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  • Germany

Germany is a Western European country with a landscape of forests, rivers, mountain ranges and North Sea beaches. It has over 2 millennia of history. Berlin, its capital, is home to art and nightlife scenes, the Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to WWII. Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and beer halls, including the 16th-century Hofbräuhaus. Frankfurt, with its skyscrapers, houses the European Central Bank.

Location Germany. Red pin on the map.

Die Zugspitze

Located in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region of Upper Bavaria, the Zugspitze can be accessed by cable car from the Eibsee lake (around ten minutes) or by cogwheel train from Greinau followed by a cable car from the Zugspitzplatt to the summit. There are also five hiking routes for the more intrepid and guided tours with overnight stops are a popular tourist attraction for avid hikers. At 2.962 metres above sea level, the Zugspitze is not only the highest mountain peak in the Wetterstein mountains, it is the highest peak in Germany. On a clear day, the breathtakingly lovely panorama of the mountain ranges of four neighboring countries – Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland – is clearly visible from its summit. For those who love hiking and/or winter sports, the Zugspitze is definitely a number 1 choice when visiting Germany!

The Castle of Neuschwanstein (Munich)

In 1868, four years after acceding to the throne, the shy and reclusive King Ludwig II commissioned his architects Eduard Riedel and Georg von Dollmann to build him a mediaeval castle where he could hide from his people. Paradoxically, Ludwig himself only lived a few months in the castle before his death in 1886; 7 weeks later the castle was opened to the public and it has been one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions ever since.Located in Hohenschwangau in the rolling green hills of southern Bavaria, surrounded by blue lakes, Neuschwanstein appears to float in the clouds like some magical castle in a fairytale. From Munich, it can easily be visited as a day trip. Tickets should be booked in advance!

Europa Park (Freiburg)

North of Freiburg in Baden-Württemberg in the little village of Rust is the biggest amusement park in the whole of the German-speaking world. In 2015 alone, it boasted 5,5 million visitors and is among the top 5 tourist attractions in Germany worldwide. In 2016, it won the “Golden Ticket Award” as the best amusement park in the world for the third year running. As an additional bonus, it is also open in winter!With more shows, rides and attractions than one could ever imagine, including the biggest roller coaster in Europe, the Europa Park offers unlimited fun, excitement and entertainment to young and old alike. The Europa Parkc can be accessed from Freiburg by car in around 30 minutes and the closest railway station is Freiburg. Additionally there are a number of airports close by which offer shuttle-bus transport directly to the Europa Park.

Cologne Cathedral (Cologne)

At the time of its completion in 1880, Cologne Cathedral, with its awe-inspiring twin spires, was the highest building in the world. Even now, at 157m, it dominates the surrounding architecture with ease. Building commenced in 1248 but was halted during the Middle Ages and recommenced in the 19th century. Cologne cathedral reputedly houses the remains of the Three Biblical Magi- which were given to the Archbishop of Cologne by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1164 – and is an important destination for modern-day pilgrims to this day. For this reason, but also because of its being “an exceptional work of human creative genius”, Cologne Cathedral was dubbed an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Cologne cathedral is situated very close to Cologne railway station and is impossible to miss! It is around 25 minutes from Cologne airport by bus or rail.

Miniature Wonderland (Hamburg)

In 2000, brothers Gerrit and Frederik Braun set out to fulfil a long-cherished dream – to build the largest model railway in the world. 16 years later, Miniature Wonderland ist just that! The Hamburg section alone encompasses 200 square metres and includes all of Hamburg’s main attractions, including an airport and 1,500 trains arriving and departing the railway station, all computer-powered. Every 15 minutes it becomes “night” in Miniature Wonderland and the lights come on. Visitors can “travel” from the American section – with the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas – to the fjords of the Scandinavian section, just in a few short steps. Sensational!Located in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, Miniature Wonderland is only 800 metres from the city centreand is easily accessible within a few minutes from Hamburg railway station by bus or subway.

Black Forest

For romance, hospitality and great cooking, the Black Forest is hard to beat. Whether your preference is alpine sports and hiking, or wellness and relaxation, the Black Forest has it all.
Located in the south west of Baden-Württemberg in the central German highlands, the Black Forest boasts dense woods, green and rolling hills and quaintly-timbered houses in sleepy villages. In addition, 20 destinations in the Black Forest were awarded “Family Friendly” holiday seals, so the Black Forest is great for children.The Black Forest is easily accessible from railway stations Freiburg (1 hr) or Karlsruhe (1hr 20 mins). The nearest airport is Stuttgart.

The Romantic Road

The winding path of Germany’s Romantic Road, which incorporates over 400 km between Würzburg to Füssen in Allgäu through Germany’s south-central countryside, was travelled by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. Whether by coach or by bus, by bicycle or even on foot, the Romantic Road offers some of the most memorable visual impressions you will experience in Germany. 28 of Germany`s quaintest mediaeval villages, lush green countryside and rolling hills, blue lakes and finally King Ludwig`s spellbinding castles are only part of this spectacular trip back in time.

 

Brandenburg Gate (Berlin)

As a former symbol of Berlin’s´ division upon itself, Brandenburg gate actually looks back on over 200 years of history. Brandenburg gate was erected between 1788 and 1791 and is the only one of the former 18 city portals which remains. In the years between 1949 and 1990, the gate drew visitors from both sides of the Berlin wall to look at “life on the other side”. Since the reopening of the wall in 1989, the gate has come to signify the reunification of Germany. It is one of the most popular attractions in Berlin and thousands of tourists flock to Berlin every month to view it.Brandenburg Gate is situated 5 minutes from Berlin railway station on Pariser Platz, a highly-frequented shopping and tourist precinct. The closest subway station is Brandenburg Tor.

The City of Lübeck

If you like mediaeval architecture, a maritime atmosphere and marzipan, then the City of Lübeck in Schleswig-Holstein is the place for you! Lübeck on the river Trave, famed for its brick-gothic architecture, is also one of Germany’s largest ports and a former member of the Hanseatic League. For these reasons it was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.

Museum Island (Berlin)

It is rare to find an internationally significant museum on a small island, and still rarer to find five, but on the northern half of Berlin’s Museum Island in the river Spree you will find just that. From the Pergamon Museum with its collection of ancient architecture – including the Greek altar after which it is named – to the Bode Museum with its art exhibitions, you can marvel at artefacts of all kinds and from all ages on Berlin’s Museum Island.But there is more to Museum Island than just museums. It houses both the magnificent Berlin Cathedral and the City Palace, both of which are definitely worth seeing. Museum Island is within walking distance from Berlin’s famous and central Alexanderplatz (around 15 minutes).

Moritzburg Palace (Moritzburg)

The exquisite baroque castle of Moritzburg lies in the municipality of Moritzburg, approximately 16 km from Dresden city center, in the center of an artificially contrived symmetrical lake. Originally conceived as a hunting lodge in 1542, the castle gradually took on its present form in the 18th century under the rule of Augustus the Strong; today it is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Sachsen. And if its exterior is breathtaking, its interior is rich and lavish beyond description. Not for nothing was Moritzburg Palace used as the backdrop for the movie “Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella”!Similarly worthy of interest is the little pheasant castle in Moritzburg Palace grounds, another delicious example of baroque architecture at its finest. And if you like gingerbread, Moritzburg is definitely the place to go! Moritzburg Palace can be easily reached by bus or coach from Dresden in under an hour.

Tübingen`s Chocolate Market

On the banks of the river Neckar in the province of Baden-Württemberg, approximately 30 km from Stuttgart, lies the beautifully nostalgic town of Tübingen, one of Germanys oldest university towns whose renowned Eberhard Karls University, founded in 1477, is one of the oldest in Europe. The town itself is lovely with its castle Hohentübingen high above the town, its beautiful mediaeval church – the “Stiftskirche” -, its Hölderlin tower and the wonderful reflection of its buildings´ facades in the waters of the Neckar.Tübingen is also home to Germanys one and only chocolate festival.Against the romantic backdrop of the old city center, master chocolatiers from five continents demonstrate the amazing versatility of the cocoa bean in a breathtaking (and mouthwatering) display of imagination and expertise. Visitors are encouraged to try not only the finished products, but also the processes by which they are made. A must for chocolate lovers! Tübingen can be reached from Stuttgart by train or bus in just under an hour.

Goslar

Believed by many to be the prettiest town in Germany, the little town of Goslar in lower Saxony, founded in 922, has over 1,500 timbered houses from different periods in a beautiful state of preservation. For this reason, the entire old part of the city, as well as the Rammelsberg silver mine – which has been continuously in use for over 1,000 years and upon which Goslar’s wealth was founded – were designated UNESCO world heritage sites in 1992.Despite its diminutive size Goslar offers a wealth of attractions. The old market place, the pewter museum, the Stabkirche and – of course – the silver mines and the mining museum are all definitely worth a visit. But above all, it is the atmosphere and charm of Goslar which leave a lasting impression. The Christmas market is quite simply unforgettable. Goslar is around 40 km from Brunswick (approximately 1 hour by car or train) and 71 km from Hanover (around 1,5 hours). The closest airport is Hanover-Langenhagen.

The Reichstag (Berlin)

The Reichstag was opened in 1894 to house the German Parliament, but fell into disuse after it was severely damaged by fire in 1933. Some work was done on it during the 60s, but it was only after the reunification of Germany in 1989 that it was completely restored and partially reconstructed, including the addition of an amazing glass dome, work of architect Norman Foster, which offers a breathtaking view over the city. Work was completed in 1999 and the German Bundestag, or Parliament, convened there again for the first time in April of that year.

Herrenhäuser Gardens (Hanover)

The magnificent palatial gardens in the urban part of Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony, are a definite must for lovers of plants and landscape gardening. They comprise four gardens covering a total of 135 hectares; over 1,500 plants from different climes have their home here, including over 800 flowering orchids.   The Castle museum, the Wilhelm Busch Museum and the Kunstfestspiele (a major summer art and music festival) are only some of the additional attractions this 300 year old baroque garden complex has to offer. An absolute highlight, however, is the annual firework competition, which takes place between the months of May and September. Herrenhäuser Gardens are around 15 minutes from the railway station by car, or 20 minutes by subway. Subway station is Herrenhäuser Gärten.

Aachen Cathedral

Aachen cathedral was the first German building to be put on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list and is one of the oldest buildings in Germany which are still in use. For nigh-on 600 years it was the coronation cathedral for German kings, and the marble throne of the Emperor Charlemagne used for this purpose – still virtually intact today – is one of the Cathedral’s most popular attractions. Two gilded shrines from the early 13th century, containing the remains of Charlemagne and relics from the life of Christ, are a further attraction, both for tourists and for pilgrims from all over the world.  Aachen borders Holland and Belgium, with the closest airport being the Maastricht Aachen airport in Holland. The Cathedral is approximately 1.4 km from the main railway station.

Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes

On the perimeter of Thuringia’s slate mountains lies the town of Saalfeld on the river Saale. From around 1530 onwards, alum was extensively mined in the area, giving rise to the wonderful fairy grottoes now included in the Guinness Book of Records as the most colorful cave grottoes in the world and drawing an average of 160,000 visitors yearly.  Guided tours include the history of the mediaeval alum mines and their geological composition, as well as fairy tales and legends associated with the caves. Saalfeld lies 1,5 hours south of Leipzig by car or train.

Bastei Bridge, Saxon Switzerland National Park

Saxon Switzerland National Park, 42 km southeast of Dresden, comprises 93 km of the most breathtaking natural beauty in Europe. Located in the Elbe sandstone mountains, it offers over 400 hiking routes through the lushest scenery imaginable, over 700 peaks for rock climbers and a wealth of apartments, camping sites or hotels for those who prefer just to relax and enjoy the view!  The most popular attraction of the region is the Bastei Bridge, which was built in 1851 of the same sandstone as the surrounding mountains, thus blending beautifully with them. 76,5 m long and 193 m above the winding banks of the Elbe, the bridge affords the most unique and spellbinding views. Best route is by train from Dresden to Lohmen (around 1 hour). From Lohmen, free shuttle-buses run directly to the National Park.

The Green Vault, Dresden Castle

Anyone deciding to visit Dresden Castle`s Green Vault must first decide whether to visit the historical Green Vault or the New Green Vault, for this fabulous collection of gold, silver and precious gems set in the most exquisite of artwork was so huge that the decision was made, during restoration of the castle, to divide it between two venues!  The New Green Vault contains more than a thousand magnificent examples of jewellers`art dating from over three centuries.The Historical Green Vault houses over three thousand masterpieces of goldsmiths` and jewellers`art, as well as exquisite pieces of ivory or amber. Insiders speak of the richest treasure chest in Europe and it is well worth while to take the time to visit both. Dresden Castle is around 20 mins on foot from the railway station, or 7 minutes by bus.

Nuremberg Christmas Market

Few events embody the anticipation, sweet nostalgia and sheer cosiness of Christmas as does a German Christmas market. Wool-hatted and -mittened vendors sell every Christmas gift you are likely to need from little wooden chalets gaily decorated with Christmas lights, and the scent of German mulled wine, roast chestnuts, sugared almonds and donuts wafts on the air, combining with the sweet strains of German Christmas carols.   Nuremberg’s Christmas Market has been taking place since at least 1628. Between 25th of November and 24th of December each year, Nuremberg opens its Christmas Market to receive and enchant guests from all over the world. With an estimated 2 million visitors, Nuremberg’s Christmas Market is one of the biggest in Germany and one of the most famous in the world. It takes place on the market-place in the old city and surrounding streets, right next to the railway station. Nuremberg has its own airport.

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