The 10 Best Cities and Towns to Visit in Eastern Germany

| Max Nüstedt / Unsplash
Anwesha Ray

Eastern Germany is a source of endless delight for travelers enthusiastic about history, art, and architecture. The opulent cities in this part of the country boast spectacular skylines made of ancient palaces, soaring church towers, medieval fortifications, and many great museums. Alongside these cultural treasures, it is also a paradise for nature lovers. Let’s take a look at the most interesting cities in Eastern Germany.

1. Dresden

Architectural Landmark

Dresden, Germany, at sunset
Olgi / Unsplash
Dresden is famous for its treasure of art and architecture. An architectural tour of Dresden must include Zwinger (an ensemble of stunning buildings), the neo-Renaissance Royal Palace, the Albertinum with an admirable collection of art, the imposing Cathedral, and the Frauenkirche. Dresden’s countless museums of history, art, automobiles, and more infuse a generous dose of culture into your holiday. Saxon Switzerland National Park is a very popular and easy getaway from Dresden.

2. Potsdam

Historical Landmark

Schloß Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany
Leon Seibert / Unsplash

Potsdam, dubbed the Versailles of Germany, is certainly one of the most stunning cities in all of Europe. After all, it’s hard to beat a UNESCO-listed site with over 150 magnificent pieces of architecture and 500 acres of parkland. The most famous landmark of Potsdam is easily the opulent Sanssouci Palace sitting in a sprawling park. Other sights in Potsdam worth exploring are Neues Palais, Altes Rathaus, Film Museum, Babelsberg, Nauen Gate, Brandenburger Gate, Glienicke Bridge, and Nikolaikirche.

3. Leipzig

Architectural Landmark

paul-kapischka-T0ir7bri0fc-unsplash (1)
Paul Kapischka / Unsplash

The historic city of Leipzig is rather unsung, but has the potential to emerge as one of the most exciting cities in Germany owing to its diverse attractions and vibrant cultural life. The two churches, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas, add a lot of exquisite beauty to Leipzig’s skyline. For an uninterrupted view of the city, climb to the top of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations, which is also a very important landmark in itself.

Erfurt

Erfurt is a 1,200-year-old city and the state capital of Thuringia. It was in the Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt that Martin Luther became a monk in 1505. The most famous landmark of Erfurt is the marvelous three-towered Gothic Erfurt Cathedral built in 742 AD, which houses the largest bell in the world. The green lungs of Erfurt, Egapark, is among the largest leisure parks in the country and amazingly beautiful.

Bautzen

Bautzen is located on the bank of the River Spree, and is a popular day trip option from Dresden. Bautzen oozes medieval charm and keeps travelers busy with its many attractions, including Ortenburg Castle, Alt Wasserkunst, and St Peter’s Cathedral. If you are traveling with kids, make a stop at Saurierpark Kleinwelka adventure park, which has dinosaur replicas along with climbing ropes, slides, and more.

Görlitz

Görlitz, with its stunning Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture, holds immense appeal for architecture lovers. A tour of the architectural wonders of this town would include St Peter and Paul’s Church, St. Marienthal Abbey and Fat Tower. It also has a very well-maintained historic Old Town and several nice museums.

Weimar

Weimar’s claim to fame lies in the fact that legendary personalities like Luther, Cranach, Bach, Goethe, Schiller and Nietzsche called it home at different times, and for also being the cradle of the Bauhaus Movement. Weimar is also admirably rich in culture, as evident in its series of great museums like Belvedere Palace, Goethe Museum, Bauhaus Museum, Duchess Anna Amalia Library, Castle Museum, Widow’s Palace and the UNESCO-listed Goethe and Schiller Archive, among others.

Zwickau

Zwickau is an offbeat choice, but one that just might surprise you with its unique attractions. For automobile enthusiasts, the August Horch Museum alone is worth the effort of making a stop at Zwickau. Additionally, it doesn’t really take a deep understanding of architecture to be wowed by the charismatic Gothic structure of St. Mary’s Cathedral. In Zwickau, you also get a chance to pay tribute to famous German composer and music critic Robert Schumann at the Robert Schumann Haus. Also, grab the rare chance of watching performing arts at a former gasometer.

Magdeburg

Magdeburg, lapped by the Elbe River, holds immense significance in European history, and has witnessed devastating destruction more than once in its lifetime. The most famous landmark of Magdeburg is the highest church in Eastern Germany, the 104-meter-tall (341 ft) Lutheran Cathedral of Saints Catherine and Maurice. The city is also home to Europe’s longest water bridge over water, the Magdeburg Water Bridge, and several other beautiful churches and parks.

Altenburg

Generally overlooked in favour of nearby Zwickau, Erfurt and Weimar, this charming old Thuringian town is not to be ignored, especially since you’ll be one of the only tourists around. A stroll around Grosser Teich lake is as serene as the old market square is beautiful (that is to say, overwhelmingly beautiful). Learn about the town’s playing card-making history at the castle museum, travel back in time to a perfectly preserved 1920s barbershop, and get a taste for the town’s mustard-making traditions at the incredible Senfladen Altenburg mustard shop. Most important of all, don’t miss out on the opportunity to gorge on home-baked bread, a delicious homemade butter and traditional bump cake at Rainer Strobel Backerei. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

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