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Top Historical Cities in Germany

Top Historical Cities in Germany

Despite heavy bombing during World War II, some of Germany’s historic cities managed to survive mostly intact. A concentrated collection of the country’s prettiest old cities is located in west-central Germany, within striking distance of Frankfurt, from where you can take a half-day, day trip, or overnight adventure. See below for our rundown of Germany’s must-see historic cities. 

Heidelberg

A photogenic jumble of ancient lanes, churches, and medieval townhouses, the baroque-style Old Town (Altstadt) of Heidelberg may look old, but this university town has a youthful vibe and student-fueled energy. Its No. 1 attraction is the ruined Renaissance Heidelberg Castle (Schloss Heidelberg), which stands on a hill overlooking the town. 


Rothenburg

Medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber—located along the Romantic Road, a 220-mile (354-kilometer) route linking several picturesque villages in Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg—is packed with Instagram-ready backdrops. Half-timbered houses and turreted towers line its cobbled lanes, and charming taverns serve wine made from grapes grown in the vineyards surrounding the town. 

Nuremberg

The unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a major cultural and intellectual center, Nuremberg is Bavaria’s second-largest city and it’s steeped in history. While it did suffer damage during WWII, much of its Old Town (Altstadt) has been painstakingly rebuilt, and the core of the historic center is still surrounded by medieval walls interspersed with towers and gateways. 

Mainz

The Romans first settled in Mainz due to its strategic location at the confluence of the Rhine and Main rivers, and it has been occupied ever since. Amble around the charming half-timbered medieval center, visit the famous 12th-century Romanesque cathedral, and see the Gothic-style Church of St. Stephen, which was rebuilt after World War II and features stained-glass windows created by artist Marc Chagall. 

Trier

Sitting pretty on the banks of the Moselle River, Trier is filled with historically significant buildings and monuments that together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the highlights are the 13th-century Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche), the Roman Imperial Baths, Porta Nigra gate, and the Cathedral of Trier, the oldest church in Germany.

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5 Tours and Activities

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Heidelberg Half-Day Trip from Frankfurt

Heidelberg Half-Day Trip from Frankfurt

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286
Escape the bustle of Frankfurt on a half-day tour of beautiful, riverside Heidelberg. Make the short trip south by coach, then spend hours exploring the medieval town with your savvy guide. Listen to historic anecdotes as you wind through Old Town and visit the ruins of Heidelberg Castle.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$93.61
From
$93.61

Heidelberg and Rothenburg Day Trip from Frankfurt

Heidelberg and Rothenburg Day Trip from Frankfurt

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31
Discover the treasures of southern Germany on this full-day tour of Heidelberg and Rothenburg. Depart Frankfurt for a scenic journey to riverside Heidelberg, where you marvel at stunning city sites from the ruins of Heidelberg Castle and the town’s bustling university. Then travel along German Castle Road to the walled city of Rothenberg to admire beautifully preserved medieval homes and Renaissance attractions like St Jacob’s Church.
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  • 9 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$293.87
From
$293.87

Heidelberg and Nuremberg Tour from Frankfurt

Heidelberg and Nuremberg Tour from Frankfurt

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Visit the cities of Heidelberg and Nuremberg on this guided, full-day sightseeing adventure from Frankfurt. First, explore Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest and most famous university town. See the Gothic landmark Heidelberg Castle and the bustling Old Town district that runs for one mile along the Neckar River. Then visit the medieval city of Nuremberg. Learn about its history — from the days of the Holy Roman Empire to the German Renaissance, Third Reich, Nazi rallies and Nuremberg Trials — and see many of its popular attractions. Round-trip coach transportation from Frankfurt included.
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  • 10 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$293.87
From
$293.87

Wiesbaden and Mainz Small-Group Day Trip from Frankfurt

Wiesbaden and Mainz Small-Group Day Trip from Frankfurt

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5
Visit the cities of Mainz and Wiesbaden on this guided, full-day sightseeing adventure from Frankfurt. First, explore luxurious Wiesbaden, the capital of the German state of Hessen. See the collection of hot springs, elegant villas and historical houses in this sophisticated spa town and take a train ride to the top of Neroberg Mountain. Then visit Mainz, exploring the city on a walking tour past its churches, half-timbered houses, cobblestone alleyways and most popular attractions. Round-trip transportation from Frankfurt and a Neroberg Mountain train ticket are included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$199.07
From
$199.07

Your Heidelberg Experience: Hotel, Breakfast, Private Tour, Castle and more

Your Heidelberg Experience: Hotel, Breakfast, Private Tour, Castle and more

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Combine the perks of an all-inclusive tour with the freedom to explore at your own pace on this luxury-filed overnight trip to scenic Heidelberg. Experience the historic riverside town in style, complete with a four-star hotel stay and three-course meal. Tours also include a guided city visit and complimentary Heidelberg Card, which gives you unlimited access to top attractions, including the Renaissance-era Heidelberg Castle.
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  • 2 days
From
$449.00
Price varies by group size
From
$449.00
Price varies by group size