Looking for the best Germany travel guide to take on your trip? Here are 15 of the most useful options for travelers planning trips to Germany!
Germany is a world class tourist destination in the heart of Europe.
Every year, millions of people travel there to taste its many famous beers and traditional German cuisine, visit enchanting fairy tale castles national parks, and beautiful sights, learn about its rich history and culture, and much more.
No matter whether you plan to visit busting big cities or Germany’s many thriving smaller cities, you’ll find tons of attractions and points of interest. But they can be difficult to explore effectively without a guide to help you along the way.
This article shows you the best Germany travel guides out in the market today (both in hard copy and Kindle) and how you can choose the best one for your trip.
Whether you plan to spend time in Berlin, the Rhine, Bavaria (or elsewhere!), want to travel by cruise, train or take a road trip, or are traveling solo, with a partner or your entire family, there’s a guide for every kind of itinerary and traveler!
- 1 Quick Guidebook Recommendations
- 2 Why Use A Travel Guide?
- 3 Germany Travel Guides Comparison Chart
- 4 How To Choose The Best Travel Guide For You
- 5 15 Best Germany Travel Guides
- 6 What To See And Do In Germany?
- 7 When Is The Best Time To Go To Germany?
Quick Guidebook Recommendations
Check out this quick list of our favorite guide books if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
- For Insider Tips On Hidden Gems: Fodor’s Essential Germany
- For Kindle Unlimited Users: The Rough Guide to Germany
- For First-Time Travelers To Germany: Rick Steves Germany
- For multiple formats and off-line maps: Lonely Planet Germany
- For DIY Berlin Walking Tours: National Geographic: Walking Berlin
- For Visiting Munich, Bavaria & The Black Forest: Lonely Planet: Munich, Bavaria, and the Black Forest
- For Visiting Rothenburg & the Rhine: Rick Steves’ Rothenburg & the Rhine
- For Road Trips & Day Trips in Germany, Austria & Switzerland: Lonely Planet’s Guide to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
- Best City Pocket Guides: Lonely Planet’s Pocket Guide Berlin, Hamburg, Munich
- For Roadtrips in Germany: DK Eyewitness Road Trips
- For Rail Travel in Germany: Europe by Rail
- For River Cruises: Lonely Planet Cruise Ports European Rivers
- Best Guide for Kids: Kids Travel Guide Germany
- For Quickly Learning About German Culture: Culture Smart Germany
- For Learning German Language: 1,000 German Phrases
Why Use A Travel Guide?
Germany travel guides are a great resource for planning specific aspects of your trip, especially when combined with the info we provide on this website.
You can never have too much trip planning information, and a good travel guide provides essential travel information without the need for wifi.
Travel guides are especially useful for people who don’t have a lot of experience traveling abroad or who don’t speak the language of their destination country.
The guides we highlight below can help you find good restaurants, learn about regional customs and traditions, and avoid scams in specific locations.
If you’re looking for something more specific than general travel advice, there are many specialty travel guidebooks available that cover everything from hiking trails to famous literary locations around the world!
Germany Travel Guides Comparison Chart
Here’s an overview of the best guidebooks for Germany travel. Scroll down for a more detailed review of each book!
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- Perfect for insider tips
- Full-size street maps
- Sample itineraries
- Free with Kindle Unlimited (as of now)
- Carefully planned itineraries
- Full-color maps
- Perfect first timers
- Strategic advice for making the most out of your budget
- Tips on how to plan a multi-week trip to different cities in Germany
- Honest reviews of restaurants
- Free on Kindle Unlimited too
- Add notes to personalize your digital guidebook
- 15 walking tours
- Step-by-step itineraries
- Detailed maps
- Up-to-date research on travel information and what businesses are still open after light of Covid-19
- “What’s new” sections featuring cultural trends
- New, up-and-coming areas to visit
- Insider travel tips
- How to avoid tourist traps
- Rothenburg & Rhine focused
- Germany, Austria & Switzerland
- 33 trip ideas
- Fastest travel routes & scenic detours
Small & handy
Books for Berlin, Hamburg & Munich
Expert advice on top tourist destinations & neighborhoods
- 24 well-researched driving routes.
- Discover stunning views and hidden gems off the beaten track
- Practical tips for driving in Germany
50 key routes
Tips on the best ticket deals
Fun sights to see along the routes
- Advice for first-timers
- Covers Germany & other European cruise routes
- Fun facts about Germany
- Language learning
- Coloring pages, quizzes, puzzles & journal pages
- German history
- Cultural values, traditions & etiquette
- Regional cultural differences
- 1,000 basic words, phrases, and sentences in German
- Small talk, asking for directions, finding a bank, ordering at restaurants
- Phonetic pronunciation guide!
How To Choose The Best Travel Guide For You
There are a lot of travel guides on the market, making it pretty overwhelming to find the right one. When choosing the best travel guide for your trip, there are a couple of things you should take into consideration.
What are your travel plans?
If you’re going on a multi-week trip across Germany, visiting several cities and regions, then the best travel guide for you will be a comprehensive general country guide on Germany.
These kinds of guides usually have multiple chapters dedicated to all the big cities and regions, making it easy to flip through whichever destination you’re going to along your trip.
On the other hand, if you’re mostly staying in a specific region or a couple of cities, then it’s better to find a regional guide that really narrows in the area you’re visiting. This way you won’t be bogged down with city information that may not be applicable to your trip.
What’s your travel style?
If you’re going on road trips, you’ll find guidebooks with specific information and helpful tips on driving in Germany, the best scenic routes, and more. Likewise, if you’re going on a river cruise, find a guide that covers that specific type of travel. There are also guides that are geared towards kids.
What’s your preferred writing style?
Do you prefer matter-of-fact, objective, no-frills writing? Or do you gain more value from reading personal guides filled with the author’s own anecdotes and experience of the city?
There are also guides that focus heavily on history, others on beautiful travel photography. Make sure to read reviews to get a gist of the style and content of the guide!
15 Best Germany Travel Guides
Fodor’s Essential Germany is the perfect guide for those who want insider tips on how to experience Germany like a local.
Fodor’s Travel Guides are all written and researched by local experts, who can offer you unique insights you might not find in other guides.
In this guide you’ll find fully updated information on all of Germany’s main attractions and hidden gems, which includes restaurants, hotels, and even outdoor activities.
As well as full-size street maps and beautiful photographs, you’ll also have access to multiple sample itineraries to help you make the most out of your travel time.
The Rough Guide to Germany is one of the best options for those who want a guidebook on their Kindle – it’s free with Kindle Unlimited (as of now)!
You’ll have rundowns of must-see landmarks, carefully planned itineraries, and full-color maps to navigate the streets of Berlin or Munich without the need to go online.
This guide covers a vast majority of areas in Germany, not just the major cities. If you’re spending more time in a certain region, then the detailed regional coverage will be very useful.
Lonely Planet has some of the best guidebooks in the market and the Lonely Planet’s Germany is no exception - it's currently the #1 best seller on Amazon.
They provide comprehensive and trustworthy information on everything you need to know about Germany, from the most visited tourist areas to less well known historic cities.
This guide makes sure to provide itineraries and honest reviews of restaurants, shops, landmarks that cater to every kind of travel style and budget.
The book is available in both digital (it’s free on Kindle Unlimited too!) and paperback versions. The digital version comes with downloadable PDF and offline maps that are great for preventing extra roaming charges, embedded links to recommendations with websites.
You can even add notes to personalize your guidebook. The paperback version is small and sleek, making it easy to bring around while traveling.
If you’re staying in Berlin for some time, then you’ll probably be spending a good amount of time walking (alongside using their excellent public transport).
And there’s no better way of getting to know a city than by walking! National Geographic Walking Berlin is the best guidebook for this.
This book contains 15 walking tours with step-by-step itineraries and detailed maps that will have you roaming and exploring Berlin like a true local in no time.
Lonely Planet just came out with their newest guide on Munich, Bavaria, and the Black Forest.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect spa town to relax along the Black Forest or celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich, this guidebook will have you covered.
Since it was just recently published, you’ll be able to find up-to-date research on travel information and what businesses are still open after light of Covid-19.
Aside from all the essential reading, there are also “what’s new” sections that feature cultural trends and new, up-and-coming areas to visit.
From wandering around quaint villages, going back in time exploring ancient castles ruins, or dining in good restaurants by scenic vineyards, the Rhine Valley is a must-visit.
It’s particularly known as a romantic destination, but every kind of traveler can enjoy it. Rick Steves’ guide to the Rhine is a great place to start planning your trip.
It includes insider travel tips on how to beat crowds and avoid tourist traps. The selective coverage also includes information on Rothenburg, a picturesque well-restored medieval city.
Lonely Planet’s Guide to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland is perfect for those whose travel plans always include day trips or road trips.
Especially if you’ve planned your itinerary with the goal of visiting neighboring countries like Austria or Switzerland, then this guide is for you.
This guide covers everything from the Romantic Road, Lake Bodensee, the Swiss Alps, Zurich, Lake Geneva, Vienna, Salzburg, and more! It features over 33 trips to take with useful advice on breaks to stretch your legs along the way, the fastest travel routes, and scenic detours.
The Lonely Planet’s Pocket Guide series are perfect for those taking shorter trips over a weekend or maybe those who have limited leisure time during business trips.
These guides are small and handy, getting down to the basics of each German city. It’s easy to use and concise, with expert advice on the top tourist destinations, neighborhood chapters, and day planners.
DK Eyewitness Road Trips is ideal for those who want to explore Germany through road trips.
This guide contains 24 well-researched, easy to follow driving routes. Each lasts from 1 to 5 days, so you can choose any depending on your time and preference.
You’ll get to learn about stunning views and hidden gems off the beaten track that you can only discover on the road. It’s full of practical tips like road conditions, detours, parking info, and navigation details for GPS use.
Plus, each tour includes ideas for activities and sights along the way.
Europe by Rail is the definitive guide for planning your European trail travel journey using Interrail or Eurail.
This guide includes 50 key routes that you can follow or incorporate into your Germany itinerary.
It also contains tips on the best ticket deals, where to stay, and fun sights to see along the routes. It covers popular routes such as Glacier Express, the Rhine Valley, French Riviera, and the Scottish Highlands with information on new routes to Slovakia, Greece, and more.
River cruises have been gaining popularity, with many tourists loving the different perspective you get as you travel by water through scenic riverfront views.
Riverboats are usually much smaller than Mediterranean cruises, making for a more social experience and more frequent stops and onshore activities.
This Lonely Planet guide is perfect for those going on a European cruise through a number of different countries but who do not want to buy a guide book for each country.
It covers the following routes: Northern Rhine, Southern Rhine (France, Germany, Switzerland), Western Danube (Austria and Germany), Eastern Danube (Hungary and Serbia), the Seine (France), and the Elbe (Czech Republic and Germany).
Traveling with children to Germany for the first time can be intimidating. Kids Travel Guide Germany is here to help ease your worries!
This guide is a fun gift to give your kids as a way to cultivate their interest in traveling from a young age. Leonardo, the cute cartoon tour guide, will teach your kids fun facts about Germany and even basic German words.
It also comes with an activity book full of coloring pages, quizzes, puzzles, and journal pages to document their trip.
Nothing enriches travel experiences like immersing yourself in the country’s local culture. Culture Smart Germany shows you everything you need to know about German culture and way of life.
You’ll find chapters discussing history, values, cultural differences between regions, cultural traditions, and common etiquette to follow.
It’s great for navigating day to day life while you travel and even for more formal business trips.
This German phrase book is the ideal companion for your trip to Germany.
With more than 1,000 basic words, phrases, and sentences in German it covers every travel situation you could think of from small talk, asking for directions, finding a bank, and ordering at restaurants.
Easy to use and straight to the point, this guide will help you familiarize yourself with the German language and navigate social situations with locals. It also comes with a phonetic pronunciation guide!
What To See And Do In Germany?
If you’re not sure which guidebook will work best for you, consider where you most want to spend your time.
Germany is filled with tons of historic places to learn from, beautiful landscapes to admire, and fun cultural activities to experience. To get a gist of what awaits you in your Germany trip, let’s break it down to some of the main travel destinations in the country.
Berlin, the capital of Germany (and the largest city), is where you’ll find some of the most iconic landmarks of German history. You won’t run out of things to see from the Brandenburg Gate, the East Side Gallery, the Holocaust Memorial, the German Parliament Building (Reichstag), and many more.
For more information on the top historic places to visit in Berlin, read our guide to planning the ultimate Berlin itinerary.
This dynamic city has also undergone a lot of changes in the past decades, growing into one of the most interesting cities to visit in central Europe. Many people are drawn to the vibrant Berlin arts scene and music scene.
After all, the capital city is home to world-class museums (including some that give you a glimpse into what life was like in East Germany) and some of the best nightlife in Europe.
Plus, it’s the gateway to rugged Rügen island to the north on the Baltic Sea, historic Dresden to the south, as well as “Swiss Saxon” national park area.
Hamburg, located on the Elbe river in northern Germany, is one of the most unique German cities. Famous for its ports, lakes, canals, and rivers running throughout the city, Hamburg shows you a different side of Germany.
Whether you canoe through the canals (super fun!) or try delicious fresh seafood after a harbor cruise, you won’t run out of fun activities to do in Hamburg. It’s one of my favorite cities in Germany!
The Black Forest is a region worth visiting for its spectacular scenery, small towns, and close proximity to France and Switzerland. It’s one of the best places to visit for those who love outdoor activities. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore and lakes and waterfalls to admire.
In-between immersing yourself in nature, you can explore picturesque smaller towns like Baden-Baden, Heidelberg, or Freiburg, and villages like Titisee-Neustadt, Triberg, and Gengenbach. You can also spend an afternoon seeing how people used to live at the Black Forest Open Air Museum.
Making your way to southern Germany, you’ll find the Bavarian Alps. For a scenic drive that makes the most out of your experience, we recommend driving south down the Romantic Road.
This route connects storybook castles, medieval towns, and breathtaking landscapes. It’s also one of the best ways to get to Neuschwanstein, the fairy tale castle that’s undoubtedly one of Germany’s most popular attractions.
A staple in all Germany itineraries is, of course Munich, the biggest city in Bavaria. It’s a popular destination for good reason – it’s a beautiful city rich with history far beyond the famous Oktoberfest. Munich (and Bavaria in general) is what most people envision when they think of Germany.
From Munich’s beer gardens, lush urban parks, and historic plazas, you won’t run out of things to see! Check out our guide on how to plan the perfect Munich weekend itinerary here.
Before leaving southern Germany, make sure to stop by Lake Constance (Bodensee in German). Found along the country’s border of Austria and Switzerland, this region with its lakeside small towns is a great place for sunny summer holidays.
In Central Germany, you’ll find the Rhine Valley which holds great historical and cultural importance as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also a popular romantic destination where you can do activities like wine tasting in hillside vineyards and going on a cruise on the Rhine river. We recommend exploring the area on a boat tour to bring you to quaint villages and ancient castles.
Cologne is a great gateway city to the Rhine Valley. The city’s old town is home to the famous Cologne Cathedral and it’s a great walkable area with lots to see.
Another nearby major city is Frankfurt. Though you may only know Frankfurt as Germany’s financial capital or home to one of the world’s busiest airports, the city is fun to explore for its modern architecture, the contrasting historic old town, and interesting museums. Read our guide to spending a day in Frankfurt here or how to day trip to the many castles in the area.
We hope this gives you a good idea of all the exciting things to see and do in Germany. We know there’s a lot to take into consideration. That’s why we also prepared a step-by-step guide on how to plan the perfect Germany vacation that answers everything from where to stay, what cities to visit, and how to get around!
When Is The Best Time To Go To Germany?
We get this question a lot! The best time to go to Germany totally depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. There’s really no bad time to visit because each season has something great and unique to offer!
During summer, you’ll get to enjoy warm and sunny weather. The long days are perfect for sightseeing since the sun sets as late as 10:00-10:30 pm. Be aware that you won’t always be guaranteed clear, blue skies, though. Some days can be rainy or windy but that kind of weather usually doesn’t last longer than a couple of days.
On the flip-side, it can also get really hot during heat waves, and you won’t find A/C in all restaurants and hotels.
Another downside is that since it’s peak season, streets and tourist attractions can be much more crowded with families from all over the world traveling during summer break. Prices for tickets and accommodations are also at their highest so we recommend booking reservations as early as possible.
Winter can also be a beautiful time to visit, but you’ll obviously have a very different experience. Snow, cold weather, and short days with the sun setting as early as 5 pm are just some of the things that you can expect.
Luckily, you’ll have the festive bright lights and cozy atmosphere of Christmas markets to make up for it. It’s also an ideal time to visit if you love winter activities like skiing or sledding.
Fall can be a good time to visit, especially if you want to participate in Oktoberfest festivities which take place late September to early October. The autumn weather means it’s still pleasantly enough for strolls, though you’ll have colder nights as you approach winter.
Weather during spring can be a bit of a toss-up. Some days can bring light breezes and warmth but other days can be gloomy and rainy. But you’ll get to see cities come alive and locals spend more time in parks or beer gardens as flowers bloom and outdoor activities kick into gear.