One of Europe’s most popular destinations during the winter months, German cities seems to come to life as the leaves fall, their chocolate-box houses replicated in crisp gingerbread models. Famed worldwide for its unbeatable Christmas markets, Germany is an undeniable winter wonderland, conjuring images of couples pacing the cobblestone streets in tightly-wrapped in woollen scarves, their gloved hands clasped around a steaming mug of gluhwein. But in a country with so many beautiful places to explore, it’s difficult to know where to begin!
At Zaftyg, we’ve compiled a list of our all-time favourite German winter destinations for that picture-perfect city break. Read on to discover the places on our bucket list!
Although often bypassed by visitors on their way to its vibrant, industrial neighbour Berlin, the elegant city of Potsdam is known primarily for Sanssouci Palace: an ornate, grandiose villa at the heart of the city’s park. Within the city centre itself, the Dutch quarter is a quaint, unique neighbourhood, where the streets are lined with uniform red-brick buildings, dating back to the 1700s. Here, you can find a range of boutiques and coffee houses, and art galleries, alongside rows of neatly-parked bicycles.
Potsdam’s Christmas Market is usually hosted within the eclectic Weaver’s Quarter, and celebrates bohemian tradition through local craftsmen, traders, and artists.
Located in Lower Saxony, just a few hours south of bustling Hamburg, lies the compact city of Hanover. One of Germany’s most underrated destinations, Hanover is bursting with history and culture, its Neues Rathaus (or ‘New Town Hall’) arguably one of the most impressive buildings in the country. Hanover’s lively student population means that there is no shortage of quirky bars and cosy coffee houses, which seem to appear on every corner.
Perched on the banks of the Rhine, the city of Bonn is most famous for being the birthplace both of Haribo candy and of esteemed composer Beethoven; this deep-rooted love of music is palpable throughout the city’s streets, which are framed by buildings so elegant they almost seem to have leapt from a watercolour painting. Considered one of Germany’s oldest cities, as well as one of the most historically and politically important (it actually served as the capital of West Germany following the Second World War), Bonn offers a rich, unique culture, which can’t be found elsewhere in Germany.
With its Gothic, ominously beautiful cathedral, which sits at the heart of the city, Cologne is celebrated as being the region’s cultural hub, and is almost 2,000 years old. During the holiday season, Cologne’s Christmas Market flows through the streets in a wave of twinkling lights, offering a seemingly-infinite array of trinkets and treats. Anyone with a sweet tooth should make sure to head to the Chocolate Museum which overhangs the river.