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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Germany (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Berlin, Germany

Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Germany (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC


Summary: If you're considering moving to Germany and don't have a favorite city or town picked out, going on a look-see or exploratory trip to visit a number of popular expat destinations is really informative. Here are some recommendations for where to visit when exploring Germany.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Germany is an invaluable step for anyone considering a move to this culturally rich and diverse country. Such a trip allows potential expats to explore various cities and towns, get a feel for the local lifestyle, and assess the practicalities of living in different regions. It's an opportunity to gather firsthand experiences, from the ease of transportation to the warmth of community life, which can significantly influence the decision-making process when planning a relocation.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip, consider dividing your time between Germany's bustling metropolises and its charming smaller towns. A 10-day itinerary could include Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg, with day trips to nearby towns like Potsdam, Dachau, and L√ľneburg. If you have 20 days, extend your journey to include Frankfurt, Cologne, and the picturesque regions of the Rhine Valley and Bavaria, where you can visit towns like Heidelberg, Bonn, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This mix offers a balanced view of urban and rural life, catering to expats, retirees, and digital nomads alike.


As Germany's capital and largest city, Berlin is a hub of culture, politics, and history. With a population of over 3.5 million, it offers a vibrant expat community and a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other major global cities. Berlin is known for its dynamic arts scene, extensive public transportation network, and a plethora of green spaces. It's an attractive destination for digital nomads due to its numerous co-working spaces and a strong startup culture.

Travel Tip: While in Berlin, don't miss the chance to savor traditional German cuisine at Max und Moritz, a beloved restaurant in Kreuzberg, or take a historical walk along the East Side Gallery, a remaining section of the Berlin Wall adorned with murals.


Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is famed for its Oktoberfest, beer gardens, and high quality of life. With a population of around 1.5 million, it offers a blend of traditional Bavarian culture and modern amenities. Munich is also known for its proximity to the Alps, making it ideal for those who love outdoor activities. The cost of living is higher here, but the city's cleanliness, safety, and efficient public transport are significant draws for expats and retirees.

Travel Tip: Visit the Viktualienmarkt, a daily food market and square in the city center, to taste local delicacies and experience the lively Bavarian atmosphere.


Hamburg is Germany's second-largest city and is renowned for its maritime spirit, thanks to its location on the Elbe River and proximity to the North Sea. The city boasts an impressive harbor, beautiful parks, and a strong economy. With a population of over 1.8 million, Hamburg has a cosmopolitan feel and a relatively high cost of living, but it also offers excellent education and healthcare facilities, making it popular among expat families.

Travel Tip: Don't leave Hamburg without exploring Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world, where you can tour the International Maritime Museum or the Miniatur Wunderland model railway exhibit.


Frankfurt, a central German city with a population of about 700,000, is often referred to as "Mainhattan" due to its impressive skyline. It's the financial heart of Germany and home to the European Central Bank. Frankfurt is diverse, with a significant expat population, and offers a range of cultural activities. The cost of living is on the higher side, but the city's international vibe and excellent infrastructure make it appealing for professionals.

Travel Tip: Experience the city's culinary scene at Kleinmarkthalle, a bustling indoor market with over 60 vendors selling a variety of fresh foods and regional specialties.


Cologne is known for its vibrant arts scene, iconic cathedral, and lively social atmosphere. With a population of over 1 million, it's a friendly city with a strong sense of community, making it a favorite among expats and digital nomads. The cost of living is moderate, and the city is well-connected by public transport. Cologne also hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, adding to its charm.

Travel Tip: Visit the Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and if you're there during the winter, the Cologne Christmas Markets are a must-see for their festive ambiance and traditional crafts.

Rhine Valley

The Rhine Valley region is dotted with picturesque towns like Koblenz, Bingen, and Bacharach. This area is perfect for those seeking a slower pace of life amidst stunning natural landscapes. The cost of living is generally lower than in the big cities, and the region is known for its vineyards, castles, and outdoor activities. It's an excellent choice for retirees and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban centers.

Travel Tip: Take a river cruise along the Rhine to enjoy the scenic views of the valley, including the famous Lorelei rock and numerous medieval castles.


Bavaria offers a mix of tradition and modernity, with towns like Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Regensburg providing a glimpse into Germany's rich history. The region is known for its beautiful countryside, fairy-tale castles, and strong local culture. The cost of living varies, but many find the quality of life to be high. It's a popular region for expats who appreciate the blend of nature, culture, and community.

Travel Tip: While exploring Bavaria, make sure to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle, and enjoy a traditional meal at a local Gasthaus.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.



Berlin, Germany

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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