Road trip from Paris to Berlin

Driving directly from Paris to Berlin would normally take around 10 hours, but with so many fantastic places worth visiting along the way, you can make a great one-to-two week road trip out of it.

If you decide to take a couple of weeks to do this trip, there are at least seven cities you can visit between Paris and Berlin. The itinerary looks like this: Paris – Trier – Bacharach – Heidelberg – Schwabisch Hall – Nuremberg – Leipzig – Dresden – Berlin. Here are some of the highlights in each.

Trier was once the largest Roman city north of the Alps and the Romans left a strong impression on the city. Highlights include:

  • Roman baths.
  • An amphitheatre where gladiator fights took place.
  • A Roman bridge dating from the 2nd century.
  • A Roman basilica.
  • The beautiful Porta Nigra city gate.

Bacharach is situated in the middle of wine country and is a great place to spend the night on the way to Heidelberg. The town is almost entirely made up of historic, timber-framed buildings dating from medieval times and is one of the most picturesque German villages you can visit. The food and locally-made Riesling wine are delicious and you can wander the streets without fighting hordes of tourists.

Heidelberg is most famous for Heidelberg Castle which sits just above the baroque-style old town on the River Neckar. It’s also a student city, so there are many affordable cafes and bars dotted around town. You can wander for hours exploring little streets and shop,s or you can go hiking in the nearby hills.

Schwabisch Hall is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s a typically German town with half timbered houses galore, but worth stopping by to help break up the road trip a little.

Nuremberg is another great city to explore on foot. Nuremberg has a fascinating WWII history and you can visit the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and Documentation Centre, which are a short tram ride from the centre. Also visit the Germanisches National Museum to see German and other European art and stop at the Beautiful Fountain, which is indeed beautiful, in the main market square. Nuremberg also has one of the oldest and most-famous Christmas markets in the world, making December a great time to visit.

Leipzig is famous for classical music, Cold War history and coffee houses, which makes it a city worth visiting. It was the home of Johannes Sebastian Bach and there are regular concerts celebrating his music. Just ask at the tourist office for details. You’ll find the Stasi Museum fascinating for its great collection of devices used to spy on the city’s citizens.

Dresden is located on the Elbe River and the rebuilt city features stunning Baroque architecture. Highlights include:

  • Frauenkirche, which was destroyed at the very end of WWII and recently rebuilt.
  • New Green Vault (in the Residenz).
  • Zwinger building, courtyard and fountains.
  • Semperoper (Opera House).
  • Procession of Princes Porcelain Mural.
  • A walk along Brühl’s Terrace.
  • The view of the city skyline from the Neustadt.

Berlin always has something going on. There is plenty to learn about its WWII and Cold War history. Enjoy great views from the Alexanderplatz TV Tower or from the Reichstag. Or you can just chill at one of the summer beach bars.