City Guides: Germany

Berlin | Dresden | Frankfurt | Munich | Trier

Unlike other major European countries, Germany does not have one dominant capital city. Although Berlin is Germany’s largest city and capital, it does not have the same relationship to the nation as Athens to Greece, Rome to Italy, Paris to France, or London to Great Britain. Continued below…

City Guides for Germany

  • Berlin & Potsdam – What to see in the German capital and surroundings – history, sights, photos
  • Dresden – What to see in Saxony’s second largest city: The Zwinger, the Marienkirche, and more!
  • Frankfurt am Main – Germany’s financial capital (“Bankfurt”) also has attractions for travelers – History, sights, photos
  • Hamburg for travelers – History, sights (coming)
  • Munich – What to see in and around the Bavarian capital – history, sights and Oktoberfest!
  • Trier – Roman ruins and the birthplace of Karl Marx – history, sights, photos
  • Weimar for travelers – History, sights (coming)
  • Watch for more cities and attractions…

See the city “Quick Looks” below for more about selected German cities.

Reichstag - Berlin

The historic Reichstag building is one of Berlin’s top sights.
PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

Our Other Guides for Germany


Germany and Its Cities (Continued)
For various historical and geographical reasons, the European Union’s most populous and most financially powerful nation has many cities (eight) with over half a million residents, but under a million. Only four German cities have a population over one million (Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Munich). Most Germans live in cities and urban areas, but only 3.3 million of the country’s 80.4 million people live in Berlin.

Germany offers a wide range of cities, large and small, that feature a vast variety of landscapes, history, and attractions. From Hamburg, Bremen, and Kiel in the north to Munich, Stuttgart, and Freiburg in the south, you’ll find a rich tapestry of architecture, cuisine, history, folklore, and traditions.

Also see our guide to Castles and Palaces in GermanyBurgen und Schlösser in Deutschland.

Photo Galleries: German Cities and Towns

Germany’s Cities: Quick Looks

  • Berlin | Berlin was the German/Prussian capital from 1871 until the end of the Second World War in 1945. When West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany) was established in 1949, the quiet university town of Bonn was named the new German capital. In the divided city of Berlin, East Berlin became the capital of East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) — in violation of the post-war Four Power Allied agreement. After hours of bitter debate in the Bundestag on June 20, 1991, Berlin was chosen to be the German capital once again — winning over Bonn by a close 337-to-320 vote! More > Berlin City Guide
  • Dresden | Although this classic German city suffered from neglect during the communist era, it is gradually recovering its former glory as the capital of royal Saxony and now the Free State of Saxony in reunited Germany. Highlights include the Zwinger palace complex and and the beautifully restored Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). Today Germany’s “Florence on the Elbe” (das Elbflorenz) is again living up to that title. Nearby Meissen is world-famous for its porcelain. More > Dresden City Guide
  • Frankfurt am Main | Germany’s financial capital was considered as a potential national capital city in 1949 (along with Kassel and Stuttgart), but lost out to Bonn, the small home town of Konrad Adenauer, West Germany’s first chancellor. Today Frankfurt is a capital of a different kind: banking, finance and skyscrapers. More > Frankfurt City Guide
  • Munich | Oktoberfest always starts in late September. Munich’s big beer fest began as a wedding party for the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. The meadow where the celebration took place was later named for the princess. Today the Theresienwiese fairgrounds is the site of the 16-day Oktoberfest. – But Munich is much more than Oktoberfest! More > Munich City Guide
Roman wine ship - trier

This ceramic model of the Roman Neumagener Weinschiff shows what it looked like before the ravages of time damaged some of it. The larger original is on display in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum — just one of Trier’s many attractions.
PHOTO © Hyde Flippo

  • Trier | Germany’s oldest city (founded by the Romans in 16 B.C.) lies on the Moselle (Mosel) River, very close to Luxembourg. Trier (Latin, Augusta Treverorum) is a literal treasure trove of Roman architecture and artifacts, including the former city gate known as the Porta Nigra. Trier is also the birthplace of Karl Marx. More > Trier City Guide

Next | Germany Facts & Figures

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