Wunderbar: great German city breaks

Visit Germany’s finest cities

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Kai Sedgwick

Kai Sedgwick
HomeAway travel expert


Berlin

Germany is a diverse country, its charming cities contrasted by steep mountains and densely forested valleys. While rural Germany promises adventure and exhilaration, its cities deliver something that the countryside can’t match: culture, history and of course beer. From Cologne to Dresden and from Hamburg to Berlin; Germany’s major cities are familiar even to those who’ve yet to cross the border.

While it probably won’t be feasible to visit all of Germany’s great cities during a single trip, there’s no reason why you can’t tick off two or three. Spend a few days in each destination, giving yourself time to get a feel for the place – its people, its streets and its attractions – before moving on to the next one, aided by a German Rail Pass which will allow you to travel the length and breadth of the country as well as moving on to Brussels, Prague and even Venice.

HomeAway have a dizzying array of holiday properties to offer in all of Germany’s major cities. Whether you’ve always wanted to party in East Berlin or boat across Hamburg’s Alster Lake, this is your chance. Explore, wander, dream, drink and dine in Germany’s greatest cities. Wunderbar!

 

German cities for your travel itinerary


   

City breaks in Berlin City breaks in Berlin

It makes sense to start with the capital, and what a capital! Kick back with the locals in Mauer Park and browse the flea market that’s hosted there on Saturdays. Visit the DPR Museum for a taste of post-war life in East Berlin and savour an aerial view of the city from the Reichstag building. Ardent shoppers should head to North Mitte, where the streets are lined with boutiques and independent stores. Then, when night falls, it’s off to the Berghain, Berlin’s notorious nightclub that on weekends stays open for 48 hours. Respect to anyone who can make it through to the very end.

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City breaks in Cologne City breaks in Cologne

One of Germany’s oldest cities, Cologne’s origins date back to 38 BC when the Romans came calling. In keeping with the antiquated theme, Cologne boasts one of Europe’s oldest universities and 30 museums. Köln, as it’s known in German,may celebrate its past but it’s certainly not stuck in it. Visit the Schildergasse, a pedestrianised street that features expansive (and occasionally expensive) department stores and charming boutiques. For gift ideas, it has to be a bottle of Eau de Cologne, bottled in the very perfume house where it was invented two centuries ago.

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City breaks in Hamburg City breaks in Hamburg

Despite being Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg feels more like a town – one that is best explored by bike. Cycle along the 1,000 kilometres that follow the Elberwanderweg river – or some of them at least – before stopping at Hamburg harbour, one the world’s largest ports, to admire the view and sup a well-earned pilsner. Reeperbahn is where the best nightlife can be found, while foodies will want to make a beeline for Hamburg Fish Market, where the catch of the day is as fresh as it gets.

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City breaks in Dresden City breaks in Dresden

Set on the banks of the river Elbe, Saxony is renowned for its priceless art and baroque architecture. Despite taking a pounding in WWII, the city has risen majestically, its landmarks restored to their former glory. As a case in point, the Church of Our Lady was flattened during bombing raids and remained that way until 1994 when reconstruction work began. Nine years later, the church was reopened to the people of Dresden once more. Elsewhere, the city’s Green Vault is home to the most exquisite collection of royal treasures in Europe.

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City breaks in Munich City breaks in Munich

No German holiday would be complete without a trip to Bavaria and the verdant city of Munich. The city’s beer halls are legendary, having witnessed everything from rowdy singalongs to political revolts over the years. Head there in Autumn for Oktoberfest, when six million visitors descend on Munich to drink beer – in moderation of course. Juxtaposing the old and the new, Munich features gleaming glass and steel office blocks, wide avenues and baroque palaces. 30 miles away lie the Alps, with all the winter sports that are commensurate with such a majestic mountain range.

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