Five enchanting German destinations to add to your bucket list

If your next travel adventure calls for glorious nature trails, architectural masterpieces and gourmet cuisine, there’s one place that has them all: Germany. Find inspiration for your 2021 itinerary with our top picks from its Top 100 attractions

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Rügen Island: white chalk cliffs and world-famous views

Encircled by endless sandy beaches and filled with a mosaic of picturesque towns and primeval beech forest, Rügen is Germany’s largest island. Get the white-tailed eagle’s perspective of the Jasmund peninsula as you stroll 17m above the forest floor on the Naturerbe Zentrum Rügen Treetop Walk (which is fully accessible) or taste the sea from the dramatic King’s Chair cliffside. And once the glitter of the Baltic disconnects you from the chaos of everyday life, head down to taste the seasonal catch during Heringswochen (Herring Weeks) or the Reusenfest (Fish Trap Festival).

Photo © Unsplash/Patrick Reichboth.


Moselle Valley: between vineyards and knights' castles

There’s more to the Mosel region than Riesling (though it’s always a good place to start). Sample the local range of white wines – both sweet and dry – and bask in the scent of vineyard flowers and fairy-tale woodlands as you follow the Moselle Cycle Route or walk one of Germany’s longest premium hiking routes, the Moselsteig Trail. Amid blue-ribbon rivers and timbered villages, you’ll find the gothic Cochem Castle, which has been proudly overlooking the rolling hills for more than a millennium. And where Roman antiquity comes alive in the ‘Streets of the Romans’ hike across ancient temples, the Moselle Valley becomes an archaeological park of a special kind.

Photo © GNTB/Francesco Carovillano.

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Bamberg: history, heritage, and beer

The eclectic architectural mix in the Old Town of Bamberg has earnt its Unesco World Heritage Site status. Let its winding lanes, medieval churches and baroque townhouses captivate you as you discover the seven green hills it was built upon. Explore Altenburg Castle, perched on top of the tallest hill, discover the immaculately preserved manuscripts that shaped modern history, and immerse yourself in local life in the thriving Market Gardeners’ District. Beer plays a key role in Bamberg’s history, too, this being the town with the highest density of breweries worldwide, producing 400 different varieties. A visit would be incomplete without a sip of Schlenkerla, the original smoke beer.

Photo © GNTB/Florian Trykowski.

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Saxon Switzerland National Park: a whimsical taste of Eastern Germany

Sandstone pinnacles, rock gorges, beech forests and wild streams bind Germany with the Czech Republic's Bohemian Switzerland in a natural masterpiece. Feast your eyes on untamed wilderness from Bastei Bridge, curiously embedded into the majestic stones that hold it steady, learn about wood giants in the outdoor Waldhusche exhibition, and follow the footsteps of kings and princes in the impregnable Königstein Fortress. No matter whether you have one week to play with or can only spare one afternoon, the unique landscapes of Central Europe are bound to astonish.

Photo by © GNTB/Jens Wegener.

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Hamburg: world-famous beauty and unmatched restaurants

Hamburg remains unrivalled when it comes to charm. Flow with the Elbe as you admire the spellbinding architecture of the Elbphilharmonie, one of the most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world, plan ahead for the maritime parades at Hamburg Port Anniversary, and make the most of seasonal produce in the Altes Land, Europe’s largest orchard. Despite international variety, dishes like Franzbrötchen (French rolls, supposedly influenced by Napoleon), Currywurst (curried sausage), Labskaus (beetroot-based, bright pink stew) and Rote Grütze (red berry dessert topped with custard) deserve all the fame. Hamburg has benefitted from the culinary expeditions of its region, and you might bump into a celebrity chef or two as you wine and dine in traditional taverns and refined restaurants.

Photo © Hamburg Tourismus GmbH/Ingo Boelter.

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