only a quick metro to the heart of the city centre. You also have the Olympic Park and BMW Museum as top attractions nearby!

If you’re itching to stay right in the heart of the action in Munich, check out the Platzl Hotel Superior . This is a hotel around the corner from Marienplatz in the old town with the famous beer hall Hofbräuhaus just steps away. The central train station is also walkable from here.

Of course, you can learn all about the best areas to stay in more detail with our Munich accommodation and neighbourhood guide .

Learn more about Munich with our one day in Munich post!

Day 5: Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle

white medieval castle on hilltop with blue sky and countryside behind in germany

Neuschwanstein Castle probably doesn’t need a lot of introduction – it is arguably one of the most popular day trips from Munich. If you want to see this fairy-tale castle with your own eyes, then this day trip might be for you.

However, it is such a popular attraction that depending on the time of year it can get incredibly crowded. So if you are planning this itinerary for the middle of summer, we’d honestly recommend that you think twice about whether you really want to do this day trip. A second day in Munich wouldn’t be so bad either, would it?

If you are set on visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, then have a look at our Day Trips from Munich Guide . In that article – under the Neuschwanstein Castle section – we talk about all the different ways you can get to the castle.

In case you don’t want to stress too much about logistics and are not travelling with a rental car, you could always look into a day tour that brings you to Neuschwanstein Castle and then back to Munich. Here are some examples:

  • Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Palace  – A very popular tour to check out two castles in one day!
  • Just Neuschwanstein Castle  – Grab your live guide and check out the classic castle you came to see!
  • Neuschwanstein Castle and Füssen   – Explore the surrounding area on this day trip + see that great castle!

Day 6: Day Trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

colourful ski chalet building with mountains behind in germany

Another popular day trip from Munich – and the one we would recommend for Day 6 of this itinerary – is a trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the south of Bavaria, close to the Austrian border.

We have been to Garmisch-Partenkirchen recently and really enjoyed our day there. However, that was during the shoulder season, so we can’t really say much about how busy it gets in the summer or during the ski-season.

There are a few good reasons for visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The obvious one is that the town is super close to the mountains and it is very easy to reach the “Zugspitze” (Germany’s highest mountain) from here.

Of course, you don’t have to go that high up – there are also lots of other mountains and great hiking trails in the area if you’re looking for a day in nature.

Other reasons why people come to Garmisch-Partenkirchen is to visit the Partnach Gorge which is quite beautiful and/or the old town where you can admire the decorative paintings found on many houses.

It’s actually quite easy to get from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. By car , it should take you around 1 hr 10 minutes and by train the journey would be approx. 1 hr 22 minutes . It’s actually a nice drive/train ride since you’ll get some great views of the mountains as you get closer to your destination.

Must-see Attractions in/close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

  • Partnach Gorge

tall church tower among old town building by rivers edge in ulm germany

The following day you’ll travel from Munich to Ulm, a small city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. It is actually located right by the border with Bavaria – “Neu Ulm” in fact is a city on the Bavarian side. When you’re there, it sometimes feels like it is just one bigger city. For you as a visitor, this doesn’t really matter – just an interesting side note.

Ulm is mainly known for having the church with the tallest steeple in the world – so that is something you shouldn’t miss during your visit. Other than that, we’d also recommend that you check out the Fishermen’s Quarter where you can find some beautiful, half-timbered houses.

Getting from Munich to Ulm won’t take you long. The journey will take approx. 1 hr 40 minutes by car and between 1 hr 19 minutes and 2 hrs by train. Once again, this depends on which type of train connection you choose (ICE vs. regional trains).

Accommodation in Ulm: It’s best to stay in the centre of Ulm since it’s not huge and the attractions can mostly be found there. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Ulm .

For a boutique hotel option right in the city centre, check out Boutique 005 Ulm City . This hotel is super walkable to the train station if you are arriving by train but also offers an option for parking. It’s location makes it really close to all the top attractions in the city.

For a stay closer to the river, you can check out the Hotel am Rathaus – Hotel Reblaus . With onsite parking available and a really good breakfast, this more “authentic” hotel is an experience not to be missed in Ulm.

Must-see Attractions in Ulm:

  • Ulmer Münster
  • Fishermen’s Quarter

Day 8: Stuttgart

From Ulm, you’ll head to Stuttgart on the next day. Stuttgart is a city that we have mentioned a few times in this article already. If you’ve read some of the other itineraries, you’ll know that Stuttgart is known for both cars and wine.

Of course, there’s more to see in the city than that. If you’re interested in architecture, you might enjoy visiting the New Palace at the “Schlossplatz” and if you’re into art, the Staatsgalerie (an art museum) might be for you.

Getting to Stuttgart from Ulm will only take slightly over 1 hr by car and approx. the same amount of time by train . There are slower trains – called RB instead of RE which stands for “Regional Express” – that take longer than that. However, if you plan ahead, you shouldn’t have a problem catching an RE or ICE Train since they run frequently throughout the day.

Accommodation in Stuttgart: Since there are a number of places to stay in, you can check here for accommodations and hotels in Stuttgart .

Those with a car can check out the Abalon Hotel ideal because it has an underground parking garage while those travelling to Stuttgart by train can check out the Pension am Heusteig since it’s easy to get to walking or with the metro.

Day 9: Day Trip to Tübingen

On day 9 of this itinerary, you have the choice between either spending a second day in Stuttgart or taking a day trip to Tübingen, a university town not far away.

Tübingen is a popular day trip from Stuttgart and is mainly known across the country for its old university. In fact, some of Lisa’s friends have studied there. When in town, you shouldn’t forget to visit the market square with its 15th century town hall. Another popular attractions is the Hohentübingen Castle on the hill which nowadays is home to a museum.

It won’t take you long at all to get to Tübingen from Stuttgart. That makes it great for a (half-)day trip. The journey should only take around 42 minutes by car and between 43 minutes and 1 hr 30 minutes by public transport – depending on the connection you choose.

Must-see Attractions in Tübingen:

  • Hohentübingen Castle
  • Market Square with Town Hall
  • Hölderlinturm

Day 10: Frankfurt

On the last day, you’ll make your way back to Frankfurt. This is where your itinerary ends since it will hopefully be easy for you to get back home from here.

The journey from Stuttgart back to Frankfurt will probably be the longest one for this trip – but it’s still easily doable. It should take you approx. 2 hrs 25 minutes by car and between 1 hr 17 minutes and 3 hrs 30 minutes by train. Once again, this is dependent on the connection you choose (ICE vs. regional trains).

Accommodation in Frankfurt: Since you’re back in Frankfurt, we already went over accommodations in Day 1 of this same itinerary. That said, you can check here for accommodations and hotels in Frankfurt and specifically check out the Motel One Frankfurt-Römer for a central hotel with parking.

Germany Itinerary 14 Days

This Germany itinerary is the longest one that we have for you – for now. If anyone is interested in a 21 day version, please let us know!

The distance you’d cover with this 14 day itinerary would be around 1960 kilometres . The driving time would be approx. 22.5 hours – but of course, this varies depending on traffic and the exact route you decide to take.

As you’ll see below, sometimes the driving time between two cities is longer than 3 hours. So, while this itinerary is totally doable in two weeks – if you wanted to slow down the pace a bit, you could just as easily spend more time in some of the cities and complete the itinerary in more days.

Since you have probably already read about most of these places in some of the itineraries above, we’ll try to keep the descriptions short and not get too repetitive.

blue map of germany travel itinerary with arrows between cities

Our version here is written as an “incomplete route” from Frankfurt to Munich. However, as with most of our itineraries, you are welcome to reverse the direction if that works better for you and/or start and end in the same city. So, to see a big part of the country, your 14 day Germany itinerary could look something like this:

Day 1: Frankfurt Day 2: Koblenz / Eltz Castle Day 3: Cologne Day 4: Hanover or Celle Day 5+6: Hamburg Day 7+8: Berlin Day 9: Erfurt or Weimar Day 10: Nuremberg Day 11: Stuttgart Day 12: Augsburg Day 13+14: Munich

Once again we begin this itinerary in Frankfurt since it is an easy city to get to. As we have mentioned before, there are a few things to see in the city so you can start exploring on day one!

Frankfurt is also a great city to pick up a rental car. Since many international (business) travellers fly into Frankfurt, there should be many cars available with automatic transmissions. In smaller German towns you’ll find that this is not always the case.

Accommodation in Frankfurt:  If you are making a stop in Frankfurt, you can check here for accommodations and hotels in Frankfurt .

As for accommodation options, the Motel One Frankfurt-Römer has parking available and is located in the city centre close to the Main River. That’s important if you have a car with you but it’s also walkable to the train station, so you know.

Another great hotel option that is even closer to the train station is Fleming’s Express Hotel Frankfurt . This hotel is known for its prime location to the north of the station, its tasty breakfast, nice decor, and fair price. This is definitely a popular place you should at least look into if you are travelling by train around Germany.

Day 2: Koblenz / Eltz Castle

On day two of this itinerary, you’ll be on your way to Koblenz, a small German city on the Rhine river. You can either explore the city or use it as a base to visit one of the many castles close by.

Our suggestion would be a visit to Eltz Castle which is a beautiful medieval castle surrounded by a forest. Please keep in mind that the castle is not open year round. You can check opening hours here .

You could also visit Eltz Castle as a day trip from Frankfurt but then you’d have to return to Frankfurt at the end of the day. This wouldn’t make much sense unless you want to spend some more time in Frankfurt anyway, as Cologne (your next destination) is closer to Koblenz and Eltz Castle than Frankfurt.

The drive from Frankfurt to Koblenz should take around 1 hr 30 minutes by car . If you want to take the train , the journey would take between 1 hr 30 minutes and 2 hrs 15 minutes . From Koblenz, it is only about a 30 minute drive to Eltz Castle.

Accommodation in Koblenz: Since Koblenz isn’t that large, you should have no problem finding and choosing an accommodation that works for you. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Koblenz .

If you want a popular option right in the heart of the city centre, you should see the Sander Hotel . This hotel is located within walking distance to the rivers as well as restaurants and shops in the centre. If you travel by car to Koblenz, they have onsite parking which is handy. That said, you can also easily walk from the hotel to the train station in minutes.

Day 3: Cologne

The next stop on your 14 day Germany itinerary is Cologne, a city we have mentioned already in some of the previous itineraries. As you might know, the highlight of the city is the Cologne cathedral which is quite an impressive sight. As the city is located on the Rhine river, a boat tour might also be a great activity depending on the time of year you are visiting.

Getting to Cologne from Koblenz takes around 1 hr 15 minutes by car  and between 50 minutes and 1 hr 15 minutes by train . The train tracks follow the Rhine river for part of the journey which allows for some beautiful views!

Accommodation in Cologne : There are lots of great places to stay in Cologne. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Cologne .

We recently stayed at the Lindner Hotel City Plaza which was great value for money. The breakfast buffet is incredible and it’s an easy, short walk into the city centre near the Cathedral. It also has parking available for those with a car.

If you want to stay a little closer to the river and the Old Town, check out the CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom . With many things around to keep you busy – like attractions, food, and/or drinks – you’re just a short walk to the central train station if you stay here.

For those looking for a hostel, Cologne Downtown Hostel was a great stay for Eric a number of years ago. It’s really popular, in a great location, and has a nice rooftop balcony to enjoy.

Day 4: Hanover or Celle

Day 4 of this itinerary will take you to either Hanover or Celle depending on your preference. Celle is a noticeably smaller city/town than Hanover and the two places are only a few minutes apart.

Getting from Cologne to Hanover will take approximately  3 hrs 10 minutes by car  and between  2 hrs 40 minutes and 3 hrs 5 minutes by train .

Accommodation in Hanover: Since Hanover is a well-travelled city for people moving around Germany, there are a number of accommodation options in and around the city centre. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Hanover .

To stay very close to the central train station in the city centre, you should see the Hotel Loccumer Hof . The location makes it great if you are travelling by train and on foot. They also have onsite parking if you are arriving to Hanover with a car!

To the south of this hotel, the Arthotel ANA Prestige am neuen Rathaus is an option right across from the New Town Hall. This hotel has a beautiful, light style and is also close to the water/parks. Complete with breakfast and onsite parking, you can’t go wrong here!

If you want to spend a night in a smaller German city instead, then Celle is a good option as it is not far from Hanover. That will make it easy to reach the next stop on your itinerary without too much of a detour. The journey from Cologne to Celle would be slightly longer and take around 3 hrs 30 minutes by car and 3 hrs 19 minutes by train .

Accommodation in Celle: Celle isn’t that big at all – so there are only a handful of places to stay. That said, there are still some great options. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Celle .

Of note, check out Hotel Borchers . This hotel – one of only a handful located in the heart of “city centre” is a top pick with a tasty breakfast and an underground car park. You can also walk there from the Celle train station which is located not too far across town.

Must-see Attractions in Celle:

  • Celle Castle
  • Bomann Museum
  • French Garden

Day 5+6: Hamburg

An itinerary across a large part of the country wouldn’t really feel complete without including Hamburg. Since there is quite a bit to see in this hanseatic city, you’ll spend two nights in the city to give you more time to explore.

Getting from Hanover to Hamburg will take you approx. 1 hr 45 minutes by car and between 1 hr 15 minutes and 2 hrs 30 minutes by train . As mentioned before, this varies depending on the type of train connection you choose.

The journey from Celle to Hamburg will be approximately 15 minutes shorter at 1 hr 30 minutes by car . If you opt for the train, you can expect travel times between 1 hr 10 minutes and 2 hrs .

Accommodation in Hamburg : Since Hamburg is a well-travelled city, it makes sense that there are loads of places and areas to stay in. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Hamburg .

The Mövenpick Hotel Hamburg might work for those with a car since they have onsite parking. This old water tower is a different hotel than you might be used to but it’s a great experience overall.

Something closer to the central station to get to on foot would be the ARCOTEL Rubin Hamburg which is located in St. Georg. This is an area with shops and restaurants and is very much part of the city centre.

Those looking for a budget accommodation can check out Generator Hamburg which is a popular hostel close to the train station. If you’re ever unsure or want more advice, we have a detailed guide on where to stay in Hamburg .

Day 7+8: Berlin

Of course, we couldn’t forget to include a stop in the capital of the country when planning a longer trip through Germany. Since there is so much to do and see in Berlin you will spend two nights there.

This will also give you some more time to recover from all the driving you have done so far on this journey. Getting from Hamburg to Berlin takes approximately 3 hrs 20 minutes by car (obviously traffic depending) and just about 1 hr 50 minutes by train .

Accommodation in Berlin : There are lots of hotel options in Berlin. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Berlin .

The Park Plaza Wallstreet Berlin Mitte is a good option in the city centre for those coming to Berlin with a car while the NH Collection Berlin Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie is located right at the attraction “Checkpoint Charlie” in the city centre.

A great option for a hostel/hotel where Eric stayed a few years back is PLUS Berlin . You can find it near the famous East Side Gallery which is a very popular attraction to check out.

As mentioned a few times now, we also have more articles on t hings to see in Berlin and a one day Berlin itinerary .

Day 9: Erfurt or Weimar

For the following day you have the choice between Erfurt or Weimar as your next destination. Both are small cities in the state of Thuringia with Weimar being smaller than Erfurt. If you know anything about Martin Luther, an important figure in the Protestant reformation, then you might have heard of one or both of these places before.

If you’re looking for a place with a beautiful old town and some nice churches as well as buildings for you to explore, then we’d really recommend Erfurt. We had a great time during the days we spent there. The city also has some really nice, cozy cafes if that is something that you care about.

Getting to Erfurt from Berlin will take a while – but it is a great stop on the way to the south of Germany. You can expect the journey to take approx. 3 hrs 40 minutes by car and just around 1 hr 50 minutes by ICE (fast train) .

Accommodation in Erfurt:  With Erfurt being a smaller city with a smaller central area to explore, finding a place to stay isn’t too difficult. You can check here for hotels and accommodations in Erfurt .

When we visited Erfurt, we booked the Gästehaus in der Gotthardtstraße . This was a simple guesthouse with a nice host and cozy rooms located just a short walk north of the Krämerbrücke. There’s also a small parking lot onsite if you’re coming to Erfurt with a car.

For a stay that is more central, check out Hotel Krämerbrücke Erfurt . It’s located basically right beside the Krämerbrücke making it a great option if you are travelling by train and you’re on foot.

Once again, if you want to learn some more about Erfurt before you visit the city, check out our detailed Erfurt Guide here .

If you instead preferred to learn some more about the well-known German writers Goethe and Schiller – or about Germany’s dark past – then you should plan to visit Weimar instead.

Two of the highlights there are Goethe’s and Schiller’s House – now turned into museums. Close to Weimar there’s also the Buchenwald Memorial which was a former Nazi concentration camp. This was the first KZ-Memorial Lisa ever visited. It was a somber experience, but also an important one in regards to understanding more about Germany’s past.

The journey from Berlin to Weimar will be slightly shorter than to Erfurt – at least by car. It’ll take approx. 3 hrs 15 minutes by car and around 2 hrs 20 minutes by train .

Accommodation in Weimar : There are a handful of places to stay in Weimar since it’s a smaller city – but you still have good options. You can check here for accommodations in Weimar .

In particular, check out Amalienhof Hotel und Apartment . This classic and very popular hotel is just south of the heart of the city centre. It features parking onsite and an excellent breakfast. It’s also not too far to walk to the train station if you are arriving on foot.

Must-see Attractions in/close to Weimar:

  • Buchenwald Memorial
  • Goethe’s House
  • Schiller’s House

Day 10: Nuremberg

On day 10 of your itinerary, you’ll drive – or take the train – from Erfurt/Weimar to Nuremberg. This Franconian city has also been mentioned in some of the shorter itineraries.

The journey from Erfurt to Nuremberg will take approx. 2 hrs 40 minutes by car in a southern direction. The drive from Weimar to Nuremberg will just be a couple minutes longer.

If you decide to take the train, the journey would take between 1.5 hrs and 2 hrs from Weimar and between 1 hr 10 minutes and 1 hr 30 minutes from Erfurt .

Accommodation in Nuremberg : Nuremberg is a city with loads of history and attractions so it’s very popular. As such, you will find hotels and accommodations all over the city – from the old town to the surrounding areas. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Nuremberg .

We booked a stay at Five Reasons Hotel and Hostel and we would recommend it. You can find the place inside the massive old city walls so the location was great – walkable to the central train station and also to go find top attractions.

On the same trip, friends of our stayed at the Sheraton Carlton Nuremberg . It was close to where we stayed and they really enjoyed it. There’s this great pool on an upper floor with city views as well as a parking lot across the street if you travel to Nuremberg by car. The train station is close as is the old town by walking so it’s great option overall, too.

Day 11: Stuttgart

The following day you will be on your way from Nuremberg to Stuttgart – once again, a city we have mentioned multiple times now during this article. From Nuremberg, it’ll take you around 2 hrs 15 minutes by car  and  between 2 hrs 10 minutes and 2 hrs 30 minutes by train to get to Stuttgart.

As we’ve mentioned before, if you are driving and have the time, you could take a small detour and stop in Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a stroll through its beautiful old town. We’ll leave that up to you!

Accommodation in Stuttgart: You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Stuttgart .

The Abalon Hotel ideal has parking for those with a car while the Pension am Heusteig is a guesthouse close by but is easy to get to by the metro system if you arrive by train to central station and you are walking.

Day 12: Augsburg

colourful town houses with public square in augsburg germany itinerary

On day 12 you’ll be on your way from Stuttgart to Augsburg, a small city in Bavaria and one of Germany’s oldest cities. Around Germany, most people have heard of Augsburg because of its “Fuggerei” – a historic social housing complex where rent has increased very slowly over the centuries. It’s certainly worth a visit!

It’ll take you around  2 hrs by car to get from Stuttgart to Augsburg. If you opt for the train , then you can expect the journey to take approx. 1 hr 40 minutes .

Accommodation in Augsburg: In Augsburg, you will find a number of places to stay around the city centre. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Augsburg .

For a reliable stay, check out Hotel Augusta . This popular hotel – located right in the city centre – features breakfast and has parking available if you are travelling to Augsburg by car.

The nice thing about Augsburg is that because it’s a smaller city, you can easily walk to the hotel from the train station if you are arriving by train.

You might also check out City Hotel Ost am Kö which is another hotel in the heart of the centre walkable to the station. It also has breakfast and parking garage right nearby.

Must-see Attractions in Augsburg:

  • Augsburg Cathedral
  • Perlach Tower

Day 13+14: Munich

On your second to last day of this itinerary you will drive from Augsburg to Munich. That’s the last stop on your two week Germany adventure. In Munich, there is more than enough to see to spend two days in the city.

Munich also has an airport with good international connections in case you’re coming from overseas and need to take a plane to get back home. If that’s not the case, we’d encourage you to see whether the train would be an alternative to get you back home as well.

The journey from Augsburg to Munich should take just less than  1 hr by car  and  between 30 and 48 minutes by train.  So it’s certainly one of the shortest transitions mentioned in this article.

Accommodation in Munich:  If you’re exploring Munich while in Germany, there is no shortage of places to stay and areas to check out. You can check here for accommodations and hotels in Munich . For this itinerary, remember to book your Munich accommodation for two nights.

We really liked our stay at the H2 Hotel München Olympiapark . From the really good breakfast, nice rooms, and excellent location with metro access nearby – you cannot beat the price for Munich. There’s also parking available if you’re travelling with a car to Munich.

For a spot right in the heart of Munich’s charming old town, check out the Platzl Hotel Superior . This is a trendy hotel that puts you super close to all the action at busy Marienplatz and is steps from Hofbräuhaus, the beer hall made famous decades ago. You can also catch the metro or walk to the central train station from here.

If you are looking for more details on accommodations in this city, we wrote a detailed guide on where to stay in Munich .

To learn more about the city – as we have mentioned before – check out our post on Munich in a day if you want more details about the city!

And there you have it – one massive Germany guide with more than one Germany itinerary to suit your travel needs! Whether you’re looking for a short 5 day or a wild 14 day itinerary – we’re sure you’ll have a great time exploring Germany. We’re actually really happy to have created this post – Lisa especially. It’s always fun to help others explore your home country!

As always, Happy Germany Itinerary Waddlin’, – L&E

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West Germany Road Trip: a Captivating Route from Cologne

Recom. Days

Freelance writer currently trying to find herself in Indonesia but without much luck. Enjoys exploring the weird and wonderful world cuisine—the less identifiable, the better.

travel west germany

Berlin and Munich may be Germany's most-visited cities , but taking advantage of the country's excellent rail system (or simply renting a car) and venturing outside the major metropolises is the best way to experience a quieter side of German culture. Enjoy the remarkable landscapes as you make your way through the countryside, then relish a dive into local history and tradition with a visit to any of these 12 small towns in Germany.

Flensburg sits just four miles from the Danish border, and the Scandinavian influence is palpable in both culture and design. Spend an afternoon sailing on the Flensburg Fjord, or admire the city's historic harbor — an essential element of this trading port — on foot. In either case, a stroll through the well-preserved old town while learning about Flensburg's rum-soaked history is a must.

Formally recognized as the Hanseatic City of Stralsund, this small northern city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its fine examples of Brick Gothic architecture. Visit the 13th-century city hall, admire the colorful gabled townhouses of medieval merchants, and have a drink in the cozy 16th-century cellar at Restaurant Hansekeller .

Germany's easternmost town quite literally straddles the Germany-Poland border — just cross the Neisse River by footbridge from Görlitz , and you'll find yourself in the Polish city of Zgorzelec. Filled with architectural examples throughout the epochs of its 950-year history, Görlitz is so remarkably scenic that more than 100 films have been produced here in " Görliwood ."

Heppenheim is one of those little German towns that elicits the use of tired descriptors like "charming," "picturesque," and "like a fairy tale" because despite the cliché, it is all of those things. If you're into half-timbered houses and history dating back to 755 , you'll love this cheerful city. Don't miss the views from Starkenburg Castle, which overlooks the Rhine Valley in all of its vineyard-laden glory.

Gößweinstein

Located in a region known as Franconian Switzerland, Gößweinstein (with a population of 4,084) is surrounded by rolling green hills and forested hiking trails. You'll find the best views from the town's castle , which was allegedly built more than 1,000 years ago . Fun fact: Franconian Switzerland has the highest density of breweries in Europe , so come thirsty!

Kelheim has many endearing qualities — including a hillside-perched neoclassical monument and a vibrant city center — but it's the journey by ferry along the Danube Gorge to Kloster Weltenburg that is perhaps the biggest draw. A 40-minute cruise through scenic river landscapes deposits you at the world's oldest monastery brewery where the beer is cold, the food is excellent, and the views are spectacular.

Known as the " city of three rivers ," Passau sits near the Austrian border at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz, and Danube rivers. Baroque architecture is as much a visual highlight of this small city as is its geographic setting, so book a riverfront room at Hotel Residenz to enjoy classic Bavarian ambiance within walking distance to the majestic St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Bad Reichenhall

Bad Reichenhall is a true alpine gem and arguably the most beautiful small town on this list. The flanking mountains suggest a winter sports haven, but the excellent hiking, rich cultural scene, and the restorative waters of Bad Reichenhall's own AlpenSole brine — a salty relic of the primeval sea — ensure that this is very much a year-round destination.

There's a studious, creative energy to this medieval university town, which dates back to 1078 . A wonderland for lovers of literature, Tübingen hosts an annual book festival and boasts Germany's highest number of bookstores per capita. If books aren't your thing, you can check out Hohentübingen Castle, walk along the Neckar River, and enjoy a plate of local fare — Maultaschen, a.k.a. filled dumplings, are a specialty of the region — at Mauganeschtle .

If rivers seem like a common theme among German cities, you won't be surprised to learn that Lingen overlooks the Ems River. This little town's long history (dating back to 975) is reflected in its collection of historic buildings, twice-weekly farmer's markets, and lingering traditions. For a unique experience, time your visit to Lingen during the triennially hosted Kivelingsfest — a celebration of medieval crafts and culture.

Lüneburg flourished for centuries thanks to the salt trade, and the city remains especially lovely today since it was spared from World War II damage. Beyond the colorful and intact medieval city center, there are thermal baths, lush gardens, and attractions like the German Salt Museum and the Lüneburg Brewery Museum begging to be explored.

Wolfenbüttel

Anyone up for a shot of Jägermeister? The popular herbal liqueur is one of Wolfenbüttel's claims to fame — along with its collection of more than 600 half-timbered buildings, a magnificent Baroque palace, and the Herzog August Library . Come to Wolfenbüttel for the atmospheric city center (and, sure, the 56-herb booze), stay for the thriving culinary and cultural scenes.

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The iconic Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany standing tall over the surrounding greenery in Bavaria

Germany. The country is synonymous with beer, sausages, incredible hiking, majestic castles, serious people, and wild techno parties. It’s huge, diverse, and utterly amazing.

There’s a vibrant art and music scene in Berlin , beautiful forests in the west, majestic cathedrals and castles throughout the country, picturesque “Sound of Music” cities in the south, and overlooked historic cities and beaches in the north.

The more I visit Germany, the more I fall in love with it. Whether you are backpacking, traveling on a mid-range budget, or looking to splash out, traveling around Germany is wonderful.

That said, Germany is a huge country so don’t rush your visit. There’s more to the country than just Berin and those cross-country train rides are longer than you think.

This travel guide to Germany will help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your visit!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Germany

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Top 5 things to see and do in germany.

A sweeping view over Berlin, Germany at sunset with the iconic TV tower in the distance

1. Get lost in Berlin

Germany’s hip capital has world-class museums, history, funky neighborhoods, and some of the best nightlife in Europe. From the museums to the art and music scene to the great bars and cheap food, Berlin is electric (and one of the cheapest European capitals). It’s a really amazing city that has grown on me with every visit.

2. See Munich

Berlin’s quiet, upscale cousin, Munich is a city steeped in history, lively beer halls, incredible food, lush parks, and a royal palace. It’s a beautiful destination and there are a lot of Bavarian towns nearby that make for scenic day trips.

3. Party at Oktoberfest

Held annually in September and October, the world’s largest beer festival is filled with huge steins and giant pretzels. I went there for 5 days and had the time of my life. Buy some lederhosen, raise a glass, and sing some German beer songs. Just make sure to plan your trip well in advance as things sell out fast!

4. Explore the Romantic Road

A string of historic cities in Bavaria, the “Romantic Road” is the name for the route through majestic Bavarian towns and their surrounding snow-capped mountains. The area can get quite touristy but it’s a beautiful area and a great choice for road trips and romantic getaways. There are a ton of tour options for the area that are worth checking out. For some of the more further afield attractions, the tours are a must as they are hard to visit without a car.

5. Hike the Black Forest

The Black Forest is so named because of the dark green pine trees that grow here. Spanning over 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles), there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails worth exploring and you can spend some time stopping in towns that are famous for their cuckoo clocks and hearty German fare. If you want to go on a guided hike or adventure activity, you can find a lot here.

Other Things to See and Do in Germany

1. explore lake constance.

Lying along the country’s southwestern border with Switzerland and Austria , Lake Constance (known as Bodensee in German) is Germany’s largest freshwater lake and the third-largest in Central Europe. One of the lake’s main attractions is the island of Mainau, also known as Flower Island, which is home to many specialty gardens, a baroque palace, and one of the largest butterfly houses in Germany. Tickets to visit the island are 10.50 EUR. Be sure to visit the many picturesque medieval villages and castles nearby, enjoy water sports, and go hiking and biking along the 272-kilometer (170-mile) Lake Constance Trail.

2. Visit Hanover

This city was one of the hardest hit during World War II, leaving it with only a few historical landmarks. But what I loved about Hanover were its large green areas of forests and big parks, the River Leine winding through the city, and the Sprengel Museum. Not many people visit, but I think it is one of Germany’s most underrated destinations .

3. Hike Berchtesgaden National Park

This national park, located in the south of Germany along the Austrian border, is an alpine heaven of lush forests, steep rock faces, crystal clear lakes, sleepy villages, and rolling meadows. It’s just you, the chirping birds, and cows ringing their brass bells. Well-marked trails wind through the spectacular scenery, which brims with opportunities for hiking and cycling. While nature is the main attraction, the beautiful red-domed Church of St. Bartholomew (dating to 1697) is a worthwhile stop as well.

4. Check out Trier

Nestled in the Moselle River valley, picturesque Trier is the oldest town in the country. With a 2,000-year-old history, Trier was home to six Roman emperors and contains numerous UNESCO Roman ruins. The most outstanding example is the Black Gate, a monumental structure that was once part of the city walls. Other Roman sites worth visiting include the incredibly well-preserved basilica, the huge amphitheater, the bridge, and the baths. Trier is also home to several important Gothic and Baroque churches, a beautiful main square, and great wine due to its location in the Moselle wine region.

5. Visit Dresden

Dresden, the capital of the German state Saxony, is a vibrant city located along the majestic Elbe River near the Czech and Polish borders. During World War II, the city was subject to one of the most devastating bombings of the war. Tens of thousands of civilians died, and over 90% of the city was razed at the hands of British-American forces. After the war, the city was completely rebuilt. The famous Frauenkirche church, the Neumarkt historic district, the Zwinger Palace, the Royal Palace, and the Semper Opera House have all been restored to their former glory. Other must-see attractions include the Fürstenzug, a unique 102-meter-long (334-foot) porcelain mural dating to the 1870s; and the baroque Grosser Garten, the largest green space in the city.

6. Spend a day in Cologne

Cologne is a cool place to stop in West Germany on your way to or from the Netherlands . The cathedral is the most popular landmark in the city (and one of the most popular in the country), but there’s also a vibrant art scene, incredible international restaurants, and lots of riverside cafes and pubs. It’s an underrated stop worth exploring for a couple of days.

7. See Neuschwanstein Castle

This 19th-century Neo-Romantic palace is the model for the Disney castle and a must for any Germany itinerary. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Europe, with over 1.5 million visitors each year. Perched on a rugged hill in Bavaria near the town of Füssen, the palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Visitors can walk around outside and admire the stunning exterior for free, but the interior is only accessible by guided tour at specific times, which must be booked in advance. While the palace is 6,000 square meters (65,000 square feet) in size, only 14 of those rooms were ever finished. The finished rooms were fitted with very modern technology for the time, such as central heating, hot and cold running water, automatic flush toilets, and telephones. Admission is 15 EUR and guided tours are available . I think the guided tours add a lot of context and would really recommend taking one.

8. See Frankfurt

Often considered just a stopover city (there is a huge airport here), Frankfurt is home to a gigantic exhibition hall (one of the largest in the world so tons of events and conferences are held here), an excellent science museum, and a towering 14th-century cathedral. It’s less expensive compared to other cities in Germany and worth spending a day or two visiting.

9. Visit Olympia Park

Located in Munich, this massive complex was originally constructed for the 1972 Olympic Games. It is topped by the largest roof in the world, which spans over 700,000 feet. There is a really good restaurant here too. Tickets to the stadium cost 3.50 EUR while a ticket to the Olympic Tower costs 11 EUR. You can also skate in the ice arena, swim in the Olympic swimming pool, and reserve court time on the tennis courts. The BMW Museum is also nearby and worth a visit.

10. Tour to Schloss Colditz

Originally built to be a Renaissance palace, this interesting structure has a long, bizarre history. Located between Leipzig and Dresden in the region of Saxony, it’s been a hunting lodge, a poorhouse, and even a mental hospital. It is most famous for being a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. There is a museum within the palace, with tickets costing 4 EUR. A two-hour guided tour through the castle (and escape tunnels built by prisoners) is 10 EUR. There is even a hostel within the castle (30.50 EUR per night).

11. Visit Hamburg

Located in northern Germany, Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city. This port city, home to the second-busiest port in Europe, is famous for its parks and canals. Near its core, Inner Alster lake is dotted with boats and surrounded by cafes. The city’s central boulevard connects the Neustadt (new town) with the Altstadt (old town) and is home to landmarks like 18th-century St. Michael’s Church.

12. See Tierpark Hagenbeck

Located in Hamburg, this zoo and aquarium spans over 60 acres and is home to more than 2,500 animals including polar bears, penguins, and walruses. In addition to the classic attractions, there is a petting zoo, a miniature railway, pony rides, a playground for kids, and a serene Japanese garden. Combination tickets for the zoo and aquarium are 40 EUR.

13. Take a break in Bremen

Located in the north (near Hamburg), Bremen is a smaller city worth exploring. The charming medieval Schnoor district makes for a great stroll, and there is a beautiful cathedral and opulent city hall in the historic market square. The medieval harbor has been converted into the Schlachte, a large pedestrian promenade along the banks of the Weser River lined with countless restaurants, beer gardens, and riverboats. Bremen is also home to several fascinating museums, including the Universum Bremen, an interactive science museum in a modern whale-shaped building. The museum also offers a Dining in the Dark three-hour dinner experience, where you learn to experience food with just four out of your five senses.

14. Explore the Rhine Valley

The longest river in Germany, the Rhine holds incredible importance both historically and culturally. The most popular area to visit is the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. This 67-kilometer (41-mile) stretch is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with countless castles, ruins, villages, and vineyards. An extensive network of walking and cycling paths, as well as excellent public transportation, means you don’t even need to rent a car when visiting.

15. Step back in time in Bamberg

Located less than an hour from Nuremberg, Bamberg is one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval towns, home to Europe’s largest intact historic city wall. Founded in the 9th century, the town was important in both the 12th-century Holy Roman Empire and the 18th-century German Enlightenment. It’s an incredibly picturesque town so spend the day wandering around, seeing the old homes, visiting the 13th-century cathedral, the 17th-century palace, the 18th-century city hall, and the seven churches that sit atop each of the seven hills surrounding the village.

16. Take a river cruise

Many of Germany’s major cities lie along large rivers, making river cruises a popular way to see the country. While there are expensive multi-day cruises going from city to city, you can also take a day cruise for a more budget-friendly option . Generally, these are around 15-25 EUR for a 1-2 hour trip. They are super fun.

17. Ascend Germany’s tallest mountain

Located in the Alps along the German-Austrian border, the Zugspitze mountain measures 2,962 meters (9,718 feet) and is a popular destination for winter sports. Even if you’re not into skiing, you can still enjoy the trip up the mountain via one of three different cable cars and a 90-year-old rack railway line. At the top, you’ll be treated to panoramic views and several restaurants with traditional Alpine food. Round-trip cable car tickets cost 24-63 EUR depending on the season and which cable car you take. If you don’t want to go solo, day trips are available from Munich and are the best way to get there and around without transportation.

  For more information on specific cities in Germany, check out these guides:

  • Berlin Travel Guide
  • Cologne Travel Guide
  • Frankfurt Travel Guide
  • Munich Travel Guide

Germany Travel Costs

A row of colorful old houses in sunny Cologne, Germany

Accommodation – Accommodation in Germany is quite affordable compared to other Eurozone countries. Hostels are plentiful and range from 17-25 EUR per night for a dorm room with 6-8 beds. For a private room, expect to pay 40-60 EUR per night. Free Wi-Fi is standard and many hostels also include free breakfast.

Budget hotel prices begin around 45-65 EUR for a small double room with a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi.

Airbnb is available everywhere with private rooms going for as little as 30-45 EUR per night and entire apartments or homes starting at 50-75 EUR. Book early though or prices will double (or triple).

While wild camping is illegal, there are a ton of campsites around the country. Expect to pay 5-20 EUR per night for a basic plot for two people without electricity.

Food – Food in Germany is very cheap (and hearty). Meat is a staple of most meals, especially sausages; there are over 1,500 different kinds of sausages in Germany (sausages here are known as “wurst”). Stews are also a popular traditional choice, as are potato dumplings and sauerkraut. Breakfast is usually composed of bread, cold cuts, cheese, and boiled eggs.

You can get sausages and bratwurst from outdoor vendors for around 3-5 EUR. Meals at many of the beer halls around the country cost 9-15 EUR. Pre-made sandwiches cost around 5 EUR. Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 8.50 EUR for a combo meal.

If you eat in the beer halls, a traditional German meal costs around 14-18 EUR. Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Asian food can be found for as little as 5 EUR, while a nicer meal at a sit-down restaurant costs around 25 EUR.

Beer costs around 4 EUR while a latte/cappuccino is around 3 EUR. Bottled water is around 1 EUR.

If you plan on cooking for yourself, a week’s worth of groceries costs around 40-50 EUR. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, seasonal produce, and some meat. While they don’t always offer the most variety, the cheapest places are Aldi, Lidl, Penny, and Netto. Bring your own bag if possible.

Backpacking Germany Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking Germany, my suggested budget is 55 EUR per day. This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel dorm, cooking all your meals, limiting your drinking, using local transportation to get around, and doing mostly free activities like hiking and taking free walking tours. If you plan on drinking, add another 5-10 EUR to your daily budget.

On a mid-range budget of 135 EUR per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb room, eat a few meals out, take the occasional taxi to get around, enjoy a few drinks, take the bus between cities, and do more paid activities like visiting museums and castles.

On a “luxury” budget of 245 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, travel between cities via train, eat out at restaurants for all of your meals, drink more, take taxis to get around, and do whatever tours and activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.

Germany Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Overall, Germany is not an expensive country to visit. Yes, river cruises are expensive. Yes, there’s plenty of high-end cuisine throughout the country. Visiting Frankfurt, the capital of finance, costs a pretty penny. But those are exceptions to the rule. Overall, Germany is quite affordable for a Eurozone country, with plenty of bargains throughout the country. Here are my best tips for saving money in Germany:

  • Eat cheap – Throughout Germany, cheap outdoor sausage vendors offer quick eats for only a couple of euros. Additionally, some of the best and cheapest food in Germany is Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine. You can get meals for 5-8 EUR that are delicious and filling. It’s what I mainly eat while in Germany whenever I want to eat out.
  • Drink cheap – In Germany, buying beer and walking around — known as a ‘Weg bier’ — is totally acceptable. Take advantage of good weather by sitting outside in Germany’s lovely plazas and lush parks and buy your own drinks from the Späti shops, street kiosks, and supermarkets to save money. Also, find the student areas by the universities as you’ll find the discounted places.
  • Take the free tours – The bigger cities in Germany have free walking tours. They’re a good way to see the city, learn about the history, and get your bearings without spending money. Just make sure to tip your guide at the end!
  • Book your train early – Trains in Germany are expensive but you can get a saver ticket that is around 40-50% off the standard fare if you book at least a week in advance. These tickets have limited availability, so be flexible with your travel plans. Also, if you are more flexible with times, try Flixtrain instead, which has fewer routes between bigger cities sometimes at inconvenient times but is way cheaper than Deutsche Bahn.
  • Take the bus instead of the train – While not as comfy or romantic, Flixbus or Postbus are two bus companies with super cheap prices. Download the app and you can get tickets last-minute but be aware that prices vary by time and availability so if you need to be somewhere by a certain time or day book in advance.
  • Use rideshares – If you’re flexible in your schedule, use the ridesharing service BlaBlaCar and catch rides with locals between cities (or countries). You save money and get to spend time with locals. Drivers are verified and it’s perfectly safe (though sometimes rides don’t show up, which is why you need to be flexible). While the bus might be cheaper, this is usually faster (and more interesting). Just make sure to check where the pickup and drop-offs are as sometimes they are not exactly central places or main station.
  • Stay with a local – While accommodation in Germany is pretty cheap, if you want to get some local insight into the country, you should Couchsurf. Not only will you save money on accommodation but you’ll meet locals who can help get you off the tourist trail and show you around! Plus, they have occasional meet-ups depending on the city so you can meet other travelers and locals
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
  • Look out for free museum days – Most museums in Germany offer free admission on certain days or evenings. Check their website or ask the local tourism office to find out about discounts.
  • Get transportation day passes – If you’re going to be using public transportation a lot in a city, get a day pass. Paying for single rides adds up quickly.
  • Get city tourism cards – Most of the major cities in Germany offer city tourism cards. These include free admission to major museums and attractions, discounts on restaurants, and usually unlimited public transportation. If you plan on seeing a lot, these cards can save you money.

Where to Stay in Germany

There are lots of fun and social hostels in Germany. Here are some of my suggested places to stay:

  • St. Christopher’s (Berlin)
  • Circus Hostel (Berlin)
  • Wombats (Munich)
  • Jaeger’s Hostel (Munich)
  • Five Elements Hostel (Frankfurt)
  • Meininger (Hamburg)
  • Generator Hostel (Hamburg)
  • Station Hostel for Backpackers (Cologne)
  • Black Sheep Hostel (Cologne)
  • Lollis Homestay (Dresden)
  • Hostel Mondpalast (Dresden)
  • a&o Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof (Nuremberg)
  • Five Reasons Hostel (Nuremberg)

How to Get Around Germany

The historic old town of Munich, Germany during the spring with flower blooming near a church

Public transportation – Germany has some of the best public transportation in the world. All the cities and larger towns have public transportation that is reliable and efficient. In cities like Berlin and Munich, all the various networks are integrated: one ticket gives you access to buses, trams, U-Bahn (subway), and S-Bahn (above ground train). Fares are determined by zone, but generally, a one-way fare starts from 2.90 EUR. A one-day unlimited pass is generally around 7-9 EUR while a three-day pass costs 17-20 EUR.

Train – Train travel is an incredibly efficient way to get around Germany, though it’s not cheap. Germany’s main rail system is Deutsche Bahn, which has both high-speed trains and regular trains. The high-speed trains are a quick way to get around but are usually much more expensive.

Take advantage of regional group tickets that start at around 22 EUR. These regional discounted tickets are available in Bavaria, Brandenburg-Berlin, Baden-Wüttermburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westfalia, Hesse, etc. For example, the Bavarian Bayern Ticket is 58 EUR for a group of 5 tickets for any train in Bavaria from 9am to 3am.

Last-minute tickets from Berlin to Hamburg can cost 50 EUR, but advance bookings start around 20 EUR. Frankfurt to Cologne is also around 20 EUR. It’s always best to book in advance when possible, otherwise, you’ll pay the price for last-minute bookings. You can track schedules and fares on the Deutsche Bahn website.

Another great site for trains around Germany (and into neighboring countries), is Trainline .

A Eurail Pass, which allows travelers to explore Europe by providing a set number of stops in a specific time period, might also be a good option if you’re doing some country hopping. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how Eurail passes work and can save you money .

Bus – Aside from hitchhiking, buses are the cheapest way to get around Germany. They are punctual but slow, with comfortable seats, air-conditioning, rest stops, and usually free Wi-Fi.

I recommend Flixbus for the cheapest rates and most comfortable buses. You can get from Berlin to Dresden for as little as 10 EUR, or from Berlin to Munich for 20 EUR. Munich to Hamburg is around 22 EUR.

To find bus routes and prices, use BusBud .

Ridesharing – Ridesharing in Germany is very common. Ridesharing means you travel as a passenger with someone in exchange for payment toward fuel costs. It’s usually not as cheap as the bus but it’s often faster and you’ll meet some interesting characters! BlaBlaCar and Mitfahren are the two most popular ride-sharing websites.

Car rental – German is a great country to explore by car. Car rentals start at 30 EUR per day for a multi-day rental. Renters need to be at least 21 years old.

For the best car rental prices, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Germany

Germany is a year-round destination. Summer is the most popular time to visit as temperatures are hot and everyone’s outdoors enjoying the weather. People flock to beer gardens and to the lakes to swim. This is also the peak season, when prices are much higher than usual. During this time, average temperatures hover around 24°C (75°F) and can soar well into the 30s°C (high 80s°F). You’ll want to book accommodation and transportation early (especially in July and August).

Temperatures warm up fast in spring, and the season is marked by the arrival of cherry blossoms. By May it’s warm enough to walk around in t-shirts and shorts. May 1 (Der Erste Mai) is Germany’s Labor Day, and the country breaks out in full celebration. If you’re lucky enough to be here during this time, take to the streets with your fellow Germans and enjoy the live music, drinking, dancing, and general mayhem.

Thanks to the famous Oktoberfest, autumn is a very popular time to visit Germany (especially Munich). From the end of September to early October, millions of people flock here from all over the world to enjoy the most epic beer-drinking festival in the world. If you’re planning on attending Oktoberfest, book your accommodations in advance. Way, way in advance.

An autumn visit to Germany is overall a great idea, especially in Bavaria when the foliage in the hills and mountains makes for some amazing photography. Temperatures can sometimes be chilly, but with light layers, you’ll be fine.

Winter in Germany can be cold, with temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F), but Germany is known for its Christmas spirit and the holiday markets all over the country are well worth your time, especially in Munich, Berlin, and Dresden. Pack some warm clothes and let the delicious glühwein (mulled wine) warm you up.

Winter in Bavaria is a skier and snowboarder’s dream only around one hour outside of Munich. While people might not think of Germany first in terms of skiing in Europe, these slopes are pristine, truly breathtaking, and way cheaper than neighboring Switzerland. Check out Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Füssen, Kranzberg, Zugspitze, and Laber.

How to Stay Safe in Germany

Germany is an incredibly safe place to travel. However, due to a few high-profile terrorist attacks in the country, I often get asked if it’s safe to travel to Germany. I wrote a whole article about how Germany (and Europe) is safe to visit if that’s a concern of yours.

Generally, you just need to watch out for scams and petty crime as you would anywhere (especially in Berlin late at night). Keep an eye on your valuables when in large crowds and on public transportation. Violent crime is rare so as long as you keep your valuables secure you shouldn’t experience any issues.

Scams are rare but if you’re worried about getting ripped off you can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

Solo female travelers should feel safe in Germany, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone at night intoxicated, etc.).

If you experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Germany Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!
  • BlaBlaCar – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that lets you share rides with vetted local drivers by pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve, and off you go! It’s a cheaper and more interesting way to travel than by bus or train!

Germany Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Germany and continue planning your trip:

Where to Stay in Berlin: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Berlin: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

How to Survive Oktoberfest

How to Survive Oktoberfest

The 18 Best Things To Do in Berlin

The 18 Best Things To Do in Berlin

Munich is Better than Berlin

Munich is Better than Berlin

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  • Where To Stay
  • Transportation
  • Booking Resources
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The Most Beautiful Places in Germany, From Fairytale Castles to Alpine Lakes

By Caitlin Morton

most beautiful places in germany Mosel Germany

The most beautiful places in Germany are at once charming, bewitching, and staggeringly pretty. Not only does the country contain alpine peaks and mysterious forests, but its major cities and charming small towns are testaments to man-made beauty: think white Rococo churches, streets lined with timbered houses, and castles that seem almost too majestic to be real.

From the fairytale castles along the Romantic Road to vineyard-covered hills along the Rhine River—and everywhere in between—here are 24 impossibly lovely places to visit on your next trip to Germany.

This article was originally published in 2017. It has been updated with new information.

Eibsee Germany

Eibsee, Bavaria

Germany has no shortage of beautiful alpine lakes, but few are quite as stunning as Eibsee, located at the base of Germany’s highest mountain (Zugspitze). The glistening lake features crystal-clear water, a scattering of islands, and a hiking trail with plenty of overlooks to capture the perfect photo.

Görlitz Germany

Görlitz, Saxony

Back in 2017 , this small city won the “European Location Award”—an annual prize given by the European Film Commission Network to recognize outstanding TV and movie filming locations. Görlitz is perhaps most famous for appearing in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), but film buffs will recognize parts of town that appeared in The Reader (2008) and Inglourious Basterds (2009), as well.

Sylt Germany

Sylt, Schleswig-Holstein

This skinny island seven miles out into the North Sea is like nowhere else in the country, with rolling heathered dunes, thatched roof cottages, beach saunas, and the surrounding Wadden Sea. In other words, it’s like Germany’s version of the Hamptons .

Rakotzbrucke Germany

Rakotzbrücke (Rakotz Bridge), Saxony

Hidden in Kromlau’s Rhododendron Park, Rakotzbrücke is a 19th-century bridge that creates a perfect stone circle when reflected in the waters below it. Rakotzbrücke is often referred to as “Devil's Bridge,” since the structure seems so impossible that it must have been built by, well, the devil.

Zwinger Dresden Germany

Zwinger, Dresden

Once the festival arena of the Dresden Court, the Zwinger palace complex is a stunning example of Baroque architecture . Today, the palace serves as a museum and houses an Old Masters gallery, the Dresden porcelain collection, and the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments.

The Bastei bridge Saxon Switzerland National Park Germany

Saxon Switzerland, Saxony

If you think you’ve seen all of the most beautiful places in Germany, rest assured that there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path sites left to explore. Case in point: Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland), a slice of rugged and rocky countryside just south of Dresden. Roughly one-third of Saxon Switzerland was designated a national park in 1990, and the area contains surprising attractions like the Bastei Bridge—an arched structure sitting more than 600 feet above the Elbe River.

Pilgrimage Church of Wies Bavaria

Pilgrimage Church of Wies, Bavaria

With its bright colors and exuberant frescoes, the UNESCO-listed Church of Wies is a masterpiece of Rococo architecture—with the added bonus of a scenic Alpine setting.

Königssee Germany

Berchtesgaden National Park, Bavaria

Located near the Austrian border, the only national park in the German Alps is equal parts picturesque and biodiverse. The site is a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve, which means you won’t find any developed towns or settlements here. Instead, you’ll find untouched natural wonders like Königssee, an alpine lake with crystal-clear water and fjord-like surroundings.

Historic town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber Franconia Bavaria Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, well-known for its preserved medieval old town, draws millions of tourists each year with its made-for-Instagram multicolored facades. Try to visit in December to experience the Reiterlesmarkt, one of the best Christmas markets in the entire country.

Zugspitze Germany

Zugspitze, Bavaria

Sitting at an altitude of over 9,700 feet, Zugspitze (part of the Wetterstein Mountains) is the highest peak in Germany. Cable cars will take you to the summit, where you can enjoy restaurants, a beer garden, and some of the best views of the Alps.

Geierlay Germany

Geierlay Suspension Bridge, Rhineland-Palatinate

With a length of 1,180 feet and height of 330 feet, the Geierlay Suspension Bridge (Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay) is not exactly for the faint of heart. But its stunning setting in the Hunsrück Mountains might just inspire you to face your fears.

Cologne Cathedral Germany

Cologne Cathedral, North Rhine-Westphalia

Germany’s largest Gothic church took more than seven centuries to construct, and it’s hard to argue the remarkable behemoth wasn’t worth the time and effort. The cathedral’s major attractions are its dual spires, stained glass murals, and Shrine of the Three Kings, which is said to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men.

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg

Set atop a 768-foot bluff in the foothills of the Swabian Alps, this picturesque castle is more than just nice to look at: With its many towers and fortifications, it's considered a relic of 19th-century military architecture. It's perhaps most impressive on overcast days when it peeks out above the fog—a literal castle on a cloud.

Rügen Germany

Rügen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Germany’s largest island has Baltic beaches, chalk-white cliffs, and a number of luxurious seaside resorts. Rügen is actually accessible by train, meaning you can leave Berlin in the morning and arrive at the island by lunchtime.

Harz National Park Lower Saxony

Harz National Park, Lower Saxony

Harz National Park is located within Germany’s most northern mountain range, and it’s one of the country’s most popular areas for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.

Museum Island Berlin

Museum Island, Berlin

An ensemble of five museums, Museum Island is actually on another island (Spree) in the Mitte district. Built between 1824 and 1930, it became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.

most beautiful places in germany Mosel Germany

Mosel, Rhineland-Palatinate

Mosel is one of Germany’s most prestigious wine regions , with terraced vineyards covering the valleys of several rivers (Mosel, Saar, etc.) near the Luxembourg border. Aside from its famous Riesling grapes, Mosel’s attractions include medieval villages, traditional German taverns, and plenty of riverside views.

Tüchersfeld Germany

Tüchersfeld, Bavaria

This Bavarian village in the Püttlach Valley is postcard-perfect—so much so that it has been featured on German postage stamps. But no matter how many photos you’ve seen of the town, you really must see the timber-framed houses and sky-high rock formations in person.

Stuttgart City Library Germany

Stuttgart City Library, Baden-Württemberg

Situated in a concrete cube in the heart of southern Germany, this isn't your average library. The main attraction (a five-story reading room shaped like an upside-down pyramid) looks more like an M.C. Escher drawing than a typical library—until you notice the hundreds of thousands of neatly stacked books, that is. Cozy? Not really. Beautiful? You bet.

Neuschwanstein Castle Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

Built in 1886, Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular castles in all of Europe—and not just because it served as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. The majestic structure has a clifftop location and ornate rooms that attract 1.4 million visitors every year.

The Black Forest Germany

Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg

Stretching across southwest Germany is the Black Forest , a wooded mountain range known for its dense 100-mile stretch of pine trees, picturesque villages, natural thermal spas, and, believe it or not, the invention of the cuckoo clock. The area doesn’t just look like a scene out of a storybook, though—legend says the Brothers Grimm drew inspiration from the forested area in their native country for fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel .

Lubeck Germany

Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein

Located on the Baltic coast, Lübeck is a striking, colorful town that dates back to the 12th century. The UNESCO-protected city was one of northern Europe’s major trading hubs through the centuries; as such, it transformed into today’s multicultural port defined by its red-brick city gates and gothic churches.

Marburg Germany

Marburg, Hesse

If you want to get the full German fairytale experience , you can’t do much better than the Hessian town of Marburg—also known as the university town where the Brothers Grimm studied and gathered inspiration for some of their stories. Renowned for its cascading cobblestone streets and medieval churches, the town also features playful sculptures of the Grimms’ most famous characters, from the Frog King reading a book on the side of a building to Cinderella’s slipper sitting beneath the towering Marburger Schloss castle.

Germany MecklenburgVorpommern Schwerin Schwerin Castle at dusk

Schwerin Castle, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Modeled off the chateaux of France’s Loire Valley, Schwerin Castle offers a delicious taste of French Renaissance architecture in northeast Germany. The residential palace is surrounded by water (who doesn’t love a castle on a lake?) and boasts a 60-acre garden, statues of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, and a whopping 653 rooms adorned in lush fabrics and oil paintings.

travel west germany

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Castles and Palaces: Fairytale Film Settings

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The sun is warming the air, the days are getting longer, everywhere things are budding and blossoming: it's spring in Germany - time for getaways, blossom festivals, asparagus feasting and popular Easter traditions.

Summer At Last: Beer Gardens, Swimming Fun, Strawberry Ice Cream

Golden sunshine, colourful forests: the Indian summer can also be found in Germany. An ideal time for active holidaymakers and wellness fans. And for epicures, since this is harvest time.

Winter is the favourite season for any romantic. Outside, snowed-in forests and frozen lakes beckon. Inside, it feels cosy with baked goods, mulled wine and candlelight.

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Know Germany

How Did West Berliners Get to West Germany

As someone who is curious about history and the human experience, I invite you to join me on a journey to discover how West Berliners managed to escape to West Germany during the Cold War. In this post, we will explore the various ways in which they accomplished this feat, including the creation of escape routes, the role of tunneling and air travel, and the importance of diplomacy. By the end of this post, you will have gained a deeper appreciation for the courage and resourcefulness of those who risked their lives to make it to freedom.

So let’s delve into the untold story of how West Berliners managed to escape to West Germany, and uncover the secrets and challenges that they faced along the way. Join me on this journey to discover how they managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to achieve their dreams of a better life.

The Background of the Berlin Wall

Before we dive into the story of how West Berliners managed to escape to West Germany, let’s first take a look at the background of the Berlin Wall. The wall was built in 1961 by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to prevent East Germans from fleeing to the West. The GDR claimed that the wall was necessary to protect its citizens from the fascist West, but in reality, it was a tool for the communist regime to maintain power.

The Berlin Wall was not just a physical barrier but a symbol of the Cold War and the ideological divide between East and West. It was a brutal reminder of the totalitarian regime that ruled East Germany and the oppression of its people. The wall was heavily guarded, and attempts to escape were met with deadly force. Nevertheless, many East Germans risked their lives to cross the border, and some succeeded.

The Iron Curtain and Its Impact

The Iron Curtain, a term coined by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was a political and ideological barrier that separated the communist countries of Eastern Europe from the capitalist countries of Western Europe after World War II . This division had a profound impact on the lives of the people living in both East and West Germany, particularly in Berlin.

The Iron Curtain created a physical and cultural divide that resulted in the construction of the Berlin Wall, which separated West Berlin from East Berlin and the rest of East Germany. This wall became a symbol of the Cold War and the divide between the Western and Eastern powers. It also had a profound impact on the people of Berlin, who were separated from friends and family on the other side and lived in constant fear of being unable to cross the wall to escape to the West.

The Creation of Escape Routes

Escape routes were essential for West Berliners who wanted to leave East Germany. During the early days of the Berlin Wall, there were only a few escape routes available. However, as time went on, more routes were created, allowing for easier passage between West Berlin and West Germany.

One of the earliest escape routes was the use of passenger trains. West Berliners could board trains that would take them through East Germany and into West Germany. However, this route was risky, as there was always the chance that the train would be stopped and searched by East German officials.

Another popular escape route was by car. West Berliners could drive through East Germany, and with the right documents and permissions, could make their way to West Germany. However, this route was also risky, as there were many checkpoints along the way, and East German officials could easily discover and detain those trying to escape.

Tunneling was also a common method of escape. Many tunnels were dug under the Berlin Wall, allowing West Berliners to make their way to the other side undetected. However, tunneling was a dangerous and difficult process, and only a small number of West Berliners were able to use this method to escape.

As the years went on, more escape routes were created, including air travel and diplomatic efforts. These routes were often safer and more reliable than previous methods, and allowed for more West Berliners to successfully escape to West Germany.

The creation of these escape routes is a testament to the determination and resilience of the West Berliners who sought freedom from the oppressive regime in East Germany. Their bravery and ingenuity helped many people escape to a better life in West Germany.

The Most Famous Escape Attempts

Escape attempts from West Berlin were not uncommon during the time of the Berlin Wall, but some were more daring and dramatic than others. Here are a few of the most famous escape attempts that captured the world’s attention.

One of the most well-known escape attempts was that of Peter Fechter, a young bricklayer who attempted to climb over the wall with a friend in August 1962. Fechter was shot and left to bleed out on the East Berlin side while guards watched on, and his friend was also shot and captured.

Another famous escape was that of Harry Deterling, who used a homemade hot air balloon to fly over the wall with his family in 1979. The balloon was made from fabric purchased in East Germany, and Deterling and his family successfully landed in West Germany, although they were eventually sent back to East Germany due to legal technicalities.

Perhaps the most famous escape attempt was that of Conrad Schumann, an East German soldier who famously leaped over the barbed wire of the wall in 1961. The photograph of him in mid-air became an iconic image of the Cold War, and Schumann went on to live in West Germany for the rest of his life.

These daring escapes demonstrate the incredible lengths that people were willing to go to in order to achieve freedom during this tumultuous time in history.

The Role of Tunneling in Escape Attempts

Tunneling became one of the most creative and risky ways for West Berliners to escape to West Germany during the Cold War. The first tunnel was dug in 1961, just a few months after the construction of the Berlin Wall.

The tunnels were usually dug by small groups of people who risked their live s to help others escape. The tunnels were dug secretly, usually starting from basements of buildings on the Western side of the Wall and ending in buildings on the Eastern side.

Tunneling required a great deal of skill and patience, and many attempts failed due to technical difficulties or because they were discovered by the authorities. Some tunnels were discovered before they were even completed, while others collapsed during the digging process.

Despite the risks, many people were willing to take the chance and try to escape through a tunnel. It is estimated that over 300 people were able to escape to West Germany through tunnels, with the most successful being the famous “Tunnel 57”.

Tunnel 57 was dug by a group of students and work ers, and was completed in October 1964. The tunnel was 145 meters long and took six months to build. The escape was successful, with 57 people managing to get through the tunnel before it was discovered by the authorities.

Tunneling was a dangerous but effective way for West Berliners to escape to the West. It required courage, dedication, and a willingness to take great risks. Today, many of the tunnels have been filled in or destroyed, but their legacy lives on as a symbol of the determination and ingenuity of the people who lived through one of the most challenging times in modern history.

The Importance of Air Travel in Escaping West Berlin

Air travel played a significant role in the escape of West Berliners during the Cold War. When the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, it became increasingly difficult for citizens to cross the border between East and West Berlin. The East German government made it nearly impossible for citizens to leave East Berlin or East Germany through any means, including air travel.

However, West Berliners were still able to use air travel as a means of escape. Flights from West Berlin to other countries were not subject to the same restrictions as land or rail travel, making air travel a viable option for those seeking to escape. Additionally, the Allies maintained air corridors that allowed flights to and from West Berlin to continue despite the Soviet blockade.

Many West Berliners took advantage of this loophole and fled to other countries through air travel. Some flew directly to West Germany, while others used connecting flights to other destinations. In some cases, individuals would book a flight and then simply not return to West Berlin, effectively defecting.

While air travel provided a relatively safe means of escape, it was not without its risks. East German officials closely monitored flights leaving and entering West Berlin, and there were instances where individuals were detained or arrested upon landing in their destination country. Nonetheless, air travel remained a vital means of escape for those seeking to leave East Germany and West Berlin during the Cold War.

Today, the significance of air travel in the history of West Berlin’s escape routes is remembered and commemorated at the Berlin Airlift Memorial, located at the former Tempelhof Airport. The memorial serves as a reminder of the courage and determination of those who sought freedom and the role that air travel played in making it possible.

The Role of Diplomacy in the Escape of West Berliners

As tensions between the East and West began to thaw in the late 1960s, so did the restrictions on travel for West Berliners. In 1971, a transit agreement was signed between the two Germanys, allowing West Berliners to visit East Germany and even West Germany via train, bus, and boat.

But for those looking to permanently escape East Germany, diplomatic efforts were key. One example is the 1984 “deal of the century,” in which East Germany traded political prisoners for hard currency and much-needed Western technology. The deal included the release of several high-profile political prisoners, including dissident Rudolf Bahro, who had been imprisoned for criticizing the East German government.

Diplomatic efforts also played a role in the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. In the months leading up to the historic event, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl engaged in a series of negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Kohl’s efforts were crucial in securing Gorbachev’s support for German reunification.

Overall, while tunneling and air travel were certainly important in the escape of West Berliners, diplomacy was a crucial component in the eventual reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War.

The Aftermath of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, marked the end of a divided Berlin and Germany. After 28 years of separation, the wall came down, and the world watched in amazement as Germans on both sides reunited in celebration.

However, the reunification process was not without its challenges. The economic disparity between East and West Germany was significant, and the process of integrating the two regions was difficult and costly. The privatization of state-owned industries in the East resulted in high unemployment rates, and many East Germans felt left behind.

Additionally, the process of reunification brought to light many issues related to the Stasi, the former East German secret police. Many former Stasi officers were investigated and brought to justice for their actions during the Cold War, including spying on their fellow citizens.

Despite these challenges, the reunification of Germany is considered a triumph of diplomacy and democracy. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of a new era in German history, one of unity and cooperation between East and West.

Today, the Berlin Wall serves as a reminder of the Cold War and the division it caused. The wall’s remains can be seen throughout the city, and many museums and memorials have been established to honor those who suffered during the years of separation.

The legacy of the Berlin Wall is one of hope and resilience. It stands as a symbol of the human desire for freedom and unity, and a reminder of the power of people to overcome even the most difficult challenges.

The Legacy of the Berlin Wall Today

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked a turning point in world history. The end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany were significant events that changed the political landscape of Europe and the world. Today, the Berlin Wall serves as a reminder of the division that once existed between East and West and the struggles and sacrifices made by those who sought to cross it.

The remains of the Berlin Wall have become a symbol of hope and freedom. They serve as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of people to overcome oppression and tyranny. The East Side Gallery, a section of the wall that has been preserved and turned into an outdoor art gallery, is a popular tourist attraction and a tribute to the artists who used the wall as a canvas for their messages of hope and freedom.

The legacy of the Berlin Wall also includes the lessons learned from its construction and ultimate destruction. The wall was a physical manifestation of the division and mistrust that existed between the East and the West. Its fall was a testament to the power of diplomacy and peaceful protest. Today, the Berlin Wall serves as a reminder of the importance of building bridges instead of walls, of finding common ground instead of perpetuating division.

The legacy of the Berlin Wall is not only a reminder of the past but also a call to action for the future. It is a reminder of the value of freedom and democracy, of the importance of respecting human rights and individual liberties. It is a call to action to continue to fight against oppression and tyranny, to stand up for what is right, and to never forget the sacrifices of those who came before us.

The Stories of the West Berliners Who Escaped

During the Cold War, West Berliners were living in a unique and difficult situation, cut off from the rest of West Germany by the Berlin Wall. Many attempted to escape the oppressive regime of East Germany by any means necessary, whether it be through tunnels, air travel, or even by swimming across the Spree River.

These escape attempts were not without risk, as the East German border guards were authorized to use deadly force to prevent anyone from leaving. Despite this, many West Berliners were successful in their attempts to escape, and their stories serve as a testament to the human spirit and determination.

One such story is that of Wolfgang Engels, who escaped from East Berlin in 1963 with his pregnant wife and two young children. They made their way to the West German embassy in Vienna, where they were granted asylum. Another notable story is that of Günter Wetzel, who was part of a group of friends that dug a 145-meter-long tunnel under the Berlin Wall in 1962. They successfully escaped and went on to live free lives in West German y.

The stories of these and other West Berliners who risked everything to escape the oppressive regime of East Germany are a reminder of the resilience and courage of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Today, we can look back on these stories and appreciate the sacrifices and determination of those who came before us.

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The Top Places to Visit in the South of Germany

Overview of the most popular cities and sights in the south of Germany; just click on the links and you'll find more information about the different travel destinations in Germany.

Munich  (München), the capital of Bavaria and the gateway to the German Alps, is one of Germany's most popular travel destinations , famous for its interesting mix of traditional Bavarian culture, modern living and high-tech industries. Contemporary architecture goes hand in hand with grand avenues, first-class museums, and baroque palaces, which are a salute to Munich's royal past. And, of course, Munich hosts the annual Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, which draws over 6 million visitors to the Bavarian capital every fall.​

Nuremberg  (Nürnberg) is the second largest city in Bavaria and alive with history - from the Imperial Castle, the traditional residence of Germany's emperors, and the Old Town filled with timber-framed houses, to the home of Albrecht Durer, and the Nazi Rally Party Grounds.

Located in the Franconian wine-growing region in Bavaria, ​Würzburg is set idyllically on both sides of the river Main. The city used to be home of Germany's powerful prince-bishops, and you can still find their legacy in Würzburg's baroque architecture. The highlight of the city is its Residence Palace (Residenz), one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Europe and part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Neuschwanstein

The world's most famous castle,  Neuschwanstein , is nestled in the Alps, and it seems to come straight out of a fairy tale; no wonder Walt Disney drew inspiration from it for his Sleeping Beauty castle. Built in 1869, Bavarian King Ludwig II constructed this fantastic castle not for defense but for pleasure -- it was his private summer retreat. And although the design of Neuschwanstein may look medieval, Ludwig made sure to build in modern technologies of the day, such as flush toilets and heating.

Stuttgart , the state capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg , is located in the southwest corner of Germany. In 1886 the automobile was invented here, and Stuttgart is still the home of Mercedes and Porsche (and their fascinating car museums). With its many parks and surrounding vineyards, Stuttgart is one of the greenest cities in Germany.

10 miles northeast of Munich you'll find the town of Dachau. The city became infamous for being the site of the first concentration camp built in Nazi Germany. The camp has been turned into a memorial site that features the original barracks, prisoner baths, and crematorium, as well as a historic exhibition. After visiting the concentration camp, head into Dachau's Old Town, which has a very picturesque historic city center, overlooked by a castle.

Romantic Road

One of Germany's most popular scenic drives, the  Romantic Road  leads you from the Franconia Wine Country all the way to the foothills of the German Alps; on your way, enjoy unspoiled nature, picturesque towns with city walls, towers and half-timbered houses, hidden monasteries, and enchanting hotels.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany, located along the Romantic Road. Walk atop the medieval wall that encircles the old city center, or go to the top of the historical Town Hall for a spectacular view of the region. The town is very popular for day-trippers and it gets very crowded in summer.

This thriving university town is located right across the border of France and Switzerland, in the southwestern corner of Germany. For many travelers, Freiburg is just the gateway to the Black Forest, but the city has plenty to offer itself: a spectacular Minster, historical merchant's houses, medieval squares, and many laid-back restaurants and wine bars.

Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden is located 60 km northeast of Strasbourg, France in the Black Forest region of Germany; the city is famous for one of the oldest casinos in Germany and its many spas and thermal springs, which date back to the era of the Romans.

Germany Guide: Planning Your Trip

The Best Cities to Visit in Bavaria: Munich and Nuremberg

Your Trip to Munich: The Complete Guide

Photos of the Romantic Road in Germay

Top 10 Things to Do in Bavaria, Germany

Best Stops on Germany's Romantic Road

Top 10 Attractions in Germany

Most Romantic Locations in Germany

How to Get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Best Underrated Cities in Germany

Map of the Best of Baden Wurttemberg

Germany's Best Scenic Drives

The 7 Best Day Trips From Nuremberg, Germany

The Top 23 Things to Do in Munich

The Top 9 Day Trips From Frankfurt

Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Germany

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COMMENTS

  1. The 10 Best Cities and Towns to Visit in Western Germany

    4. Mainz. Museum. Share. Markus Winkler / Unsplash. View Tours. Mainz, the southern endpoint of Germany's famed Castle Cruise, is home to beautiful architecture like the Romanesque Mainz Cathedral, St. Augustine's Church, and St. Stephan's Church. Additionally, Mainz is a delight for wine connoisseurs and foodies. 5.

  2. 12 Unmissable Places To Visit In Western Germany Before You Die

    12. Xanten. Xanten. Xanten is a unique fusion of ancient history and pastoral charm. The Archaeological Park, one of Germany's largest open-air museums, brings the Roman past to life, allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of soldiers and citizens of Roman Germania.

  3. Best Destinations in Western Germany

    Speyer: Speyer, located along the banks of the Rhine River in the southwest of Germany, is famous for its Imperial Cathedral from the 11th century, one of Germany's largest and most important. Its crypt contains the tombs of eight German emperors and kings as well as several bishops. Speyer Travel Guide.

  4. 10 Most Amazing Destinations in Western Germany

    The west part of Germany is a region of contrasts, from heavy industry to romantic river cruises where vineyards and medieval castles reign. Yes, western Germany is definitely worth a visit. Many of the towns owe their beginnings to the Romans, and some ruins can be found today. ... Travel Inspiration. 10 Best Places to Visit in October. 10 ...

  5. 10 Best Cities & Places to Visit in Western Germany

    Depending on the length of your Rhine cruise, major cities, such as Cologne and even the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, may be a part of the trip. 9. Düsseldorf Altstadt. Düsseldorf is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Altstadt (or Old Town) is referred to as the longest bar in the world.

  6. 8 Great Places to Visit in Western Germany

    COLOGNE. Cologne, in western Germany, spans the Rhine River. The 2,000-year-old city oozes culture, design, great food and gothic architecture. Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom is the focal point of the city overlooking the old town. Contrasting the old with the new is the Rheinauhafen area where the architecture of the modern Crane buildings ...

  7. The Best Places to Visit in Western Germany

    8. Munich. If you are planning a trip to Western Germany, Munich should definitely be on your list of places to visit. This city is known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and of course, its famous Oktoberfest celebration. One of the most iconic landmarks in Munich is the Neuschwanstein Castle, which is located just outside the city ...

  8. The 52 Places Traveler: A Road (and River) Trip Through Western Germany

    Jada Yuan is traveling to every place on this year's 52 Places to Go list. For more coverage, or to send Jada tips and suggestions, please follow her on Twitter at @jadabird and on Instagram at ...

  9. 5-14 Day Germany Itinerary: A Guide For Planning Your Perfect Germany Trip

    Germany Travel Itinerary 7 Days - West. For this itinerary, the total driving time would be around 14 - 15 hours and the distance would be slightly over 1100 km. For these calculations, we included the day trip to Monschau (and back to Cologne) as well as the day trip to Freiburg im Breisgau (and back to Stuttgart), which would be a longer ...

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    This West Germany road trip is a real treat to any traveller. It's blessed with that perfectly German brand of romance: castles, half-timbered houses, and gorgeous cobbled streets. And, of course, its star player, the Rhine river, weaving its way through a landscape of lush vineyards, sweeping forests, mountain-top castles, and perfectly ...

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    Görlitz. Franz Meinelt/Getty Images. Germany's easternmost town quite literally straddles the Germany-Poland border — just cross the Neisse River by footbridge from Görlitz, and you'll find ...

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    2. Cologne. Cologne (Köln) is known for its liberal climate and its wealth of historic sights. Taking its name from the Romans (who founded it in the first century CE as Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium), it's been a major center of German history for centuries.

  13. West Berlin

    West Berlin (German: Berlin (West) or West-Berlin, German pronunciation: [ˈvɛstbɛʁˌliːn] ⓘ) was a political enclave which comprised the western part of Berlin from 1948 until 1990, during the Cold War.Although West Berlin lacked any sovereignty and was under military occupation until German reunification in 1990, the territory was claimed by the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG ...

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    Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest. Berlin. Munich. Hamburg. City West & Charlottenburg. Historic Mitte. Prenzlauer Berg. St Pauli & Reeperbahn. Germany's best sights and local secrets, from travel experts you can trust.

  15. Germany Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Germany Travel Guide. Last Updated: April 29, 2024. Germany. The country is synonymous with beer, sausages, incredible hiking, majestic castles, serious people, and wild techno parties. It's huge, diverse, and utterly amazing. There's a vibrant art and music scene in Berlin, beautiful forests in the west, majestic cathedrals and castles ...

  16. West Germany recommendations : r/solotravel

    Heidelberg-Beautiful town with enormous castle Hohenzollern. Trier-Quaint small town central to Battle of the Bulge, WW2 history. Also homes one of the oldest still in tact Roman structures, a bath house. Koln-One of the most magnificent Gothic cathedrals in Germany.

  17. The Most Beautiful Places in Germany

    Stretching across southwest Germany is the Black Forest, a wooded mountain range known for its dense 100-mile stretch of pine trees, picturesque villages, natural thermal spas, and, believe it or ...

  18. Top Attractions and Insider Tips for your Holiday

    Spring in Germany. Summer At Last: Beer Gardens, Swimming Fun, Strawberry Ice Cream. Summer Pleasures in Germany. Golden sunshine, colourful forests: the Indian summer can also be found in Germany. An ideal time for active holidaymakers and wellness fans. And for epicures, since this is harvest time. Autumn Holidays in Germany.

  19. Western Germany

    Karneval word (the 17th-century tradition) is used in northwest Germany, while the word Fasching refers to a similar celebration in southern Germany. The big day for Karneval is the Rose Monday parade. Carnevale to the German Rhineland spread from France. Fastnacht, a word is used very rarely. An exception is the city of Mainz. In all each of ...

  20. How Did West Berliners Get to West Germany

    As tensions between the East and West began to thaw in the late 1960s, so did the restrictions on travel for West Berliners. In 1971, a transit agreement was signed between the two Germanys, allowing West Berliners to visit East Germany and even West Germany via train, bus, and boat.

  21. The Top Places to Visit in the South of Germany

    Munich . Munich (München), the capital of Bavaria and the gateway to the German Alps, is one of Germany's most popular travel destinations, famous for its interesting mix of traditional Bavarian culture, modern living and high-tech industries.Contemporary architecture goes hand in hand with grand avenues, first-class museums, and baroque palaces, which are a salute to Munich's royal past.

  22. How did people in West Berlin travel to West Germany when the ...

    Trains, cars, and planes. By rail, the western locomotives had to be replaced by East German locomotives at the border. By air, only carriers of the western Allies were allowed to make the West Germany to West Berlin trip. That meant Air France, British Airways, and Pan Am in the pre- Lokerbie days. The largest rail and road checkpoint was the ...

  23. Crossing the inner German border during the Cold War

    Not until 1972 were younger East Germans permitted to travel to the West, though few did so until the mid-1980s. They were rarely permitted to take their own car but had to go by train or bus instead. ... In exchange, West Germany paid over 3.4 billion DM - nearly $2.3 billion at 1990 prices - in goods and hard currency. The annual ransom ...