Public broadcaster ZDF has ranked every town in Germany based on three categories: work and living, free time and nature, health and security. Of the top five, three are in Bavaria, reports Elizabeth Schumacher.
The capital of Bavaria was chosen for its sprawling English Garden park, museums, cultural events like Oktoberfest, and proximity to the mountains. It ranked No. 1 in terms of annual hours of sunshine and was one of the top cities in Germany in quality of life for women. It also has some of the lowest poverty and crime rates in Germany.
The city in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg famous for its majestic views of castle ruins, the Neckar River, and its remarkably well-preserved medieval city centre. Heidelberg is also home to Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Heidelberg scored particularly well in the “free time and nature” category for its green spaces and abundant cultural offerings.
Not far from Munich is the town of Starnberg. Lying on the lake that bears its name, Starnberg is the wealthiest town per capita in Germany. It ranked first in quality of life for men and purchasing power. It also came in first for voter participation in last September’s federal election. Over the years, Starnberg has been the home of members of the Siemens dynasty.
Potsdam is the only city on the list not in Germany’s deep south. Just outside of Berlin, the town is home to sumptuous palaces and parks, as it was the home of Prussian kings for several generations. Potsdam came first in the “free time and nature” category for its sunshine, libraries, cultural events and tourism infrastructure.
Originally a Roman town, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is now known for its proximity to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. Situated directly on the border with Austria, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the best of the top 5 for “health and security.” The town is beloved by tourists for skiing and hiking as well as its cobblestone streets and medieval frescoes.