There's a reason why German-engineered automobiles are among the most revered in the world - they're designed to provide the optimum driving experience. This makes sense, because Germany is one of the most drivable countries in the world thanks to its storied Autobahns...
Driving on the Autobahn is the experience of a lifetime for many car enthusiasts and that's why we've put together this impressive Autobahn road trip itinerary - a driving guide which will take you through some of North Germany's most exciting destinations. With such scenic drives as the Fairytale Road, Romantic Road, and the German Alpine Road, driving tours in Germany offer miles and miles of expertly maintained roadways through some of the world's most beautiful places. But nothing beats the 1,000 KM trip from Cologne to Berlin. With stops in Dusseldorf, Muenster, Bremen, Hamburg, and a few other cities, this amazing road trip provides you with a one-of-a-kind tour of Germany's most renowned cities. Further, the time that you spend in your Germany car rental will be just as enjoyable as the cities themselves.
This trip starts in Cologne and as such, you have three airports to choose from for your arrival flight - Flughafen Düsseldorf, Flughafen Frankfurt, and Flughafen Köln/Bonn (Cologne). If you choose Düsseldorf or Frankfurt you can rent a car at the airport, but both airports offer direct train service to downtown Cologne where you can often rent a vehicle for less.
Read on to Drive to Discover the adventures that await you in Germany!
Cologne, or Köln (in German), is Germany's fourth largest city and the largest in the country's Rhineland region. Driving in Cologne, Germany, you will quickly discover this vibrant and bustling city with a lighthearted vibe all its own. Immediately upon arriving in the city, you'll find that it has a cheerful underlying tone that extends from its citizens to its impressive arts scene. As a result, you're no doubt going to want to spend at least a full day getting to know this remarkable city.
Take some time to visit the city's many museums, like the Kolumba, the Museum Ludwig, the Museum Schnütgen, the Kölnisches Stadtmuseum, and the Käthe Kollwitz Museum. Each one offers a memorable experience and some of the most exquisite and important exhibits, artworks, and displays in Germany.
For lunch, plan a trip to the city's Alter Market. Here, you can enjoy a pint of locally brewed Köln beer while dining on some authentic German cuisine. With your hunger satiated, you can then check out some of the historic sites in Cologne. The city's Dom (cathedral) is one of the purest examples of gothic architecture in the world, while the Romanesque basilica at St. Gereon is equally impressive to see. Cologne has so many examples of gothic architecture, that it really is a photographer's dream.
Since Cologne is such a progressive city, you shouldn't be surprised that it sports an active and varied nightlife. Throughout the city, there are restaurants, bars, pubs, and clubs, so it's easy to enjoy the exact experience you desire. For instance, if you want to hang with Cologne's younger crowd, then Heising & Adelmann is where you'll want to go. Or, if you want spend your evening in an authentic Bräuhaus drinking Kölsch (the city's home brew), then Päffgen is the place for you. Or, if you just want to dig in to a traditional German home-cooked meal, then Früh am Dom won't disappoint.
Cologne also offers a good selection of accommodations for you to choose from - just be sure you reserve your rooms well in advance. The Hotel im Wasserturm was once Europe's tallest water tower, but now it is one the most luxurious hotels in the Rhineland area. Over the years, the 11-story hotel has welcomed some of Hollywood's hottest actors, some of the biggest names in the fashion world, and other celebrities and dignitaries. Or, if you prefer something a little less glam and a little more nostalgic, then the Hotel im Kupferkessel or the family-run Das Kleine Stapelhäuschen will be more to your liking.
After an enjoyable day in Cologne and a sound sleep, you will enjoy a luxurious 44-minute drive in your car rental on the A57, until you reach the state capital of North Rhine, which is Düsseldorf. This elegant city was rebuilt after 80% of it was destroyed during World War II, so what you see now is actually a striking recreation of its former self. Even some of the landmarks were painstakingly recreated. Since its "rebirth," Düsseldorf has evolved into one of Germany's wealthiest cities, and its extravagant nature is on display throughout the city at all times.
As you might have expected, Düsseldorf is a shopper's paradise, as long as you have the money to buy what you see. From furs to jewelry to all manner of finery, practically anything you desire can be found in the city's malls and boutiques along the Rhine Promenade. Or, if you want to stick to the sights, then the city also offers plenty of those as well. There's the Heinrich-Heine-Institut, the Kunstammlug Nordrhein-Wesfalen (art museum), the Neanderthal Museum, and more.
Once the sun sets, pay a visit to Altstadt. This neighborhood is known locally as "the longest bar in the world." More than 300 restaurants and taverns are spread along the narrow alleys, so your options for dining or enjoying a German brew or two is virtually endless.
Wondering where to lay your head in Düsseldorf? You have several options. The most popular hotel in the city is arguably the Breidenbacher Hof, but you can expect to pay a premium for the hotel's high-tech swank and opulence. More affordable but equally as comfortable accommodations can be found at the Hotel Orangerie and the Carathotel Düsseldorf.
At the start of Day 3, you'll get in your luxury German car rental and get on the A1. You'll enjoy a smooth, seamless ride for about 50 minutes before finally arriving in Munster. Despite it being one of Germany's smaller cities, Munster is a wonderful place to visit, because it has a rich 1,200-year history, a large student population, and a wealth of charm. In fact, the city is one of just 13 cities to be admitted into the Historic Highlights of Germany consortium.
Plus, due to the small size of the city, most of its attractions are within close proximity of each other, thus making this one very efficient leg of the tour. Münster's most popular attractions include the St-Paulus Cathedral (with its astronomical clock), the Prinzipalmarkt (main shopping district), the Church of St. Lamberti, the Mühlenhof (an open-air museum, natural history museum, and planetarium), and the Altwetterzoo. There are also several impressive museums in this city, including institutions that offer everything from fine and modern art, to history and beyond. There's even a museum called the Leprosy Museum!
If you look over the restaurant section in the city's guidebook, the Munster Geht Aus, you'll discover that the restaurants in Münster are separated into more than 30 different culinary categories. So whatever you're craving, you'll be able to find it here.
Or you can be like the locals and grab a sausage from one of the city's typical "fast food joints," which refers to the many sausage stands scattered throughout the city. With your sausage in tow, you can jump back in your car rental, get back on the A1, and in under an hour, you'll be in Osnabruck. Upon your arrival in this Lower Saxon town, you will find it to have a youthful atmosphere, thanks to its large student population. The city's small size makes walking and bicycling among the easiest ways to get around. In fact, there are even some areas where only walking is permitted (like near the city center), so be wary of the local laws and you won't inadvertently find yourself in trouble.
Like most German cities, Osnabruck has a great selection of museums. Of particular note are the Felix Nussbaum Haus, the Museum Industriekultur, and the Kulturgeschichtliches Museum Osnabruck. Add to your itinerary St. Peter's Cathedral, the Osnabrück Castle, the Osnabrücker Zoo, and the Rathaus, and you'll experience the best of what Osnabruck has to offer.
When it comes time to eat, you'll have your choice of several dining experiences to choose from. For a quick and inexpensive bite, you can stop by one of the several Döners (Turkish Kebabs) spread across the city. Or, if you are in a mood to treat yourself, then La Vie will more than satisfy your indulgent culinary desires. And if you want a great meal at a more comfortable price, then there are dozens of places to choose from, like Culina, Balu, or The Bottled. With its strong student population, Osnabruck is an English-speaking-friendly city, so at the very least, you can always ask a local and they'll be sure to point you to a great place where you can eat.
On the fourth day of your 1,000 KM road trip across Germany, you'll reach your next destination, Bremen, in about an hour and ten minutes using the A1. This is one of the most scenic legs of your journey, because Bremen is located on the Fairytale Road, a perfect place to tour in your car rental from Auto Europe. Here, you'll drive through mystic valleys with picturesque mountain ranges and dense forests that shadow your every turn.
You'll undoubtedly find Bremen to be one of Germany's most charming cities. A visit to the Marktplatz will bring you to the steps of the St. Petri Dom, a gorgeous 900-year old gothic cathedral. Later, visit the Roselius-Haus to gaze upon some of the most prized works of German and Dutch art. After an afternoon of taking in the local architecture and simple splendor of it all, you can opt for a luxurious French-inspired meal at the trendy Grashoffs Bistro, or you can dine at one of the more traditional German eateries in the city. The cavernous Ratskeller is a particular favorite among locals. It's actually located in a cellar, but don't let that scare you - the restaurant is one of the city's most renowned, and one of the oldest town hall restaurants in the country.
After a hearty meal, you'll be more than ready for the hour and fifteen-minute drive from Bremen to Hamburg. Called "the gateway to the world" by its residents, Hamburg is a city that's full of restaurants, hotels, shops, bars, and, yes, brothels. But one of the best ways to feel the heartbeat of the city is to take a trip to its historic harbor district. Here, the cobbled streets and alleyways transport you back in time.
Next, plan a visit to some of the most illustrious art museums in the city. Among them, the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Deichtorhallen are considered by many to be two of the foremost fine art institutions in the country. If you want to shop the day away in Hamburg, you'll be in good spirits, because there is an endless supply of retailers in the city. For the best shopping, be sure to visit Mönckebergstrasse, Altona, and the Schanzenviertel. Also, don't overlook the shopping-friendly streets behind the magnificent Jungfernstieg.
Of course, it is important to note that sex is a big business in Hamburg. Reeperbahn is the unofficial "sin city" in Germany. Even if you aren't interested in the "red light" specials, the stores might still be fun to gaze upon, and if you want to experience the wildest nightlife in Europe, then this is where you'll want to be when the sun goes down.
Hamburg's hotels range from affordable to five-star luxury establishments. Where you stay and how much you spend will be completely up to you and your desired experience. The city's Altstadt neighborhood has the most hotels to choose from. The Motel One Am Michael is among the most affordable in this area, while the Park Hyatt Hamburg is at the upper-tier of opulent hotels in the city. If you want a hotel located closer to the nightlife of Reeperbahn, then the Empire Riverside Hotel or the Boston will give you the quickest route to your room after a night spent out on the town.
Day five of your 1,000 KM trip starts with an hour and fifty minute drive on the A20, until you arrive at the next stop - Rostock, near Schleswig-Holstein and the Baltic Coast. This community was once the largest shipbuilding center in the former East Germany. Keep in mind that if you're visiting the city in the month of August, you'll be able to see its most popular annual event - the Hanse Sail yacht race.
While in Rostock, be sure to add the Schifffahrtsmuseum to your itinerary. This museum traces the city's maritime history, including the Baltic shipping industry. The Zoologischer Garten is another popular attraction, and it boasts North Germany's largest collection of exotic animals and birds. Or, if you want to take in some of the city's best shopping, be sure to visit the pedestrian-only streets of Kröpelinerstrasse.
For lunch, try the authentic German cuisine at Petrikeller, or if the harbor town puts you in the mood for seafood, then Zur Kogge is where you'll want to dine.
Since your next stop, Potsdam, is a two and a half hour-drive south, you'll want to get in your Germany car rental and get on your way shortly after lunch. Potsdam is located only a half hour away from Berlin, but it's worth a stop just to see the city's 18th century baroque architecture.
In Potsdam, you'll walk along ancient cobbled walkways while seeing some of the most historic sites in the country. From the Brandenburger Gate to the Dampfmaschinehaus to the Heilandskirche Sacrow, Potsdam offers a host of fascinating subjects for your camera. You also won't want to miss a visit to Schloss Sanssouci. This gleaming castle was once the summer residence of Prussia's most famous king, Frederick the Great.
Potsdam has a surprising number of restaurants, but most specialize in either French or traditional Prussian fare. For French food, you can dine at Restaurant Juliette, Maison Charlotte, or Ma Cuisine. Or try Café Heider, Restaurant Fiore, or Speckers Landhaus for Prussian cuisine. The city also enjoys a very active nightlife with parties regularly lasting all night near the Hans-Otto-theatre. Club Charlotte is also one of Potsdam's hottest party venues. Of course, if you prefer a more laidback evening, you don't have to worry; Potsdam has a generous supply of bars and pubs where you can enjoy a nice local brew and some hearty food.
For your last night in Germany, you have a wonderful array of hotels to choose from in Potsdam. The Potsdam Hostel in downtown Potsdam offers the most affordable stay in town, but this is a community hostel, so privacy is in very limited supply. For a more traditional stay, book a room at the Haus Katharina, Pension Stropp, or Gästehaus Urban, just to name a few.
Berlin is your final destination and you'll reach it in just 40 minutes using the A115. With Berlin being one of the world's most visited cities, you're going to want to pack a lot of experiences in the short amount of time you have left in Germany (or, you might want to extend your stay by a day or two).
The Berlin travel experience truly has it all - shopping, architecture, museums, nightlife, entertainment, and more. Some of the city's must-see cultural attractions include the Brandenburger Tor, the Reichstag, the East Side Gallery, and Kulturforum, the city's ensemble of museums, galleries, and the Philharmonic Hall.
The best shopping in Berlin can be found near Mitte's Friedrichstrasse and in the "Shopping Mile" in Kurfürstendamm. The Shopping Mile is home to the world famous Kaufhaus des Westens department store. Or, for the Bohemian set, the neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln offer a great selection of second-hand and vintage shops.
If you have the time, try to catch some of the performing arts in Berlin. The Berliner Philharmonie is one of the world's foremost chamber music orchestras, and if you happen to be in town on a Tuesday, then you can catch a free performance at 1 pm. Or, if your trip has you in Berlin between late August and September, then you'll be able to partake in the Berliner Festspiele, the annual Berlin festival. Because Berlin is known as one of the world's leading cultural cities, there are dozens of different ways to experience the arts there.
Like everything else in Berlin, the city has some of the best fine dining restaurants in Germany. From good old- fashioned German food to locally sourced organic dishes to a full selection of international cuisines, Berlin's culinary scene is exciting and always evolving. If you get the opportunity, try to find your way to one of Berlin's supper clubs. You'll also no doubt be happy to see that Berlin has in recent years become known for its "coffee culture." All over the city, artisan coffeehouses have sprung up, so if you're a frequent drinker of java, then you're going to love checking out Berlin's gourmet coffees.
All that's left for you to do is turn in your Germany rental car in Berlin and catch your flight back home at your pick of Berlin's three airports - Berlin Brandenburg, Schönefeld, or Tegel.
Now that you have an idea of the route you're going to be following on your 1,000 KM road trip across north Germany, all you need to do now is to begin planning your trip. Like just about any travel experience, the earlier you start, the more enjoyable your trip is going to be. Book your rooms now so you will definitely have a place to stay in each location, and reserve your Germany rental car well in advance with Auto Europe. This will ensure that you'll get the exact car you want to be driving while on your trip. With the resources provided here by Auto Europe, and our comprehensive Germany travel guide, you'll have all the knowledge you'd ever need to guarantee the perfect drive from Cologne to Berlin.
|All Road Trips||Germany Road Trips||Netherlands Road Trips||Spain Road Trips|
|Austria Road Trips||Ireland Road Trips||Portugal Road Trips||Switzerland Road Trips|
|France Road Trips||Italy Road Trips||Scandinavia Road Trips||UK Road Trips|