Germany’s Magic Cities

The Take 12 Trips Challenge is a fun initiative encouraging wannabe travellers to take a trip away each month. While you don’t necessarily have to go abroad, we’ve already given you some great idea for European getaways on this blog, and there’s plenty more where that came from…

This time we’re heading to Germany, a country famous for many things, one of which is the splendour of its large cities. Each year these cities, dubbed “Magic Cities” by the tourist board, attract millions of visitors from all over the world, who come to enjoy the features which make these cities unique.

There are 10 Magic Cities in total, and we thought it would be good to take a closer look at each one. Maybe it’ll help you find some inspiration for your next city break!


A former Hanseatic trade centre which is at once steeped in tradition and character, and also at the forefront of Germany’s ultra-modern city lifestyle, Hamburg is a city of contrasts and culture. To the Germans, Hamburg is the gateway to the world, where maritime exploration begins and where the best of the world is brought back for the locals to sample and enjoy. Hamburg is the capital of Germany’s north, and is known as the Maritime City due to its seafaring history.


Düsseldorf is known as the City of Fashion and the Catwalk of Germany. It is in this city where the industry decides what next season’s hot new look is, and with over 800 showrooms in the city, there are plenty of places to catch a glimpse of what this might be. Head to Königsallee, or Kö as it is affectionately known to the locals, and immerse yourself in the high-end fashion boutiques from names such as Hugo Boss, Versace, Gucci and more.


Germany’s City of Culture, Dresden is home to some of the most spectacular baroque architecture in Europe. The main attraction of the city is the magnificent Zwinger Palace, which is widely considered a masterpiece of baroque architecture, but there’s plenty more to discover than that. As a city famous for its music, Dresden’s Opera House is another cultural must-see, as well as the gardens of Brühl Terrace, or the “Balcony of Europe” as it is known in Germany.


City of Ideas, Innovation and Investment – not just for Germany, but the world – Hannover is home to the world’s biggest exhibition space, used for trade shows from all economies and industries. This makes the city popular for visitors, and means that the city has become used to having tourists checking in for a short time. The city is also rich in history, and can count former royal residencies and wonderful baroque gardens such as those in Herrenhausen among its attractions.


If Hannover is the city of the future, then Nürnberg is the City of History in Germany, a city of emperors and royalty, with the skyline still dominated by the mighty fortress built by Emperor Conrad III in the 12th century and expanded until the 17th century.

The city’s Historical Mile leads up to the castle and includes a number of important monuments and buildings in the city, such as churches, fountains, home of international trade and more. The city is also home to darker periods of Germany’s history, such as the site where the Nazi party began their rallies and marching processions.

At Christmas, however, the city’s wonderful Christmas market becomes a delight for visitors, with traditional arts, crafts, food and drink available to sample and purchase in abundance.


Leipzig is a city with a special relationship with music, so much so that the history of music in the city is part of everyday life, as you can barely walk down the street in the city without seeing a bust or monument dedicated to a famous artist.

What kind of artists are we talking about here? Well, a few names which may be familiar to you include Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Robert Schumann. Head to Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum – one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe – and relax with a drink in a building which has been frequented by Bach, Lizst, Goethe, Napoleon and Augustus the Strong.

As Germany’s City of Music, Leipzig is still at the cutting edge of Germany’s musical culture, and is a cool and trendy student town these days, as well as being one with a heritage most cities in the world would envy.


Probably known best to football fans as the home of Germany’s premier football team, Munich is also Germany’s Lifestyle Capital. Not only is the city beautiful and home to a huge range of gorgeous town squares and streets in the city centre, but it is also a food capital where you can sample everything from traditional Bavarian delights to more exotic delicacies.

Wander through the English Garden on a lazy summer’s day and take a seat at one of the city’s two most striking beer halls, or catch a glimpse of the future at the Deutches Museum, the world’s biggest science and technology museum and follow it up with a Saturday afternoon spent at the Allianz Arena, home of the all-conquering Bayern Munich.


At once a hub of business and home of world-famous art, Frankfurt is a city of contrasts and one which acknowledges the need for beauty in a world run by business. Germany’s City of Art is home to the famous Museum Embankment on the southern bank of the River Main, including the Städel Institute of Art with the Municipal Gallery, one of the country’s – and Europe’s – preeminent art galleries.

The Museum of Applied Art (MAK) is a striking building housing over a thousand years of arts and crafts, and the Museum of Modern Art (MMK) and Schirn Kunsthalle Gallery are both just a stone’s-throw away. Art is so important to the city that you can even gaze upon it in the metro network of Frankfurt, not bad for a city nicknamed “Mainhattan” due to its towering skyline.

Frankfurt image by Carsten Frenzl


Germany’s City of Cars is home to the legendary Mercedes-Benz Museum, a brand which has become synonymous with quality motor vehicles ever since Karl Benz built one of the first ever cars back in the 1880s. If (somehow!) the Mercedes Benz brand isn’t quite prestigious enough for you, then why not check out the Porsche museum, home to a number of classic cars which are sure to turn heads and have you dreaming of flying down the Autobahns.

If cars aren’t your thing, then the surrounding wine region is among the best in the country, and the city is famous for offering up gastronomic treats from the bars, cafes and restaurants which line the streets.

Stuttgart image by: Isengardt


An exuberant and lively city, bursting with spirit, Cologne is one of Germany’s most popular cities and home to one of the country’s most incredible and insane carnivals. Each year at 11:11am on 11 November, the Cathedral City comes to life with parties and events which last until Ash Wednesday.

Of course, the residents don’t just love a party when it’s carnival time, and it’s no surprise to find that Cologne even has its own beer which isn’t allowed to be brewed anywhere else in the country. Sample a Kolsch in any of the city’s friendly and welcoming bars and drink in the warm atmosphere of one of Germany’s most personable and genial regions.

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