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Germany Bucket List—10 Best Cities for Design Lovers

One of Germany Bucket list is Frankfurt Skyline bei Sonnenuntergang.

Dreaming of a design-inspired German bucket list adventure? Germany is a country that offers a little bit of everything for travelers. From vibrant cities to picturesque countryside, stunning castles to lively festivals, and world-class museums to charming villages, there’s something for everyone in this diverse and captivating destination.

Creating a Germany travel bucket list is essential to making the most of your visit and ensuring you don’t miss any of the must-see spots or unique experiences. With so many incredible options, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go and what to do. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide, covering the top 10 destinations and one-of-a-kind experiences that should be on every traveler’s Germany bucket list.

Germany Travel Guide: Top 10 Must-Visit Destinations

Augsburg—Your Gateway to History and Modern Charm

If you’re looking for a fascinating German city that blends rich history with a vibrant modern edge, your Augsburg travel guide starts here! Located in the beautiful Bavaria region, Augsburg is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts and urban explorers alike. Here’s what awaits:

  • Renaissance Splendor: The iconic town hall, with its Golden Hall, is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. Explore this symbol of Augsburg’s wealth and power.
  • The Fuggerei: A City Within a City: Step into the world’s oldest social housing complex—a fascinating testament to Augsburg’s legacy of social responsibility.
  • Beyond the Past: Discover Augsburg’s contemporary side. Immerse yourself in world-class museums like the Schaezlerpalais, showcasing Baroque art, or explore the lively cafe and bar scene.
  • Family Fun: The Augsburg Zoo and the Botanical Gardens offer delightful outdoor experiences for all ages.
  • Augsburg Christmas Market: A beautiful and festive market in the heart of the city during the holiday season. Enjoy delicious food, drinks, and unique gifts.
Check out this episode of The Design Tourist, in which host Karen LeBlanc travels to Augsburg, Germany, to show the highlights of her travels to this city!

Explore Augsburg’s unique spots with this comprehensive guide.

Regensburg—Your Guide to Medieval Charm

Ready to step back in time? Regensburg, a UNESCO-listed Bavarian city, transports you to a world of medieval wonders. Here’s a taste of what awaits in this captivating destination:

  • The Heart of the Old Town: Immerse yourself in Regensburg’s beautifully preserved Old Town, a tapestry of narrow alleys, historic buildings, and cafes.
  • Regensburg Cathedral: Marvel at this Gothic masterpiece, its soaring spires dominating the city skyline.
  • The Iconic Stone Bridge: Experience the history and engineering of this 12th-century marvel, a symbol of Regensburg’s enduring legacy.
  • Things to do in Regensburg: From river cruises to exploring the city’s museums and historic sites, Regensburg offers endless possibilities for cultural immersion.
Explore Regensburg, Germany, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the city’s Bavarian history and heritage.

Unlock the best spots in Regensburg with this travel guide.

Freiburg—Black Forest Charm and Sustainable Spirit

Freiburg, nestled on the edge of the Black Forest, is a gem waiting to be explored. Here’s why this vibrant city should be on your travel radar:

  • Freiburg Old Town Delights: Lose yourself in cobblestone streets, admire the Freiburg Minster’s Gothic architecture, and soak up the energy at the lively Münsterplatz market.
  • Black Forest Gateway: Freiburg is your starting point for outdoor adventures – hike, bike, or simply immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.
  • Local Flavors: Seek out cozy restaurants for delicious Baden cuisine and explore the daily farmers’ markets for fresh, seasonal treats.
  • Things to do in Freiburg: From museums and cultural spots to scenic walks and outdoor excursions, Freiburg has something for everyone.
  • Neupfarrplatz: The traditional heart of the Regensburg Christmas markets.
Check out what Freiburg has to offer.

Check out the unique charms of this city that’s off the beaten path of Germany’s main tourist destinations.

Lauscha—Your Journey to the Heart of Christmas Ornament Tradition

If you love the magic of Christmas, a trip to Lauscha, Germany, is a must! This charming town in Thuringia is known as the “Cradle of Christmas Ornaments,” and for good reason. Here’s what a Lauscha travel guide offers:

  • Glassblowing Heritage: Witness skilled artisans at workshops like the Marolin Factory in Steinach, where you can even try your hand at glassblowing.
  • Museum of Delights: Delve into the history of Christmas ornaments at Marolin’s Museum and Store – a treasure trove of festive wonders.
  • Exquisite Shopping: Find the perfect ornament for your tree at the Christmas by Krebs Showroom, overflowing with unique designs.
  • Beyond Ornaments: Laucha offers a quaint German town experience, perfect for a relaxing getaway.
Visit the village of Lauscha, where artisans have created mouth-blown and hand-painted glass ornaments for centuries. A tradition recognized by the nationwide register of intangible UNESCO cultural heritage.

Check out the city’s in-depth travel guide during my visit to Lausha, Germany.

Weimar—Where Bauhaus Meets Literary Legacy

For design enthusiasts and history buffs alike, Weimar, Germany, is a dream destination. This vibrant city is steeped in creative energy, making it a fascinating place to explore.

  • The Bauhaus Legacy: Delve into the revolutionary Bauhaus movement at the Bauhaus Museum Weimar and the New Weimar Museum. Experience its continued influence at the Bauhaus University Weimar and discover contemporary designs at Anne Gorke’s Studio.
  • Beyond Bauhaus: Immerse yourself in Weimar’s rich literary history at Goethe’s House, a testament to the writer’s brilliance.
  • Architectural Gems: Admire the striking Gauforum complex and the Deutsches Nationaltheater, showcasing Weimar’s diverse architectural styles.
  • Relax in style: Step back in time at the iconic Hotel Elephant, a luxurious Weimar landmark.
Explore the birthplace of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany.

Uncover all that Weimar offers in our guide.

Dessau—Your Bauhaus Journey Continues

Continue your Bauhaus discovery in Dessau, Germany. If you’re passionate about design, this city is a must-visit. It embodies the Bauhaus spirit, offering a rich architectural and cultural experience.

  • Bauhaus Icons: Explore the legendary Bauhaus Building, a masterpiece of functionalist design, and step inside the Masters’ Houses, where visionaries like Walter Gropius lived and worked.
  • The Power of Design: Discover the far-reaching influence of the Bauhaus movement at the Bauhaus Museum in Dessau. Learn how it revolutionized design, from striking architecture to everyday objects.
  • A city shaped by Bauhaus: Witness how Bauhaus principles transformed Dessau’s urban landscape. Experience the city’s ongoing commitment to innovation and contemporary design.
Explore the Bauhaus Legacy in Dessau, Germany.

Dive deeper into this architectural treasure trove here.

Erfurt—A Treasure Trove of Medieval Charm and Vibrant Traditions

Step into a world of cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses in Erfurt, Germany. This historic city boasts a beautifully preserved medieval heart and a lively contemporary spirit.

  • Iconic Krämerbrücke: Stroll across the Krämerbrücke (Merchant’s Bridge), a one-of-a-kind landmark lined with charming shops and galleries. Imagine the bustling markets of centuries past!
  • A City Shaped by History: Marvel at the imposing Erfurt Cathedral and St. Severus Church, twin landmarks towering over the Old Town. Explore the Petersberg Citadel, a mighty fortress offering breathtaking city views.
  • Thuringian Flavors: Savor the taste of Erfurt’s brewing heritage in cozy pubs serving locally crafted beers. Seek out traditional Thuringian cuisine for a true taste of the region.
  • Uncover Hidden Gems: Wander the enchanting Anger, Erfurt’s bustling main square, or relax in the lush Egapark, a haven of greenery.
  • Christmas Market: If visiting during the festive season, immerse yourself in the magic of Erfurt’s enchanting Christmas Market.
  • Jewish Heritage: Explore the Old Synagogue, one of the oldest in Europe, a testament to Erfurt’s rich Jewish history.
Explore the capital city of the German state of Thuringia, Erfurt, Germany.

For even more inspiration, discover the top must-see attractions with our guide.

Eisenach—Visit Wartburg Castle

Overlooking the town of Eisenach, nestled within the Thuringian Forest, stands the legendary Wartburg Castle – a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in German history. Here’s why it’s a must-visit:

  • A Place of Legends: Explore rooms where medieval minstrels sang and discover the rich legacy of figures like Saint Elisabeth of Hungary.
  • Luther’s Legacy: Stand in the very room where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German, a pivotal moment in religious history. 
  • Medieval Splendor: Marvel at the castle’s Romanesque architecture, wander through grand halls, and admire breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Explore the Wartsburg Castle storybook landscape and follow in the footsteps of Germany’s famous theologian, Martin Luther.

Want to delve deeper into the castle’s fascinating past? check out:

Frankfurt—Where Skyscrapers Meet Old-World Charm

Frankfurt, Germany, might be known for finance and business, but this dynamic city offers a captivating mix of history, culture, and modern marvels. Here’s what awaits:

  • Frankfurt’s Heart: Immerse yourself in the charming Römerberg square, lined with half-timbered houses that evoke a bygone era.
  • Taste of Tradition: Discover cozy Apfelwein taverns and savor the unique flavor of Frankfurt’s beloved apple cider.
  • Cultural Gems: Explore world-class museums along the Museumsufer (Museum Embankment). From art and history to natural wonders, there’s something for every interest.
  • Green Oasis: Escape the urban bustle in the lush Palmengarten, a botanical paradise in the heart of the city.
Explore Frankfurt’s vibrant museums, delve into its history, and enjoy its dynamic atmosphere.

Get to know this captivating city and its hidden gems with this dedicated guide.

Timeless Charm of Tübingen, Germany

Nestled along the picturesque Neckar River, Tübingen effortlessly blends medieval magic with a youthful, university town spirit. Here’s why you’ll fall in love:

  • Step Back in Time: Wander cobblestone alleys lined with traditional half-timbered houses, immersing yourself in Tübingen’s enchanting atmosphere.
  • Quaint and Cozy: Discover unique shops, lively cafes, and a welcoming ambiance shaped by centuries of student life.
  • Punting on the Neckar: Embark on a relaxing punt boat ride, enjoying the town’s charm from a different perspective.
  • Scholarly Legacy: Explore Tübingen’s renowned university, one of Germany’s oldest and most prestigious.
Explore the secondary tourist destination and authentic experiences of Tübingen, Germany.

For everything Tübingen has to offer, discover these must-visit spots.

Unique German Experiences

Beyond these incredible locations, Germany offers diverse experiences that create lasting memories.

Christmas Market

During my visit, I’ve experienced the pure magic of Christmas at the Christmas Market in Germany.

The aromas of Glühwein (mulled wine), gingerbread, and roasting almonds combined with twinkling lights and traditional crafts create a festive wonderland. Freiburg, Regensburg, and Erfurt offer a particularly authentic Christmas market experience.

But the unique German experiences don’t stop there! If you want to discover more, here are some additional lists to watch out for:

Oktoberfest

a large crowd of people sitting at tables in a large room

Experiencing the world-famous Oktoberfest celebration in Munich is one of the unique events to experience during your travel. This annual festival, which takes place in September and October, draws millions of visitors from around the world to enjoy traditional Bavarian food, beer, music, and festivities.

Rhine River Cruise

Glide through the stunning Rhine Valley on a Rhine River cruise and take in the breathtaking scenery of medieval castles, quaint villages, and lush vineyards.

These cruises offer a relaxing and romantic way to experience one of Germany’s most beautiful regions.

Hiking the Bavarian Alps

For outdoor enthusiasts, hiking in the Bavarian Alps is a must-do experience in Germany.

With well-marked trails, stunning mountain scenery, and charming alpine villages, the Bavarian Alps offer a perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Planning Your Germany Bucket List Trip

Deciding on the Best Time to Visit

  • Spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) are ideal times to visit Germany, with mild weather and fewer crowds.
  • Summer (June-August) can be busier and more expensive, but it offers the opportunity to experience outdoor festivals and activities.
  • Winter (December-February) is a magical time to visit, with Christmas markets and festive decorations, but be prepared for cooler temperatures and potential snowfall.

Creating an Itinerary

  • Decide which destinations and experiences are must-sees for you based on your interests and travel style.
  • Allocate enough time for each location, taking into account travel times between cities.
  • Consider using a combination of trains, buses, and rental cars to get around, depending on your budget and flexibility.
  • Build in some flexibility to your itinerary to allow for spontaneous discoveries and unplanned experiences.

Budgeting for Your Trip

  • Accommodation, transportation, food, and attractions can vary greatly in cost depending on your travel style and preferences.
  • Consider staying in smaller towns or outside city centers for more affordable accommodation.
  • Utilize public transportation and consider purchasing a Eurail pass for cost-effective travel between cities.
  • Research and book attractions and activities in advance to take advantage of discounted prices.

Booking Accommodations and Transportation

Germany has lodging options to fit every travel style and budget. Traditional hotels abound, but don’t overlook hostels for those seeking social atmospheres, as well as charming vacation rentals in picturesque towns for longer stays.

For truly unique experiences, investigate castles that have converted rooms into hotel accommodations!

  • Book accommodation well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best rates and availability.
  • Consider using a combination of hotels, vacation rentals, and hostels to suit your budget and preferences.
  • Purchase train tickets or a Eurail pass in advance for long-distance travel between cities.
  • If renting a car, compare prices and book well in advance to secure the best deals.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Germany Bucket List

  • Learn a few basic German phrases to help navigate and connect with locals. A friendly “Guten Tag” (good day) and “Danke” (thank you) are universally appreciated. In smaller towns, some German skills will undoubtedly prove helpful.
  • Embrace the local culture by trying traditional German cuisine, attending festivals or events, and engaging with the local community.
  • Be open to spontaneous experiences and serendipitous discoveries along the way.
  • Travel slowly and immerse yourself in each destination, rather than trying to cram too much into a short timeframe.
  • Document your experiences through photos, videos, and journaling to create lasting memories of your Germany bucket list trip.

By following this comprehensive Germany travel guide and incorporating these tips into your planning, you’ll be well on your way to creating an unforgettable Germany bucket list trip that will leave you with cherished memories for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Germany expensive to visit?

Germany can be both budget-friendly and expensive, depending on your travel style. Cities like Berlin and Munich tend to be pricier, while smaller towns and rural areas offer greater value. Plan accordingly – seek out regional accommodation tips within the specific place you plan to visit or embrace money-saving strategies like dining at markets or enjoying picnic lunches along scenic routes.

Is Germany safe for solo travelers?

Germany enjoys a reputation as a safe destination for solo travelers. As with any new destination, common-sense precautions and awareness of your surroundings are always good practices.

What should I pack for a trip to Germany?

Germany’s weather is changeable, so packing layers is wise. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, regardless of the season. Ensure your essential documents, passport, and any health items are easily accessible. For tips tailored to a specific city or region, your existing internal links provide invaluable advice.

When is the best time to visit Germany?

Germany is a year-round destination, with each season offering its own unique charms and experiences. The shoulder seasons of spring (April–May) and fall (September–October) are considered ideal times to visit, as the weather is mild and crowds are generally smaller.

Spring brings blooming flowers and the perfect temperatures for enjoying outdoor activities and exploring cities.

Fall is a beautiful time to witness the changing colors of the German landscapes and enjoy the harvest festivals and local wine celebrations.

Summer (June-August) is the peak travel season, with longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures. While crowds and prices may be higher during this time, summer offers the opportunity to experience outdoor festivals, beer gardens, and other seasonal events.

Winter (December-February) is a magical time to visit Germany, with Christmas markets and festive decorations transforming cities and towns into winter wonderlands. However, be prepared for cooler temperatures and the possibility of snow, especially in mountainous regions.

What are the best ways to get around Germany?

Germany has an excellent transportation network, making it easy to explore the country by various modes of travel.

Trains: Deutsche Bahn operates an extensive rail system that connects major cities and towns. Consider purchasing a Eurail pass for cost-effective travel between destinations.

Buses: For shorter distances or to reach smaller towns, buses can be a budget-friendly option.

Rental cars: Renting a car provides the flexibility to explore at your own pace, especially for reaching more remote areas or countryside destinations.

Flights: For longer distances, domestic flights can be a convenient option, especially for traveling between major cities like Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt.

When planning your transportation, consider a combination of these modes to suit your budget, schedule, and desired level of flexibility.

How much does a trip to Germany cost?

The overall cost of a trip to Germany can vary greatly depending on your travel style, accommodation preferences, and the destinations you visit. Here’s a general idea of what to expect:

Accommodation: Budget hostels can cost around 20-40 EUR per night, mid-range hotels range from 80-150 EUR, and luxury hotels can cost upwards of 200 EUR per night. Vacation rentals or Airbnbs can be a more affordable option for longer stays or for groups.

Transportation: A Eurail pass can cost around 150-250 EUR per month, depending on the class and coverage. Rental cars start at around 40 EUR per day. Domestic flights can cost anywhere from 50-200 EUR, depending on the distance and advance booking.

Food: Budget travellers can get by on 20-30 EUR per day for meals, while mid-range dining can cost around 50-80 EUR per day. Fine dining and upscale restaurants will be more expensive.

Attractions: Most attractions and museums charge entry fees ranging from 5-20 EUR. Discounts are often available for students, seniors, and families.

To estimate your total budget, consider the length of your stay, the destinations you plan to visit, and your desired level of accommodation and dining experiences. It’s always a good idea to build in a buffer for unexpected expenses or indulgences along the way.

What are some lesser-known but must-visit destinations in Germany?

Germany has many hidden gems that are worth exploring. I’ve visited the town of Regensburg. This charming Bavarian town is renowned for its well-preserved medieval city center, featuring Stone Bridge, the Old Town Hall, and the Regensburg Cathedral.

If you want to explore more, here are some other places that you might want to consider.

Görlitz: This picturesque town on the Polish border is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and charming streets.

Quedlinburg: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Quedlinburg is a fairy-tale town in the Harz Mountains, famous for its half-timbered houses and medieval churches.

Trier: Germany’s oldest city, Trier boasts an impressive collection of Roman ruins and architecture, including the Porta Nigra, a massive fortified gate dating back to the 2nd century.

Monschau: Nestled in the Eifel region, Monschau is a quaint town with half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and a beautiful medieval center.

Germany offers a wealth of incredible experiences that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. By carefully planning your itinerary and making use of the tips provided in this guide, you can maximize your time and ensure you don’t miss any of the must-see design destinations and unique cultural experiences Germany has to offer.

Don’t wait – start putting together your personal Germany bucket list today. With some thoughtful planning and an open mind for spontaneous discoveries, your adventures in Germany are sure to provide travel experiences you’ll cherish for years to come.

Check Out Germany’s Must Visit Spots on these Guided Tours

Picture of Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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