From little villages and real-life fairy-tale castles to modern, huge cities with numerous skyscrapers – Germany has it all. Among all of its great cities, it is a bit hard to choose the best ones and to keep the list short. So, for this blog post we hand-picked five of them that took our breaths away – this is the list of 5 cities in Germany that you must visit.
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Here are some of our favourite German cities…
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town in the Franconia region of Bavaria, set on the steep banks of the Tauber River. It is well known for its well-preserved medieval Old Town – one of the best Old Towns in Germany, and it’s one of the most popular stops on the country’s Romantic Road tourist route. Walking through its cobbled streets feels like stepping into the fairy-tale land – its medieval buildings look almost unreal.
One of the things that you have to see while you’re in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is for sure its imposing Town Hall (Rathaus), that is one of the finest in southern Germany. Its oldest parts were constructed in the 13th century, and later in the 16th century its 50-meter-high tower, with an awesome view of the Old Town, was built. Also, you have to check out the Old Town Walls – it’s about a half an hour walking tour where you’ll see all of the town gates and towers, there are 42 of them and you’ll love them.
There is another spot in this gorgeous little town that we loved very much – it’s Plönlein (“Little Square”). It’s perhaps the most picturesque spot in the town, but it’s nothing more than an intersection, it’s just a half-timbered building dividing two streets, one of them is going up through one tower, while the other slopes down through another tower.
Trier, lying on the banks of the Moselle river, is known to be the oldest city in Germany. It is set in the west of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, near the border with Luxembourg and in the middle of the famous Moselle wine region – so it’s well known for its delicious wines.
Thanks to its gorgeous medieval buildings, some of those being the Cathedral of St. Peter and the Church of Our Lady, Trier is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Also, you have to visit the Cathedral of Trier that represents a true mixture of styles, as over time it was extended rather than rebuilt.
Besides beautiful churches, you have to visit Porta Nigra – one of the Roman gates, dating back to the 2nd century (yes, Trier was the Roman settlement), that may be the most famous landmark of Trier. Also, you can visit the Amphitheatre, the Imperial Baths, that were actually never finished, but sure are interesting ruins today and the Barbara Baths that were the second largest baths in the entire Roman Empire.
Trier has an imposing main city square or marketplace, called Hauptmarkt, that has been there since the 10th century. On this square you’ll find a gorgeous fountain, called Petrus-Brunnen, that is the symbol of this square and a bunch of buildings with imposing facades.
Frankfurt is famous for being the largest financial centre of EU, and if you visit its central business district it is pretty clear – there are tall, enormous skyscrapers all over the place. But besides that, there is a lot to see and do in its old, lovely neighbourhoods.
One of the main things to see in Frankfurt is Römerberg (lit., “Roman Mountain”) – the quaint square in front of the city hall called Römer, that is dating back to the 15th century. Besides Römer, the square is lined with picturesque medieval houses and a Lutheran Church, and in the middle, there is a fountain called Justititabrunnen. Not that far from the Römerberg, you’ll see the Frankfurt Cathedral (German: Frankfurter Dom), you can climb up to its majestic tower and enjoy the view of the city.
Frankfurt is the birthplace of famous writer Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, so you have to visit the house he used to live in his early years. Today, it is a museum where you will learn about life in the 18th century, and you can see a collection of marvellous paintings of Goethe’s era. Besides this one, there are many other museums worth visiting, as well as many other landmarks.
Bonn is another very old German city that also used to be a Roman settlement. Since it is settled on the banks of the Rhein river, it has always been an important centre for Germany. It used to be the Capital of West Germany, and it sure does have the culture of a nation’s capital. If you want to learn about the contemporary history of Germany, visit Haus der Geschichte – the museum of contemporary history in Bonn.
One of the most important historical facts about this city is that the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born and raised here. While you’re in Bonn, you have to visit his house and explore the captivating artefacts from the time he lived in Bonn, as well as some from the time when he moved to Vienna, such as hand-written sheet music, instruments he played, ear trumpets for his deafness and even his death mask.
Explore Bonn’s main market square and the gorgeous buildings that are surrounding it, one of them being the Rathaus – amazing Rococo-style building with golden ornaments. Another square you have to see is the Münsterplatz, the largest square in Bonn. It is set in front of Bonn Münster – one of the oldest churches in Germany, with five glorious towers.
Dresden, set on the banks of the Elbe river, is such a beautiful city, it rarely fails to impress. It was heavily bombed in WWII, but it was later renovated and looks more beautiful than ever.
There are a few sights in Dresden that deserve special admiration. One of those things (or the main one) is for sure its baroque Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) – gorgeous landmark, one of the most beautiful churches in Germany, known for its exquisite dome. It was totally destroyed in the war, but private donations from around the globe helped its reconstruction, that was finished in 2005.
If you’re into Baroque architecture, you’ll definitely love the Zwinger Palace, that is one of the best examples of that architectural style in Germany. Built in the 18th century, it served as a venue for court festivities and tournaments. Today, it is a museum complex that contains the Old Masters Picture Gallery, the Dresden Porcelain Collection and the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments.
While in Dresden, you have to enjoy the Elbe river, and one of the ways to do so is to visit Brühlsche Terrassen, set between the Old Town and the river. This so-called “the Balcony of Europe” used to be a part of the city walls and today it is the garden of the Royal Palace.
Have you already added these cities to your trip planner? If you want to read a bit more about Germany, check out our blog post about 10 amazing places you must visit before you die and our ultimate guide through the city of Berlin.