The top 12 best places to visit in Germany, the attractions you must not miss out on!
History, culture, and natural beauty best describe the essence of vacationing in Germany. With its many historic cities and small towns, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a unique place to visit.
Those wanting to sightsee or experience the arts should head to metropolitan areas such as Munich, Berlin, or Hamburg. While those looking for recreational activities should visit places such as the Bavarian Alps, the Black Forest, or the Rhine Valley.
Below I have collected places everyone should have on their bucket list when visiting Germany.
Best Places to Visit: Rakotzbrücke, Devils Bridge, Saxony
This unique looking bridge is tucked away in a small park in Saxony, Germany.
Numerous “Devil’s Bridges” were built during medieval times. These bridges are masonry bridges that are either so spectacular or so challenging to build that only the devil could have helped with their construction.
The legend goes that the devil helps to build the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first human who crosses the bridge. Each bridge has its own unique folktale.
Best Places To Visit: Bastei Bridge, Saxony
Bastei Bridge is a 76,5 m man-made bridge which connects the rock formations. Giant pinnacles of sandstone rock tower over the Elbe River and the green countryside.
Spanning these pinnacles is a stone bridge, dramatic in its appearance, as it connects these towers of rock and then seems to lead nowhere.
Bastei and the Bastei Bridge are the highlights of the german Saxon Switzerland National Park area. You shouldn’t miss visiting this attraction!
You can visit this place either with a Guided Hiking Trip, or a Full-Day Guided Tour
Best Places to Visit: Zugspitze, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria
The frontier between Germany and Austria and is surrounded by steep valleys. The eastern summit, at 2,962 meters, is crowned by a gilded cross and can be reached by the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, a cog railway, or by cable car.
Take the cable car to the top. On the ride, you’ll see views of the Alps, scattered through Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Utterly amazing!
Once on top of Zugspitze, you are straddling the border between Austria and Germany. Each country has a terrace, complete with museums and restaurants, connected by a narrow walkway. Whether you ascend from Germany or Austria, once on top you can easily access all areas of the summit.
Of course, it’s possible to hike up in summer months but it’s a very long, i.e. 10- to 12 hours and is only recommended for experienced hikers due to the length and because there’s a via ferrata (Klettersteig) near the top.
Take part in a full-day tour where you can sit back and relax while taking a comfortable tour bus to the highest peak in Germany.
Best Places to Visit: Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most iconic sights in today’s vibrant Berlin. More than just Berlin’s only surviving historic city gate.
This site came to symbolize Berlin’s Cold War division into East and West, and since the fall of the Wall, a reunified Germany. Architecturally, the sandstone Brandenburg Gate also represents one of the earliest and most attractive examples of a neo-classical building in Germany.
The best way to explore Berlin and Brandenburg Gate is by joining a walking tour. You can either do a 2-Hour Guided Tour, or a 4-Hour Guided Tour.
Best Places to Visit: Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
It is located on the banks of the Rhine and is undoubtedly Cologne’s most impressive landmark. This masterpiece of High Gothic architecture, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe.
Other highlights include the panoramic views from the South Towers, the 12th- and 13th-century stained glass in the Three Kings Chapel, and the Treasury with its many precious objects, all of which survived largely intact after WWII.
For some of the best vistas over the city and river, climb the 533 steps to the viewing platform in the South Tower.
If you want a different experience check out this Night Tour in the Cathedral. Or a Classic Walking Tour to explore all the highlights.
Related Reading: 10 Things to do in Cologne
Best Places to Visit Germany: The Black Forest
The beautiful Black Forest with its dark, densely-wooded hills is one of the most visited upland regions in all of Europe.
On the west side, it descends steeply to the Rhine, crossed by lush valleys, while on the east, it slopes more gently down to the upper Neckar and Danube valleys.
Popular spots include Germany’s oldest ski area at Todtnau, the magnificent spa towns of Baden-Baden and Bad Liebenzell.
Related Reading: 5 Tips for hiking in the Black Forest or Visit the Baden-Baden Ruins.
Best Places to Visit Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle
Is one of the Europes most famous castle. Part of the charm of this 19th century Romanesque Revival Castle is its location. Situated high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau at the foot of the German Alps in Bavaria, it’s just breathtaking!
Designed in a mix of Roman, Gothic, and Byzantine styles, all randomly blended. Highly stylistic, it pays homage to the German composer Richard Wagner.
I find it over-the-top and incredibly unique. I would recommend a visit by joining a tour. On this tour, you visit both Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.
Related Reading: How to make the most of your visit to Neuschwanstein
Best Places to Visit Germany: Marienplatz, Munich
It’s the city’s most famous square. Located in the heart of the Altstadt (old town), it is the best place to start a tour of Munich with many interesting things to see and do, and it is within walking distance to even more must-see attractions of Munich.
A fun way to explore the Marienplatz and its surroundings is by joining the Hop on Hop of buses. Just buy a travel pass, and go explore.
Related reading: Munich City Guide, and Munich Science Museum
Best Places to Visit Germany: The Rhine Valley
This magnificent river stretches from Switzerland through Germany all the way to the Netherlands. While there are many places in Germany to enjoy this majestic river, the lovely Upper Middle Rhine Valley section. – designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here, this often dramatic 65-kilometre stretch of river boasts more than 40 castles and some 60 picturesque medieval towns all just waiting to be explored either by river cruise or by car.
I recommend doing a cruise to fully explore the beautiful river.
Kings Lake, Königssee, Bavaria
Located near the town of Berchtesgaden, it is Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake. It’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Germany, if not in Europe.
Lake Königsee can only be explored via electric boats. The tour consists of two stops. The first and most popular stop, after exploring the majesty of the lake, is the church of Saint Bartholomä. This is a quaint and uniquely designed church – yet not very large in stature
The second stop on the lake is Salet. Most people come to Salet to enjoy some hiking. The most popular hike here leads to the beautiful Obersee Lake. See this tour to experience this beautiful lake!
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria
One of the most attractive places on Germany’s famous Romantic Road tourist route lies on the steep banks of the picturesque River Tauber.
With its walls and towers untouched since the Thirty Years War of 1618, this completely preserved picture-perfect medieval town offers endless charm
Simply walking the old streets past these beautiful buildings is a timeless experience. Especially if it involves the Plönlein, one of the town’s most picturesque spots. And after all that adventure, end your visit at one of the many fine restaurants dotted around the town.
Best Places to Visit: Heidelberg
It is one of the few German cities that weren’t destroyed in World War II. This means that plenty of old-world charm fills the narrow cobblestone streets and baroque city center. Epitomizing Germany’s romantic period of the 18th century.
The stunning views and surroundings combined with a history that spans 800 years back. No wonder why travellers keep exploring this area, – and you should too!
If you want to fully immerse yourself in both Heidelberg area and the Castle you should check out this private 3 Hour Historical Tour. Or if you’re up for a bit more adventure while admiring historical sights and the castle ruins, you should try the Highlights Segway Tour.
Related reading: Heidelberg Castle, everything you need to know.