Visiting Europe is like stepping into history, and Germany is no exception. This Wunderbar (wonderful) country undoubtedly has some of the most breathtaking landscapes, charming towns, and rich cultural heritage.
After exploring the great city of Berlin, you may be looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital. So how about a trip down South?
Explore the great cities of Munich, Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Wurzburg while visiting historic buildings and admiring the world-famous architecture.
Struggling to decide on a solid southern Germany travel plan? We’re here to help! Here are some of the best places to visit in Southern Germany.
7 Must-See Southern Germany Destinations
During your adventure, indulge in the cuisine, attend the festivals, and experience the Bavarian culture. There is so much to see in Southern Germany. From magical castles (that inspired Disney) to magnificent nature, immersing yourself in the rich cultural history and admiring the amazing architecture.
This Bavarian capital is known for its historical buildings, art galleries, beer halls, and more. Munich hosts its annual Oktoberfest, which attracts people from around the world and is a must-do if you’re in the country during October.
It’s a Bavarian cultural celebration at the Theresienwiese (Therese’s Meadow). A large field where the wedding of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese took place. It’s a time for people to come together, enjoy a beer, eat great food, and share a laugh.
Take an exciting tour of Nymphenburg Palace. Admire its Baroque architecture and wander the halls while viewing the many rooms that have maintained their original design.
Speaking of royalty, another must-see is Neuschwanstein Castle. It sits amongst the Bavarian Alps and was built in the 19th century. This famous castle has been used in movies such as The Monuments Men and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The Neuschwanstein Castle also served as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Maybe that’s why it looks familiar.
Don’t forget to visit the English Garden, where you’ll find magnificent natural landscapes, unique views from the Monopteros, and surfing. Yes, surfing. People from all over come to surf the famous Eisbach wave, a man-made river. Stroll the gardens, visit the Japanese Tea House and enjoy the view of Kleinhesseloher Lake.
Nuremberg is a Bavarian gem, home to one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. This city is a great place to explore and immerse yourself in German culture.
Roam the streets of Weißgerbergasse while looking at the beautiful houses and traditional markets. Stop off at the local shops and cafes for an authentic Bavarian treat.
Visit Lorenzkirche, a Gothic church located in the center of Nuremberg. It’s home to one of the largest church organs in the world, with 12,000 pipes.
Take a glimpse of history and visit the Documentation Center Museum. It served as a rally ground for the Nazis, where Hitler delivered some of his speeches. After viewing the settings, see the Memorium Nuremberg Trials. The Memorium is where Nazis had to stand trial and confess their crimes between 1945-1946.
Walk along the city walls. Built in the 12th century, they served as Nuremberg’s defense mechanism. The city was sectioned off with these now historic walls. Stroll along the medieval walls and get a unique perspective from the outside.
When you’re out exploring Nuremberg Castle, here are some of the best things to see:
- Visit the Castle Chapel
- Take a walk in the courtyard
- Stroll through the rose gardens
- Explore the Deep Well
- View the Sinwell Tower
- Go in search of the Castle’s Gardens (hint, it’s towards the back of the grounds)
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This city is famous for its Plönlein, a picturesque part of town that looks like it’s out of a fairytale. Funny enough, it kind of is. Rothenburg ob der Tauber inspired Walt Disney’s Pinocchio.
Since this is one of the most visited small German towns, we suggest going after all the tourists leave or perhaps spending the night and going first thing in the morning. This way, you won’t have everyone and their kids photobombing your pictures.
Explore the city with a Night Watchman Tour. It takes place every day and is in English (don’t worry). Hans Georg Baumgartner will lead your medieval adventure as he takes you around town and tells you about its history. Rest assured, it’s not your average factual tour. Hans brings a comedic element that will leave you in stitches.
Rothenburg is one of three German cities still maintaining its fortified city walls. It circles the city, but the best part is that it offers a Tower Trail, which means you get a unique view of Rothenburg from above.
Quick Tip: Watch your head, as there are many low-hanging stones.
This city is home to a magnificent forest, perfect for an enchanted adventure. Find bridges, spot old cottages and look out for the mermaids (no, there are actual mermaid sculptures). Don’t worry about getting lost. Rothenburg sits atop a hill, so you can always navigate your way back.
This charming old town is located on the Eastern side of Bodensee (Lake Constance) and is truly a spot not to be missed. To access the island, you must cross the bridge and, upon entering, are greeted by the island’s protector, the Bavarian Lion.
Visit the City Harbor and explore the Mangturm Lighthouse. It was built in the thirteenth century and served as the town’s main lighthouse until a new one was built in 1856.
Take a stroll down Maximilianstrasse. Here you’ll find shops, cafes, arcades, and beautiful Gothic and Renaissance buildings. While exploring, make sure you stop at the Old Town Hall, built in 1436, which has had many facelifts over the years.
Take a dip in the crystal-clear blue waters of Lake Constance. Lindau Island is a popular summer vacation spot for locals and travelers alike and is the ideal setting for a refreshing swim on a hot summer day.
This World UNESCO Heritage Site is known for many things. It sits atop seven hills that include a church on each peak. From unique beer to Little Venice, the iconic Old Town Hall to the magnificent Bamberg Cathedral, it’s a charming small town in Germany that must be added to your list.
Feeling parched? Try Rauschbier, the city’s famous smoked beer. This delectable beverage has a smoky taste and smell because the malt is dried over an open fire. If you’re not into the smokiness, Bamberg is home to many great breweries like the Schlenkerla Brewery and Klosterbräu.
Bamberg is known as Little Venice due to its canals lined with middle-aged timber houses. This old fisherman district maintains the same look and feel as it did back then.
You can’t leave Bamberg without visiting its most famous landmark, Bamberg Old Town Hall. It stands on an island built in a river and connects to land with two bridges. How did a town hall end up in the middle of a river?
Well, legend has it that the bishop didn’t want to grant new land for a town hall, so the locals took it upon themselves and threw stakes in the river to form its foundation. Basically, they couldn’t get any land, so they made their own.
Wurzburg has many great things to see and do, such as the Wurzburg Residence, Fortress Marienberg, and enjoying sundowners at the Old Bridge.
Explore Fortress Marienberg and be rewarded with a fantastic view of the city. The fortress served as the seat for the Prince-bishops and features many rooms and halls to view. There’s a museum inside if you want to know more about its history.
Quench your thirst on the Old Bridge. This has become a hot spot for locals and tourists to end their day sipping on a refreshing beverage, enjoying the atmosphere, and admiring the beautiful view.
Visit the first church built in the city Wurzburg Cathedral which was built in 788. The largest Romanesque church in Germany, the cathedral is home to many works of art, and if you’re lucky, you can hear an organ performance.
Wander the Wurzburg Residence, which is open to the public and is surrounded by beautiful, must-see gardens. Make your way up the magnificent staircase and find beautiful artwork, decor and a mirror room.
The Black Forest
Get ready for the ultimate outdoor adventure. The Black Forest is home to beautiful dark pine forests and breathtaking hikes which served as location inspiration for Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales.
Here are some of the best things to do in the Black Forest:
- Enjoy the unbelievably beautiful scenery
- Spot all the rivers, such as Murg, Brigach, and Kinzig
- If you’re visiting in winter, go skiing
- Embark on one of the many hiking trails
- Visit the magical towns
- Pop in at the Black Forest Museum
- Look out for all the incredible wildlife
Best Places to Visit in Southern Germany | Final Thoughts
Southern Germany is a special place with so much history, magnificent architecture and glorious landscapes. Partaking in local traditions and tasting their delightful delicacies is just the cherry on top.
So whether you decide to go on the ultimate outdoor adventure in the Black Forest, taste the unique smokey beer in Bamberg or enjoy the waters in Lindau, rest assured that you’ll be in for an experience of a lifetime.
Don’t forget to find out when is the best time to visit Germany to ensure you make the most out of your trip.