The Best Things to Do in Germany

February 15th, 2023

Germany is perhaps best described by its culture, history, and natural beauty. This country boasts historic cities and quaint towns along with magical forests and mountains. So, it’s no wonder why you might find yourself confused with all the choices.

In Germany, there’s something for everyone. If you want to sightsee or experience arts, head to larger cities such as Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, or Frankfurt. On the other hand, if you’re more into recreational activities, consider visiting Germany’s natural wonders, including Bavarian Alps and the Black Forest.

Whatever you prefer, this guide will help you discover the best things to do in Germany, so keep on reading!

Admire the Cologne Cathedral

Germany Cologne Cathedral

Construction of Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 AD, and the original medieval designs haven’t been completed until 1880! Now, Cologne Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany for a good reason. Besides being the historic center of Cologne, it’s also the tallest twin-spired cathedral in the world. The spires stand at a height of 157 meters, making the surrounding buildings look like dwarfs.

The cathedral’s exterior is built in Gothic style, and when you enter, you’ll be inspired by the extravagantly decorated interior. The cathedral was originally built to hold the Shrine of the Kings, a religious reliquary that’s said to keep the bones of the Three Magi. Throughout the Cologne Cathedral, you can find many more reliquaries besides this one.

Explore the Black Forest National Park

Cascade Waterfalls Schwarzwald National Park Germany

If you love nature, one of the best things to do in Germany is to explore the Black Forest National Park. It’s located next to the River Rhine in a secluded border region. This national park was established in 2014, protecting around 10,000 hectares of forest in Baden-Wurttemberg state.

Here, you can go to the spa town of Baden-Baden, where you will find thermal baths and historic castles. Then, there are mountains to climb, trails to hike, lakes to swim, waterfalls to discover, and beautiful scenery to welcome as you explore the magical Black Forest.

This part of Germany is packed with outdoor and adventure sports opportunities, so prepare your hiking poles or organize an off-road mountain biking excursion.

Visit Dresden

Dresden Skyline and Augustus Bridge

Dresden is one of the most interesting German sightseeing destinations as you can delve into centuries of history as you explore this magnificent city on the banks of the River Elbe. Take a tour of the Altstadt, and you’ll find that much of Dresden was destroyed during World War II. However, it was rebuilt brick by brick, and now, you can revel in the historic glory of the Zwinger Palace, the Frauenkirche, and the Old Town Square.

Dresden is rich in both history and treasure. You’ll notice that the Green Vault shimmers gold with its extensive collection of coins and royal jewels that were owned by the kings and queens of Saxony.

If you’re into culture, you can enjoy the evening at the Saxon State Opera, relish the breathtaking views from the “Balcony of Europe” (public terrace overlooking the River Elbe), or ride the world’s oldest railway.

Enjoy a Concert at Elbphilharmonie

Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall Hamburg Germany

Hamburg offers a unique mix of heritage and modernity, and the Elbphilharmonie is a building that emphasizes this blend the most. Often called Elphi, this is one of the most impressive buildings in Germany.

It’s located on a peninsula overseeing the Elbe River. You’ll be fascinated by the contrasting red bricks and elegant glass high-rise. Although now this is a concert hall, it started as a traditional red brick warehouse. The Elbphilharmonie is an integral part of Hamburg’s maritime and mercantile history, reflecting the vital role this city played in the Hanseatic League for centuries.

The renovation of the warehouse was complete in 2017 when the renewal project was opened to the public. It included the addition of a glass exterior over the red brick foundation that now contains hotels and apartments. Here, you can enjoy supreme views over Hamburg.

The most essential addition was the Grand Hall. And one of the best things to do in Germany is to enjoy a concert or other events here. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance.

Discover Rügen - Germany’s Largest Island

Sunset and Swan at Binz Rugen Island Germany

While the cold waters of the Baltic Sea may not seem like the best destination for an island getaway, Rügen will quickly change your mind. Located off the north coast, Rügen is Germany’s largest island and home to marvelous white sand beaches and dramatic cliffs.

One of the best things to do in Germany during summer is to visit this enchanting island. While the water is cold, it’s not unbearable so you may be able to take a swim. Besides enjoying the beautiful beaches, you’ll get to see the blustery cliffs and panoramic headlands, where you can take relaxing walks. Much of Rügen is part of Jasmund National Park, a vast wilderness area that contains magnificent forests growing up to the chalk cliffs.

Rügen has several well-established resorts built in the classic Baltic style. You can find castles to visit, spas to relax, and an enormous freshwater lagoon to enjoy. Moreover, you can relish scenic hiking routes and impressive camping spots.

Get in Touch with Nature in Saxon-Switzerland

Bastei Bridge Night View Saxon Switzerland

Saxon-Switzerland is full of high mountain peaks, endless landscapes, and dramatic rock formations. It encompasses the German portion of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

Here, you’ll have numerous opportunities if you love hiking, mountain climbing, or rock climbing. However, if you’re more into passive adventure, you can enjoy enchanting scenery from easy-to-reach panoramic viewing areas.

Bastei is one of the most famous viewpoints in this area. It’s a collection of sandstone rock formations connected by a scenic sandstone bridge. Its height reaches 305 meters and is one of the most fascinating spots to see in Germany.

Saxon-Switzerland is home to the Konigstein Fortress, the River Elbe Cycle Route, and the Painter’s Way hiking trail, all of which are wonderful places to visit in Germany. There are also several spa towns in this area, such as Rathen.

Visit the Neuschwanstein Castle

The Castle of Neuschwanstein in Germany

The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the best places to visit in Germany. This castle inspired Walt Disney and will leave you awed once you see its spires and turrets rising above the mountains.

The Neuschwanstein Castle is located in the Bavarian Alps, near the border with Austria. The castle is the embodiment of a fairytale, just like its surroundings.

This enchanting castle was built in the mid-1800s and was intended to be a royal castle. It was designed in the elegant romantic style that was popular across Europe at the time.

Reach the Top of Germany’s Highest Peak

Zugspitze Mountain Peak in Germany

Zugspitze is the tallest mountain peak in Germany, rising to a towering height of 2,962 meters. Despite its soaring altitude, it’s incredibly easy to reach the top since there’s a cable car route to it.

Zugspitze is located on the Austro-German border, and you’ll first have to reach the town of Garmish. From there, you can take the cog-wheeled train to the Zugspitzplatt and then the Glacier Cable Car to the top. Once there, you’ll enjoy 360-degree views that encompass both Austria and Germany.

Going back, you can take the cable car to the way you came from or take the second cable car to the nearest Austrian town. The cable cars are open all year round, and this part of the Alps is ideal for both winter skiing activities and summer hiking.

Discover Bavarian History in Munich

Aerial View of Munich Germany

Discovering Bavarian history is one of the best things to do in Munich, Germany as this is a city of history. You can start exploring the restored Altstadt, where you can join walking tours that guide you through the cobbled squares and streets of Munich’s majestic Old Town. Here, you’ll see the famous Marienplatz, the Frauenkirche, and the Neues Rathaus, to name a few.

Munich is also full of royal palaces to explore, the mesmerizing English Gardens, and intriguing museums like the bavarian National Museum or the Deutsches Museum. To end your day perfectly, enjoy the Bavarian beer in one of Munich’s adorable bars.

Drink Beer at Munich’s Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest Munich Waitress Serving Beer

Octoberfest is one of Germany’s most famous festivals. And this city is one of the best places to experience the weeks-long celebration of Bavarian culture. Oktoberfest is held once a year at the local Theresienwiese fairgrounds from the middle of September to the first Sunday in October.

This city has a strong beer-drinking tradition that goes back centuries. However, Oktoberfest in its modern form can be traced back to 1810 when King Ludwig I of Bavaria held a tremendous public festival to celebrate his marriage. The festival has since evolved into the beer-swigging event we know today.

The fairground is full of people and beer tents, and it’s nearly impossible to reserve a table. You can, however, show up early and enjoy a long day of music, dancing, and of course, beer drinking.

Prepare Yourself for Your Trip

After reading this article, you have discovered some of the best things to do in Germany. Now all that’s left to do is plan your trip! The first thing you might want to do before you even enter Germany or any other country is to exchange your currency for the currency of the country you’re traveling to - in this case, euros.

Now, why would you consider this option? Because exchanging money in advance can help you save money for other much more fun things you may want to do, such as drink Bavarian beer in Germany.

And one of the best ways to do that is to order your currency from the US First Exchange. Because of competitive rates, you’ll be able to save some money but also avoid all the hassle at brick-and-mortar currency exchange kiosks. All you need to do is order your currency online, and we’ll deliver it right to your doorstep.

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