Ahhh, Germany. The land of amazing beer, beautiful scenery, tasty pretzels and castles galore! Did I mention how GOOD the beer is? It’ll change your life if you’ve never had it. Anyway, I’m getting distracted and would like an ice cold Paulaner right about now. *Goes to fridge to grab said can of Paulaner* There we go, much better. I mean, I have to get into the German mindset if I am writing about it, right!? 😉
When I was in Germany, I made my way from Munich and The Alps near the infamous Neuschwanstein Castle, all the way up to Hamburg, which is situated up North, close to Denmark. Each town I went to, I fell more and more in love with Germany. Walking through the city centres and looking up at the castles and architecture, I felt like I was transported back in time.
Here are the 7 cities that I loved while in Germany.
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This little town is situated in Bavaria, Germany, just 5km away from Austria. The infamous Neuschwanstein Castle is located close by. As you get closer to Neuschwanstein, you start seeing hoards of tourists, buses and souvenir shops. As you look up, you’re greeted with the awesome view of Neuschwanstein, which from the bottom of the hill, looks like a tiny dollhouse castle up in the Alps. Trust me when I say, it is HUGE! Make sure to grab a Bavarian beer and schnitzel sandwich before the 30+min hike up. YUM! With Neuschwanstein Castle’s majestic presence over Füssen, you can’t help but be transported into a fairy tale.
Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and the 12th biggest city of the European Union. I absolutely fell in love with Munich. At Peterskirche, the oldest building in the city of Munich, you can see as far as the Alps on a clear day. You can pay 2 euros and climb no less than 299 steps to be awarded with the views, but when you get to the top, the views of old town are stunning! Make sure you visit the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) and take the elevator up to the top for more spectacular views. There is also a restaurant in the courtyard area that serve AMAZING fresh pretzels. Go there and get one. You’ll be glad you did!
Read more: How to spend 48 hours in Munich
Heidelberg is a city situated on the Neckar river in south-west Germany. Heidelberg is a popular tourist destination due to its romantic and picturesque cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle (or Heidelberg Schloss in German) and the baroque style Old Town. The Main Street (Hauptstrasse), a mile-long pedestrian street, running the length of the old town is filled with shops, bars, restaurants and cute little cafés. Pop into one and grab a beer, or a gelato for the stroll around Old Town. The old stone bridge was built during the years of 1786–1788. A medieval bridge gate is on the side of the old town, and was originally part of the town wall. Baroque tower helmets were added as part of the erection of the stone bridge in 1788. Take a walk along the bridge to be instantly transported back in time. The song, “I lost my heart in Heidelberg” rings true to me, as it was definitely my favourite city I visited during my travels through Germany.
Frankfurt has that “Big City” feel to it. The people, the attitudes, and the sites were all so different than the smaller cities I was just in. It’s commonly know as Frankfurt am Main, or Mainhatten. Frankfurt is a global hub for commerce, culture, education, tourism and traffic. It is the most important financial centre of the European continent, with the HQs of the European Central Bank, German Federal Bank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, DZ Bank and a ton of other corporate companies all located there. Don’t let that city vibe turn you off though. Frankfurt wasn’t originally in my lists of cities to visit, but I said, “what the hell?” One night in Frankfurt just to see what the buzz is about. I’m glad I went and experienced it. I was only there one full day, but getting honked at by some suit wearing douchebag in an Audi, first thing in the morning while crossing the street to get to my hotel definitely made me realize, this ain’t no small town! Aside from the stereotypical, big city vibe that Frankfurt gets, most people forget about the old town area that was heavily bombed during World War2, which completely devastated the area. The blueprints were found and the area was resurrected in a sense to resemble the original buildings as much as possible. Much of the Römerplatz was rebuilt by 1959. This was my favourite area of Frankfurt to hang out in, grab a meal and a beer while sitting in the square and people watch for hours. Make sure to visit the cute little shops around the town hall and Römer area. You can buy traditional German steins in the gift shop, which are beautiful, hand painted works of art!
Where do I start with Hannover? The hometown to one of the greatest bands ever, The Scorpions, this city was a absolute gem! I LOVED it there! The cute little small town feel to it with its old town centre was a German dream come true. A pretty neat thing in Hannover is The Red Thread. The Red Thread is painted on the pavement, is 4200 metres long, and weaves its way through the inner city joining up 36 prime attractions.
This “do it yourself” city tour has an informative brochure which describes all of the interesting buildings and monuments you meet along the way, and is also full of interesting historical background.
The brochure is available at the price of 3 euros from the Tourist building opposite the central railway station and the Info counter in the New Town Hall in a bunch of different languages. The Red Thread tour is actually available as an App for your iPhone or iPad in four different languages. Search for “Roter Faden” on the App Store.
BUT…if you’re like me and refuse to pay for an overseas phone plan (God bless free WiFi), you can easily follow the red thread on your own and discover areas of the city at your leisure. Be sure to take a stroll along the river in Herrenhauser Allee and also take a walk through the grounds of the Rathaus. It is stunning! Make sure to take a walk along Herrenhauser Allee while visiting as well.
Bremen is a town located in Northern Germany. Bremen’s picturesque Marktplatz is home to many of the city’s attractions, including the lovely old Town Hall with its five-and-a-half-metre-tall statue of Germany’s most famous knight, Roland. Built in 1404, the statue remains a symbol of the city’s freedom and independence from the church.
Bremen’s beautiful old Town Hall is a Gothic structure that was constructed in 1410 in the city’s Marktplatz. Recently made a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the building boasts one of the most elegant reception halls in Germany. Also, near the northwest tower is a bronze group of the Bremen Town Musicians – a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a cock (rooster lol) – who are featured in an old folk tale. Also, you MUST eat at the restaurant underneath the Town Hall called the Ratskellar. All the booths are situated in old bookcases. Very cool!
And now to talk about my absolute FAVOURITE area of Bremen, The Schnoor District. The charming little medieval district of Schnoor is the oldest part of Bremen. It’s now home to artists and tiny little restaurants, cafés and shops. It’s full of old 15th to 18th century homes that were once populated by merchants and fishermen. The tiny little homes are honestly, the cutest things I’ve ever seen. It’s easy to get lost in the Schnoor, but that’s half the fun of travelling, right?
Read more: A city guide to exploring Bremen, Germany
Hamburg is otherwise known as the gateway to the World. Its location also makes it an important link between the sea and Germany’s network of inland waterways.
The main focal points of Hamburg’s inner city area are the Inner Alster (Binnenalster) and Outer Alster (Aussenalster), two artificial lakes connected to the rivers Alster and the Elbe. This area also has Hamburg’s famous pedestrian areas, the passagens. The best routes take in the elegant Jungfernstieg with its cafés and restaurants with the city’s largest shopping centre. The lakes are also popular for sailing (or skating in winter, if you’re into that) and are surrounded by many lush parks and gardens. I was in Hamburg for 2 nights and each morning I’d eat breakfast and people watch around the Rathaus along the water. It was relaxing and I thought to myself, “Yup, I can get used to this!”
The Speicherstadt area, literally meaning ‘City of Warehouses’, is the largest warehouse district in the world where the buildings stand on timber-pile foundations and oak logs. It is located in the port of Hamburg, within the Hafen City, and was built from 1883 to 1927. Walking through at night is eerily beautiful, but it’s during the day when you can actually walk around and visit the buildings that are now home to advertising and creative agencies, galleries, cafés and restaurants that you get to experience the hustle and bustle that still lives on there.
The district was built as a free zone to transfer goods such as spices, tobacco, rugs etc without paying customs. As the first site in Hamburg, it has now been awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Exploring this area of Hamburg was an absolute treat. From getting lost in the different areas of the Speicherstadt, to finally finding the shot I just HAD to get while in Hamburg after 2 hours of walking in the rain, I had an absolute blast.
After writing this post, I really miss Germany. The food, the beer, the people, the sights, the smell of fresh baked goods. I really need to make my way back soon! Have you guys been to Germany? Let me know any recommendations in the comments below, or feel free to let me know of some new towns and cities to explore. I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts! xo
Until next time, Prost!