Are you planning to visit Germany and want to add a few hidden gems to your itinerary? Here is a list of 10 hidden gems in Germany off-the-beaten path to help you plan your upcoming trip.
Probably one of the most worth seeing places in Germany is definitely Saxon Switzerland, a real natural jewel in the south near Dresden. Especially outdoor fans, nature lovers and photographers love this picturesque area: Countless hiking trails lead through breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, through deep gorges, green fairytale forests and to spectacular viewpoints of the Elbe Mountains there.
The absolute highlight for many travelers is a visit to the world-famous Bastei Bridge. This attraction is a stone bridge that connects quite extraordinary rock formations. The scenery is so unique and special that about 1.5 million visitors from all over the world come every year to experience this impressive natural jewel. From the Bastei Bridge, the rock drops steeply over 194 meters to the Elbe River. From there you have a beautiful view over the Elbe valley and over to the rocky needles of the mountains.
In any case, it is worth spending a few days in this region. Because in addition to the Bastei Bridge, many other great experiences and activities await you here. These include a visit to the Königsstein Fortress, a bike tour along the beautiful Elbe River, a hike along the famous Malerweg Route, a tour on the nostalgic steamboat and the Schandau baths are also worth a detour.
The city of Düsseldorf is divided by the river Rhine with its Altstadt (Old Town) on the east bank and its modern part on the right. Düsseldorf is known for its fashion industry and good beer! Start exploring with a walk along the Rheinferpromenade which follows the river bank from the Parliament to the harbor and is lined with restaurants and cafés. There are river cruises from the renovated harbor, which has shops, cinemas, and bars.
The Altstadt is small but attractive with gabled houses and cobbled streets. It has 300 bars, all selling the popular local beer – Altbier. If you enjoy window shopping, Königsallee is a smart leafy boulevard that runs either side of the canal and is full of all the top-name boutiques. Schadowstrasse is equally good for browsing. In Burgplatz you will find some amazing bronze sculptures in the street. For a bird’s eye view, the 240 meter Rhine Tower is worth climbing especially as it has a revolving restaurant. On a clear day, you can see Cologne.
Düsseldorf is popular all year through but is at its best for the huge annual Oktoberfest.
by Kat | Wandering Bird
If you’re looking for a cute town to visit in Germany, look no further than Triberg, nestled in the heart of the Black Forest.
Although only small, (the population is around 5000 people), there is a lot to see. There are traditional wooden German houses, plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants, not to mention 3 of the biggest attractions in Germany.
Firstly, there’s the World’s largest Cuckoo clock- an incredible design built into a building and it’s 2 storeys tall! You can see the cuckoo and the clock chime and move twice an hour during daylight hours.
Nearby is also the world’s smallest Cuckoo clock. This tiny clock is just 5 inches tall and fits easily into the palm of your hand. The replicas make a fantastic souvenir or gift for someone.
Don’t miss the hike to the Triberg waterfall- the tallest waterfall in Germany. The hike is not difficult- suitable for able-bodied adults and children. Entrance shuts at 5pm and costs around 4€
Also, you need to visit one of the cafes and try out the local delicacy- black forest gateau cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte). This delicious dessert contains black cherries, chocolate sponge and whipped cream- topped with more cherries!
There are plenty of places to stay in the town or nearby. If you’re motorhoming in Germany, there are some great campsites just outside the town.
by Rachel at Means to Explore
A beautiful town in the Bavarian Alps, Berchtesgaden is the perfect stop for both nature and history lovers! Berchtesgaden is an easy day trip from Salzburg, Austria via bus or a couple hours’ drive from Munich.
Two aqua blue rivers meet under the roundabout at the town’s train and bus station. The Berchtesgaden Salt Mine Tour, or Salzbergwerk, is a unique insight into this area and kid-friendly! The minerals in the mountains are the reason for the gorgeous blue water everywhere.
Berchtesgaden National Park preserves the natural beauty of the region. The aquamarine King’s Lake, or Königssee, prohibits gas motors to preserve the quality of the lake. Hop an electric ferry and visit the secluded St Bartholomew’s Church, protected by its lake-only access for centuries!
For the history buffs, head up the mountainside to the Obersalzburg Documentation Center to learn about Berchtesgaden’s time under the Nazis. The buildings are long gone, but a bunker tour is available for an eerie look into the past complex.
Grab a timed ticket for a bus ride up the narrow mountain road to the Eagle’s Nest, or Kehlsteinhaus. This chateau was once Hitler’s but has since been converted into a restaurant. The original gold elevator whisks visitors up to the top from the bus drop off.
A few plaques remain to tell the building’s history, but the biggest draw here today is the food and views! Take in the Königssee and the surrounding mountains while sipping a cool beverage and enjoying a sweet snack!
By Zarina – Miss Travel Clogs
Known as the birthplace of Eau de Cologne, the German city of Cologne is a fantastic travel destination for young and old. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, architecture or a vibrant nightlife scene, Cologne has it all. And if you’re after a truly unique cultural – and hedonistic – experience, then the annual Cologne Carnival is an event you wouldn’t want to miss! But what makes this city most appealing is its laidback and welcoming atmosphere.
As for sights, the top must-see attraction is Cologne Cathedral. Classified as a World Heritage Site, this is the third largest church in the world and a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. Do make an effort to go inside as well as its elegant interior is a perfect match to the eye-catching façade. The ultimate Cologne gem awaits in the shimmering gold chest in the back though. Protected in a glass box, this decorated chest is believed to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men.
At just a 5-minute walk from the cathedral you’ll find the picturesque Alter Markt, meaning ‘Old Market’. Lined with cute narrow buildings painted in different hues of yellow, pink and blue, this is the perfect spot for people watching. Wander through the surrounding lanes to admire the quirky shop windows and finish your explorations with a glass of the local brew: Kölsch beer. Prost!
St. Goar on the Rhine
By Sharon Odegaard of Exploring Our World
St. Goar hugs the west bank of the Middle Rhine. Its winding lanes are lined with Old World buildings housing restaurants, shops, and an occasional waterfront hotel. Settled in the 6th century, St. Goar today makes a good base for exploring this area of Germany. The famous Loreley cliff is just around a bend. Romantic legend says it’s named after a lovely, brokenhearted lady who jumped to her death from here. Today the Middle Rhine is known for its beauty, wine, and charm.
You’ll enjoy an unforgettable time as you ride a day boat along the Rhine and explore areas near St. Goar. Castles abound, perched on hills laced with grape arbors. And you constantly pass by towns with distinctive steeples and colorful houses.
You can also hike or cycle along paths between towns. Trains run along the Rhine, so you can travel to St. Goar and then to different other small towns by scenic train, too.
Whether you stay the night or stop for a day trip, you will want to tour St. Goar’s Rheinfels Fortress. The largest castle ruin on the Rhine, Rheinfels sits high on a hill, towering over St. Goar. The castle, built in 1275, housed Counts and stood for centuries as an impregnable fortress. Finally, in 1796, French troops breached the walls and then blew it up. Today, Rheinfels Castle lacks roofing on the top areas, but many of the walls, walkways, and rooms survive. Greenery pushes its way through cracks in the walls, making the ruins even more picturesque.
Experience all that small-town Germany has to offer when you visit St. Goar – delicious food and wine, a winding river, castles, and breathtaking views.
by Joanna of The World in my Pocket
Hamburg is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, often overlooked in favour of Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich. Hamburg is in fact the second largest city in Germany after Berlin. There are so many amazing things to do in Hamburg, that you will need at least a week to get a glimpse of what the city has to offer.
Once an industrial harbour city, Hamburg has developed its warehouse area into a trendy neighbourhood on the water, where you can sail on a small boat along the canals. One interesting fact about Hamburg is that it has the largest number of bridges in the world, more than Venice, London, and Amsterdam combined. The longest bridge is Hamburg is almost 4 kilometres long. So, if you are looking for a romantic destination, look no further, Hamburg it is!
Another great place to go when you visit Hamburg is the Elbphilharmonie. This futuristic concert hall was built over an old warehouse and has one of the best acoustics in the world. Seeing a concert makes you feel the music like you have never before.
Another peculiar area to visit in Hamburg is the Reeperbahn. This is Hamburg’s nightlife centre, but also the city’s red-light district. Every year the famous Reeperbahn Festivaltakes places here, bringing some of the most popular artists around the world to the clubs and venues here.
By Izzy of The Gap Decaders
Hidden away in North Rhine-Westphalia is the gorgeous medieval city of Münster, sometimes called Munester. Full of cobbled streets, medieval buildings and Gothic churches, Munster is a thriving and culturally important German city, perfect to stop and see on a road trip of Germany.
The magnificent Gothic and Romanesque 13th-century St. Paulus Dom cathedral is the star of the show. Known simply at the Dom, the cathedral dominates the Domplatz, where you’ll also find a lively local farmers market or Wochenmarkt held every Wednesday and Saturday. Make sure to check out the Dom’s famous astronomical clock, dating back to 1542, which runs counter-clockwise, and pay tribute at the tomb of Clemens August Graf von Galen, who died in 1946 and was beatified in 2005 for his resistance to Nazi policies during World War Two.
Also on the Domplatz is the Westphalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History, where art from the Middle Ages to the present day is displayed. Further afield is Munster’s Picasso Museum, where more than 800 lithographs by the famous artist are on show.
Close by is Prinzipalmarkt, famed for its elegant gabled houses with their distinctive shapes, the breathtaking Gothic Rathaus (city hall) and late medieval St. Lamberti Church – note the cages hanging from the spire where the corpses of three Anabaptists were displayed after they were publicly tortured and executed in the Prinzipalmarkt for leading the Münster Rebellion in 1536.
Linger for a while here, enjoying the up-market shops and galleries, and stop at one of the cafes along the beautiful street for kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake), a real German tradition.
By Fiona, Travelling Thirties
When travellers think of Germany they think of places like Berlin, Nuremburg and Munich. But what about Hannover? Hannover is a true hidden gem in Germany.
Like many towns and cities in Germany, Hannover was subject to 8 different air raids during World War II. Due to the bombings, many of Hannover’s buildings were destroyed. Much of the city that you see today has been rebuilt since the end of the war. However, the rebuild has not made Hannover any less beautiful.
Hannover is beautiful city filled with half timber buildings and surrounded by many gardens. Autumn is a beautiful time to see the city as the changing leaves make the city “pop”.
One of the coolest things about Hannover is the Red Thread Tour. The tour is a self-guided tour that is based on a 3€ guide book. Around the city you will find a Red Line painted on the pavement that weaves its way around the city. The tour covers 4.2km (the walk is very flat and suitable for all fitness needs) and you will pass 39 of the main attractions within in the city. At each stop, there is a big number painted on the ground, locate the number in your guide book and you will find the information for the stop you are at.
A second must do in Hannover is, the New Town Hall, not only because of it’s beauty but also because of its elevator. It is one of the most unique hotels in the world. The lift curves and take you up on a 17-degree angle.
Whether it is your first or 100th visit to Germany, you cannot miss out on visiting Hannover
By Brittany of lifeofbrit.com
Trier is a historic city in southwestern Germany, not far from the Luxembourg border and about two hours west of Frankfurt. It’s considered Germany’s oldest city and has Roman roots that date as far back as the 4th century BC! Visitors can come and marvel at ancient Roman ruins that still stand today, such as the Porta Nigra gate, ancient Roman baths, and more.
Roman history aside, this part of the country enjoys a fascinating culture unique to the rest of Germany. Located in the Moselle Wine Region, Trier sits along the banks of the picturesque Moselle River nestled between rolling valley hills covered in sprawling vineyards. When the weather is nice, Riesling wine tours and cruising down the river open as popular things to do.
Other noteworthy things to do in Trier include:
- Shopping and taking pictures of the historical shops in the Hauptmarkt (Trier Market Square).
- Marveling at the historic St. Peter’s Cathedral and pink Kurfürstliches Palais.
- Getting a history lesson at the Karl Marx House.
- Hiking through the vineyards or searching for exciting sandstone caves outside the city like at Teufelsschlucht and Genovevahöhle.
Trier is a hidden gem in Germany that shouldn’t be missed! And it also offers an excellent gateway to exploring nearby Luxembourg, northern France, and Belgium too!
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