Best Cities in Germany To Spend a Weekend

Germany always had been one of the most popular countries to visit in Europe, and it has plenty of places if you have only a weekend. You have a choice between dozens of beautiful and culture-rich cities. In this article, you will find only the best cities in Germany which totally worth spending a weekend.

The list of the best cities to spend a weekend in Germany:

  • Munich
  • Heidelberg
  • Regensburg
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  • Freiburg
  • Bamberg
  • Sylt
  • Hamburg
  • Düsseldorf
  • Berlin
  • Dresden
  • Leipzig
  • Frankfurt
  • Cologne
  • Trier

South Germany

1. Munich

Usually, lists about Germany start with Berlin, but not this one. Munich is the first city we would recommend spending a weekend in. It’s the capital of Bavaria and the perfect gateway to the Alps.

Munich offers lots for a weekend trip. You can spend even a week there and don’t get bored. Both winter and summer are the optimal times to visit. In December, you will enjoy some of the best Christmas markets in Germany.

Bavaria and south of Germany overall are known for the culture, beautiful architecture, hearty food, and, of course, beer. If you love beer and like to celebrate, check out Oktoberfest in Munich. Over 6 million visitors travel to this city each year for this special occasion.

The people of Munich have their own proud accent, history, and traditions. They are patriotic about their country, past, and future.

And, understandably, Munich has a robust economy, many large international companies, high quality of living, and one of the best education in the country. The thriving tourism industry also has a significant economic impact on the city.

If you want to stay in the center, Munich has many entertainment options, such as museums, galleries, the architecture of the old town, world-class restaurants and cafes for day time, countless bars and clubs for nighttime.

Also, shopping is excellent; but since Munich is the most expensive place to live and travel in Germany, expect to see many middle and high-end shops.

Places to visit

Nature: English Garden, Castle Neuschwanstein.

Museums: German Museum, Pinakothek for art (new, old), BMW museum for car lovers, Munich Residenz.

Food: Hofbräuhaus – it’s almost a small Oktoberfest, Beer garden in English Garden – visit in summer, Augustiner-Keller, Wirtshaus in der Au, Tian, Blitz.

Drinks: Les Fleurs du Mal, Goldene Bar, Zephyr Bar, Sehnsucht Bar and various Beergardens in summertime.

If you visit Munich in winter, the Christmas market must be first on your list; thousands of tourists come each year to Germany, especially to Munich, because of this event. Munich Christmas market welcomes over 3 million visitors each winter.

Located on the Marienplatz, right in the heart of the old town, the Christmas market is the favorite meeting point for locals. The best time to visit is the evening after 5 pm; this is when the fairytale alike atmosphere starts, and stalls offer warm, delicious mulled wine to bring you back to life after exploring all day.

Due to its size, Munich hosts various Christmas markets; one at Viktualienmarkt is also recommended to visit.

2. Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the few German cities that wasn’t damaged in World War II and also one of our favorites. This town is as romantic as it gets, thanks to its well remained medieval and baroque architecture.

Moreover, Heidelberg is one of the most picturesque destinations in Germany. You will enjoy gorgeous buildings and castles and be surrounded by nature.

Despite the size of the city (160,000 people), around 12 million visitors come each year to experience this beauty, such as Old Bridge, Philosophers’ Way, Heidelberg castle, and Old Town.

Even Mark Twain was inspired by the city’s environment so he could finish his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which translates like blueberries, and Heildelbeere is the German name for it. So you see, it’s all connected.

Heidelberg is a student city, meaning you will see many young people during your trip. Hence town offers many student bars and cafes to hang out. In fact, Heidelberg University is the oldest university in Germany.

Places to visit

Nature: Neckar river, Philosophers’ Way.

Museums, Culture: Schloss Schwetzingen, Old Bridge, Heidelberg castle, Church of the Holy Spirit, Old town.

Food: Weißer Stein Gaststätte, Restaurant zum Ritter, Schnitzelbank Weinstube.

Drinks: Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus, Kanka Orientdeluxe, H. Hemingway’s Heidelberg, Bar Centrale.

3. Regensburg

I have spent a significant amount of my time in Regensburg. It’s a lovely place. Regensburg is a relatively small, well-preserved medieval town close to the border with the Czech Republic. Historically, the city had always had significant importance for both Germany and Europe.

The Danube river adds charm to the city and serves as a meeting point in summer for thousands of students. Therefore, you can spend your weekend walking, biking along the river, or just enjoying the view of the oldest bridge in the country – Stone Bridge.

The entire city center is proud to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Roman ruins can be found throughout the city. Again for beer lovers, the whole of Bavaria is a unique place to taste different sorts and celebrate with locals.

Regensburg hosts the second popular beer festival after the Oktoberfest twice a year, called Dult. You shouldn’t miss out on this.

Regensburg’s old town is known for its lively nightlife, thanks to its enormous number of students. You can also find many small and pretty cafes, coffee shops, and delicious ice cream. As any Bavarian city, Regensburg has a few Beer gardens, where you relax with a glass of excellent beer.

Places to visit

Nature: Walhalla, Danube river.

Museums, Culture: Old town, Regensburg Cathedral, Stone Bridge.

Food: Dragonbirds, L’Osteria, Historische Wurstkuchl: The Historic Sausage Kitchen, Hans im Glück, Regensburger Weissbräuhaus.

Drinks: KA5PER cocktail bar, Hemingway’s, Moccabar.

4. Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town that has deserved great attention from local and international visitors. In fact, over two million tourists come each year to see the picturesque side of the city.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is categorized as one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and also one of the most popular stops on the country’s “Romantic Road” route. 

Plönlein is the most famous place in this city; very picturesque and pretty. It feels like you have traveled in time.

Places to visit

Nature: Tauber River.

Museums, Culture: Old Town, Rathaus, Plönlein, St. Jacob’s Church, Medieval Crime Museum, the Christmas Museum, Klingentor.

Food: zur Höll, Michelangelo, Alter Keller, Altfränkische Weinstube, Glocke.

Drinks: Landwehr-Bräu am Turm, Altfränkische Weinstube, Gaststätte Unter den Linden.

5. Freiburg

Next on our list is Freiburg, the south-western German city called Freiburg im Breisgau. With a population of 220,000 people, there are plenty of things to do and explore during the weekend.

Freiburg is situated in the heart of the major Baden wine-growing region and close to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest. 

You need to visit one of the many wine degustations, German white wine is considered to be one of the best. It’s also the country’s sunniest and warmest place, so it’s no wonder why wine is so good there.

You have got a lot of options for a weekend in Freiburg; you can stay in the city and explore or enjoy its beautiful nature. When in the city, be sure to walk on your two; this way, you will see all the beauty of Freiburg architecture.

Visit Hausbrauerei Feierling brewery if interested in beer to see how it’s produced. You can also taste some.

Places to visit

Nature: Mundenhof, Seepark, Black Forest.

Museums, Culture: Münsterplatz, Freiburg Münster, Augustiner Museum, Schwabentor.

Food: Das Kartoffelhaus,  Stefans Käsekuchen, Holy Taco Shack, Lollo, Burger Chalet, O’Kellys Irish Pub.

Drinks: Juri’s, Espressobar Wilhelm Moltke, Hemingway, Schlappen, Hausbrauerei Feierling, Alte Wache, O’Kellys Irish Pub.

6. Bamberg

Bamberg is the northern town in the region. The city is overlooked by many tourists but definitely worth spending a weekend.

Bamberg is a beautiful little town that it’s been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With plentiful of buildings in the Medieval style, Bamberg was designed by the German King Henry II to be a “second Rome.” While you won’t find a colosseum here, there are plenty of ancient treasures to discover.

Don’t forget to try Rauchbier (Smoke Beer) since it’s harder to find outside Bamberg.

Places to visit

Nature: River Regnitz, Rosengarten.

Museums, Culture: City Hall (Rathaus), Bamberg Cathedral, Baroque Residenz, Historisches Museum, Diocesan Museum, Altenburg, Little Venice.

Food: Kachelofen, Icecream Cafe Bassanese, Bolero Bamberg, Zum Sternla, Eckerts Wirtshaus, Salino Holzofenpizza, Brauerei Spezial.

Drinks: Schluckspecht, Schlenkerla – the historic smoked beer brewery, Luitpold, Brasserie, Freiraum Bamberg, Zapfhahn.

North of Germany

1. Sylt

Sylt is a unique city; it’s an island in the North Sea with a population of 15,000 people. Despite the north location, Sylt is a popular destination for German summer vacationists.

It has everything to make the holiday perfect – miles of sandy beach, rolling dunes, delicious food, biking and hiking trails, nature reserves, spas, and water sports opportunities. A weekend is just perfect for seeing and trying everything this island offers.

Sylt, it’s all about enjoying nature, beaches, and calmness. Typically families with kids prefer this place.

Places to visit

Nature: Uwe Dune, Rotes Cliff Lighthouse, Hornum Beach, Sansibar Beach, Ellenbogen Nature Sanctuary, Naturgewalten Sylt.

Museums, Culture: Denghoog, Altfriesisches  Haus.

Food: Alte Friesenstube, Moeller’s Anker, Kupferkanne, Bodendorf, Strönholt, Alte Backstube.

Drinks: Sansibar, Irish-Pub, Jever Stube, COHIBAR Sylt, Alt Berlin.

2. Hamburg

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany after Berlin. It’s known for hundreds of canals. That’s why the city is also called northern Venice. Indeed, Hamburg was built on the water. Besides, it’s a port city with access to two seas and three rivers – Elbe, Alster, and Bille.

Many people travel to Hamburg to experience its excellent nightlife. If you want to party away your weekend, this is the right place.

Besides, Hamburg is perfect as a cultural destination. The city hosts an extravagant Elbphilharmonie concert hall, 50 museums, 45 theatres, and around 100 music venues and clubs.

Of course, shopping and food are also on the top level, which is standard for cosmopolitan German cities.

Places to visit

Nature: Planten und Blomen Park, Lake Alster, Tierpark Hagenbeck.

What to see/do: Nikolaifleet, Fish Market, Speicherstadt, Hamburg Rathaus, Port of Hamburg, Kunsthalle, St. Michael’s Church.

Food: Estancia steaks, [m]eatery, Karo Fish, NOM Vietnamese fusion food, Fischereihafen, Jim Block Jungfernstieg, Brücke 10.

Drinks: Reeperbahn, Barbarabar, Clockers, Zum Silbersack, StrandPauli, Bahnhof Pauli.

3. Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf is another remarkable norther town. Fashion, finance, and Japanese food are some of the best parts of this city. The food is so good because the city has the biggest Japanese community in Germany.

It’s also a very cosmopolitan city with modern and unusual architecture.

Gallery of Düsseldorf is the world’s biggest fashion trade fair that takes place every January. Obviously, this city is a paradise for people following the latest trends and purchasing world-renowned brands.

Düsseldorf also has its own beer, called Altbier – a German-style brown ale you can get in any bar. Barhopping is great in this city; in fact, the old town has the longest bar in the world because of the continuing line of bar tables. With more than 300 bars, the party never ends there.

Places to visit

Nature: Nordpark’s Japanese Garden, The Hofgarten, Rhine.

What to see/do: Königsallee, Castle Benrath, Old Town, Media Harbour, Kunsthalle, St. Lambertus Church, Classic Remise Museum.

Food: Café Hüftgold, Local Snacks at the Carlsplatz Market, Takumi, Casita Mexicana Bilk, Fischhaus.

Drinks: Reeperbahn, Barbarabar, Clockers, Zum Silbersack, StrandPauli, Bahnhof Pauli.

East of Germany

1. Berlin

Berlin is the capital of Germany and probably doesn’t need an explanation. The weekend might be a bit short for the biggest city in the country, but you will get at least a taste of it.

After being separated into East and West during the Cold War, Berlin was reunited in 1990. Its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of reunification. The city has a vast history behind it and absolutely worth visiting. However, you probably will need a week to discover all city’s sights.

Berlin is Germany’s most cosmopolitan and international city. It has remarkable arts, museums, architecture, history, and nightlife. Berlin also hosts some of the best music festivals in Germany every year and over 80 Christmas markets.

Places to visit

Nature: Tiergarten Park, Botanical Garden, Berlin Zoo.

What to see/do: Reichstag, TV Tower, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, Berliner Dom, Check Point Charlie, Charlottenburg Palace, District Kreuzberg.

Food: Häppies, Ristorante A Mano, Skykitchen, House of Small Wonder, Lava, Lucky Leek, Sphere, Benedict Frühstücksrestaurant.

Drinks: Klunkerkranich, Prater Garten, Cordobar, Fragrances, Solar, Geist im Glass.

2. Dresden

Just a short distance from Berlin, Dresden – the capital of Saxony and also called the “Florence of the Elbe.” Known for its baroque architecture, the city is so picturesque that you might not realize that about 80% of Dresden’s historic center was destroyed in World War II.

Today, Dresden remains a charming, relaxed, and in many ways beautiful city and has become a top-rated tourist destination and one of the most affordable in Germany. In addition, Dresden is a regional economic, political and academic center.

About 10 million tourists visit Saxony’s capital each year; most are Germans and international visitors from the Czech Republic, the US, Russia, and Japan.

While visiting Dresden, you must try well-known Saxon cuisine and local beer.

Places to visit

Nature: Sachsische Schweiz, Dresden Elbe Valley, Grosser Garten.

What to see/do: Frauenkirche, Zwinger Palace, Fürstenzug, Semperoper, Dresden Castle, Museum Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Katy’s Garage Green Vault, Brühlsche Terrassen, Museum of Military History, Moritzburg Palace.

Food: Schinkelwache, Dresdner Molkerei Gebrüder Pfund, Kastenmeiers, Restaurant & Grand Café Coselpalais, Kutscherschänke, Sophienkeller, Dresden 1900, Watkze Ball & Brauhaus, Lesage, Alte Meister.

Drinks: Dresden Gin House, Schiller Garden, Zapfanstalt, Frank’s Bar, Only One – molecular cocktail bar, Karl May Bar, Max Altstadt, Lebowski Bar.

3. Leipzig

Leipzig is a popular as a perfect day trip from Berlin, but it’s also a good weekend destination.

Located at the meeting point of three rivers, it’s the most populated city of Saxony, with almost 600,000 inhabitants, which means there are plenty of things to do.

The city has a long history behind it, and many prominent people were a part of it; Goethe was a student in Leipzig, Bach worked here as a cantor, and Martin Luther debated here.

Today, Leipzig is one of the most popular tourist destinations in eastern Germany. Furthermore, thanks to its rich cultural and musical heritage, it’s regularly named one of the most livable cities in Europe. 

Being an important place for German art and culture, the city is perfect for young and old. However, it’s very popular with students due to its budget-friendly prices.

Places to visit

Nature: Leipzig Zoo, Leipzig Riverside Forest, Botanic Garten.

What to see/do: St. Thomas Church, Museum der Bildenden Künste ( Art museum), Old Rathaus, Museen im Grassi, Asisi Panometer.

Food: Auerbachs Keller, Ratskeller, Cafe Madrid, L’Osteria, Stadtpfeiffer, Ouzeri Was Kost Das, Cafe Puschkin, Chinabrenner.

Drinks: Noch Besser Leben, KilliWilly, IMPERII, Kildare City Pub, Barfusz, McCormacks Irish Pub & Lounge, Spizz, Noel’s Ballroom, Substanz Biergarten & Pianobar, Distillery.

West of Germany

1. Frankfurt

Thanks to its International Airport, Frankfurt is the major travel hub for Germany and much of Europe. Many travelers arrive in this modern city and pass right through, but Frankfurt is worth stopping for.

Frankfurt was destroyed during WWII, but the state decided to create a new type of building in Germany – skyscrapers. Nowadays, it has become a financial center of the country with its own stock market and many banks having a headquarters there.

Frankfurt is known as a modern city that attracts many foreigners from the financial sector to expand their careers there. And true, the city isn’t the best in work-life balance but provides excellent job opportunities.

As a visitor, you should see the old city, walk along the river Main, and visit a few museums on the Museum Embankment, which will be worth your time. Also going out and nightlife is lively, with so many well-paid professionals, expect to see a bit of extravagance.

Places to visit

Nature: Main, Palmengarten – botanical garden, Frankfurt Zoo, Grüneburgpark.

What to see/do: Main Tower, Römerberg, City Hall, Frankfurt Cathedral, Museum Embankment, Goethe House and Museum, Eiserner Steg, Senckenberg Natural History Museum, Old Sachsenhausen.

Food:  Main Tower Restaurant & Lounge, Maindiner, The Legacy Bar & Grill, Restaurant Medici, African Queen, Goc Pho – Vietnamese street food, Trattoria i Siciliani, Kabuki Frankfurt,  Pizzeria 7 Bello, MAINKAI CAFE, Toh-Thong – budget.

Drinks: The Kinly Bar, 22nd Lounge & Bar – Frankfurt, Jimmy’s Bar Frankfurt, Bockenheimer Weinkontor, Kameha Suite Frankfurt, Klapper 33, Hunky Dory Bar, Logenhaus, Normalkneipe.

2. Cologne

Cologne or Köln, founded by the Romans, is one of Germany’s oldest cities with over 2,000 years of history. The Cathedral of Cologne is the main reason why tourists visit this city, but there is much more to explore apart from this international pilgrimage site.

Located on the Rhine River, you can take a river cruise and get another perspective of the city.

Cologne is full of galleries and excellent museums, and many artists also give regular concerts in different parts of the city. With a predominant population of students, you will never be bored during your weekend there.

You should try the local beer Kölsch, which is served in endless rotation in small glasses, the people of Cologne rarely drink other beer. Cologne also knows how to party; once a year, it hosts the largest and craziest Carnaval in Germany.

The city goes nuts at this time; you can see people celebrate from morning till night everywhere in town.

Places to visit

Nature: Botanical Garden, Cologne Zoo, Rheinpark, Flora.

What to see/do: Cologne Cathedral, Ludwig Museum, Romano-Germanic Museum, Cologne’s Old Town, St. Martin Church, Hohenzollern Bridge, Boat Trip on the Rhine.

Food:  Gaststätte Bei Oma Kleinmann, Caruso Pastabar, Kaizen, Namaste India, Fetten Kuh, Rosticceria Massimo, Jakob Gyros, Toscanini, Libelle, Antica Pizzeria Nennillo, Indian Curry Basmati House, Al-Salam Restaurant.

Drinks: Papa Joe’s Jazz Lokal, The Corkonian Irish Pub, Little Link, Spirits, Mittelblond Kulturkneipe, Spirits Dominique Simon, Soul Bar Bar, CaféBar die wohngemeinschaft, BarFly.

3. Trier

Trier is the last on the list, but not the least. Despite its small size, the city has a fascinating long history and impressive architecture. Founded by the Romans many thousands of years behind, it contains several well-preserved Roman ruins.

The city is situated close to the border with Luxembourg making it very easy to reach from western Europe.

Located in the beautiful wine region Mosel, Trier would be the perfect weekend destination for people seeking rest and quietness accompanied by culture, nature, and some good wine. It also gives you accessibility to other western countries like Luxembourg, Belgium, and France.

Places to visit

Nature: Mattheiser Wald (forest), Petrisberg, Krahnenufer, Nells Park, Palastgarten, Weisshauswald, Butzerbachtal.

What to see/do: Porta Nigra, Aula Palatina – The Basilica of Constantine, Trier Imperial Baths, Trier Cathedral, and treasury, Main Markt, Karl Marx House, Electoral Palace,  Liebfrauenkirche, Basilica of St. Paulinus.

Food:  Pizzeria Restaurant Frankenturm, Burgeramt Trier, Der Daddy, Yong Yong, Brasserie Trier, Wirtshaus Zur Glocke, Kartoffel Restaurant Kiste, Pellolitto Pizzamanufaktur, Zum Domstein, L’Osteria Trier, Stratos Schlabbergass.

Drinks: Weinstube Kesselstatt, Das Weinhaus, Weinsinnig, Ferrys Cabana Tapas Bar, de Winkel, Übergang, ZAPOTEX Bernd Krier, Louisiana Trier.

The 10 Most Visited Cities In Germany

RankCityVisitors in 2016
1Berlin31.1m
2Munich14.0m
3Hamburg13.3m
4Frankfurt am Main8.8m
5Cologne5.8m
6Düsseldorf4.6m
7Dresden4.3m
8Stuttgart3.7m
9Nuremberg3.2m
10Leipzig2.9m

Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

Recent Posts