With the ultimate blend of history, rich cultural heritage, and unrestricted natural beauty, Germany is one of the most spectacular tourist attractions. This European country offers an experience that you will never forget.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a nature seeker, Germany offers a lot to please every taste. From significant historical monuments and old towns to state-of-the-art buildings and modern skyscrapers and much more, Germany has it all.
The countryside is gorgeous; the castles and medieval villages are charming; the ancient churches are breathtaking, and the museums are second to none. Also, with its small towns and historic sites, along with mountains and forests, tourists have lots of options when it comes to exploring the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site-heavy country.
Since Germany offers a wide range of things to do and unforgettable experiences to pick from, it becomes challenging to make up your mind on certain great things.
Nevertheless, here’s a list of great things to do in Germany. Hopefully, it will help you plan your travel and stay in Germany wisely and make the most of your trip.
Cologne's winter boat cruises are a fantastic way to enjoy the city's famous landmarks at Christmas and New Year. A relaxing cruise through Cologne on the Rhine River sets the scene for a magical journey, and onboard you can warm up with mulled wine or a hot chocolate while listening to live music.
Sail past the impressive Brandenburg Gate, the Victory Column and more than 600 other monuments, churches and buildings that have shaped Berlin's history. Learn about Berlin's fascinating past during your narrated cruise from eight different languages. This 1-hour tour also allows you to hop off at any one of its many stops along the way for a closer look at some of Berlin's most famous attractions.
On this 3-hour segway tour, you will see Munich's main sights in just a few hours. Enjoy the city’s most famous attractions - from beautiful parks to the Theatine Church and the Hofgarten. Ride past the Feldherrnhalle and the Theatine Church marvel at the English Garden and the Angel of Peace admire the impressive Maximilianeum, seat of Bavarian State Parliament see the Hofgarten, Munich's famous Eisbach, Siegestor, and other attractions.
Best Things to do in Germany & Places to Visit
Let’s get into the best things to do in Germany!
1. Visit WWII Memorials & Landmarks
Many countries have memorials of World War II, but (as the ones who started it all) none compare with those found in Germany. Every town or village has a memorial in place. Though there are various places, the various concentration camps like Dachau and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin are must-visit.
The Jewish Museum, which traces the history of the Jewish people in Germany, is also an important destination. Other historically significant Second World War sites to visit in the country are as follows:
- Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice, where the trials were held after the war.
- Berchesgarten, home to Hitler’s hideout in the German Alps, The Eagle’s Nest.
- Soviet War Memorial in the Treptower Park.
- The rally grounds of the Nazi Party in Nuremberg
- St. Nicholas’ Church.
- Dachau Concentration Camp.
There are many worthwhile World War II destinations in Germany you can consider visiting. While these sites may not be fun-filled, they are historically remarkable and essential to understanding German, European and global history.
Taking a trip to Germany without visiting these places would be pretty remiss. It’s important to learn lessons from the past so they may never be repeated.
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2. Take a Day to Visit Heidelberg Castle
Sitting on the forest-covered Königstuhl hillside, Heidelberg Castle is another popular tourist destination. This breathtaking castle holds a history as old as Germany itself.
Since it is tucked on a rocky hilltop over the town of Heidelberg near the Neckar River in southwestern Germany, this attraction boasts an eye-catching panoramic view of its surroundings.
This historic castle consists of various buildings around an inner courtyard, with each building highlighting a different period of German architecture. Overall, today, this incredible castle is known as an iconic symbol of Heidelberg.
See Related: Real, Magical Castles in Fairytales to Visit
3. Visit the Museum Island
Museum Island in Berlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best places to visit in Germany. Located between the Kupfergraben and the River Spree right in the middle of the city, this museum complex is the historic heart of Berlin.
This attraction is home to the oldest and most famous museums in the city, including the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, and the Bode Museum.
The Ishtar Gate, the bust of Nefertiti, and the Pergamon Altar are some highlights of this picturesque island of knowledge.
4. Explore Historic Cities
Famous historic cities like Berlin (the largest & capital city), Munich (an old imperial city), Hamburg (the second-largest city), and Nuremberg (home to many important events in German history) are all worth visiting for many reasons.
Berlin, the historic capital city, is the most visited place in Germany, with over 400 art galleries, 138 museums, tons of city parks, and surrounding forests.
Other cities, including Nuremberg, Munich, and Hamburg, are also fascinating to see and walk around. Nuremberg is well-known for its historical landmarks, including the walled Old Town and the imperial castle.
Munich is another special tourist place and features many breweries. It’s popular for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and charming beer gardens. Similarly, Hamburg is known for the Port of Hamburg. It has also become one of Europe’s most important commercial and cultural centers. And it’s where the Beatles actually got started!
There are historic buildings worthy of seeing, along with historical plaques on the ground to teach you more about the area’s history. Immerse yourself in the history of Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Nuremberg by visiting these cities. You won’t regret it!
See Related: Is Germany Safe to Visit?
5. Walk or Bike Along the Berlin Wall
When in Berlin, don’t skip walking or biking along the Berlin Wall to learn about its history. This attraction reflects the former division of the city. It’s a perfect way to travel around Berlin and find out more about the last remains of the Cold War.
Divided into 14 sections, the Berlin Wall Trail combines different historical & cultural highlights and natural charms of the city.
Each walk is between 7 km to 21 km long. Public transportation is another option to explore this fascinating place from one end to another, but a guided bike tour is best!
6. Visit Brandenburg Gate
Also known as Brandenburger Tor, the Brandenburg Gate is another popular tourist attraction in Germany. This 18th Century Neo-classical structure is in the western region of Berlin’s city center. The place is one of the most iconic landmarks of Germany and the first stop for every tourist to Berlin.
Inaugurated in 1791, this monument symbolizes peace in both Europe and Germany. It also represents the freedom and unity of Germany. It has been used for hosting countless well-known historical functions throughout its existence.
Also, since there’s no entrance fee, you can explore the site for free! Overall, this iconic landmark offers fascinating insights into the history of this lively city.
See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in the World to Visit
7. Explore the Miniatur Wunderland
Located in the middle of the historic Port of Hamburg, Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway system globally. This fascinating tourist destination delights youngsters and older people alike! The site has been voted the most famous tourist place in Germany for its unmatched beauty and detail.
Featuring over 12,000 meters of track, this scale model has separate sections dedicated to Germany and other countries and regions, including the USA, Scandinavia, and the UK. It incorporates over 300,000 lights and 890 trains.
Tourists can spend hours exploring this magical world with its crowded cities, detailed miniature airports, bustling harbors, and charming rural scenes.
Attractive, easy to find, and well organized, Miniatur Wunderland place is a must-visit in Germany. To make your experience memorable, consider booking behind-the-scenes tours; a really fun thing to do at night!
8. Admire the Cologne Cathedral
The shrapnel-scarred Cologne Cathedral has earned a position as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. A well-known monument of German Gothic architecture and Catholicism, the place was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996.
Cologne Cathedral features massive twin towers that stand 157 meters or 515 feet tall. It also holds several records. It’s the largest Gothic Church in Northern Europe and the second tallest church in Europe!
In addition, this architectural marvel of chiseled stone is famous for holding the shrine of The Three Wise Men. The building is a monumental sign of the divine on earth. It’s also famous for surviving numerous bombing raids during the Second World War.
Overall, the striking interiors, tall spires, and magnificent panoramic views from the top of the bell tower make it a must-visit tourist attraction.
9. Visit the Reiss Engelhorn Museum
In Mannheim, you will find the Reiss Engelhorn Museum, another one of the most beautiful sites in Germany. Also known as Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen or Museum Zeughaus, the museum has an excellent collection of 19th Century artwork. It features around 1.2 million artifacts in an exhibition area of 11,300 square meters.
The museum also houses some outstanding examples of classical music concerts and theater productions. It is one of the leading exhibition sites in Europe when it comes to photography and world cultures.
Overall, Reiss Engelhorn Museum is a must-visit place for those looking to take a closer look at major cultural highlights.
See Related: Must Visit Lakes in Germany
10. Get Festive at German Christmas Markets
When it comes to celebrating Christmas, Germany is known as the true home of this huge festival! Featuring some of the best and oldest Christmas markets in the world, Germany can fill your heart with joy and charm in December!
Some famous German Christmas markets are Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, Munich Christmas Market, Leipzig Christmas Market, Striezelmarkt, and Cologne’s Cathedral Christmas Market.
If you happen to be in the country around Christmas, do not skip visiting these enchanting wonderlands. Decorated with Christmas trees, dazzling lights, ribbons, and ornaments, these top tourist attractions of Germany leave the rest of the world behind in terms of sheer charm and festivity.
In addition, the tradition of Christmas trees (or Tannenbaum) comes from Germany. There are several other Christmassy elements that got their start in Germany, for instance:
- Carved nutcrackers
- Nativity scenes
- Christmas wreaths
- Gingerbread cookies
- Hot wine
- Leaving gifts in footwear
So, if you’re visiting Germany during December, you will be dazzled and charmed by the decorations and the generally festive air. Overall, a trip to German Christmas Markets will ensure you have the best Christmas ever!
See Related: Best Traditional German Christmas Foods
11. Visit Opera Houses
Germans have always loved opera – and one glance at any German opera house is a testament to that! If you’re a classical music lover, Germany’s opera houses are almost impossible to miss. With a proud and rich opera tradition, the country boasts over 80 opera houses (the most in the world).
Germany has given the world of music many renowned classical composers, including George Frideric Handel, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wilhelm Richard Wagner, and Johann Sebastian Bach. You will get to enjoy their incredible work in different opera houses throughout Germany.
Some of the famous opera houses in Germany are the Margravial Opera House, Semper Opera House, Komische Oper, Theater des Westens, and National Theatre Munich.
If you’re mad about music, know that many German churches and cathedrals also host excellent classical concerts. The Leipzig Bach Festival is one great example.
However, the most prominent festivals with varied musical offerings are the Bonn Beethoven Festival, the Heidelberg Festival, and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.
12. Take a Plunge into Germany’s Automotive Industry
If you love cars, you’ve come to the right place! Home to the best auto manufacturers in the world (and the automobile), people into cars love to visit Germany.
The country is well-known across the globe for launching iconic cars from top brands like BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, and the inventors of the car, Mercedes-Benz. They have earned a trusted place in the automotive industry for producing reliable vehicles packed with unique designs and innovative features.
Be sure to visit the Gottlieb Daimler Museum and the Mercedes Benz Museum to learn fascinating facts and see some marvelous displays. If you tend to be more hands-on, go for a drive in Dresden in a Trabi.
If putting the pedal to the metal is more your thing, you can also visit bring your car and race the world-famous Nurburgring. Just make sure you’ve got travel insurance before you race around this monster track!
See Related: Best Islands in Germany to Visit
13. Visit Europa Park
If you’re visiting the country with kids, do not skip exploring Europa Park. This is the second most famous theme park in Europe, after Disneyland Paris.
Featuring European-themed areas, 13 roller coasters, 12 water rides, and other water attractions, this is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit with kids in Germany.
This theme park also hosts several events throughout the year, including Euro Dance Festival, Miss Germany Pageant, Ladies Only Festival, CloudFest, and Science Days.
Whenever you visit Europa Park, it is suggested to wear breathable and quick-dry clothes to enjoy your time to the fullest.
14. Visit Town Halls
Every town in Germany has a new town hall and an old town hall, and most are worth seeing! The new town hall is in the town’s city center and is often very ornate. It may feature a beautiful clock tower or a large dome. An old town hall typically houses museums with exhibits on the town’s history and its people.
Check if the town hall of the city or town you will be visiting is open to the public. If it is, be sure to go inside, look around, and make memorable moments.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Dresden
15. Plan a Trip to the Insel Mainau
Spread over 110 acres, Insel Mainau is a beautiful island on Lake Constance. This Flower Island attracts tourists with different tastes to its tropical vegetation, spectacular gardens, and parks. The island can be accessed by boat or through a pedestrian bridge connected to the mainland.
If you admire nature, this island is one of the best places to visit in Germany. Take some hours from your routine to explore this stunning natural beauty. Early fall and late spring are the best seasons to visit this lovely flower island!
16. Try German Beer
After visiting a few important historical destinations, wind down with authentic German beer at the end of the day. While the Germans didn’t invent beer, they are certainly known for perfecting it! It is Germany’s national drink, and there are more than 1,300 breweries and 5,000 German brands of beer in the country.
German beer is brewed to ancient exacting standards and is widely regarded as the best beer in the world. It is enjoyed throughout the country and is actually considered a food, so it isn’t taxed. In fact, most bottles of German beer are cheaper than bottled water!
Of course, there are some amazing breweries in Germany. The beautiful Bavarian city of Munich is filled with breweries and stunning beer gardens where you can enjoy a glass of amber heaven. Munich’s beer appreciation is dialed up to eleven in September when Oktoberfest rolls around!
Just remember; Germans love drinking, but hate drunkenness!
See Related: Best Breweries in Germany
17. Try Out German Food
Another exciting aspect of Germany is the food. Of course, traditional German food is heavy with sausages and meats, but there are quite a few delicious vegetarian dishes to be had!
Think of the sauerkraut!
There’s a vast list of must-try German dishes you shouldn’t skip while in the country. Some of the most popular nibbles are Döner kebab, schnitzel, spätzle, ginger cookies, flammekueche, pretzels, and the most popular foodstuff in Germany; the currywurst.
Among the most famous German pastries must be Black Forest Cake (or Black Forest Gateau); a decadent chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream that is also very popular in the UK.
Speaking of the Black Forest...
18. Plan a Visit to The Black Forest Region
The Black Forest area is a must-see attraction for nature lovers and those interested in history and food. Locally known as Schwarzwald, it is best known for watches, cuckoo clocks, picturesque hiking trails, spa resorts, skiing holidays, and the namesake gateau.
The Black Forest is spread across the Bundesländer of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Bavaria. Boasting beautiful scenery and landscape, this mountainous region attracts thousands of locals and tourists each year.
There are several places to visit in the Black Forest, including Freiburg, Triberg Waterfalls, and villages. You can also visit a cuckoo clock factory or taste some delicious cakes!
See Related: Best Day Trips from Dresden
Overall, it’s easy to see that Germany is an enjoyable and fascinating vacation destination. We hope this article has given you some good ideas for things to do in Germany and inspired you to seek out even more.
So, whenever you plan a trip to Germany, try to cover the above-mentioned historic and splendid places. These are just a few of the best things to do and the best places to visit in Germany. Have a wonderful trip!
What are some popular foods in Germany?
Though the list is extensive, some famous German foods include sausages, black forest cake, and potato soup. The most popular food in Germany is currywurst – a yummy kind of curried sausage.
Name must-see art museums in Germany?
The Reiss Engelhorn Museum and Deutsches Museum are two of the best museums to visit if you want to see some of Germany’s finest art.
What is the best time to go to Germany?
The best time to visit most of Germany is from May to September. However, if you want to see the northern lights, the best time to visit is from December to February.
What are the five famous places to visit in Germany?
The five most famous places to visit in Germany are the Neuschwanstein Castle, the Black Forest, the Reichstag Building, the Brandenburg Gate, and Oktoberfest in Munich.
What is the most visited castle in Germany?
Neuschwanstein Castle is the most visited castle in Germany. It is located in the Bavarian Alps and was built by King Ludwig II in the late 1800s.
Related Things to do Guides
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- Best Things to do in Aachen
- Best Things to do in Dresden
- Best Things to do in Stuttgart
- Best Things to do in Heidelberg
- Best Things to do in Mannheim
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