Germany Itinerary – Best Places to See and Visit in 10-14 Days
- 1 Germany Itinerary – Best Places to See and Visit in 10-14 Days
Germany is the biggest country, population-wise and one of the biggest countries geographically, in the European Union, so it’s no surprise that there is quite a lot to do and see.
As a local, I still can’t claim to have seen it all – there are so many places that I have on my Germany bucket list. However, if you only have 10-14 days in Germany, you will get a good glimpse of the country, but it surely isn’t enough to see all the main tourist attractions in the country.
So, I had to make sacrifices on this itinerary. I had to leave some beautiful places out… for even more beautiful places. I had to leave out some pretty castles and lakes, fun cities, and romantic towns.
But in the end, this Germany 2-week itinerary is what I consider the best of Germany in a nutshell. I left out the beautiful beaches in the most northern part of Germany because, well, you can never rely on the weather. So, if you only have ten days to two weeks, even in the summer, I would not advise visiting the beaches – just because of the weather. Also, I wanted to keep the amount of driving (or train riding) to a minimum.
Yes, it is true that there are some motorways without a speed limit, but other than that, driving in Germany can be boring. You cannot rely on punctual public transportation in the country either. So, I had to remove a few places on this itinerary so that you don’t sit in a vehicle too much (but no worries, you will get to the see some parts of Northern Germany, as well as Southern Germany).
So, here are the answers to your questions about “what to see in Germany in 10-14 days” and “what to do in Germany in two weeks”.
GERMANY TRAVEL TIPS
How to Get Around – Car or public transportation? Here are my tips.
Car: Driving in Germany is okay and easy. I mean, there are no tolls for cars in Germany, the streets are well-paved and safe, and people drive well. But there are a lot of construction projects on the motorways and some traffic jams during school holidays.
There are quite a lot of motorway streets without speed limits, but many do have a speed limit you should stick to (speed cams are placed throughout the country).
A parking disc might be useful in some places.
Petrol (gas) and diesel prices vary greatly depending on the time of day and where you refuel. The cost is about 1.30€ for diesel and petrol is about 1.40€ (per liter). Prices are highest in the evenings and in the mornings; during the day, prices decrease.
Parking can be tricky in tourist areas, and you will need to have some change ready as it is mostly paid for in coins at a machine.
Most petrol stations (actually, all to my knowledge) are self-service and you can pay at the cashier. I would always advise having some cash on you, as some gas stations do not accept credit cards. In smaller villages, there might be machines you have to pay directly.
Public Transportation: Getting around via trains and buses is actually easy and, overall, okay. The trains are not always on time, some connections might be canceled, and it isn’t cheap. However, compared to places that do not have any train service, I guess we Germans should consider ourselves lucky (okay, this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you can see that I am a bit frustrated – though I have arrived on time once in a while). Not cheap and often not on time, but we can’t have it all.
Tip: Buy your ticket from the ticket machine to avoid paying fees.
Best Time to Visit Germany
I never suggest visiting a place in Europe in the summer, but Germany in the summer isn’t bad. Many locals travel outside of the country and some cities are actually a bit less busy. However, this does not apply to the main tourist attractions that bring in a lot of international tourists (such as some of the places mentioned below).
Since we cannot rely on seasons and how the weather is supposed to be at a certain time, I would advise visiting from the end of August to October, or from April to June.
If you are into Christmas, Christmas Markets (Germany is well known for its great Christmas markets), and winter activities, then Germany is also great to visit in the winter.
Costs of Traveling in Germany: Prices for accommodations, fuel, or food in Germany are generally higher than in Eastern Europe or Southern Europe (including Spain and Italy), but it is much cheaper than Switzerland or the Scandinavian countries. Within Germany, Bavaria and Hamburg are more expensive than Bremen, or even Berlin.
Where to Stay in Germany; For each stop, I have listed a few places to stay. So, as I would do it as a round trip and not do day trips, I suggest changing hotels quite often. Sorry about that, but this way, you can avoid spending too much time in trains or the car, and can see more of Germany.
Language: The official language is German, but there are many different dialects of German. Though basically everyone understands High German, not everyone speaks it perfectly.
Basic English is spoken in all tourist areas and younger people ofte speak English quite well.
Security: Keep your eyes open and exercise common sense and you should be fine in Germany. Especially in tourist areas, it is recommended that you keep your belongings and your wallet close to you (do not fall for any tricks, like when people want to dance with you on the streets, etc.).
If you get around by car, don’t leave valuables on display and avoid side streets at night (especially as a solo female traveler). But overall, I feel safe and secure in Germany and in most places.
Food: Germans eat a lot of meat, especially pork. As a vegetarian, it might be a bit tricky, but in cities where there are universities (including Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, and Munich), you will find many vegan and vegetarian options.
Compared to everything else, food in supermarkets is ridiculously cheap. So, if you want to save money, cooking makes a lot of sense in Germany.
Water: Bring your reusable water bottle and refill it at the hotel, etc. In the southern parts of Germany, you can just refill your bottle with fresh mountain water from fountains (unless it says “KEIN TRINKWASSER“), but that is less common in other parts of the country.
Tap water is fine is many places. If you don’t like “Sparkling water,” then shy away from “Wasser mit Kohlensäure” and ask for “still” water.
In restaurants, you will not get free tap water with your food (you might get a little glass of tap water if you order an espresso).
If you buy water bottles (or soft drinks in bottles or cans), you have to pay a deposit of about 0.25€, which you will get back when you return it to any supermarket.
Money: Credit and debit cards are accepted widely, but in smaller shops and villages that might not be the case. You cannot pay at some ticket centers with your credit card, so always have cash on you (American Express is, unfortunately, not as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard).
Airports in Germany
Germany has several international airports, including one of the biggest, which is the airport in Frankfurt am Main.
If you fly into Germany and don’t visit other countries, then I suggest you start your trip in Berlin and end it in Munich (or the other way around). If you “have some more traveling to do,” then you can adjust it however you wish.
Flughafen Berlin-Schönefeld and Flughafen Berlin-Tegel and then there is the Munich International Airport.
Berlin – 2 – 2.5 days
Germany´s capital is bustling, hip, and trendy. It is not necessarily a beauty and it does not always make a good first impression, but you have to see Berlin at least once in your life!
On the one side, you have this fun city that is full of history and politics; and on the other side, Berlin is so trendy and edgy. So, even if you are not into that alternative and edgy lifestyle (I am definitely not), you will still enjoy Berlin.
Berlin Travel Tips
If you want to rent a car, I suggest renting it after the two days in Berlin because you will most likely not need a car in Berlin at all. Of course, it is handy to explore the city by car, but you can get around easily by public transportation there.
Berlin is not unsafe per se – however if you stay out late, watch your surroundings and always keep your wallet and valuables close to you. Pickpocketing is very common.
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Berlin
- Checkpoint Charlie
- Brandenburger Tor
- Holocaust Memorial
Check out my Berlin itinerary with more travel tips for more detailed information.
From Berlin to Hamburg
From Berlin, you should head to Hamburg next. Hamburg is one of the prettiest cities in Germany and actually the second biggest city in the country.
The fastest train connection takes about 2.5 hours. By car, it takes about 3 – 3.5 hours.
Hamburg – 1 – 1.5 Days
Hamburg is the opposite of Berlin – posh, beautiful, and has a more conservative touch at first sight. While Hamburg has an old town, it also has more spacious squares – and of course, it is all about the water (whether we are talking about the Alster or the harbor of Elbe River). But let´s not forget that Hamburg has one of the world´s most famous redlight districts, which is also a popular party hotspot.
Travel Tips Hamburg
Like all major cities and towns in Germany, you can easily get around by public transportation. I would actually claim it is one of the best public transportation systems in Germany, with very frequent underground trains and buses running.
Weather in Hamburg can be moody, so always bring an umbrella with you. Hamburg is also home to quite a few fancy stores, so if you want to splurge and do some luxury shopping, then Hamburg is the place.
Hamburg is also one of the most expensive cities in Germany – you will probably notice this when you book your accommodation. However, compared to other major cities in Europe, like London or Paris, prices are still reasonable.
Like in Berlin, be careful at night. Watch your surroundings and always keep your valuables close to you.
Things to do and Places to Visit in Hamburg
- Town Hall
- Redlight District
- Schanze Quarter
- Peddle Boat on the Alster
From Hamburg to Bremen
I would leave late in the afternoon (or evening) and head to the next city in Germany: Bremen
Taking the train takes about 1.5 hours, and it takes about the same by car.
Bremen – 1 Day
Bremen is often considered a town by Americans, but actually, it is a city. And with more than 500,000 inhabitants, it is one of the bigger cities in Germany. However, as a local, I do admit that Bremen has the charm of a big beautiful town with many historic buildings and a lot of greenery.
Travel Tips Bremen
Bremen is quite a compact city. Sometimes, you may want to hop on a tram, but Bremen is best explored on foot. You can easily walk to many places. Bremen´s main tourist attractions (two of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites) are on the market square and the famous town musicians are just around the corner.
Also, Bremen is cheaper than Hamburg or Munich – and while it is less famous, it is definitely not less worthy of a visit (no biased local opinion here 🙂 ).
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Bremen
- Schnoor (Old Town)
- Town Musicians
- Alte Mühle
Okay, now I will give you several choices and leave it up to you. You can choose which route to opt for because it gets a bit trickier from here. If you are in Germany for only 10 or 11 days, you will most likely have to skip one place on this itinerary as you will be too stressed otherwise. Check out my deatiled Bremen guide to find out more about this lovely city.
From Bremen to Cologne
From Bremen to Cologne, it takes about three hours by train or car.
Cologne and Dusseldorf – 2 Days
Cologne is located in the western part of Germany, almost near the Netherlands, and on your way to southern Germany, it means a little detour. But Cologne is known as a fun and liberal city, and it’s quite popular amongst tourists (also because of the famous Cologne Cathedral), so you might want to visit, too.
Travel Tips Cologne
Cologne is one of the biggest cities in Germany, however, many tourist attractions are located in and near the city center, so it is easy to get around.
The people here are also known to be one of the friendliest in the country – it is kind of the German San Francisco. It gets especially fun during Carnaval (I personally dont like carneval – but supposedly it is a lot of fun), and tourists from all over Germany visit Cologne to celebrate.
One thing I was not aware of: it is freaking cold around the Dom (Cathedral)! The architecture is quite weird, so it will always be very windy. Definitely make sure to pack something for your shoulders, even on warm days.
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Cologne
- Cologne Cathedral
- Old Town
- Hohenzollern Bridge (including the love locks)
- Boat Trip
- Cable Car Across the Rhine River
If you plan to stay 2 days in Cologne, I would probably do a day trip to Dusseldorf. I visited a few years ago and cannot remember all the activities I did, but I seriously enjoyed Dusseldorf (which is fancier and posher than Cologne).
So, since visiting Cologne means quite a detour, I am on the fence about it. My personal recommendation is to skip it (though probably an unpopular opinion) if you only have 10 days in Germany and instead head to Germany‘s main financial center – Frankfurt.
Bremen – Frankfurt (or Frankfurt to Cologne)
It is quite a long drive from Bremen to Frankfurt. I suggest leaving Bremen quite late in the day, or stay an extra night and leave quite early and make your way to Frankfurt.
The drive/ride isn’t so scenic in my opinion, but whenever my relatives from Australia visit, they can‘t stop emphasizing how green and pretty Germany is. I am still not convinced, but anyhow, it surely will get more scenic in the southern part of the country.
Frankfurt – 1 Day
Frankfurt is one of the main financial hubs in Germany – and the only city with an impressive skyline.
It is also known as little Manhattan, and while that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it is the city with the most skyscrapers and looks beautiful (night or day). However, it Frankfurt is more than the skyscrapers.
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Frankfurt
- Old Town (and Römerberg)
- Museums District
- Palm Garden
- Frankfurter Dom
So, since Frankfurt is one of our biggest cities (and one of my favorites in Germany), I have added it here – but again, just see if it fits your itinerary. Considering how many great places we have in Germany, I´d say that one day in Frankfurt is enough.
From Frankfurt, you have a few options: Either head to Heidelberg (about 90km south of Frankfurt), or head to Wurzburg and then to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (which is a must-see place, so whatever you skip, don’t skip Rothenburg).
From Frankfurt to Heidelberg
It is about an hour‘s drive to get to Heidelberg from Frankfurt (from Cologne it takes about 2,5 to 3 hours).
Heidelberg – 1 Day
People love Heidelberg. Seriously, it seems like anyone who visited Heidelberg has a crush on it by the time they leave. I visited in the summer and it was hot, which automatically means that I was a bit turned off. But Heidelberg is a beauty and many visitors call it one of the prettiest town in the country.
Heidelberg is quite compact and you can visit many places on foot. It is one of those pretty, small towns that has the university charm amidst lovely scenery.
However, (free) parking in the city is a bit tricky. So, if you stay outside the city center, I suggest using public transportation to get around (you can rent bikes for a small amount of money, though for only one day in town, I suggest just walking).
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Heidelberg
- Heidelberg Castle
- Old Town
- Carl Theodor Old Bridge
From Heidelberg, you can head to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. If you have skipped Heidelberg, then you could easily head from Frankfurt to Würzburg, and then Rothenburg.
From Heidelberg to Rothenburg
From Heidelberg to Rothenburg, it takes about 2 – 2.5 hours. It takes the same amount of time to go from Frankfurt to Rothenburg.
Rothenburg on der Tauber- 1 Day
I visited Rothenburg twice (and stayed overnight both times), and while it was rainy for a few minutes, it was sunny most of the time. It seemed that Rothenburg wanted me to see its best side. I totally adore Rothenburg – it is small and there are not millions of things to do, BUT this town has my heart. I seriously think that Rothenburg is the prettiest town in Germany.
Medieval, colorful, and pretty… just gorgeous. Rothenburg is all that, so it doesn’t surprise me that despite its small size, people flock there and fall in love. So, make sure to add Rothenburg to your Germany road trip (or any Germany itinerary).
Travel Tips Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg is quite small. There is the old town and a newer part, but basically, it is only the old town that is really special. You can walk to all of the places, so I recommend booking your hotel inside the old town or just in front of the town walls (there is a wall separating the old town from the new town, so it really is like entering a theme park without carousels).
The town is small and credit card payment is not accepted in many restaurants, so make sure to bring enough cash.
P.S. If you like to eat pork, you will love it here. Otherwise, it might be tough finding some healthy or vegetarian options.
If you are a quick traveler, you could see all the top places in a few hours, but I love the town so much that I recommend getting here early in the day and staying overnight.
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Rothenburg
- Old Town
- Town Walls
- Christmas Museum
Click here to read my Rothenburg guide with more detailed info your trip.
From Rothenburg to Castle Neuschwanstein
From Rothenburg, it is time to head to the next place, another Germany highlight:
Schloss Neuschwanstein. This route is part of the Romantic Road and there are several medieval towns and villages along the way, but with only 7-14 days in Germany, you might have to skip those and drive all the way to Castle Neuschwanstein. It is quite a long drive/ride, taking about 2.5 hours, but it is worth it.
Neuschwanstein Castle – 1 Day
Visiting the most iconic castle in Germany, and probably even in Europe, is a must for many visitors to Germany. And I admit, Neuschwanstein Castle is quite impressive. You don’t even have to go inside to be impressed (I did not, as I visited with my dog and dogs are not allowed).
It doesn’t really matter when you visit. Neuschwanstein Castle is always busy and people from all over the world (especially from China) come here to see the fairytale castle with their own eyes.
It’s not just the romance lovers who will enjoy their day at Neuschwanstein Castle – there is also a very pretty lake, Alpsee, that is great to walk around, and then there is another castle… and a museum. Well, as you can see, it is not only about the castle, though that is surely the highlight here.
Things to Do and See at Neuschwanstein Castle
- Neuschwanstein Castle Hike
- Neuschwanstein Castle Tour
Read my Neuschwanstein Castle guide to find out more about this stunning castle and get all the info you need for your trip to Neuschwanstein Castel.
From Neuschwanstein Castle to Zugspitze and Eibsee
Plan in about one hour to get to the next destination – Zuspitze and Eibsee – where you can stay overnight.
Zugspitze & Eibsee – 1 Day
While we have mostly focused on cities and towns – because that is what Germany is really “good at“ (besides Neuschwanstein Castle) – we also do some impressive scenery, mountain peaks, and lakes. And you will find out about them on your second-to-last stop.
Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and you can conveniently go up by cable car to enjoy some impressive views. On the day of my visit, it was extremely cloudy, so I decided not to spend the 60€ to go up, and rather, spent my day at Lake Eibsee.
However, the highest mountain peaks offer some great views. It looked incredible, especially as you can also see Eibsee Lake from there. If it were not for the clouds, I would have gone up in a heartbeat. People rave about Zugspitze, so add it to your itinerary for Germany.
If the weather is a bit cloudy during your visit (or you are on a budget), you can still take an easy stroll around Lake Eibsee – one of the prettiest lakes in Germany. It is located next to the Zugspitze cable car station, so you can visit both in one day.
Things to Do and Places to Visit Around Zugspitze
- Lake Eibsee
From Zugspitze to Munich
From Zugspitze, it is time to head to your next (and probably final) destination – Munich.
You have to drive about 100km north to arrive there.
Munich – 2,5 – 3 Days
Munich is probably one of the most interesting cities in Germany. It is lovely and a great base for many day trips.
Getting around Munich is easy – many attractions are within walking distance, as they are located in the city center. But even day trips by train are super easy. There are so many stunning places around that you can just take day trips, but plan in at least one day for the city center.
Munich is probably the most expensive city on this itinerary. But at least you can save money on water, as there are water fountains to refill your water bottles here. Other than that, I’m afraid that I do not have any budget tips to share off the top of my head.
Things to Do and Places to Visit in Munich
- Old town
- Clock Tower
- Englischer Garten
Some day trips you can take from Munich: Eagle´s Nest or Königsee Lake (in combination with a trip to Berchtesgaden).
Read my Bavaria guide with the best places to see and visit.
As you can see, 7-14 days in Germany allows you to see quite a lot, but it will also be a busy time. Believe me, I am a lazy person and prefer to take it easy, but when I travel, I have so much power and energy that I would totally create my itinerary exactly like what I’m recommending to you. This surely is not a relaxing beach trip – but that is not what Germany is famous for. Be ready to be out a lot (and on the roads/rails), and in return, you will be rewarded with the best of Germany in a nutshell.