Germany is an incredible country with castles, dense forests, mountains, beautiful towns, and excellent beer. In my opinion, Germany is an underrated travel destination and I find that I cant get enough of it even though Ive spent 2 out of the last 12 months exloring the country. There are many spectacular cities and landscapes to explore, so I'll do my best to list my favorites. Be sure to check out the top 10 reasons why you should visit Germany for more travel inspiration!
When to Go - German winters can be fairly cold so we highly recommend a summer trip. May-September is perfect!
Getting Around - I highly recommend exploring Germany with a rental car. Though you can easily do without one because the public transportation is fantastic, nothing beats driving on the autobahn and getting to go anywhere you want, when you want. Driving in Germany is much easier than some other countries we have visited.
Cost - Relative to the USA, Germany is slightly more expensive. They are a part of the EU so the currency is Euros. With that being said, some things in Germany are much cheaper than the USA. We found that things like beer, spirits, and cafe food cost quite a bit less. Expect to pay 2-5 Euros for a beer. Trust me, you will want to try as many beers as you can!
Where to Stay - Before I get into some of the actual destinations, I wanted to mention that the quality of hotels and lodging is much higher here compared to the USA. A 2-star hotel in Germany will give you a 4 or 5-start experience on a USA standard.
Language - Don't let a language difference deter you from visiting Germany. We found that most Germans are fluent or very proficient in multiple languages. I would say around 80% of the country speaks some English. These people are also some of the friendliest we've encountered while traveling.
There are so many great places to stay in Germany it is difficult to know where to even begin. In the West there is the Black Forest with so many beautiful towns, wellness spas, and thousands of miles of trails with excellent hiking. In the East there is Berlin, and many old historical cities worth visitng. The Alps run through Southern Germany creating stunning landscapes, snow capped mountains, and glacial lakes. The North is home to Hamburg, coastal mud flats, beaches, ancient forest, and chalk cliffs. If flying into the country, you will most likely fly into Frankfurt, Munich, or Berlin. Using one of these cities as a base point is not a bad idea and there is plenty to see and do in each. Here are a couple of our favorite areas that have ample things to do nearby.
Hamburg - Located in the north, Hamburg is one of Germany's larger and most photogenic cities. From medieval buildings to a network of canals reminiscent of Amsterdam, Hamburg has a multitude of sights you don't want to miss that include an array of photo opportunities. Click here to discover the 5 best photography spots in Hamburg.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen - You will fall in love with this area. This ski-town is beautiful, walkable, and has tons of hiking nearby including Zugsptize which is the tallest mountain in Germany.
Berchtesgaden - Another quaint town nestled in the German Alps has ample mountains, lakes, and castles to check out.
Black Forest - On the French border, The Black Forest also known as Schwarzwald, is filled with the cutest fairy-tale like towns you will ever see. Imagine rolling hills covered with thick evergreens with towns dotting the hillside. There's a multiple of towns you can stay in while in Schwarzwald. None of them will disappoint you.
Heidelberg, Würzburg, & Bamberg - Are all towns great for spending a couple days but I wouldn't recommend them for longer stays.
Things To Do & See
Neuschwanstein Castle - One of the world's most famous buildings, the castle was built in the mid 1800's and was the inspiration behind the Disney Castle.
Zugspitze - Located on the German/Austrian border towers Zugspitze, Germany's tallest mountain. There are 2 cable lifts that take you to a platform near the top with a cafe and gift shop. To reach the summit, you must climb the last 100 feet or so. Beautiful views of the alps and surrouding areas from the summit. This area is near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a beautiful town you could use as a base. The town itself has many sights worth checking out too!
Königsee in Berchtesdagen - This is a beautiful glacial lake in the alps. You can take a boat tour of the lake, and if you take the tour it is worth the couple extra Euros to go all the way to the end of the lake. DO IT! Once dropped off at the end of the lake you can take a short hike and see Germany's tallest waterfall!
Heidelberg - Heidelberg is a stunning old town located on the western side of Germany. It has a large castle, great historic city center, and a nice river flowing through town. There is plenty to see and do in this area and I would highly recommend devoting a full day to exploring the sights.
Schwarzwald (The Black Forest) - The Black Forest runs on the western side of Germany along the French border to the West and Switzerland in the South. You could spend a couple weeks exploring this region alone. There are 14,000 miles of hiking trails in this region of Germany alone. You will find rolling hills, dense forests, waterfalls, farmlands, and quaint towns dotting the whole area. Every town we drove by I wanted to get out and explore.
There is an incredible amount of things to do and see in Germany, so these are just a few of my absolute favorites. A great travel resource for Germany is germany.travel with some more fun things to do.