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Photo by Jonas Ginter / BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale
Northern Germany’s Bold Bite
Northern Germany ignites all the senses. The region’s bustling ports and cities are riddled with medieval and Bauhaus architecture, a rich Hanseatic history, diverse culinary scenes, and a vigorous spirit. Here, you can dance till dawn in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district and then hit up the fish market for breakfast at sunrise; you can stand at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and then ogle avant-garde art until your head hurts; you can feast on fresh seafood aboard a floating ship or sit down to a fancy Michelin-starred meal you’ll never forget.

No matter what you seek, northern Germany brings it—and with an extra serving of the brisk and the bold.
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    Photo By Thies Raetzke
    Day 1
    Night Flight to Europe
    Kick back on your flight and get ready to explore Hamburg’s rich history, extraordinary architecture, and bold maritime spirit. Hamburg was a central trade port for the Hanseatic League—a merchant group in northern Europe from the 13th to 15th century—and Hamburg’s ambitious legacy continues today. It’s one of Germany's wealthiest cities and riddled with cosmopolitan vibes, an eclectic culinary scene, and infamous St. Pauli nightlife. Put on your headphones and rest up.
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    Photo By BallinStadt
    Day 2
    Hamburg: “The Gateway to the World”
    Germany’s second largest city and biggest port is both slick and salted with history. Check in at the Westin Hamburg perched above the incredible Elbphilharmonie in the HafenCity quarter. This iconic building dominates the Hamburg skyline and its extraordinary architecture includes over 1,000 individually curved glass panes. Next, wander over to St. Michael’s Church and take the elevator up for panoramic views of the city’s canals. Then explore the Kunsthalle Museum, Hamburg’s Baroque Rathaus; and the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum is fascinating, especially if you have German ancestry.

    After the sightseeing, refuel at one of Hamburg’s 11 Michelin-starred restaurants and many unique dining options. Feel like you’re stepping aboard an old ship at Restaurant Schifferbörse, a maritime favorite with tasty northern German specialties like rump steak with potatoes. And since Hamburg is a port, seafood reigns supreme—Jellyfish Restaurant is an excellent catch. After dinner, head to St. Pauli for the bar scene. It’s worth rising early the next morning to experience the famous Hamburg Fish Market, a lively trade venue that’s been selling much more than fish since 1703. Taste your way through the market or sit down to a memorable brunch with jazz music in the historic fish auction hall.
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    Photo By Jens Hagens / BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale
    Day 3
    Welcome to Bremen
    Drive 1.5 hours southwest until you get to Bremen, a charming 1,200-year-old Hanseatic city that’s still a teenager at heart. Check in at ATLANTIC Grand Hotel in Bremen’s old town and then set out for the city’s old quarter and look for the sculpture of the Bremen Town Musicians: four animals from the Grimms fairytales that are basically the city’s mascots. Next, wander through the 600-year-old UNESCO Town Hall and into the pretty Schnoor quarter with its narrow lanes. Turn into Böttcherstrasse and be wowed by the Expressionist architecture, and then head to the Kulturmeile (Cultural Mile) and the Kunsthalle Museum.

    Getting hungry? Seafood is plentiful, but if you’ve had your fill, you can also find traditional northern specialties like labskaus (corned beef and potatoes) and delicious wine at Bremer Ratskeller. The Ratskeller showcases the world’s largest collection of German wines. Bremen is also home to the well-known Becks Beer.
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    Photo By Olaf Jainz /Erlebnis Bremerhaven
    Day 4
    The next day, travel 45 minutes up the Weser River and to Bremerhaven on the North Sea. Globally unique exhibitions with state-of-the-art technology and seafood abound here, and after checking in at The Liberty Hotel, head straight to the city’s waterfront area and soak up its vintage ships, the dike promenade, and glistening modern buildings.

    Bremerhaven was a major port for European emigration, so stop by the German Emigration Center, where you can embark on a search for your ancestors by using the onsite databases. Next, you simply must visit the Climate House Bremerhaven 8° East, a space-age exhibition that journeys around the world through all climate zones along the longitudinal meridian 8° east. Then sit down for a gourmet meal at the maritime-themed Restaurant Natusch; or the restaurant aboard the Seute Deern floating in the harbor serves up tasty herring and onion rings.
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    Photo By J. A. Fischer
    Day 5
    Celle’s Many Charms
    On day five, drive approximately 1.5 hours south to Celle, a town graced with a picture-book center, over 400 half-timbered houses, an opulent ducal palace, and Bauhaus architecture. Check in at Althoff Hotel Fürstenhof and set out for the town’s gem: the 13th-century Ducal Palace and its chapel. Other must-sees include the Old Town Hall, St. Mary’s Town Church, and Palace Park. The stately Celle Palace in the center of town contrasts with the ultramodern Kunstmuseum, and Altstadter Schule is recognized as one of the most important Bauhaus buildings in the world.

    Dining in Celle also offers a wealth of options, from an enchanted wine cellar setting at Weinkeller Postmeister von Hinüber to regional fare with outdoor seating at Restaurant Waldwirtschaft Alter Kanal.
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    Photo By Francesco Carovillano
    Day 6
    Iconic Berlin
    The last stop on your northern Germany tour is epic Berlin. With 1,500 events happening every day, parks, museums, the Berlin Wall, and 7,000 bars and restaurants, check in at the Das Stue and get to it. The Brandenburg Gate with its triumphant arch symbolizes German unity and is the perfect place to begin. Then wander south to Potsdamer Platz—and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Charlottenburg Palace, and the museums along the Berlin Wall, including Checkpoint Charlie, are all must-sees. Next, explore Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin's most important treasure trove with five grand museums spanning 6,000 years' worth of art.

    Berlin is literally jam-packed with sights—but thankfully, it’s just as packed with hip eateries, street-food vendors, and starred restaurants to keep you going. The bistro lunch at Restaurant Quarré is an excellent mid-day choice. Michelin-starred Restaurant Bieberbau is notable for its artsy architecture—and masterpiece of a menu.
  • Day 7
    Head Home
    On this seven-day journey through northern Germany, you’ve seen and tasted it all. You’ve sampled delicacies from the North Sea, explored bustling ports, ogled Bauhaus architecture, and immersed yourself in Berlin’s urban vibes. This morning, walk Berlin’s streets one more time—soak up the city’s past and bold present—and carry it with you as you head to the Berlin Airport for your journey home.