The Best Things to do in Germany

The 25 Best Things to do in Germany

Cold war relics, medieval ruins, and centuries-old Alstadts (Old Towns) are the first highlights that await you on your journey across Germany. Wait until the beer starts flowing, the Christmas markets light up the night sky, and the Alps are arrayed before you because that’s when you’ve really arrived in Germany!

Planning a trip to Germany is difficult because there are so many exciting destinations to visit. You can start in the capital, Berlin, where you’ll find some of the best things to do in Germany. There’s the Berlin Wall, Tempelhof Airport, Museum Island, and the sobering Holocaust Memorial. 

Travel south, and you’ve got the splendid palaces of Munich, the shimmering waters of Lake Constance, and the snowcapped Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. And don’t forget Oktoberfest. If that’s not enough, there’s the beautifully restored medieval architecture of Dresden, the futuristic skyline of Frankfurt, and the red brick warehouses and canals of Hamburg

With so many exciting things to see and do in Germany, you might not know where to start. So to help you plan your vacation, we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Germany for you. Give these fun and unique Germany bucket list recommendations a try, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time exploring this fascinating European nation!


25 Fun and Unique Things to do in Germany

1. Discover Cold War history in Berlin

Best Things to do in Germany: Cold War history in Berlin

From the end of World War II until 1990, Germany was divided in two. East and West Germany were the frontlines of the Cold War, and in Berlin, you can discover contemporary 20th-century history across the city. 

Berlin’s most infamous Cold War relic is the Berlin Wall, which separated the city’s two halves until it was pulled down in 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the end of communism in Europe, and while much of the wall has since been destroyed, you’ll find poignant sections remain as a reminder of the past.

Head to Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin, and you’ll be standing by one of the most iconic Berlin Wall locations. Nearby is Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial, while at the East Side Gallery, you’ll see sections of the wall that have been converted into an open-air art gallery. You can even take a Berlin Wall tour to learn more.

For a more chilling look at East Germany’s totalitarianism, visit the Stasi Museum while you’re in Berlin. This is the former headquarters of East Germany’s secret police, and it’s now a museum, research center, and memorial. 


2. Step back in time at Museum Island Berlin

Must do things in Germany: Museum Island Berlin

Germany has no shortage of excellent museums to visit, but there’s one location that should be at the top of all museum-focused travel itineraries. That’s Museum Island Berlin, where you’ll find no less than five individual museums located in the middle of the River Spree.

A visit to Museum Island is one of the most unique things to do in Germany, and you’ll find that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a wealth of exhibits and artifacts that will transport you through millennia of human history and culture. 

Start with the Altes Museum (the Old Museum), which first opened in 1830 and has the distinction of being the oldest museum on Museum Island. Somewhat appropriately, the Altes Museum is dedicated to holding relics, coins, and archaeological finds from across the ancient world. 

Next up is the Neues Museum (the New Museum). Inside the spectacular modern architectural designs of this fantastic museum, you’ll find collections that date back to the prehistoric era. The Neues Museum is best known for its Ancient Egyptian artifacts, including the iconic bust of Nefertiti.

There are still three museums to go. If you’re here for the artwork, you’ll want to make the Alte Nationalgalerie your next stop, where you can peruse through an age of art from antiquity to the modern era. At the Bode Museum, you’ll find more artwork, including works in the Museum of Byzantine Art and from the Numismatic Collection. 

The final stop is the Pergamon Museum, which just so happens to be the most popular museum in Berlin. The Pergamon is extensive (with another wing being added), and you’ll need hours to explore the Roman and Greek art, Islamic art, and the artifacts collected from the Middle Eastern world that are on display here. 


3. Cycle, run, or walk around Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport 

What to do in Germany: Cycle, run, or walk around Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Germany, you’ll find plenty in Berlin! One of them is Tempelhof Airport, an abandoned airport that’s been turned into one of Berlin’s most popular public parks. 

This is urban repurposing at its best. You’ll appreciate how history has been preserved at Tempelhof Airport, and you’ll love how you can run, cycle, or walk around the old runways. Tempelhof Airport dates back to the 1920s, and it was in operation until 2008, when it was finally closed down. 

Take a guided tour of the old terminals, and you’ll learn how Tempelhof Airport was the scene of the Berlin Airlift during the Cold War. You’ll also learn how its closure was controversial in Germany. Although now, Berliners are happy to have an impressive urban park to enjoy.

Head onto the runways, and you’ll find people exercising, flying kites, skateboarding, picnicking, and more across the airfield. You can rent bicycles at the airfield, bring your own, or just take a stroll through the airport!

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4. Be moved by Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial

Unique Things to do in Germany: Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial

Sometimes, travelers have to prepare themselves to be emotionally moved, and at no other site in Germany is this more apparent than at Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial. The harrowing events of World War II need little introduction here, but if you want to learn more, there’s no better place to visit than this excellent museum and memorial. 

Officially named the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Holocaust Memorial consists of 2,711 irregularly sized and uneven pieces of concrete spaced out across a square in Berlin. You can walk through the concrete, which is designed to immortalize the tragic events of the Holocaust, so they are never repeated again. 

Head below ground, and you’ll find a museum beneath the memorial. The museum and information center attempts to chronicle the events that led to the Holocaust and the events of the Holocaust itself. 

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin can be difficult to visit, but it’s an important sight to see when you are in Germany. You will be shocked by the events depicted in the museum, but you will also be moved by the stories of heroism and heartache during such a brutal period of recent human history. 


5. Take a cruise along the River Rhine

Germany Bucket List: Cruise along the River Rhine

A River Rhine cruise is one of the best things to do in Germany because few other rivers in Europe are quite as iconic as this one. The River Rhine stretches for some 760 miles, much of it through Germany, as it makes its journey from the mountains in Switzerland north toward the Netherlands. Along the way, it passes through western Germany’s most historic cities, including Cologne and Dusseldorf, alongside countless small towns and villages.

Of course, you can take a cruise along the River Rhine when you’re in one of the river’s major cities. There are beautiful cruises that will allow you to see the Cologne Cathedral from the water, or take in the views of Dusseldorf’s skyline as you enjoy the breeze on deck. But there are also multi-day cruises that really allow you to explore this spectacular geographical feature.

As one of Europe’s longest and largest rivers, the River Rhine is navigable for much of its length. Many multi-day cruises begin in Cologne before taking travelers south toward Bonn, Koblenz, Mainz, and Mannheim. Along the way, you can stop off to explore charming medieval towns and castles, as well as western Germany’s best museums, galleries, and sightseeing attractions. 

Book a Panoramic Boat Cruise on the Rhine


6. Be awed by Cologne’s cathedral

Germany Bucket List: Cologne’s cathedral

Construction began on Cologne Cathedral far, far back in the year 1248 AD, and somewhat surprisingly, the original medieval designs were never completed until the year 1880 AD. The cathedral took over 600 years to complete, but we’re quite certain you’ll agree that it was worth the wait when you stand in the shadow of its twin spires and gaze upward in awe!

Cologne Cathedral is now one of the most visited attractions in Germany, and for good reason. This is not only the historic center of Cologne – which is itself one of the best cities to visit in Germany – but this is the tallest twin-spired cathedral in the world. The spires, which took so very long to complete, stand at a height of 157 meters, dwarfing the surrounding buildings in Cologne’s medieval old town. 

The exterior of the cathedral is built in the Gothic style, but if you step inside, you’ll be just as awed by the lavishly decorated interiors. Cologne Cathedral was originally designed to hold the Shrine of the Kings, a religious reliquary that’s said to hold the bones of the Three Magi. You’ll find this and many more reliquaries throughout the cathedral. 

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7. Marvel at Frankfurt’s futuristic skyline

Fun Things to do in Germany: Frankfurt’s futuristic skyline

With its glittering skyscrapers and postmodernist architecture, Frankfurt is a shining icon of Germany’s futuristic vision, and we know you’re going to love your stay in the city.  

Start by taking the elevator to the top of Main Tower, where you’ll have panoramic views of Frankfurt’s skyline from your 200-meter-high vantage point, then head back down to start exploring!

Frankfurt is an economic powerhouse, and the city’s super-modern skyline reflects this. But this is also a city with centuries of history, and among the skyscrapers, you’ll find ancient cathedrals and imperial buildings hidden across the city. 

You can find out more about the city’s history by visiting the Museum Embankment, where no less than 16 museums and art galleries line both sides of the River Main. 


8. Visit a palace (or three!)

Must do things in Germany: Visit a palace

This is a country with a fascinating history, and throughout the centuries, different monarchs, ruling families, and noble dynasties have left their marks on the different German states. If you’re intrigued by regal history, you’ve come to the right place because there are hundreds of palaces and stately homes for you to visit in Germany.

In Berlin, you can visit the impressive Charlottenburg Palace. It’s now part of the city’s suburbs, but was once a countryside retreat that was the home of Prussian royalty. Charlottenburg was completed in 1713 in the Baroque style, and you’ll love the interior grandeur of the palace as well the extensive landscaped gardens.

Head to Potsdam, and you’ll find the summer palace of the Prussian kings. Sanssouci is said to be as elegant as the Palace of Versailles, combining Baroque and Rococo designs with elaborate gardens and landscaped features.

Travel south to Bavaria, and you’ll find that Munich is resplendent with palatial sights to see. There’s the Nymphenburg Palace, the Residence Palace, the Linderhof Palace, the Schleissheim Palace, and many more. 

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9. Explore the wild nature of Black Forest National Park

Unique Things to do in Germany: Black Forest National Park

If you’d love to escape to nature during your stay in Germany, then the tree-lined landscapes of the Black Forest National Park await you in the west. You’ll find the Black Forest next to the River Rhine, in a secluded border region that invites isolation. 

The national park was established in 2014, and it protects some 10,000 hectares of forest in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Head to the spa town of Baden-Baden, the gateway to the Black Forest, where you can find historic castles and thermal baths before beginning your adventure into the wilderness. 

There are mountains to climb, waterfalls to discover, trails to hike, lakes to swim, and beautiful scenery to embrace as you explore the Black Forest. Ready your hiking poles, or prepare yourself for an off-road mountain biking excursion because this part of Germany is packed full of outdoor and adventure sports opportunities!

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Book a Black Forest and Baden Baden Day Trip


10. Explore Hamburg’s canals and museums

Fun Things to do in Germany: Hamburg’s canals and museums

One of the best places to visit in Germany is Hamburg, where you’ll find a beautiful network of canals and waterways, alongside some impressive museums. 

Hamburg was once an industrial powerhouse, and this northern city was a prominent member of the Hanseatic League, a mercantile trading group that grew rich off the Baltic Sea. Hamburg’s industrial glory days might be over, but the city has preserved its canals and distinctive red brick warehouses and is now one of Germany’s most intriguing destinations. 

You’ll love how you can cruise along the River Elbe, explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed architecture of Speicherstadt (“Warehouse City”), and delve into the history of the Altstadt. Hamburg is like an industrial Venice, and we love how the city offers sights and activities on the water, on islands, and on land!

Hamburg is also home to one of Germany’s most popular museums, a museum named Miniatur Wunderland. Here you’ll find the largest model railway in the world, complete with miniature depictions of Hamburg, Austria, Switzerland, the USA, and much more. 

There are many more life-size museums to visit in Hamburg, too, including the International Maritime Museum, the Kunsthalle Hamburg, the Speicherstadt Museum, and the Museum of Hamburg History.  


11. Catch a concert at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie

Germany Things to do: Concert at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie

Hamburg is a city that offers an unusual mix of heritage and modernity, and no building emphasizes this blend more than the Elbphilharmonie. Often just called the “Elphi,” this is one of the most striking buildings to be found anywhere in Germany, 

The Elbphilharmonie is located on a peninsula overlooking the Elbe River. You’ll quickly be mesmerized by the contrasting red brick foundations and extravagant glass high-rise that reaches above the water. 

The Elbphilharmonie is now a concert hall, but it started life as one of Hamburg’s many traditional red brick warehouses. It’s an integral part of the city’s maritime and mercantile history, and reflects the important role that Hamburg played in the Hanseatic League for many centuries. 

In 2017, the modern renovation of the old warehouse was complete when the regeneration project was opened to the public. This project included the addition of a glass exterior above the red brick warehouse that now houses hotels and apartments, where you can stay in luxury with supreme views over Hamburg. 

The most important addition, though, was the Grand Hall, a concert hall that now hosts orchestras and events throughout the year. Book your tickets in advance, and you can experience the perfect acoustics of this brilliant cultural venue during your stay in Hamburg!


12. Take a trip to Germany’s largest island

Cool Things to do in Germany: Trip to Germany’s largest island

The cold waters of the Baltic Sea might not seem like the most appealing destination for an island getaway, but just wait until you see Rugen. Located off the north coast, Rugen is Germany’s largest island, and it’s home to gorgeous white sand beaches and dramatic white cliffs.

Visit Rugen in the summer, and you’ll even have the chance to enjoy the Baltic sunshine, even if it is short-lived. The water will be warm enough to swim (just!), and the blustery cliffs and dramatic headlands will be perfect for a bit of walking. Much of the island is protected as part of Jasmund National Park, a broad area of wild, outdoor nature that includes swathes of forest that grow right up to the chalk cliffs. 

Rugen has been welcoming visitors since the 18th century, and you’ll find that there are several well-established resorts on the island, all built in the classic Baltic-resort fashion. There are spa hotels, castles to visit, an enormous freshwater lagoon to explore, and for those on a budget, outrageously scenic hiking routes and camping spots that are guaranteed to impress! 

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13. Explore Dresden – the capital of Saxony

Germany Bucket List: Explore Dresden – the capital of Saxony

Dresden is one of the best German sightseeing destinations, and we know you’re going to love delving into centuries of history as you explore this beautiful city on the banks of the River Elbe. 

Dresden is the city that was reborn from ashes. Take a walking tour of the Altstadt (Old Town), and you’ll discover that much of Dresden was destroyed during World War II when the city became the victim of an intense bombing raid in 1945. The city was rebuilt though, brick by brick, and today you can once again revel in the historic glory of the iconic Frauenkirche, the Zwinger Palace, and the Old Town square. 

Dresden is a city that’s rich in treasure as well as history, and you’ll find the Green Vault shimmers gold with its vast collection of royal jewels and coins that were once owned by the kings and queens of Saxony. 

There are cultural riches, too, and you can spend the evening at the Saxon State Opera, enjoy the delightful views from the “Balcony of Europe” – a beautiful public terrace overlooking the River Elbe – or ride the world’s oldest suspended railway 274 meters to one of the best vantage points in Dresden. 

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14. Embrace nature in Saxon-Switzerland

Best Things to do in Germany: Embrace nature in Saxon-Switzerland

High mountain peaks, dramatic rock formations, and endless landscapes await you in Saxon-Switzerland, where you’ll find one of Germany’s most exciting national parks!

Saxon-Switzerland encompasses the German portion of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains (the other portion of the range is named Bohemian-Switzerland, and it’s over the border in Czechia). 

If you love hiking, mountain climbing, or rock climbing, you’ll have endless opportunities to scale the 1,000 or so peaks and promontories that dot the range. If you prefer to take in the vistas from easy-to-reach but panoramic viewing areas, that can be arranged, too!

The most famous viewpoint is the Bastei, a collection of sandstone rock formations that are connected by a seriously scenic sandstone bridge. The Bastei reaches a height of 305 meters, and it’s one of the most spectacular spots you could hope to see in Germany. Other highlights of Saxon-Switzerland include the Konigstein Fortress, the Painter’s Way hiking trail, and the River Elbe Cycle Route. 

There are several spa towns in the area – including Rathen, where you can base yourself – although you can easily reach the national park on day trips from Dresden. 

Book a Bohemia and Saxon Switzerland Full-Day Tour


15. Uncover Nuremberg’s Nazi past

Germany Things to do: Nuremberg’s Nazi past

Nuremberg is one of the most historic places to visit in Germany, and with its picturesque Altstadt (Old Town), cobblestone streets, and medieval walls, there are few destinations with such a romantic aura to them as this.

But Nuremberg has a darker side to its history, too. If you’d like to learn more about Germany’s more recent Nazi past, this is the city to visit. In the 1930s, Nuremberg was enthusiastically Nazi, and mass rallies were held in the purpose-built “Nazi Party Rally Grounds,” which are found in the city. 

You can still visit the grounds today, which have been turned into a lasting reminder of the dangers of fascism, and a documentation center that aims to show how and why the Nazis came to power in Germany.

Nuremberg was, of course, the scene of the infamous Nuremberg Trials at the end of the war, and the city was chosen for this in part because of its Nazi associations. You can learn more by visiting the courthouse where the trials of leading Nazis were held at the end of the war. 

Nuremberg also has more to offer, and you can take a break from World War II history by visiting the city’s impressive Imperial Castle, the German National Museum, and the art exhibitions at the Neues Museum

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16. Road trip Germany’s ‘Romantic Road’

Best Things to do in Germany: Road trip Germany’s ‘Romantic Road’

The Romantic Road is a 250(ish)-mile tourist trail that starts in Wurzburg and finishes in Fussen, and it’s one of the best German sightseeing routes you can explore!

Rent a car and hit the road. You’ll soon fall in love with the most romantic destinations in Bavaria as you stop off in UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Towns, visit clifftop castles overlooking forests and valleys, and eat and drink some of the finest food and wine in Germany. 

This is a route that’s packed with history, culture, and fine dining, and it kicks off in the Old Town of Wurzburg as you start your journey in the traditional Bavarian region of Franconia. Follow the Romantic Road west, then sharply south, and you’ll soon meet Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of Germany’s most impressive walled towns. 

From here, keep driving south, stopping off in Nordlingen, Harberg, Augsburg, Freiburg, and countless other destinations, until you finally traverse the majestic Bavarian Alps and finish just a mile or so north of the Austrian border in the beautiful town of Fussen. 


17. Visit a fairytale castle

Fun Things to do in Germany: Visit a fairytale castle

If you’re a romantic, you’ll love visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the top things to see in Germany. This is the castle that’s said to have inspired Walt Disney, and it’s guaranteed to leave you awed as soon as you catch a glimpse of the spires and turrets rising above the mountains.

You’ll find Neuschwanstein Castle nestled away in the Bavarian Alps, not far from the border with Austria. The setting itself is just as fairytale as the castle itself. You’ll love soaking in the surrounding mountain scenery and alpine air as you learn about Neuschwanstein’s fascinating history. 

This is no medieval castle because Neuschwanstein Castlewas built in the mid-1800s by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was always intended to be a royal castle, and it was designed in the extravagant romantic style that was sweeping across Europe at the time. King Ludwig II was also obsessed with the music of Richard Wagner, and so much of the castle was also inspired by the composer’s epic works and compositions. 

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18. Take a cable car to the top of Germany’s highest peak

Best Things to do in Germany: Cable car to the top of Germany’s highest peak

Rising to a towering height of 2,962 meters, Zugspitze is the tallest mountain peak in Germany. Despite its lofty altitude, high above the Alps, it’s wonderfully easy to reach the summit because there’s a cable car route to the top!

Zugspitze sits on the Austro-German border, and you’ll first need to make it to the town of Garmisch, which sits in the shadow of the mountain peak. From here, you’ll take the cog-wheeled train to the Zugspitzplatt, then the Glacier Cable Car to the summit. Once you’re at the top, you’ll have 360-degree views that reach into both Germany and Austria. 

You can take the cable car back down the way you came, or you can take the second cable car, which runs down to the nearest Austrian town. The cable cars are open all year (depending on weather conditions), and this area of the Alps is perfect for both summer hiking and winter skiing activities.

In fact, the Zugspitzplatt is Germany’s highest-altitude ski resort, and there’s excellent snow here for many months of the year. The Garmisch area has slopes for all abilities, as well as opportunities for a plethora of other outdoor winter and summer activities, including mountaineering, rock climbing, and ice climbing. If you love adventure sports, Zugspitze is one of the best Germany attractions for adrenaline-inducing activities!

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Book a Zugspitze Full Day Tour


19. Spend the night in a German castle

Unique Things to do in Germany: Spend the night in a German castle

If you love visiting historic or romantic castles, Germany has thousands waiting to be explored. If a day trip isn’t quite enough, then you’ll love how many of Germany’s old castles have been repurposed into unique hotels where you can spend the night!

While you can’t spend the night at Neuschwanstein Castle, there are many more exciting options available to you. Enjoy views of Frankfurt from Schlosshotel Kronberg, a 19th-century country estate that’s been converted into a luxurious spa hotel. 

At Schloss Lieser, you can eat and drink world-class cuisine and wine in a historic setting in the Moselle Valley, while at Burghotel auf Schonburg, you’ll be staying above the River Rhine in a castle that dates back over a thousand years. 

A castle stay is one of the best things to do in Germany, and we know you’re going to love soaking up the history, relaxing in spas, and enjoying spectacular rural or alpine views during your travels across the country! 


20. Cycle the River Danube

Germany Bucket List: Cycle the River Danube

At 1,770 miles in total length, the River Danube is the second-longest river in Europe. It stretches through 10 different countries as it makes its way across Central Europe toward the Black Sea, and it starts its long journey in western Germany.

For much of its length, the River Danube can be followed by cycling the adjacent Danube Cycle Path, a large section of which passes through Germany. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can start cycling in the town of Donaueschingen, which lies close to the source of the River Danube.

From here, the route heads east, taking you across some 370 miles of dedicated paths and trails on your way to Passau, where the River Danube then crosses into Austria. It’s a fantastic way to explore Germany, as cycling from east to west allows you to take it slow, follow the river, and stop off at your leisure in medieval walled towns, wine-rich valleys, and charming rural destinations that you’d otherwise miss!


21. Enjoy the multinational sights of Lake Constance

Germany Bucket List: Lake Constance

One of the best sights in Germany is Lake Constance, one of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe. This spectacular natural feature is surrounded by mountains, ringed by wonderful resorts, and blessed with endless sunshine in the summer. 

And best of all, Lake Constance is the perfect place for a Euro trip, because the lake shares a tri-border with Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Lake Constance takes its name from Konstanz, a small city that sits on the German banks of the lake. 

Here you’ll find traditional Germanic architecture, cobblestone streets, and of course, a spectacular harbor overlooking the lake. Cross over the border next to Konstanz, and you’ll find yourself in Switzerland! There’s a cycle path that can take you around the entirety of the lake (almost 300 miles, through three different countries), or you could opt to just relax lakeside in one of the many resort towns. 

German favorites include Lindau and Friedrichshafen, where you’ll find a wonderful mixture of museums (including the Zeppelin Museum) and outdoor activities. Or, you can escape it all with a relaxing stay on Reichenau, a small island in the secluded “Untersee” part of Lake Constance. 

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22. Drink wine on Germany’s Weinstrasse

Unique Things to do in Germany: Drink wine on Germany’s Weinstrasse

If you’re a wine lover, then you’ll love how you can explore one of the world’s oldest wine routes. The Weinstrasse is around 50 miles long. It dates back to 1935 when tourists first started exploring the fine selection of wineries found across the Palatinate region in western Germany.

The Palatinate is best known for producing Riesling, and you’ll find that there are 35 plus wineries to visit across the region. The Weinstrasse is more than just vineyards, though, and you’ll find Michelin-starred restaurants serving up gourmet cuisine (with the perfect wine pairings!), medieval towns that seem trapped in time, and UNESCO World Heritage-listed biosphere reserves that are bursting with natural beauty. 

You can join an organized tour of the wineries, or you can make your own route, incorporating the many hiking or cycling trails into your journey if you’d love to enjoy the beautiful outdoor landscapes that are found here too.


23. Uncover Bavarian history in Munich

Germany Things to do: Bavarian history in Munich

Munich is one of the best destinations to visit in Germany, and we know you’re going to love delving deep into Bavarian history during your stay in the city.

This is a city of history, and you can start exploring in the restored Altstadt, where you can join walking tours that guide you through the cobbled streets and squares of Munich’s glorious Old Town. You’ll see the famous Marienplatz, the Neues Rathaus (the New Town Hall), and the Frauenkirche, among much more.

Then you’ve got royal palaces to explore, the beautiful English Gardens to visit, and fascinating museums like the Deutsches Museum or the Bavarian National Museum to uncover. And after a long walk through Munich, you’ll appreciate that Bavarian beer all the more!

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24. Drink beer & celebrate Bavarian culture at Munich’s Oktoberfest 

Must do things in Germany: Munich’s Oktoberfest

There’s no doubt that Germany’s most famous festival is Oktoberfest, and there’s no better place than Munich to experience this weeks’ long celebration of Bavarian culture. 

Munich is the home city of Oktoberfest. The world-famous festival is held once a year at the local Theresienwiese fairgrounds from the middle of September through to the first Sunday in October. (Yes, most of Oktoberfest does take place in September!)

Munich has a strong beer-drinking tradition that goes back centuries, but Oktoberfest in its modern form can be traced back to 1810 when King Ludwig I of Bavaria held a massive public festival to celebrate his marriage.

The festival has since evolved into the sprawling, beer-swigging event you find today. You’ll need to dress up in your finest lederhosen (for the men) or best dirndl (for the women) and be prepared to consume large quantities of German beer in an enormous Bavarian-style beer tent. 

The fairground is packed with beer tents and people, and it’s almost impossible to reserve tables. You simply need to show up early (and we mean early!) and be prepared for a long day of beer drinking, music, and dancing!

Oktoberfest in Munich is nothing short of an experience, but throughout September, you’ll also find that all of Bavaria (and these days, most of Germany!) wants in on the event. Every town and city will host an Oktoberfest celebration, and there will be no shortage of opportunities to drink beer and eat bratwurst during your stay.

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25. Revel in Germany’s festive spirit at a Christmas market

Cool Things to do in Germany: Christmas market

Germany is the number one destination in Europe for Christmas markets, and the nation has a long festive tradition that can be traced back hundreds and hundreds of years in many towns and cities.

Germany’s Christmas markets begin in earnest at the start of Advent, and they’ll stop on the dot on Christmas Eve. You can find mulled wine, bratwursts, potato pancakes, baked goods, and so many more classic Christmas goodies. You’ll also come across carol singing, stalls selling handicrafts and Christmas decorations, and some fairly eccentric local traditions taking place at each market. 

The Germans are well-practiced when it comes to organizing a Christmas market, so your only question is going to be, which one do you visit? Nuremberg’s markets are famous for bratwursts, in Munich you’ll find the beer, in Cologne the best market stands next to the cathedral, and in Dresden you’ll love the history!

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There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Germany. What’s your favorite thing to do in Germany?


Planning a trip to Germany? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


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Gerri Berger
Gerri Berger
3 months ago

The best written travel descriptions for an exciting trip! I look forward to check it out also. Thanks for sharing.

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