Germany Destination Guide and Cruise Finder

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Germany Destination Guide

Germany, (officially: the Federal Republic of Germany; German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the largest country in Central Europe.

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Regions

Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states (called “Bundesländer” or shortened to “Länder” in German). Three of the Bundesländer are actually city-states: Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg. The states can be roughly grouped by geography as listed below.

Regions of Germany

Northern Germany (Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein)
Wind-swept hills and the popular vacation destinations of the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts.
Western Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland)
Wine country, modern cities and a history of heavy industry sharply cut by the breathtaking Rhine Valley and Moselle valley.
Central Germany (Hesse, Thuringia)
The green heart of Germany, with some of the most important historical and financial cities and the ancient Thuringian Forest.
Eastern Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt)
highlighted by the eccentric and historic capital Berlin, and rebuilt historic Dresden, “Florence on the Elbe”.
Southern Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria)
Black Forest, Franconian Switzerland, Franconian Lake District, Bavarian Forest, Bavarian Alps and Lake Constance.

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Cities

Brandenburg gate in Berlin

Hofbräuhaus in Munich

Semperoper in Dresden

Nuremberg old town, view from west

Cathedral of Cologne

Germany has numerous cities of interest to travellers; here are just nine of the most famous:

  • Berlin — the reunified and re-invigorated capital of Germany; known for its division during the Cold War by the Berlin Wall. Today, it’s a metropolis of diversity with elegant clubs, shops, galleries and restaurants
  • Bremen — one of the most important cities in northern Germany, its old town is a slice of hanseatic history
  • Cologne — city founded by the Romans 2000 years ago with a huge cathedral, Romanesque churches, and archaeological sites
  • Dresden — once called ‘Florence on the Elbe’ and world-famous for its Frauenkirche and rebuilt historic centre destroyed during World War II
  • Düsseldorf — Germany’s capital of fashion also offers fascinating new architecture and a vibrant nightlife
  • Frankfurt — seat of the European Central Bank (ECB), with a skyline reminiscent of Manhattan (“Mainhattan”)
  • Hamburg — Germany’s richest and second-largest city, famous for its harbour; liberal and tolerant culture with its nightclubs and casinos along the Reeperbahn
  • Munich — Bavaria’s beautiful capital city and economic powerhouse combining high tech with fine arts and world class shopping, gateway to the Alps and the site of the famous Oktoberfest
  • Nuremberg‘s old town has been reconstructed, including the Gothic Kaiserburg Castle. Visit the Nazi party rally grounds, the Documentation Centre and Courtroom 600 (the venue of the Nuremberg Trials)

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Other destinations

Castle of Münster (today used by the University)

  • Baltic Sea Coast(Ostseeküste) — miles of sandy beaches and resorts with picturesque islands such as Rügen.
  • Bavarian Alps(Bayerische Alpen) — home to the world famous Neuschwanstein Castle, and Germany’s best skiing and snowboarding resorts. Endless hiking and mountain biking. Passion Play village Oberammergau.
  • Black Forest(Schwarzwald) — a region with wide mountain peaks, panoramic views, it is a heaven for tourists and hikers.
  • East Frisian Islands(Ostfriesische Inseln) — twelve islands in the Wadden Sea; Borkum is the largest island by both area and population.
  • Franconian Switzerland(Fränkische Schweiz) — one of the oldest travel destinations in Germany, it was called by Romantic artists who said its landscape was of the aesthetic beauty of Switzerland’s. Although the scenery is similar like in Switzeland, the prices are the opposit. Because the “Fränkische Schweiz” is one of the most inexpensive parts of Germany.
  • Harz — a low mountain range in the Central Uplands of Germany, famous for its historic silver mines and for the scenic towns of Quedlinburg, Goslar and Wernigerode.
  • Lake Constance(Bodensee) — an extremely beautiful corner of Central Europe, it boasts water sports and beautiful towns and villages to be seen by the visitor.
  • Middle Rhine Valley(Mittelrheintal) — part of the Rhine River is a UNESCO Heritage Site between Bingen / Rüdesheim and Koblenz and famous for its wines.
  • Romantic Road(Romantische Straße) — a theme route over 400 km in length in southern Germany that passes by many historical castles, between Würzburg and Füssen. Old World Europe alive and well!

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Photo credit: malkovitch via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

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