Fall in Love with Germany

The best things to do when the temperatures drop

As Germany bids auf wiedersehen to a sweltering summer, it welcomes cooler temperatures, cozy sweaters, and an even stronger commitment to hausschuhe (indoor slippers). The nation comes alive when the leaves start to fall (we see you, Oktoberfest).

But the Bavarian festival is just the beginning. Come the end of November, it’s officially Christmas market season — and that’s when the country really sparkles. Read on to discover the best places to visit and the experiences you can't miss while you’re there.

Explore top cities in autumn

Prost your way through Munich

It’s the most wonderful time of year! If you love beer, lederhosen, and crunchy leaves, head to Oktoberfest. From September 21 to October 6, millions of thirsty Bavarians and curious travelers will make the pilgrimage to the hallowed tents of Munich’s Wiesn for beer-fuelled shenanigans.

If you manage to pull yourself away from the festival, you’ll find one of Europe’s most charming cities waiting to be explored. Start by taking in the sights of Marienplatz, Munich’s main square. Alternatively, if you’re nursing a sore head, swap the city center for a laid-back stroll around the ever-elegant Englischer Garten.

Explore the best of Berlin

Home to countless snug cafes, quirky bars, and fascinating museums, Berlin feels designed for fall. Wrap up warm and take a stroll (or drive) past the East Side Gallery’s famous murals. Then pay a visit to top sights like the Brandenburg Gate and TV Tower. If you’d rather ditch the layers, head indoors to spend an afternoon immersed in one of the city’s renowned museums, like the Bode or Pergamon Museum.

Swing by Dresden

A popular stopping point for those traveling between Berlin and Prague is the riverside city of Dresden. Located halfway between the two capitals, the Saxon city is famous for its stunning opera house and beautiful old town, which was painstakingly rebuilt after WWII. Crowds thin out in the fall, which makes exploring this underrated gem all the more enjoyable.

Anchor down in Hamburg

Often overlooked (but never underwhelming), Hamburg more than matches Germany’s more famous cities, especially in the fall. This is something you’ll soon realize when wandering around HafenCity, home of the Speicherstadt and Elbphilharmonie. The latter is arguably the funkiest piece of modern architecture in Europe, while the former is a highly ‘grammable network of canals and red brick warehouses.

Experience Christmas market magic

As fall turns into winter, Germany cranks up the charm in the form of magical Christmas markets. Every small town and big city square is transformed into a life-size snow globe. We’re talking festive stands, steaming mugs of glühwein, belt-busting treats, and trendy trinkets. But where to go in a nation overflowing with festive fun?

Visit Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt

First up, head to the charming Bavarian city of Nuremberg, home of one of the most popular markets in the country. As soon as you take a bite of the city’s famous gingerbread, you’ll realize why visitors have been flocking to the old town’s labyrinth of stalls since the 17th century.

Get festive at Frankfurt’s Weihnachtsmarkt

Just east of Nuremberg is Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital and hub of all things festive. The city may be known for its sleek skyscrapers, but it’s the historic quarter that steals the show in December. The heart of the action is centered around Römerberg, a gorgeous square that’s filled with market stalls and lined with half-timbered houses.

Market hop in Cologne

If you like your Christmas markets with a side of dramatic scenery, Cologne is the place for you. Situated in front of the city’s famed Gothic cathedral, the main market is a highly snappable blend of picture-perfect wooden stalls, festive lights, and the tallest Christmas tree in the Rhineland.

What are you waiting for?

So there you have it: undeniable proof that Germany is a fun (and magical) place to visit during fall and winter. All that’s left to do is to brush up on your Deutsch, hop aboard the bahn, and get going.

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