20 Cities In Germany

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

One of Europe’s largest countries, Germany has a population of over 83 million. It offers natural attractions, culture and history with over 25,000 castles and 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are many cities to visit in Germany and what is remarkable is that the old has survived while the new has grown around it. There is history everywhere, going back to ancient Rome when the Roman Empire spread to what we now know as Germany. As well as Roman ruins, you will see WWII sites and Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

Famous for its Christmas markets, held during November and December in the market squares of many of the cities in Germany, it’s the ideal country to get into the Christmas spirit. The Germans enjoy partying and many cities, especially Berlin, have a buzzing nightlife. Munich is known for Oktoberfest, a massive beer festival that is the largest in the world, while several other beer festivals are held all over Germany throughout the year.

While the standard German meal consists of meat, potatoes and vegetables, there are other restaurants offering international cuisine. Don’t worry if you’re vegan or vegetarian; there are many places that serve delicious food to suit your diet. The cafe culture is prevalent in all the cities and Germans enjoy their coffee with a slice of cake. So, if you’ve decided to visit Germany but are unsure where to go, here are the best cities in Germany to plan your trip around. 

Cities in Germany

20 German Cities To Visit

1- Berlin

Berlin Downtown City Skyline aerial view
Berlin is at the top of the list of the biggest cities in Germany.

Berlin is famous for the Berlin Wall, which divided the city into East Berlin and West Berlin.

After the wall came down in 1989, Berlin became the capital of Germany and is the largest city in the European Union, with four million inhabitants.

A must-see for any visitor to Berlin is the 18th-century Brandenburg Gate, once a symbol of the German Division.

Now, it represents reunification and is located in the city’s centre in one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin, Pariser Platz.

The Reichstag, which is now the home of the German Parliament, is worth a visit.

Much of it was burnt down in 1933 but was restored after Germany’s reunification and you can climb to the spectacular dome on the top for amazing views of Berlin.

Berlin is home to many museums and art galleries.

If this interests you, don’t miss going to Museum Island in the historic heart of the city.

There are five museums containing archaeological finds and artwork.

The Altes Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and houses ancient Roman and Greek antiquities found by German archaeologists.

Close to the museums is the 15th-century Berlin Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Berlin and where you can visit the crypts below and climb to the top for views over the city.

For a taste of the outdoors, go to Tiergarten in the city’s centre.

It is to Berlin what Central Park is to New York and covers 519 acres (210 ha).

Berlin’s nightlife scene is one of the best in Europe, so head to the Bohemian district of Kreuzberg for the trendiest cafes, Turkish restaurants and bars.

Just outside the city is Charlottenburg Palace, the largest castle in Germany.

You can visit the lavish apartments during the day and, in the evening, go for a concert and dinner with the Berlin Residence Orchestra.

At Christmas, it hosts a magical Christmas market.

The Reichstag is at Platz der Republik 1 11011. Berlin Cathedral is at Am Lustgarten 10178.

Top tours:

2- Munich

Munich Skyline With Marienplatz Town Hall
Munich is one of the best cities in Germany to visit for Bavarian architecture and beer.

Munich, known for Oktoberfest, is the capital of Bavaria.

It was established by Benedictine monks in the 1100s and the Altstadt (Old Town) is an excellent place to begin your visit.

In the central square, the Marienplatz, you will find the Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (new town hall) with the famous Glockenspiel.

It has a total of 43 bells and 32 figures that come to life three times a day from March to October, telling stories about the history of Munich.

The show lasts 15 minutes and ends with the golden bird at the top emerging and chirping three times. In the winter, there is a Christmas market in the square.

While visiting Munich, you should go to the Royal Residenz, one of Europe’s greatest residences and served as Germany’s royal residence and seat of government from 1508 to 1918.

The complex houses 10 courtyards and 130 rooms, all filled with history.

If you like to shop, stroll along the Maximillianstrasse, the most expensive street in Germany.

Nearly all the international luxury fashion and jewellery labels are represented here.

The Royal Residenz is at Residenzstrasse 1 80333.

Top tours:

3- Cologne

Downtown Cologne City Skyline, Cityscape Of Germany
Cologne is one of the best cities in Germany for culture and food.

On the Rhine River in western Germany, Cologne goes back 2000 years.

The city’s highlight is the cathedral which took six centuries to build and has towering spires that reach a height of 157 metres (515 feet).

You can climb to the platform of the southern tower at the height of 97 metres (318 feet) but it’s no mean feat as there are 533 steps to conquer to be rewarded with panoramic views of Cologne and the Rhine.

The city has museums to visit, including the Ludwig Museum, which houses 20th-century art, including masterpieces by Picasso.

Cologne was a Roman outpost and in the Romano-Germanic Museum, you will find artefacts dating back to those times.

Cologne is a vibrant city with a nightlife scene rivalling that of Berlin.

Cologne Cathedral is at Domkloster 4 50667. The Museum Ludwig is at Heinrich-Böll-Platz 50667. The Romano-Germanic Museum is at Am Hof 23 50667.

Top tour: Cologne City Highlights with Local Guide.

4- Hamburg

The Hamburg City On A Sunny Day
Hamburg is one of the largest cities in Germany.

One of the major port cities in northern Germany, Hamburg has more canals and bridges than Venice.

It is a picturesque city, nowhere more so than in the centre of the town where Alster Lake is full of boats and surrounded by cafes.

It’s a lovely place to stop and relax with a coffee or beer.

Jungfernstieg Boulevard connects the old and new towns of Hamburg.

The Boulevard offers high-end shopping, restaurants and cafes, while the old town has many historic landmarks, such as the 18th-century St Michael’s Church.

Perhaps you have never been interested in model railways, but even if you aren’t, you should still go to Miniatur Wunderland, the largest model railway exhibition in the world.

It is spectacular.

It has over 15 km (9.3 miles) of train tracks, 389,000 lights and 263,000 figures.

Day and night simulations run every 15 minutes, and the excellent attention to detail is impressive.

For example, every room in the building has a person doing different things. It really is worth a visit.

Miniatur Wunderland is at Kehrwieder 2 Block D 20457.

Top tour: Hamburg 1-Hour Harbor Cruise.

5- Leipzig

Leipzig Aerial View
Leipzig is one of the more populated cities in Germany and is filled with hidden gems.

Leipzig is in the state of Saxony and is a relatively small city, however, it is an exciting place to visit with its Bohemian atmosphere, outdoor cafes and art spaces.

What will delight those who love to party is that a policy dictates that the city can’t legislate when nightclubs should close.

Many independent art galleries are dotted all over the city, but the Museum of Fine Arts is also worth visiting for its showcase of art from the late Middle Ages to the present day.

The Spinnerei, founded in 1884 and the largest cotton mill in Europe, now houses art galleries and restaurants.

It was in Leipzig that Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated.

The Monument to the Battle of the Nations is a 91m (298 feet) high temple dedicated to the battle and those who perished fighting.

There is a museum here where you can learn more about the battle.

The Museum of Fine Arts is at Katharinenstrasse 10 04109. Spinnerie is at Spinnereistrasse 7 04179. The Monument to the Battle of the Nations is at Str, des 18 Oktober 100 04299.

Top tour: Guided City Tour & City Sightseeing.

6- Dresden

Panoramic View Of Dresden City From Lutheran Church,
Dresden best cities in Germany for impressive landmarks.

Dresden is in eastern Germany near the border with the Czech Republic and is the capital of Saxony.

It was destroyed during WWII, but many historic structures have been restored.

A highlight of your visit is Dresden Zwinger, an 18th-century Baroque Palace that houses the Old Masters Picture Gallery museum and hosts festivals and plays.

The Renaissance Schlosserland Sachen is also worth visiting and houses the largest porcelain mural in the world, the Furstenzug.

For modern life, take a stroll around the neighbourhood of Kunsthofpassage, which is home to trendy restaurants and cocktail bars.

The Zwinger Palace is at Sophienstrasse 01067. The Schlosserland Sachen is at Stauffenbergallee 2 a 01099.

Top tour: Zwinger Dresden Entry Ticket.

7- Bonn

Cityscape Of Bonn And River Rhine
Bonn is one of the music cities in Germany to visit.

Bonn’s status as the capital of West Germany from 1949 until 1990 ended when Berlin became the capital of a unified country.

It sits on the Rhine and is famous for being the birthplace of Beethoven so it makes sense to visit Beethoven House, which is a memorial and museum dedicated to the composer.

Close to Beethoven House, you will find Bonn Munster, one of Germany’s oldest churches, built between the 11th and 13th centuries.

It has a Romanesque cloister and Gothic touches.

The centre of local life is Munsterplatz, a large town square with a Beethoven statue in the centre and the Bonner Munster cathedral with five towering spires on one side of the square.

Munsterplatz is the perfect place to sit in one of the cafes and watch life go by.

The Poppelsdorf Palace was built as a summer palace for the prince-electors of Cologne in the 18th century.

It is now part of the University of Bonn but also houses two museums, the Mineralogical Museum and the Zoological Museum.

Beethoven House is at Bonngasse 22 -24 53111. Poppelsdorf Palace is at Meckenheimer Allee 171 53115.

8- Nuremberg

Panoramic View Of Historic Old City Of Nuremberg Nurnberg
Nuremberg is one of the most famous cities in Germany for the Nuremberg trials.

Nuremberg in Bavaria dates back to the Roman Empire and is encircled by a wall built at that time.

However, it is more famously known for the Nuremberg Trials, 13 trials that were held between 1945 and 1949 to bring Nazi war criminals to justice.

Nuremberg Castle, built around 1050, is one of the highlights of Nuremberg.

You can tour the castle and visit the Imperial Hall, rose gardens and an impressive well in the grounds plunging 48 metres (158 feet) into the earth.

The Hauptmarkt is the centre of life in the city. Here you will find Nuremberg’s only Baroque Church, St Giles Church and the Schoner Brunnen, a 14th-century fountain with 40 figures representing the Roman Empire.

It is 19 metres (62 feet) high and is built in the Gothic style.

Locals say that if you turn the golden ring and make a wish, it will come true. Try it and see!

The best gingerbread is made here, so don’t leave without trying a piece.

Nuremberg Castle is at Burg 17 90403.

9- Stuttgart

aerial view of Stuttgart City with hills in the background
Stuttgart is one of the larger cities in Germany by population.

Stuttgart is on the Neckar River next to the Black Forest, where the Black Forest Gateau was invented.

You are sure to find this delicious treat in one of the many cafes in the city.

Stuttgart is a manufacturing hub, and Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have headquarters here and museums for car buffs.

Despite this, there are plenty of green spaces in the city.

Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Gardens are in Stuttgart, home to 11,500 animals representing 1,200 species.

If you have children, they will love it here.

Rosenstein Castle, built between 1822 to 1830 for King Wilhelm 1 of Wurttemberg, now houses the State Museum of Natural History and is well worth a visit.

If you want to shop ‘til you drop, head to Konigstrasse in the modern part of the city.

You will find boutiques, trendy restaurants, and an exciting nightlife scene here.

Wilhelma Zoo and Botanical Gardens are at Wilhelma 13 70736. Rosenstein Palace is at Rosenstein 1 70191.

10- Frankfurt

Aerial Drone View Of Frankfurt Am Main
Frankfurt is one of the best cities in Germany to visit for both old and new.

Frankfurt is on the river Main and is an important financial city, home to the European Central Bank. Much of the city was damaged during WWII but has been rebuilt.

Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe was born in Stuttgart, the writer of many plays, including ‘Faust’. You can visit the Goethe House Museum, where the Goethe family lived.

A highlight of Stuttgart is the astronomical clock in the city centre.

Germany has an excellent reputation for constructing clocks and this one is no exception.

It dates back to 1746 and has revolving rings showing the date and, below that, the time, moon phases, and the sun’s position according to the zodiac signs.

If you love visiting museums, you will be in your element in Stuttgart.

The Museum Embankment has a staggering 39 museums to suit all tastes.

The Stadel Museum stands out, housing 3,100 paintings, 660 sculptures, over 4.600 photographs and more than 100,000 drawings. Skip the line and reserve your tickets here

Goethe House Museum is at Grosser Hirschgraben 23 – 25 60311.The Städel Museum is at Schaumainkai 63 60596.

11- Rostock

High Angle View At The Hanseatic City Rostock
Rostock may not be one of the main cities in Germany, but it does have its charms.

Rostock is on the Warnow River on the north coast of Germany.

Start your visit in the Old Town, where the Gothic 15th-century St. Mary’s Church has a lovely astronomical clock.

Every day at midday, six figures move past Jesus Christ in a procession.

There is also a stunning fountain with 18 water jets and 20 bronze sculptures.

The Rathaus (Town Hall) is a Gothic and Baroque architecture mix in the main square.

If you stroke the head of the snake sculpture at the entrance to the Rathaus, you will have good luck.

It does not harm to try.

On the grounds of Rostock University, Rostock Botanical Gardens is a lovely and relaxing place to spend the afternoon.

It has beautiful plants and trees and an alpine garden.

The Cultural Museum of Rostock is worth a visit. It is small but admission is free.

It tells you about the history of Rostock, and you can see artwork and artefacts from the city.

St Mary’s Church is at Manenkirsche 1 18055. The Botanical Garden is at Schwannsche St 2 18055. The Cultural Museum is at Klosterhoff 7 18055.

12- Schwerin

A Landscape Photo Of Schwerin's colourful waterfront
Schwerin is one of the cities to visit in Germany and the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state.

Schwerin is in the north of the country.

It is known as the Land of the Lakes and has seven lakes in the city.

The largest is Lake Schwerin, which covers over 60 sqkm (23 sq miles) and is a paradise for water sports fans.

Here you can take a boat trip, kayak, or even stay on a houseboat.

Schwerin Castle, on an island in the lake, is a neo-Renaissance palace with beautiful rooms and stunning gardens.

You can walk through many of the rooms and walk around the gardens.

The highlights of the palace are the throne room, the weapons collection, and a lovely collection of porcelain.

Also worth visiting in Schwerin is the Staatliches Museum, where you will see 17th-century Flemish and Dutch paintings, including works by Rembrandt and Rubens.

Schwerin Castle is at Lennestrasse 1 19053. Staatliches Museum is at Alter Garten 3 19055.

Top tour: Schwerin City Highlights Guided Tour.

13- Wurzburg

aerial view of Wurzburg Historic City centre at sunset
Wurzburg is one of the Bavarian cities in Germany to tick off your to-visit list.

Wurzburg, in Bavaria, is in the centre of the Franconian wine country, so a winery visit should be on the agenda.

Wurzburg wine is known for astringent white wines with heavy minerality and clean finishes.

The main grapes grown are Riesling and Silvaner.

The city is known for Baroque and Rococo architecture.

The stunning 18th-century Residenz Palace is a prime example and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was once home to prince-bishops; now you can tour the elaborate rooms.

The highlight is an enormous fresco by Venetian artist Tiepolo.

You should also visit Manenberg Fortress, which is perched up high on the banks of the Main River.

It has spectacular views and there is also a museum.

It was built in Renaissance and Baroque styles and stood for four centuries until partially destroyed during WWII.

It has now been rebuilt.

The Residenz Palace is at Residenz Pl. 2 97070. The Manenberg Fortress is at Manenberg 97021.

Top tour: Würzburg Guided Walking Tour with Franconian Wine.

14- Regensburg

View Of Regensburg on a sunny day
Regensburg is one of the cities in Germany you can visit on a river cruise.

Regensburg is in Bavaria and was originally the capital of the state.

It sits on the Danube River in southeastern Germany.

A 12th-century stone bridge crosses the river into the Old Town. It is 310 metres (1017 feet) long and has 16 impressive arches.

In the Old Town, you will find the Regensburg Cathedral built in the 13th century in the Gothic style.

The Regensburger Domspatzenchoir is based here.

Head to St Emmanuel’s Basilica from the cathedral, which sits in a lovely square filled with cafes and market stalls.

An interesting place to visit is the Old Town Hall, where you can see one of the few authentic torture chambers in Europe, used until the 18th century.

The Museum of Bavarian History is located on the banks of the Danube and is a fun and educational place to visit.

The interactive exhibition takes you through 100,000 years of history.

Regensburg Cathedral is at Domplatz 1 93047. The Museum of Bavarian History is at Dachau Square 2 – 4 93047.

15- Mainz

buildings in Mainz
Mainz may not count among the biggest cities in Germany by population but it’s certainly worth spending some time there.

The Rhine flows through Mainz and the city dates to Mediaeval times with beautiful market squares and half-timbered houses.

You will find the lovely Marktbrunnen, a Renaissance fountain in the Old Town.

Close by, the Romanesque Mainz Cathedral stands out, especially as it was built from red sandstone.

A highlight of the city is the Gutenberg Museum, which celebrates the achievements of Johannes Gutenberg, the printing press inventor.

Among the exhibits, you will find two original Bibles he had printed.

Wineries should be on the agenda as Mainz is in the heart of the Rheinhassen wine-making region.

Mainz Cathedral is at Mark 10 55116. The Gutenberg Museum is at Liebfrauen pl 5 55116.

Top tour: Mainz Upper and Old Town Guided Walking Tour with Wine Stop.

16- Hannover

historic buildings and gardens
Hannover is one of the top cities in Germany to visit if you love history.

Hannover is the capital of Lower Saxony and although it is an industrialised city, parks, public gardens and woods have been preserved.

It is known in Germany as ‘The Garden City’ and the Great Garden is structured in a 17th-century geometric fashion.

It is one of the most stunning Baroque parks in Germany.

The Hannover woods, the Ellenriede, is a lovely place to go. It is a 640-hectare municipal forest, the country’s largest city forest.

Explore the Old Town, admire the historic buildings, and have a coffee in one of the many cafes in the squares.

There are museums to visit in Hannover, including the Lower Saxony Museum, which displays artefacts and art dating back from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century.

The Great Garden is at Herrenhausen Str 4. Ellenriede is at Hohenzollernstr 28 30161. The Lower Saxony Museum is at Willy-Brandt-Allee 5 30169.

Top tour: Hannover Guided Old Town Walking Tour.

17- Potsdam

Potsdam gate
Potsdam is on the list of cities in Germany to explore – here’s why.

Not far from Berlin, Potsdam is a 10th-century city in Germany that was transformed into a spectacular royal city by the Prussian Kings who ruled there until 1918.

This once-royal city is famous for parks, gardens, palaces and lakes.

Although the city was heavily bombed during WWII, the palaces have remained intact.

The most spectacular is the Sanssouci Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, once the summer home of Frederick the Great, one of Prussia’s kings.

People often compare the palace to Versailles in France, with grounds surrounding the palace covering 300 hectares (740 acres).

Here you will find other palaces, such as the Renaissance Orangery Palace.

Potsdam has a total of 500 hectares (1235 acres) of parkland with 150 buildings awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Take a walk around the town and take in St Nicholas Church, The Barberini Museum, which exhibits Old Masters and contemporary art, and the reconstructed City Palace.

It is worth going to Neuer Square to see some of Europe’s most beautiful Baroque buildings.

Top tour: Potsdam City and Castles Tour.

18- Trier

aerial view of Trier showing lots of greenery
Trier is one of the green cities in Germany.

Trier is in the Moselle wine region close to the Luxembourg border, so this is an opportunity to visit a winery.

Riesling, Sekt (a sparkling white wine), and Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) are the best wines produced here.

The Romans founded the city in the 16th century BC.

You will find that many Roman structures have been preserved and are in excellent condition, such as Roman baths, an amphitheatre and a stone bridge over the Moselle River.

Over the years, many other interesting buildings have been constructed, including St Peter’s Cathedral, which goes back 1,700 years and is the oldest in Germany.

Visit The Archaeological Museum for artefacts going back to the ancient Romans, through the Middle Ages and ending in the Baroque era.

St Peter’s Cathedral is at Liebfrauenstraße 12 54290. The Archaeological Museum is at Weimarer Allee 1 54290.

Top tour: Trier City Tour – experience the city’s history up close.

19- Heidelberg

Medieval Heidelberg Old Town Cityscape From Above
Heidelberg is one of the best cities to visit in Germany to explore on foot.

Heidelberg sits on the Neckar River in the southwest of Germany.

It has a quaint Old Town with one of the longest shopping streets in the world, the Haupstrasse, which stretches for 1.6 km (1 mile).

Much of it is pedestrianised, making for relaxing shopping before stopping for a drink at one of the many cafes.

In Marktplatz, the main town square in the Old Town, you will find one of the most visited churches in Germany, the Gothic Heiliggeistkirche, which towers over the square.

Heidelberg has a spectacular castle that can be reached by cable car or on foot if you feel energetic.

You get magnificent views towards the city from the Renaissance castle, and although it was demolished in the 17th and 18th centuries, much of it has been restored.

Don’t miss going into the wine barrel cellar, where there is a massive wine barrel that can hold 220,000 litres (58,100 gallons) of wine.

Imagine that!

You most likely will not be surprised to learn that it is the world’s largest wine barrel.

The castle also houses the world’s largest Apothecary Museum, which displays items dating as far back as 2,000 years.

If you visit Heidelberg in November or December, the city hosts a lovely Christmas market.

The Heiliggeistkirche Church is at Hauptstrasse 189 69117. Heidelberg Castle is at Schlosshof 1 69117.

Top tour: Heidelberg Sightseeing Bus and Castle Tour.

20- Bremen

Bremen is a city in northwest Germany, situated on the Weser River, and once held an important role in maritime trade.

If you are having a family holiday in Bremen, visit the Bremerhaven Zoo, which exhibits mainly water species and mammals from the Northern Hemisphere, such as polar bears, penguins and seals.

The Ubersee Museum concentrates on natural history and is also an excellent place to keep children occupied.

Much of life in Bremen centres around the Marktplatz, where you will find many cafes, restaurants and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The first is the Gothic Town Hall with a Renaissance facade and model ships in the upper hall.

Next to the Town Hall is a statue of the Bremen Town Musicians.

The second UNESCO site is the Roland Statue, a giant figure made of stone and symbolising free trade.

Also in the square is St Peter’s Cathedral with its twin spires and Mediaeval crypts.

In the summer, street artists perform here; during winter, it is one of many locations in the city with a Christmas market.

The Bremerhaven Zoo is at Hermann-Heinrich-Meier Street 7 27568. The Ubersee Museum is at Bahnhofs Square 13 28195. Bremer Marktplatz is at Am Markt 2 28915. 

Top tour: Bremen Guided Tour of City Center.

Previous article20 North Carolina State Parks
Next article20 Cities in Vietnam
cropped irena nieslony.jpg
Irena Nieslony was born in Windsor, England but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece, in a small village called Modi near the city of Chania. She has visited 32 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Her favourite country is Tanzania as she loves wildlife and was lucky enough to see ‘The Big Five”. She also loves Egypt, as ancient history intrigues her, the southern states of the US and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans for music. She has a B.A. Honours degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, University of London. She has been writing for over 13 years and has 13 novels, 7 short stories and thousands of articles published.