Germany

Regions – Germany

  1. Aachen

    The heart of the ancient imperial city is the cathedral which was the first German building to be declared a World Heritage Site of the UNESCO. The oldest part is the octagonal central building, which was built around 800 under Charlemagne. In the palace chapel more than 30 German kings were crowned. Under the dome there is the marble throne of Charlemagne and a chandelier, which was donated by Frederick Barbarossa. Because of the rich tradition and the close border to Belgium and the Netherlands, Aachen is known as an European city in which many cross-border initiatives were started.

    Aachen: Imperial cathedral and city hall Aachen: Imperial cathedral and city hall
  2. Altmühl Valley

    The Altmühl, a tributary of the Danube, rises in Franconia and then flows through the Franconian Jura into the Danube. Especially in the lower section it forms a magical valley, where nature and the medieval villages belong to a natural park. Eichstätt, which is one of the most picturesque old towns in Germany with its Romanesque cathedral and Residenzplatz (royal seat), needs special mention. 

    Altmühl Valley: A wooden bridge in Essing Altmühl Valley: A wooden bridge in Essing
  3. Augsburg

    The second oldest German city after Trier is named after the Emperor Augustus. Because of its strategic location on the main route to Italy, it quickly rose to a free imperial city and an important commercial center in the Middle Ages. The Romanesque cathedral dates from this time and on the south side are the “prophet-windows” from this period, - the only ones world-wide. Also worth seeing are the “Fuggerei”, the oldest social housing development in the world that has been inhabited since 1523, as well as the house of the Mozart family and the birthplace of Bertold Brecht. 

    City for Mozart & Brecht enthusiasts : Augsburg City for Mozart & Brecht enthusiasts : Augsburg
  4. Baden-Baden

    The town at the northern end of the Black Forest is famous for its thermal baths and its mild climate. Although the Romans already made use of the natural hot springs and built a settlement on the site to take advantage of them, Baden-Baden didn't become a popular spa until the late 18th century, when the rich and famous began using it as their summer residence to escape the heat in their winter residence, Paris. Luxury hotels soon sprang up around the Casino (1810-1811) and the Kurhaus (1821-1824). Today Baden-Baden maintains its reputation as an international spa and has benefited from modern wellness trends. We suggest you visit the Friedrichsbad (1877): a classical steam bath with 16 stations.

    Distinguished Spa Operation: Spa Park in Baden Baden Distinguished Spa Operation: Spa Park in Baden Baden
  5. Bamberg

    Bamberg was one of the few historical cities in Germany that were not destroyed by Allied bombers in WW II and therefore has an exceptionally well-preserved medieval core and the entire old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. During the early Middle Ages Bamberg was one of the most important cities in the Holy Roman Empire. Both Henry II (Holy Roman Emperor from 1014 to 1024) and his wife Kunigunde are buried in the Bamberg Cathedral. The Romanesque cathedral completed in 1012 is one of the architectural gems of the Middle Ages in Germany. The "Bamberger Reiter", a sculpture by Tilman Riemenschneider depicting St. Stephen, King of Hungary, is found here too. Today Bamberg is also known for its unique smoked beer called "Rauchbier". Nowhere does it taste as good as in a Schlenkerla, a traditional brewery with its own beer garden.

    Built on a bridge: Bamberg City Hall Built on a bridge: Bamberg City Hall
  6. Bayreuth

    The 900 year old city in the wide valley of the Red Main River lies between the Fichtelgebirge in the north and the Franconian Switzerland. Even to date the 70,000-populated city is shaped by the ideas of Princess Wilhelmine, sister of Frederick the Great, who left her mark here with many rococo buildings. The most famous citizen of the city is still Richard Wagner who, with his wife Cosima, moved into the Villa Wahnfried in 1874. At this time, the opera house was built under Wagner's supervision, and even today only the works of this controversial German opera composer are performed. His music dramas are staged annually in July and August and are internationally renowned cultural events.

    Site of the annual Wagner festival: Bayreuth Festspielhaus Site of the annual Wagner festival: Bayreuth Festspielhaus
  7. Berlin

    Unlike other European capitals, Berlin is a young city that only grew in importance with the rise of Prussia to a European power in 1815. Yet there is hardly a city that affected - and was affected by - 20th century history more than Berlin. After the peaceful reunification Berlin became a world city of culture, politics, media and science. In the 21st century the city has become a magnet for entrepreneurs, creative people and immigrants. Berlin’s architecture, festivals, nightlife and creative alternative scenes attract millions of visitors to the city.

    Where the cold war ended: Berlin, 9 November 1989 Where the cold war ended: Berlin, 9 November 1989
  8. Bonn

    This city on the Rhine can look back, as can Cologne located 30 kilometers to the north, on a 2000-year history. In its heyday, between 1597 and 1794, the Roman Castra Bonnensia was the residence of the Electorate of Cologne. By the end of this period (1770) Ludwig van Beethoven was born here. After the Second World War, the Parliamentary Council met in Bonn and drew up the constitutional law - of which one of the prerequisites was that Germany renounces Nazism in the post war period. From 1949 to 1991 Bonn was the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. On the market square lies the Old Rococo Hall, built in1737 and one of the landmarks of the city. Located directly next to the Hall is the “Kurkölnische” (Electorate of Cologne) Castle, now the main building of the University of Bonn.

    Beethoven's birthplace: Bonn Beethoven's birthplace: Bonn
  9. Bremen

    In 787 Charles the Great founded the first German bishop town on the coast on the Weser estuary. Half a millennium later Bremen was in full bloom: it joined the Hanseatic League and became one of its most important trading centers. From this time stems the marketplace with Roland, a ten-meter-high statue which symbolizes the freedom of the city. Behind this statue is the Town Hall, a Renaissance building with a magnificent facade. Today the beautiful old town - the Schnoor quarter with houses from the 15th to 18th century - is a trendy bohemian district.

    Bremen's Old Town and artists' district: Schnoor quarter Bremen's Old Town and artists' district: Schnoor quarter
  10. Berlin

    The nearly 500 square kilometers of the Spreewald Biosphere Reserve is located in the southeast of Brandenburg, just a few kilometers west of Cottbus and 100 km southeast of Berlin. It stretches along the middle reaches of the river Spree and borders the counties of Dahme-Spreewald, Oberspreewald-Lausitz and Spree-Neisse. The special attraction of this Biosphere Reserve lies in its park-like landscape which is crisscrossed by numerous water flows. A rich variety of flora and fauna is endemic to this area. Generations of Sorbian and German settlers have created a mosaic of small meadows, fields and forests that shape and characterize the inner upper Spreewald even today. Typical of the lower Spreewald are the natural mixed deciduous forests.  Information centers are found in Burg, Lübbenau and Schlepzig.

    Enchanting water world: Spreewald Enchanting water world: Spreewald
  11. Black Forest

    The lake surrounded by beautiful forests has, according to legend, waters of immeasurable and imperceptible depth. When trying to measure its depth, a voice from the bottom resounds: "You fathom me out, I drown you." But in actual fact the ice age lake at an altitude of 850 meters is only 20 meters deep. In its nutrient-poor waters large predatory fish such as pike and lake trout live, as well as eels and many other small species of fish. A hiking trail leads around the two-kilometer long lake. Swimming, sailing and pedal boating are also possible.

    Bathing lake amid beautiful forests: Titisee Bathing lake amid beautiful forests: Titisee
  12. Chiemsee

    The third-largest lake in Germany is often referred to somewhat tongue-in-cheek as the "Bavarian Sea". The main attractions are the his and hers islands, called the Fraueninsel (Women's Island) and the Herreninsel (Men's Island). The former is home to a Benedictine convent, while the latter features a palace built by Ludwig II of Neuschwanstein fame intended to be a replica of the Palace of Versailles. The shores of Chiemsee are dotted with medieval villages, of which Seeon is the most charming.

    Water sports paradise: Chiemsee Water sports paradise: Chiemsee
  13. Dresden

    The political and cultural capital of Saxony has an eventful history. Although already mentioned in 1206, it was largely insignificant until the 15th century. After it survived the 30-year war, it burned to the ground in 1685. The city of the Saxon Elector was then rebuilt in glorious fashion and given a uniform baroque townscape which earned her the name "Florence of the North". In February 1945 the hitherto scarcely damaged city was razed to the ground in one night by a devastating bomb attack. For decades the ruins of the Frauenkirche were a memorial to the horrors of war. The glorious restoration of the Frauenkirche in 2005 unleashed the ambition of the city to reconnect with its former splendor and beauty before the 2nd World War. The old town between the Zwinger (palace) and Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) has been restored to its former glory and many other sites in the city are being rebuilt.

    Baroque city on the Elbe River: Dresden Baroque city on the Elbe River: Dresden
  14. Frankfurt

    Since the Middle Ages Frankfurt has been one of the major urban centers of Germany. First documented in 794, it has been a free city since the High Middle Ages and later the coronation city of the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1816 Frankfurt became an independent town and in 1848 it was the birthplace of the German democracy, when the meeting of the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) took place in the St. Paul's Church. Today the city on the Main is an international financial center and seat of the European Central Bank, the Bundesbank, the stock market and many large banks. Frankfurt is the only German city with a skyline that forms a strange contrast behind the medieval cityscape to the “Römer” - medieval buildings in the old town. 

    Trading center for centuries: Frankfurt Trading center for centuries: Frankfurt
  15. Freiburg

    The city in southwestern Germany which lies in the Upper Rhine Valley between the French Vosges and the Black Forest to the east, enjoys a pleasant warm climate. Its story begins with a castle (Freiburg - “free castle”) of the Zähringer Duke in 1008. Today the vibrant university city with over 30,000 students is a stronghold in the world for solar energy research and one of the few German cities with a “green” mayor. The picturesque, traffic-free old town with its magnificent cathedral lends itself to a leisurely stroll, to shop or to dine. South of the city the Schauinsland rises, - one of the most beautiful mountains in the southern Black Forest. And a few kilometers north the Kaiserstuhl (Emperor’s Chair), a range of hills where rare plants and excellent wines grow, emerge from the Rhine plains. 

    Freiburg: The Old Granary Freiburg: The Old Granary
  16. Lake Constance

    This town on the northern shore of Lake Constance named after the first King of Württemberg was only established in 1811. Because of free trade privileges with Switzerland the city grew rapidly and attracted industrialists and tourists, including the Russian Tsar Alexander II. In the early 20th century the Graf von Zeppelin from Constance set up his airship factory in Friedrichshafen. This was converted into arms factories in the Third Reich, but today they belong to Airbus.

    On Lake Constance: Friedrichshafen On Lake Constance: Friedrichshafen
  17. Leipzig

    Leipzig is one of the most interesting cities in Germany. Located on several important trade routes, it prospered in the Middle Ages and became an important commercial city. After the Reformation had created an atmosphere of intellectual freedom, Leipzig became an important cultural center in the 18th century. For about 27 years Johann Sebastian Bach worked at the St. Thomas Church. Today his choir, the St. Thomas Boys, is the oldest and most famous choir in Germany. Later Mendelssohn and Schumann worked here as well. Goethe and major publishers made Leipzig Germany's book city number 1. Given the free-spirited climate, it is no wonder that the peaceful revolution that led to the demise of the Soviet bloc in 1989 began with the Monday prayers in the Nicolai Church.

    Where Bach was at home: Thomas Church in Leipzig Where Bach was at home: Thomas Church in Leipzig
  18. Lindau

    The picturesque old town of Lindau is located on an island in Lake Constance. It is connected by a pier to the mainland. The Maximilian Street leads past patrician houses from the Gothic and Renaissance era. It ends at the harbor, which is dominated by a lighthouse and a six meter tall Bavarian lion. A beautiful riverside walk with views of the Alps leads around the old town.

    On an island in Lake Constance: Lindau On an island in Lake Constance: Lindau | © haveseen / Shutterstock.com
  19. Garmisch-Partenkirchen

    The town dates back to the Roman route station "Partanum" on the Via Claudia. In 1361 it gained in importance when it became the resting station on the trade route from Augsburg to Italy. Quaint farmhouses are found especially in Garmisch. Southwest is the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany at 2,964 meters - and the top can be reached by cable car! The famous Benedictine Abbey from 1330 is located 15 kilometers north in Ettal.

    Picturesque farming village: Garmisch-Partenkirchen Picturesque farming village: Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  20. Görlitz

    Those who visit the city on the Neiße embark on a journey through five hundred years of European architecture. With structures of late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau Görlitz is now considered an urban Gesamtkunstwerk. The city benefited from remaining completely intact during World War II and also from being spared from the West German postwar architectural eyesores. The old town impresses with richly decorated facades, ornate vaults and intricate painted ceilings from the various eras. Nowhere else in Germany is there such a density of masterfully restored monuments. Among the most striking buildings is the town hall from the mid-14th century.

    Journey through half a millennium: Görlitz Journey through half a millennium: Görlitz
  21. Hamburg

    After Berlin, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is the second largest city of Germany. Their importance is owed to the port on the Elbe estuary, which has become one of the largest trading centers in Europe since the beginning of steam navigation. Founded in the 9th century Hammaburg rose to a merchant metropolis. In the free spiritual and religious environment Hamburg could make major contributions to the German Enlightenment in the 18th century. The Alster, a tributary of the Elbe, dominates the cityscape. The Inner Alster lake was expanded in the 17th century to become part of the beautiful and prominent urban landscape.

    Tourist attraction: fish market in Hamburg Tourist attraction: fish market in Hamburg
  22. Heidelberg

    The capital of the Palatinate (Kurpfalz) is at the point where the Neckar from the Odenwald enters the Rhine valley. It is considered the cradle of German Romanticism and has inspired poets such as Brentano, Arnim or Eichendorff. The city is mentioned for the first time at the end of the 12th century. 200 years later the university was established and the castle under Palatine Count Rupert was built. In 1693 the town and castle were destroyed and rebuilt in the 18th century in baroque style. Rising majestically above the roofs of the old town maze are the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle - the most spectacular in the location, size and beauty in Germany. The classical-romantic view of Old Heidelberg and the castle can be enjoyed from the Philosphengärtchen (Philosophers' Garden) and along the Philosophers’ Way on the north bank of the River Neckar.

    The cradle of German Romanticism: Heidelberg The cradle of German Romanticism: Heidelberg
  23. Heilbronn

    The town on the Neckar River was a "Free Imperial City" during the Holy Roman Empire, a status which put it in a league with many of Germany's most powerful cities, including Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg and Nuremberg. The city was a major base for the Teutonic Knights from the Middle Ages all the way up to 1805. The famous knight Götz von Berlichingen was held prisoner in the Bollwerksturm (Tower of the Bastion) from 1519 to 1522. While that tower still stands today, much of the city's historical architecture was destroyed when Heilbronn was carpet bombed by allied bombers in 1944. The town's nickname "Käthchenstadt" derives from a famous play called "Das Käthchen von Heilbronn" (Kate of Heilbronn) by Heinrich von Kleist.

    Set between vineyards: Heilbronn in the Neckar River Valley Set between vineyards: Heilbronn in the Neckar River Valley
  24. Weserbergland

    The more than 200 square kilometers central mountains in the Weser Uplands is known as a place of myths and legends. Many fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm originated here, first and foremost the story of Sleeping Beauty whose castle is linked to the Sababurg. Between the Sababurg Hofgeismar-Beberbeck is a jungle-like landscape, the Reinhardswald (Wald = forest). Several trails lead to giant trees and other fairytale places - among others, the “Frau Holle” ( Mother Hulda) path. The Reinhardswald cycling path or track on the slopes along the Holzape River past the Wülmersen water castle offer great opportunities for energetic cyclists. On the northern edge of the Reinhardswald the city of Bad Karlshafen and the Krukenburg (castle) are worth seeing.

  25. Wartburg Castle

    Hardly any other castle in Germany is linked to the German history as is this 1000 year old terrain. From 1211-1227 Elizabeth of Thuringia, later proclaimed a saint in the mighty castle, lived here. In 1521/22 the reformer Martin Luther hid here as "Junker Jörg" (young nobleman Jörg) and translated the entire New Testament during this period. Once, when working late into the night by candlelight, the devil is said to have tempted him. Luther threw the ink pot at him and the stain can still be seen in his study today. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stayed here several times, the first time in 1777. The first Wartburg Festival took place at the castle on 18 October 1817 when the German students’ fraternity met here. (Burschenschaftstreffen = boys/male student fraternity meeting). The second Wartburg Festival was organized in the revolutionary year of 1848. With such history it is not surprising that the castle was considered a national monument as early as the 19th century.

    Where Luther translated the Bible: Wartburg Where Luther translated the Bible: Wartburg
  26. Weimar

    Thr city in southwest Thuringia was the centre of German classicism. After such luminaries as Martin Luther, Lukas Cranach and Johann Sebastian Bach had lived and worked here, the city cemented its image as Germany's intellectual centre when Goethe, Herder and Schiller took up residence in Weimar towards the end of the 18th century. The composer Franz Liszt joined the list of prominent residents in the 19th century - a list that also includes Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. In the 20th century the Bauhaus school of architecture originated in Weimar before spreading around the world. Many statues of famous citizens dot the city and the pleasant park - designed by Goethe himself - on the Ilm River. Recommended stops are the Goethe-Haus, the Lukas-Cranach-Haus and the Goethe-Schiller monument.

    Great minds: Goethe and Schiller Great minds: Goethe and Schiller
  27. Wittenberg

    Wittenberg was a remote enclave when Martin Luther became a professor of theology at the university there in 1508. Nine years later, in 1517, he nailed his 95 theses against the selling of indulgences on the door of the All Saints' Church. That was the beginning of the Reformation, which changed Germany and the world forever. Wittenberg became the centre of the new movement and the "Protestant Rome". It was there that the Old Testament was translated into German, which is considered the beginning of modern German language. Luther died in Wittenberg in 1546 and was buried in the the All Saints' Church (also known as the Castle Church).

    Unlike many other historical German cities, Wittenberg was spared destruction in World War II. The Allies agreed not to bomb Wittenberg, although there was fighting in the city which left visible bullet holes on the statues of Luther and Melanchthon on the market square.

    Wittenberg:  Market Square and Castle Church Wittenberg: Market Square and Castle Church
  28. Iphofen

    Iphofen lies at the foot of the Schwanberg surrounded by vineyards and ancient villages. The first Silvaner vine was planted in the area in 1692. Founded in 751, the enchanting town still features narrow cobbled streets and timber-frame houses (Fachwerkhäuser) enclosed by a mighty town wall. The numerous wine festivals are held in front of the baroque city hall. Although almost as well-preserved as Rothenburg, Iphofen is less well known and thus less touristy. Many hiking trails lead into the nearby Steigerwald.

    Iphofen: birthplace of the Silvaner wines Iphofen: birthplace of the Silvaner wines
  29. Kiel

    The provincial capital of Schleswig-Holstein is situated on the Kiel Fjord, an inlet that extends 17 kilometers inland. Kiel was founded in the 13th century but was overshadowed by the Hanseatic cities of Lübeck and Hamburg. Only when the Prussian fleet was moved to Kiel in 1865 did it begin to grow rapidly. Worth seeing is the old market in the old town where one of Germany’s longest shopping miles starts, the Holstein Street. The city is especially important for the ferry-traffic to the Baltic States and Sweden. 

    The biggest sailing event in the world: Kieler Woche The biggest sailing event in the world: Kieler Woche
  30. Köln

    Founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago, Cologne is Germany's second oldest city. The city marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire and was therefore of great strategic and military importance to the Romans. For many centuries now it has been a leading trading and transportation hub due to its location along the Rhine River. Cologne became one of the focal points of Western culture during the Middle Ages when, under the rule of Friedrich II, the relics of the Three Wise Men were brought to Cologne in 1164 after being captured from Milan. Cologne Cathedral, one of the most magnificent structures north of the Alps, was built to house these relics, although construction wasn't completed until 600 years later. Today the landmark is the emblem of Cologne and is also a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The old town facing the Rhine together with the city boasting 12 Romanesque churches among its numerous other historical sites creates a unique ensemble and Cologne is also known as the center of the German Mardi Gras celebrations that peak during the carnival period.

    In the shadow of the cathedral:  The old town of Cologne In the shadow of the cathedral: The old town of Cologne
  31. Konstanz

    Despite its two thousand year history the city on the southern shore of Lake Constance is vibrant. This is due to the University which attracts many young people to the theaters and concerts. Since 1993 the harbor is dominated by a massive statue that rotates once around its own axel every four minutes. A nine meter high female figure with a deep neckline holds two gnomes in her hands. This is the legendary prostitute Imperia and the two gnomes are the Emperor and the Pope. During the Council of Constance 1414-1418 she slept - and played - with both. Jan Hus, who criticized the power and demoralizing influences of concubines within the Roman Church most violently, was burned at the end of the Council in Constance at the stake.
    The old town around the cathedral and the town hall is especially beautiful and interesting.

    Harbor entrance with Imperia: Konstanz Harbor entrance with Imperia: Konstanz | © manfredxy / Shutterstock.com
  32. Kronach

    The romantic city in Upper Franconia with less than 20,000 inhabitants is located at the foot of the Franconian Forest, one of the most beautiful hiking areas of Germany. Kronach is the birthplace of Lucas Cranach the Elder. The fortress Rosenberg is one of the best conserved castles in Germany. The old town which is almost entirely preserved, is characterized by sandstone and half-timbered houses, city walls, gates, towers and vaulted cellars. Kronach is located on the “Beer and Castle Route”.

    Late medieval town: Kronach Late medieval town: Kronach
  33. Schwerin

    Since the reunification of Germany the town on the edge of the Mecklenburg Lake District is once again the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. With its renovated old town and the attractive surrounding countryside with over 70 lakes Schwerin attracts many visitors. Landmark and a magnet for visitors is the castle of the dukes of Mecklenburg which was built in the 19th century along the lines of Loire Castle of Chambord. Because of its location on an island which is transformed into an English park, it is like a fairy tale castle.

    Fairy tale castle on a park island: Schwerin Fairy tale castle on a park island: Schwerin
  34. Schwarzwald

    The glacial lake dating back to the last ice age was enlarged in 1930 with a dam wall which raised its level by 30 meters. Today it is the largest lake in the Black Forest. The Schluchsee is popular with swimmers and sailors. In contrast to the Titisee the shore it is easily accessible from almost everywhere. Many hiking trails skirt the Schluchsee. An 18-kilometer-long level trail around the lake is also suitable for parents withprams. From May to October the walks can be combined with boat trips.

    The largest lake in the Black Forest The largest lake in the Black Forest
  35. Straßburg

    The capital of Alsace (Elsaß) on the western bank of the Upper Rhine is located at the meeting place of two cultures and is not the seat of the European Parliament only by chance. The Roman settlement quickly developed into an important trading center and was one of the most splendid cities of the German Empire in the Middle Ages. Mystics and humanists lived here as did reformers and first-class artisans. Johannes Gutenberg developed his first printing press in the shadow of the cathedral. Goethe and Herder studied at the University. 1681 the city was occupied by Louis XIV and remained French until 1871 (Franco-German War). After the 1st World War, the city fell back to France. The historic center on the Grande Isle consists of picturesque half-timbered houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. The impressive cathedral, one of the most significant monuments of Western architecture, towers at its center. The entire old town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    At the meeting place of two cultures: Straßburg At the meeting place of two cultures: Straßburg
  36. Stuttgart

    The capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg is idyllically situated in a lush valley surrounded by woods, orchards and vineyards. The city is "only" 1,000 years old and started out as a horse farm (Stutengarten = mare garden). It was only after Napoleon conquered the region that the Swabian town became the capital of the Kingdom of Württemberg. After World War II, the Pietist town grew into one of the major cities of Germany, famous for its economic might (Mercedes, Porsche) and its cultural life (State Opera Hous, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra).

    The centre of Stuttgart: The Schlossplatz The centre of Stuttgart: The Schlossplatz
  37. Mecklenburg Lake District

    The Mecklenburg Lake District together with the Masurian Lakes belongs to the largest lake areas south of the Baltic Sea. The Müritz is the largest of about 1,000 lakes and the second largest water body in Germany after Lake Constance. The lakes are connected by a variety of rivers, canals and backwaters on which one can navigate from Berlin all the way to Hamburg. The Havel River passes through the Lake District and drains the area before joining the Elbe which flows into the North Sea. After the end of the GDR this area with the lake landscape created during the last ice age became a holiday paradise for water sports enthusiasts, hikers and bird watchers.

    Countryside, castles and lakes: Mecklenburg Lake District Countryside, castles and lakes: Mecklenburg Lake District
  38. Mittelrheintal

    From its source at St. Gotthard in Switzerland up to its mouth of branched river arms in the Netherlands the Rhine covers 1320 km. For thousands of years it has been one of the most important trade routes in Europe. Between Bingen and Koblenz it squeezes through a deep valley which is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Germany and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Castles and ruins alternate with vineyards and picturesque half-timbered towns. Many myths and legends surround the valley; the best known is about the Loreley, who sat on a cliff, combing her beautiful long golden hair and enchanting the boatmen with her enticing singing voice, so that many men drowned in the quickening waters of the Rhine. The best way to experience the valley is from the boat on a trip from St. Goar to Kaub.

    Ancient cultural landscape: The Rhine Valley Ancient cultural landscape: The Rhine Valley | © Igor Plotnikov / Shutterstock.com
  39. Mosel

    The longest tributary of the Rhine rises in the Vosges and for a short stretch is the border between Luxembourg and Germany before it meanders leisurely downstream in a deep valley through the forested low mountain ranges of the Eifel and Hunsrück. The section between Bernkastel and Cochem is considered most beautiful because it is here that you find what you only suspect in the otherwise rather industrialized Rhine Valley: the romance of an ancient cultural landscape. Villages and towns, where time seems to have stood still, lie in the shade of mysterious castle ruins, surrounded by vineyards where the generations of winemakers have tamed the steep slopes of the valley. Great hiking trails (indicated by an "M") lead along the Mosel, - sometimes through the tall forests or medieval towns, at other times through vineyards or quiet valleys. In some places the trail follows the Via Ausonia, a Roman trade route. The visitor should not omit to walk to the Eltz Castle and to visit Beilstein where he will be immersed into the fairytale world of the Brothers Grimm. 

    Romance and wine: Cochem on the Mosel Romance and wine: Cochem on the Mosel
  40. München

    Although it is still a relatively young city, Munich’s charisma extends far beyond the Bavarian borders. Around the 11th century a few monks settled on the Isar - hence the name (apud Munichen - with the monks). Because of its strategic location at a bridge and also at the intersection of two trade routes, the city soon became the residence of the Wittelsbach family who reigned as dukes, electors and kings of Bavaria. The city experienced a boom in the Baroque era and finally also in the 20th century. Munich became the capital of Art Nouveau - but also of the National Socialist movement. In 1919 Hitler already tested the demonic effect of his speeches in the Hofbräukeller. Although Munich is a high-tech location today, the Bavarian folklore is lovingly cared for, especially in the last week of September when the Oktoberfest beer festival takes place. 

    Centre of Munich: Marienplatz Centre of Munich: Marienplatz | © Naumenko Aleksandr / Shutterstock.com
  41. Münster

    The first thing you notice in Münster is the large number of bicycles. They stand clustered in front of university buildings, at the train station and in clogged alleys. In fact, Münster is a paradise for cyclists with bike paths everywhere. In the ideal flat surroundings around the city the car-free Pädges-paths lead through meadows and woods, to water castles and lakes. Münster also impresses with its cityscape. The Prinzipalmarkt boasts mansions with Gothic gables. A few meters away is the Lamberti Church. From its tower hang three cages which hold the remains of three leaders of the Anabaptists, who were tortured to death after the failed Radical Reformation in 1536.

    Münster: Gothic gables on the Prinzipalmarkt Münster: Gothic gables on the Prinzipalmarkt
  42. Neuschwanstein

    Three miles south of Füssen at the foot of the Alps lies the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein built by King Ludwig II. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, its design was inspired by stage decorations used for two Wagner operas, Tannhäuser and Parzival. The King, also known as "Ludwig the Mad", was officially declared insane before the castle's completion in 1896 and he drowned under mysterious circumstances in Lake Starnberg in southern Bavaria shortly after being removed from power. Consequently, no one has ever lived in the castle. Tours can be taken through several rooms, including the Throne Room and the Singers' Hall. The best views of the castle can be had from the Marienbrücke (Mary's Bridge).

    If you want to visit the interior of the castle, be prepared to share this experience with many other tourists. To avoid long queues at the ticket office, you should book in advance on www.hohenschwangau.de

    Castle of the fairy tale king: Neuschwanstein Castle of the fairy tale king: Neuschwanstein
  43. Nürnberg

    The city on the River Pegnitz is the 2nd largest in Bavaria and the cultural center of northern Bavaria. The settlement developed around the castle, which played a major role in the administration of the Holy Roman Empire: The Imperial Diets were held there every year, the assembly that governed the empire. By the 14th century Nuremberg had become one of the most important cities in Europe alongside Cologne and Prague. The city also owed its prosperity to its location at the crossroads of major trading routes in central Europe and to the fame of its craftsmen. The artist Albrecht Dürer spent the last 20 years of his life in Nuremberg and his 15th century home has been rebuilt. Because of its key role in Germany’s history, the Nazis chose the city as the site of huge propaganda events during the Third Reich called the Nuremberg Rallies. The Allies held the Nuremberg Trials there after the war for the same reason. The main sites are the castle and the Frauenkirche (Our Lady's Church). The church is best visited around noon, when the figures of the 500-year-old clock re-enact a scene involving Emperor Karl IV being surrounded by seven electors.

    Kaiserburg (Imperial castle) of Nürnberg Kaiserburg (Imperial castle) of Nürnberg
  44. Passau

    The bishop's residence is situated picturesquely on a peninsula at the confluence of the Danube and Inn. Narrow alleys and stairways cross the Old Town of Passau where the houses with flat roofs seem almost Italian. The Cathedral with its peculiar combination of late Gothic and Baroque elements and the Residence Square with its old patrician houses are especially worth seeing in this 200 AD. founded city.

    At the confluence of the Danube and Inn: Passau At the confluence of the Danube and Inn: Passau
  45. Regensburg

    This free imperial city on the Danube is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Churches, Geschlechtertürmer (family towers) and medieval mansions dominate the cityscape, which none the less does not come across as museum-like due to a rich cultural life and an aspiring university. Founded as a Roman army court, the Episcopal city flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries and became the most populous city in southern Germany. Of the more than 1,500 declared heritage buildings nearly 1000 are in the historic center which has been proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Regensburg is the town with the largest medieval city center north of the Alps.

    Medieval Regensburg: Stone Bridge and Cathedral Medieval Regensburg: Stone Bridge and Cathedral
  46. Rothenburg

    In this Middle Franconian town on the Tauber river time seems to have stood still since the 30-year war. It now is a world-famous tourist attraction with narrow cobbled streets, high Gothic-gabled houses, churches with significant high altars and a completely preserved city wall with numerous watchtowers: the cityscape of the free imperial city has become the epitome of German romanticism. If you stay in one of the historic hotels in the city then make sure to participate in the guided tour with a medieval night watchman.

    Hardly changed since 30-year war: Rothenburg Hardly changed since 30-year war: Rothenburg
  47. Rheingau

    The city on the southern end of the Middle Rhine is also the capital of the Rheingau, one of the most important wine regions in Germany. At the same time, Rüdesheim has become a magnet for corporate outings and coach tours. The countless wine bars in the Drosselgasse are populated by cheerful drinkers. In the shops of Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations and cuckoo clocks can be bought all year round. The Niederwald Monument rises high above the city and can be reached by hiking or by cable car. The more than ten-meter-high statue of Germania was erected in 1871 after the war against France and till today it stares threateningly towards the West.

    Vineyards in Rüdesheim: Rheingau Vineyards in Rüdesheim: Rheingau
  48. Rügen

    The largest German island covering almost 1,000 square kilometers is also the most beautiful and versatile. Gentle wooded hills ebb off into level meadows and moors, and cliffs alternate with beaches. From the flat agricultural land in the south the island rises gradually to the north before plunging abruptly into the sea at the famous chalk cliffs. The most beautiful seaside resort Binz with its fine sandy beach and statuesque villas.

    The most versatile and largest island of Germany: Rügen The most versatile and largest island of Germany: Rügen
  49. Triberg

    Germany's highest waterfalls, the famous Black Forest Railway, as well as this year-round fog-free location make Triberg a popular and worthwhile holiday destination. The area around the entrance to the waterfalls is reminiscent of Disneyland. Here and in downtown shops offer cuckoo clocks, carvings, souvenirs, Black Forest ham and cherry brandy (Kirschwasser). To a large extent the quality products are handcrafted, but the plastic cuckoo clock 'made in Taiwan' can be found here, too. Also worth seeing is the Black Forest Museum which is located near the lower entrance of the waterfalls. Those who want to escape the hustle and bustle - the countryside around Triberg is fantastic and only a few hundred meters away you won’t see or hear either the cuckoo clocks or woodcarvings.

    Triberg Waterfalls Triberg Waterfalls
  50. Trier

    Augusta Treverorum was founded more than 2,000 years ago, making it the oldest city in Germany. Roman monuments testify to the importance of the early city: noteworthy and in part still intact are the amphitheater, Barbara Thermals, Imperial Baths, Constantine Basilica, Porta Nigra and the Roman Bridge. In addition the town on the Mosel has a magnificent countryside: the mountains and forests of the Eifel and Hunsrück bordering the vineyards on the rivers Mosel, Saar and Ruwer.

    Intact: Porta Nigra from 200 BC. Intact: Porta Nigra from 200 BC.
  51. Ulm

    This vibrant university town is situated on the romantic road between Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. It is dominated by the highest church steeple in the world. The Ulm Münster was begun in 1377, but the 161 meter high steeple was only completed in 1890. Between Easter and October the "organ music at noon" concerts in the minster can be heard from Monday to Saturday at 11:30. The market with the Gothic town hall and a splashing fountain lies to the south of the minster. Further west the tanners' quarter can be found, where a part of the city wall next to the Danube is still preserved. The many bicycles are indicative of the more or less 10,000 students in the city. 

    On the Danube: The Ulm Minster On the Danube: The Ulm Minster