Seven Lands and Seas Travel
  • 866-368-7327
  • Follow Us on Facebook
  • Follow Us on Twitter
  • Find Us on YouTube
  • November 19, 2017
Menu

Good times and Gemütlichkeit in Germany!

The proverbial German Gemütlichkeit is difficult to explain. But you won't go far wrong if you think of good food, good company, a drink or two and plenty of time to enjoy it all!

Your Germany Travel Specialist

Contact Me

Travel Information

Find out the details here!

Learn More »

Destination Overview

Geography, Nature & More!

Learn More »

City Guides

Every day, Germany's big cities and romantic towns are just waiting to be discovered.

Learn More »

Things To Do

Activities

View More

There's always something happening in Germany! Discover the colorful history of the castles and palaces, explore the fascinating museums and fun-packed amusement parks or delve into the modern fantasy worlds of musicals and variety shows. At Germany's theme parks you can have the time of your life. Take your pick from the best roller coaster in the world, a flying carousel with spectacular sea views or breathtaking stunt shows packed with movie-style action. An amazing array of animals welcome visitors to zoos in Germany - a tropical atmosphere beside the Rhine, giraffes on the North Sea coast, dolphins in the South and pandas in Berlin. If you’re in the mood for some water fun, enjoy relaxing jacuzzis, children's pools with water fountains and fabulous flume rides. The exciting fun pools throughout Germany are always a refreshing experience.

Enjoy the outstanding cuisine at the many excellent regional and international restaurants. And you really mustn't miss the popular wine and beer festivals and the German Christmas markets with their festive but serene atmosphere. Discover the diversity of Germany on one of the many scenic routes running through the German holiday regions. Enjoy the countryside, culture and culinary delights on offer. Visit castles, palaces and gardens and 39 UNESCO World Heritage sites along the way. Or soak up the vibrant modern-day life in Germany's towns and cities.

Arts

View More

From Old Masters to modern masterpieces, Germany is home to extraordinary treasures of the art world spanning every period and century. Marvel at fine art in all its forms of expression and discover architectural wonders that defined their eras.

A golden age at the Green Vault

Every year, it dazzles many thousands of visitors with its glittering collection of exquisitely crafted jewellery and gold. A visit to the Green Vault does require some planning, however, as it only has capacity per hour. Tickets are valid for specific time slots only, which means that everyone can admire the exhibits at their leisure without having to fight the crowds.

Augustinian monastery, Erfurt

The Protestant Augustinian monastery in Erfurt is a unique monument to medieval monastic architecture.

Blue printing in Lower Saxony

Blue printing is a technique for dyeing linen and cotton textiles that is used to create decorative white patterns on a blue background. The process uses wooden blocks to print patterns onto white fabrics. There are only nine blue printing workshops in the whole of Germany, two of which are situated in the towns of Jever and Einbeck in Lower Saxony. Here, the blue printing is carried out by hand in the same way as it was done hundreds of years ago. Visitors can see this traditional craft being performed live on a guided tour – and stock up on new tablecloths or fabrics at the same time.

Daetz Centre

During his retirement Peter Daetz, together with his wife Marlene, came up with the idea of opening an international centre for wood-carved sculpture in Lichtenstein, a small town near Chemnitz.

Felix Nussbaum Haus

With his design for Felix Nussbaum Haus, which he called Museum Without Exit, architect Daniel Libeskind has created a poignant memorial in Osnabrück dedicated to Nussbaum and his art.

Kunsthalle Bremen

The Kunsthalle in Bremen, one of Germany's foremost art galleries financed entirely by private patrons, embraces a wide range of artistic styles.

The collections offer an impressive overview of European art and international modernism, encompassing paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and media art from the Renaissance to the present day. A key focal point is the collection of French and German paintings from the 19th and 20th century. Particularly impressive are the regular special exhibitions, as well as pieces by Impressionists such as Monet and Cézanne and paintings by Corinth, Liebermann, Beckmann and Modersohn-Becker.

An art nouveau gem: Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt

A building distinguished by its omega-shaped portal which used to house the artists' workshops now contains a museum about the colony. Its exhibition documents the history of the artistic community from 1899 to 1914 and gives an overview of the creative output from this period and its main representatives. It features pieces of furniture, interior design, glass, ceramics, textiles, goldsmith work, prints, paintings, sculptures and architectural models.

The commitment of the Sparkasse Leipzig concentrates exclusively on regional art after WWII. Its substantial collection has found a home in the annex of the renovated Sparkasse building from 1914. The Leipzig Cotton Mill has become another location for art. Many artists of the New Leipzig School work on the former factory premises and there are dozens of internationally respected galleries.

Hamburg Kunsthalle: art masterpieces spanning 700 years

There is no doubt that the three buildings belonging to the Hamburg Kunsthalle house one of the most important public art collections in Germany: perhaps the best place to discover connections, developments and trends in seven centuries of art history. The permanent exhibition of alternating displays from the museum's holdings offer a unique insight into art from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Culture

View More

Many of Germany's old traditions are still alive today. Centuries-old customs have been preserved and updated, and can make a unique contribution to your experience and enjoyment of the country.

Made in Germany.

Germany has always had its fair share of inventors, tinkerers and other resourceful enthusiasts. And their discoveries have conquered the world. From aspirin and airbags to garden gnomes and the Christmas tree, many of the things that make our life easier, safer or just nicer started life in Germany. Follow in the footsteps of great engineers and enterprising visionaries, all the way up to the present.

Traditional Sorbian costume: High fashion with heritage

Playful and tongue-in-cheek, unconventional and visionary: Germany's designers pull out all the stops when it comes to color and form.

Elaborately embroidered head scarves and colourful skirts are the hallmark of the traditional Sorbian tracht, still worn on high days and holidays by women in the Spree Forest. Every colour is symbolic in meaning: unmarried women wear red skirts, married women wear green. Black skirts are worn to church. The different styles of bonnet represent the village the woman comes from. Recently, female designers have taken inspiration from this traditional dress and created their own modern interpretations for both men and women.

Sorbian Easter traditions

The Sorbian people have played a large part in shaping the culture and history of Upper Lusatia. Despite being Europe's smallest Slavic minority, the Sorbs continue to make their mark on the region and its annual festivities through their culture, customs and way of life. Throughout the year, there are lots of opportunities to experience their customs and traditions. For special occasions such as Easter, traditional costumes are worn across the different areas where the Sorbian people live.

Handcarved masks for carnival

The weird and wonderful scenes of the Alemannic fasnacht carnival are dominated by the elaborate costumes and grimacing wooden masks of the witches and devils that parade the streets. These masks are hand-made by professional mask carvers, who still practise their craft in many towns in the region today. They lovingly carve intricate facial features and shape the mask to the face of its wearer. You can watch mask carvers at work at the Vogtsbauernhof Open Air Museum in Gutach (Schwarzwaldbahn train line).

Mining and industrial heritage: Relics of a golden age

Mining in the Saarland came to an end in 2012. But its memory lives on, with a number of attractions and associations working to safeguard an extraordinary legacy. These include the Das Erbe exhibition at the Erlebnisort Reden discovery park, the Saarland Mining Museum and Velsen visitor mine. Here, you have the chance to go underground yourself for a sense of what hard labour really meant for the miners.

Faster, higher, further: Cars, shipbuilding and aircraft
Bremen is regarded as a centre of science. From shipbuilding and aircraft construction to space stations and rocket stages, Bremen has cemented its reputation as a home of high-tech industry. People have always been setting off for new horizons from Bremen. The ships of the Hanseatic League linked together the coasts of Europe, and pioneers like Henrich Focke paved the way for modern aviation. Today, Bremen is one of the foremost regions for aerospace in Europe. It was here that Germany's first commercial airport was built and it was here that the European module of the International Space Station was assembled.

Events

View More

Oktoberfest in Munich: the world's biggest beer festival

When it's the Wies'n – local speak for Oktoberfest – in Munich, the Bavarian capital, around seven million people make the pilgrimage to Theresienwiese. This is the world's biggest beer festival, so the catering is on a massive scale: millions of roast chickens are eaten and a veritable herd of spit-roast oxen is washed down by several million towering mugs of beer. Oktoberfest is a hallowed tradition that, despite its size, still spells out what it means to be Bavarian.

It has millions of international fans and has spawned many imitations around the world – but there can only ever be one original Oktoberfest. Ever since Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese in 1810 and a grand horse race was held in a field on the edge of the city, the site has been known as Theresienwiese – and the Oktoberfest as the Wies'n. Traditionally the festivities begin on the dot of noon on the first Saturday after 15 September, when the mayor of Munich taps the first keg and yells "O’zapft is!" Once the Oktoberfest is officially open, a twelve-gun salute signals to the bar staff to get the beer flowing and then there's no holding back. The seats in the beer tents start to fill up, the fairground rides whirl, the band strikes up and it's party time. Be sure to book your hotel room well in advance because, like the seats in the beer tents, they're few and far between at Wiesn time.

Rhine in Flames: fireworks, flames and romantic flair

The Rhine in Flames is a fireworks spectacular that takes place along the most scenic stretches of the Rhine every year between May and September. From Rüdesheim to Bonn, spectacular pyrotechnics and curtains of fire bathe the riverbanks and landmarks in a magical red glow, and a flotilla of illuminated riverboats glides beneath mesmerising patterns of light in the night sky – a romantic and unforgettable experience for the whole family

Rhine in Flames: the river at its most romantic. This captivating display of fireworks and illuminations can be witnessed on five dates at some of the most scenic locations on the Middle Rhine. There's always a traditional wine festival or similar celebration happening at the same time, as well as music and dancing. In the late evening, beautifully illuminated boats sail out into the river to give their passengers the best views of the fireworks, which begin as the flotilla arrives. Every year the first section of the route is from Linz to Bonn, but if you'd rather stay on dry land, maybe to see the illuminated boats as well as to enjoy the fireworks, the riverbank celebrations at Linz, Remagen, Bad Honnef, Königswinter and Bonn are just the thing for you. Bonn's Rheinaue Park is the venue for the biggest single Rhine in Flames event, spreading excitement during the afternoon and offering a wonderful view of the fireworks spectacular before midnight – the climax and culmination of an unforgettable evening.

Stuttgart Wine Festival

Stuttgart Wine Festival is a quiet celebration of Swabian gemütlichkeit – there are no fairground rides and no loud music.

Instead, in the heart of the city, stalls decorated with vines serve typical Swabian dishes such as maultaschen (ravioli), kässpätzle (cheese noodles) and ofaschlupfer (sweat bread pudding) along with a range of regional wines. A scaled-down version of Stuttgart Wine Festival has been held in Hamburg every summer since 1986.

6-day cycle race

Watch the international professional cycling elite do what they do best over the full six day period. Then, party into the small hours with a varied entertainment programme.

Museum Embankment Festival in Frankfurt

Most of Frankfurt's museums can be found in close succession along the southern banks of the river Main. With views of Frankfurt's famous skyline, this is a wonderful place for a stroll – and for a festival. The Museum Embankment Festival attracts around three million visitors every year with its winning combination of art, culture, music and cuisine. Exceptional programs at the city's museums, live entertainment on stage, and arts and crafts make this event one of the largest festivals of culture in Europe.

Four Hills Tournament

The annual Four Hills tournament gets under way with ski jumping in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria. These world cup events are among the sport's most prestigious competitions.

Oberstdorf hosts the opening event at the end of the year, which is followed by the New Year's ski jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

German Motorcycle Grand Prix: high-speed action at the Sachsenring

The Grand Prix weekend at the Sachsenring racing circuit in Hohenstein-Ernstthal promises adrenaline-pumping action on two wheels. This is motor sport and entertainment at its very best with a high-calibre line-up in the World Championship classes Moto2, Moto3 and the elite MotoGP, exciting races in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the ADAC Junior Cup and the Sidecar World Championship, plus a fantastic range of accompanying events at the go-kart track on Altmarkt and on Ankerberg hill.

The Sachsenring, one of the most distinguished racetracks in Germany, hosts the German Motorcycle Grand Prix every year. Car, bike and motorcycle racing has taken place here since 1927 – on a circuit that has always been considered one of the narrowest and most dangerous around. From 1961 to 1972 it was the venue for the East German Grand Prix which saw the great Giacomo Agostini regularly achieve almost impossibly fast lap times. Just like the German Grand Prix, held here since 1998, this race counted towards the motorcycling world championships. And you are still as close to the action as ever: the Thursday 'pit walk' offers an opportunity to meet the stars of MotoGP and their future successors from the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. The number of tickets for the drivers' paddock and pit lane are limited though, so early booking is recommended. But the fans know that already – they have been looking forward to this event all year.

Christmas markets

Christmas markets are held in many towns and cities from the end of November to Christmas. Their unique ambience is guaranteed to put visitors in the festive spirit. Interspersed with the stalls selling Christmas decorations, candles, jeweler, toys and other Christmas gifts are food stands where you can buy typical specialties such as mulled wine, spiced bread, gingerbread, hot chestnuts and roasted almonds.

Hamburg Fish Market: Get there early!

The banter of the fish sellers entertains the crowds. Fish rolls and rollmops are sold in their thousands, and fruit, vegetables and plants can be had at bargain prices. Even live rabbits and bric-a-brac are on sale. It takes place every Sunday of the year. The Hamburg fish market on the banks of the Elbe attracts early risers and night owls. It may not be the world's oldest fish market. But it's probably the liveliest.

Family

View More

Come and discover Germany's theme parks, zoos and family attractions – they are as varied as the country itself. With so much choice, the hardest part is deciding where to go first! It's like a real-life fairytale. Check in here for an experience to remember!

Berlin Zoo – animal fun for all the family

Berlin Zoo is among the most visited sights in Germany's capital, welcoming around three million visitors every year. Opened in 1844 in the west of the city, it is one of the world's oldest, largest and most bio-diverse zoos.

Berlin Zoo rose to global fame thanks to a cuddly little polar bear named Knut, who was born there in December 2006 and hand-reared by the staff. Berlin is also the only city in the world in which it's been possible to breed all flamingo species and subspecies. The capital's zoo is also acclaimed for its collection of zoological rarities and its breeding success stories, including with the black rhino. It is home to around thousands of animals animals, covering countless species. The aquarium, which opened in 1903 and spans three stories, is a zoo in itself, boasting nearly thousands of creatures including tropical and indigenous fish, the famous jellyfish, crocodiles and the creatures of the insectarium. The big cats here are joined by many smaller, lesser known predators such as fossas from Madagascar and ring-tailed mongooses. And the renovated nocturnal house gives a glimpse into the world of animals that are active at night. Inside the glass-domed hippo house, you can watch the residents above and below the water through a glass panel. And in the penguin enclosure, a group of king penguins waddles around on real ice and snow. The seal enclosure, meanwhile, has recently had a major extension. These are just some of the animals and attractions that you will encounter on your visit!

Visit your favorite animal at Augsburg Zoo!

A hugely popular attraction in the Bavarian Swabia region, Augsburg Zoo is located within easy reach of Augsburg city centre, beside the botanical gardens and on the northern fringes of the Siebentischwald woods.

On a wild animal expedition at Dresden Zoo

At the heart of Dresden, not far from the famous Church of Our Lady, lies one of Germany's oldest zoos. People from all over the world come to spend an enjoyable day in the company of its 3,000 or so animals, representing around 300 species.

Rostock Zoo: animal fun on the Baltic coast

Rostock Zoo, the biggest zoo on Germany's Baltic coast, guarantees a fun day out for families at any time of year. The 56-hectare site within Barnstorf woodland park is home to more than 2,000 animals spanning some 250 different species.

Europa-Park in Rust – Germany's number 1 theme park

If you haven't already been to Europa-Park in Rust, then what are you waiting for! Located in south-west Germany between Freiburg and Offenburg, Europa-Park is the biggest theme park in the German-speaking countries and one of the few that is open in winter.

If you come to Europa-Park looking for fun, excitement and adventure, you won't be disappointed! There are all kinds of exciting things going on at Europa-Parks' 90-hectare site. A giant among theme parks and a top family attraction for many years, Europa-Park has everything you could wish for and more. With a sensational mix of high-adrenaline rides, cleverly conceived themed areas, beautiful parks, plus around 6 hours of shows including children's theatre, ice revues and variety every day, the resort ticks all the right boxes when it comes to fun and entertainment. A statue of Euro Mouse, the park mascot, greets you as you arrive. Inside, the resort is divided into European-themed areas packed with over 100 attractions and events that will surpass even the highest expectations.

Thrills, spills and rollercoaster rides – the exciting world of theme parks

Whether you're looking for action-packed holiday fun or a break from your everyday routine, Germany's theme parks offer variety in abundance and are a popular destination for families with children. With over one hundred to choose from, the hardest part is knowing which to visit first! And with countless new attractions being added every year, you'll want to return time and time again.

One thing's for sure: when you visit a theme park, you're looking for a fun-packed day out! Germany's theme parks offer unforgettable moments, amazing adventures and white-knuckle excitement. Brave the big-thrill rides and feel the exhilaration of flying through the air! The sky's the limit! Have you ever looped the loop on a rollercoaster travelling high speeds, plummeted from a great height in a freefall tower or had a ride in a washtub boat with the little ones? If not, what are you waiting for? Germany's theme parks offer boundless fun and adventure for all the family. Many have so much to see and do that you can easily spend several days there. Some also have themed accommodation, which usually offers something a little bit different to your average hotel. You can book into a treehouse, for example, a tepee, or accommodation inspired by everything from Africa to pirates, turning your stay into a real adventure! More and more theme parks are now open in winter as well. You'll discover enchanting snowy landscapes packed with Christmas decorations and festive shows that capture the magic of the season. Sledding and ice-skating, romantic Christmas markets and warming yuletide treats – from glühwein and bratwurst to German Christmas cookies – round off the winter experience.

On tour around Germany's worlds of discovery

The fun starts here! Germany's many worlds of discovery continue to delight visitors year after year. There's something for everyone, with themed attractions that appeal to children, teenagers and the young-at-heart. Whatever the weather, these family favourites are the place to go for fun, entertainment and thrills.

Culture for kids? That's right, and nowhere does this better than Germany's worlds of discovery, which are always a hit with young families. As well as amusement parks, Germany boasts all kinds of themed attractions – each with something different to offer: you can see incredible film sets and meet cartoon characters and big-screen heroes at the movie parks, star-gaze at planetariums or go treasure hunting at a fairytale park. These eclectic attractions are like giant adventure playgrounds, keeping boredom at bay for all ages with their sensational shows, special events and guaranteed thrills and spills. You can walk through the rainforest one day, go to a water park the next, enjoy a spa or watch fantastic entertainment on stage. Everyone loves making a splash – better yet, one combined with a loop-the-loop. Now, at Germany's water parks, you can feel the adrenaline rush of a rollercoaster on a loop-the-loop waterslide or a spectacular tube slide. The dizzyingly high climbing parks guarantee fun for families with a taste for heights and adventure. Other attractions reveal the history of the Earth and the dinosaurs in vivid fashion. And where but at a wildlife park could you see native and exotic animals one minute and scale a climbing frame or whizz down a tall slide the next? But we won't give it all away here – take a look and see for yourself!

Food

View More

Beer
Though beer was not invented in Germany, the art of brewing was undoubtedly refined to perfection here. Germany is home to thousands of different beers brewed, over half of which are in Bavaria. Nowhere else in the world offers as much choice when it comes to beer. And that's even with all varieties being produced in line with the German Beer Purity Law, which permits only the traditional ingredients of water, malt, hops and yeast. In summertime, the best way to enjoy a refreshingly cold beer is in one of the many beer gardens found up and down Germany.  

Döppekuchen potato flan

Döppekuchen is a typical dish from the Eifel region, traditionally made with grated potato, bacon and onion. These ingredients are based on the recipe for kartoffelpuffer (potato fritters), though the people of the Eifel were the first in Germany to do away with the time-consuming process of frying the batter. Instead they pour the mixture into a cast-iron pot (a döppe in the local dialect) and bake it in the oven like a cake (kuchen).

Welfenspeise

The welfenspeise dessert was first made by a Hanoverian chef for the bicentenary of the House of Guelph's ascension to the throne. Its yellow and white represent the Guelph's family colours. This two-layered dessert of vanilla custard and wine syllabub is said to have been Elector Ernst August's favourite sweet. Today welfenspeise can be found on the menu in many restaurants and is a firm favourite at family celebrations in and around Hannover

The people from Nuremberg are in dispute with those from Regensburg as to who first invented the finger-size grilled sausage. But one thing is certain: the curry sausage was invented in Berlin - thin slices, garnished with ketchup and dusted with a thin layer of curry powder.

Weisswurst

The weisswurst sausage is one of Bavaria's best-known specialities. It is made of veal and pork and is flavoured with onions and fresh parsley. The sausages, warmed through in hot water, are traditionally eaten in the morning, and are best served with sweet mustard, freshly baked pretzels and Bavarian beer – and best enjoyed in one of Bavaria's many beer gardens, of course. Aficionados suck the meat straight out of its casing. Only the uninitiated use a knife and fork.

Wine

A variety of wine-growing regions gives Germany its diverse range of wines. The most scenic is the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley, home of the Loreley rock, while Rheinhessen is the largest. Both these regions are set within Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany's number one wine-producing region with a total of six distinct vineyard areas. It is here that the German Wine Queen is crowned at the annual German Grape Harvest Festival. Every year since 1950 these young German women have been selected to represent the nation's wines around the globe for a twelve-month term.

Thuringian bratwurst

The recipe for Thuringian bratwurst, as enjoyed by Goethe, is hundreds of years old. But aside from the pork, marjoram, caraway and garlic, the full recipe remains a closely guarded secret among the Thuringian butchers. All we do know is that the sausages have to be cooked over hot charcoal. Thuringia's ultimate fast food simply has to be accompanied by authentic Thuringian mustard. At Germany's first bratwurst museum, in Arnstadt, you can see the earliest known documentation of bratwurst, which dates from 1404.

The Pretzel

Almost as much as bread, the pretzel (or brezel) embodies the very essence of German baking. Many myths surround its origins. One legend has it that the Swabian pretzel was invented over 500 years ago in Bad Urach on the edge of the Swabian Alb. The baker at the ducal residence there had fallen from grace and was awaiting his execution. The duke granted him one last chance, promising to spare his life if he baked a bread through which the sun could shine three times. The baker escaped death by producing the pretzel. Find out more at the Museum of Bread Culture in Ulm.

Thuringian kartoffelklösse dumplings

These large, perfectly rounded potato dumplings have been enjoyed by the people of Thuringia for many generations. Authentic Thuringian kartoffelklösse are unmistakeable, consisting of raw grated potato and cooked mashed potato wrapped around a centre of crunchy croutons. The dumpling factory in Heichelheim has recently opened a dumpling-themed attraction, Thüringer Klosswelt. This fun exhibition on the history of dumplings and potatoes features a factory shop, a dumpling snack bar and even a walk-in dumpling!

East Frisian tea

To this day it remains customary to offer tea to visitors in East Friesland – always served with a piece of rock sugar and a spoonful of cream. Then all you need to drink it is a steady hand, because genuine East Frisian tea must be neither stirred, nor shaken. Only then can you appreciate all three stages of this teatime delight: mild and creamy to start, bitter in the middle with a sweet, sugary finish. For an introduction to the East Frisian tea ceremony, head to the Tea Museum in Norden or any of the charming little cafés along the coast.

The Schwenker

The Saarlander is famous for his barbecue skills, and in the summer months the smell of pork steaks being grilled over an open flame – a process known as schwenken – is never far away. You can enjoy the end product of the schwenken at one of the Saarland's traditional festivals – the Saarlouis Emmes, for example, on the first weekend in June.

Black Forest gateau

The Black Forest is home to the darkest, sweetest temptation in the whole of Germany. Whether it was first created in Radolfzell in 1915 or in a café in Tübingen in the 1930s, the Black Forest gateau definitely hails from Baden-Württemberg. And has gone on to conquer the world. Its key ingredients are Black Forest kirsch, which gives the cake its inimitable flavour, and of course cherries. As for how many cherries – that's up to the individual baker.

Monuments

View More

Cologne Cathedral

There have been churches on the site of Cologne Cathedral since the 4th century. However, it was not until 1248 that this city on the Rhine became home to one of the foremost cathedrals in the Christian world – a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. When it was completed in 1880, it was the tallest building in the world.

Attracting more than millions of visitors every year, Cologne Cathedral is one of Germany's most popular tourist attractions. The two mighty towers are the tallest dual spires in the world and offer fantastic views of Cologne and the surrounding region. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Mary rather than the Three Kings, whose relics were transferred to Cologne from Milan in the 12th century and have since been kept in a golden shrine that made the cathedral an important pilgrimage site. The cathedral treasury also contains priceless artefacts including St. Peter's reliquary and chain, and the Gero Cross, the oldest intact life-size crucifix in the western world. Other attractions include the stained glass windows, carved choir stalls and 14th century paintings. A number of cultural events are held in and around the cathedral, including the organ recitals that take place every Tuesday in summer, and the choir performances held once a month from September to June in front of the shrine housing the relics of the Three Kings. A rather more secular feature of Cologne is its famous carnival – a time of year when the people of the city really let their hair down!

Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany's fairytale castle.

Neuschwanstein is known all over the world as a symbol of idealised romantic architecture and for the tragic story of its owner. After losing sovereignty in his own kingdom, Ludwig II withdrew into his own world of myths, legend and fairytales.

Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Bavaria is without doubt one of the most frequently photographed sights in Germany. Ludwig II's ambitious project, begun in 1869, united aspects of Wartburg Castle with those attributed to the Castle of the Holy Grail from Wagner's 'Parsifal'. For Ludwig, Neuschwanstein was primarily a retreat. After ascending the Bavarian throne in 1864, he was forced to cede power to the Prussians just two years later, which left him with a hatred of the royal seat of Munich. To compensate, he devoted more and more of his time to the fine arts. After his sovereignty was taken away, he withdrew into his own world of myths, legend and fairytales. Among the castle's finest rooms are two magnificent halls. One of these, the Singers' Hall, is a larger and more exquisite version of the same room in the Wartburg, and also incorporates elements from the medieval castle's banqueting hall – though it never echoed to the sound of singing or festivities. The double-storey throne room reaches fifteen metres in height and is encircled by galleries on both floors. Its extravagant decorations dazzle in gold and blue. Ludwig's great passion, however, was for the Hall of the Holy Grail, in which he united his nostalgia for the Middle Ages with the latest technology of the time. The king even chose to wallow in the Middle Ages at mealtimes – his dining room is a veritable shrine to the minnesingers' contest at Wartburg Castle. Ludwig's sleeping quarters show a clear Gothic influence and are even embellished with details referencing Wagner's operas. The dressing table has a swan-shaped tap inspired by 'Lohengrin'. Another well-known feature of Neuschwanstein is the grotto, whose little waterfalls and coloured lighting create the impression of a mysterious cave. Excursions to neo-Gothic Hohenschwangau Castle, which was rebuilt from 12th century ruins in 1832, and to the Roman bath at Mount Tegelberg are also recommended.

A passageway to history: Brandenburg Gate

No other monument in Berlin is as famous around the world as Brandenburg Gate, built between 1789 and 1791 to plans by C. G. Langhans on Pariser Platz in the heart of the city. After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, Brandenburg Gate became impassable for many years. As a signature attraction and symbol of German reunification, it now represents the past and present of the German capital in exemplary fashion. The gate is supported by six Doric columns, forming five passageways with pedestrian-only access. The famous quadriga depicting the goddess of victory, Victoria, riding a four-horse chariot was added in 1794.

Lake Constance with Mainau Island, Monastic Island of Reichenau (UNESCO World Heritage), Lindau, prehistoric pile dwellings, Meersburg Castle

The Lake Constance region, where Germany borders Austria and Switzerland, is a holiday paradise set around one of Europe's largest lakes. The most popular excursion is to the Flower Island of Mainau, famous for its magnificent park and gardens surrounding the baroque family residence of Count Bernadotte. Discover an oasis of natural beauty, harmony and relaxation.

Also on Lake Constance is the Monastic Island of Reichenau, which documents the religious and cultural role played by the large Benedictine abbey in the Middle Ages and has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2000. The three well-preserved Romanesque churches on the island are notable examples of monastic architecture. Another site is the open-air museum of prehistoric pile dwellings in Unteruhldingen. The reconstructed houses on stilts make this lost legacy of mankind visible again and immerse you in the world of the Bronze and Neolithic ages. Not far from the pile dwellings is Meersburg Castle, which offers glorious views of the lake and is the oldest castle in Germany to still function as a private residence. Its castle kitchen, armoury and banqueting hall take you back to a bygone era. Beyond the famous entrance to Lindau harbour, with the statue of the Bavarian lion and the white lighthouse, you can see the breathtaking panorama of the Alps and Lake Constance against a backdrop of verdant countryside

Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen

In its day, shaft XII at the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen was the world's largest and most modern coal-mining facility and a leading example of the development of heavy industry in Europe. Today, with its Bauhaus-influenced design, the mine is a triumph of modern industrial architecture and a centre for art and culture.

It is often referred to as the 'world's most iconic colliery'. And rightly so, as the architects Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer created a very special industrial complex here between 1927 and 1932. With a harmonious composition of red brick facades in a steel framework – a paragon of symmetry and geometry – the building still has great aesthetic appeal. In 2010 the Zollverein mine was the cultural and artistic centre of the European Capital of Culture Essen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Coal was mined and processed here, before the mine was decommissioned in 1986. Founded in 1998, the Zollverein Foundation very quickly dedicated its attention to repurposing the complex and preserving the industrial monument. With great success: today, it is a cultural highlight in the Ruhr region and a living museum of mining history and the development of industrial architecture. Visitors following the Zollverein heritage trail will learn about the modernists of the 1920s and 1930s, the development of heavy industry and how 'black gold' was processed: preserved in all their glory here are the former separation plant, the coal bunkers and the coal washery, gargantuan machines and conveyor belts, seemingly endless rows of coke ovens and six imposing chimneys. The tour also includes models, films and installations. However, it is not only the design of the colliery that stands out. The Red Dot Design Museum housed at the complex has the world's largest collection of contemporary design and is now part of the World Heritage site. Every year, the coveted red dot is awarded for exemplary design.

Hamburger Port

Explore the far corners of the globe and return via Hamburg – travel itineraries don't get much better than that. Gateway to the world, beautiful seafaring hub, maritime capital of the north – even the normally reserved locals find it hard to conceal their pride in their home city, its ambience and its cosmopolitan charm.

Magnificent chalk cliffs – Jasmund National Park

Visitors to Jasmund National Park on Rügen Island in north-eastern Germany can expect a glorious chalk landscape with marshes, wetlands and dry grassland.

Jasmund National Park is situated in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in the far north-east of Germany. Its most spectacular feature is without doubt the Königsstuhl chalk cliffs, immortalised by the painter Caspar David Friedrich. The national park also contains beech forests dating back to the 13th century, which grow on the chalky Stubnitz plateau, formed during the ice age.

The impressive chalk cliffs, are made up of a combination of active and inactive cliffs that illustrate the dynamics of the coastal erosion typical of this region. As well as white chalk for writing, observant visitors can spot ice-age sediments and fossils on the beach.

A range of walks, cycle routes, excursions and seminars offer a variety of ways to explore the region's beautiful woodlands, such as the South-East Rügen Biosphere Reserve.

The park's rich flora and fauna include house martins, which breed in the chalk reefs, and the rare sea eagle. But it's not only the stunning chalk cliffs that make the Stubnitz region well worth a visit. Shifting the focus away from nature for once, the park rangers run regular tours based on characters from myth and legend, such as the Germanic goddess Hertha and the famous pirate Klaus Störtebecker, who is said to have buried treasure on the island.

Granitz Hunting Lodge south of Binz and the Racing Roland, Rügen's narrow-gauge steam railway, are just two examples of the region's many cultural attractions. Others include Cape Arkona with the small village of Vitt, Sassnitz fishing harbour and fishing museum, the Pirate Gorge in Sassnitz, Greifswald municipal museum with its Caspar David Friedrich exhibition, the historical artisan's workshops in Gingst and the Grümbke observation tower near Neukirchen.

Roman monuments, the Cathedral and Church of Our Lady in Trier

Founded as Augusta Treverorum in 16 BC, Trier is Germany's oldest town and a true monument to history. Historical buildings of international standing, remarkable churches and magnificent Roman remains all make a visit to this romantic city on the Moselle an unforgettable experience.

Trier, presents an amazing range of cultural and historical attractions for art lovers and history buffs alike. Resident Roman emperors, bishops, electors and ordinary people have all made Trier what it is today, and the city's long list of World Cultural Heritage sites bears witness to its colourful past. The Roman amphitheatre that once seated 20,000 spectators – now the venue for the annual Antiquity Games – the Imperial Thermal Baths and Basilica of Constantine transform Trier into an open-air museum of Roman history. The impressive legacy of the Roman town of Augusta Treverorum includes the Roman Bridge, St. Barbara Roman Baths and, of course, the city's famous landmark, the Porta Nigra gate.

Trier Cathedral is slightly more modern. The oldest episcopal church in Germany, it has been a meeting place for Christian congregations over a thousand years. Both here and in the Church of Our Lady, which is connected to the cathedral by a cloister, Salian, Romanesque, Gothic and baroque elements fuse together to form an extraordinarily expressive ensemble of churches.

Themed guided tours such as 'Betrayal at the Baths' and 'The secret of the Porta Nigra' take you on an enthralling journey through Roman rule. You'll also find an impressive array of culinary delights to tempt your palate at a number of top-rated restaurants and during the month-long Wine & Gourmet Festival.

Bamberg

Famous for its cathedral and its eclectic Town Hall, Bamberg has had a Jewish community for most of its history. Bamberg has a modern Jewish Community Center whose wood-paneled Synagogue has colorful stained-glass windows. Bamberg’s Holocaust Monument recalls the synagogue destroyed on Kristallnacht and to those who died. It stands at Synagogenplatz. In the Bamberg Historical Museum visitors can see a scale model of the gorgeous wooden synagogue from the Franconian village of Horb.

Museums

View More

Berlin Museum Island

The unique collection of galleries and museums on Berlin Museum Island, with its five temple-like buildings, houses treasures from throughout human history. Elevated to UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999, and located in Berlin's historical centre, the complex is the centrepiece of the city's museum network and is Europe's largest cultural investment project.

A golden age at the Green Vault

The Green Vault is the former treasure chamber of the Wettin dynasty of Saxony. Every year, it dazzles many thousands of visitors with its glittering collection of exquisitely crafted jewellery and gold. A visit to the Green Vault does require some planning, however, as it has a capacity per hour. Tickets are valid for specific time slots only, which means that everyone can admire the exhibits at their leisure without having to fight the crowds.

Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig: sponsors, benefactors and patrons

The fascinating history of this renowned art museum is a story of civic engagement. Back in 1848, when the Leipzig art association opened the municipal museum at the Moritzbastei, the hundred or so works on display were donations from the citizens of Leipzig. And the present-day collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings and prints is largely comprised of gifts from private initiatives and generous patrons. Maximilian Speck von Sternburg, Alfred Thieme, Adolf Heinrich Schletter, Fritz von Harck, Hans-Peter Bühler, Marion Bühler-Brockhaus: these are the names of people who have shaped the character of the museum. The works of the current collection span the period from the late Middle Ages to the present day. These can now be displayed in full in the new 7,000m² museum building, which opened in 2004. There is a particular focus on Old German and Dutch paintings from the 15th to the 17th century, Italian paintings from the 15th to the 18th century, French paintings from the 19th century – including works by Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas and Claude Monet – and German paintings from 18th to the 20th century. A whole floor is devoted to comprehensive displays of works by Max Klinger and Max Beckmann. In the Contemporary Painting section, the museum features mainly exhibitions of painters belonging to the Leipziger Schule, such as Bernhard Heisig, Werner Tübke and Wolfgang Mattheuer, as well as extensive collections by the movement's younger generation led by Neo Rauch and Daniel Richter.

Deutsches Hygiene Museum

With its Human Adventure permanent exhibition and the Our Five Senses children's museum, the Deutsche Hygiene Museum is one of Dresden's most important and innovative cultural attractions. Founded in 1912, this well-established museum is today a scientific, cultural and social forum known throughout Germany. Alongside popular one-off exhibitions, the museum also hosts a wide range of lecture programmes, high-profile discussion panels, readings, conferences and concerts.

Goethe National Museum

Goethe is as relevant today as he has always been. That is evident from the exhibition at the Goethe National Museum in Weimar. The exhibition, which portrays the writer's extraordinary life, presents Goethe as an embodiment of the modern age that was emerging around 1800. Eleven rooms illustrate the many sides to Goethe, reaching far beyond his literary achievements – from his political role as a statesman and his talent for drawing through to his botanical expertise. The exhibition draws on an unparalleled stock of priceless original artefacts.

Highly distinguished: Städel Art Institute and Municipal Art Gallery

The Städel Art Institute is one of the most famous and important art museums in Germany. Here, at the heart of Frankfurt's museum mile, visitors can see a huge diversity of masterpieces from seven centuries of European art on one of the regular public guided tours offered free of charge. The Städel Art Institute presents a special 'art after work' series of events, a congenial blend of culture and entertainment.

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum, opened in 2001, is a popular museum and also a striking example of contemporary architecture.

Conceived by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the building translates a complex system of philosophical ideas and concepts into an impressive expression of form. From the outside, the virtually windowless building resembles an unravelled Star of David. The museum houses a huge exhibition about the life and history of German-speaking Jews. The main axis – the 'void' – runs through the various sections of the museum, symbolising the voids in Jewish history.

BallinStadt Emigration Museum, Hamburg

On the ground where the emigration halls once stood, three reconstructed pavilions bring the travellers' histories, hopes and dreams vividly to life. The award-wining BallinStadt concept includes 2,000 square metres of exhibition space for interactive and multimedia exhibits and over 1,500 original items.

The German Emigration Centre in Bremerhaven

The German Emigration Centre in Bremerhaven uses detailed reconstructions and multimedia performances to bring the emigrants' fortunes to life — separation from home, crossing the oceans and arrival in the new world.

Mercedes-Benz-Museum

Building the future on tradition' – the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart is more than just a home for 125 years of automotive history.

Porsche Museum

The extraordinary architecture of the Porsche Museum is as impressive as the cars inside. The monolithic building looks as if it is about to take off. Around 80 vehicles and numerous smaller exhibits are on display here.

BMW Welt and Museum

A combined venue for new car handovers, interactive museum exhibitions and events, BMW Welt is in a class of its own. The neighbouring BMW Museum provides an insight into the history of the company stretching back more than 90 years.

Audi Forum Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm

The two Audi Forums in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm are exciting destinations offering an attractive mix of services, events and automotive exhibitions in architecturally impressive surroundings.

Autostadt Wolfsburg

Autostadt is an exhibition complex in Wolfsburg, the home of the Volkswagen Group. Focused on the subject of mobility, it offers a variety of exciting attractions and activities.

National Parks

View More

Bavarian Forest National Park

A highlight of the Bavarian Forest National Park is Neuschönau, the world's longest canopy walk, offers unique views of the forest floor. The canopy walk is also accessible to wheelchair users.

Stunning alpine scenery – Berchtesgaden National Park

Berchtesgaden National Park is one of the oldest nature reserves in the Alps. Located in southern Bavaria, this is a particularly beautiful part of the Berchtesgaden Alps, with majestic mountains, fantastic walking trails, scenic lakes and dense forests.

Guided or independent walks through the national park region are the best way to discover this magnificent landscape, which includes striking cliffs, scree slopes, Alpine meadows and expanses of mountain pine and green alder. A trip to Lake Königssee is also a definite must. This fjord-like Alpine lake lies between Mount Watzmann, the 'Sea of Rocks' and the Hagen mountains. The lake's excellent water quality is just one example of the unspoilt nature of the national park.

The region's varied scenery is complemented by the diverse local wildlife. With a bit of luck, you can encounter Alpine species such as ibex, marmots, eagles, mountain hares and Alpine salamanders in the wild – and you may even catch a glimpse of the increasingly rare golden eagle. Keen botanists will also be in their element, with flowers such as dragon's mouth, rock jasmine and dwarf alpenrose.

Berchtesgaden National Park offers a wide variety of tours and activities, including walking, hiking and cross-country skiing. The Jenner cable car, which takes visitors to the edge of the national park, is particularly popular. Other attractions include Berchtesgaden's visitor salt mine, the Watzmann thermal baths, Berchtesgaden Palace, the Marktschellenberg ice cave, the Obersalzberg Documentation Centre and the Eagle's Nest. Anyone in need of some rest and relaxation after an exciting day out will find it, together with hearty local cuisine, in the many welcoming mountain inns and catered cottages.

Eifel National Park

A highlight of the Eifel National Park is the accessible adventure area 'Wild Kermeter' with its 'Wilderness Trail' adventure walk. Interactive stations teach visitors of all ages about topics from wilderness and forest development to the influence of different animal and plant species on the forest.

Hainich National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Hainich National Park will captivate you with its slogan 'leave nature to its own devices'. The canopy walk, wildcat village Hütscheroda and various footpaths are accessible for wheelchair users and contain information boards with tactile wording. The 'Brunstalweg' adventure walk offers a guiding system for blind and partially sighted visitors as well as an audio guide. Wheelchair users can also tour the park by horse-drawn carriage.

Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park

Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park is located in the north of Germany. It surrounds a small group of islands on the North Sea coast off Cuxhaven, just beyond the Elbe estuary, and protects the coastal mudflats.

Three islands on the coast of Lower Saxony, off Cuxhaven and just beyond the Elbe estuary, are the focal points of the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, the smallest of the three Wadden Sea parks. They are the lush, green island of Neuwerk, the dune island of Scharhörn and the artificial island of Nigehörn.

On fascinating excursions through the mudflats, visitors can search for amber and see large colonies of little, common, sandwich and Arctic terns. In addition to the natural sights of the wetlands, the region also offers many cultural attractions.

The history of Neuwerk Island is particularly intriguing, with records linking it to the city of Hamburg going back as far as 1299. The island paths lead through verdant scenery to a fortified tower in the Elbe estuary, a relic from the days of the Hanseatic League. This bastion was an outpost in the battle against piracy. Feature attractions include horse-drawn carriage rides through the mudflats from Sahlenburg to the car-free island of Neuwerk and cruises from Cuxhaven to Neuwerk, which offers guided bird-watching tours and excursions through the salt marshes and the coastal mudflats. There is also a delightful exhibition of amber.

The mudflats are again much in evidence on the trip from Neuwerk to Scharhörn. Originally a sandbank, Scharhörn is popular with visitors for its colonies of sea birds. Just like the artificial bird island of Nigehörn, which is closed to the public, Scharhörn has impressive expanses of unspoilt natural scenery.

Harz National Park

Visitors with limited mobility can also enjoy the unspoiled nature of the Harz National Park. The historical Harz narrow-gauge railway leads up Mount Brocken; both the Brockengarten at the peak and the TorfHaus national park visitors' centre offer interactive walking tours of the mountain.

Jasmund National Park

Along the chalk coast in Jasmund National Park on Rügen island, specially trained rangers lead visitors along wheelchair-friendly nature trails that criss-cross the hilly coastal landscape.

Kellerwald-Edersee National Park

Kellerwald-Edersee National Park is located right in the lush, verdant heart of Germany, on the southern shore of Lake Edersee, barely half an hour's drive from Kassel. Covering around 5,700 hectares, the national park contains one of the last remaining unbroken expanses of pristine deciduous forest in central Europe.

The Kellerwald-Edersee National Park in Hessen offers nature at its very best, an unspoilt paradise created through decades of dedicated conservation and forestry work. Here, there are no roads, settlements or railway lines.

Instead, the region has hills covered in a 'sea of beeches', interspersed with idyllic valley glades and meandering crystal-clear streams. Rock and boulder fields left over from the last ice age, surrounded by large-leaved limes and oaks, dank gorges with ash and mountain elm, orchid-filled meadows and carpets of cheddar pinks all combine to make up the national park's remarkable scenery.

A wide range of fascinating guided tours, walks and cycle routes through the national park are available. Visitors are invited to watch animals, explore the forest, take photos, ask questions and enjoy the woodland air. At Kellerwald-Edersee National Park they can learn to observe and understand nature at its most unspoilt.

Lower Oder Valley National Park

The Lower Oder Valley National Park, located in Brandenburg in the north-east of Germany, is home to many species of wildlife. In addition to scarce and protected birds such as the white-tailed eagle, black stork and aquatic warbler, visitors may also be able to spot the rare beaver building dams. Many types of fish and different species of mammal complete this diverse range of wildlife.

Due to its special significance as a resting and wintering ground for many bird species, the national park attracts hordes of visitors every year. The sight of thousands of cranes descending to their migration roosts in the Oder Valley is an unforgettable experience.

Besides these remarkable natural spectacles the national park offers visitors a wide range of other attractions, including the medieval tower of Stolpe Castle, the historical tobacco barns near Friedrichsthal, the castle near Zitzen, the medieval town fortifications and St. Stephen's Church in Grats and the late-Gothic church in Criewen.

Frequent river cruises through the Lower Oder Valley and weekly cycle and walking tours along the river are a great way to experience the beautiful natural scenery.

Saxon Switzerland National Park

From powerful mesas to delicate rock formations, Saxon Switzerland National Park offers spectacular views. Many paths within the park are accessible to visitors with limited mobility. The first handicapped national park tour guide, Veit Riffer, has compiled a list of recommended tours.

Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park

Among the highlights of the national park is a mudflat tour in the mud mobile. Schleswig-Holstein mudflats. Millions of microorganisms thrive in the nutritious soil. Trained mud guides and national park rangers share their extensive knowledge and provide exciting, yet safe, excursions. The coastal mudflats are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Western-Pomeranian Boddenlandschaft National Park

Situated in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in the far north-east of Germany, the Western-Pomeranian Boddenlandschaft National Park is a remarkable landscape consisting of cliffs and dunes, spits and lagoons. It gets its name from the 'Bodden' – shallow bays cut off from the Baltic containing a mixture of salt water and fresh water – that can be explored on boat tours.

A variety of guided and independent walks introduce visitors to the national park's fascinating coastline and woodland, which includes Osterwald Forest on the Zingst peninsula and Darss Forest, the largest unbroken area of woodland in the park.

The trails through Osterwald Forest lead to splendid vantage points, such as Pramort and Hohe Düne, and across important historical salt marshes. There is also a wealth of flora and fauna. Visitors may be able to spot wildlife such as red deer and wild boar. The Western-Pomeranian Boddenlandschaft National Park is a crane roost of international importance, the largest in Europe. Every autumn, cranes arrive here, creating an unforgettable spectacle for any holiday maker.

Other attractions of the region include the Ahrenshoop artists' colony, the lighthouse and Natureum on Darsser Ort, the national park centre on Hiddensee (the largest island in the national park and car-free) and Stralsund Museum with its gold treasure. The dune heathland and the Dornbusch area with its headland are also worth a look.

Places

View More

Berlin: political and cultural capital with a turbulent history

Once the capital of Prussia and leading cultural center of the 1920s, today the new capital of Germany is characterized by its dazzling modernity and breathtaking architecture. Berlin is reinventing itself once again. Few cities have been shaped to such an extent by history and undergone as much major transformation as Berlin. Known for its famous landmarks, art, culture, shopping, and nightlife. The city that truly has it all!
 

Cologne: the art capital on the Rhine

Every Cologne resident has more than their fair share of zest for life and partying spirit – it's in their DNA. After all, Cologne is more than just a city – it is a matter of the heart, an emotion and an unfalteringly positive state of mind. At the root of this outlook are carnival, kölsch beer and, of course, Cologne Cathedral.

Dresden: a synonym for culture

There are many ways to interpret or define culture. But it can be easily summarized with just one word: Dresden. The sheer abundance and splendour of the city's cultural treasures are enough to take your breath away. And since Dresden also just happens to be set amidst a stunning river landscape, your amazement is soon accompanied by pure delight.

Düsseldorf: catwalk of Germany

Düsseldorf becomes the focus of the fashion world when the city reveals the latest in designer fashion and high-street trends. 'The Gallery Düsseldorf' emerged from Igedo (the world's biggest fashion show in its day) and is now a biannual event that attracts international fashion designers and buyers in their droves to the Rhine city.

Frankfurt: museum of truth, beauty and virtue

Frankfurt is first and foremost a city of modernity. Business, architecture and Europe's third-largest airport – they're all here and they're all at the cutting edge. Perhaps that's why Frankfurt has grown a particular fondness for museums that vary greatly in terms of size, style and subject matter. The city prides itself on always staying ahead of the times, whilst preserving traditions at the same time.

Hamburg: Wanderlust and a maritime world city

Explore the far corners of the globe and return via Hamburg – travel itineraries don't get much better than that. Gateway to the world, beautiful seafaring hub, maritime capital of the north – even the normally reserved locals find it hard to conceal their pride in their home city, its ambience and its cosmopolitan charm.

Heidelberg: Germany at its most romantic

Heidelberg is a city that will capture your heart. Famous the world over, it is a perennial favourite among international tourists. The city has so much to offer: charm and character in abundance between the Old Bridge and the mighty castle, an unparalleled choice of culture and entertainment, hearty yet heavenly cuisine and a picturesque setting nestled between the Neckar river and the foothills of the Odenwald forest.

Munich: putting the style into lifestyle

Lifestyle, joie de vivre or lebensart – whatever you call it, Munich has it in spades. It might be down to the clear blue skies or simply the city's beauty, but one thing's for certain: the people of Munich always like to show their best side, whether they're in a beer garden, on one of the exclusive shopping streets, or in Bayern Munich's stadium.

Nuremberg: Germany's most vibrant museum of history

A city of emperors and princes, leaders and followers, inventors and scholars, Nuremberg has mirrored German history ever since the Middle Ages – the power, the tension, great achievements and great tragedies. Protected by the castle, arts and crafts once flourished, while a new spirit of freedom enlivened the city at a time when few other places could offer such a quality of life. And the same is still true today.

Stuttgart: the perfect combination of culture and cars

There are cars you drive... and then there are cars you dream of. Stuttgart has both in abundance. Not only does the city produce internationally renowned cars, but it also lives and breathes automotive history in a way that nowhere else does. Drivers' dreams become reality when they visit Stuttgart.

Augsburg: a prosperous present and an illustrious past

Augsburg, with its Mozart heritage, is one of the most historically significant cities in Germany – not to mention one of the prettiest. As you stroll through the city's ancient streets, it doesn't take much imagination to gain a sense of Augsburg's importance as a prominent financial centre, international trading hub and focal point for the fine arts in the days when the Fugger banking empire was at its peak.

Erfurt: a city confident in its beauty

Churches, towers and bridges, great culture and glittering festivals: Erfurt offers medieval charm in abundance and a rich history combined with a lust for life and a warm welcome. Situated at the crossroads of ancient German and European trade routes, the regional capital of Thuringia has always been popular with important intellectuals and is a self-assured, proud centre of innovation, as well as a magnet for visitors from around the world.

Freiburg: a city with a sunny disposition

Are the people of Freiburg so cheerful because their city gets more sun than anywhere else in Germany, or have they been rewarded with so much sunshine precisely because they are so good-natured? It's hard to say. But what is certain is that life is good in Germany's southernmost city.

Koblenz: the German Corner and a national heirloom

At the famous Deutsches Eck, or German Corner, where the Rhine and Moselle converge, lies one of Germany's oldest and most beautiful towns – Koblenz. Vineyards, forests and four mountain ranges form the backdrop to the city, whose 2,000-year history has given rise to beautiful churches and castles, palatial residences and grand town houses.

Mainz: city of Gutenberg and Germany's wine capital

Mainz is famous for its university, its Roman heritage, its status as a media hub and regional capital, and its three most defining features: the Romanesque cathedral, the Gutenberg printing press and the Rhineland carnival. The people of Mainz have good reason to be proud of their city's history spanning almost 2,000 years. This rich cultural heritage incorporates a well-established winegrowing tradition, which only adds to Mainz's appeal.

Münster: the youthful charm of a historical city

This is a cosmopolitan city, youthful, laid-back and proud of a history going back more than 1,200 years. Whether as a bishop's seat, a member of the Hanseatic League or a university city – Münster has always played an important role in the region and far beyond. The city earned its place in the annals of world history when the Treaty of Westphalia was signed there.

Osnabrück – where memories live on

Osnabrück has gone down in history as a city of peace for its role in the Treaty of Westphalia. But Osnabrück is much more than that. It's also a city of many layers, with something new to discover at every turn. Connoisseurs, for example, are spoilt for choice by the exceptional gourmet restaurants and regional specialities on offer here.

Potsdam: a land of gardens, parks, palaces and lakes

Potsdam is best known for the magnificent palaces and parks that date back to its time as the former royal seat of Prussia. Prussian pomp and splendour, a heritage of great architects and scholars, and a focal point during the Cold War: Potsdam offers a breathtaking panorama of culture and history.

Regensburg: a magical combination of stone and charm

Anyone thinking a medieval town with a 2,000-year-old history might be slightly on the quiet side is greatly mistaken: Regensburg is anything but dull. World heritage comes to life in the individual historical buildings and squares but, above all, in the town that they form. What's more, this is a town for fun-lovers with the highest concentration of bars in Germany.

Rostock: brick-Gothic architecture with a maritime flair

The harbour is the heart of the maritime city of Rostock. Although there may be fewer sailors on the quayside these days, the harbour still shapes the character of the city. It is also the venue for major events, such as the Hanse Sail in August, which attracts hundreds of sailing ships and a million visitors each year.

Trier: Roman heritage and Gallic charm

Founded as Augusta Treverorum in 16 BC during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, Trier is Germany's oldest city and an important site for classical monuments and art treasures. This can be seen at the Porta Nigra, the best-preserved city gate from antiquity and today the most famous landmark of this city on the banks of the Moselle.

Wiesbaden: where special comes as standard

Wiesbaden is one of the best-heeled cities in Germany: this ultra-sophisticated city is characterised by its refined taste, its touch of class and its prestige. A long-established and exclusive spa resort, the city is widely regarded as the wellness capital of Europe. Whether you come for the saunas or the restaurants, the atmosphere or the shopping, you will find everything to be at the height of luxury.

Würzburg: world heritage and Franconian wine

Würzburg is a pleasing harmony of history, culture and wine. This university town and former royal seat is idyllically situated on either side of the Main river and offers a vibrant atmosphere and an endearing charm. It has gained a name as the centre of the Franconian winegrowing region and, not least, as a city with exceptional places of interest.

Hannover: the world's marketplace for innovation

Which city is home to the world's biggest exhibition site? Perhaps Tokyo? No, sorry – try again. Chicago, London, Shanghai? Wrong again. Frankfurt? Getting closer. The answer is in fact Hannover. Thanks to its state-of-the-art exhibition centre, the city has become an engine for the global economy, and a byword for ideas, innovation and investment.

Leipzig: city of heroes and city of music

Leipzig's key role in setting the rhythm for the peaceful revolution of 1989 is testament to the city's musical endowment. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Leipzig was labelled 'City of Heroes' – a title which could also be in reference to the many great musicians, kapellmeister and composers who are arguably more popular and more prominent here than anywhere else in the world.

Restaurants

View More

Below are only a few of the many restaurants all over Germany.

Baden-Württemberg

Restaurant Bareiss: Claus-Peter Lumpp restyles classic cuisine
Claus-Peter Lumpp presents his sublime, flavour-laden classic cuisine at the legendary Hotel Bareiss in Baiersbronn-Mitteltal.

Restaurant Amador: Juan Amador's three Michelin stars now shine above Mannheim
Following his move to Mannheim , Juan Amador is seamlessly continuing the accomplished cuisine he was known for in Langen and captivating guests with his highly individual flavour combinations.

Berlin

Fischers Fritz in Berlin: Christian Lohse – fish cooked to perfection
Christian Lohse's ways with fish has taken Restaurant Fischers Fritz at the Regent Hotel to the top of the Berlin restaurant rankings.

Lorenz Adlon dining room at Hotel Adlon Kempinski
The mix of sublime gastronomy, exquisite wines and a magnificent view of the Brandenburg Gate will make every food-lover's heart beat faster. In the Lorenz Adlon dining room at Hotel Adlon Kempinski, executive chef Hendrik Otto tantalises the tastebuds with his exciting and expressive dishes, drawing his inspiration from the diverse influences and traditions of European cuisine. His compositions also include fine interpretations of the great classics. This is a gourmet experience that exceeds all expectations.

Hamburg

Jacobs Restaurant in Hamburg: Thomas Martin bridges classic and contemporary
When Thomas Martin, chef de cuisine at Louis C. Jacob on the Elbchaussee in Hamburg , was awarded his second Michelin star for Jacobs Restaurant in November 2011, it was reward and recognition for his unswerving focus on quality.

Restaurant Haerlin in Hamburg: Christoph Rüffer treads carefully on the road to modernisation
At the Grand Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, chef de cuisine Christoph Rüffer constructs subtle, finely balanced flavour combinations in Restaurant Haerlin, which was awarded two Michelin stars in November 2011.

Bavaria

Königshof gourmet restaurant in Munich

Königshof gourmet restaurant, right in the heart of Munich with splendid views of Karlsplatz, is one of the best restaurants in Germany. Chef de cuisine Martin Fauster offers fresh interpretations of traditional dishes using the finest seasonal ingredients – from local suppliers wherever possible. The food is paired with exquisite wines from around the world, which are expertly recommended by Stéphane Thuriot, sommelier of the year in 2008.

Michelin-starred Le Ciel in Berchtesgaden

Le Ciel offers the heights of pleasure at an altitude of 1,000 metres. Michelin-starred chef Ulrich Heimann leads the kitchen team at this fine dining restaurant at InterContinental Berchtesgaden Resort, which is surrounded by the Watzmann, Untersberg and Kehlstein mountains in the beautiful Berchtesgadener Land holiday region. Diners can enjoy exclusive dishes featuring ingredients from the Alpine region, or a seasonal menu on the theme of region, water or world.

Brandenburg

Friedrich Wilhelm gourmet restaurant in Potsdam

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia was a Romantic aesthete who made many journeys to Italy and cultivated an Italian lifestyle. Now, the Friedrich Wilhelm gourmet restaurant is combining its namesake's philosophy with the tradition of Hotel Bayrisches Haus. Alexander Dressel's many years in Italy, Austria and Switzerland are reflected in the exquisite menu, which puts organic, regional and seasonal ingredients in pride of place.

Restaurant Villa am See in Bad Saarow

Villa am See, right next to the marina at Sport & Spa Resort A-ROSA Scharmützelsee, is the resort's fine dining restaurant. It offers glorious views of Scharmützel Lake and, throughout the day, light, regional dishes created by chef de cuisine Matthias Rösch. In the evening, the restaurant provides an intimate atmosphere in which to savour good food and carefully selected wines.

Bremen

Restaurant La Vie in Osnabrück

Restaurant La Vie is in the heart of Osnabrück's old quarter, opposite the town hall where the Peace of Westphalia was signed. Thomas Bühner and Thayarni Kanagaratnam have been hosts at La Vie in Haus Tenge, a listed neo-classical building from the 18th century, since 2006. As the name suggests, La Vie celebrates the finer things in life: uncomplicated, relaxing and revitalising – quite simply, sublime.

Die Insel gourmet restaurant in Hannover

Head chef Benjamin Meusel is the driving force behind the creative cuisine at this luxury wine-lovers' paradise. The wine list is legendary – it extends to 1,850 wines and has won many awards. Die Insel is in a prime location, right on the idyllic south shore of Lake Maschsee, with a sun terrace, a redesigned event area and a beer and wine garden. This haven of pleasure provides the perfect setting for private celebrations or corporate events.

Hessen

Restaurant Drei Birken in Birkenau

Restaurant Drei Birken in Birkenau is the gastronomic destination at the gateway to the Odenwald forest. Although the culinary standard is high, Drei Birken still feels like a well-kept secret. Karl Gassen cooks in a light, refined style with mediterranean elements and occasional echoes of Asian cuisine. Imaginative fish dishes are menu fixtures, and seasonal produce is always the focal point of the creations.

Kronenschlösschen in Eltville-Hattenheim

Michelin-starred chef Patrik Kimpel presides over the gourmet restaurant at the luxurious Landhotel Kronenschlösschen in the Rheingau. Set between vineyards and the Rhine, very close to the Cistercian abbey at Eberbach, the hotel offers a number of rooms and suites, a bistro and a garden terrace in the grounds. The Kronenschlösschen also runs its own cookery school and hosts a variety of events including tastings of rare wines.

Lower Saxony

Restaurant Aqua at The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg

Sven Elverfeld, head chef at Restaurant Aqua at The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, presents top-flight, modern European cuisine. He creates imaginative food of great visual beauty and exceptional quality, as his most recent accolades show. The Aqua's refined style is echoed by the timelessly elegant interior by French designer Andrée Putman.

Endtenfang gourmet restaurant in Celle

Michelin-starred chef Hans Sobotka serves flavour-centric mediterranean cuisine to his guests at Endtenfang gourmet restaurant at Althoff Hotel Fürstenhof in historic Celle. Classic duck recipes are also a traditional feature of the menu, for example the 'Entenvespers' that reinterpret duck in seasonal variations. Maître d' and sommelier Sebastian Wilkens whisks wine-loving gourmets away on a vinicultural journey with a focus on South Africa. In fine weather, guests can dine outside on the leafy garden terrace.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Der Butt gourmet restaurant in Warnemünde

Der Butt gourmet restaurant at Yachthafen-Residenz Hohe Düne in Rostock-Warnemünde offers a beautifully coordinated dining experience and impeccable service. Michelin-starred chef Tillmann Hahn places regional produce in the spotlight along with exclusive ingredients from all over the world. Influenced by his international experience, his 'collage culinaire' concept delivers excellent menu variations inspired by mediterranean, French, Asian and vegetarian food.

Restaurant Bernstein in Heringsdorf/Usedom Island

Arjan Mensies is the culinary mastermind at the Bernstein restaurant at Strandhotel Ostseeblick in the seaside resort of Heringsdorf on Usedom Island, and his menus certainly reveal his Dutch origins. His fresh, creative cuisine, and the restaurant's breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea and Heringsdorf pier, make dining here an experience to remember.

North Rhine-Westphalia

Le Moissonnier in Cologne

Restaurant Le Moissonnier retains all the charm and atmosphere of a French bistro, serving haute cuisine in a leisurely, unhurried atmosphere. Eric Menchon, whose diverse and complex dishes rank as some of the most exciting and most creative in Germany, has been cheffing here for over twenty years. Fittingly for this one-of-a-kind bistro and Cologne institution, the wine list brims with characterful fine wines from family vineyards.

Restaurant Balthasar in Paderborn

The philosophy at the Balthasar is to create delicious food that melts in the mouth. Elmar Simon is one of few chefs who really understands how diverse flavours work together and how to transform the finest regional ingredients into a harmonious dish. In addition to the Balthasar Classics menu, there are gourmet menus which change regularly. The tasteful contemporary decor, the warm colours and the sophisticated lighting make dining here a true aesthetic experience.

Rhineland-Palatinate

Restaurant Buchholz

Frank Buchholz, Michelin-starred chef and rising star of 2012, has his restaurant in Gonsenheim in Mainz. He places great importance on locally sourced ingredients, adding a certain mediterranean flair and combining it all in his own inimitable way to create new fusions of flavour. There is also an excellent international wine list with the perfect pairing for every dish.

Stromburg Castle – a bastion of good taste

Thanks to the Lafer family's passion and hard work, this former inn is now one of Germany's top gastronomic destinations. Stromburg Castle is the perfect place to spend some time enjoying an all-encompassing dining experience. Every meal in Le Val d'Or is unique and unforgettable. Le Val d'Or celebrates slow food; its gourmet menu presents the freshest, highest quality regional produce, masterfully cooked.

Saarland

GästeHaus Klaus Erfort in Saarbrücken

Klaus Erfort's restaurant in Saarbrücken is housed in an elegant villa surrounded by a large, beautifully tended private English park. His food is not meant to be silently admired but to be discovered out of curiosity and the desire for pleasure. Erfort believes that the truth lies on the plate. His modern dishes are perfectly balanced creations with different flavours and textures blended together. His menus are complemented by a wine list of over 600 first-class wines.

Landgasthof Paulus in Nonnweiler

The beautifully kept Landgasthof Paulus stands close to the site of the Celtic circular wall in Nonnweiler, which was Europe's most significant fortification 2,500 years ago. Here, guests can savour top organic chef Sigrune Essenpreis's traditional dishes based on country gourmet cuisine along with fine wines from the well-stocked cellar. The Paulus also has a Wein & Genuss centre, which offers tutored sessions on matching wines with food.

Saxony

Caroussel – Michelin-starred cuisine in Dresden

A luxury hotel such as Bülow Palais calls for luxury food. Executive chef Benjamin Biedlingmaier and his team thrill their guests with a contemporary, light and flavour-oriented style of cooking that prioritises regional ingredients. Fresh local produce is supplied to the hotel almost every day. The interior colour scheme of soft gold tones and gentle greens is warm and welcoming – comfortable chairs, Dresden porcelain chandeliers and light-coloured wood create an atmosphere of timeless elegance.

bean&beluga – diverse pleasures in Dresden

Michelin-starred food in the restaurant, creative cuisine in the bar, cookery school of the year 2012 and a delicatessen offering in-house specialities – at bean&beluga, the heights of pleasure come in many forms. The bean&beluga concept created by Michelin-starred chef Stefan Hermann and his team can also be enjoyed at the Semper Opera House, Konzertplatz Weisser Hirsch and high-calibre events.

Saxony-Anhalt

Landhaus Hadrys

Situated on the outskirts of Magdeburg, Landhaus Hadrys with its idyllic terrace is a cosy favourite with visitors from far and wide. The Hadrys family is very attached to this region, and not just in relation to food. Sebastian Hadrys describes his cuisine as honest craftsmanship with functional design. Together with his wife Tina he has built up the Landhaus and he loves nothing more than offering creative regional set menus that can also be enjoyed à la carte.

Bohlenstube at Travel Charme Gothisches Haus

The multi-award-winning Bohlenstube restaurant is a destination for the most discerning food lovers. In the kitchen, regional ingredients of the highest quality are transformed into authentic interpretations of fine cuisine, and the frequently changing gourmet menu is highly recommended. The team at Travel Charme Gothisches Haus in Wernigerode looks forward to welcoming you and looking after you during your stay.

Schleswig-Holstein

Restaurant Meierei Dirk Luther in Glücksburg

Dirk Luther, chef de cuisine of Restaurant Meierei Dirk Luther at Alter Meierhof Vitalhotel in Glücksburg, offers his own interpretation of classic French cuisine with a modern twist. In just a few years, aided by his kitchen staff and service team, he has turned Restaurant Meierei Dirk Luther into a gastronomic destination in the north of Germany.

Restaurant Jörg Müller in Westerland/Sylt

In his own gourmet restaurant, Jörg Müller gives free rein to his award-winning creativity. His guests can look forward to a very confident, vibrant style of cooking inspired by the finest south-west German traditions as well as the regional influences of his new home. This ever-exciting gastronomic experience is complemented by a superlative wine list and an ambience that epitomises the genteel elegance so highly prized by Sylt aficionados.

Thuringia

Alboth's Restaurant: finest gourmet cuisine

Claus Alboth and his team delight guests with their accomplished blend of exquisite cuisine, refined decor and attentive, charming service. Classic dishes newly interpreted with regional and seasonal accents feature on the regularly changing menu alongside contemporary creations inspired by international cooking styles. Alboth's Restaurant is in the heart of Erfurt's picturesque old quarter, within easy reach of the city's main sights.

Anna Amalia gourmet restaurant at Hotel Elephant in Weimar

Food lovers travel to Weimar from far and wide to savour the fine cuisine at Anna Amalia gourmet restaurant at Hotel Elephant. In an ambience of luxury and discretion, head chef Marcello Fabbri creates taste explosions of mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is especially charming on balmy summer evenings when the high French windows are flung open and the exquisite food can be enjoyed beneath the stars.

Shopping

View More

Germany is a shopper’s paradise. If it exists, you can find it here - from bargain finds to haute couture, traditional to cutting edge, international to the typically German. Always quick and easy to reach and offering gratifyingly good value.

Tax-Free Shopping Advantage for Americans

Travelers from countries outside the European Union can also benefit from tax-free shopping in many stores throughout Germany. This gives you in-store discounts of up to 19%. Visitors just need to look out for the tax-free shopping sticker on store windows.

Outlet Shopping

Here even the most elite brands are affordable: rummage through national and international fashion and lifestyle labels marked down to the best prices and explore German export hits first hand. Realize the smart shopper within!

Wertheim Village – Chic Outlet Shopping® in more than 110 boutiques

Wertheim Village is only 40 minutes from Frankfurt, on the outskirts of the Franconian hills, vineyards and historic towns. The designer outlet boutiques with discounts to the former recommended prices offers a unique density of sought-after German and leading international fashion and niche brands. This tranquil, but nevertheless upscale area is perfect for city travellers and day trippers from the region, but also for international holidaymakers.

Ingolstadt Village Outlet

The Ingolstadt Village is situated close to the historic city of Ingolstadt, and less than one hour from Munich and Nuremberg. The boutiques lined along the wide boulevards offer reductions of up to 60% compared to the former, non-binding recommended prices, and thereby make shopping into a truly exciting experience. The special attraction of the Village lies in the unique mix of brands, made up of international luxury brands and leading German designer labels.

Outletcity Metzingen

Metzingen. Known throughout the world, loved by the world, and the only outlet that is actually a real city! Located in the cradle of factory shops, just 30 km from Stuttgart, more than 60 international premium and luxury brands offer their collections at permanently reduced prices. Prizewinning architecture, larger than average retail areas and brands such as Armani, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Burberry, Tods or Missoni are all available with a breathtaking background of vineyards. You know what they say: Like Shopping? Love Outletcity!

Meissen Couture Outlet in Meissen

MEISSEN COUTURE, founded in 1710 by King August the Strong, is Europe’s most traditional house of art and hand-crafted luxury. Meissen Couture stands for stylish, regal elegance, an uncompromising and legendary quality standards and proven high intrinsic value. Our outlets in Meissen and Dresden guarantee a high quality and fascinating range of products, exquisite offers and an exclusive shopping experience.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Neumunster and Berlin

Designer Outlet Berlin is only 30 minutes from the city center. While Designer Outlet Neumunster is an “attractive” destination for fashion fans who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city of Hamburg. In both Outlets, you can find more than 100 luxury brands. Here, you can find more than 100 luxury brands as well as popular names from the retail trade, including Hugo Boss, Furla and Escada – 30% to 70% cheaper than the non-binding price recommendation, and, for non-EU tourists, even tax-free EU.

Shopping in the Historic Setting of Aachen

Aachen offers not only a tremendous range of historic sight-seeing opportunities and culture but also a multitude of shops. Along with a large number of chain stores supplying well-known clothing, footwear and cosmetics brands you will find many small boutiques and speciality stores in Aachen. Naturally the city center also offers a variety of bakeries in which to sample the best-known speciality of Aachen: the Aachener Printe gingerbread.

Shopping District in Berlin: from Luxury Boulevard to the Trendiest Shops

In Berlin there is not just a shopping strip, but numerous shopping districts offering a variety of products. Kurfuerstendamm with its large department stores and fine boutiques is one of the best-known shopping streets in Berlin. Friedrichstrasse is also lined with exclusive stores. The famous Berlin style and latest trends await discovery in Prenzlauer Berg, around Schoenhauser Allee and Kastanienallee, or in Friedrichshain on Boxhagener Platz.

Life meets style in Munich

From the Weltstadt shopping centre to Munich’s traditional businesses and the trendsetter; from the former purveyor to the court, specialist shops run by their owners, right down to international premium labels: nowhere else can the guest find such a variety within such a compact area. Whether in the pedestrian zone, the charming Hackenviertel, the elegant Brienner Quarter or in the luxurious Maximilianstraße. This exquisite selection in a historical setting promises an unforgettable shopping experience.

Frankfurt: a Multitude of Shops and Delights

For shopping opportunities aside from the chaos of department stores, fancy shopping streets or international delicatessens, Frankfurt am Main offers everything the consumer’s heart could desire. The best starting point for shopping in Frankfurt is Die Zeil, Germany’s top-selling shopping street. The Frankfurter Fressgass’ is the heart and the stomach of Frankfurt City and represents a multitude of shops and delights. Goethestrasse offers a selection of luxurious fashion collections and expensive accessories. Berger Strasse, Schwiezer Strasse and Brueckenstrasse hold numerous boutiques and designer stores with, among other things, a selection of new Frankfurt labels. These areas offer more relaxing exploration than the city centre.

The shopping metropolis of Cologne caters for all tastes – from the trendy to the unique Cologne is one of the most prestigious shopping metropolises in Germany and the Schildergasse one of the most popular shopping streets in the country. Large department stores and famous retail outlets have found their places here and in the neighbouring Hohe Straße and Ehrenstraße. Exclusive designer firms have set up shop on the Mittelstraße and Pfeilstraße. In the Belgian Quarter and in Ehrenfeld small uniquely presented shops offer up unusual fashion items and accessories. Countless cafés and restaurants are there to round off a shopping trip nicely.

Fashion, flair and tradition in Hamburg

Welcome to one of Europe’s best looking shopping metropolises – Hamburg! The city beckons with Hanseatic elegance and an ambience rendering shopping not only possible, but enjoyable. Giant buildings with world-class presence and brands to back them line the Mönckebergstraße and Spitalerstraße. Hamburg’s numerous shopping quarters such as the ABC quarter and the Colonnades are an alluring pull. The luxury zone “Neuer Wall” sports all the well-known top designer brands including Jil Sander, Prada and Mont Blanc

Lifestyle and Shopping in the Rhine Metropolis of Duesseldorf

The fashion city of Duesseldorf is a shopping destination par excellence. The elegant Koenigsallee or “Kö“ with its fine stores and arcades has acquired a new highlight: the Koe-Bogen building, brainchild of leading American architect Daniel Libeskind. What with Schadowstrasse, one of the top-selling retail strips in the region, the historic old town with its iconic boutiques, and the districts of Flingern and Unterbilk for creative youth fashion, this Rhine metropolis completes the picture of a colourful and thrilling shopping world.

From Young Fashionistas to Elegant Stores in Stuttgart

In Stuttgart‘s city center there is something for everyone! Koenigsstrasse boasts the longest pedestrian zone in Europe, the Bohnen district is for those obsessed with detail, Stiftsstrasse promises extravagance and the Markthalle is for gourmets - the diversity of shopping possibilities in Stuttgart is unmatched anywhere.

Heidelberg – shopping at its most romantic

Heidelberg – known around the world for its famous castle, its international flair and the pulsing rhythm of life in the Old Town. The shopping zone, one of the longest pedestrian zones in Germany, goes right through the middle of the Old Town where bistros, cafes and exclusive shops are strung together like pearls on a string. But there are surprises waiting around every corner in the side streets as well. Starting with antique dealers but not forgetting trendy boutiques and the world famous Heidelburg Zuckerladen and Studentenkusshaus.

Soegestrasse – One of the Oldest Streets in Bremen

Soegestrasse earned its name in the 13th century. Derived from the word “Soege“ which means “pig”. This derivation is commemorated with a tableau of bronze pigs at the entrance to the street. The street today is a shopping strip as well as a major access route to the central train station in Bremen City. It offers visitors an extraordinary and diverse range of wares. International chain stores as well as local Bremen firms, rich in tradition, can be found in its stylish precincts.

Sports

View More

Cycling in Germany: between city and countryside by bike

Cycling is healthy, good for the environment and, of course, lots of fun. Long-distance cycle routes in Germany offer opportunity for sightseeing in cities and for romantic rides through unspoilt nature.

With long-distance cycle routes spanning a wide range of regions, you're spoilt for choice. Cycling is tough but rewarding in the Alps, or for more leisurely tours take your bike through the vineyards. Ideal for families are the many riverside routes which offer plenty of wayside distraction. Or perhaps you'd prefer to cycle from museum to mueum? What ever you decide, Germany has a range of cyclist-friendly accommodation – from farmstays to castle hotels.

Discover Germany's cities and regions on vast kilometres of cycle routes. The choice is simply too great to stay at home!

Good for your health and a feast for your eyes: walking in Germany

Variety is the spice of life on Germany's walking trails, whether you're searching for a geocache, Nordic walking, out in your snowshoes or just taking a stroll

Runners, romantics, treasure hunters and health freaks have a huge choice of outdoor locations in which to explore Germany on foot. A network of well-marked trails makes it easy to find your bearings – even without GPS. Tours through the national parks are a great way to get closer to nature. But there are also lots of green areas to discover in and around Germany's cities.

Winter Sports

German winter sports areas have a lot to offer: alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, toboggans, curling, tours on the sledge, hiking etc. Thanks to the good infrastructure, the winter sports areas are easy to reach. The excellent local services make the winter sports areas very accessible. Germany has many winter sports towns and a few among them are internationally well-known.

The Bundesliga: a festival of football for millions of fans

The 2006 World Cup proved to the world – if it didn't know it already – that Germany is crazy about football. Every summer, millions of football fans look forward with great excitement to the beginning of the new Bundesliga season. Many stars of the German league have also won fans abroad.In recent years, players such as Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski have thrilled thousands upon thousands of spectators – and not only on home turf.

What kind of vacation would you like to take?