Top Ten German Cities: Cologne to Passau via Dresden, Hanover and Leipzig

There are many attractive German cities, often with impressive Old Towns faithfully rebuilt after the destruction of the World War II, and most with pleasant gardens and river or lakeside walks.

German Cities: Koblenz - Deutches Eck - Moselle meets the Rhine
Koblenz where the Moselle meets the Rhine

As the coronavirus pandemic eases, travel by car to Europe may well appeal to those of us, who are a bit wary of air travel, but still want to get out and explore a bit of the world. Of course pandemic restrictions and Brexit will both make that rather more difficult this year, as mentioned below.

Our Top Ten German Cities are looked at from a senior traveller’s point of view? We are not interested in aspects like family friendly facilities or the night club scene.

Rather we are considering the range of interesting buildings, gardens and other attractions, and the availability of good, but reasonably priced, hotels and restaurants. Also we like to be able to walk comfortably around the historic parts of a city, which rules out for us Germany’s two largest cities, Berlin and Hamburg, with their sprawling tourist areas.

So bearing these points in mind, we’ll now give you our Top Ten German Cities in alphabetical order.


Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city is a major cultural centre on the banks of the Rhine. The centre is dominated by the Gothic Cologne Cathedral. Not far from the centre are two attractive botanic gardens. See: Top Ten German Cities: Cologne.


German Cities: Zwinger Palace in Dresden
Zwinger Palace in Dresden

Dresden has risen from the ashes and is now resplendent with fine historic buildings, like the Frauenkirche Church and the Zwinger Palace, and pleasant walks along the banks of the Elbe. See: Top Ten German Cities: Dresden.


Frankfurt is well known as a major business centre, with skyscraper blocks, but there is much else to this fine city on the River Main. See: Frankfurt – Short Break.


Hanover (Hannover in German) is often overlooked by tourists, but it has a small, attractive Old Town and its gardens are some of the finest in Germany. See: Top Ten German Cities: Hanover.


Heidelberg Old Town
Heidelberg Old Town

Heidelberg ticks all the boxes mentioned above in deciding on our Top Ten German Cities. It has a spectacular castle towering over the Old Town, walks beside the River Neckar and garden areas, all within easy strolling distance. See: Heidelberg – Short Break.


The historic city of Koblenz is at the confluence of the Rhine with the Moselle, hence its name.

Their are wide riverside promenades around the Old Town which provide great views of the massive Ehrenbreitstein Fortress which can be reached by cable car – definitely a positive for senior travellers. See: Kolblenz -Short Break.


Leipzig is rightly known as the City of Music, being associated with several great composers, so following the so-called Music Trail seemed an appropriate way for us to view the sights of the city. See: Top Ten German Cities: Leipzig.


River Isar in Munich
River Isar in Munich

Munich, Germany’s third largest city, has attractive parks, along with beautifully restored buildings, particularly within the Old Town. Also, and of importance to senior travellers, the central part of the city around the old town and by the River Isar is compact enough for pleasant, relaxed strolling. See: Munich in October – Short Break.


We’ve visited Nuremberg many times. We enjoy strolling around the Old Town with a its well blended mixture of medieval and modern buildings and crossing the River Pregnitz on one of its fine bridges up to the Kaiserburg Hill and the Imperial Palace. See: Nuremberg – Short Break.


Passau Old Town from the Fortress
Passau Old Town from the Fortress

Like Koblenz, Passau is also a confluence city, but in this case of three rivers meeting by the Old Town and overlooked by a fortress and a monastery. See: Top Ten German Cities: Passau.

Travel to Europe

Following Brexit, travel insurance is even more essential and, if you are driving to Europe, a car insurance Green Card is required and in some cases an International Driving Licence. The RAC provides guidance.

POSTED 25th FEBRUARY 2021 by STEVE HANSON. The photographs were taken by BARBARA HANSON.