Located in Central Europe between Denmark, Poland , the Czech Republic, Austria , Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands , Germany is a federal republic of 83 million inhabitants distributed over an area of 357,340 km². First European power, first economy in the euro zone, and fourth world economic power, Germany has a historical and cultural heritage at the forefront in Europe, attracting more than 37 million visitors each year.
If you come to visit Germany, there are so many unmissable things to do and see that it would take an entire blog on the subject to cover the subject: what to do in Germany? Between cities and their nightlife – Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich -, natural parks – Bavaria, the Alps, the Rhine Valley, etc. -, castles and historical monuments, you will not miss things to do! Here is our selection (far from being exhaustive) of things to do when visiting Germany!
Starting point for visiting Germany, Berlin is a lively, vibrant, cultural and artistic city, home to 166 museums, 60 theaters located in the east of the country. Do not miss to visit the Reichstag , the Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Checkpoint Charlie, the Fernsehturm tower or even Museum Island.
Stroll through the city’s many parks and green spaces, at Alexanderplatz and Potsdamer Platz and visit the Pergamon Museum , the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer – Berlin Wall Memorial.
Hamburg, the country’s second largest city, is home to 1.8 million people. A former founding member of the Hanseatic League, Hamburg is like a very active, cultural and festive northern city. Capital of rock in Germany, you will take beautiful walks along the Jungfernstieg promenade surrounding Lake Alster. Go to the famous Reeeperbahn to party until dawn and Mönckebergstrasse for shopping.
The warehouse district – Speicherstadt -, listed as a UNESCO heritage site, is home to must-see museums. Pass by the Saint-Michel church, the largest in the city. 453 steps lead to the bell tower to see the city from above. Your urban journey is not over: visit Munich, Dresden , Cologne , Nuremberg. The Church of Our Lady and Brühl’s Terrace in Dresden, the Trial Museum and Documentation Center in Nuremberg if you like history, Cologne Cathedral, Munich Cathedral and its breweries are unmissable.
3. The Oktoberfest festival
What to do in Germany? Drink beer, of course! Do you know the Paulaner? If you come to Bavaria in October, absolutely do not miss the Oktoberfest. Oh you don’t like beer? Go there anyway for the atmosphere! The largest traditional and popular festival in the world, the Oktoberfest attracts more than 6 million drinking visitors a year.
Fourteen giant tents and beer gardens await you to gobble down one-litre mugs of local beer while listening to traditional Bavarian music, and of course chatting and laughing with your table neighbours.See related offers:
4. The Black Forest
Land of hikers par excellence, the Black Forest has no less than 20 hikes, three of which are popular: the Westweg, the Mittelweg and the Ostweg. But the massif also includes 14 GR trails. Located in the south-west of the country on the border with Alsace, the Black Forest is a mountain range renowned for its dense evergreen vegetation, dotted with picturesque villages.
The massif culminates at 1,493 meters above sea level and covers an area of 6,000 km². The Schluchtensteig trail – try to pronounce it… -, for example, is 118 kilometers long, winds through 7 canyons, and offers a panoramic view of the entire Black Forest.
5. Saxon Switzerland National Park
Located to the east of Dresden and at the level of the Czech border, the Saxon Switzerland National Park extends over an area of 9,350 hectares in the sandstone massif of the Elbe. Its highest point is the symbol of the park, the Lilienstein, which is at a height of 405 meters above sea level. The park shows natural monuments, some of which date back 100 million years.
The national park is also a cradle of free climbing: the park’s 1,106 sandstone formations make it the largest outdoor climbing wall in Germany. Hikers will also have a unique panorama, taking the Malerweg (“Painter’s Trail”, 112 kilometers long).
6. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Do you want to visit Germany by exploring history? The village of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is renowned worldwide for being the symbol of German Romanticism. It is a medieval town in south-central Germany, west of Nuremberg, Bavaria. The city of 11,085 inhabitants has been able and able to remain intact since the Renaissance and has not been modified since the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).
Its fortified enclosure dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, which partly makes it a very high place of tourism in Germany. To see: the crime museum, the legal museum, and the museum of the imperial city.
7. Augsburg Old Town
Located on the “Romantic Road”, the historic city of Augsburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany. You must visit Augsburg if you are a lover of European history. Because this city was the crossroads of the commercial routes of the continent in the Middle Ages: in the 15th and 16th centuries, the city was one of the most influential in Europe.
Today’s city has a population of 286,000, and its old town is home to several must-see monuments and museums: Schaezler Palace – the fountains on Maximilianstrasse, Augsburg Cathedral and the Augsburger Puppenkiste Museum (Dollhouse).
8. Rugen Island
Are you coming to visit northern Germany? Do not miss the island Rügen. The largest German island located in the north on the coast of Mecklenburg-Pomerania, the island of Rügen is a privileged holiday area for – well-to-do – German tourists.
The island measures 926 km² and is populated by 73,000 inhabitants. Do not miss hiking in the Jasmund National Park, observing the chalk cliffs – Kreidefelsen -, rising 118 meters above the sea, bays and peninsulas.
9. Heidelberg Castle
Located between Frankfurt and Karlsruhe a few kilometers from the Alsatian border, Heidelberg Castle is a castle in ruins dating from the 13th century, built between 1294 and 1303.
Once built to control the Neckar valley, it is now surrounded by the city of Heidelberg. If you come to visit Heidelberg Castle, you will see the “broken tower”, to the south of the site, the Great Barrel, dating from the 18th century, which was used to draw wine in the royal hall.
10. Neuschwanstein Castle
Here is yet another unmissable monument to visit Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle. Located a few kilometers from the Austrian border, on the foothills of the Alps, it is perched on a rocky outcrop at an altitude of 200 meters, and was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century. It is a relatively new castle, but it has become the most famous in Germany, visited by over 1.4 million people a year.
To visit the castle, you will have to pay for a guided tour, for a duration of 35 minutes. It is called the castle “fairy tale” so much it plunges into an extraordinary universe. The Marienbücke bridge will offer a superb view of the castle and its rocky promontory, covered with vegetation.
11. Lake Constance
We had stayed near the lake, near Bregenz in 2017: Lake Constance is a body of water located between Germany, Switzerland and Austria, on the foothills of the Alps.
Fed by the Rhine, it is 63 kilometers long and 14 kilometers wide: a vast area – 536 km² – allowing locals to come and recharge their batteries like at the sea, in the many nautical areas of the towns on the lake: Lindau, Friedrichshafen, Meersburg, Konstanz, Bregenz, Rorschach, etc. Bregenz, on the Austrian side, has a beautiful green beach by the lake where you can swim in fine weather.
12. Lake Königssee
We are leaving on the other side of the German border: are you looking for what to do in Germany? On the way to the Balkans? Don’t miss Lake Königssee, a lake embedded in the Alpine mountains. It is also a holiday resort for Germans and Austrians, not far from Salzburg .
Similar to a fjord, it offers great photographic opportunities and allows you to do various outdoor sports activities. To see: Kirche St. Bartholomä, Mount Watzmann and the Obersee.
13. Rakotz Bridge
The Rakotz Bridge, also called the Rakotzbrücke Bridge, is located in the heart of Saxony and is often called the Devil’s Bridge due to its illusory effect. This arch is so perfect that the inhabitants of the time claimed that it was impossible for this bridge to be a human work, hence the legend that feeds the place: the devil himself would have built it!