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. These are the best things to do in Germany.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a nature lover, Germany offers much to please every taste. Germany has everything from significant historical monuments and old towns to state-of-the-art buildings, modern skyscrapers, and much more.
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 an abundance of options when it comes to exploring the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site-heavy country.
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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.
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.
Since Germany offers many things to do and unforgettable experiences, deciding on certain great things becomes challenging. Nevertheless, here’s a list of great things to do in Germany. Hopefully, it will help you plan your stay in Germany wisely and make the most of your trip.
Show Table of Contents
- TL;DR: Things by Category
- Things to Do in Germany & Places to Visit
- 1. Visit WWII Memorials & Landmarks
- 2. Take a Day to Visit Heidelberg Castle
- 3. Visit the Museum Island
- 4. Explore Historic Cities
- 5. Walk or Bike Along the Berlin Wall
- 6. Visit Brandenburg Gate
- 7. Explore the Miniatur Wunderland
- 8. Admire the Cologne Cathedral
- 9. Visit the Reiss Engelhorn Museum
- 10. Get Festive at German Christmas Markets
- 11. Visit Opera Houses
- 12. Take a Plunge into Germany’s Automotive Industry
- 13. Visit Europa Park
- 14. Visit Town Halls
- 15. Plan a Trip to the Insel Mainau
- 16. Try German Beer
- 17. Try Out German Food
- 18. Plan a Visit to The Black Forest Region
- 19. Go skiing in the Alps
- 20. Live a fairy tale at Neuschwanstein Castle
- 21. Spend a day at Phantasialand
- 22. Take on the outdoors at Berchtesgaden National Park
- 23. Take a cable car up to the top of the Zugspitze
- 24. Attend Oktoberfest
- 25. Visit the Würzburg Residence
- 26. Tour the Sanssouci Palace
- 27. Go on a wine tour in the Rhine Valley
- Video Travel Guide: Top 10 Places to Visit in Germany
- Is Germany worth visiting?
- What are some popular foods in Germany?
- What are some must-see art museums in Germany?
- What is the best time to go to Germany?
- What are the five famous places to visit in Germany?
- What is the most visited castle in Germany?
TL;DR: Things by Category
|Best Overall||Brandenburg Gate|
|Best for Families||Visit Europa Park|
|Best for History Lovers||Heidelberg Castle|
|Best for Couples||Rhine Valley|
Things to Do in Germany & Places to Visit
Let’s get into the best things to do in Germany, no matter what sort of trip you are planning.
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, 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:
- The trials were held after the war in Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice.
- 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.
You can consider visiting many worthwhile World War II destinations in Germany. 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. Learning lessons from the past is essential so they may never be repeated.
See Related: Cheap Places to Travel
2. Take a Day to Visit Heidelberg Castle
Address: Schlosshof 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
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, each highlighting a different period of German architecture. 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
Address: Berlin, Germany
Museum Island in Berlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Germany’s best places to visit. 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 city’s oldest and most famous museums, 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 highlight this picturesque island of knowledge.
4. Explore Historic Cities
Famous historic cities like Berlin (the largest and 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 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 known for the world-famous 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
Address: Niederkirchnerstraße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
This is one of the most monumental attractions in Germany that reflects the former division of Berlin. It’s a perfect way to travel around Berlin and learn more about the Cold War’s last remains.
Divided into 14 sections, the Berlin Wall Trail combines different historical & cultural highlights and the city’s natural charms. Each walk is between 7 km and 21 km long. Public transportation is another option to explore the fascinating Berlin Wall from one end to another, but a guided bike tour is best!
6. Visit Brandenburg Gate
Address: Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
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
Address: Kehrwieder 2/Block D, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
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, an enjoyable thing to do at night!
8. Admire the Cologne Cathedral
Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany
The shrapnel-scarred Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) has become one of Germany’s most popular tourist destinations. 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. The striking interiors, tall spires, and magnificent panoramic views from the top of the bell tower make it a must-visit tourist attraction.
See Related: Best Tourist Destinations in the World
9. Visit the Reiss Engelhorn Museum
Address: Museum Zeughaus, C5, 68159 Mannheim, Germany
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 regarding photography and world cultures. Overall, the 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 celebrating Christmas, Germany is known as the true home of this huge festival! Germany can fill your heart with joy and charm in December by featuring some of the world’s best and oldest Christmas markets!
Some famous German Christmas markets are Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, Munich Christmas Market, Leipzig Christmas Market, Striezelmarkt, and Cologne’s Cathedral Christmas Market.
If you are 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. Several other Christmassy elements started in Germany, for instance, carved nutcrackers, nativity scenes, Christmas wreaths, and hot, mulled wine.
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 enjoy their incredible work in different opera houses throughout Germany.
Some famous opera houses in Germany are the Margravial Opera House, Semper Opera House, Komische Oper, Theater des Westens, and National Theatre Munich.
Many German churches and cathedrals also host excellent classical concerts if you’re mad about music. 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 and Mercedes Benz museums to learn fascinating facts and see marvelous displays. If you are more hands-on, drive to 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 ensure you have travel insurance before you race around this monster track!
See Related: Best Islands in Germany to Visit
13. Visit Europa Park
Address: Europa-Park-Straße 2, 77977 Rust, Germany
If you visit the country with kids, do not skip exploring Europa Park. This is Europe’s second most famous theme park, after Disneyland Paris. This is undoubtedly one of Germany’s best places to visit with kids, featuring European-themed areas, roller coasters, water rides, and other attractions.
This theme park also hosts several events throughout the year, including the 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 often ornate in the town’s old city center. 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 people. Check if the town hall you visit is open to the public.
If it is, be sure to go inside, look around, and enjoy the historical charm of each of these buildings. Better yet, if the town hall has a ratskeller, enjoy a beer and a traditional German lunch or dinner on-site.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Dresden
15. Plan a Trip to the Insel Mainau
Address: 78465 Insel Mainau, Germany
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 Germany’s best places to visit. 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.
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 food, so it isn’t taxed. Most bottles of German beer are cheaper than bottled water!
Of course, there are some fantastic 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
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…
See Related: Best Day Trips from Dresden
18. Plan a Visit to The Black Forest Region
Address: Black Forest, Germany
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 yearly.
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!
19. Go skiing in the Alps
A popular winter destination, the German Alps are a great place to go skiing or snowboarding. There are countless ski resorts, so find one that suits your experience level. Then, enjoy the views from the top of the slopes.
The Bavarian Alps are a great place to ski, with many resorts. If you’re a beginner, I recommend heading to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s a small resort that is perfect for beginners, and it has an excellent ski school that will help you improve your skills.
20. Live a fairy tale at Neuschwanstein Castle
Address: Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
The palace, which celebrates Richard Wagner’s achievements and as a retreat, was commissioned by the then King of Bavaria, King Ludwig II, who took up all the expenses it cost to raise the structure. He didn’t solicit funds from anywhere; he used his fortune to raise the structure.
The palace was designed to be just the king’s, meaning people were not let into it. But briefly, after the king’s passing in 1886, the palace became open to the public, and since then, millions of people have been trooping into the palace for multiple purposes.
The castle did survive the two World Wars, and it is believed that so was the case because of the space where the court is mounted. Some persons described it as a “secluded and strategically unimportant location.”
21. Spend a day at Phantasialand
Address: Berggeiststraße 31-41, 50321 Brühl, Germany
This is a result of the attractions it has to it and the vast landscape, too. Phantasialand was established precisely in 1967, August 30, by Gottlieb Foffelhardt and Richard Schmidt.
Around the same time, Sohne also developed an area of the park called Wuze Town. In 2006, the Black Mamba roller coaster (which represents the African culture) was also introduced to the park.
There are a handful of beautiful sights in the park, many of which give the park the look of a fantasy space. The amusement park has plenty of great attractions and activities, making it one of the best things to do in Germany with kids.
See Related: Things to Do in Trier, Germany
22. Take on the outdoors at Berchtesgaden National Park
Address: 83486 Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden, Germany
Berchtesgaden National Park is one of the best natural places to visit in Germany. The national park has a rich forest, clear lakes, and steep rocks with rolling meadows and sleeping small village villages. Trails that identify wind along a beautiful landscape, with ample options for biking, hiking, and Nordic hiking.
Ensure you see Lake Königssee — a lake near Salzburg that rivals almost every Norwegian fjord for beauty only in its cleanliness.
Berchtesgaden National Park is the perfect place to avoid the busy atmosphere of city life and experience some of the most beautiful scenery nature offers. The lake and surrounding area are perfect for tourists who enjoy hiking and biking, as there is an extensive trail system.
A popular activity for many visitors is the walk along the east side of King’s Lake to Malerwinkel, also known as Painters Corner.
This area is known for its incredible panoramas of the lake and surrounding mountains. If you desire a stunning landscape and fresh air, King’s Lake is the perfect destination in Southern Germany.
See Related: Best Museums in Cologne, Germany
23. Take a cable car up to the top of the Zugspitze
Address: Zugspitze, Germany
Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and offers a stunning panoramic view of the country from its peak. The peak is 2,962 meters above sea level and has become one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions. Take the cable car up to the summit, and then enjoy the panoramic views from the top.
Zugspitze is also known as “Southern Bavaria’s Matterhorn,” thanks to its dramatic shape and snowy white color. If you visit this iconic spot, plan to spend at least two days exploring the area around it so that you have time for some skiing or snowboarding on its slopes (when conditions are right) and join a Zugspite tour.
There are several options for reaching the summit. Besides riding the cable car, you can take an aerial tram across Germany’s longest suspension bridge or hike up on foot through an Alpine path that winds through forests before ending at the main observation deck.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Northern Germany
24. Attend Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest, or the Wiesn, is a 16-day festival held annually in Munich of Bavaria, Germany. It is an integral part of Bavarian culture and has been held since 1810. It’s a great way to sample German beer with locals and some of your close friends.
The Oktoberfest is held in Theresienwiese (field of Therese), named after Therese of Saxony, who was married to Ludwig I (the son of Karl IV). The festival has been taking place every year since 1810.
The first official historical record mentioning this event dates back to 1811 when King Maximilian I Joseph allowed a horse race for his birthday celebration on October 12. This first event had about 300 attendants who enjoyed German beer and sausages, gambling, and dancing at night.
25. Visit the Würzburg Residence
Address: Residenzpl. 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
The Würzburg Residence is one of Germany’s most significant cultural landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the city of Würzburg, the palace is a baroque architectural masterpiece that is open to the public for tours.
Archbishop Johan von Schonborn commissioned the palace in the early 18th century, taking over 40 years to complete. Today, visitors can explore more than 300 castle rooms, including the lavish State Apartments and the Great Hall, one of the largest halls in Europe.
The grounds of the Würzburg Residence are also worth exploring, with manicured gardens and a sweeping lawn that offers striking scenes of the Main River.
26. Tour the Sanssouci Palace
Address: Maulbeerallee, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
Sanssouci, set in Potsdam, is a simple terraced garden used by Frederick the Great to relax from his royal burdens. The King realized that the location offered magic and set up a large house and, later, one venue after another. The original orchard became a large park with lavish palaces and gardens.
Today, Sanssouci offers a sophisticated location perfect for a relaxing experience in a particularly royal style. The spectacular Sanssouci Park, constructed from 1814 to 1856, represents the most prominent example of Potsdam Rococo.
Reflecting the personal influence of the Great Frederick, the park contains an impressive Baroque flowering garden with over 300 fruit trees and multiple greenhouses.
I enjoyed wandering the vast park, especially the straight-as-an-arrow 2-mile-long road. Multiple park building sites are also worth exploring, especially the pictures gallery and its many paintings.
See Related: Real, Magical Castles in Fairytales to Visit
27. Go on a wine tour in the Rhine Valley
The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains many castles and palaces built during medieval times when the Holy Roman Empire controlled this area, along with sprawling vineyards and wineries.
This scenic region was also historically significant, containing some of Europe’s most important trade routes between France and Switzerland. It was also a popular destination for pilgrims traveling around Europe during religious festivals such as Easter or Pentecost pilgrimages.
There are also hiking trails in this beautiful area of Germany where you can take in the natural scenery. Book your trip to the Rhine Valley for August or September when fewer tourists are around.
Video Travel Guide: Top 10 Places to Visit in Germany
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Is Germany worth visiting?
Yes, Germany is, without a doubt, worth visiting. The country is one of the leaders in top attractions in Europe, from historic charm to contemporary urban areas. In addition, Germany’s food, accommodation, and entertainment choices are generally cheaper than other Western European countries.
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.
What are some 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.
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.