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Culture, Shopping & Recreation

Domestic Tourism in Germany

If you are an expatriate in dire need of some rest and recreation, Germany provides plenty of opportunities. Our guide introduces popular destinations for domestic tourism, from the best cities to visit over the seacoast to activities like hiking and cycling in Germany. Enjoy your break!

No matter whether you are interested in nature or if you prefer historical sites, Germany is a great country for mini breaks. There is a large variety of destinations all across Germany. Wherever you live in Germany, there are plenty of opportunities for day trips in your area: national parks, forests, mountains, or a stretch of coastline.

As an alternative, you can explore the best cities to visit in Germany for their medieval, baroque, or contemporary heritage. There are countless castles, fortresses, churches, monasteries, and modern landmarks throughout Germany. Over 30 of them are UNESCO world heritage sites.

Many Germans are also environmentally conscious. Day trips to the countryside are therefore common. National parks in Germany have an excellent infrastructure that allows you to explore these recreational areas.

Most towns also have tourist offices in the city center and websites with valuable local information. Such websites are frequently available in English, and sometimes in other languages as well, to promote local sights and support the tourist industry. This makes finding the best cities to visit in Germany fairly easy.

The Best Cities to Visit in Germany

There is a fairly large number of picturesque historical towns in Germany, e.g. Roman, medieval, and Baroque. Although some urban regions in Germany, e.g. Berlin or the Ruhr Area, were devastated during World War Two, smaller towns like Regensburg or Heidelberg survived with little damage to their heritage. Local sites are generally well-maintained and protected by heritage trusts.

Many city centers in Germany have pedestrian zones, so you can embark on a shopping spree on foot when you’re tired of sight-seeing. Also, there’s no such thing as an archetypal German town. On your trips, you can explore the regional differences between the best cities to visit in Germany.

It is possible to choose towns and regions thematically, for instance, according to their historical significance. The so-called “Romantic Road” is one example. It stretches over 350 km from Würzburg to Füssen, connecting more than 25 towns. One of its most famous stops is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, with its well-preserved medieval city center. Another example of a highly popular tourist trail is the “Fairytale Route”. It includes lots of places where the Brothers Grimm lived in the 19th century.

Germany being such a densely populated country, there is virtually no place which does not have a famous destination within a radius of about 50 km. However, if you are interested in a particular location or want to see all the best cities to visit in Germany, you may have to travel a bit. Fortunately, public transport in Germany is excellent.

You can read more about architecture in Germany in our guide section on culture, entertainment, and the arts. The second part of this article focuses on nature and outdoor activities in Germany.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

InterNations Expat Magazine