A Germany trip like this one hosted by AAA vacations could take you on a journey through the scenery of the Rhine, Black Forest and Bavarian Alps; the history of Frankfurt, Rothenburg and Heidelberg; the modernity of Berlin and Munich – it’s a European vacation at its best. You could enjoy moments like your first glimpse through Castle Liebenstein’s ramparts down to the villages and boats on the Rhine below, as you make your way up to the hillside fortress, a sight worthy of the Brothers Grimm.
Best European vacations: Germany
Day 1 – Arrive Frankfurt
Begin your tour through Germany in Frankfurt, the largest financial center in Europe and the smallest metropolis in the world. Frankfurt is a popular European destination for international travelers and businesspeople, so there will always be someone who speaks your language and serves your country’s food. Check out medieval Römerplatz as well, a square full of traditional neo-Gothic architecture and the site of Frankfurt’s city hall since 1405. Visit the Historical Museum to learn more about Frankfurt, or check out the modern Schirn Kunsthalle, or Art Space, for an easygoing first day in Germany.
Day 2 – Rhine Cruise
No trip to Germany is complete without seeing the Rhine river, the mighty body of water that flows from high in the Swiss Alps, through Cologne, Germany and empties into the North Sea in the Netherlands. Visit Lorelei Rock, a steep slate rock on the right bank of the river, then begin your cruise down the Rhine, marveling at the medieval castles and vineyards as you pass by.
How many people can say that they’ve had lunch at a castle? Stop at one of the castles for lunch before you continue on to Cologne, Germany’s fourth-largest city. Explore Cologne’s streets, making sure to see the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral before the day ends.
Day 3 – Hamelin
En route to Hamburg, stop in Hamelin, a picturesque town of fairy tale fame that is immortalized in poems by Goethe and Robert Browning. In fact, many of the sights in Hamelin are associated with the tale of the Pied Piper.
Once you get to Hamburg, see sights like the town hall, Rathausmarkt market and Treppenviertel, a small village in the Blankenese neighborhood of Hamburg where you can get a nice view of the Elbe river. Also, consider a guided cruise along the city’s waterways and discover why the city is called Germany’s “Gateway to the World.”
Day 4 – Berlin Sightseeing
Next is a city so big, you need two days to explore it. Follow the valley of the Elbe river from Hamburg to Berlin, the capital of Germany, a popular European destination because it’s home to many world-renowned universities, museums, entertainment venues and orchestras.
Start with a landmark tour of Berlin as you explore the old East and West sections of the city. See the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and the Reichstag Building, which were all major points of focus in 1990 during the reunification of East and West Germany. After getting in your dose of Germany’s history, check out the Tiergarten and Kurfürstendamm for shopping and entertainment.
Day 5 – Berlin Sightseeing and Free Time
To travel Europe and not have enough time to see all of Berlin would be a tragedy. Today, continue your exploration of the city at your leisure. Try the Berlin Zoological Garden, the oldest zoo in Germany, or Museum Island, a complex of Berlin State Museums that sits on the northern half of an island in the Spree river. Also consider visiting the Berlin TV Tower, where you can get a fantastic 360° view of the city
Day 6 – Dresden
Next, head south to Dresden, the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany, situated on the valley of the Elbe river. Dresden is known as “Florence on the Elbe” because of its location, mild climate and Baroque-style architecture. Some highlights of Dresden include the Opera House and Zwinger Palace.
If you fall in love with Dresden, consider taking an optional experience for a more in-depth look at the city.
Day 7 – Modlareuth-Bayreuth
Historical significance is what makes most European destinations fascinating. The historical significance of Mödlareuth lies in the separation of East and West Germany. Visit the Mödlareuth Open Air Museum for an insight into how that is. See parts of the original Berlin Wall and learn the differences between East and West Germany.
Then, stop in Bayreuth, where you can visit the Wagner Festival Theatre, the opera house dedicated to performing works by German composer Richard Wagner. Afterwards, head to Nuremberg, where you can spend the rest of the day and the following morning at another important historical site.
Day 8 – Nuremberg – Rothenburg
Travel Europe’s historical sites by visiting Nuremberg, the most well-preserved medieval town in Germany. Expect to see half-timbered houses, the Old Town Hall and little shops with wooden Christmas ornaments for sale. Follow parts of the Romantic Road through picturesque villages and pristine countryside to Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Make one more stop before the day ends at the must-see Olympic Stadium.
Day 9 – Munich Sightseeing and Free Time
Spend the day leisurely sightseeing in Munich, visiting landmarks like Odeonsplatz, a large square in central Munich, and Marienplatz, the city’s main square famous for the Glockenspiel. Check out a museum, like the Deutsches Museum, or an art gallery like the Museum Brandhorst. This evening, consider a tour of one of Munich’s world-famous beer halls.
Day 10 – Black Forest
No trip to a fairy tale European destination is complete without visiting a castle. Stop at Neuschwanstein to visit King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s 19th-century castle, which has appeared in movies like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and serves as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Then, travel through the hills and lakes of the Black Forest on your way to your next stop.
Day 11 – Heidelberg
In Heidelberg, the university town built alongside Neckar river, see a demonstration of how the famous cuckoo clocks are made. Visit Heidelberg Castle, which was demolished in the 17th and 18th centuries, but has since been partially rebuilt. Then, before you finish off your time in Heidelberg with some souvenir shopping, visit the Baroque-style Old Town.
Later, head back to where it all started in Frankfurt and enjoy a dinner there, celebrating the lovely trip you’ve had and looking forward to more opportunities to travel Europe.
Day 12 – Depart Frankfurt
This morning, say ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Germany as your memorable European vacation comes to an end.
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