A Guide to Germany's Most Beloved Cities: Which Should You Visit First?

By Jessica Russo

When you think of "big cities," you think of Paris in France, Rome in Italy, and London in England. But what about Germany? This country is unique in that it doesn't have just one big city - it has many! So, how will you decide which you want to visit first? Take a tour of Germany's favorite cities to see which ones will make it onto your vacation's itinerary.

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The artsy, history-rich capital

Besides being the biggest city in Germany, Berlin is also a cosmopolitan hub for art, architecture, history, and nightlife. Here, you'll find funky street art, awesome nightclubs, and of course, the remnants of the Berlin Wall! After being separated into East and West during the Cold War, Berlin was reunited in 1990, and is now a hip haven of cool vibes.


The gateway to the Alps!

This beautiful city is chock full of amazing museums and traditional German architecture. It's the capital of Bavaria, and as many beer-lovers know, the hub during Oktoberfest! Walk around the Altstadt (old town) and the central Marienplatz, where you'll find jaw-dropping buildings and iconic landmarks. Nearby, you'll find fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle, the very castle Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle was modeled after!


Where old meets new

While Frankfurt's old town (Altstadt) boasts traditional charm, the majority of the city is filled with shiny modern skyscrapers. It's known to be Germany's main financial hub, and hosts many international events.


Harbor haven

Did you know that Hamburg has more bridges than Amsterdam and Venice combined? Yup! This large city in Northern Germany is renowned for its nightlife and beautiful maritime charm, as well as being known as the place where The Beatles got their start.


Full of architectural wonders

Ahh, Cologne. This gorgeous 2,000-year-old city sits on the Rhine River in culture-packed western Germany. An icon of High Gothic architecture, Cologne boasts a charming old town and one of the most striking cathedrals in Europe. Gaze out at beautiful sunsets over the river, visit famous art museums, and wander through stone streets of colorful storefronts.


"Florence at the Elbe"

This beautiful gem, like Cologne, is laden with mesmerizing art museums, classic architecture, and a postcard-worthy reconstructed old town. Dresden is the capital of Saxony, the eastern German State, and is famous for its Versailles-inspired Zwinger Palace and baroque church, Frauenkirche.


Germany's fashion capital

A posh, modern center of sleek architecture, electric nightlife, and artsy fashion flair. Dusseldorf is unique, in that it's cherished by both buttoned-up business people and far out hipsters. Bar-hop around the Altstadt, the historical old quarter along the Rhine, then wander around Kiefernstrasse, a neighborhood painted head-to-toe in street art.


Old world charm & romantic castles

This cute little college town is much more than a cute little college town. Heidelberg, a jewel on the Neckar River, is known for its 16th-century castle, Gothic church towers, and adorable old town center. Wander through the cafe-lined Marktplatz, see Renaissance architecture, and - okay - pay a visit to venerable Heidelberg University.


A medieval marvel

A city distingued by medieval architecture, Nuremberg boasts soaring stone towers, storybook streets, and an iconic castle. While Nuremberg is a bright, fun-filled city today, it holds a dark past of Nazi history. This city is for the history buff who enjoys learning about a destination as much as exploring its beauty.

Freiburg im Breisgau

Vibrant city nestled in the Black Forest!

Oh, Freiburg, one of Germany's prettiest cities, known for its temperate climate, medieval old town, and babbling brooks (bächle) crisscrossing through the streets. Nearby, you'll find picture-perfect highlands which are beloved by hikers and non-hikers alike. Take a funicular up to amazing heights and feast your eyes on sweeping views!


Adorable squares & cute markets

Straddling the Weser River, the Hanseatic city of Bremen is best known for its role in maritime trade. This port city is woven with quaint, narrow stone streets, lined with little shops and authentic restaurants. Wander around Market Square, gawk at ornate Gothic buildings, and see the iconic Cathedral and Roland statue. Around Christmas time, be sure to check out the city's whimsical holiday markets!


Lavish baroque architecture

Art, wine, and everything cultured - that's Wurzburg! Filled with renowned museums, ornate palaces, rococo architecture, and countless wine bars, this gorgeous city is a must-visit for the culture lover in you. Wurzburg is the center of the Franconian wine country, so keep an eye out for its distinctive bocksbeutel, which are bottles with flattened round shapes - found only in this area!

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