You don’t have to be a devoted Catholic to marvel at the breathtaking churches and cathedrals of Germany. Each religious structure is an embodiment of the country’s rich history built with excellent workmanship.
Located in different parts of the country, these churches and cathedrals have stood the test of time. While some have remained untouched since their inception, some have been victims of demolition and Germany’s brutal past. With high-rise spires, fancy stained-glass windows, and domes, Germany’s religious architectures deserve appreciation from every tourist that decides to visit Germany.
Stay with us to learn about the 20 most popular cathedrals and churches in Germany.
20. Frauenkirche Munich
Designed and built in the 15th century, the Church of Our Blessed Lady (Frauenkirche Munich) is one of the prime attractions in Munich. A unique feature of this cathedral is the twin green domes built in Renaissance-style architecture, added only in 1525. Vast interiors with a seating capacity of 4000 people and tombs of many historically important German personalities make this cathedral worth a visit.
During a guided tour, listen to some local legends about the Devil’s Step, a suspicious black footprint near the entrance.
19. Bonner Münster
Bonner Münster is a 2000-year-old cathedral located in one of the most sacred sites of the former capital of Germany, Bonn. The 11th-century building has five towers, all topped with spires. The interior furnishings date back to the Baroque and recent periods of history.
As you walk towards the east end of the basilica, you’ll see head sculptures of the Roman martyrs Cassius and Florentius. The church was once a shrine of the two Roman legionaries. Also, find a humongous bronze statue of St. Helen lying on the back of the nave of the basilica.
18. Magdeburger Dom
With a tag of ‘oldest Gothic cathedral of Germany,’ the Magdeburger Dom (Cathedral of Saints Maurice and Catherine) had to make it to our list. Located in Saxony Anhalt, this basilica replaced a Romanesque containing the grave of the first German Holy Roman Emperor, Otto. The main attraction of this religious building has to be the soaring twin towers standing 100.98 meters and 99.25 meters tall.
As you walk around the western façade of the cathedral, you’ll notice a few surviving sculptures. Inside the cathedral are statues of Emperor Otto, Saint Maurice, Christ and apostles, the Virgin, St Catherine, all located in different parts of the cathedral.
17. Bamberg Cathedral
When you’re traveling to Bamberg in Germany, you can’t miss out on visiting the city’s centerpiece, i.e., the Bamberg Cathedral. Founded by the late emperor Henry II in 1002, this cathedral is an impressive piece of architecture with four imposing towers.
The cathedral is born to the Romanesque and Gothic style of architecture with two choirs and a list of magnificent artworks. Take a tour of the vicinity of the cathedral and marvel at the famous statue of the Bamberg Rider, the laughing angel, Veit Stoss’ altar, and many more. Also, don’t forget to witness the spectacular views of the city from the cathedral hill.
16. Erfurt Cathedral
The Erfurt Cathedral is a treasure house for any visitor visiting it. Also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, this is the oldest church in central Germany. The cathedral’s history dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries with some elements of Romanesque architecture, although the cathedral is mainly Gothic.
The current building has replaced many other Christian buildings in the past. When you take a stroll inside the cathedral, you’ll be mesmerized by the many rare sculptures and furnishings, including a tomb, several statues, and an altar.
15. Lorenz Church Nuremberg
Germany boasts of another impressive medieval church called St. Lorenz (St. Lawrence) Church. The Lutheran church dates back to the 15th century, but it was reconstructed after it got completely destroyed during the second world war.
This church is the perfect example of an exquisite Gothic facade, lovely intricate interiors, a large nave, and a massive choir hall. You can locate the church from different points of the Old Town in Nuremberg because of the church’s 80 meters twin towers. As you enter the church, you see a carving of the Angels’ Greeting made by Veit Stoss, including other breathtaking art and sculptures.
14. Ludwigskirche Saarbrücken
Ludwigskirche Saarbrücken, also known as Ludwig’s Church, is one of the most important protestants churches in the whole of Germany. Considered the symbol of Old Saarbrücken, the church goes back to 1762 when Prince Henry commissioned the construction of this church. Friedrich Joachim Stengel, a very prominent architect of those times, built this timeless piece of art which stands favorite amongst many believers. A special feature of the church is the interior which is a unique placement of the pulpit, altar, and organ over each other.
13. Cathedral of St Peter’s Regensburg
The Cathedral of St. Peter’s is one of the prime attractions of Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Bavaria, this is the only Gothic cathedral. The intricate interiors and bold façade with kings on horseback, gargoyles with animals, and foolish virgins will leave you in awe of this fantastic architecture. It has two identical spires, both stunning and visible from any part of the city.
12. St. Bartholomew’s Church Schönau
The St. Bartholomew’s Church Schönau is probably one of the most beautiful churches surrounded by picturesque views of nature. Named after the apostle Saint Bartholomew, this Roman catholic church is located in the district of Bavaria in Germany.
The most exciting part of this church is getting there. You either have to take a ship on the lake surrounding it or hike up the mountains to reach the church. White walls, red onion domes, and red domed roofs make the prominent features of this church.
11. Frauenkirche Nuremberg
Built between 1352 and 1362, the Frauenkirche Nuremberg (Church of our Lady Nuremberg) is an excellent example of Gothic architecture built in brick. The church lies on the eastern side of Nuremberg’s main market.
What makes this church part of our list is the excellent Middle Age artworks kept in the church, such as the Tucher Altar. The church’s most interesting attraction is the mechanical clock, called Männleinlaufen, which commemorates the Golden Bull of 1356.
10. Katholische Hofkirche Dresden
The Katholische Hofkirche Dresden is also known as the Catholic Cathedral of Dresden. Located near the Elbe River and at the center of Dresden, this is the most important catholic church in the city. It has also been Dresden’s foremost landmark in the city’s history.
This church is also a symbol of the suffering of German civilians during the second world war, which has now been fully restored. After a decade of restoration, the Baroque church now stands in full splendor.
9. St. Thomas Church Leipzig
The St. Thomas Church at Leipzig, used to be a Roman Catholic church until it was seized during the Reformation, and now it is a Lutheran church. The church is well-known because several music aficionados such as Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Richard Wagner, and Johann Sebastian Bach worked here. Although it went through tremendous damage, today, the church stands tall as an incredible late-Gothic hall.
8. Sankt Marien Kirche Rostock
Sankt Marien Kirche Rostock is the largest church in northern Germany. Located in the Hanseatic city of Rostock, your visit to the St. Mary’s Church Rostock (English name) will leave you surprised by its sheer beauty. The Gothic brick church was modified in the 14th century into what it looks like today. One of St. Mary’s oldest pieces is the bronze font from the 1920s, which still exists at the church. Take a walk inside the church to witness this beautiful font depicting the life of Jesus and his passion.
7. St. Stephan Dom (Passau)
If you want to see one of the world’s largest pipe organ, St. Stephan Dom (St. Stephen Cathedral) at Passau, Germany is the place you need to be. The pipe organ at Passau is a technical marvel with its 17.974 pipes, 233 ringing registers, and five carillons that can be played using one console. The Passau Cathedral was once part of a massive town fire of 1662 that gutted down the entire building. Carlo Lurago, a famous baroque architect, rebuilt it into what a magnificent cathedral it is today. Two Italian artists painted the frescos and worked on the stuccos to give it a touch of Italian architecture. Marvel at the 100 meters long church building donned with a beautiful facade and green steeples.
6. Frauenkirche Dresden
The Dresden Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) lies at the heart of the old Dresden town in the state of Saxony in Germany. The construction of this cathedral started in 1722 for the Catholics, but now it is considered an outstanding symbol of the Protestant’s sacred architecture.
This amazing Baroque architecture is an amalgamation of frescos, domes, artwork, and cupolas. During the second world war bombings, the building was destroyed, but it got entirely reconstructed in 2005. A trip to this town will only feel complete after an extensive guided tour of this unconventional dome church.
5. Ulmer Münster
If you visit Ulm in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, the first thing that you’d notice is the tall Ulm Minster. Dominating the entire region with its magnificence, this church’s spire stands at 530 feet or 161.5 meters, making itself the tallest spire in the world.
To get to the top of this steeple, you need to climb about 768 stone steps that will lead you to the most stunning views that extend across the southern alps and the Swabian Jura. Home to many medieval arts and cultures, the Ulmer Münster is one of the most admired pieces of Gothic architecture in Europe.
Staying in Ulm? Check out our guide of things to do in Ulm!
4. Freiburger Münster
Lying in the southwestern region of the country, Freiburg’s Cathedral is a must-visit while you’re visiting the city. The Gothic cathedral’s construction started in the 1200s and took nearly 300 years to complete.
Thankfully, the cathedral never became a victim of the war bombings and to this day remains as it was. The church is also home to the 750-year-old Hosanna bell that makes it even more significant. Climb your way up to the tall steeple that stands at 380 feet for a chance to witness the most spectacular view of the city.
3. Berliner Dom
Located in central Berlin, this cathedral dates back to the 15th century when it was part of the Berlin Palace. Since then, many relentless reconstructions have been made to make the cathedral a city landmark today. The dramatic turquoise domes and sandstone walls paint a picture-perfect example of both baroque and renaissance styles of architecture.
Today, the basilica is a crowd magnet because of its ornate interiors donned with onyx and marble altar, painting of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, colorful mosaics, and many other exceptional pieces of religious art.
2. Aachen Cathedral
Supposedly the oldest Catholic church in Northern Europe, the Aachen Cathedral is home to some of the finest artworks of the country. It has also been the church for coronation for many generations of German kings and queens. With mesmerizing gold art, bronze sculptures, bold striped arches, octagonal dome, and decorated columns, your time at the cathedral will be nothing less of amazement. Moreover, the cathedral is close to some of the other historic sites in the city of Aachen; so, if your travel agent schedules you a tour here, definitely visit the nearby areas as well.
1. Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
This cathedral is the front runner of all religious sites in Germany and the hallmark of the city of Cologne. Your visit to Germany can never go complete without visiting this magnificent piece of architecture. The basilica is located close to the banks of the Rhine river.
Cologne Cathedral marks itself as the tallest Roman Catholic cathedral in the world at 157 meters. It also has the tallest Gothic vault that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The main purpose of building the Cologne Cathedral in 1248 was to house the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings. To this day, you will find this extravagant shrine decorated with jewels as you near the High Altar.