The list of the biggest cities in Germany is a cumulative list of the top ten of the most famous and best hubs of the European country of Germany based on several aspects such as geographical area, city population, work opportunities, places of attraction, and living conditions.
With the fourth-highest nominal GDP globally, Germany is one of the most powerful economies. With low unemployment rates, German cities boast of several innovative high-tech companies. German cities offer diverse job opportunities with high salaries, desirable living conditions, and additional benefits such as free education and health insurance.
Subsequently, many students and ex-pats travel for higher study and work prospects in Germany and seek a better future.
But there is much more that adds to the fascination of the major German cities: history and culture, shopping opportunities, thriving nightlife are some of those.
Based on the performance of Germany’s many cities, in aspects such as total population, job availability, salaries, living costs, and prospects, we present the list of the biggest cities in Germany.
Top 10 Biggest Cities in Germany
Size: 891 km² Population: approx. 3,520,031
The capital city of Germany – Berlin, is one of the biggest cities in Germany in terms of population and land area. It holds city-state status for being encircled by the state of Brandenburg. It is home to globally recognized companies that are amongst the most prominent employers in the world.
Lowlands and marshy woodlands surround the city of Berlin. Forests, parks, rivers, and lakes cover around 30% of the town. It experiences a temperate continental climate.
The history of Germany’s capital has seen a lot of upheaval during the centuries. East Berlin evolved to become the capital of East Germany after World War II, while West Berlin was an enclave of West Germany surrounded by the Berlin Wall. However, Berlin has been the capital of Germany ever since the German reunification in 1990.
Berlin leads the energy and environmental technology market. Its Manufacturing sector is also exceptionally lucrative, combining traditional and modern means of working in this industry. Employment sectors also encompass those of ICT, media, and Innovative technology. The service industry provides approximately 84% of jobs. However, Berlin has an inexhaustible pool of job opportunities and career pathways. People from around the globe visit Berlin in search of better life and careers.
Lifestyle in Berlin ranges from chic, grungy, hip to international. The living costs in Berlin are high compared to other cities in Germany. Berlin is also a thriving center for culture, literature, arts, and media. It is home to some of the most famous universities such as Humboldt University, Freie University of Berlin, etc.
Berlin is also an upcoming tourist attraction. Berlin has plenty of places of interest, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, and the iconic TV tower.
Photo by Moritz Kindler on Unsplash
Size: 755 km² Population: 1,787,408
Hamburg, the stands second on the list of biggest cities in Germany, is also called ‘the Harbor to the World’. Situated on the Elbe, this striking northern city offers maritime flair and elegant buildings, especially along the Binnenalster. It is an important national center of commerce.
Hamburg’s Harbor on the river Elbe is about 110 km inland from the North Sea.
It has a thriving service sector, including trade, tourism, education, and health, making it a strong economy. Salaries in Hamburg are higher than in other German cities.
Apart from the famous Harbor of Hamburg, there are several other attractions. The old storehouse district (Speicherstadt), the Reeperbahn (red-light district), the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, and the Binnenalster are famous places of tourist attraction. Hamburg also has the most bridges in the world.
Size: 310 km² Population: 1,450,381 Capital of Bavaria
Munich is third on the list of the biggest cities in Germany and the largest city in the state of Bavaria. It also holds the highest population density in Germany. Munich has a strong international profile in the industrial sector, particularly in Engineering, innovative technology, and health industries. It is heaven for prospective employees.
Employment in Munich involves trade, communication, science, transportation, government, entertainment, and the manufacturing industry. The immersive environment makes Munich one of the best cities in Germany for work.
The cost of living in Munich is much higher than in the other German cities. However, the salaries of highly qualified employees are high enough to support the lifestyle.
Munich is famous for its tradition and football team. It is usual to encounter people wearing traditional clothing on the streets, especially during the ‘Oktoberfest’. The new town hall in neo-gothic style in ‘Marienplatz’ is the central attraction.
Well-known for the Oktoberfest, Munich is a popular tourist destination. Most highlights of Munich are within the old city center, between the Karlstor and Isartor. The ‘Frauenkirche’ is the best-known sight in Munich. It also shelters one of the largest parks in the world, the English Garden (The Englische Garten). Food and beer are notable attractions of the city as well.
4. Cologne/ Köln
Photo by Nikolay Kovalenko on Unsplash
Size: 405 km² Population: 1,060,582
Another one of the biggest cities in Germany is Cologne. Cologne on the Rhine River shares German borders with Belgium and the Netherlands.
Natural topography around the city, cultural gems, a blending of modern and classical environments color the life in Cologne. Wages are higher and allow a high standard of living.
Many manufacturing and business industries have attached themselves to the land. Cologne is a highly developed economy and is one of Germany’s best cities to work in.
The automotive industry drives the economy of this city. The media and insurance service sectors are also highly developed.
Cologne is also famous for its Cologne Cathedral, one of the most visited landmarks in Germany. The Cologne Cathedral is recognized for its long construction process of 632 years and hosts around 20,000 visitors every day. Also, the twin towers provide stunning views over Cologne from a viewing platform on the southern tower.
The local Kölsch beer is a favored delicacy. The Kölner Karneval, a major carnival in Cologne, showcases fancy-dressed people, street parades, and pubs. The Christmas markets in the city are another major attraction.
Size: 248 km² Population: 752,000
The list of the biggest cities in Germany would be incomplete without mentioning Hesse’s largest city- Frankfurt.
The town is the banking metropolis of Germany and a global leading financial center. Due to its many skyscrapers, the city on the Main River is also called ‘Mainhattan’.
Frankfurt has high-tech industries and offers a promise to a fulfilling lifestyle. It is also the seat of the leading national and European bank headquarters. Aside from this, its unique charm and vibrant environment provide a good work culture.
The Airport of Frankfurt happens to be one of the busiest airports globally, providing several work opportunities.
Frankfurt has a high living cost. However, the variety of modern industries provides several ways to generate the required sustenance.
Frankfurt offers a lot to its visitors. Museums, culture, history, and shopping opportunities are endless across the city. The annual book fair (Buchmesse) is the largest in the world.
A fabulous view of the skyline from across the river is a moment to behold. A glass of “Äppelwoi” apple wine is a must-have delicacy. The newly built town hall, called “Römer”, is another prominent attraction. Frankfurt’s financial center has many high-rise buildings, setting its skyline apart in entire Europe.
Size: 207 km² Population: 623,738 Capital of Baden-Württemberg
Stuttgart, located in Baden-Wurttemberg, is one of Germany’s most important commercial metropolitan areas. It is home to the hard-working and thrifty Swabians. It is also one of the biggest cities in Germany.
Stuttgart of the Neckar valley is surrounded by hills, vineyards, and forests, therefore giving the city green and lush appearance. The state is bordered- by the Rhine River and the Black Forest, overlooking the Upper Rhine Valley.
The Swabian metropolis is home to Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) and Porsche- making it a central industrial region. The area has a growing economy and a fast-growing population. Its high-tech industry, such as Bosch, supports the economy. Nonetheless, many job opportunities are available, regardless of expertise in a particular field.
The town is also a central hub of art and culture. Stuttgart offers many charms to its visitors, including Hearty food and wine, which are the life and soul of this city. Tourist destinations such as Schlossplatz, with the new palace, form the central meeting place in Stuttgart. The Königstrasse (King Street) is a long pedestrian mall and a shopping paradise. Moreover, the “Neues Schloss” or New Castle is a beautiful tourist attraction.
Photo by Deniz Fuchidzhiev on Unsplash
Size: 217 km² Population: 612,178 Capital of North Rhine-Westphalia
One of the biggest cities in Germany, Düsseldorf, is the center of public administration activities in the state capital- North Rhine-Westphalia. It is also a national and a global center of business and science.
This Rhine metropolis of Düsseldorf is well-known for its fashion and art industries. The city holds large urban areas- that boast high salaries and equally high quality of life, alongside various job opportunities. The major developed industries in Dusseldorf are health services and innovative and industrial technology. The fashion sector also brings a lot of revenue to the local economy.
With its history dating back to the 17th Century, Düsseldorf is rich in history and cultural traditions. Classical music, opera, and theatre in Düsseldorf are globally acclaimed.
Düsseldorf has one of the most popular shopping streets in all of Germany, called “Königsallee” (or simply just “Kö”) with Luxury stores lining it. Along the Media Harbour river, extraordinary buildings designed by famous architects provide enjoyable strolls to the tourists and the locals.
Size: 280km² Population: 586,181
Next on the list of the biggest cities in Germany is the city of Dortmund. Like Düsseldorf, Dortmund is also located- in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. This region was previously dominated- by coal and steel industries.
The city of Dortmund dates back to around the year 882. During the Second World War, Dortmund was hit by bombs more than any other city. Many industrial monuments are a constant reminder of the bygone era. The old Phoenix-West blast furnace plant in Dortmund is an example of such a monument.
Dortmund is the center of the Ruhr Area, a highly-developed, highly-industrialized area of Germany. It is a cradle of culture, education, arts, and culture.
The city’s landmark is the Dortmunder U, a center for art and creativity. Stubbing its industrial past, today, it is known for possessing an outstanding amount of greenery in the forms of parks, etc.
Photo by Andrej Gelenberg from Pexels
Size: 210 km² Population: 582,624
Essen, located in the Ruhr area, is also on the list of the biggest cities in Germany. During World War II, about 90% of the town- was destroyed.
Essen is home to multiple German corporations, including the largest energy companies in Germany, E.ON, and RWE.
What Essen lacks in architecture, the city compensates with a lot of greenery. It is well-known for being one of the greenest cities in the country, with plenty of forest coverage and park space. It is also the home of a World Cultural Heritage Site, the Zeche Zollverein.
The former coal mine is now home to exhibitions, events, a swimming pool, and plenty of space for entertainment.
Size: 297km² Population: 560,472
Lastly, on the list of the biggest cities in Germany- is Leipzig. Leipzig is situated about 160 km southwest of Berlin. The central train station of Leipzig is the largest in Europe.
Leipzig is an industrial city, and it prides a thriving job market in terms of diversity and wages. The most extensive industry functioning in this city is the automotive industry. The two worldwide acclaimed companies, BMW and Porsche, are based in Leipzig and are the biggest employers in the area.
Recent years have seen a rise in the environmental technology industry in Leipzig. The high-quality standard of living makes Leipzig one of the best cities in Germany for work.
Leipzig is a liveable city and attracts mainly young and creative individuals. Rents are still modest, and there is plenty of room for experimentation. Leipzig is therefore also dubbed as the “new Berlin” or “Hypezig”.
The leading university is located- in the middle of the town center, surrounded by many shopping facilities, restaurants and parks. Hence Leipzig is famous as an ideal student city.
Tourists flock to its distinctive Renaissance-style buildings and famous opera house, Oper Leipzig.
Apart from the biggest cities in Germany listed above, there are several other important cities such as Aachen, Dresden, Freiburg, Lower Saxony, Bremen, Erfurt, etc. Although not as big as the cities listed above, these cities are vital portals of education, tourism, and industries. If you happen to visit Germany, check out the above biggest cities in Germany. The towns await to show you their hospitality and cuisine.