The Ultimate Germany Bucket List

This ultimate Germany bucket list has been in the making for several months. I’ve now lived in Germany for a total of almost four years in five different locations – Mainz, Bonn, Tübingen, Heidelberg, and Hamburg. Along the way, I’ve been able to accomplish 34 out of the 50 items on this list (although my personal list continues to grow daily!). While these are some of the most cliche and typical German experiences, I’ve also listed many off-the-beaten path adventures as well. Enjoy!

1 | Drink a beer in Munich’s famous Hofbrauhaus (bonus points if you do it during Oktoberfest). Make sure to order a Maß of beer (1 liter!) with a side of warm pretzels to soak up all the beer.

2 | Cheer on your favorite boat at Tübingen’s annual Stocherkahn race in June. Each member of the last place team of this boat race must consume a half of liter of cod liver oil in public.

3 | Walk down the longest pedestrian street in all of Germany – the Hauptstraße of Heidelberg. This main street is lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants with the gorgeous castle of Heidelberg overlooking it.

4 | Visit the world-famous Christmas Market of Nuremberg (named Christkindlesmarkt). Established in the 16th century and lined with almost 200 Christmas stands, this is one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in all of Germany.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#1 Drink a beer in Munich’s famous Hofbrauhaus

5 | Sail at Kieler Woche in Kiel. While it is notoriously rainy every Kieler Woche, this sailing event on the Baltic Sea is one of the biggest in the world.

6 | Stroll the old city walls of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. A traditional German town that has maintained its medieval charm, make sure to visit the Christmas market if there in December.

7 | Admire the gorgeous old warehouses in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt. Still one of the most important ports in the entire world, the city of Hamburg has more bridges than Amsterdam and Venice – combined!

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#6 Stroll the old city walls of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

8 | Dress up in a crazy costume for Karneval in Cologne. As one of the largest carnival celebrations in the entire world, this festival caters to families, children, and adults!

9 | Take in an opera or ballet in Stuttgart. Stuttgart State Opera continues to be one of the premier opera houses in all of Europe.

10 | Relive your Disney childhood by visiting Schloss Neuschwanstein (the inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle!). Though it was never finished, it is still the most popular castle in all of Germany!

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#7 Admire the gorgeous old warehouses in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt

11 | Ponder the historical and political ramifications of the Berlin Wall through the East Side Gallery. This section of the wall is now a symbol of freedom and the reunification of Germany in the 1990s.

12 | Walk the dome of the Reichstag in Berlin for amazing views of the city. The center of Germany’s government, this building has seen some of the most horrific and uplifting moments in Germany’s history.

13 | Remember the tragedies of WWII at Dachau Concentration Camp outside of Munich. A moment in Germany’s history that must never be forgotten by mankind.

14 | Attend a concert at Hamburg’s newly-opened Elbphilharmonie. One of the most expensive buildings ever built, its presence on Hamburg’s waterfront is breathtaking and stunning.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#14 Attend a concert at Hamburg’s newly-opened Elbphilharmonie.

15 | Explore your family’s German history at the Deutsches Auswandererhaus in Bremerhaven. This is high on my personal bucket list due to my German ancestry!

16 | Run away for a beach vacation to the posh island of Sylt. I’ve dubbed this island the Hamptons of northern Germany!

17 | Step into a fairy tale by taking the Brockenbahn to the top of the Harz Mountains. This magical journey winds up to the highest peak. I also recommend taking a side trip to the charming town of Goslar.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#17 Run away for a beach vacation to the posh island of Sylt

18 | Relax at one of Germany’s famous spas in Baden-Baden. Don’t worry, nudity is totally normal in Germany (and expected!) ;)

19 | Take a weekend adventure down to the Bodensee (also known as Lake Constance). Bordering Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, it is a popular summer vacation destination!

20 | Culture yourself on the museum island of Berlin. My personal favorite museums are the Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie) and the Pergamon Museum.

21 | Watch the famous Glockenspiel ring at Munich’s city hall. Lasting 10-15 minutes, it chimes at 11 am, 12 pm, and 5 pm (in the summer).

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#1 Drink a beer in Munich’s famous Hofbrauhaus

22 | Drive along the romantic road in southern Germany. Pass through some of the most gorgeous and idyllic towns in all of Germany!

23 | Climb the highest church steeple in the world in Ulm at the Ulm Minster. Be prepared – there are 768 steps and it is quite claustrophobic.

24 | Revisit the tragic past of Dresden at the rebuilt Frauenkirche. A city totally destroyed during WWII, it has been rebuilt as authentically as possible.

25 | Stand in awe of the impressive Kölner Dom. It is the most visited landmark in Germany and was relatively untouched during WWII.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#24 Revisit the tragic past of Dresden at the rebuilt Frauenkirche

26 | Go to Germany’s number 1 tourist attraction – Minatur Wunderland. This model railway museum brings cities and countries to life through 50,000 feet worth of tracks.

27 | Take a boat trip down the Rhine River to view all the castles. While most are partially destroyed, you still get gorgeous views of all the vineyards and small towns lining the riverfront.

28 | Indulge in wine tasting in the Mosel region. Particularly famous for Rieslings, there are many tours and bike routes through the region.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#25 Stand in awe of the impressive Kölner Dom

29 | Stand in awe of Marc Chagall’s blue windows at St. Stephen’s Church in Mainz. As a Jew who fled France during Nazi occupation, these windows were meant to assist Jewish-German reconciliation by depicting scenes of the Old Testament between Christians and Jews.

30 | Explore Germany’s financial sector in Frankfurt. The most famous of these institutions is the European Central Bank.

31 | Visit West Germany’s old capital city of Bonn. Once a flourishing epicenter of German politics, this city is now home to many United Nations institutions.

32 | Take a brewery tour at the popular Flensburg Brauerei. It is one of the few large-scale breweries not under control of a brewery group (it is still family owned).

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#3 Walk down the longest pedestrian street in all of Germany – the Hauptstraße of Heidelberg

33 | Learn about Germany’s famous Ruhr region by visiting Essen’s Zollverein. As the main coal industry of Europe, it was a huge source of contention between France and Germany leading up to WWII. Now, most of these factories have been converted into restaurants, shops, etc.

34 | Drink Bamberg’s famous Schlenkerla beer while viewing the Bamberger Reiter. Warning – the Schlenkerla beer is…a very acquired taste ;) (shout out to Uli who better be reading this!)

35 | Eat world-famous marzipan in Lübeck. Although the recipe is a closely-guarded secret, bonus points if you eat the marzipan while wandering Lübeck’s adorable Christmas market.

36 | Attend the Maschsee Lake Festival in Hannover. A three-week festival of culinary delights and musical entertainment centered around the lake.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#35 Eat world-famous marzipan in Lübeck

37 | See Schwerin’s impressive castle which is also the seat of Mecklenburg-Vorpommen’s state parliament. It has been nicknamed the Neuschwanstein of the North.

38 | Cheer on the F.C. Bayern soccer team in Munich at the famous Allianz Arena! Too bad Manuel Neuer just got married…

39 | Hike through the mysterious Black Forest in southern Germany’s Baden-Württemberg. It is also home to waterfalls and ski resorts.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#4 Visit the world-famous Christmas Market of Nuremberg (named Christkindlesmarkt)

40 | Visit Rügen Island’s chalk cliffs. These cliffs were formed exactly the same way as the White Cliffs of Dover although they are even taller!

41 | Wear your dirndl and lederhosen, and head to the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich. Not much else is needed for this bucket list item ;)

42 | Watch the fireworks over the Heidelberg Castle. Taking place three times a year in the summer months, this celebrates the union of Elector-Palatine Friedrich V to Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of King James I of England. Their grandson, King George I of Great Britian and Ireland, was the first monarch in the House of Hanover. King George I’s grandson, King George III, famously lost the U.S. colonies.

43 | Ski in the German Alps and Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze. Even if you’re not a skier or snowboarder, you can take a cable car to the summit for some gorgeous views!

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#17 Step into a fairy tale by taking the Brockenbahn to the top of the Harz Mountains

44 | Admire the impressive car museum of Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart. Even if you’re not a car fan (like me), the history and setup of this museum is absolutely fantastic!

45 | Cure your hangover at the Fischmarkt after a night out on Hamburg’s infamous party street, the Reeperbahn. Over 70,000 people attend the Fischmarkt every Sunday.

46 | Unleash your inner Princess at Sanssouci in Potsdam. A rival of France’s Versailles, this was the summer residence of Frederick the Great and Frederick William IV, Kings of Prussia.

Ultimate Germany Bucket List via Wayfaring With Wagner
#5 Sail at Kieler Woche in Kiel

47 | Eat as much schnitzel, bratwurst, currywurst, spätzle, and wheat beer possible (any and every bar will do!). Plus, no specific location is required ;)

48 | Ride a bike through the beautiful city of Münster, the bike capital of Germany. Beware, Germans are very strict about their biking rules – and never walk in the bike lanes!

49 | Listen to the music of Richard Wagner at the Bayreuth Wagner Festspiele, an annual festival attended most notably by Angela Merkel. Although a controversial figure due to his anti-semitic views, he built the Bayreuth Festival Theater to specifically debut his works.

50 | Visit Hohenzollern Castle, the often overlooked but absolutely magnificent castle in southern Baden-Württemberg. Originally built in the 11th century, the modern-day castle was built in 1846. It is now a museum filled with art and historical artifacts.

*** Bonus Item | Fall in love with a German. They’re well worth it ;)

I know this bucket list is barely scratching the surface of everything one can do in Germany! The longer I live here, the more items I continue to add to my ultimate Germany bucket list. What would you add to this list? How many of these have you done?

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This ultimate Germany bucket list is comprised of 50 places to visit
This ultimate Germany bucket list is comprised of Germany's most famous tourist attractions, historical sites, and stunning views
This ultimate Germany bucket list is comprised of 50 places to visit

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  • Ahh I was looking for Bremen on this list so I could at least cross off 1 item but it’s not on here! You need to get yourself to Bremen (bucket list item: rub the statue!) and I need to get myself to literally everywhere else in Germany :P Dying to go back!!

  • This bucketlist is amazing! I love visiting Germany. I’ve never been to Cologne for the carnival, but the Christmas market there is amazing! I hope I get to visit the one in Heidelberg in the future! the philharmonic in Hamburg is a great experience. Was there in November :)

  • I’ll be in Germany next month to visit friends and was wondering where to go after that. You have given me lots of great ideas. I had no ideas there was so much to see and do in Germany!

  • I love Germany! I actually used to live in Germany and still have a good bit of family there. Rothenburg is one of my favorites and is maybe 35 minutes from where I used to live! Great post!

  • I’ve only visited Germany once and that was to Cologne last year, I’d love to explore the country more. Visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber is high up on my list of places to go! xo

  • Holy cow! This is one heck of a Germany bucket list! Well done! Germany is one of our favorite countries, but I think I’ve only been to four (maybe 5) different places there. One of my favs that I didn’t see on your list was the town of Passau along the Danube. It’s gorgeous, especially at Christmas! Definitely worth visiting for a slower pace sort of Germany experience.

  • Interesting list! I’ve only done 28 of them, but that includes the best of all – falling in love with [and marrying] a German! If I had a similar bucket list I would have to remove anything involving a festival – no Oktoberfest for me. Oh, and I feel like I cheated counting one – I have been to the Hamburger Fischmarkt twice, but only during the week it visits Stuttgart! Every year it and the Stuttgarter Weinfest switch places for 10 days in a sort of wine-fish exchange program.
    Your list reminds me of all the places I still need to visit – Köln, Dresden, Rügen…

  • Super post! My husband and I love traveling in Germany and have done many of these but it’s nice to know there’s so much more to see and do.

  • Love this! I’m really wanting to get back to Germany to explore more. We visited Munich a few years ago along with a couple castles outside of. There’ still SO much more to see/do!

  • Great list Jordan! So many things I have left to do, especially in the north. One thing missing to me is the lakes of Bavaria, Tegernsee, Schliersee, Chiemsee… all incredible and my favorite part of Germany by far!

  • This is the perfect bucket list! I’ve been to Koln but didn’t know about the carnival. We are going to Germany in the winter and will definitely use this list! Pinned it for future reference.

  • Wow I’m so impressed you have actually been all over Germany! Makes me feel bad for living here but not really exploring the country so much ;) I’m inspired!

  • Hi Jordan. Great list! I would probably add a visit to Trier, the oldest German city and once the capital of the Roman empire, with its many well preserved Roman ruins. And also the Spreewald south of Berlin (around Lübbenau I think it was?) where the ethnic minority of the Sorbs live. The area is criss crossed with small canals and people move around mainly by boat. And it’s bilingual and a main growing area for gherkins and horseradish. Also a cruise to Helgoland, Germany’s only deep sea island, is worth it, a real ritual with duty free shopping and the like. Thanks for many places that I as a native German didn’t know. Cheers from Mainz, Sigrid

  • Have done 21 so far! And have visited a few of the other places, but have not done what you have mentioned. A fantastic list! I would add drinking Glühwein at any Weinachtsmarkt!