10 Incredible places to visit in Germany
This compilation of places to visit in Germany has been forged after several road trips to many parts of the country. You’ll find lodging, restaurants and sights listed, but only when I can highly recommend them.
Germany is a place that weaves timeless tradition, stunning landscapes, idyllic villages and vibrant metropolitan areas into a package that visitors get to unwrap as they explore.
Wiesbaden is first on this list of incredible places to visit in Germany.
Wiesbaden is an enchanting city with magnificent neoclassical buildings lining the opulent streets. Many of the buildings are original and survived the war because the allies occupied the city during the war, saving it from the bombing raids.
Wiesbaden is one of Europe’s oldest spa towns, with hot springs still flowing today. The city lies at the eastern edge of the Rheingau winegrowing region, which stretches along the Rhine’s northern bank. Americans visiting Wiesbaden will feel quite at home as there are nearly 20,000 citizens living nearby due to the strong U.S. Army presence.
- With over 200 years of hospitality experience, the Hotel Nassauer Hof offers classical elegance in the heart of town. This hotel was the very first in all of Germany to become a 5-star property, and, they boast the only Michelin rated restaurant in Wiesbaden.
- A less fancy, but more hip option is the Mecure Hotel. Both hotels are in excellent locations to enable those who are visiting to walk to most of the city’s top attractions.
- Restaurant Orangerie at Hotel Nassauer Hof
- Lambertus Kafer’s Bistro
- Lilli Bar & Lounge at the Mecure Hotel
- Nerobergbahn – A water ballast tram that takes you to the highest point in Wiesbaden.
- Eberbach Abbey – Absolutely incredible venue for music and other cultural events.
- Henkell & Co – Wine tasting and tour.
- Kurhaus – A magnificent place for conferences, exhibitions, presentations and cultural events.
- Russian Orthodox Church
- Kochbrunnen – The primary source of the hot spring in town.
RheinMain Congress Center is another incredible ventue in town for events and conferences.
- Neroberg – Wine tasting, city views and wonderful walking trails.
Located in the FrankfurtRhineMain region, Rüdesheim is one of the most stunning villages along the Rhine river—it’s one of those ‘can’t miss’ places to visit in Germany.
While Rüdesheim may be small, it has some medieval grandeur. Walking the streets you may feel like you’re on the set of an old European movie—it’s really that enchanting. One of the highlights in Rüdesheim is the cable car ride up to the Germania monument. The panoramic views over Rüdesheim’s old town and the shimmering waters of the Rhine dotted with green isles make it an experience you’ll not soon forget. Don’t miss the ferry that crosses the Rhine River to Burg Rheinstein, a wonderful castle you can explore.
- I stayed at Central Hotel, which is a great location, but my room was the size of a postage stamp. The internet didn’t work and the overall accommodations were less than stellar.
- I would recommend going down the street (about a 10 minute drive) to the village of Oestrich-Winkel and stay at Nägler’s Fine Lounge Hotel…this is a remarkable hotel!
- Hotel Kronenschlösschen might be an option worth checking out too.
- Restaurant Am Niederwald near the Niederwald monument.
- Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss
- Weingut Schönleber Blümlein in Oestrich-Winkel
- Niederwald Cable Car – Tip: Buy the Romanticism Tour ticket and make sure to check the ferry schedule so you don’t miss the Rheinstein Castle part of the tour.
- Klosterladen Monastery
Trier is often overlooked as a place to visit in Germany, but should be on everyone’s list.
Trier is one of Germany’s oldest cities with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This small city is often overlooked by international tourists, but should absolutely be on their radar. Trier’s history dates back to Roman times. It was the 4th largest city in the Roman Empire and was also the most northerly part of the empire. A 2000-year old Roman bridge is still in use today, as well as many structures and artifacts.
The city core centers around Hauptmarkt, the city’s largest market square. The plaza is encircled by well-preserved townhouses that create a mixed cityscape of Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and late Historicist architecture. Trier also has another claim-to-fame…it is the birthplace of Karl Marx. His place of birth has been converted into a museum and depicts his early life in Germany, along with his dubious concepts and their influence on the course of history.
I only stayed here for a day, so I don’t have much in the way of recommendations.
- I stayed at the Vienna House Easy, which is a nice mid-range hotel.
- Weinwirtschaft Friedrich Wilhelm is a good place for more traditional Germany food.
- Porta Nigra
Lubeck is one of the most charming places to visit in Germany.
Lübeck is surrounded by two rivers, making the historic part of town a natural moat. Unlike many other areas of Germany, Lübeck survived the war relatively unscathed, more than 80% of the buildings are original. It’s a fascinating place to explore, but don’t try doing it by car, parking is a nightmare. I would recommend parking on the other side of the river and taking transportation to the historic center. There are a few parking lots (car parks) on the island, but during busier times of the year, they fill up quickly.
- Lübecker Krönchen – This B&B/Inn is a beautifully restored castle where each room has been uniquely themed with comfort in mind.
- Miera is a fantastic little Italian place.
- Niederegger Stammhaus is a beautiful candy shop with an upstairs café overlooking the famous Rathaus steps.
- Schiffergesellschaft – This is a Lübeck institution, a landmark restaurant where you will find more traditional German food along with many great seafood options.
- Junge Die Backerel – This is a large chain restaurant with locations throughout Germany, it’s a nice cafe for a light lunch, a quick snack, or even a cup of coffee.
- Read more about these restaurants and see a video on my Northern Germany road trip for foodies.
- European Hansemuseum
- Get a professional tour guide to walk you around the city.
Bremen is known for its role in the maritime trade, represented by Hanseatic buildings on the Market Square.
The ornate and Gothic town hall has a Renaissance facade, and nearby, the Roland statue symbolizes free trade. St. Peter’s Cathedral features medieval crypts and twin spires and her church bells echo through the labyrinth of paths jutting out in all directions. The area near the city center of Bremen is called Marktplatz—this is where I spent most of my time as I only had half a day to explore this enchanting city (I would recommend spending more time here if you can).
Narrow cobblestone walkways lead to fascinating shops and cafes.
- The Liberty Hotel – This is where I stayed and is located in nearby Bremerhaven, both the hotel and the city are fantastic. The Liberty is located right next to the Emigration Museum, which is absolutely worth a visit.
- Bremer Ratskeller
- Natusch in nearby Bremerhaven
Geisenheim is a small town located on the banks of the Rhine River in Germany’s Rheingau region. It produces a range of high-quality wines primarily from Riesling and Spätburgunder varietals.
Nearby is the renowned Schloss Johannisberg vineyard, the first vineyard in the area which started in 1292 when it was known as Clusen. The south-facing vines are planted in deep, loamy loess soils and are sheltered from cold winds by the nearby Taunus mountains. This combination produces dense, complex Rieslings with volume and acidity that require aging to reach their full potential.
One of the highlights of Geisenheim is staying at Burg Schwarzenstein, a beautiful Relais & Chateaux property. Burg Schwarzenstein is surrounded by vineyards with stunning vista views of the Johannisberg/Rheingau wine region. Part of the hotel grounds is built around the thick walls of an old castle. On-site is a two star Michelin restaurant along with a more casual establishment that includes a terrace dining option overlooking the vineyards on those more moderate days.
Darmstadt is located in southwest Germany, not far from Frankfurt. It’s known for the Mathildenhöhe district’s art nouveau buildings, like the iconic Wedding Tower. Darmstadt’s focal point is the 18th-century Luisenplatz, a veritable hive of activity thanks to the nearby shopping district. In the center of Luisenplatz is a 120 foot-high column, where a statue of Grand Duke Ludwig proudly stands over the city. The square itself is named for his wife, Grand Duchesse Louise.
Although modest in size, Darmstadt has a lot to offer. There are plenty of opulent and ornate buildings to view, such as the Russian Orthodox Chapel, which is next to Hochzeitsturm (The Wedding Tower), or the more modern and quirky Waldspirale.
Just northeast of Darmstadt, the city gives way to the countryside, where the sublime Baroque palace of Jagdschloss Kranichstein offers guests a tranquil experience. This 16th century building was a hunting lodge on the edge of the forest and connected to a spacious deer park, which entertained generations of Landgraves and Grand Dukes on their sporting hunts. In the 18th century it became Landgrave Ludwig VIII’s main home, which is when it got its Baroque makeover. Now the palace is divided between a hotel, two restaurants and a museum. Whether you are staying there or not, I recommend visiting the museum and strolling the grounds.
- If you’re in nearby Frankfurt, I highly recommend staying at the Villa Kennedy.
Lüneburg is a bit out of the way, but really a place you’ll want to visit in Germany.
Am Sande is Lüneburg’s most beautiful square, which is where medieval merchants laid out their wares. Am Sande is framed by a host of tall ornate brick houses, which at the time, showed off Lüneburg’s wealth and status. Somehow, centuries later, these buildings look like they were just recently constructed. The oldest house actually dates to around 1400.
Celle is well known for its beautiful half-timbered houses and is one of the most remarkable places to visit in Germany to see this type of architecture.
Celle is well known for its beautiful half-timbered houses that have been preserved in the same style since the 16th century. A walk through the central streets of Celle reveals an incredible display of history, like walking through the past. From the picturesque backdrop of the 700-year-old royal residence, to the Hoppener Haus, one of the most magnificent half-timbered houses in the city, makes a stop to Celle really worth a visit. There is also a colorful mix of museums, theaters, music festivals, concerts, galleries and city festivals that showcase the culture of Celle.
I only stopped in Celle for a few hours, so I can’t recommend places to eat, stay or things to do, but trust me, this place is worth a visit.
Saarbrücken is another one of those underrated places to visit in Germany.
Located near the French border in Southwestern Germany, Saarbrücken mixes industrial history with the splendor of the Counts and Princes of Nassau-Saarbrücken who ruled the region for centuries. This low-key city boasts grand Baroque landmarks, culturally rich museums and some good restaurants.
The highlight of Saarbrücken is Volklinger Hütte Ironworks. This massive steel mill opened in 1873 and shut down in 1986, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The massive compound is also used for an array of cultural events throughout the year, and at night, multi-colored spotlights light up the venue, making it come alive in ethereal fashion. The complex could easily be the set of a science fiction or horror movie, where trees and bushes emerge from between the rusty pipes and concrete walls.
One question I had while visiting Volklinger Hütte Ironworks….How was it still standing? In other words, why was it not bombed during the war? Apparently there was speculation that the steel mill was not discovered by the Allies until late in the war and they decided not to bomb it because it would be needed for the re-construction efforts to rebuild Europe. It’s really a fascinating place to visit.
Getting to Germany:
- I flew non-stop to Frankfurt from Phoenix on Condor Air. They have three non-stop flights per week and tickets are quite affordable. Even Business Class is not much more than coach on other airlines.
If you have any questions, or suggestions, about other places to visit in Germany, please leave a comment below. If you do plan on visiting Germany, don’t miss this article I wrote on the ultimate places to stay when visiting the FrankfurtRhineMain Wine Region of Germany.