Best Cities in Germany to Spend a Weekend

Feb 27, 2020Living in Germany, Travel Germany

Germany always had been one of the popular countries to visit in Europe, but what if you only have a weekend to spend there? You have a choice between tens of beautiful, rich in cultural diversity and historic sights cities, but my post will be endless if I write about all of them.

That’s why in this article you will find only the best cities in Germany which totally worth your weekend and where I have spent at least one too.

South

Munich

Normally all these types of lists about Germany start with Berlin, but not in this. Munich is the southeast city I suggest to spend a weekend in. It is the capital of Bavaria and the perfect gateway to the Alps.

Munich has lots to offer for a weekend trip or even for a week. Both winter and summer are good to visit. I would suggest coming at least once in summer and winter when there is a Christmas market.

South of Germany known for its culture, beautiful architecture, hearty food and of course the beer. If you love beer and like to celebrate Oktoberfest is recommended for you. Over 6 million visitors arrive each year for this special occasion.

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

And, understandably, Munich has the strongest economy, many big international companies, the highest 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 with the city center Munich has many entertainment options, such as museums, galleries, the architecture of the old town, world-class restaurants and cafes for day time and countless bars and clubs for nighttime.

Also, shopping is excellent, since Munich is the most expensive place to live and travel in Germany expect to see a lot of 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 like a small Oktoberfest, Beergarden in English Garden – visit in summer, Augustiner-Keller, Wirtshaus in der Au, Tian, Blitz

Drink: 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 (including myself). 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 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 also recommended to visit.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the few German cities that wasn’t destroyed in World War II and also one of the mine favorites. It’s known as a romantic city, thanks to its well remained medieval and baroque architecture.

Heidelberg one of the most picturesque destinations in Germany. You will enjoy not only gorgeous buildings and castles but also surrounded nature.

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

Even Mark Twain was inspired by the environment of the city 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 all connected.

Heidelberg is a student city, meaning you will see many young people during your trip, hence 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.

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

Regensburg

This is the city I have spent a significant amount of my time as I lived there for about a year. It’s a relatively small well preserved medieval town close to the border with the Czech Republic. Historically it 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 also spend your weekend walking, biking along the river or just enjoy the view on the oldest bridge in the entire country – Stone Bridge.

The entire city center is proud to be a UNESCO World Heritage site and Roman ruins can be found scattered throughout the city. Again for beer lovers, entire Bavaria is a unique place to taste different sorts and to celebrate with locals, but Regensburg hosts second Oktoberfest – called Dult twice a year, don’t miss this out!

Regensburg’s old town is known for its lively nightlife, thanks to the enormous amount of students. You can also find many cute cafes, coffee shops, and delicious ice cream. Regensburg also has a few Beergardens, where you relax with the 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.

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

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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

It’s 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 tourist route. 

Plönlein is the most famous place in this city, very picturesque and pretty, looks 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.

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

Freiburg

Next on our list is Freiburg, the south-western German city, also called Freiburg im Breisgau. With the population of 220,000 people it slightly more, than the places we saw before, hence you will have more opportunities to explore and spend your 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 considered to be one of the best. It is also the sunniest and warmest place in the country, so no wonder why wine is so good there.

You got a lot of options for a weekend in Freiburg, you can stay in the city and explore or do some activities on nature. When in the city be sure to walk on your two, only this way you will see all the beauty of Freiburg architecture. Visit Hausbrauerei Feierling brewery if interested in beer to see how its produced and 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.

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

Bamberg

Before this point, we spoke about south, west and east of Bavaria, not its time for the north. Bamberg is the northern town in the region. The city overlooked by many tourists but definitely worth spending a weekend in.

Bamberg is such a beautiful little town that it’s been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Scattered with buildings in the Medieval style of architecture, 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 its 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.

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

North

Sylt

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

It has ingredients 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 a perfect length to see and try everything that this island has to offer.

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.

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

Hamburg

Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany after Berlin. It’s known for hundreds of canals and also called northern Venice. Hamburg is built on the water pretty much as the south brother, it close to two seas and also has three rivers – Elbe, Alster, and Bille.

Many people come to this city because of the excellent nightlife and proximity of bars. If you want to party away your weekend this is the right place.

Apart from that Hamburg a cultural destination too, with an extravagant Elbphilharmonie concert hall, 50 museums, 45 theatres, and around 100 music venues and clubs. It’s one of the biggest musical cities in the world, second only to New York and London. Of course shopping and food on the top level as well, that 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.

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

Düsseldorf

Düsseldort is all about fashion, finance, and Japanese food. The reason why food is so good is the city has the biggest Japanese community in Germany, there are around 9,000 of them.

It is also a cosmopolitan city with a playful vibe and unusual architecture.

A center for trade, Düsseldorf hosts shows throughout the year. 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 last trends and buys world-renowned brands.

Düsseldorf also has its own beer, called Altbier – a German-style brown ale, you can get it 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 bars 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.

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

East

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 huge history behind this and absolutely worth visiting at least once in life.

It is the most cosmopolitan and international city in Germany also rich in art, museums, architecture, history, and of course the nightlife. Berlin is also hosting 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.

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

Dresden

Just a short distance from Berlin, Dresden – the capital of the state of Saxony and also called the “Florence of the Elbe”. Known for its baroque architecture, it is so picturesque you might not realize 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 very popular tourist destination and one of the most affordable in Germany. In addition to this Dresden is a regional economic, political and academic center.

About 10 million tourists visit Saxony capital each year, most are Germans, but also international visitors from the Czech Republic, the USA, 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.

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

Leipzig

Leipzig is a popular day trip from Berlin, but also a good weekend destination whatever you are coming from.

Located at the meeting point of three rivers, it is 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, 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, and thanks to its rich cultural and musical heritage, it is regularly named as 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. Although it’s very popular by students due to 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.

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

West

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, Frankfurt decided to create a new type of building in Germany – skyscrapers. Nowadays it became a financial center of the country with its own stock market many banks having a headquarters there.

Known as a modern city Frankfurt attracts many foreigners from the financial sector to expand their career there. And true, the city is’not the best in work-life balance but work opportunities.

As a visitor, you need to see the old city, walk along the river Main, to visit a few museums on the Museum Embankment will be worth your time too. 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.

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

Cologne

Cologne or Köln, founded by the Romans, is actually 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 it offers to take a river cruise and get another perspective of the city.

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

While there try local beer Kölsch served in endless rotation in small glasses, the people of Cologne rarely drink any other beer. Cologne also knows how to party, once a year it hosts the biggest 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.

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

Trier

Trier is the last but lot least, despite its small size, it has a fascinating long history and accordingly architecture. Founded by the Romans many thousands of years behind, it contains several well-preserved Roman structures. The city situated close to the border with Luxembourg making it very easy to reach from west 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 easy 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.

Drink: 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

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