What to do in Germany – travel tips, hotels, cities, top sites, maps

Germany is modern and cosmopolitan country steeped in history (countless museums, castles, quaint villages and cobblestone roads) and rich in amazing natural beauty (the country boasts 16 national parks, 104 nature reserves and 15 recognized biosphere reserves). Between the North Sea and Baltic coasts in the north and the peaks of the Alps in the south there are checkerboard agricultural areas, vineyards, forests, rolling hillsides and craggy mountains.

Whether you are visiting for several days, a week or more, the best way to begin your quest to find what to do in Germany is here. Our resource guide and links, map, as well as numerous articles highlighting insider travel tips for you will ensure your visit to Germany is memorable.

Map of Germany

In the map below, pins mark the location of all the sites and travel tips mentioned in our articles on Germany. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information.

Kleinhesselhoer See, Englischer Garten

International Donaufest in Ulm

Artist's War Memorial Bethlehemkirchplatz

Sowohl Als Auch Restaurant & Coffee House

Museum in the Kulturbrauerie (Alltag in Der DDR)

Berlin Underground Tours - Gesundbrunnen station

Gedenkstaette Mauer

Wernigerode Train Station - Brockenbahn

Germany Travel Resources

Travel Weather

Click here to launch our 36-hour forecast to know what to expect weather-wise anywhere you are traveling.

Getting around in Germany

  • By Plane – Most international flights will arrive and depart from one of five major international airports – Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, and Berlin.
  • By Train – It is easy to get to almost anywhere in Germany on either the fast train (InterCityExpress) or the other lines (InterCity, EuroCity, and InterRegio). For booking information, go to the Deutsche Bahn website here.
  • By BusFlixBus / MeinFernbus offer affordable and convenient intercity bus service connecting many towns and cities in Germany, as well as other international European destinations.
  • By Car – Travel by car is very easy in Germany and renting a car relatively uncomplicated. But there are a  few things to keep top of mind. First, many German towns and cities have designated low emission zones, meaning only certain vehicles meeting established low emission standards and bearing a color-coded sticker are permitted. Learn more about the emission stickers here. Second, while the autobahn has suggested speed limits in places, in other places and most certainly on most roads, speed limits are strictly enforced. And those speed limits can change in a blink of an eye, typically right before a speed-trap camera catches you flying by. If you rent a car, stay within the speed limits at all times and drive carefully!!!

Useful Travel Information

Emergencies – To reach the police, fire department or ambulance service, dial 112. Calling 112 is free from any landline or mobile phone. This is throughout Europe.

Entry Requirements (Passports and Visas)PASSPORTS: Citizens of European Union countries simply need a valid identity card. Citizens of any other country seeking to enter Germany will need a passport that is valid for at least four months from the date of your entry into Germany. VISAS: Any citizen of a country outside of the EU will need a visa with the exception of certain countries, such as the United States of America (currently though this may change). Citizens of the U.S. do not currently need a visa as long as their stay last no more than three months within a six-month period within the Schengen area (of which Germany is a part). Click here for more information about the Schengen area and to use the Schengen Calculator.

 Vaccinations | Health – No vaccinations are required to enter Germany. However, ticks are prevalent in many forested regions in Germany and carry Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Be sure to use insect repellent and wear insect repellent clothing when walking in forests and fields. Ask your doctor about needing a TBE vaccination if you plan to spend significant time walking in forested areas.

For over-the-counter medications and seeking minor health issue advice (sore muscles, cough, cold, etc.) you will go to an Apotheka. Should you need a doctor or emergency care while in Germany, be sure your health insurance will cover you internationally — and at what level. We strongly advise purchasing travel health insurance that will cover you in the event of an emergency.

Language – The main language in Germany is Deutsch (German). Many Germans, especially younger ones and those living in larger cities speak English sufficiently well that tourists and visitors who do not speak German and those whose Deutsch is “nicht sehr gut” (not so good) will be able to communicate just fine.

Managing Money — The Euro is the currency Germany. Use the calculator from Oanda below to help you manage your money exchanges and know how much something selling in Euro would cost in dollars.

Currency Converter by OANDA

What to do in Germany — tours, travel tips and articles

What to do in BerlinWhat To Do In Berlin

Berlin is one of our favorite cities in the world. It is cosmopolitan, worldly, quirky, exotic, bohemian, evolving, vibrant and so very, very alive — there is something to do or see or experience 24 hours a day if you are so inclined. Little wonder so many tourists, wanderers, artists, authors, musicians, actors and creative minds discover and fall in love with Berlin.

What to do in MunichWhat To Do In Munich

Yes, Munich is famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) for its annual beer festival and drunken Oktoberfest gathering. But if that is all you know about Munich, then you are missing out on a most beautiful city full of architectural and historical gems. The best way to begin your quest to find what to do in Munich is right here. Our resource guide, and links, map, as well as numerous articles highlighting insider travel tips for you will ensure your visit to Munich is memorable.

Experience Plus Bike Tours In Germany

Our Favorite Destinations

Berlin October days filled with a festival of lights

Berlin October days filled with a festival of lights

The Festival of Lights in Berlin and Berlin Leuchtet (Berlin Illuminated) provide a delightful bright diversion for anyone visiting Berlin in October. The two light festivals illuminate hundreds of Berlin buildings, parks, monuments and facades with dancing lights, often moving to music.

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What to do in Regensburg: The ultimate Regensburg city guide

What to do in Regensburg: The ultimate Regensburg city guide

Regensburg is Germany’s “best-preserved” with plenty do do and see. Things to do in Regensburg include wandering along medieval streets in Old Town (Altstadt), walk across the Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge) spanning the Danube, and see Roman walls, tour churches, towers and even a torture chamber.

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What to do in Berlin: The ultimate Berlin city guide

What to do in Berlin: The ultimate Berlin city guide

Wondering what to do in Berlin? Berlin is cosmopolitan, worldly, quirky, exotic, bohemian, evolving, vibrant, alive. Watch a sunset from the TV Tower, visit the Reichstag, the Berliner Dom, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall Memorial, the East Side Gallery, or simply walk along the Spree.

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Stasi sights in Berlin not to miss

Stasi sights in Berlin not to miss

No visit to Berlin should be without a closer look at history – specifically the horrific history of East Germany’s former secret police, the Stasi. These Stasi sights in Berlin should find a place on your to-do list.

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Open-air exhibit traces fall of the Berlin wall

Open-air exhibit traces fall of the Berlin wall

As a part of the developing “Campus for Democracy” at the former headquarters of East Germany’s state security or Stasi in Berlin, an open-air exhibit details the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful revolution Berlin that helped bring about German unity.

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Urban Nation Berlin street art museum reopens with new exhibits

Urban Nation Berlin street art museum reopens with new exhibits

After being open just a year, the Urban Nation Berlin street art museum re-opened with a reinvention that truly speaks to its roots. A new street art exhibit, redesigned interior with an authentic street feel, and a number of street artists residences make this museum in Berlin a must to visit for art lovers of all kinds.

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Long Night of Museums: all-night festivities in Berlin museums

Long Night of Museums: all-night festivities in Berlin museums

Whoever thought we would stay up all night to go to museums? When the Long Night of Museums in Berlin rolled around this year, however, we were there – along with many thousands of our best friends for the night. This year, the 20th birthday of the museum night drew more than 30,000 visitors all across Germany’s capital city.

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5 great Berlin street food markets

5 great Berlin street food markets

As the burgeoning and bustling capital of Germany, Berlin offers an addicting restaurant scene with any international or trendy cuisine you may desire. But in keeping with its gritty, artistic ways, Berlin has a superior street food market scene. We show you 5 great Berlin street food markets you won’t want to miss.

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Thai Park Berlin a feast for eyes and tummies

Thai Park Berlin a feast for eyes and tummies

Germany’s capital of Berlin offers every international food imaginable, in restaurants, street markets or, in the case of the most authentic Thai food in the city, spread across a park. Thai Wiese (Thai Park) comes alive every weekend with arguably the best Thai food in Berlin.

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Battle for Berlin memorial at Museum Seelower Höhen

Battle for Berlin memorial at Museum Seelower Höhen

Just 1 hour and 30 minutes east of central Berlin by car, near the Polish border and the Oder River is the site of the biggest battle of WWII fought on German soil – the Battle for Berlin. Memorializing this battle at at Seelower Höhen (Seelow Heights) and located at the highest point overlooking the farmlands below sits the Museum Seelower Höhen.

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Great carnival parades in Europe: Think small (Updated February 2019)

Great carnival parades in Europe: Think small (Updated February 2019)

Known in the United States as Mardi Gras (actually French for “Fat Tuesday), the traditions of excessive celebrations and outrageous carnival parades prior to the pre-Easter fasting during Lent date back many centuries in Europe. But you don’t have to head to the crowd-filled streets of big towns like Germany’s Cologne or Dusseldorf, France’s Nice, or Switzerland’s Basel to experience some great carnival parades in Europe. And you don’t even have to indulge in excess!

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Q110 Bank of the Future in Berlin by Deutsche Bank gets revamp

Q110 Bank of the Future in Berlin by Deutsche Bank gets revamp

Earlier in 2016, HI Travel Tales wrote about a new kind of banking experience by Deutsche Bank called “Q110 Bank” or “Bank of the Future.” We were quite enthralled by the casual and friendly, yet efficient and hard-working experience. The concept we wrote about had been active for several years without much change (the branch itself originally opened in 2005), so Deutsche Bank decided it was time to re-think its original “concept bank” and try out something different. The update was unveiled on Nov. 18, 2016, on a rainy day near the outlet not far from Checkpoint Charlie in central Berlin (Mitte).

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Haunting history on Berlin Underground tours

Haunting history on Berlin Underground tours

Underground city tours always seemed to be a tourist come-on to me, but then I discovered Berlin Underground tours. Not a for-profit business, not a tour that drops you off in a gift shop, not a tour that starts in a bar and highlights raucous partying, this is the real deal in Berlin’s Underground.

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Quick Prenzlauer Berg travel guide to a Berlin hotspot

Quick Prenzlauer Berg travel guide to a Berlin hotspot

One of our favorite areas to highlight in our Prenzlauer Berg travel guide (and there are so many wonderful places it is hard to pick just one) is indeed along Kollwitzstrasse and around the Kollwitzplatz (named after artist Kathe Kollwitz appropriately enough — check out her artwork at Artsy’s Käthe Kollwitz page). Farmers markets, street festivals and more are regular occurrences.

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Artist’s war memorial at Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz

Artist’s war memorial at Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz

The memorial on the Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz (Bethlehem Church Square) is actually the work of Spanish artist Juan Garaizabel to commemorate the Bohemian Bethlehem Church. This small church was built for Bohemian evangelical refugees in about 1735 and was a center of the community. It was destroyed by bombing in 1943.

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Busy bee in Hamburg’s Planten un Blomen garden

Busy bee in Hamburg’s Planten un Blomen garden

A visit to the Planten un Blomen Garden on your Hamburg tour is a must, whether you are a flower and garden lover, adore open spaces, enjoy dancing water fountains, or just want a nice place for a stroll or picnic. Now, not many non-Germans head there – obvious in the fact that the official Hamburg tourism website doesn’t have the garden’s page translated into English!

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Berlin Bank of the Future by Deutsche Bank

Berlin Bank of the Future by Deutsche Bank

A concierge? A gift and trinket store? A bar and coffeehouse? Waiters and fine décor? This is a bank? Yes, this is Germany’s “Deutsche Bank” — the so-called “Bank of the Future” in central Berlin, the company’s one-and-only concept bank where it tests ideas for the world.

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Tiny German town answers letters to Santa for 50 years

Tiny German town answers letters to Santa for 50 years

It takes dedication to answer children’s letters to Santa Claus, whether he’s known as St. Nick, Father Christmas or Kris Kringle. But a few namesake towns around the world do just that – letters by the many thousands every year, year after year. There is one special town that answers letters to Santa Claus: Nikolausdorf (Nicholas village) in Lower Saxony in Northern Germany. With a population that barely brushes 1,000, it has its work cut out for it to answer nearly 8,000 letters each year.

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Kellerwald Forchheim beer gardens: a Franconian forest secret

Kellerwald Forchheim beer gardens: a Franconian forest secret

“Off to the cellar” is what you’ll hear from Forchheim locals when they disappear into the forest on trails (“auf die Keller”). What that means in local slang is that they are headed to a beehive of popular beer gardens nestled deep in the forest of Franconian Switzerland in Upper Bavaria – the Kellerwald Forchheim beer gardens.

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Berlin Wall 25th anniversary commemorates fall and freedom

Berlin Wall 25th anniversary commemorates fall and freedom

It’s been 25 years since the Berlin Wall came tumbling down … suddenly, surprisingly, peacefully. Memories of the wall’s horrors seem like yesterday to those of us old enough to remember it and to have personally seen the wall and its “death zone.” The Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary remembrance reminds us to never forget.

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Harz mountain Brockenbahn railway is a narrow gauge wonder

Harz mountain Brockenbahn railway is a narrow gauge wonder

No visit to the Harz Mountains in Germany should be considered complete without riding on the historic and thoroughly magical “Brockenbahn” railway. The Brocken narrow gauge Harz Mountain train is powered by steam engines and winds its way to the peak of the Brocken, the highest point in the Harz.

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Michael Hodgson

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Winner of a 2018 Silver Medal from the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel writing excellence, Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years. His bylines have appeared in Backpacker, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to all seven continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
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What to do in Germany – travel tips, hotels, cities, top sites, maps