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Being one of Europe’s largest countries based on both population and area, the two most enticing cities of Germany, namely, Berlin and Munich, certainly stand in the limelight. However, I suggest you get off the beaten tourist track and explore Germany beyond its hub of tourism. I will show you the 10 most underrated cities in Germany and tell you, why you should add them to your travel bucket list!
The German cities I chose are a treasure trove of some of the most stunning historic towns and quaint villages and districts. Its ancient buildings, cathedrals, castles, and infinite beauty are all worth admiring. By the way, in case you didn’t know, I wrote a bunch of other posts where I explore underrated cities in Italy, the UK, the Balkans, the United States, and many more countries.
But now, moving further, here is my take on the top 10 underrated cities in Germany that your next travel planning guide should consist of.
Known as one of Europe’s oldest and most well-preserved towns, the historic and majestic Bavarian metropolis of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a must-go-to town in Germany. Within the city lies the 13th-century town hall, the 14th-century Assembly Hall with old-fashioned clocks and whirring figures, and many old-styled churches.
Its slender stoned pathways and half-wooded houses describe Rothenburg’s incredible history. One of the must-visit attractions I recommend you to visit in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is Plönlein. Unquestionably, the picture-perfect site in the beautiful town of Rothenburg seems like you have entered a fairy-like place.
Plönlein translates to “Little Square” and is just a mere intersection adjacent to the slender, half-forested building that separates the two streets. One of the streets takes you through Siebers Towers and the other slants downwards to Kobolzeller. These two towers go all the way to the beginning of the 13th century.
Known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bamberg has a magnificently conserved ancient downtown that lies in the Upper Franconia region of Bavaria. It is blessed with a multitude of old buildings and the seven famous hills, each of which is crested with majestic churches, serve as lovely backdrops during walking excursions.
Among the several trails and pathways that Bamberg boasts, the Bamberg River Path is the most famous. The St. Michael’s Monastery or Kloster St. Michael is one of the seven church-crested hills of Bamberg that you must check out.Its roots can be traced back to 1015, highlighting some of the most impressive structures. This incredible Baroque edifice holds the 12th-century St. Michael’s Church with divine ceiling artworks of healing herbs. You can also spot the novel abbey structures that were constructed during the timeframe of 1696-1702.
Do not forget to check the enticing vistas from the church’s terrace. The ancient Baroque also houses a lovely, attached garden adorned with pavilions and fountains. It can be accessed through the Benedictine Path.
Surely you will not find a more serene setting in Germany than Cochem’s cozy town cushioned amidst the towering, vine-clad hills of Moselle Valley. It is the district of half-forested houses, busy streets, and old gates encompassing the river under the alluring Reichsburg castle.
This region comprises more than a dozen undiscovered gems that are begging to be explored. The Geierlay Suspension Bridge is an excellent point of interest for thrill and adventure seekers who are not afraid of heights. The initial point of contact is the Mörsdorf visitor center, which comprises a restaurant, an information terminal, and many public amenities.The romantic town of Beilstein is bordered by the two streams that meander into the Moselle from Hunsrück Heights. A trip down the slender streets and nooks of Beilstein instantly gives you an idea of why it has been observed in several movies as a significant film set.
The historic town previously guarded by Moselle’s wall from the time of 1310 provides an in-depth insight into its old edifices. The scenic marketplace from 1322 that comprises the ex-tithe house, St. Christophorus’ parish church, and the 18th-century regal winery are all must-see attractions. Other famous locations to check out during your stay in Cochem are Schlossberg and Silberberg.
The historic town of Würzburg is situated in a mesmerizing spot in the central valley. High atop the river, you can spot the ancient Marienberg fortress that dominates the scene. It is constructed on the location of a former Bronze Age fortress and is the city’s main tourist attraction, one of the reasons why Würzburg is one of the most underrated cities in Germany.
The massive bombing of World War II wiped out more than 90% of the Old Town, but it has been recreated with utmost effort. In recent times, you will find many instances of modern and old-fashioned structures, particularly in Marktplatz.
Another remarkable sight in Würzburg is the Residence, which is situated in the capacious Residenzplatz. This grandiose palace is one of Germany’s most exceptional Baroque constructions built between 1720 and 1744.
Its noteworthy features include a gigantic and mind-blowing stairway hall with a massive mural art by Tiepolo. Visitors are exposed to almost forty rooms, including the extravagantly adorned Imperial Hall, the White Hall, the Hall of Mirrors, the Rococo stucco works, and the brilliant Court Church.
The uplifting hilly panoramas and distinctive cultural sites of Rathen go hand in hand together. The Rathen Open-Air Stage brings the city to life during evening hours. This natural theatre draws visitors to relish lively theatrical and music shows amidst the mesmerizing Bastei bridge backdrop.
Moreover, tourists can explore the spots encompassing Rathen in some fascinating ways. This includes climbing, going paddle boating and gondola riding on River Elbe, or bike riding around the Elbe cycling pathway.
But the main reason why Rathen is among the most underrated cities in Germany is Saxon Switzerland, a National Park that provides countless ways to relish your holiday. At Saxon Switzerland, rock climbers can observe above 700 summits. Contrariwise, people who are afraid of heights can stay on the ground and explore the 400 km square area with steep hiking trails, cycling routes, and pathways.
The best way for frequently traveling holidaymakers to explore the dreamy Bastei bridge is via Rathen through the flagged climbing trails. The enchanting vistas of this breathtaking formation of rock in the center of Saxon Switzerland National Park are worth climbing up the ascent.
Trier’s roots can be traced back to somewhat 16,000 years back, making it one of Germany’s oldest towns. It is snuggled in a basin in the most alluring Moselle Valley. Moreover, it has stood as a crucial commercial and trading point for hundreds of years. This fact can be proved by the dozens of Roman relics scattered here, most commendable the magnificent Porta Nigra.
The colossal Porta Nigra is a reinforced gate within the Roman town walls that rules the northern entry point to Trier’s ancient town. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a point of reference amongst locals and was formerly known as Black Gate in English.
It originated during the end of the 2nd century and eventually transformed into a church. A sixty-minute guided tour to marvel at the beautiful structure of Porta Nigra should be included in your travel plans to Germany.
Not far from the town of Koblenz lies the medieval Eltz Castle, standing untouched by wars. The Eltz Castle deserves to be seen since it has been looked after by the same family even today ever since it was constructed on the large rock in the middle of a valley.
Most classic fixtures and fittings from that era are still intact and are worth marveling at. Even better, you get a chance to witness an armory and a treasury that displays world-famous artworks made of silver and gold.
Aachen is an essential and historic city in Germany near the Belgian and Dutch borders. It is particularly famous for the Aachen Cathedral which is unquestionably one of the oldest buildings and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The enthralling cathedral comprises a central octagon that was established in AD 796. The magnificent Roman-Catholic basilica houses thousands of distinctive remnants dating years back.
The main highlight of the Aachen Cathedral is the marble Throne of Charlemagne, a sparkling casket with his remains, and Frederick I Barbarossa’s candelabrum. Moreover, you can find several bronze statues and sculptures and brilliant German-fashioned, post-war windows that can be observed during guided tours.
Konstanz is another very famous destination I would like to include in the list of the most underrated cities in Germany. Bordered by the enticing Lake Constance, Konstanz is home to some of the most incredible ancient remains, old museums, and full of picture-perfect things to explore.
The church’s remaining infrastructure comprises magnificent murals, wood carvings, a marble and gold chancel, and two colossal organs. Presently, the striking interior and the sightseeing platform above the tower remain to be Konstanz’s most hyped tourist attractions.
Situated an hour’s ride away from the thriving city of Frankfurt is Fulda, a rather serene, historic place and also one of the most underrated cities in Germany. Fulda does not fall short of places to see. You are bound to be mesmerized by its appeal of breathtaking architecture, the twin-towered cathedral, palaces, and churches.
Fulda also contains an abundance of tourist spots for children so that they do not get bored. Out of the many churches that Fulda provides, the almost 1200-year-old St. Michael’s Church and the Fulda Cathedral remain our top choice.
Completed in 1712, the Fulda Cathedral is the city’s most iconic landmark and the most significant baroque church in the state of Hesse. Admire the two bell towers, the obelisks, and the details of the facade from the large square outside the building, enter the cathedral to marvel at the beautiful interior, and visit the Dommuseum to learn more about the history of the cathedral.
Another sight to see in Fulda is St. Michael’s Church, Germany’s most ancient Holy Mausoleum church which was constructed in 822. To this date, tourists and locals can view the original tomb and dome, even though the remaining Carolingian (Pre-Romanesque) designed church was restored and broadened later.
Germany is a country that is blessed with amazing cities and some of the most astonishing historical edifices. As a logical consequence, some places stay below the radar of the general public.
Through this guide to the 10 most underrated gems of Germany, we hoped to help you get a gist of some of the most awe-inspiring spots that surely deserve more appreciation. But be sure that this list could have easily been extended to 30 or even 40 interesting places.
By the way, if you would like to find more underrated places around the world, feel free to check my other blog posts. There you can find the most underrated cities in Italy, the UK, the Balkans, the United States, and many more countries!
Are you now eager to explore these or other places in Germany yourself? If so, feel free to check flights, hotels, rental cars, tours, and more right here on our website. With every booking you complete by using one of our links, we donate 50% of each commission to charity. This way you will enjoy your trip and do something good at the same time!
Have you been to any of these locations or do you have other German cities in mind that deserve more attention? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!