Each year, millions of visitors enjoy the sites and the sounds of Germany. It is the heart of Europe’s industry and carries an incredible history of the region in its buildings, streets, and monuments.
There are hundreds of beautiful settlements in Germany – it is not easy to narrow down the most beautiful cities in Germany. So many features UNESCO world heritage sites, beautiful old towns, preserved medieval architecture, charming town squares and of course Christmas markets. If I have missed one of your favourites do let me know.
Those alone rank as some of the most beautiful cities in the world. With that in mind, here are the big cities to mark on your travel list as the most beautiful in Germany.
25 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany
Table of Contents
- 1 25 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany
- 1.1 1. Berlin
- 1.2 2. Cologne
- 1.3 3. Dresden
- 1.4 4. Hamburg
- 1.5 5. Leipzig
- 1.6 6. Munich
- 1.7 7. Nuremberg
- 1.8 8. Stuttgart
- 1.9 9. Baden Baden – Germany
- 1.10 10. Rostock
- 1.11 11. Berchtesgaden
- 1.12 12. Lubeck
- 1.13 13. Heidelberg
- 1.14 14. Cochem
- 1.15 15. Bremen
- 1.16 16. Wurzburg
- 1.17 17. Quedlinburg
- 1.18 18. Regensburg
- 1.19 19. Fussen
- 1.20 20. Bamberg
- 1.21 21. Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber
- 1.22 22. Gorlitz
- 1.23 23. Erfurt
- 1.24 24. Monschau
- 1.25 25. Lindau
- 2 Final Thoughts on the Most Beautiful Cities in Germany
Now, “Beautiful” in the traditional sense may not apply to Berlin, but there’s an undeniable sense of true love in the way the city expresses its troubled history. It’s told through Berlin’s graffiti, street art, run-down buildings, and a ghostly personality in some places.
Almost every site, bridge, or street has a story to tell. Here are just a few whose stories you may want to hear through its sights:
- Oberbaum Bridge
- Tempelhof Field
- Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
- Charlottenburg Palace
- Clärchens Spiegelsaal
Aside from being one of the most visually interesting, Cologne may well be the hippest and coolest of the cities on this list. It’s also very relaxed. Everyone here seems content to enjoy life and have a good time – there’s a vibrant nightlife, after all.
Perhaps it’s the remnants of Roman architecture or the calmness of the river that runs through it. Whatever the case, be sure to read up on Cologne’s ‘Kölsche Grundgesetz‘ or 11 ground rules before visiting. And be sure to see these while you’re there:
- Cologne Cathedral
- Roman remains
- The Rhine river
⇒ I love ticking off seeing a landmark. See how many famous landmarks you’ve seen in my series of posts: 60 Most Famous Landmarks in the World, 27 Top Australian Landmarks, 25 Asia Landmarks, 61 Magnificent Landmarks of the UK, 13 China Landmarks, 35 Japan Famous Landmarks, 60 Most Famous Landmarks in Europe, 25 North America Landmarks, 25 Canada Landmarks and 15 Famous Landmarks in the US.
Dresden is effectively a new city, only with old buildings. It suffered more than its fair share of damage during the second world war but has seen many of its buildings restored. As a result, it maintains a pre-war look with a renewed sense of energy.
The colliding sensibility of the different aesthetics leaves a lasting impression. You only need to look at these amazing locations to see what we mean:
- The Pillnitz Palace by boat
- The Old City (centre city or Altstadt)
- The Opera House
- Zwinger Palace
Hamburg is a port city – Germany’s busiest. It is also one of the country’s oldest cities, and the architecture reflects this. If the cafes and boutique shops, old churches, and museums don’t convince you, perhaps the people and the beautiful Elbe River will.
Interesting fact; Hamburg lays claim to the distinction of having the most bridges of any major city in the world. Here’s what else you should definitely put on your Hamburg itinerary when visiting the city.
- Elbe Tunnel
- Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
- Hamburger Kunsthalle
- Miniatur Wunderland
- St. Michael’s Church
- The Townhall
⇒ Explore more of Europe in my posts on 14 Beautiful Cities in Europe 16 European Palaces not to Miss, 17 Beautiful Castles in Europe Not to Miss, 21 Most Beautiful Countries in Europe, 9 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany, 26 Landmarks of Germany, 25 Rome Monuments, 60 Most Famous Landmarks in the World, 12 Beautiful Famous Spain Landmarks, 9 Famous Ireland Landmarks and 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe.
Some call it the new Berlin. It’s a relatively small city, but it enjoys a rather bohemian atmosphere, with coffee shops and art-centric spaces to explore. Leipzig actually has a policy that says the city cannot legislate when nightclubs should close.
So it’s a city that enjoys its nightlife. But it is also a city that offers a clear sense of beauty and charm. It combines green spaces, older buildings, and modern additions to great effect. You can even see Leipzig via a delightful canoe tour!
Here are just five outstanding landmarks to see:
- Monument to the Battle of the Nations
- Stadgesichlichtiches Museum Leipzig
- St Thomas Church
- The Spinnerei
- The Oper Leipzig
One of Germany’s most famous cities hosts historic sites and buildings, outstanding tourist activities, green parks, castles, and more. The Bavarian city is known for castles and amazing forested surroundings (the views in winter are spectacular).
There seems to be a museum on every street, where you can marvel at fine art, technology, and natural history! Spires from churches and older buildings dot the skyline, rising above new homes or classic German apartment roofs. In fact, most of the inner city is car-free, making this the ultimate walking city in Germany.
Be sure to check into:
- The Residence Palace (especially the Antiquarium dining hall)
- Nymphenburg Palace
- Hofbräuhaus München
Nuremberg is the capital of a region called Franconia. It has a history dating all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the old city is encircled by a wall built in those times.
Though the name is often historically associated with a darker time in German history – the Nuremberg Trials – it is known today as a city of immense historic architectural beauty. Here are a few of the main sites to visit:
- Albrecht Dürer’s House
- City Walls
- Germanisches Nationalmuseum
- Schöner Brunnen
- St. Lorenz Church
- St. Sebaldus Church
While car enthusiasts will have the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz factory tours top of their list, Stuttgart on the Neckar River is a truly beautiful old city bordering the Black Forest. Incidentally, this is also where the original cake recipe comes from.
There are dozens of castles to visit in and around the city as well.
- Ludwigsburg Residential Palace
- Solitude Palace
- Stuttgart Train Station
- Stuttgart’s Municipal Library
- The Old Castle
9. Baden Baden – Germany
This gorgeous 2000-year-old town lies at the foothills of the wonderfully named Black Forest. Baden Baden Germany has a fantastic location for exploring the region as well as everything from, of course, spas to shopping to a palatial casino within Baden-Baden itself.
Before you head to Baden-Baden Germany do check what is on. The city is well known for the three international horse races it runs each year – as it is for its Christmas markets.
But this German town is most famous for its spas. Indeed, Baden Baden Germany has 12 hot springs and has been welcoming those seeking to relax and reconnect for centuries.
Today Baden Baden has managed to keep all of those wonderful historical elements but added in more modern spa facilities, fantastic food, modern art and much more.
Here are a few things not to miss in Baden-Baden:
- Caracalla Spa
- Cafe Koenig
- Baden-Baden Casino
- Lichtentaler Allee
Rostock is close to the Baltic coast and has managed to retain most of its heritage despite being bombed in World War 2. This is a beautiful German city that is made for strolling. The cobblestone main square Neuer Markt is extremely cute as is the pink Rathaus. Make sure you stroke the head of the snake sculpture located at the entrance to the town hall for good luck.
One of the highlights of a visit to Rostock is the astronomical clock at St Mary’s Church. Each day at 12 the clock’s six figures move past Christ in the apostle’s procession. A second sight not to miss in Rostock is the Fountain for the Joy of Life which has 18 water jets and 20 bronze sculptures.
Located in the German Alps, Berchtesgarden is perhaps best known as the location of Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest retreat. Eagle’s Nest itself is at the top of a steep ridge. It isn’t the easiest place to reach but you will get some awesome views.
The town itself is super cute with colourful buildings, flower boxes in what seems like every window and many beautiful painted murals. Don’t miss the beautiful Marketplatz in the car free old town. In winter, Berchtesgaden is well known for its Christmas markets.
Lubeck is a city of beautiful brick gothic buildings and well known for its magnificent city gate as well as an impressive Rathaus. Head to the top of St Peter’s Church for the best views of the city.
Lubeck is also one of the most famous producers of marzipan in the world and has a cafe, factory and museum all dedicated to marzipan.
Heidelberg is famed for its magnificent castle. Take a cable car or walk up to visit Heidelberg Castle and then enjoy the view of this beautiful German city. Heidelberg has a charming old town with one of the longest shopping streets in the world. And of course, there is a Christmas Market in November and December each year.
The Alte Brucke Bridge offers some lovely views of the Neckar River and the city. And Heidelberg is a university town and has the lovely Philosopher’s Walk which has some more lovely views.
Located on Germany’s Romantic Road, Cochem is one of the charming towns that is located between the vineyards of this region. It has a hilltop castle and many colourful buildings. The town sits on the left bank of the Moselle Valley and Reichsburg Castle towers over it sitting a the top of a hill. Cochem is known for fantastic hiking trails as well as excellent local wines – a great combination!
Lovely Bremen has earnt a place on any list of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Its market square has two UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first is Bremen’s stunning town hall. The second is the Roland Statue in front of the town hall. This statue dates back to the 15th century and symbolises the freedom of Bremen. Plus the well known statue of the Bremen Town Musicians is next to the town hall. Bremen has quite the market square.
In the spring and summer months the market square will be filled with street artists and outdoor dining. In the winter it is one of the locations for the many Christmas markets whpop up all over the city.
This Bavarian city is home to two extremely impressive sites as well as being a charming city in its own right. Wurzburg Residence is a UNESCO listed stately home that also has lovely gardens. Marienberg Fortress sits on top of the hill and looks over the Main River. There is a musuem where you can learn all about its history or even better just relax and enjoy the views with a beer.
In the town of Wurzburg head to the beautiful Old Main Bridge. And don’t miss enjoying some of the local Franconian wine.
One of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany, Quedlinburg is located in Northern Germany. Quedelinburg’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is filled with beautiful half-timbered houses. In winter Quedelinburg of course has a Christmas market in its atmospheric main town square that isn’t to be missed.
The town islocated in the Hartz mountains and its palace and abbey complex are key parts of its lovely skyline. Quedlinburg is home to more than 1,300 timber framed buildings in its delightful old town plus a particularly lovely Marketplatz.
Another well preserved medieval town, Regensburg is located in Bavaria and not far from Munich. One of the most impressive attractions in Regensburg is its gothic cathedral that dates back to 700 AD. This beautiful city is located on the banks of the Danube River so don’t miss the biergartens that are down by the river.
Regensburg is also home to one of the oldest stone bridges in the world and even has ancient roman ruins. Don’t miss its cobblestone streets and colourful buildings.
Fussen is sometimes forgotten in the excitement to visit the most popular tourist attraction in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle, the famous inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. However, the town of Fussen is delightful. It is filled with pedestrianised cobblestone streets and colourful buildings and frescoes.
Fussen boasts a former Benedictine Abbey, medieval town wall and gothic houses. The best view of Fussen is from Mount Tegelberg. Hop on the cable car and you’ll get a fantastic view of the lovely Fussen as well as the end of the Romantic Road, lakes, mountains and Linderhof castle.
The entire old town of Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is easy to see why – there is something about a city built on the River Regnitz and Bamberg makes the most of its fantastic location with its timbered houses. The most famous of this city’s stunning architectural marvels is the 14th century Altes Rathaus which sits on an artificial island in the middle of the river.
Bamberg has two castles: the old palace from the 16th century and the new palace from the 18th century. And don’t leave Bamberg without trying its famous smoked beer. It is said to taste like liquid bacon – I do wonder who has actually tasted liquid bacon but this has me curious!
21. Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber
Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber is another beautiful town in Bavaria located on the Romantic Road. The town dates back to the 10th century and is filled with wonderful and photogenic Fachwerk houses. It is a walled city that has virtually no car traffic which adds considerably to its charming atmosphere.
Head to the top of the tower above the town hall for fantastic views of the beautiful countryside as well as the town’s beautiful main square. And don’t miss the German Christmas Museum!
Gorlitz is located on Germany’s border with Poland and is the easternmost town in Germany. The town managed to get through World War 2 without bombings and is filled with pastel buildings and old churches – it even appeared in the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Gorlitz is connected to its twin town Zgorzelec by two bridges over the Neisse River.
Erfurt escaped bombing in World War 2 and was preserved as part of East Germany. So visiting Erfurt is a real historical treat with its pristine medieval buildings and cobbled atmospheric streets. The Kramerbrucke or merchants bridge is an Instagram highlight. This is one of the few inhabited bridges in Europe and it is populated with attractive half-timbered buildings. Like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, there are stores on the bridge as well as homes.
St Edgidius church tower offers fantastic views of Erfurt. The town’s Cathedral Square has St Mary’s Cathedral and ST Severus Church. There is a staircase between the two churches which becomes a theatre in the summer.
Monschau is a picture-perfect town in the western region of Eifel. It features timbered houses, the medieval Burg Monschau which sits on a hill and cobbled streets. The town was originally built in the 13th century and has been well preserved.
Some of the highlights of Monschau is the Rotes Haus building which is traditional timbered houses at their best, the mustard mill which is still operating (and there are tasting) the Felsenkeller Brewery Museum and Glass Works for old fashioned glass blowing.
Lovely Lindau is on Lake Constance and feels like it sits on the Meditteranean. Its old town is actually on an island and contains lovely squares and winding cobbled streets. Enter Lindau through its rather magnificent harbour entrance which has a lion statue on one side and Bavaria’s only lighthouse on the other. And Lindau is also where scientists meet to decide on Noble prizes.
Final Thoughts on the Most Beautiful Cities in Germany
There are elements of historical Germany in all of these cities. But what makes them truly beautiful is how the old has survived even as the new has grown and developed around it. You can see this clearly in Berlin, for example.
You can walk a street in many of these cities with a building facade that seems hundreds of years old. Then sit down to a fine coffee at a street cafe. You can visit a centuries-old church, then pop into a state of the art museum or library. All in one of these amazing, beautiful German cities.
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