The Best Cities and Towns to Visit in Southern Germany

The Danube River runs through the city of Regensburg in Germany
The Danube River runs through the city of Regensburg in Germany | © dbimages / Alamy Stock Photo
Anwesha Ray

Though the entire region, with its fascinating mishmash of folk festivals, Medieval towns untouched by time, stunning futuristic cities, glitzy ski resorts and fairy-tale castles, is worth exploring, here are the destinations in Southern Germany that you must not miss.

Rich in history and culture, Southern Germany is surrounded by the majestic Bavarian Alps and dotted with crystal-clear alpine lakes, making it one of the most stunning regions in the country.

Munich

The bustling city of Munich is among the most popular cities in Germany and has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in architecture, history, fashion, literature, music, art or traditional German cuisine, Munich will effortlessly keep you busy for days on end. It is also known for hosting super-fun festivals, the most famous of which is Oktoberfest. Munich is also a wonderful base from which to explore much of Southern Germany.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Sitting in the lap of the majestic Bavarian Alps and dotted with alpine lakes, the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a land of surreal beauty. It’s a top destination of choice for winter sports enthusiasts as well as travellers who can’t resist the spectacular mountain scenery, pure air and dollops of culture and history. The Zugspitze, the highest mountain peak in the country, looms over this little town and welcomes travellers to take either a cogwheel or a cable car ride to its zenith to enjoy uninterrupted views of mountain peaks across four countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy).

Lindau

Lindau is a dreamy city on the shore of Lake Constance. Its skyline is dominated by a 108ft (33m) lighthouse and a 20ft (6m) lion, which guard the gateway to this beautiful harbour city. As you step into Lindau old town, prepare to be enthralled by its storybook houses, web of cobbled lanes, and stunning baroque, Renaissance and gothic architecture.

Stuttgart

Stuttgart is an amazingly well-planned, beautiful city that is ready to drench you in entertainment and culture. It boasts a series of world-class art museums and galleries, two glittery automobile museums (Porsche and Mercedes Benz) and several fun museums for children. It is also home to the only large combined zoo and botanical garden in Europe, the Wilhelma.

Heidelberg

The university town of Heidelberg is a cultural and intellectual hub that has found its way into many literary works by eminent authors. The most famous landmark in town is the sprawling early-13th-century Heidelberg Palace, which houses the largest wine barrel in the world. The Heidelberg University Library is as magnificent inside as it is outside and is a treasure trove of books, including some rare ones. The old bridge over the river is the perfect spot to soak up the ambience of the vibrant town and take Instagram-worthy pictures.

Regensburg

Regensburg, a Unesco World Heritage site straddling both sides of the River Danube, has impeccably preserved over 1,000 historic monuments, many of which date back to Roman times. The historic old town meets its modern sister on the other side of the river via the Old Stone Bridge. This is the most picturesque spot in Regensburg and a perfect background for your holiday photos.

Freiburg im Breisgau

The university town of Freiburg im Breisgau is relatively unsung compared to other destinations in the famous Black Forest in Germany, but it is undeniably beautiful. While the city skyline is adorned by the Freiburg Minster, New Town Hall, St Martin’s Church, Whale House and Martin’s Gate, the roads will catch your eyes with their mosaic motifs and Bächle (narrow street-side canals).

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The little town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is almost unanimously agreed to be the prettiest in Bavaria and also one of the most captivating in the entire country. You have probably heard the term “fairy-tale town” more often than seems reasonable, but there is certainly no better way of describing Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is impossible not to fall in love with its maze of cobbled alleys, bright houses with flower-box windows, adorable shops and exemplary Christmas-ornament stores.

Füssen

Though it is often used as a base for exploring Neuschwanstein Castle, the city itself has a lot to offer. Füssen, known for its violin-making industry, perches in a setting of imposing mountains and crystal-clear lakes 3,937ft (1,200m) above sea level, along the iconic Romantic Road in Germany. Travellers invariably lose their hearts to the cobbled alleys, quaint cafes and beautiful houses in this town.

Bamberg

Bamberg is a typical Medieval German town that draws tourists with its palpable historic charm and quaintness. The town stretches over seven hills, gazing down on the River Regnitz. The old town of Bamberg is a Unesco World Heritage site and boasts beautiful architecture and loads of culture. The most famous landmarks in Bamberg include the Old Town Hall, Bamberg Cathedral, Seehof Palace, Altenburg and Little Venice (a picturesque cluster of colourful half-timbered houses by the river).

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