Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Laura Cooper
With big city wonders, quaint small towns, spectacular scenery, and a long history, Germany has a wide range of tourist attractions, from stunning landscapes and natural attractions to busy cityscapes, museums, architecture, and everything in between. Visit historic sites or find a new café in Germany’s popular gastronomy scene.
If you’re looking for ideas of what to do in Germany, we have you covered with these top suggestions:
A must-see on your list of what to do in Germany should be to visit the Brandenburg Gate. The only remaining gate used to separate the city between East and West Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate is now a popular tourist attraction symbolizing German unity. Though the gate is closed to traffic, walk through and look up at the towering columns and stunning German classicism architecture. Just beyond the gate, you’ll find Hotel Adlon, where Michael Jackson held his son out a hotel room window in the famous 2002 appearance. If you’re looking to continue your historic tour of Berlin, walk southeast on Eberstraße to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a 4.7-acre site covered with concrete slabs as a chilling memorial.
Continue learning the country’s history with a visit to the beautiful Neuschwanstein castle, believed to be the castle Disney’s Cinderella is modeled after. In southwest Bavaria, approximately 2 hours southwest of Munich, find this magical castle at the foothills of the Alps. Built in the 1860s, this medieval castle is one of the most romantic buildings in Europe, like something out of a storybook. Take a tour, or stop for photos on your way up to it: both will take your breath away.
Beer lovers should be sure to visit Germany in the fall, with this year’s official Oktoberfest happening September 19 through October 4 (in Munich.) See traditional Bavarian clothing, taste German beer, and take part in festival activities ranging from brass band concerts, traditional Bavarian mass services, and festival rides for children.
If you’re looking for a taste of Germany without the chaos of Oktoberfest, traditional German bratwurst sausages and a pint of beer are a must-try for your next Germany vacation. Each region of the country has its own bratwurst specialty; taste your way through Germany with over 50 kinds ranging from served with sauerkraut to spicy, made with wine, or thinner versions. Sold in restaurants and at street food carts across the country, don’t forget to try a German pilsener with whichever bratwurst you decide on! (If you really want to try a true German bratwurst, visit Thuringen, where they originated and give your tastebuds a treat!)
Your list of what to do in Germany should include a stop at one of Germany’s most well-known cities: Munich or Frankfurt. In Munich, try a German beer in a beer hall, visit museums, and see a mix of industry, professional, history and culture within the city. Be sure to visit the Augustiner brewery for a sample of a fresh brew, the Englischer Garten (one of Europe’s biggest city parks), or the Residenzmuseum, Munich’s best known museum which explores Bavaria’s rich history. Discover beautiful Munich’s architecture and quaint cafes, traditional restaurants, and great culture by day, and the rich nightlife after dark. We recommend hopping on a bike tour to see as much of the city as possible!
See Germany from a different view with a cruise down the Rhine River. With river cruises from a variety of companies and both specialty cruises and sightseeing tours of Germany winding down the famous Rhine, you’ll experience the grandeur of German’s biggest cities and see the countryside all on one trip. If cruising isn’t for you, picnic along the beautiful Rhine’s banks and picture yourself back in time when the river was used for trade and carrying goods inland. Catch a glimpse of old castles and fortifications along the waterways from the Holy Roman Empire era, and experience history in Germany through this stunning leisure and transportation riverway.
Next on your tour of Germany, we recommend travelling to northern Germany and visiting the city of Bremen, a commercial and industrial city full of striking architecture, history, and beautiful waterfront views. A city full of historic churches, museums, theatres, and great dining and shopping, Bremen has something for every traveler, young and old. Visit the schlachte embankment for pubs and bars along the Weser river, or the Schnoor quarter for cafes, boutiques and souvenir shops to remember Germany. Bremen is also the perfect German destination for kids interested in science; take them to visit the Science Centre at Universem Bremen and learn about earthquakes, plants, and astronauts. How can you go wrong with that?
Known for its Christmas markets, among other things, the street markets that take place in the four weeks of Advent should definitely be at the top of your list of what to do in Germany. With singing, dancing, delicious seasonal treats, and gorgeous gifts and seasonal items on sale, the Christmas markets are a must-see if you’re visiting in December. With markets in city squares across the country, we recommend the Cologne market, held in the shadow of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cologne Cathedral. With 160 stalls and continuous traditional music filling the air, you’re sure to be in the Christmas spirit by the time your shopping is done.
Find the Black Forest along the Rhine River in southwestern Germany and prepare for a magical trip. The setting for countless Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, the Black Forest is the land of cuckoo clocks, traditional garb, farmhouses, and cherry gateaux. Getting its name from the thick canopy of leaves creating a shady forest floor, the Black Forest is dotted with small towns and villages throughout, perfect for the explorer. Visit the southwest region, known as Swabia, and tour the area for traditional costumes and spectacular sightseeing. Keep your eyes peeled for cuckoo clocks, and don’t go home without a taste of Schwarzwald ham and Black Forest cake.