12 best Germany towns to visit

12 best places to visit in Germany

From charming towns to magical castles and fabulous food, Germany is full of wonderful places to suit any type of traveller.
Tick off a number of these iconic German towns during a leisurely river cruise through Europe along the spectacular Main, Rhine and Moselle Rivers.
Not sure what to see first? Here are our top 12 German towns you cannot afford to miss.

1. Rothenburg

Take a trip along the beautiful Romantic Road and discover Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Germany’s best-preserved walled town and well known for its medieval walls. Enjoy a walk along the covered ramparts walkways for picturesque views over the town, passing the colourful half-timber houses as you stroll along the cobblestone laneways. 
Rothenburg is also famous for its magical Christmas shops and is a great place for souvenir shopping. Be sure to visit the giant Käthe Wohlfahrt for all of your Christmas decorations as well as cuckoo clocks and music boxes.

Visit Rothenburg as part of your Discover More option during the 15 day Splendours of Europe river cruise.
Rothenburg, Germany

2. Würzburg

Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road”, the beautiful town of Würzburg lies along the Main River and is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards.

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Würzburg Residence positioned on the right river bank behind the old town and admire the Viennese Baroque architecture and secular features from Italy.

Enjoy a guided walking tour of Würzburg to see key highlights including the Gothic Marienkapelle and Town Hall. Keep an eye out for the Marienburg Fortress located on the left bank, opposite the Würzburg Residence, the home of the Prince-Bishops before the 18th century.
Wurzburg, Germany

3. Bamberg

Often referred to as ‘the Rome of Germany’, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Bamberg boasts one of Europe’s largest intact medieval town centres.

Bursting with character and charm, the medieval town centre is home to the largest preserved old quarter in Europe, with approximately 2,400 listed buildings.

Admire hundreds of building façades richly decorated in fascinating detail with spectacular ornamentation.

Other highlights include the Bamberg Cathedral, Neue Residenz and its gardens as well as the Old Town Hall.
Bamberg, Germany

4. Nuremberg

Bavaria’s second largest city, Nuremberg is situated along the Main–Danube canal, and is home to historical buildings, stunning churches and the traditional Hauptmarkt.

Enjoy a sightseeing coach tour of the historic city of Nuremberg where you can pass by some of the historical icons, such as the 900-year-old ramparts and the Nazi party rally grounds, where rallies were held from 1933 until 1938 among other sights.

Look out for Nuremberg’s cultural landmark, the Imperial Castle perched on a rocky elevation which dates from the Middle Ages from 1050 to 1571.
Nuremberg, Germany

5. Regensburg

The UNESCO city of Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities, positioned at the northernmost point of the Danube River in Bavaria. It is often referred to as ‘the northernmost city of Italy’ due to its bustling outdoor cafes, narrow laneways in the old town and Italian-style merchant houses. On our guided walking tour you will have the chance to see one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube and view the city’s architectural highlights including the Old Town Hall and Regensburg Cathedral. 

Pay a visit during winter to view the traditional Christmas markets at Neupfarrplatz and the Romantic Christmas Market in the courtyard of Thurn & Taxis Palace. A great excuse to stock up on early Christmas presents for the family.
Regensburg, Germany

6. Rüdesheim

Situated at the southern end of the Rhine Valley is Rüdesheim, one of Germany’s most popular towns and picturesque wine regions. Here you can enjoy stunning views over the beautiful Rhine valley and sample some of Germany’s best Riesling wines during a walk through the vineyards, whilst learning what makes this wine region so popular. 

Another popular attraction in Rüdesheim is the Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Ride the Winzerexpress and be rewarded with spectacular displays, including rare music boxes dating back to the 18th century. 

If you love coffee, you cannot leave Rüdesheim without sampling the famous “Rüdesheimer Coffee”, made with Germany’s most famous brandy Asbach Uralt.
Rudesheim, Germany

7. Cologne

Founded by the Romans in 50 AD, Cologne is one of Germany’s oldest cities and is famous for its magnificent World Heritage-listed Gothic Cathedral and market squares lined with cafes, shops and beer halls.

If you’ve got a head for heights, climb the Cologne Cathedral’s southern tower for spectacular views over the city and Rhine River.

Enjoy a walking tour of the city to discover the Old Town and pass ancient bridges that survived the air raids of WWII.
Cologne, Germany

8. Bernkastel

Dating back to 3000BC, Bernkastel, a well-known winegrowing town is situated along the banks of the Moselle River and is home to well-preserved buildings dating back to 1416.

Enjoy a guided walking tour, where you will have a chance to stroll through the medieval marketplace with its gabled timber-framed houses, castle ruins and town gate.

Alternatively, take part in a guided bike tour in the Bernkastel area.
Bernkastel, Germany

9. Cochem

Situated on the bend of the Moselle River and surrounded by the vineyards of the Moselle Valley, the small enchanting town of Cochem is home to half-timbered houses and the magical Cochem Castle (Reichsburg Castle).

Built in 1051, it was destroyed in 1689, along with much of the town by the troops of Louis XIV of France, however was reconstructed in the 19th century.

The best way to explore Cochem is on foot. Stroll through the old town to admire the Marktplatz, see the city’s walls including three of the four surviving 14th century gates or simply soak up the atmosphere and surrounds over a glass of local Riesling wine.
Cochem, Germany

10. Koblenz

The 2,000-year-old city of Koblenz sits on the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers.

Here you can visit the iconic Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Europe’s second largest preserved fortress which was used against the French in the 19th century.

Reach the fortress by a comfortable cable car ride and enjoy breathtaking views over the Rhine and Moselle rivers, whilst learning about the history and archaeology of the country through its wonderful exhibitions. 
Koblenz, Germany

11. Miltenberg

Situated on the banks of the Main River is the quaint village of Miltenberg, known as the ‘Pearl of the Main River’.

Lined with well-preserved half-timbered buildings, particularly at the Old Market Place, you can get a real sense of Bavarian life during medieval times.

Highlights include the gothic Merchant Hall, an impressive symbol of past affluence created by trade from river traffic, and Miltenberg Castle for sweeping views over the town and river.
Miltenberg, Germany

12. Wertheim

Perfectly positioned on the banks of the Main and Tauber Rivers, the quaint medieval village of Wertheim is well known for its glass blowing and glassworks.

Visit the Wertheim Glass Museum to learn more about glass production, stroll through the city centre and gaze upon the beautiful half-timbered houses.

For those who are more active, climb up to Wertheim Castle and be rewarded with stunning views over the Main River.
Wertheim, Germany
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