Visit Germany with kids

12 February 2018

There’s so much to do here with kids, and as we live here now, we’ve been doing loads of exploring. I’ll keep updating this page as we discover more about our new home country.

Who could resist this candy stall at a magical German Christmas market?
Who could resist this candy stall at a magical German Christmas market?

When to visit Germany with kids

Germany is a huge country, so you’ve got things to do at any time of year really. It gets very hot down in the southwest, so you’ll find quite nice temperatures down there in the spring. For summertime, German schoolchildren have either August or July off (they rotate it through the different areas of the country, so about half the kids will have that month off at any given time), and the smaller towns just don’t seem to be jampacked. Trier, even at peak tourist season, was half empty. Plan a visit in early December or late November (check when Advent begins) for the German Christmas markets, and you will not be disappointed. It’s absolutely magical.

The huge brezeln are a big hit with kids.
The huge brezeln are a big hit with kids.

Where to go in Germany with kids

We live in southern Germany, so most of our exploring has been down this way. I’ve collected the best things to see in Heidelberg with kids, what to do in Munich, and days trips to take from Frankfurt. If you’re keen on history, the beautiful Rothenburg ob der Tauber is breathtaking, the old Roman Gaul capital of Trier is surprising, and the Black Forest Open Air Museum is magical. And of course our very own Heidelberg, I’ve even got a GPS-enabled walking tour for you!

Also, playgrounds are everywhere, and they are, on the whole, terrific. If you’re looking for one nearby, search ‘spielplatz’, and you’ll find one. It’s a lifesaver when you’re travelling with small people who get ants in their pants. Which is all of them, really.

My son in front of the Elector’s Palace in Trier, with the Roman Imperial Throne Room behind it to the left.
The breathtaking Burg Hohenzollern
The breathtaking Burg Hohenzollern

Where to see castles in Germany

There are so many castles. I’ve even made you a list of the best castles to see in Germany that aren’t the super touristy Neuschwanstein. Our very favourite, Burg Eltz near Trier (pictured at the top), is hard to match for fairy tale atmosphere (definitely take the tour inside!). Burg Hohenzollern near Stuttgart is a bit of a new build in the grand scheme of castles, but it’s hard to beat photos from across the valley – and my Burg Hohenzollern post gives you all the details on how to get to the best photo vantage point.

The dramatic market square in Mainz.
The dramatic market square in Mainz.

Should we rent a car or take the train in Germany?

This entirely depends on what you’d like to do. The public transport system is excellent, and clean fast trains run to nearly every mid-sized town in Germany. If you need an overview, The Man in Seat 61 is the best site. However, it isn’t cheap. There are also some cool routes you can take through the countryside, like the Black Forest High Road, the Fairy Tale Route, and the Romantic Road. You can only do these with a car, though you could always just pick a few spots on the route to visit as well. If you’d like to see a specific out of the way castle, they often have bus tours leaving from nearby cities, or you could take one of the popular hop-on, hop-off Rhine boat cruises. The plus side of renting a car, is checking out little places along the way like Ulm or Mainz.

If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Germany with kids, you should follow me on Instagram. Lots of castles, pretty buildings, and things I find in the grocery store over on IG Stories.

7 Comments

  1. Reply

    wendy

    LOVED reading this post! Although I do not have kids I feel like this gave me great insight on what to look forward to on my Germany travels! I am traveling to Germany next month with my husband and best friend and will come back and check out your blog for more insight on Germany. I think it is super cool that you live there! –Wendy with @lovinglybold

    1. Reply

      erinehm

      Oh great! I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Feel free to drop me a note if you have questions.

  2. Reply

    Emma

    We loved exploring northern Germany, but have yet to venture south or hit any of the big cities with our little ones. I agree that there is a lot to see in Germany and so many beautiful castles.

    1. Reply

      erinehm

      Southern Germany is very beautiful, and well worth a visit. So much to see down here! It’s been nearly two years and I still have loads of things on my list.

  3. Reply

    California Globetrotter

    Love Burg Eltz and Hohenzollern! Missed that amazing look out viewpoint though of Burg Hohenzollern! Next time! I also lived in Heidelberg for a year in college! I live in Regensburg at the moment! #FarawayFiles

  4. Reply

    Dianne

    What a great resource! I can’t wait for our next trip to Germany!

  5. Reply

    fifi + hop

    Interesting that the country does a rotational system for summer holiday – smart idea. I think my family would love to visit Germany just for all of its castles alone :). #farawayfiles

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