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Germany

Berlin is a city that is popular on most “euro trip” itineraries, which is why it might be a bit surprising to hear that I just visited the German capital for the first time this past August. A city full of grit and history, it has been on my radar forever. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get there, but I am glad I did because as a more immature traveller I am not sure I would have really appreciated it. I always knew I would like Berlin, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. Berlin is incredibly unique – like no other city in the world – which means that there are so so many unusual things to do in Berlin. And while we only scratched the surface of things to do during our three days in Berlin, it just means I have a really good excuse to go back.

If you only have three days in Berlin like us and are looking to eat and see the city beyond touristy spots like Checkpoint Charlie, this list of unusual things to do in Berlin will help you dive a bit deeper in this quirky city.

a few quick facts about berlin:

language | german
currency | euro
population | 3.76 million
diversity | over 190 nationalities are represented in berlin
size | 891.8 km² (that's 9 times the size of paris!)

15 unusual things to do in Berlin

Pay your respects at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Pay your respects to the murdered Jews of Europe at this important monument.

Constructed from 2003-2004, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a massive  19,000 square metre memorial. It is located on a piece of land where part of the Berlin wall used to stand right in the centre of Mitte, Berlin. When choosing the location and size, it was important for the city that the memorial be noticeable – this is not a part of history the German’s wanted to hide. So, it sits in the city centre as a constant reminder of the past.

The artist never revealed the meaning behind the monument, as he wanted to leave it up to interpretation of visitors. We heard a few different interpretations while we were in Berlin, however I’ll let you to visit and reflect on the meaning behind the design of the memorial.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Visit the world's Longest open air gallery: East Side Gallery

While most of the former Berlin wall was torn down, a portion of the wall still remains to be visited. Alongside this portion of the wall you’ll find an urban art project filled with paintings and murals. What used to be a divisive barrier between East and West Berlin is now the longest open-air art gallery in the world. 1.3 kilometres to be exact along the east side of the wall.

It is also one of the most popular tourists spots in the city. But still, it can’t be missed.

Scroll through at a few of my favourite shots:

Take a historical Berlin bike tour

Think you know a lot about Berlin? Think again…

If you want to check off a few of the “must sees” in Berlin and hear stories about Berlin’s past of war and communism, the best way to do this is on a Berlin bike tour.

Berlin is a huge city and it would be almost impossible to see everything you would want to on a walking tour. That’s why a bike tour is the way to go! Stop by tourist favourites like Brandenburger Tor, Museum island, and the parking lot where Hilter’s bunker used to be. Hear about the untold stories of Berlin’s past, including lots of communism tales. 

We did this tour with Berlin on Bike and I could not recommend it enough. The 3.5 hours “Highlights Bike Tour – Berlin’s Best” was the highlight of our time in Berlin. We left the tour in awe of the legacy of Berlin, and with a better understanding of why the city is the way it is – and what makes quirky Berlin unlike any other city in the world.

Snap a Quick Photo of Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) ... And then move on

Is it touristy? Yep! Will you need to be on the look out for giant stuffed animals trying guilt you into taking photos with them? Mhmm.

But it’s also the most iconic symbol of Berlin and has been a part of many historical moments in the city, including being closed in connection to the Berlin wall. So go ahead – don’t be ashamed to have your touristy moment under the gate.

On the note of touristy, if you’re looking for things to skip in Berlin – skip Checkpoint Charlie. Sure it is a historically relevant spot, but the attraction has been recreated, is mega-touristy, and is surrounded by fast food restaurants. Plus, you have to pay to take photos with actors dressed up as soldiers…

Brandenburger Tor
Bar-Hop at the best bars in Kreuzberg

It’s no secret that Berlin is known for its nightlife. I am not much of a nightlife-seeker personally (I’m more of a “in bed by 10pm” kinda person). Even still, given the global disruptions in August 2020, all night clubs were closed.

However, the Berlin nightlife scene is more than its famous nightclubs. I really appreciated the cosy hole-in-the-wall bars and speakeasy cocktail scene in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Here’s a few of my favourite spots!

Café Luzia: In the heart of Kreuzberg, this minimalist hipster Berlin bar was a great spot for a beer or cocktail. They often have live music, too.

Das Hotel Bar: Around the corner from the popular Paul-Lincke-Ufer Street, this was perhaps my favourite Kreuzberg bar. In fact, we loved it so much we went back two nights in a row to sit at one of the tiny sidewalk-side tables. Inside, you’ll find a small living room style bar area with a great drink menu.

Schwarze Traube: Looking for a cocktail bar in Kreuzberg? This low key speakeasy is known around the city for its outstanding cocktails. The menu changes every day, and the bartender will explain in details the daily options – which come served in the most perfectly paired antique glasses to round out the whole experience.

Santa Maria Berlin
Das Hotel Berlin
Berlin Food Guide: Experience Berlin’s trendy food scene

On the tail end of our trip through Bavaria, we were so over Germany food. Luckily, Berlin set us up to end our trip on a high note culinary-wise.

Choosing the best restaurants to visit in Berlin in only three days is a tough task. Especially since there are loads and load – and I mean LOADS – of amazing food options. And while donar kebab from a hole-in-the-wall shop may be the most “popular dish” in the city, Berlin is a in reality a city made for foodies.

Which meant, I was a happy girl. Here’s my mini Berlin food guide:

Mogg: Located in a former predominatly Jewish neighbourhood, Spandauer Vorstadt, Mogg is a must-visit. This NYC Jewish Deli-inspired joint is your spot for traditional matzah ball soup, massive pastrami sandwiches, and authentic New York-style cheesecake. Located in a historical brick building, this space used to be a Jewish girls school. Make sure you make a reservation at this tiny spot to guarantee a table.

Santa Maria: Located in Kreuzberg, this is a popular local spot for Mexican-style tacos and some insanely good margaritas. You’ll probably see a long queue out front but don’t be alarmed. The line moves pretty quick, so give them your name and head across the street to Luzia Cafe for a drink while you wait.

Ilsebill: We stumbled across Ilsebill while we were wandering the Kollwitzkiez area looking for a beer garden that suggested to us after a long bike tour in the sun. We were so starving and the beer, burgers, and cute interior looked too good to pass by. So, I did a quick search to make sure the reviews looked ok and we popped in. I opted for the veggie burger, and paired with an ice cold beer on the patio it was the perfect lunch spot in Berlin.

Kulturbrauerei: Around the corner from Ilsebill, you’ll find this former brewery turned arts space with restaurants, patios, and other exhibits. It’s a great spot to grab lunch in the sun.

Zola: This popular Kreuzberg pizza restaurant was another stumble-upon. With a range of pizzas options, topped with tons of unique ingredients, this is a great spot to go to if you’re into trendy pizzas.

Eismanufactuktur: Looking for the best ice cream in Berlin? I’m convinced that this Graefekiez ice cream shop is it. They have a huge range of delicious vegan ice cream flavours (and non-vegan, too). Take one to go and walk around the Graefekiez neighbourhood. This area ended up being one of my absolute favourites in Berlin. (Tip: Take a look at the location on my map below, because there are a few spots with similar names in Berlin).

A Never Ever Ending Love Story: Looking for the best brunch in Berlin? I loved this spot. I can especially recommend their chai latte (with oat milk), Mexican Breakfast Bowl, and pancakes.

NENI Berlin: Full disclosure, we didn’t eat here. However, we did eat the location in Munich (with an almost-identical menu) and it was great. Most of the dishes are Middle Eastern and Israeli-inspired. And as a bonus, the restaurant is located at the top of Bikini Berlin with optional outdoor seating and incredible views of the city.

Shown above: Reuben sandwich at Mogg; ice cream at Eismanufakturer; brunch at A Never Ever Ending Love Story: interior at Santa Maria: interior at Ilsebill: interior at Mogg
Snap a photo at one of the most instagrammable Places in Berlin (and then grab dinner!)

Adding to my Berlin food guide, House of Small Wonder deserves its own spot because not only is it an amazing restaurant, but it also one of the most instagrammable spots in Berlin.

Tourists and locals alike flock to the spiral staircase to snap photos. So you’d think that the restaurant must be a tourist trap right? Wrong!

The House of Small Wonder menu offers a number of unique Asian-influenced dishes. The owners used to work in the NYC restaurant scene and brought their innovative food concepts to Berlin.

Make sure you make a reservation here for lunch or dinner – it’s very popular.

House of Small Wonder Berlin
House of Small Wonder Berlin
Admire the best berlin street art at RAW Berlin and Urban Spree Berlin

RAW Berlin and Urban Spree Berlin are located right next to each other in what was formerly East Berlin. This is where you’ll find some of the best Berlin street art.

RAW Berlin is a formal industrial site, used throughout the late 1800s and through the 1900s. Many of the historical industrial buildings remain, and you can see the old train tracks running through the property.

Today, RAW Berlin is a cultural hub full of street art, music venues, galleries, restaurants, clubs, and bars. While it is known to be a pretty wild party scene in the evenings, it is a really fun place to roam and admire the pure grittiness of Berlin.

Next door to RAW, you’ll find Urban Spree. Urban spree is a similar open space hosting concerts, restaurants, art exhibits, and a biergarten. Similar to RAW, it is known to be a popular nightlife attraction in the evening, but during the day you can find lots of fun exhibits or visit the Urban Spree Galerie to admire some urban art.

Scroll through a few of my favourite Berlin street art shots:

Visit the best photoautomat Berlin locations to snap a photo

These vintage photobooths, called Photoautomats, are scattered all over the city. They are a fun little throwback and the perfect spot to get a photo souvenir from Berlin.

If you’re looking for the best Photoautomat Berlin locations, you’ll find several of them scattered around Kruzberg. Here’s the Photoautomat Berlin locations of a few of my favourite ones:

Kulturbrauerei Photoautomat: This one is bright pink and is located in the Frannz Biergarten.

RAW Berlin Photoautomat: You’ll actually find two photobooths in RAW Berlin. One outside “Pizza Dealer” at the entrance of RAW Berlin. And the other one is inside RAW Berlin, out front of Cassiopeia.

Urban Spree Photoautomat: This double photobooth is close to the entrance of Urban Spree along Waschaurer Street.

Kottbusser Tor Photoautomat: This one is located next to Supermarket Kaisers at the popular Kottbusser Tor station (which you will likely get off it when visiting Kreuzberg).

Visit the iconic Reischtag Dome

The Reischtag Dome offers an incredible 360-degree-view of surrounding Berlin. It sits atop the Resichtag and you can see the parliament hall below.

I was so eager to visit the Reischtag Dome, but was so sad to find out that the tickets were sold out. I guess it just gives me a great excuse to get back to Berlin soon (not that I needed one).

So, my biggest tip for this hotspot: Make sure you get your Resichtag Dome tickets way ahead of time.

Learn about berlin's history at the Berlin Wall memorial

The Berlin Wall Memorial shows a section of the Berlin wall in its original construction. You aren’t totally able to grasp the concept of this wall, and how it was constructed, until you visit this memorial. Here, you can see the inner and outer wall, as well the construction of mounts, spikes, and electrical fences between them that made it nearly impossible for people to escape East Berlin.

If you take a tour, like the Berlin on Bike one I recommended, they will likely take you hear and explain this in depth. Either way, it’s worth a visit.

Visit Berlin’s most beautiful book store: Umbras Kuriositatenkabinett

Direct translation: Umbras Cabinet of Curiosities.

And I truly don’t think I have ever come across a shop more perfectly named.

This spot was a complete stumble upon in the Graefekiez neighbourhood and I’m so excited to share this secret spot with you! If you’re a fan of books, or book stores, Umbras Kuriositatenkabinett has books stacked floor to ceiling. The books were almost exclusively in German, but that doesn’t take away from just how cool this space was.

Stay at the coolest Hotel in Berlin – with views of the Berlin Zoo

If you’re wondering where to stay in Berlin, I have the best recommendation: 25hours Bikini Berlin! This was one of my favourite hotels, ever. Our hotel room even had a hammock overlooking the Berlin zoo.

I wrote a blog post all about this hotel. Check it out here.

Visit Berlin’s Quirkiest Neighbourhoods: Kreuzberg and Graefekiez (the ultimate Berlin Photography Spots!)

If you’re looking for the best neighbourhoods in Berlin to roam, Kreuzberg and Graefekiez are located right next to each other and are a great spot to do this.

Kreuzberg is Berlin’s hipster haven, full of vintage clothing shops, antique stores, cafes, bars, restaurants – and so much more. It’s gritty and artsy and weird and so quintessentially Berlin in every way. Roam around long enough and you’re bound to come home with a cheap and unnecessary trinkets that you just “had to have.”

Technically part of the Kreuzberg neighbourhood, you’ll find Graefekiez on the south side of the Landwehr canal. A bit more polished and posh, but really cool in a totally different way. This was my favourite neighbourhood in Berlin and the one I would want to live in (anyone else do this when they are travelling, or just me??). It’s filled with unique sustainability-minded shops, florists, cafes, and restaurants.

Berlin was an urban photographer’s dream! I had so much fun wandering the streets and snapping photos. Scroll through this gallery for some of my favourite Berlin photography shots from these two neighbourhoods:

Grab a bite to eat at Markthalle Neun Erste (Market Hall Nine)

You’ll find tons of food vendors in this historical 120-year-old Kreuzberg Markthalle Neun. This is a great spot to grab a quick lunch or snack, or an afternoon coffee. Keep in mind when planning your visit that the market is closed on Sundays.

Markthalle Neun Berlin flower shop
Markthalle Neun Berlin

Need help finding these unusual things to do in Berlin? Here's a map!

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What do you think about when you first think of Germany? Before I first visited Bavaria in 2015, the stereotypical 1-litre steins of beer, magical castles, and men wearing lederhosen first came to mind (and the history, of course). And while my perception of Bavaria has evolved quite a bit after returning for the second time on my recent Bavaria Germany road trip, these three things – and what they represent in Bavarian tradition and culture – are still some of the things I still love most about Bavaria, Germany.

After spending several weeks in this area over the past five years, I have fallen hard for the deep-rooted culture, traditions, and beauty of this region. If you’re looking for quintessential Germany, Bavaria is where you want to go. And I’m sharing all my favourite things to do in Bavaria, and some of the fun things I learned about this region, in this comprehensive Bavaria Germany road trip itinerary. Let’s go!

Bamberg Germany town hall
Nuremberg Germany rooftops

recommended bavaria germany road trip itinerary

5-7 days | 5 destinations

Munich: 2-3 days
Neuschwanstein Castle: 1-2 days
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: half day
Nuremberg: 1 day
Bamberg: half day

Munich, Germany

First up on your Bavaria Germany road trip is Munich, a place with generations-old culture and lots of history. Many people visit Munich for Oktoberfest, but the city is so much more than this iconic festival and is a must-visit for history buffs and fans of unique cultural experiences.

I always assumed that lederhosen-clad men and steins of beer were more of an Oktoberfest tradition, but truthfully, you can find this walking stereotype wandering around Munich on a Monday afternoon. So you can definitely visit outside of Oktoberfest and get to experience true Bavarian culture, which is deeply engrained in Munich.

The best time to visit Munich: Munich is the perfect summer city, when the temperatures are warm and the city is bustling. But, if you’re a fan of Christmas markets, the Bavaria region is also home to some of Germany’s famous Christmas markets, and easily some of best Christmas markets in Europe.

How many days in Munich? For a first time visit, I would recommend three days in Munich. However, if you’re schedule is a bit tight, you can see a lot in two days.

things to do in munich

Take a history tour

Munich is a city filled with history and stories. Many of these stories would be impossible to uncover if you toured the city on your own. Because it was such a history-rich city, we knew it was important to enlist the experts. We signed up for two different tours with Sandeman’s Walking Tours Munich and we were so happy we did. If you’re looking for free things to do in Munich, this is a great option!

Free Munich Walking Tour: This free walking tour of Munich is the best Munich walking tour to get to know the highlights of the city. You’ll spend 2.5 hours learning about different historical buildings, hearing their stories, and learning all about Munich’s history. If you’re only going to do one tour, this one is the one to do. And, it’s a tips-based tour, which means you pay what you think the tour is worth.

Munich Third Reich Tour: If you’re interested in learning about Nazi history in Munich, this is the tour to take. On this 3 hour tour, you will stand directly in some of the most historical spots of this era, hear stories of the rise of National Socialism and Nazi reign, and visit memorial sites. Tour cost is 15 euros.

the best munich beer garden in Munich

Beer halls and beer gardens are synonymous with Munich. Here you’ll find both tourists in locals hanging out, drinking steins, and eating pretzels and bratwurst. You’re sure to see local friend groups visiting in their traditional clothing, and it is truly the best place to immerse yourself in the Bavarian beer culture.

Fun Fact: All local German beers are required to follow the “Bavarian purity law,” which was enacted in 1516.  This laws means that you can only use four ingredients – barley, hops, yeast, and water – to brew beer. As a result, all beers are to be brewed to the same standard, so you’re going to find almost identical beers at each beer garden. However, each beer garden or hall has their own history and unique atmosphere that makes them special so I’d definitely visit more than just one!

What kind of beer will you find at a Munich beer garden? At each beer garden or hall, you’ll typically have a choice of two or three types of German beer: Helles (a lager), Radler (also known as a shandy), and maybe a Weissbier (wheat beer). Some will also serve a Dunkel, which is a dark Garman lager.

You’ll find them scattered all over the city, but here’s a few of the best:

  • Augustiner-Keller Beer Garden: My personal favourite, this central spot seats over 5000 visitors. Situated in a massive green space lined with picnic tables in the middle of the city, this spot is so much fun in the evenings for a massive German pretzel and Augustiner beer.
  • Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden: This beer garden in the English Gardens is a favourite with tourists and students, and is the perfect spot to stop for a beer on a hot summer day which exploring the park. With seats for over 7000, this is Munich’s second-largest beer garden.
  • Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall: A traditional beer hall with an outdoor garden space, Hofbräuhaus is the most famous beer hall in Munich – and probably in the entire world. Founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, it has a rich history in Bavarian beer culture and has been home to many historical events over many centuries, including hosting Hitler’s first speech (and many subsequent speeches).

In true Bavarian tradition, opt for a 1-litre stein of Helles beer, the most common German beer. If you are looking for something a bit lighter, a Radler blends lemonade and beer.

Take a Dachau Concentration Camp Tour

If you’re looking for a very sobering history experience, a visit to Dachau Concentration Camp is a way to pay your respects to the victims of Nazi Germany. While I think it is very difficult to put this experience into words, because it is something that should be experienced, I can recommend you great tour company to make the most of this experience.

In Their Shoes Dachau Memorial Tours is one of the best historical tours I have ever been on. Tour guide and owner James came to Munich because of his interest in WWII history, and knows so much about Dachau history, the people involved, and many other untold stories. He is truly one of the best tour guides I have ever had.

From my experiences visiting both Dachau and Auschwitz, I can say that while visiting a concentration camp memorial is a difficult experience (and certainly not for everyone), they are best visited with a knowledgeable and respectful tour guide. I can’t recommend James’ tour enough if you are planning to visit Dachau Concentration Camp.

Visit the Englischer Garten (English Gardens Munich)

Located in the centre of Munich, Englischer Garten (or English Gardens) is a great place for a walk or bike ride through the city. The park is huge – 3.75 square kilometres to be exact, which makes it bigger than Central Park! The gardens are beautiful, and here you can also stop at the Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden for an afternoon beer, which I mentioned above. 

In the summer months, you can’t miss the Munich surfers who take their boards out for a ride in the Eisbach River. At the spot where the river begins near Haus der Kunst, you can find large crowds admiring and cheering on the surfers of Munich.

Fancy taking a dip on a hot day? You can go for a swim in Munich along the Eisbach River. You’ll notice that the locals who aren’t keen on surfing will often choose to hop in and float down the river – and you can do this too!

English Garden surfers in Munich
marienplatz

Marienplatz is home to Munich’s “New Town Hall,” Neues Rathaus, which is arguably the most iconic building Munich. A stop by this spot is a must to marvel in the stunning neo-Gothic building. The building was spared from destruction during WWII because it was used as a orientation landmark in the centre of the city.

The best time to visit Marienplatz is at 11:00 am or 12:00 pm all year round, or at 5:00 pm between March and October only, when the iconic Glockenspiel loudly chimes while small figurines dance telling a story of Munich’s history. This daily tradition dates back to 1908!

Marienplatz Munich
Marienplatz Munich
Climb to the top of St. Peter's Church Tower Munich

Looking for the best views of Munich? Climb to the top of St. Peter’s Church and you’ll be greeted by a never-ending sea of orange rooftops. 

St. Peter’s Church Munich Cost: The church itself is free to visit, but it costs 2 euros to climb to the top of St. Peter’s Church Tower.

Shop Around at Viktualienmarkt

Located in the old town centre, Viktualienmarkt (Victuals Market) is one of my favourite spots in Munich. Here you’ll find many vendors set up selling food and other local goods. It’s a great place to grab lunch or pick up souvenirs. There’s also a popular beer garden located in the centre of the market.

Viktualienmarkt Hours: Open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (closed on Sundays).

Viktualienmarkt Munich
Viktualienmarkt Munich
Marvel at Asam Church

I can’t recommend Asam Church in Munich enough! This over-the-top baroque style church is arguably the most unique church I have ever seen. Built in the mid-18th century the interior of the church is small, but the details and quirks of the design will blow you away. 

Asam Church Munich
Asam Church Munich
Visit the Munich Residenz

A former royal palace, the Munich Residenz is a must see. It is home to an impressive museum, and the interior is extravagantly beautiful. If you don’t feel like visiting the interior, it is at least worth stopping by the palace grounds. the courtyard and gardens are stunning.

Where to stay in Munich?

I’ve stayed at two different properties in Munich – both budget-friendly and a bit of a splurge – and would highly recommend both of them. The are both located right around the corner from each other near the Munich central station, and are within close walking and biking distance from most main attractions.

Best Hostel in Munich: Wombat’s City Hostel Munich is honestly one of my favourite hostels, ever. It is modern, has a great onsite bar, and many activities scheduled activities for making friends with other travellers. I really recommend attending their beer hall tour. It was such a highlight of our time in Munich.

Best Hotel in Munich: I recently stayed at 25hours Hotel Munich The Royal Bavarian and it blew me away. I loved it so much I wrote a detailed blog post about the property. You can check it out here!

Neuschwanstein Castle

Next on this Bavaria Germany road trip, head from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle.

A visit to the famed fairy tale castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle is a must. This place is seriously magical and belongs on every Germany itinerary. Neuschwanstein Castle is often typically a day trip from Munich, but I would recommend staying for at least one night if you have the time. Not only is the town of Füssen charming, but the alps region surrounding the castle is stunning.

I wrote all my tips for visiting Neuschwanstein in this Bavarian Alps Guide. Check it out!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

From Neuschwanstein Castle by car, you can head up the famed Romantic Road toward the magical town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Along the Romantic Road, you’re bound to find may stop offs en route. And it is a beautiful drive.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is probably the most popular Bavarian town. Sure, it’s a bit touristy. But even still, you cannot miss this spot in Bavaria. Upon arrival, you’ll probably find it hard to believe that this town with its narrow streets and dozens of Christmas shops is real. Because it truly looks like a movie set. 

On the topic of movies, I was SUPER excited to visit this town because this famed town was one of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang locations – which was one of my favourite childhood movies! If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize these iconic narrow streets from the terrifying scene when the kidnapper is searching for the children while they hid in the basement of an old house.

How much time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber? This town is quite small, and can be visited in a half day.

things to do in rothenburg ob der tauber

Truly the best thing to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is just wander. Ideally, early in the day is best. We arrived around 9:00 am and had the streets to ourselves. Here’s a few spots that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Plönlein: Want to get that famed Rothenburg Instagram photo where the road forks? This is your spot!
  • Town walls: The old town walls cover four kilometres around the town and offer many stunning lookout points.
  • Rathaus: Also known as the Rothenburg Town Hall, Rathaus is a stunning Baroque-style building located in Marktplatz.
  • Burggarten: The gardens are beautiful and here you’ll find a lookout point with stunning views of the valley that sits below the town.
  • Go Christmas shopping: Rothenburg is home to a huge assortment of Christmas stores selling ornaments and other decorations. The most famous is Kathe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Shop.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany

Nuremberg

From Rothenburg ob der Tauber, head to the next stop on your Bavaria Germany road trip: Nuremberg. There are plenty of things to do in Nuremberg, and many hotel options, so I’d recommend spending a night here. Nuremberg is a famous tourism spot for history enthusiasts interested in WWII, but it is also home to a super charming old town, and is filled with history. In fact, the city was once regarded as the unofficial capital of The Holy Roman Empire.

While one day in Nuremberg is typically enough, if you find yourself wanting to day many things on my list, you may want to allocate more than a day to Nuremberg.

things to do in Nuremberg

Nuremberg is so much more than just WWII history. Wondering what to do in Nuremburg? I’ve got you covered:

  • Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds: One of the most popular spots in Nuremburg, this is something you shouldn’t miss. Early National Socialist rallies took place in Nuremberg and is a good place to go to learn more about the Nazi’s rise to power in Bavaria.
  • Nuremberg Trials Museum: This famous location – specifically Courtroom 600 – was used to convict high-profile Nazi’s in the late 1940s. On the top floor of the building you will find the museum, which details the trials and convictions. Then, you can head down to Courtroom 600. Keep in mind this is an operating courtroom and on some days, it may not be possible to visit the room itself, but you can look through the windows
  • Kaiserburg: Nuremberg’s castle sits atop of Nuremberg Altstadt (Old Town) and dates back to the 14th century. While it admittedly wasn’t the most beautiful castle I saw in Germany, it is full of history and offers lovely panoramic views of the city.
  • Visit the many Nuremburg churches: I’d recommend St. Sebaldus Church and St. Lorenz Church.
  • Albrecht Dürer’s House tour: Take a tour of the half-timbered home previously owned by Germany’s most famous painter, Albrecht Dürer.
  • Wander the Nuremberg Altstadt: The old town of Nuremburg is beautiful, so make sure you take some time to just wander the canals and admire the old architecture.
  • Visit a beer garden: If you’re looking for a beer garden in Nuremberg, Restauration Kopernikus Biergarten is a great option!
  • Orrrr, a wine bar: If you’re feeling a bit tired of beer, Il Disperato Prosciutteria Weinbar was a favourite spot of mine and they served the most delicious charcuterie platters.
Nuremberg, Germany
Nuremberg, Germany

where to stay in nuremberg

I’ve stayed at two different properties in Nuremberg that I can recommend and both are fairly budget friendly. Both are located within or near the Altstadt and Central Station, and are within waking distance from many attractions.

Best Hostel in Munich: Five Reasons Hostel is a low key and clean hostel. Don’t expect a party vibe here, but the facilities were practical, the location is great within the old town walls, and it is very affordable.

Best Hotel in Munich: I recently stayed at Park Inn by Radisson Nürnberg and was the perfect spot for a short stay in Nuremberg. It’s located right outside the old town walls, offers parking, and the rooms were spacious and clean.

Bamberg

Let me just start off by saying that out of all the small Bavarian towns, Bamberg just may be my favourite. It’s incredibly charming, full of terraces and patios and canals, and is home to the famous Bamberg smoked beer. If you have to choose one town, I would (perhaps a bit controversially), tell you to visit Bamberg.

If you’re wondering how long to stay in Bamberg, I’d say a half day is enough. Here’s some tips of things to do and some photos to inspire you!

Bamberg Germany

things to do in bamberg

  • Try Bamberg’s famous smoked beer: Schlenkerla Smokebeer is a historic smoked beer brewery in Bamberg dating back to the 1400s where the beer is brewed according to centuries old traditions involving open fire that gives it the smokey taste, It is brewed in 600-year-old-cellars and Schlenkerla is one of only two breweries left in the world making beer in this traditional way. While the beer was very smokey and just not really my thing, it was super cool to try.
  • Bamberg Cathedral: Founded in the 11th century during The Holy Roman Empire rule, this church is truly stunning. Inside you can visit the tomb of Henry II and his wife, who were buried in a tomb that took 14 years to carve.
  • Altes Rathus: Perhaps the most easily recognized building in Bamberg, this fresco-covered “Bamberg town hall” building sits over one of Bamberg’s canals. It dates back to the 1300s and is Bamberg’s most popular building for a reason – it is beautiful!
  • Neue Residenz: This palace sits on top of the city, and has beautiful gardens (called Rosengarten). The grounds of the palace also offer the best view of Bamberg’s orange-roofed skyline.
  • Try some unique ice cream flavours: We loved the unique ice cream flavours at Cafe Riffelmacher, like rose, orange basil, and cucumber. Just don’t make the mistake we made and take your ice cream to go. They charge a sitting fee and we were shocked when we got the bill.
  • And when in doubt, just wander: Similar to other Bavarian towns, you’ll find the most charming gems by just wandering. Try to leave the most touristy streets and head for some of the back alleys.
Streets in Bamberg Germany
Bamberg Rathus
Schlenkerla Smokebeer Biergarten

where to stay in bamberg

If you’re looking for an affordable and central hotel in Bamberg, a great choice is Ibis Styles Bamberg. While the hotel itself is mostly no frills, the rooms are modern and clean room, it offers onsite parking, and it sits in a great location within walking distance of all main attractions. I highly recommend choosing this hotel as home base in Bamberg.

A few more tips for visiting Bavaria

I had a few questions that came up consistently while I was on my Bavaria Germany road trip, and so I thought an extra little Q&A was in order to address them. Here’s a few of the most common questions.

Can you visit Bavaria by train? During my two trips to Bavaria I have travelled by both car and train, and I can confirm that both are very efficient ways of visiting the country. On my first trip, we travelled exclusively by train and in many ways, it was faster than having the car because we didn’t have to worry about finding parking. However, the car gave us a lot of flexibility to make stops, and stumble upon some hidden gems. 

What is it like driving in Germany? Well, let me start by saying that I wasn’t the driver. But Sebastian found driving in Germany quite easy. German’s are fantastic drivers, the road conditions were perfect, and the road signage was truly impressive.

How much does it cost to visit Germany? To travel in Bavaria, and Germany in general, I would suggest having a moderate budget. From my personal experience, Germany is a lot cheaper than most western European countries I’ve visited. A decent private hotel room cost us about 70 euros a night, a half-litre of beer ranged from 3-5 euros, and you could typically find a meal for around 10 euros. Of course, there are many ways to save too by choosing cheaper accommodations, grabbing drinks at the grocery store, or eating street food.

Can you use credit cards in Germany? This is one thing that was not guaranteed. Coming from an almost cashless country, I couldn’t believe that Germany is largely cash-based. While we were able to use card at our hotels and some restaurants, there are many restaurants, beer gardens, and tourist attractions that are cash-only. Even the machines to pay for parking were cash-only in many cases. So moral of the story… Make sure you always have some cash on you.

Bamberg Rathus

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Cochem Germany

Germany wine country was something I didn’t know much about prior to planning our summer 2020 trip to Germany. I stumbled upon the Mosel Valley while drafting our German road trip itinerary from Sweden down to the German Alps, and I began looking at the best places for us to stop along the way. I had heard about the towns of the Rhine Valley, but I had never heard of the Mosel Valley before. However, the more I looked into it I was convinced that we must spend a couple days here and began putting together a Mosel Valley itinerary.

I mean… Wine and vineyards and quintessentially romantic German villages? Count me in!

I was a little bit skeptical to share this magical gem, because I feel like it is still largely off the main tourism trail. While we were there, it seemed that many locals had caught on to how special this sleepy region is, but it seems to still be off the radar of international tourists.

For those of you hearing about this region for the first time, the Mosel River runs through central-western Germany and is home to he most perfect little towns. You could spend days and days town-hopping along the Mosel River and admiring the almost-90-degree vineyards that scale the side of the river. But, if you only have a couple days like us, I’m going to give you the details on all the places you can’t miss!

Cochem Germany

SUmmary: OUr two-day mosel valley itinerary

Day 1: Spend the afternoon in Cochem

We arrived in Cochem on our first day around lunchtime. We spent a half-day wandering around Cochem, visiting the Cochem castle, wine tasting, and just enjoying the scenic town.

Day 2: Sunrise at Burg Eltz

A trip to Burg Eltz Castle cannot be missed when visiting the Mosel Valley. We opted to get up early at 5:30am to visit Burg Eltz for sunrise. However, if you aren’t an early bird, you can visit on your first day in the Mosel Valley before arriving in Cochem.

Day 2: Town-hopping in the Mosel Valley

After we returned from Burg Eltz, we checked out of our hotel and spent the day driving from town-to-town along the Mosel River. Keep reading to learn about my favourite towns!

Day 2: Spend the Night in Bacharach 

At the end of the day, we headed back to the Rhine River to spend the evening in the sleepy historic town of Bacharach.

Burg Eltz
Bacharach Germany

The best Mosel Valley towns

There are so many charming towns along the Mosel River to include in your Mosel Valley itinerary, you could get lost in back alleyways of half-timbered houses for weeks. The most picturesque part of the Mosel Valley lies between the area of Cochem and Traben-Trarbach. Here was a few of the best towns to visit in the Mosel Valley.

the most popular town: cochem

Cochem Germany

If you only have time to visit one town, Cochem is the best town in the Mosel Valley. And while it may be the most popular too, this is for good reason. It is home to stunning views of the Mosel River, is littered in hundreds-year-old half-timbered houses, and has a castle sitting atop of the town.

If you’re looking for the where to stay in the Mosel Valley, Cochem is a great home base. We stayed at Haus Christiane, a cosy little family-owned pension in the centre of town, with free parking and an amazing homemade breakfast included.

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Cochem, here’s some of my top recommendations:

Visit Cochem Castle: You can’t visit Cochem without going up to Cochem Castle. To get there, you’ll follow signs through narrow half-timbered alleyways and vineyards to the top of the town. From there, you can visit the castle grounds and you’ll also be welcomed by beautiful views of the town below.

Wine Tasting in the Mosel Valley: The Mosel Valley is home to German Mosel Valley Riesling wine, and doing a tasting in the region in a must. Around Cochem, you’re sure to find lots of spots to stop in for a tasting.

Indulge in German Food: Full disclosure, I really struggled with the food in the Mosel Valley. It was very meat-heavy and fried, which isn’t my thing. But, we enjoyed the atmosphere at the Alte Wein Wirtschaft “Wine Terrasse” and I was able to indulge in some pretty decent vegetarian Flammkuchen (Germany’s take on “pizza”).

Wander Without a Plan: This town is made for wandering! Make sure you take some time to cross the bridge and explore both sides of the town. Plus, you’ll find the absolute best views of Cochem from the bridge (especially at sunrise and sunset). 

ernst

We really loved Ernst because it felt more local. Historical homes with children playing outside. Winding cobblestone streets. And if you want to the backside of the town, there are plenty of vineyards you can wander through and explore! You don’t need much time here, but the parking along the main road is free, and I found it to be really charming.

Ernst Germany
Ernst Germany

beilstein

Beilstein was an easy favourite for me! This town is one of the best-preserved in the Mosel Valley, it looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale. The small settlement dates back to 800 AD and atop the town you can visit the ruins of an old castle. The narrow streets are perfect for wandering, and you’re guaranteed to find a whole lot of places to take photos.

Make time to visit the ruins of Castle Metternich, which was constructed in the 1200s. There is a small fee to enter, but it is absolutely worth it and the views of the Mosel River from the top are stunning.

I would recommend you spend 1-2 hours in Beilstein.

zell

We didn’t spend much time in Zell, but we did make a stop here for a wine tasting. Zell is home to Zeller Schwarze Katz, or “Zell’s Black Cat.” The photo of the towns black cat mascot is on every bottle of wine, and has origins on folklore tales of the town. While wandering through Zell, you’re bound to come across many variations of black cat statues, sculptures, figurines souvenirs, and paintings of the iconic black cat (usually holding a glass of riesling).

I’d highly recommend stopping into this town for a tasting like we did. Although the black cat obsession may seem a bit silly,  we loved the wine sourced from “black cat mountain” so much we bought a few bottles to bring home.

traben-trarbach

The last stop on my Mosel Valley itinerary is Traben-Trarbach, which dates back to 830. And this one is really charming! This is a great place to unwind at the end of your day Mosel Valley town-hopping, and you’re guaranteed to find a great glass of wine here. For hiking enthusiasts, there are some great trails around here too that take you into the vineyards.

Traben-Trarbach Germany
Traben-Trarbach Germany

looking for all these spots?
i've got you covered with a mosel valley map!

How to get around the Mosel Valley

Mosel Valley by Car: In the interest of time, we opted to drive around the Mosel Valley. Driving alongside the Mosel River was beautiful, and we found the region easy to navigate by car. You’ll normally find Mosel Valley parking lots along the river side at the foot of each town. In less popular towns, parking is typically free. However, you’ll have to pay a small amount in more popular towns, like Cochem or Beilstein, so make sure you have change for the parking meters. 

Mosel Valley by Bike: We saw many people biking in the Mosel Valley from town-to-town. If we had more time, I would have loved this option. There were bike paths alongside the river connecting the towns, which meant it was easy and safe to bike.

Mosel Valley by Foot: If you’re feeling adventurous and have a lot of time to spend in the regions, you’ll find lots of Mosel Valley hiking paths leading through the vineyards and connecting the towns.

Things to Do near the mosel valley

burg eltz castle

Burg Eltz Castle

If you are going to do ONE thing when you’re in this region, this is it. I absolutely love Burg Eltz. Dare I say it may even be my favourite castle in Germany?

My biggest tip for visiting Burg Eltz Castle: Go early. We arrived at the Burg Eltz parking lot around 6:00 am, paid for parking,  and walked about 20 minutes through the forest trail to get to the castle. We were so happy to have the castle grounds all to ourselves, and to be greeted by the most perfect morning light.

If you want to visit the castle interior, Burg Eltz opening hours are from 9:30-5:30 for tours, and you can take a Burg Eltz shuttle to the castle if you don’t want to walk. If you are interested in taking a tour, please check the Burg Eltz website for language availability, as most tours are done in English.

Burg Eltz tour price: 11 euro for adults

Burg Eltz Castle
Burg Eltz Castle
Burg Eltz Castle

visit the town of bacharach

Bacharach Germany

Want to be transported directly into a Brothers Grimm story? The sleepy town of Bacharach looks like a real life Hansel and Gretal fairytale. Bacharach was named after Bacchus, the god of wine. To this day, the town is known for having great local wine and attracts wine enthusiasts from around the world.

With narrow streets filled with half-timbered houses, the best thing to do in Bacharach is just to get lost with a camera in hand. However, here’s some other must-do things to do in Bacharach:

  • Burg Stahleck: Atop of Bacharach sits a castle, Burg Stahleck. You can walk up to the top of the castle and take in beautiful views of the Rhine River from above. The castle is also home to Bacharach’s most unique hotel.
  • Go wine tasting at Weingut Fritz Bastian: If you’re looking to sample some local wines, this wine terrace is a great place to do a wine tasting. I’d also recommend having lunch or dinner here on a sunny day.
  • Altes Haus: Admire the oldest house in town that dates back to the 1300s!
  • Go for a hike: There are plenty of hiking trails surrounding the town Bacharach. The Rheinburgenweg (Rhine Castles Trail) leads you through vineyards, and past historical sites and castles.
  • St. Peter’s Church Bacharach: It would be impossible to miss St. Peter’s Church, with stands tall in the centre of Bacharach. This church can be admired from many viewpoints in the town, but don’t forget to take a look inside too!

get ready to fall in love with german's wine country with this mosel valley itinerary!

I was so pleasantly surprised by the Mosel Valley and I hope you use this Mosel Valley itinerary to have the best time in German wine country!

Heading down to German Alps? Check out my guide!

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Mosel Valley Itinerary
Things to Do in the Mosel Valley - Germany's wine country
Tips for Visiting the Mosel Valley & Burg Eltz
Mosel Valley Guide
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Geroldsee

When you think about The Alps region, what countries do you think of. Often Switzerland comes to mind first… Then probably Austria and France, maybe even Italy. But often the German Alps are an overthought. This was my second time visiting the German Alps – also commonly known as the Bavarian Alps, because of it’s location in the Bavaria state of Germany. The first time I visited was earlier in my travelling days where just about everything seemed magical. And while I am still often very guilty of romanticizing travel experiences and enjoying every small detail, I was a bit worried that my return to Germany just wouldn’t be quite as special as it was the first time. Luckily, I was wrong.

As a more seasoned traveller, my summer trip to Germany focused on travelling a bit deeper in the country. I knew I wanted to return to the Alps. The last time I was in Germany, I visited to two locations that are typically at the top of every tourist itinerary: Berchtesgaden and the Füssen area (which is home to Neuschwanstein Castle). This time, my mountain adventures took me to the area of Garmisch Partenkirchen. A popular winter skiing destination in Germany, this area is home to Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze, as well as many beautiful lakes, trails, and scaling mountains. So there is plenty of things to do in Garmisch Partenkirchen in the summer.

While this guide will focus mainly on things to do in Garmisch Partenkirchen (also known as GaPa … which is much easier to pronounce), I’ll also share some tips about things you must do in some of my other favourite Bavarian Alps regions.

Eibsee Germany

THINGS TO DO IN Garmisch Partenkirchen

The Garmisch Partenkirchen area is a stunning mountain regions along southern Germany, hugging the Austrian border. It is about an hour south of Munich by car.

While GaPa, as locals so affectionately call it, is a popular winter sports destination, it is also an amazing place to visit in the summer months to enjoy the hiking and biking trails, and breathtaking mountain views. Here I’ll break down some of my favourite things to do in Garmisch Partenkirchen.

Karwendelspitze Hike

zugspitze: the highest peak in germany

I’m going to start off with the biggest attraction in GaPa, Zugspitze, which is the highest point in the German Alps. This peak can (literally) not be missed while you’re exploring the GaPa region, as it cascades over the towns. It really is quite impressive.

Now, full disclosure, we opted not to go up to the summit of Zugspitze. After talking to a few locals, and reading some forums, we arrived at the decision that the large price tag was simply not worth it to us. In fact, many people said that Zugspitze is best seen from the ground or other surrounding mountain summits (I’ll dish the details on some of these spots in my next recommendations).

Is Zugspitze worth it? This is a difficult question to answer for someone who didn’t go up to the summit. However, I have heard the views are incredible and many people seemed thrilled with their visit. One thing you’ll want to consider is what the weather is like on the day you plan on visiting. I have heard of many people going up on a clear day, only to discover the top of the mountain is covered in clouds and they are unable to see anything. I would highly recommend checking out this link to see the current cloud coverage and weather conditions. This should help you make the right decision for you.

How much does Zugspitze cost? You’ll pay 59.50 EUR per person for an Adult to venture to the top (prices are reduced for children). You can check out the latest prices here.

Want to know the best Zugspitze alternative? I’ve got you covered…

take a cable car to the top of karwendelspitze in mittenwald

If you’re looking for a Zugspitze alternative, this is it. In fact, I would visit this mountaintop either way because it was truly fantastic. Karwendelspitze is the second-highest peak in Germany, and from the top you can get a panoramic view of the German and Austrian mountains below. At the top you’ll find hiking trails suitable for families and beginners with many lookout points and a restaurant to grab a beer or food.

Similar to my Zugspitze recommendations, this spot is best visited on a clear day. You can check out the live cam here to view current weather conditions. When we visited Karwendelspitze, it was the most perfectly clear day. And, ironically, you could see Zugspitze covered in clouds in the distance. When considering what to wear to Karwendelspitze, it is important to remember this is a mountaintop, and temperatures are much chillier than they are on group. In August, I needed to wear a sweater.

How to get to Karwendelspitze peak: To get up the peak, you’ll want to hop on the Karwendelbahn cable car. From there, it takes around ten minutes to get up to the summit.

How much does the Karwendelbahn cable car cost? It is significantly cheaper to visit Karwendelspitze vs. Zugspitze, with the price tag of 32.50 EUR per adult (check here for latest prices).

Karwendelspitze Hike
Karwendelspitze Hike
Karwendelspitze Hike
Karwendelspitze Hike

enjoy sunrise at lake eibsee

Lake Eibsee at Sunrise

Lake Eibsee is a top attraction in the GaPa region and when you see it, you’ll understand why. This lake is the perfect hue of turquoise, with a stunning view of Zugspitze sitting atop the lake.

The best time to visit Lake Eibsee: While Lake Eibsee is beautiful at any time of the day, it can get quite busy in the afternoon with tourists. For that reason, I suggest getting up at sunrise like we did. We ran into a few early risers and photographers, but mostly had the area to ourselves. And the lighting over the lake was almost surreal.

Just take a look at these photos and dream of visiting Eibsee.

Where are the best Lake Eibsee photography spots? I wanted to know where to go to get the perfect shot at Eibsee and stumbled upon this blog post. Check it out for all the best photo spots, and other details about visiting Lake Eibsee.

Cost to visit Lake Eibsee: Free! But if you’re arriving by car, you’ll need to pay to park your car at Hotel Eibsee. The cost for early risers was slightly discounted to 2.50 EUR, but this can vary depending on the time of day you visit.

Lake Eibsee at Sunrise Photography
Lake Eibsee at Sunrise Photography
Lake Eibsee at Sunrise Photography

the best hiking in Garmisch Partenkirchen

Since we arrived in GaPa in the middle of an August heatwave, we weren’t feeling too ambitious to go on an overly complicated hike, so we were mainly focused on easy hikes. Many people choose to hike on the Zugspitze side of the mountain range, but because of mudslides a few days prior, we were recommended to opt for the mountain range opposite the highest peak.

Our hotel concierge recommended the St. Martinshütte hike and we were off. Along the route to this alpine rest stop you’ll come across beautiful nature, churches, and other stumble upons. If you’re feeling more ambitious than us (or perhaps if the weather is a bit cooler), continue up toward Eisenkanzel for a beautiful viewpoint. Just make sure you stop at the restaurant at St. Martinshütte for an ice cold beer (or water) on the way.

Another great location for beginner hikes is the trails behind the Olympic Ski Jump. To get there, head to the famed ski jump and follow the trails that lead behind. 

For more GaPa hiking trails, click here.

St. Martinshütte hike

explore gapa by bike

Biking Trails GaPa

There are many mountain biking trails surrounding GaPa, and you can read about some of these trails here

We opted for a bit of a more leisurely bike ride (however I use that term lighting because there were SO many steep hills) and rented e-bikes from our hotel. We had a blast riding the e-bikes through the mountainside trails. For a leisurely ride and beautiful views, explore the bike paths south of the town of GaPa, along the Olympic Trail. This historical path starts at the Olympic Ski Jump and heads west toward Grainau (you can see the views from this ride in the photo below). Here’s a map of the route.

Additionally, if you want to bike into the mountains instead of hiking, you can take your bikes to St. Martinshütte, which is the location I recommended for hiking,

Garmisch Partenkirchen valley

visit partnach gorge

Partnach Gorge is another beautiful location located near GaPa, and is easily one of the most popular tourist hot spots of the region. We didn’t visit this spot because it was actually closed due to high water. In the days prior to our visit, the region was experiencing 30-40 mm of rain a day. Luckily we just missed it and were greeted with perfect weather.

Even still, I’ve heard this place is absolutely beautiful so I still wanted to include it on the list.

Read more about Partnach Gorge here.

be blown away at geroldsee

Geroldsee

Once of the most breathtaking spots we visited was Geroldsee, a lake located in the tiny town of Gerold, near GaPa. The lake is a popular swimming spot, but is also a dream location for photographers who are looking to capture that perfect “The Sound of Music”-inspired moment. It was easily one of my favourite things to do in Garmisch Partenkirchen.

How to get to Geroldsee: Head to the town of Gerold and park your car in town. From town, you’ll see signs to hiking paths and the lake. Follow these signs and you’ll be greeted by these insane views of Geroldsee with mountains cascading in the distance.

Tip: If you’re having trouble locating Geroldsee on a map, look up Wagenbrüchsee, which is another name or the lake.

Geroldsee
Geroldsee

relax at a garmisch partenkirchen spa

The region offers many alpine spas to relax and unwind with beautiful views of the mountains. We stayed at Hotel Staudacherhof, a spa hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and it was the perfect place to unwind after a long day. Onsite the spa had indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, sauna, showers, and plenty of spots to lounge in the sun. You can also book onsite treatments, like massages and manicures.

Check out a list of other GaPa spas here.

Staudacherhof Spa
Garmisch-Partenkirchen

trying to locate all these amazing things? i've got you covered.
here's a map of things to do in garmisch partenkirchen!

Looking to extend your trip?
Here's some Other towns in the Bavarian Alps to consider.

There are so many towns in the Bavarian Alps, it can be overwhelming to know which ones to visit. While I still have many spots in The German Alps to visit, here’s a couple of my other tops pics for first time visitors!

Füssen to see Neuschwanstein Castle

No trip to the German Alps is complete without visiting Neuschwanstein Castle. The famed castle is said to have been a huge inspiration for Walt Disney, and the parallels between this popular tourist spot and Cinderella’s Castle are uncanny. It is truly magical, and is only an hour away by car from GaPa, which makes it easy to visit both.

A few quick Neuschwanstein Castle tips:

  • Arrive early, ideally as early as sunrise (or alternatively at sunset). This spot gets VERY busy with day trip visitors from Munich and is best experienced during these quiet hours,
  • Make sure you take a tour! The stories of King Ludwig II were so interesting, and the interior is so special.
  • Stay overnight in Füssen or Schwangau and enjoy the region. This area has so many more gems than just Neuschwanstein Castle to explore. Hohenschwangau Castle is another castle nearby, and although I didn’t do a tour, it was fun to explore the grounds. Schwansee and Alpsee are also really gorgeous lakes. And if you’re looking for a bit of a thrill in the mountains, the summertime luge tracks in Schwangau are really fun!
Neuschwanstein Castle

Berchtesgaden

The Berchtesgaden region is stunning. I really wanted to visit this spot again, but we simple just did not have time. However, if you are looking to extend your trip in the Bavarian Alps, this spot is amazing. Here’s a few things to do in Berchtesgaden:

  • Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest: This historical spot is a really interesting piece of history that I would highly recommend visiting (especially on a clear day).
  •  The Berchtesgaden Salt Mines: We visited this spot a few years ago, and quite honestly, I wasn’t blown away. It was interesting, but I could take it or leave. However I figured I would mention it since it is a popular spot for visitors.
  • Königssee and Obersee: These lakes have become VERY Instagram famous in recent years, so it’s a popular spot for photographers. With that being said, they are gorgeous and I’ve heard the boat ride across Königssee is a great experience.
  • Parish Church of St. Sebastian: This pretty white church sits in front of the most beautiful mountain backdrop and has a turquoise river alongside it. It’s no wonder people love to visit it!

ready to head to the bavarian alps?

Now that I have told you all my favourite things to go in Garmisch Partenkirchen and The Bavarian Alps, are you feeling eager to visit? This area is such a gem that I am surprised more people don’t visit. If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway in nature, this spot absolutely needs to be considered.

Heading to Munich? Check out my post on my favourite Munich hotel!

Bavarian Alps
Bavarian Alps

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Welcome to the jungle. A very trendy jungle, that is. I am going to start off this post very strong by saying that 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin is one of my favourite hotels, ever. Not only is every corner of this jungle-themed hotel quite literally begging to be photographed, but I also feel confident saying that this trendy Berlin hotel is the best place to stay in Berlin.

If you’re looking for a super unique and fun hotel experience, look no further. Located next to the Berlin zoo, this hotel has adapted a jungle theme and offers the most surreal views of the city, the friendliest staff, and quirky premises that can be explored for hours on end. It is the perfect place to stay, eat, and play in Berlin. Read on to find out why this is the best place to stay in Berlin and find out why it should be on your list for your next visit to Germany’s biggest city.

25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin Hammock

Disclaimer: I was a hosted guest of 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin. However all thoughts and opinions regarding my stay are my own.

25hours bikini berlin location

One of my absolute favourite things about 25hours Bikini Berlin was the location – right next to the beautiful Berlin Zoo. The location is one of the reasons why it is the best place to stay in Berlin because it is central within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions. Since Berlin is such a huge city, it is important to not just be central but also be close to a metro or train station – and this Bikini Berlin hotel is within five minutes walking distance from both.

A quick walk to the Berlin Zoologischer Garten metro stop and you can get virtually anywhere you need to go in the city. When arriving to 25hours Bikini Berlin by train or metro, this is also the stop you will want to get off at.

If you’re arriving by car like we did, parking is also very convenient with 25hours Bikini Berlin parking close by. We parked next door at Bikini Berlin Parkplatz and the cost was 20 euros a day. However, if you get the parking validated by the hotel, you can get this price reduced  by 2-3 euros per day and added to to your hotel bill. Don’t forget to ask about this at the reception!

the hotel facilities

the hotel rooms

25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin Bed

And the award for my favourite hotel room ever goes to…

Honestly though, this was easily one of the most unique hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. If you’re able to upgrade your room, this is the hotel to do it at. We stayed in a Medium Jungle room, which was an industrial designed jungle-themed room with the most spectacular views of the Berlin Zoo. And the best part – the room had a hammock that you could lounge in and watch the monkeys play at the zoo. From our room on the seventh floor, you could easily see the monkey habitats, and every morning we were awoken to the sounds of them playing and eating outside. Seriously, SO COOL.

Rooms range in size from Medium to Extra Large and if you want a hammock and a zoo view like us, you’ll want to opt for a Jungle room. If you aren’t in the position to splurge, it doesn’t matter. You can still lounge in hammocks overlooking the zoo from the lobby area of the hotel.

The room itself was all open concept (including the sink/shower, but the toilet was private) and was outfitted with a king size bed and air conditioning. The quirky jungle themed details really made the room special, and the floor to ceiling windows (that opened) offered so much natural light and a fresh breeze. 

Just take one look at these photos and you’ll surely want to add this to your hotel bucket list.

neni berlin restaurant

NENI Berlin, 25hours’ onsite restaurant, is popular with both guests and locals! Since it’s located in the trendiest hotel in Berlin, you would have high expectations for this spot – and it delivers. The decor is beautiful, with tons of greenery and floor-to-ceiling windows that give the most beautiful views of Berlin from up high. With seating both inside and outside on a terrace, this is a must-try Berlin restaurant.

25hours Bikini Berlin breakfast is served in the morning from this amazing space at NENI. The breakfast spread was diverse, fresh, and delicious. I would highly recommend adding this to your reservation so you can fuel up before you hit the streets of Berlin.

If you’re looking for dinner, NENI is a great option. We didn’t have a chance to try the Berlin location, but I ate here at the 25hours Munich location and it was fantastic. . The menu is international-inspired, with references to the founder’s Israeli heritage, as well as other Mediterranian cuisines. Make sure you book a reservation, this spot is popular.

NENI Berlin
NENI Berlin

the monkey bar

Clever name, right?! 25hours Bikini Berlin is home to The Monkey Bar Berlin – which just happens to be one of Berlin’s most popular bars! This trendy Berlin bar sits a top the city, and offers incredible views of the zoo and city skyline from its rooftop terrace. The space is designed with fun, colourful details and is the perfect spot for a sunset cocktail.

I had heard this bar was popular, but I didn’t realize just how popular. In fact, every time we came back to our hotel, there was a line out the front door with people waiting to go up to The Monkey Bar Berlin. 

other amenities

I could go on and on about some of my favourite things about 25hours Bikini Berlin and why I think it is the best place to stay in Berlin. Here’s a few of the many highlights:

The Jungle Sauna: On the 9th floor of 25hours Bikini Berlin, you’ll find a relaxing sauna that is free to use for hotel guests. Here you will also be rewarded with stunning views of the zoo.

McFIT Gym Collaboration: Want to get a workout in? 25hours Bikini Berlin has a collaboration with a nearby McFIT gym location where you can get a day pass for 10 EUR.

Sustainability: If you’re looking for a sustainable hotel in Berlin, look no further! 25hours takes many steps to put sustainability first, which is one of my favourite things about this small hotel chain.

Complimentary Minibar: Yes, it’s free! Fridges in the room are stocked with local beer, soda, and water – and can be restocked daily upon request. Make sure you try the local favourite, Fritz Cola (I seriously regret not bringing a few of these back to Sweden with me).

Woodfire Bakery: Looking for a good cup of coffee and fresh baked goods? You don’t even have to leave the hotel! 

Cosy Common Spaces: Onsite you’ll find tons of trendy common spaces to get cosy. The Newsroom offers a relaxing environment to sit back, relax, and read. And alongside the reception area you’ll also find hammocks overlooking the zoo!

So, are you feeling ready to get cosy at the trendiest hotel in Berlin?!

25hours Bikini Berlin Patio

ABOUT 25hours hotels

25hours Hotels have locations all over Germany, as well as in France, Austria, and Switzerland. This sustainability-minded hotel chain is designed with the modern urban traveller in mind. Each location features it’s own locally-inspired quirky design that begs to be photographed, and little luxuries that make you feel at home – even when on the road.

Read More: Read about my experience at 25hours Hotel Munich The Royal Bavarian.

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And stay tuned for lots more Germany content – coming soon!
The Coolest Hotel in Berlin
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When you check into 25hours Hotel Munich The Royal Bavarian, you’re not just checking into the best place to stay in Munich. You’re also guaranteed to walk into an entirely unique hotel experience. At first glance, you won’t know where to look. With quirky details and charm around every corner, I think it’s safe to say that this is the most photogenic or instagrammable hotel in Munich. Each room tells a story, often tying in local Bavarian design cues, so you’ll want to make sure you have your camera ready. Let’s just say going through my camera roll and editing some of these photos was a TON of fun.

But it isn’t just about the design – it’s also filled with history. The Royal Bavarian offers a complete premium experience. Located in a stunning historic building, it was build between 1869 and 1871, and was originally home to “The Main Postage and Royal Telegraph Exchange.” 

From the on-site amenities, to the staff that goes above and beyond – and everything in between. I’m excited to share with you exactly why I think this is the best place to stay in Munich.

Disclaimer: I was a hosted guest of 25hours Hotel the Royal Bavarian. However all thoughts and opinions regarding my stay are my own.

25hours hotel munich location

Before we dive into the hotel details, I need to share one of my favourite things about this hotel: the location. 25hours Munich is located right next to München Hauptbahnhof (Munich central station), which makes it especially convenient for those arriving to the hotel by train. It is also a central Munich hotel within easy walking distance from all of Munich’s most popular attractions.

If you’re arriving by car like we did, parking is also very convenient with 25hours Hotel Munich parking close by. While there are a few secured parking garages around, we parked next door at Karstadt Parkhaus and the cost was 15 euros per day.

the hotel facilities

the hotel rooms

Our hotel room at 25hours Hotel The Royal Bavarian was perhaps one of the cosiest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in – and definitely the quirkiest. We were hosted in a Large room (also known as a Chamber room), but room sizes vary in size from Small to Suite. No matter which room you choose, they are all outfitted to make you feel like a queen (or king).

The room itself was spacious with a king size bed and air conditioning (which was so welcomed during during the August Munich heatwave we experienced). It had all kinds of fun details that could keep you busy for hours. Details like the vintage typewriter (that actually worked), the “secret” window to the bathroom, and the bottle opener that shouted “prost” (which means “cheers” in German) when you opened a bottle made the whole experience so much fun.

The room was uniquely designed with Bavarian-inspired cues, like the tiered royal headboard and books that substituted traditional bed frame legs. The bathroom was beautiful, with white and black tiles and bronze accents. And had other fun little additions, like a bucket hanging from the ceiling to hold the towels.

I mean, just look at these photos!

neni munich restaurant

NENI Restaurant Orangery Munich

NENI restaurant Munich, 25hours’ onsite restaurant, is not just popular with hotel guests. Not only is the decor so beautiful, with tons of greenery and stained glass, but the food was also great.

If you’re opting for hotel breakfast, which I highly recommend you do, you’ll eat in the morning at NENI. The 25hours Hotel Munich breakfast was arguably the most diverse breakfast spread I have ever seen. We ate breakfast here everyday and it was the perfect spot to fuel up for our busy days in the Munich summer sun.

On our first night in Munich we also had the pleasure of trying NENI restaurant. We naively headed down after checking in without a reservation and it was packed. Luckily they were able to find us a table, but I’d recommend booking ahead because this spot is popular with tourists and locals alike. Serving a unique international-inspired menu, with references to the founder’s Israeli heritage, as well as other Mediterranian cuisines, NENI is a must-try dinner spot in Munich (especially if you’re looking to step away from traditional Bavarian fare for a night like we were).

NENI is also home to the NENI Deli, and the hotels most beautiful (and instagrammable) space: The Orangery.

Boilerman bar

Just when you thought that staying at 25hours Hotel Munich couldn’t get any better…

It also has a super cool speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar located on the first floor of the hotel. Boilerman Bar is a popular onsite bar that serves cocktails until the early hours of the morning. Their signature drink, the Highball, can be served in a variety of ways and is described as a small uncomplicated drink that is prepared without a shaker and is both delicious and affordable. The design is cosy, creating a great ambiance to gather and socialize in the heart of Munich.

Boilerman Bar
Boilerman Bar

other amenities

The list of amenities at 25hours Hotel The Royal Bavarian never seems to end! Here’s a few more reasons why this is the best place to stay in Munich:

Bike Rental: Getting around Munich by bar is easily one of the best ways to see the city. With a bike rental from 25hours and a route map carefully curated by Munich locals, it makes navigating the city a breeze.

Sauna: At the top of 25hours Munich, you’ll find a relaxing sauna that is free to use for hotel guests.

Fitness Room: Wanna work off those steins of beer? 25hours has you covered with an onsite gym.

Sustainability: Perhaps not an amenity, but if you’re looking for a sustainable hotel in Munich, this is a great option. They have friendly reminders all around the hotel to help you make environmentally-conscious choices, which is perfect for the modern traveller.

Complimentary Minibar: It’s not often that the minibar is free! At 25hours, you can take advantage of the in-room minibar which is stocked with local beer, soda, and water – and is restocked daily upon request.

Drive a Mini Cooper: Get free use of the hotels own fleet of Mini Coopers! We didn’t use this service but it sure sounds fun. Reach out to the hotel reception for more info on this unique opportunity.

ABOUT 25hours hotels

25hours Hotels have locations all over Germany, as well as in France, Austria, and Switzerland. This sustainability-minded hotel chain is designed with the modern urban traveller in mind. Each location features it’s own locally-inspired quirky design that begs to be photographed, and little luxuries that make you feel at home – even when on the road.

Read More: Read about my experience at 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin

LIKE WHAT YOU READ? PIN IT BELOW.

And stay tuned for lots more Germany content – coming soon!
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