If you’re spending a week in Germany, there aren’t many better ways to go than a quick tour of many of this amazing country’s biggest cities. From iconic Medieval architecture to the unique but excellent German food and drink or impressive museums, there’s a lot to love about this special country.
This 7-day itinerary will take you all the way across the country, from the historic beer halls of Munich in Bavaria in the south to the busy modern city of Hamburg in the north. Along the way, you’ll be able to stop off to tour fairy tale castles, stunning Medieval mountain towns, and eccentric or unique attractions at every turn.
The German public transport network is super efficient, and cheap too. Check out an Interrail pass for even more savings on trains! Germans also love driving though, and the country has a famous Autobahn road network. So, you have plenty of options.
You can definitely follow our lead exactly for a full-on way to tour Germany in 7 days. Or take an extra day or two in any one place. It’s up to you!
For more European city break ideas across the wider continent, try our guide to The Best European City Break Ideas for 2023.
Day 1: Munich
- Experience the unique charm of the capital of Bavaria
- Stroll through markets and festivals celebrating famous German food and beer
- Dozens of world-class palaces, museums and art galleries, such as the awesome Munich Residenz
Germany is such a big and diverse country, that the start of your trip in Munich will feel very different from the end of it in Hamburg. The capital of the province of Bavaria, Munich has its own beautiful charm. Plus, some of the best art museums and cultural attractions in Europe – if not the world.
It’s also a party loving city! Obviously, a lot of you will have heard of Oktoberfest – the largest beer drinking festival of them all. But you might not know that Munich is somewhat of a nightlife hotspot year round. It has the highest density of music venues in Germany, even more than the capital Berlin.
Backstage Kulturzentrum Munich, right by Hirschgarten train station, is a top spot for live dance music from drum & bass to reggae to hip-hop. For a more alternative and intense night out try Nerodom, Munich’s only goth club! If you prefer a calmer kind of evening, try the classy Gärtnerplatz square with its many theatres and fashionable bars.
For the morning after, or even if you didn’t go out and are up bright and early, try breakfast at Schmalznudel Café Frischhut. This charming café is right in the centre of Munich’s old town. Sit and watch the bustling but charming street life, as you set yourself up for your onward journey with a classic Bavarian pastry breakfast. And excellent coffee!
Day 2 to 3 : Stuttgart and Baden-Baden
- A 2-hour journey to Stuttgart, with it’s automobile museums and expansive parks
- Try walking up a Monte Scherbelino, a hill partially made of WWII rubble offering sweeping views of the city
- Head onwards to Baden Baden, a popular Black Forest resort town
Once you leave Munich, it’s a scenic two-and-a-half hour drive or train to our next stop – the city of Stuttgart. This historic city is known as Europe’s Home of the Automobile. You’ll find Porsche and Mercedes Benz have factories, and highly-rated museums, here.
There are also loads of gorgeous parks in Stuttgart, that form a giant U shape around the city. In fact, you can walk around the entire city centre area, and be in parks the whole time!
If you’ve still got more walking in you, try heading up Monte Scherbelino (or Rubble Hill) for the best views in the city. This natural hill got about 200 feet taller after World War II, when all the rubble from the city’s destroyed buildings was piled up here.
As well as all the attractions of a major regional hub city, you’ll find many beautiful small country towns in the area around Stuttgart. Premier among these is the famous Baden-Baden on the River Oos. Baden Baden has been attracting tourists for hundreds of years with its amazing walks and forested surroundings. Take a ride up the modern Merkur Bergbahn mountain train, for the best views of the town!
Baden Baden makes more sense to drive to, taking about one and a half hours from Stuttgart. If you get the train it takes about the same time, but our onward journey will take you back on yourself slightly. Still, the train route does pass through picturesque villages of the Black Forest region. So you might not mind too much!
Days 3 to 4: Heidelberg
- It’s a 1.5 hour journey from Baden Baden to this beautiful riverside town, nestled in a mountain valley
- Take a cable car to a ruined 12th century castle with incredible views of the town
- Visit museums including a Student Jail or the Kurpfälzisches Museum of local art and history
This gorgeous mountain town was voted Europe’s most beautiful destination several times, and you can probably see why! Our next stop after Stuttgart or Baden Baden, is Heidelberg.
We recommend setting off from Baden Baden in the early morning or afternoon, and then spending the whole day and a night (or more) in Heidelberg. It’s one of the highlights of the route!
If places are available in the popular town, try staying at Hotel Zur Alten Brücke. This a cozy boutique spot is right opposite one of the town’s famous old bridges and is within walking distance of many historic museums.
Whilst you’re in Heidelberg be sure to take the cable car up to Heidelberg Castle. For about 10 Euro you can ride up to the partially ruined castle on a craggy hilltop, and enjoy incredible sweeping views of this gorgeous mountain valley town and the River Neckar.
On the way to our next destination, you’ll go right through the modern financial city of Frankfurt. You could stop off for a day or night there, but for our money – two days to explore Heidelberg is a better choice! If you do take a day in Frankfurt, make sure to visit a local Apfelweinloka or Cider Tavern where you can grab a glass of the delicious regional apple wine.
Day 5: Alsfeld and Hanover
- A 2.5 hour journey through fairy-tale country from Heidelberg to magical Alsfeld
- The beautifully well-kept old town of Alsfeld is full of magical and wondrous Medieval buildings as well as fairy tale tours and museums
- Head on to the city of Hanover, known as “Germany’s Biggest Small Town”
So, in this part of the itinerary, you’ll be traveling through what is known as the Fairy Tale Roadway. That’s because so many of the Western world’s most popular stories were first collected from folk tales in this region, by the brothers Grimm.
The town of Alsfeld is a top example of this fantastic beauty. Its lovingly preserved Medieval Old Town features narrow cobbled streets and iconic half-timber buildings. The town hosts Little Red Riding Hood tours, as the local women’s traditional red hats inspired the main character’s attire in the classic tale.
If you want to stay in Alesfeld, we recommend the Hotel Villa Raab to the south of the town centre. It’s a unique building and a super-plush hotel too, with a lovely breakfast. Make sure to stop at the magical Fairy Tale House Museum, in an incredible 16th-century townhouse!
Alternatively, head on and stay the night in the large nearby city of Hanover. About 3 hours away by train or car, Hanover is often called Germany’s biggest small town because of its quiet, homely atmosphere. Don’t expect a huge nightlife scene, but there are plenty of great places to stay and lovely green parks to explore.
Day 6: Bremen
- The Fairy Tale Route ends here in this charming riverside city
- Have a glass of vintage wine with Kale and Sausage, in the oldest wine cellar in Germany
- Discover riverside nightlife in the Schlachte district, or try the cobbled alleyways and tiny shops of the Schnoor area
Bookmarking the northern end of the Fairy Tale Route, we have the city of Bremen. This historic river-trading city is also known for the fairy tale, The Town Musicians of Bremen. This folk tale, first collected by the Brothers Grimm, tells of a band of farm animals that decided to escape their mistreatment and become musicians – in this very city.
There’s a big old statue of them in the city square today. Three animals (the dog, the cat and the rooster) stand on the back of the donkey. If you touch both the front legs of the donkey, it’s supposed to bring good luck!
Bremen also has the oldest Ratskeller (wine cellar) in Germany. Founded in 1407, it holds casks of wines going back as far as 1653! Today it’s a popular and opulent place for a drink and a meal, although don’t expect to sample any 500-year-old vintages.
Also worth a visit is the beautiful tiny alleyways and shops (and we mean tiny in some cases) of the Schnoor area. Or, try the cobblestoned town square, with its weekly markets. The picture-perfect red-brick Villa Linnenschmidt, in a quiet residential area about half an hour’s walk from the city centre, is a great spot to stay.
Day 7: Hamburg
- The last stop of our trip in busy, industrial Hamburg
- Go up the ruined Church Tower of St Nicholas, once the tallest building in the world
- Enjoy awesome industrial architecture alongside riverside walks and hip nightlife districts
For the last day of our 7 day Germany itinerary, we begin with an hour and half journey from Bremen to the busy and modern port city of Hamburg. The architecture here might not have the fairy tale charm of the small towns you’ve visited, but there are some good-looking neighbourhoods here for sure.
Start your morning with at a traditional bakery, with a regional take on a cinnamon bun called a Franzbrotchen. They’re huge, gooey, and flaky, and they pair well with a strong black coffee or a local beer.
After your breakfast, take a scenic canal side walk around the harbor area. You’ll cross many impressive bridges and past imposing industrial warehouses. Plus, fans of the weird and macabre may enjoy Harry’s Harbour Bazaar – one of the weirdest and most fully-stocked curiosity shops in Europe.
Hamburg is the largest non-capital city in the EU, with just over 1.7 million people. So, all the ongoing transport links make this a great place to end our 7-day German holiday itinerary. To extend your holiday from here, hop on a train or plane just over the border and start our 7-day Austria itinerary!
So there you go – a whistle-stop tour of some of Germany’s best sights. Basically, all along the Fairy Tale Route, from the traditional south to the industrial north. You’ve seen castles and curiosity shops, sampled beers and Bavarian nightlife, and seen some of the most popular towns in the country.
We hope you find it inspiring and worthy of a trip to this historic part of the world. And of course, there’s always more to explore, so stay Earth Curious!