The Best Landmarks in Germany You Shouldn’t Miss!
With more than 350,000 square kilometers of land area, Germany is one of the 10 biggest countries in Europe.
No wonder, it’s a beloved destination for travelers around the world since the offer of things to do is almost endless!
From the northern cities like Berlin or Hamburg down to the southern state of Bavaria, the most famous landmarks in Germany can be found spread all across the country.
Get ready to stand on top of Germany’s tallest mountain, dive into the history of Berlin or dream of a fairytale wedding at Neuschwanstein Castle.
The following German landmarks couldn’t be any more diverse, yet each of them is truly fascinating on its own.
I’ve been to Germany many many times but unfortunately, I couldn’t tick off all of the country’s greatest sights. That’s why I asked a number of travel bloggers for their recommendations.
And so here’s a list of 22 important, beautiful and famous landmarks in Germany – compiled by me and other travel lovers like you!
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)
1. Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Recommended by me
Once a symbol of the division of the country, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin now stands for unity and peace.
This grand neo-classical building is not only THE most iconic sight in Berlin but also one of the most famous landmarks in Germany.
Until 1961 when the Berlin wall went up, the Greek-style monument was a beloved sight for both, Germans and tourists.
However, during World War II, the Brandenburg Gate stood in an exclusion zone making it inaccessible to anyone.
In 1989 when the wall finally fell, more than 100,000 people came together and celebrated the official reunion of Berlin.
You can visit the Brandenburg Gate all year long and there’s no entry fee.
However, make sure to be there early in the morning to avoid tourist crowds and enjoy a quiet Pariser Platz square and a free view of the monument.
For a truly unique experience, visit the Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the start of a new year together with locals and travelers from all around the world!
2. Bastei Bridge, Saxon Switzerland NP
Recommended by me
Imagine a 200-year-old sandstone bridge spanning over breathtaking rock formations, in the background a scenic valley with a river running through.
The Bastei Bridge can be found in the Saxon Switzerland National Park in southwest Germany, close to the border of the Czech Republic.
Due to its great location, it’s a beloved day trip destination for Germans as well as Czechs.
The national park and the bridge can be accessed all year round, however, especially in winter, some parts may be closed for safety reasons.
No matter what season, make sure to get there early in the morning for a chance to enjoy this place without too many tourists.
If you’re lucky, you can even watch the fog disappear above the treetops, adding an extra touch of mystery!
For the most perfect view of the bridge, take a left turn at the fork in front of the bridge and climb the stairs to a small viewing platform.
3. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria
Recommended by Bec of Wyld Family Travel
Neuschwanstein Castle is not only one of the most famous landmarks in Germany but also one of the best-known castles in the world.
This Bavarian landmark was built by King Ludwig in the late 18th century in the village of Schwangau. Unfortunately, the king never lived long enough to see it completed.
Today tourists flock to the site daily in their thousands for a glimpse at the castle that inspired Walt Disney castle.
You must take a tour to visit the castle interiors while the outside can be viewed from both below and above.
Tickets can be bought onsite or online prior to your arrival. If you visit this pretty fairytale castle in Germany during the peak summer months, book your ticket online to avoid queuing.
Most people travel from Munich to Neuschwanstein as part of a tour or day trip by train.
In Schwangau there is not just Neuschwanstein but also Castle Hohenschwangau which was King Ludwig’s childhood home. You can spend a whole day exploring both of these sights.
4. Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg
Recommended by Jordan of Hamburg and Beyond
The newest addition to the Hamburg skyline, the Elbphilharmonie (called “the Elphi” for short) is one of the most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world and a must-see landmark when visiting Hamburg.
Located in Hamburg’s historic Speicherstadt, the building resembles the movement of a wave and pays homage to Hamburg’s rich shipping history.
Besides hosting concerts, the Elphi also has several restaurants, a hotel, and apartments located inside it.
Even if you aren’t attending a performance in this concert hall, the viewing platform is a must-visit location that provides fantastic views of the water, the harbor, and the entire city.
It’s free of charge to visit the viewing platform and most people spend around 30 minutes on it.
It is also worth beer tasting inside Störtebeker Restaurant, a local Hamburg brewery. This is a great option for an afternoon pick-me-up or drinks before a performance.
Lastly, it is highly recommended to attend a concert if possible! The acoustics are incredible and tickets are reasonably priced, making it affordable for most individuals to attend.
5. Hannover Town Hall
Recommended by Kami of My Wanderlust
Hannover, the underrated city in the central part of Germany, has two town halls but the new one is the major landmark of the city.
It was built at the beginning of the 20th century and finished in 1913, and it keeps impressing everyone visiting Hannover.
But the building is jaw-dropping not only from the outside but also inside. As soon as you enter you will be welcomed by the incredible main hall.
Make sure to stop there and see four miniature town models, showing how Hannover used to look in the years 1689, 1939, 1945 and in the present day.
It will help you understand the turbulent history of the city.
From the top of the dome, you can admire the beautiful panorama of Hannover and surrounding green spaces.
To get to the dome you need to take the unique oblique elevator, the only one of that kind in Europe! Since it has a transparent floor you can actually see the angle when moving up!
Visiting the town hall is free of charge but you need to pay a small fee to take the elevator to the dome.
6. East Side Gallery, Berlin
Recommended by Emma of Emma Jane Explores
Berlin’s famous East Side Gallery is one of the most eclectic and fascinating sites in Germany.
This open-air street art gallery features designs and murals painted on the remains of the ominous Berlin Wall that once divided the city in two.
It is a perfect example of how Berlin has taken charge of its own story – never denying the city’s problematic history but celebrating the freedom of artistic expression that it now possesses.
Found in the center of Berlin on Mühlenstraße, the East Side Gallery is completely free to visit and stroll through at your leisure.
Art and history lovers could literally spend hours staring at each mural in detail, but the East Side Gallery is also perfect for a quick stroll if you’re short on time.
The East Side Gallery does usually see over three million visitors a year, so if you’re a keen photographer then you may need to have a little patience to snap the perfect shot around the throngs of tourists.
7. Kaiserburg Imperial Castle, Nuremberg
Recommended by Rachel of Means to Explore
The Kaiserburg Imperial Castle in Nuremberg has been around for centuries, housing Holy Roman Emperors and Bavarian kings long before modern times.
The Nazis hid precious works of art in the castle’s basement, and the Allies severely damaged the castle during bombing raids in World War II.
Come see how the Holy Roman Emperor and his court lived, marvel at the Emperor’s Crown and other treasures, and admire the medieval armory!
The castle complex is open seven days a week from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm April through September and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm October through March.
The Gardens open earlier and close later in the summer months, generally following daylight hours, but are closed to the public from November through March. General admission tickets cost €5.50.
Nuremberg is a perfect day trip from Munich. Hop on an early train and spend the day exploring the city, starting with the Kaiserburg Imperial Castle.
Plan for 2-3 hours to see everything in the Palas, the Imperial Castle Museum (armory), and the Deep Well, as well as stroll through the complex and gardens.
8. Eltz Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate
Recommended by Megs of Packing up the Pieces
Eltz Castle or Burg Eltz may be one of Europe’s most picturesque castles and one of Germany’s most famous landmarks.
This medieval castle is hidden in the hillside of the Mosel River Valley, surrounded by lush and dense forests.
The Eltz Castle is fascinating since it has been in the possession of at least one member of the Eltz family over the past 800 years.
This beautiful castle is open only from April – October between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm.
During these months, tours depart frequently and last around 40 minutes. The cost of a standard tour is €11 and they are offered in multiple languages.
The hiking trails around the castle provide stunning views and are free to wander. For a truly scenic entrance to the castle, park near the tiny village of Moselkern close to the Landhotel Ringelsteiner Mühle.
Pay the small parking fee and begin the mile-and-a-half scenic trail through the Eltz Forest.
Plan on spending around four hours on this excursion. This gives you plenty of time to appreciate the tranquil landscape, hiking trails, viewpoints, and a guided tour of the castle.
If exploring Eltz Castle by car, make sure to visit the nearby Geierlay Suspension Bridge, Germany’s longest suspension bridge.
These two places make a great full-day trip while exploring the under-appreciated Mosel River Valley!
9. Lake Constance, Bavaria
Recommended by Lavina of Continent Hop
Lake Bodensee, popularly known as Lake Constance in English, is one of the best lakes in Germany.
The lake sits on the border of three countries on the northern foot of the Alps, and the location of the lake is such that you can see for miles into Austria and Switzerland!
Numerous pretty towns are located by the lake, which sits in the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in Germany, making it a trendy holiday spot frequented by the locals and not known to many tourists.
Some of the towns on the lake are Konstanz, Friedrichshafen, Bregenz, and Lindau.
A South Germany road trip is definitely incomplete without a visit to the lake. It is free to visit, and you can spend anywhere from a day to a week here, depending on what you plan to do in the area.
You could take a walk by the lake, go boating or even spend a few days visiting the beautiful towns of Konstanz and Lindau with their butterfly gardens and striking architecture.
Some of the lake’s islands are delightful, and the area has unique bird species making it a birder’s paradise!
10. Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
Recommended by Stéphanie of Bey Of Travel
Berlin, the capital city of Germany, is known for being one of the most creative, hip, progressive cities in Europe.
With its complex past, Berlin has so much to offer to culture lovers and anyone interested in history.
The Holocaust Monument in Berlin is one of the most famous landmarks in Germany. It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman.
The monument has been built to memorialize the persecution of the Jews during World War II.
The monument consists of 2710 concrete blocks, all of varying heights and sizes. As you make your way between the field of blocks, you experience a sense of disorientation but also isolation and strangeness.
Narrow passages and endless gray views, with no way out and not knowing what is happening a few feet away. This refers to the feelings of the Jewish population during World War II.
The Holocaust Monument is free to visit at all times of the day and you can always walk through it or find a place to sit.
There is also a free exhibition space under the monument, open from Tuesday to Sunday, and closed on holidays.
It is located in the Berlin-Mitte neighborhood and can be easily reached by subway. You can get off at U-Bahnhof Brandenburger Tor station or Potsdamer Platz station.
11. Frauenkirche, Dresden
Recommended by Debbie of World Adventurists
The Dresden Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany. The original was an important part of the city’s skyline for over 200 years.
After bombing raids on Dresden in February 1945 during WWII, the church was left as a big heap of rubble. The reconstruction of the church has become an important symbol of peace and reconciliation.
The Dresden Frauenkirche can be visited during “Open Church” hours, Monday to Friday in the mornings and afternoons, with weekend visits sometimes available.
Entrance to the church is free, though there are guided options available at an additional cost.
Volunteer tour guides are available to answer questions. Rent an audio guide (€2.50 per person) that can be listened to in a pew as you admire the interior details. Allow 45 minutes for this option.
For €10 per person, you can also take a guided tour to climb the dome – one of the best things to do in Dresden.
A guide will share the history and facts of the rebuilding during the climb to 67 meters above the ground. The panoramic view of Dresden from the dome is extraordinary.
Allow an hour to enjoy the beauty.
12. Plönlein, Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Recommended by Michelle of The Scrapbook Of Life
Nestled in Bavaria on the Romantic Road, you’ll find one of the most beautiful small towns in Germany – Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
And perhaps the most famous landmark in this fairytale town is Plönlein – the yellow half-timbered house and Siebersturm tower sitting to the left of it.
But Plönlein is more than just these two architectural delights that take center stage in the storybook scene that visitors flock to photograph.
Plönlein translates as ‘small square at a fountain’ so this remarkably pretty section of Rothenburg’s old quarter also includes the fountain in front of the yellow timber-frame house and the tower of Kobolzeller Tor down the hill to the right!
It’s definitely one of Rothenburg’s most picturesque squares, with its colorful flower boxes lining the windowsills of the medieval buildings and intricate wrought-iron signs that denote the shops, hotels or restaurants that reside there.
It won’t cost you to see Plönlein or to get into the small town. But you’ll need to spend at least one day exploring the town and discover all the best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
You should take your time to wander the cobbled streets, walk around the city walls, explore the gardens and visit one of the year-round Christmas shops too!
13. Marienplatz, Munich
Recommended by Daria of The Discovery Nut
No trip to Munich is complete without a stop at Marienplatz Square, one of the most popular landmarks in the capital of Bavaria.
The main attraction of the Marienplatz is the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), Munich’s famous town hall built in a Gothic style. If you decide to spend Christmas in Germany, you’ll also find one of the most beautiful Christmas markets on this square!
Also, let’s not forget the iconic Glockenspiel on the tower’s balcony that offers a fascinating show.
At 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 5:00 pm (from March through October), small figurines come out to tell the history of the city through their dance. The entire show is about 15 minutes long.
Get on top of the town hall’s tower to get incredible views of the city. The observation deck offers sprawling views of the city that stretch as far as the Alps on a clear day.
To skip the crowds, arrive soon rather than later.
Marienplatz means St. Mary’s Square in German and is located within walking distance of other popular attractions, including Frauenkirche, Munich Residenz, and Asam Kirche.
14. Zwinger Palace, Dresden
Recommended by Wendy of Empty Nesters Hit The Road
Among the best day trips from Prague is Dresden, and one of the top sites to see in this German city is the Zwinger Palace.
This palatial complex consists of several ornately decorated buildings around a large park and gardens. It is one of the most important collections of buildings from the Baroque period in Germany.
Intended as a venue for tournaments and court games played by the nobility in Saxony, construction began in 1709.
Today most of the rooms inside the palace are home to three famous museums, including the Dresden Porcelain Collection – one of the largest such collections in the world.
The Semper Gallery is another popular museum worth a visit since it contains a significant collection of paintings dating from the Renaissance to the baroque period, including The Sistine Madonna by Raphael.
The amount of time you set aside to see Zwinger will depend on your interests and budget. Walking around the large complex is free and will take about an hour.
The grounds are always open. Be sure to climb the stairs and walk around the galleries to get a great view of the sprawling complex.
If you enjoy art museums, then allow more time to explore one or more, but be aware that each has its own admission fee. Check the museums’ websites for hours of operation.
15. Lichtenstein Castle, Baden-Württemberg
Recommended by Ann of The Road Is Life
Dramatically perched on the edge of a cliff, the incredible location of Lichtenstein Castle offers spectacular views over the villages and valleys below.
It’s often overlooked by tourists in favor of the larger, more popular castles such as Neuschwanstein, however, this hidden gem in Germany is one that you won’t want to miss.
The castle that you see today was constructed in the 1840s on the foundations of a medieval fortress that dates back to the 12th century.
It may only be small but its romantic setting and striking appearance make it the ultimate fairytale castle.
Lichtenstein Castle is located within the beautiful forests of Baden-Württemberg, about a 2.5-hour drive from Munich. This makes it easy to include on your trip to southern Germany.
Guided castle tours operate regularly and are only offered in German for €9 per person. If you speak English, you will be given a handout.
Instead of taking a guided tour, you can pay €3 to explore the castle’s gardens and viewpoints at your own pace.
The tour runs for 30 minutes, so you should plan to spend around 1-2 hours visiting the castle and its grounds and also include a visit to the cafe on-site.
16. Cologne Cathedral
Recommended by Jorge & Cláudia of Travel Drafts
The Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, north of Germany, is another one of the most visited and famous landmarks in Germany.
It is a gorgeous Gothic Church with two huge spires 157 meters high that dominates the city’s skyline, making it the second tallest church in Europe.
It took 600 years to build the cathedral. The construction began in 1248 but was interrupted in 1560 and only finished in 1880.
Its interior is surrounded by beautiful stained glass windows and has several arcades. The cathedral is that huge, it gives the impression that the ceiling almost reaches the sky.
For all these reasons, plus being a UNESCO world heritage site in Europe, it is well worth visiting and should be on everyone’s Germany itinerary.
The church is open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, but it is not advisable to visit during service hours. It doesn’t have an entrance fee and you can take pictures without a flash.
You can easily visit the Cathedral in one hour.
Recommended by Sam of My Flying Leap
If you’re looking for the “it” spot in Germany with striking views of the Bavarian Alps and the gorgeous valleys below, the Zugspitze is the place to be!
The Zugspitze rises 9,700 feet (nearly 3,000 meters) and you get the feeling that you’re standing on top of the world looking out over this stunning mountain range.
There are terraces with viewpoints on both sides you can access to enjoy the most stunning views ever!
You’ll be wowed by the modern feats of engineering making the ascent by cable car. The peak is a popular tourist attraction for people to enjoy the views and see the Zugspitzplatt glacier.
It’s an easy trip from Munich to the picturesque Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the biggest city near the mountain. From there you can take a train to the base of the Zugspitze.
The most popular ascent is by cable car, which costs €48 (around $56) for a round-trip ticket. It runs from 8:40 am to 4:40 pm daily.
The Zugspitze is definitely one of the most popular landmarks in Germany and therefore one you shouldn’t miss. Plan to spend half a day visiting, for example, as a day trip from Munich.
18. Berchtesgaden National Park, Bavaria
Recommended by Renee of Dream Plan Experience
Berchtesgaden National Park is an unbelievably impressive park in the German Alps, a short distance from the Austrian border.
It is here you will find deep dark forests, crystal clear glacier lakes, idyllic valleys, and a soaring mountain range.
No roads penetrate the protected 210 square kilometers as flora and fauna have been left to develop as nature intended.
Active holidaymakers – especially those who have a passion for mountains – can choose to spend the day or camp overnight.
Start your exploration with a tour of Lake Königssee, a deep emerald-green glacier lake, that is only accessible by a quiet electric boat.
This boat tour offers two stops, St Bartholomew and Salet. Along the way, the boat will slow down to blow a blast on a trumpet revealing the incredible echoes that bounce back from the mountain walls.
At the St Bartholomew’s stop, sits a pilgrimage church nestled against the rugged Alps, providing a stunning backdrop to the beautiful baroque architecture of its red onion dome.
There are endless easy footpaths or challenging mountain trails to explore.
The next and last stop is Salet, featuring a small, but equally pristine crystal-clear lake called Obersee. It is here you will see Röthbach Falls, Germany’s highest waterfall.
Check out: 35 of THE Best National Parks in Europe
19. Römer, Frankfurt
Recommended by Daniel and Ilona of Top Travel Sights
With its international airport, Frankfurt attracts travelers from all over the world. And a visit to Frankfurt is perfect to see the city’s most famous landmark.
The Römer consists of three houses and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city center. In the early 15th century, the city bought these houses and turned them into a town hall.
That means that the mayors of Frankfurt have been governing from here for more than 600 years!
Besides the mayor’s office and a civil registration office (you can get married here), you can find two more points of interest in the building.
The first is the tourist information, where you should stop if you have any questions about Frankfurt.
The second is the Emperor’s Hall, one of the historic rooms in the Römer where the Emperor would celebrate after his coronation. It costs €2 to go inside and is well worth it.
After visiting the Römer, make sure to check out the half-timbered houses opposite the town hall. Walking through the Old Town is one of the best things to do in Frankfurt, and a sight you shouldn’t miss.
Frankfurt is not far from many other big German cities and it’s one of the best day trips from Cologne, Wiesbaden & co.!
20. Bamberg Old Town Hall
Recommended by Raluca of Travel With A Spin
The façade of the 14th-century old building is decorated with colorful almost 3D frescoes.
Its location is as interesting as curious because the legend behind it justifies the position and turns it into an achievement.
According to this, the people of Bamberg could not obtain a piece of land from their bishop to build their town hall. In the end, the townsfolk decided to build it on stakes in the middle of the river, so that no one can argue with it.
Today tourists can visit the prestigious rococo hall and Ludwig Collection inside.
Bamberg also has one of the few intact old town centers in Germany, so one can feel the magic and history not only around its beautiful town hall but all over the place.
The well-preserved town hall and the old town itself have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993.
21. Partnachklamm Gorge, Bavaria
Recommended by Anna of Big World Short Stories
Partnach Gorge or Partnachklamm in German is an alpine gorge in the Bavarian Alps in the south of Germany near a town called Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
It is one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Germany and is 702 meters (2,303 ft) long and over 80 meters (260 ft) deep.
Partnach Gorge is a starting point for many beautiful hikes and the gorge itself can be walked through within an hour.
It is quite wet and slippery inside the gorge so you should take a waterproof jacket and proper shoes with you. When hiking through the gorge, you can see beautiful waterfalls and go through some dark tunnels.
Partnachklamm is open throughout the year unless it is closed for maintenance work and for safety reasons during the winter-spring months.
That’s why you should always double-check before planning your trip there.
The official opening times are from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm from June to September and from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm from October to May.
Entree to the gorge is not free, tickets for adults cost €6 whereas children from 6 – 17 years pay only €3.
You can buy the tickets at the latest 30 minutes before the closure, so you should plan your trip accordingly.
22. Nymphenburg Palace, Munich
Recommended by Christina of Travel2Next
Munich’s Nymphenburg Palace is one of the most famous landmarks in Germany because of its unique architecture and lovely garden design.
Construction of the palace started in 1664 as the summer residence of Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria to celebrate the birth of his heir to the throne, Max Emanuel.
Nymphenburg is one of the incredible palaces and castles in Bavaria to visit and was where King Ludwig II of Bavaria was born.
Touring the palace to see its Baroque and Classical European art is a must-do when visiting Munich.
A highlight is the “Gallery of Beauties”, where portraits of beautiful ladies commissioned by King Ludwig I grace the walls.
Nymphenburg Palace has extensive gardens with an elaborate canal system with fountains, wells and a marble cascade. Gondola rides are available on the canal in summer.
Nymphenburg Palace is at Schloss Nymphenburg 1, 80638 München, Germany.
The palace’s opening hours are from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (April to October), and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (October to March). The entrance fee is €8.
The palace is in western Munich and is easy to reach by public transport on the S-Bahn to Laim (followed by a bus) or the U-Bahn underground to Rotkreuzplatz then a tram.
Like it? Pin it!
Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:
Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!
Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.
Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.
Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.
Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.