Have you ever wondered where the top places to visit in Germany are?
Have you ever thought about visiting Germany for a weekend or a family holiday?
Germany has been such a surprise to me. I had not even visited Germany, until the day I moved here four years ago. I didn’t know anything about it, didn’t speak the language and didn’t appreciate its beauty.
Over the four years we have lived here we have visited some stunning places. Just before Christmas I did a post which detailed some of my favourite Christmas markets so far. To follow on from that this post looks at the best places to visit for a holiday or mini-break. Some places you will have heard off. Some – I am guessing – you have not….
Let’s start with the most obvious one first shall we? I don’t think you can do a top places to visit in Germany list without mentioning Berlin.
I love Berlin, it is such an interesting atmosphere. It has a cosmopolitan feel, as you would expect from a big city. But it has such a laid-back and relaxed feel to it as well, in a way that I have not felt in any other capital city.
When the boys were two, we hired a little apartment just a few streets away from the metro. My mum and dad came with us and we had one of the nicest weekends away. We were lucky that the sun shone when we were there.
We managed to fit in a lot of the popular tourist sights; Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and the Jewish Memorial. We also got to sample a lot of the delicious food that Berlin had to offer.
You could also spend a whole day wandering around the massive Tiergarten (park) in the centre of the city. With plenty of space to walk, boat rides to enjoy and cafes in the centre to sit and enjoy your surroundings. There is also a zoo here to keep little ones entertained.
Getting around the city was easy, the metro takes you most places and there is the hop-on-hop-off bus tour for those limited with time.
I think it is fair to say that this is the perfect weekend break for city lovers.
I was pretty excited to discover when we moved here that we were only one hour away from Hameln. The architecture is stunning and has remained largely untouched over the years, so that in itself is a reason to visit this beautiful town.
Some may recognise this as the home of the Pied Piper. The town doesn’t shy away from this either, with regular plays in the centre of town reenacting the famous story. All around the town you can see little rats on the ground, the kids loved the adventure of hunting them down as we wandered the pretty streets.
There is a museum in the centre of the town which is well worth a look. There is an awful lot packed into this small place from throughout the years, including a room dedicated to both World Wars. The Pied Piper mechanical theatre is also worth catching, this is run regularly throughout the day.
While I am not sure there is enough here to warrant a full holiday here, I would urge anyone near this area to go and see it. It will be well worth your while.
It is actually quite tricky to put Bavaria into just one section. There is so much to see and do and the Bavarian region in Germany is expansive.
We have been to Bavaria twice now, once in the summer and once in the winter. We loved both for very different reasons.
The summer months are generally warm and pleasant in Bavaria. We were lucky to stay in a lovely farm, which you can read all about here if you missed the post. We visited Northern Bavaria, were minutes away from the Czech border and could visit Cham and Regensburg with ease. Germany is very much land-locked, however in the hot summer months you can still enjoy a cool down at one of the many man-made beaches which surrounds some of the local lakes, where you can enjoy a cooling swim.
In the winter, we went skiing in Southern Bavaria. Unfortunately there was not much snow when we visited over New Year. That said there was enough for the boys to have their first skiing lessons, as snow machines are set to work on the nursery slopes.
There was plenty of other options to keep us entertained though, including an incredible trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, which some may recognise as the castle from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Pretty Lake Constance (Bodensee) is – I think – one of the best holidays we have had. We stayed at a Euro-camping style resort and it was perfect for families with young children.
This place is simply stunning, it is not called the German Riviera for nothing! Lake Constance is the largest lake in Germany and is surrounded by pretty towns and villages. There is plenty to do for all the family, including an abundance of water sports and boat rides to be enjoyed.
Lake Constance allows for day trips to Switzerland, where we went to the Schloss (castle) Laufen which stands tall over the Rheinfall waterfalls. Breathtaking doesn’t do it justice. I did a blog post here, should you want to read more about our visit.
We have only visited Cologne during ‘Christmas market fever’ and I would love to go back again when the sun is shining. I have a friend who lives there, so it has to be on the to-do list before we move.
Cologne struck me as a very grand city and it felt like there was a lot more hustle and bustle that Berlin. I definitely loved the feel of Cologne, which is why it has beaten Dusseldorf to a place on the top places to visit in Germany list.
Like all big cities there is plenty to see and do. On the to-do list has to be going inside the imposing Cathedral which dominates Cologne’s skyline. From outside it is impressive, so I can only imagine what it is like inside the grand halls.
Boat rides are always a hit with the boys, so that has to be on the list and there is – of course – a zoo which always comes in handy when the kids get grumpy!
Not far from us is the city of Paderborn. A small city, I will give you that, but it boasts a lot of activities to keep families entertained.
I have not spent much time perusing the town centre of Paderborn, although we have nipped into the centre to keep little boys fed and watered. As much as it is pretty, it is not the reason I picked this out as one of my favourites.
I have picked this out for two reasons: the computer museum and the Schloss Neuhaus.
The computer museum is impressive. It presents technology over the years, from the initial telegram system through to modern day robots and computer games. There is plenty to marvel at and games for children to keep entertained.
The Schloss Neuhaus is a beautiful castle to visit with young children as the gardens are vast, with plenty of room to burn off energy. They also have events held here throughout the year, including a wine festival!
I am told Bielefeld doesn’t exist, or at least that is the myth. I can confirm, however, that it definitly does!! More than that, it is a pretty city as well and definitely worthy of making the top places to visit in Germany list.
With the Sparrenburg castle looming over the city from the high ridge, to the many lakes to be visited, it is well worth sampling what Bielefeld has to offer. The local Tierpark is a great place to see bears and wolves in their natural habitat – or as close as it gets – and there are some impressive indoor and outdoor pools on offer in the area.
There are a couple of festivals of note throughout the year, with a festival at the beginning of summer, a wine festival in September and – of course – the Christmas markets in December.
I love this hidden gem and would encourage anyone to pay a visit at some point.
I am cheating a little bit here but having spoken to friends who live in Germany, I have it under good authority that Hamburg is definitly one of the top places to visit in Germany. However, it is not a place I have managed to see … yet! I really want to ensure I go before I move though, not least because of the notorious ‘Beatles’ connection!
There are lots to see and do in this fine city. However, I think the boys would love the Miniatur Wunderland. This is a model railway attraction and the largest of its kind in the world. I would be happy to put money on this being something to see.
The best of the rest
I have tried to pick out cities / towns to visit for this top places to visit in Germany post. However, there are a few other things that don’t quick fit into this category, which I think is worth a mention:
Movie Park Germany: We had so much fun at this theme park last year. There were more than enough rides to keep everyone entertained for a whole weekend. The boys absolutely adored the street parade, where they got to high five Chase from Paw Patrol and the Ninja Turtles!
Dino Park: This dinosaur theme park – with life-size models & a covered hall with fossil dinosaur tracks – is perfect for old and young children!
Barfusspark: These barefoot parks is exactly what you might expect. You take your shoes off at the door and negotiate the terrain barefoot. Maybe one to do on a sunny – rather than muddy – day.
If you have visited Germany or live here, then I would love to know what your top choices are for visiting Germany. Leave me a note in the comments or on social media.
I’ve joined up with some of my favourite bloggers and they are sharing their top places to visit where they live. If you live or are visiting any of these areas, you should take a look.
Just click on each of the badges and you will go straight to their post…