Germany is famed as Europe’s industrial powerhouse – Volkswagens, BMWs and Mercedes’ sit in driveways the world over – but less known is that its culture is every bit as well-developed. In terms of UNESCO World Heritage sites – places of global cultural importance chosen by the United Nations – it’s in the world’s top five countries. Many of these sites are historical – including medieval half-timbered inns, romantic castles and grand cathedrals – and all are generally beautifully preserved thanks to a deep German respect for heritage.
This thoughtfulness also extends to intelligently dealing with difficult Third-Reich and Cold War-era relics of a 20th century in which most major German cities were destroyed. But the process of rebuilding has also enabled modern architecture and civic design to flourish, with both often best showcased by the many cutting-edge museums in Germany’s biggest cities. These are also renowned for their jam-packed events calendars, giant festivals and all-night nightlife.
Meanwhile the countryside brims with gentler attractions and reveals a rich regional diversity – which partly harks back to a time when the country was made up of a patchwork of independent states. But it’s not just accents, architecture, sausages and beers that they vary but also landscapes, which span from coasts to heaths to gorges to forests and mountains. In many of these lovely rural pockets easy and well-maintained cycle paths link pleasant attractions: gardens, palaces, luxurious spas and pretty vineyards.
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Northern Germany is dominated by two cities: Berlin and Hamburg, the country’s capital and largest port respectively. Both are famed for a cosmopolitan boisterousness which deservedly puts them on all regional itineraries. Smaller cities like Leipzig and Dresden, with its Baroque finery, are also good for nightlife but their historic cores are the chief attraction. Outside the main cities Northern and Eastern Germany are places of gentle heathlands, low rolling hills and small coastal towns along the Baltic coast.
Central Germany is dominated by the Rhine-Ruhr region – which with its dense cluster of cities once formed the backbone of Germany’s heavy industry. One city that knows how to play as well as work hard is Cologne which is famed for its spectacular cathedral and huge carnival celebrations. Upstream along the Rhine Valley lies the Rhine Gorge which is celebrated as much as any region for its castles, vineyards and rich folklore. The stretch ends around the important imperial city of Mainz, a close neighbour of Germany’s curiously low-key financial capital Frankfurt.
In Southern Germany fine museums and bustling beer halls make Munich the key city, though the rest of the south is best for its quaint towns – including the university town of Heidelberg – and some of Germany’s most attractive landscapes. Foremost among these are the German Alps in Bavaria, though the Black Forest provides scenic drama to two very worthwhile destinations: the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden and youthful Freiburg.
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Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We donât want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.
Price ranges are quoted in €
See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
€ => Tickets less than €15 per person
€€ => Tickets €15- €30 per person
€€€ => Tickets €30 per person
Sleep — Out of town/rural
€ => Rooms less than €60 for a double
€€ => Rooms €60 – €100 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €100 for a double
Sleep — Large Cities
€ => Rooms less than €100 for a double
€€ => Rooms €100 – €150 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €150 for a double
€=> €5- €10 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€ => €10 – €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€€ => €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
N/A => Not applicable
€ => Tickets less than €25 per person
€€ => Tickets €25 – €50 per person
€€€ => Tickets €50 per person