Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe. It has influenced the European history, economy and development. Today, it is one of the best cities to visit in Germany.
Germany has so much geographic and cultural diversity which makes it one of the popular tourist destinations, as well. When visiting Germany as a tourist, I recommend these as the best German cities for family vacation. In each, you’ll experience the culture, food and history of the country.
The best cities to visit in Germany
Holiday in Berlin
Berlin is the capital and the largest city in Germany. It is popular for its history, street art, lively nightlife and numerous renowned museums. A holiday in Berlin has something for everyone. Top sites in Berlin include ‘museum island,’ ‘Brandenburg gate,’ ‘Berlin wall memorial’ and historical buildings like Berlin Dome.
One can easily spend a month or so to explore the city. But if you have only a short amount of time, I recommend visiting ‘Old and New Museums’ and various historical buildings and monuments in the city center. Make time to stroll around the huge public garden- Tierpark. If you are traveling with kids, a visit to Berlin Zoo is a good idea.
There are many trips from Berlin you can visit in a day. Potsdam, the city of beautiful gardens and palaces, and Wannsee are popular day trip destinations. If you have time, try to visit the artistic and beautiful ‘Schwerin Castle.’
Tips to visit Berlin
- Berlin is relatively cheap place for accommodation and food.
- Being a cosmopolitan city, lots of people can speak English.
- Local public transport is cheap and convenient. It is the best mode of transportation for tourists.
- There are some ‘free’ walking tours in Berlin which cover the most important sites. These tours are worth attending.
Hamburg points of interest
Hamburg should be added in the itinerary of Germany due to its importance as the second largest port city in Europe. Because of the port, Hamburg has a unique feel. The city’s characteristic architecture and various water bodies add to its intrigue.
Hamburg points of interest you should see include the old city center with its town hall building, St. Peter’s Church, Chilehaus and the Speicherstadt. These places can be explored on foot. The ‘Elbphilharmonie,’ a concert hall on the banks of Elbe river, is an interesting piece of architecture. It’s half a modern building sitting on top of an old warehouse.
‘The Miniatur Wunderland’ is my pick of the city where you can see miniature, working displays of popular cities all around the world. I recommend that families dedicate one full day for this exhibition. Kids enjoy the moving trains and planes and all the teeny-tiny displays. The fish auction hall and the submarine exhibition add to the unforgettable experiences. This attraction alone makes it one of the best cities to visit in Germany, especially if you’re looking for the best Germany cities for family vacation.
Day trips from Hamburg
Hamburg is also surrounded by many destinations which can be visited as a day trip. The University town of Bremen is a beautiful place for cycling with family. Other important day trip destinations include the small port towns of Luebeck and Travemunde. There are great sailing spots in Kiel, a small village on the Wadden Sea. You can also visit Denmark, which is just a couple of hours journey.
Tips for visiting Hamburg with kids
- Hamburg is a port town that means there is lots of international people. English is widely spoken as compared to many other German cities.
- Bus No. 111 is the perfect alternative to costlier Hop on – Hop off bus.
- For the family travelers, I highly recommend visiting ‘The Miniature Wonderland’. It will be a memorable, fun experience for kids.
- Visit one or more museums in Hamburg to discover some interesting history.
What to do in Munich
Munich is the capital of Bavaria, the largest district of Germany. Munich is a completely different city from Berlin and Hamburg. The Bavarian region has its own culture and traditions which are reflected in the lifestyle of Munich.
The city also has many interesting sites to explore. The town hall, museums and palaces, Englisher garden, Olympic arena are some of the popular places to visit in Munich. The BMW museum and Deutsche museum are definitely not-to-miss places. In addition, there are interesting museums like the Toys Museum and 5 Continents Museum which are designed especially for kids.
When wondering what to do in Munich, don’t forget Octoberfest (Beer festival), which is world famous, is held from mid-September to mid-October. This festival is one of a kind and a really fun experience. But what if you are visiting Munich outside this festival month? No worries! Munich has one of the best brew houses in the world which provides their speciality beer year-round. Germany’s Beergarten culture is best experienced here in Munich.
Munich’s central geographical location makes it a perfect place to explore surrounding various places as day trips. The popular fairytale palace, Neuschwanstein, is one. Germany’s highest peak in Alps, Zugspitze, is another. See serene landscapes in Berchtesgaden and Koenigs Lake. The medieval towns and castles like Nuremberg, Wurzburg, Bayreuth are located near Munich as well.
If you really want to explore, Switzerland and Austria are just a couple hours away. Isn’t that awesome? In fact, I consider nearby Switzerland to be especially budget friendly.
Tips for visiting Munich
- Munich is the costliest city in Germany both for accommodations and public transportation.
- If you are visiting Munich during the October festival, book your trip far in advance and be prepared for an over-crowded city center.
- English is fairly spoken by many in Munich.
- There is an international airport for Munich which is well connected with the city center by metro.
Visiting the famous Black Forest
The state of Baden Wuerttemberg is popular as a sunny region of Germany. The Black Forest is a small area towards south-east of this state. There are vineyards, valleys and hills, beautiful landscape views and a unique cultural heritage. The region has its own speciality clothing, food and traditions.
The famous Black Forest Cake, as the name suggests, originated here. When you visit, you have to taste the original cake here. It is an out of the world experience. The gorgeously decorated, intricate cuckoo clocks are also from this region. Beyond these specialties of the region, the Black Forest area offers lots of outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, mountain biking, water sports, skiing, etc. Nature photography opportunities also abound here. For luxury travelers, there are some nice spas and wine tasting tours.
The Black Forest is one of the best places for families with kids. Consider a farm house stay for an extraordinary experience and taste of culture. Visit the ‘Open Air Black Forest Museum’ which gives insight to the history and culture of this region. There are many interactive programs running at various places which kids enjoy the most. I recommend this museum especially to the families with kids.
Other popular places to visit in Black Forest area are Freiburg, Titisee and Triberg waterfalls. The clock museum in Furtwangen is also worth the visit. Apart from these places, there are numerous small towns which are scenic and offer various activities.
The Black Forest region shares the border with France to the east and with Switzerland to the south. One can visit the border towns in these countries as day trips. Strasbourg, Colmar, Basel, Schaffhausen are popular border towns.
Tips for visiting the Black Forest
- The public transportation is good in this area but a car would be more convenient.
- The Black Forest area is a popular destination year round, but I recommend visiting during the summer for the best experience.
- A trip to Black Forest is more like getting close to nature and enjoying outdoor activities and local cuisine.
About the author
Today’s post was contributed by my blogging friend, Varsha, the owner of Varsha’sTravel360. Varsha says, “Travel is my passion and to explore various destinations on budget is my focus. I travel with my family, my husband and my son. We are fascinated by nature and heritage sites. Presently we are exploring Europe for its landscape and history.”