If Germany is not yet featured on your European travel bucket list, you’d better add it! Expat Explore has put together a list of 10 incredible destinations to visit in Germany. Deutschland is where it’s at and we’re about to make you very excited about travelling there! Once you get a taste of these fabulous locations, you may never want to leave…
If Berlin was a person, she would be an alluring femme fatale in an overall and workman’s boots who can quote Herman Hesse, whistle Mendelssohn and swear like a sailor. This city is equal parts grit and glamour. Berlin offers amazing architecture, cutting-edge culture, and a vibrant culinary scene in addition to a palpable sense of history. In the 20th century alone, Berlin staged a revolution, hosted the Nazi headquarters, survived continuous bombing, split in two and subsequently reunited as the world looked on. Berlin is a city that has fully acknowledged its gruesome history and has since become home to an inspiring collection of artists and innovators. It’s no wonder that visitors from across the globe flock here to experience all Berlin has to offer!
Dresden is the epitome of elegant restoration. You’ll be treated to an inimitable city silhouette from the banks of the Elbe river. This city boasts striking spires, domes and towers attached to ornate Baroque palaces. After the controversial Allied bombings in 1945, many beautiful churches had to be painstakingly rebuilt. The historic old town is compact and easily explored on foot, making it a tourist’s delight. One of the best ways to get the lay of the land is to simply follow your nose, get a little lost and drink in the sights and sounds along the way.
Known as ‘the gateway to the world’, Hamburg is home to Germany’s biggest port and is renowned for its illustrious maritime history that dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. In the 1800s and 1900s, this international trade post brought the city great wealth. It continues to infuse the city with a vibrant energy that extends to its architecture, cuisine and culture.
Germany’s Schwarzwald (Black Forest) takes its name from the dense canopy of evergreens which create a slightly sinister atmosphere. As a result, this forest actually inspired the story of Hansel and Gretel. The Black Forest stretches all the way from the spa town of Baden-Baden to the border of Switzerland and Lake Constance to the mighty Rhine river. The sweeping expanse of tree-covered hills and valleys will suspend your disbelief and remind you how to believe in magic. A mere twenty minute walk from populated areas like Freiburg, St Blasien and Triberg will put you smack-dab in die middle of the unspoiled countryside, where dairy cows are the only creatures likely to cross your path.
Munich is the unofficial capital of Southern Germany, equally adored by history buffs and travellers who enjoy a thigh-slapping good time with blokes clad in Lederhosen. Here, you’ll find bustling beer halls and trendy street cafes, as well as renowned art galleries and interactive museums. Oh, and the annual Oktoberfest of course! Munich has a wonderful, walkable city centre that retains the air of a small town but also offers a great variety of world-class sights. It’s one of those cities that simultaneously astounds with it rich history and delights with its range of contemporary pastimes and modern-day adventures.
Heidelberg was named the UNESCO City of Literature in 2014, and with good reason! This famous university town inspired the works of Mark Twain, early 19th-century poets like Goethe and English painter William Turner. Turner painted many of his revered landscapes here. These days, Heidelberg is perhaps best known for its stunning riverside setting, vibrant student energy, historic Altstadt and its half-ruined castle that overlooks the city from a nearby hilltop.
The small monastic town of Andechs is located in Bavaria and is best-known as the home of the Andechs Abbey, a Benedictine monastery that has been brewing beer since the early 1400s! This little gem of a town is certainly one of Germany’s best-kept secrets. Andechs is a great place to sit back with a pint of Bavaria’s finest and watch the world go by. You’re sure to get a real feel of small-town life in this beautiful region.
Ulm is a city on the edge of Bavaria in the south German state of Baden-Württemberg. Founded in medieval times, this town on the banks of the Danube is home to the highest church steeple in the world! Interestingly, it was also the birthplace of Albert Einstein. Visitors can look forward to the impressive 14th century Ulmer Münster cathedral, a vibrant Fishermen’s Quarter, a great selection of museums (including one on bread culture!), as well as a bustling Christmas market come December.
The romantic Rhine Valley between Rüdesheim and Koblenz is a place of dramatic contrast. Slate mountains give way to splendid hilltop strongholds and meticulously planted vineyards yield some of Europe’s most prized vintages. Here, the river is nearly always thick with barge traffic and the railways buzzing with trains bringing visitors. Here you can sample Rhine Valley wines, explore the Oberes Mittelrheintal UNESCO World Heritage Site along the river, and traverse the famous castles built by local robber barons who extorted toll from merchant ships during the 1700s.
Related: Read more about the Rhine Valley and German wines that are produced there.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site outside of Munich is a sobering reminder of the horrors of war. A visit to this particular German destination is by no means a fun-filled outing. However, this eye-opening experience will drive home the full extent of the atrocities that were committed under the rule of the Third Reich. It is admirable that Germany does not shy away from this dark part of their history. Rather, Germany invites visitors to pay their respects to those who passed as a result of misguided nationalism and to learn from the mistakes that mark their history.
We simply cannot get enough of this gorgeous, tenacious country! If you want to see these German spots along with other incredible travel destinations in Europe, click here!
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