There's only one way to describe Miniature Wonderland in Hamburg: the biggest model railway in the world. Visitors are taken on a journey through different countries and continents, through realistic miniature landscapes and worlds of fantasy.
Situated in the heart of Europe, Germany has plenty of fantastic tourist attractions and unique sights to offer. Visitors from all over the world travel to Germany to see architectural treasures and fascinating places of natural beauty. The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is interested in gathering the most popular attractions and has its international visitors name their German favorites. Almost 32,000 travelers to Germany from over 60 countries named their personal favorite.
There's only one way to describe Miniature Wonderland in Hamburg: the biggest model railway in the world. Visitors are taken on a journey through different countries and continents, through realistic miniature landscapes and worlds of fantasy.
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.
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.
The Lake Constance region, where Germany borders Austria and Switzerland, is a holiday paradise set around Central Europe's third largest inland lake. 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.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town with a big reputation. Nowhere else will you find such a wealth of original buildings dating from the Middle Ages. You can't help but ask yourself whether time has stood still, as you amble past the beautiful old houses, secluded squares and tucked-away corners of the old quarter, where towers, taverns and town gates alternate with fountains, fortifications and former storehouses.
There are many ways to interpret or define culture. But it can be easily summarised 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.
One of Europe's most famous landmarks, the romantic ruins of Heidelberg Castle have been attracting visitors since the 19th century.
A whole host of international stars, including Michael Jackson, have visited Phantasialand, the multi-award-winning, family-friendly theme park in Brühl, some 20km from Cologne. It also opens for a winter season that features a programme of unmissable shows.
Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo opened in 1911 in the Isar floodplains conservation area. With more than 19,000 animals in around 40 hectares of grounds, it is one of the biggest and most bio-diverse zoos in Germany and was the world's very first 'geo-zoo'.
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.
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.
What captivates people most about the Black Forest National Park is its untamed beauty. As you explore the deep-green forests, you'll be spellbound by the wild and dramatic scenery and the far-reaching views.
Open since 1998, Ravensburger Spieleland is home to the 'biggest playroom' in the world and is absolutely ideal for families with children aged three and above. The 25-hectare park is located in Upper Swabia between Ravensburg and Lake Constance.
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.
The imperial cathedral in Speyer, officially known as the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Stephen, is the town's most prominent landmark. Laid out in the form of a Latin cross, it is one of Germany's largest and most important Romanesque buildings, and was intended to be no less than the largest church in the western world when building work began in 1030.
Breathtaking mountain scenery, picturesque lakes and lush green forests are the hallmarks of Berchtesgaden National Park, one of the oldest conservation areas in the Alps.
Karl's Village of Discovery is an all-weather, year-round destination for the whole family, offering farm-themed fun in Rövershagen near Rostock on the Baltic coast. Suitable for children aged three and over.
You won’t get this close to wild animals almost anywhere else. Natural enclosures, most of them without any bars and fences, make the Bad Mergentheim wildlife park in the Main-Tauber district a really intense family experience.
It may sound like a German bar, but the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) is actually a spit of land at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle. It got its name from the Teutonic Order of Knights which settled here in 1216 and a monument to Kaiser Wilhelm I was built here to commemorate the unification of the German Empire. Dedicated in 1897, destroyed in 1945, declared a memorial to German unity in 1953 and reconstructed in 1993, the 37m-high monument now attracts more than 2 million visitors every year and since 2002 it has been part of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage site.
The square is dominated by the neo-Gothic New Town Hall with its imposing facade and the sound of the delightful carillon in the town hall tower. Close by are some of Munich's most exclusive shopping streets, markets and beer gardens, as well as the trio of famous city gates – Isartor, Sendlinger Tor and Karlstor.
Rügen is Germany's largest island. Its 926 square kilometres contain everything you need for a perfect holiday: Baltic beaches as far as the eye can see, unspoilt natural surroundings and luxurious seaside resorts. A dream – in the middle of the Baltic.
The Harz National Park is located within Germany's most northerly mountain range. Together with the surrounding Harz Mountains Nature Park and Geopark, it is one of the most popular areas for walking and skiing in northern Germany. With sections in both Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony, the park offers a mix of ancient legends and rugged scenery and is a popular tourist destination all year round.
Regensburg, the town of emperors and kings, offers impressive perspectives of around 2,000 years of history. The centre has over 1,500 listed buildings; of these, 984 form the 'Old Town with Stadtamhof' ensemble, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006.
Discover the authentic Middle Ages! Eltz Castle boasts exceptionally ornate architecture and enjoys a secluded valley location amidst unspoilt nature.
Just a short train ride south from Dresden, on the border with the Czech Republic, a stunning landscape of dramatic rock formations awaits walkers, mountain climbers and nature lovers.
Large, imposing and steeped in history: high above the town of Eisenach sits Wartburg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. One of the best-preserved medieval German fortresses and almost 1,000 years old, it is possibly Germany's most famous castle, and certainly one of its most important.
The Romantic Road whisks you away on a journey of approximately 400 km from Würzburg to Füssen in the Allgäu . Anyone visiting this route is greatly rewarded with treasures such as magnificent stately homes, palaces of courtly splendour and romantic medieval timber-framed houses following in swift succession. This route also lives up to its name when travelled by bicycle or on foot.
Over a period of around 400 years, the monks built a remarkable monastery at Maulbronn, which became a distinguishing feature of the surrounding landscape. Today, this former Cistercian abbey, which is situated between Heidelberg and Stuttgart, is not only the most complete and best-preserved monastic complex north of the Alps, it is also a particularly fine example of medieval architecture and, since 1993, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The baroque moated castle of Schloss Dankern offers a variety of leisure activities for all the family and is the centrepoint of this exceptional holiday resort in Haren, at the heart of the scenic Emsland region.
The Eifel National Park has majestic beech forests interspersed with gnarled oak woods and tumbling brooks ensconced in mysterious ravines. The chance to get close to nature offered by the numerous plant and animal species here is unrivalled anywhere in western Germany.
A centre of imperial and episcopal power for almost a thousand years, and often referred to as the Rome of Franconia, Bamberg stands on seven hills surrounded by beautiful countryside. Dominated by its imperial cathedral, the town is a unique and superbly maintained masterpiece of urban design, uniting medieval and baroque architecture.
Lübeck, the undisputed Queen of the Hanseatic League, was founded in 1143 as 'the first western town on the Baltic coast' and provided a shining example for all the Hanseatic towns and cities along the Baltic. The medieval old town is one of the foremost examples of brick Gothic architecture and reflects Lübeck's illustrious past as an early centre of international trade.
Celebrated in song and shrouded in legend – the Loreley rock is a 194-metre-high slate cliff towering above the narrowest point of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen.
Proudly enthroned above Cochem on mighty cliffs, you will find the venerable Cochem Castle (built circa 1,000 AD) with its unequalled layout, bay windows and battlements. Impregnable upon the prominent mount and rising over 100 metres above the Moselle, it is regarded as the highest hill fortress along the river.
The Sauerland holiday region wows visitors with its variety, as the glorious natural surroundings lend themselves to a huge range of leisure activities in both summer and winter.
The Felsenmeer nature reserve is a sensational scenic highlight. It is home to bizarre rock formations, an animal world with a wide range of species and an up to 250-year-old tree population. Legend has it that dwarfs once lived under their roots.
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 28 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.
The Zugspitze is one of the most famous mountain peaks in the Alps. Measuring 2,962m, it is not only Germany's highest mountain, but also one of the most popular destinations for visitors from all over the world.
The beautiful city of Potsdam is part of an extraordinarily rich and attractive landscape: expansive parks, majestic tree-lined avenues and some 150 buildings from the 18th to the 20th century all combine to make an outstanding cultural treasure. Extended to include architectural monuments in neighbouring Berlin, they have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990.
The Gothic Minster has been a dominant feature in the centre of Ulm for centuries and is the town's most famous landmark. It is also known far and wide for having the tallest church tower in the world: the 'Finger of God' stretches up to the skies reaching a height of almost 162 metres. This stunning piece of architecture is complemented by a number of exquisite art treasures inside the church. The minster is also famous for its 15th century choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin. The carved busts in particular are considered masterpieces of art history.
Covering an area of more than four square kilometres on the western banks of the river Isar, the English Garden is one of the largest inner city parks in the world. This delightful attraction holds a spellbinding appeal during the summer, but is also not without its charms in winter. One of the main attractions of the park is the Chinese pagoda with its famous beer garden. Visitors can even enjoy surfing on the Eisbach rapids or see a classical play at the tucked-away little amphitheatre.
It is one of the most beautiful town halls in Germany: the magnificent facade is a textbook example of the Weser Renaissance architecture typical of northern Germany. Along with the Roland statue, the city's very own 'statue of liberty', it still stands as a reminder of the pride that the locals have for their city, their freedom and their sovereignty.
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.
Covering 240 hectares in the north Hessen city of Kassel, baroque Wilhelmshöhe Park is designed in the style of an English landscape garden and is Europe's largest hillside park. Together with Wilhelmshöhe Palace, it forms a unique whole that combines culture, nature and landscape architecture in perfect harmony.
As 100 top chocolatiers from Africa, North and South America and Europe gather in Tübingen's idyllic old quarter to pay homage to the cocoa bean, chocolate lovers will be in their element. This is pure indulgence for all the senses, with melt-in-the-mouth confections, handmade gourmet chocolate, therapeutic chocolate massages, luxury chocolate tastings, creative praline courses, artistic cocoa paintings, inspiring readings and unusual chocolate theatre.
There are plenty of historical town halls in Germany but probably the most beautiful of them all is the one in Michelstadt in the romantically situated Odenwald low mountain range. You’d have to search far and wide to find one as fancy and unique as this.
This is where the roots of the modern European city of Hamburg lie: the historical Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus district with the famous Chilehaus are synonymous with Hamburg's rise as a global trading power – and are today a vibrant cultural quarter. Having survived the years without damage or alteration, this historical ensemble has now been granted UNESCO World Heritage status.
A UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the city, Berlin's Museum Island is a hugely popular attraction both with locals and international tourists. One of the world's most important museum complexes, it is home to priceless cultural treasures. Collections at the Museum of the Ancient World, New Museum, Old National Gallery, Bode Museum and Pergamon Museum take visitors on a fascinating journey through art and culture from the cradle of civilisation in Mesopotamia through Egypt, Classical Greece and Rome, Byzantium, the Islamic World and the Middle Ages right up to the modern age and 19th century Romanticism.
A successful mix of Rhenish charm and international flair, the heart of Düsseldorf has been a meeting place for young and old alike for generations. However, the old quarter has much more to offer than the 'world's longest bar'. Packed into this compact area are a variety of architectural gems from the past and present, as well as cultural attractions, shops, historical monuments, beautiful squares and, of course, the Rhine riverside promenade: a fantastic setting for all types of festivities, from the Japan Festival, book fair and town fair to Halloween and the Jazz Rally.
Nuremberg Castle, where every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire lived, at least for a time, between 1050 and 1571, is one of the most important medieval imperial palaces. Friedrich Barbarossa and his successors added large extensions to the Salian royal castle which had been in existence since around the mid 11th century. The double chapel, which has survived intact to this day, dates back to this time. The imperial apartments and state rooms in the main building, whose original panelling has largely been preserved, contain 16th and 17th century paintings, tapestries and furniture.
The Elbe Philharmonic Hall, designed by leading Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, is a prestige urban project and a new cultural centre for Hamburg. This distinguished venue will offer a mix of classical and 21st century music as well as lighter entertainment with a sophisticated flair. The project will blend the new cultural identity with the harbour's former role as a gateway to the world. Visitors are going to travel up an escalator through the Kaispeicher A to a public plaza 37 metres above the ground. From here, they can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the harbour, the river Elbe and the city. Read more
Würzburg Residenz Palace is generally considered the purest and most remarkable of all baroque palaces in Germany. Built between 1720 and 1744 and enhanced by the magnificent gardens between 1765 and 1780, it exemplifies a glittering era and is one of the most spectacular royal palaces in Europe.
This romantic fairytale fortress, with all its many towers, domes and wings, is reflected in the waters of Lake Schwerin. It was completed in 1857 and symbolised the powerful dynasty of its founder, Friedrich Franz II.
Aachen Cathedral was the very first site to be granted UNESCO World Heritage status in Germany, and with good reason: built in around 790 to 800, the cathedral is of world importance in terms of the history of art and architecture, and is one of the great examples of church architecture. The final resting place of Charlemagne, it was also where German emperors were crowned for 600 years.
Idyllic Rüdesheim am Rhein is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Wine-growing has a long tradition in Rüdesheim and has established the town's reputation as a producer of acclaimed riesling and pinot noir wines. A stroll through the vineyards to the Germania monument or to Ehrenfels castle ruins offers fantastic views of the Rhine Valley.
Natural beauty and imposing landmarks, picturesque highlands and cultural and historical highlights – these are what make up the Teutoburg Forest / Egge Hills Nature Park, the largest in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The diversity of the Wadden Sea landscape on the North Sea coast makes it a unique habitat for countless species of plants and wildlife. This UNESCO World Natural Heritage site covers an area of around 11,000 square kilometres and includes the three Wadden Sea National Parks of Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Denmark plus the Wadden Sea conservation area in the Netherlands.
Welcome to the home of fairies and princes, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. Let the 600 km German Fairy Tale Route transport you to the magical world of the Brothers Grimm, from their birthplace in Hanau to Bremen, the home of the famous four-legged town musicians (Tiercombo).
Munich is Germany's beer capital – and the Oktoberfest is a byword for beer all over the world. When the first Oktoberfest was held back in 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding, nobody could have dreamt it would go on to become such a famous event. Since that time, the world's biggest beer festival has been held every year in September/October on the Theresienwiese grounds, bringing smiles to people's faces in classic Bavarian style with oompah bands, beer fresh from the barrel and plenty of good cheer. Anyone interested in the history of the festival can find out more on a guided tour of the famous Wies'n site, available since 1995 in several languages.
Fortified with a multitude of towers and turrets, Hohenzollern Castle sits in splendour almost 900 metres above the Swabian Alb. This is a storybook fortress from the heyday of the neo-Gothic.
Expanding Hamburg's inner city: HafenCity – currently Europe's biggest urban regeneration project – is a model for new waterside developments in city centres all over Europe. While the historical warehouse district with its neo-Gothic brick-built architecture has long been a dominant feature of Hamburg, the new development at HafenCity is bringing a refreshing new twist to the old harbour. This addition to Hamburg's inner city sets a new benchmark in Europe and beyond. Covering an area of 157 hectares, the vibrant district is a fascinating mix of office and residential buildings, retail outlets, leisure facilities, restaurants, cafés and culture.
On the Hauptmarkt of the historic Old Town the 'Christ Child' ceremoniously opens the world famous Nuremburg Christmas market. The unique Christmas city presents a medieval atmosphere, the original Nuremburg gingerbread, Nuremburg Bratwurst, and the largest Feuerzangenbowle in the world. Atmospheric Advent and Christmas concerts in the churches, a traditional nativity play in the baroque church of St. Egidien and the Spitalgasse, Children’s Christmas on Hans-Sachs-Platz, Partner City Market on Rathausplatz, crafts and arts in the Handwerkerhof, a parade by lamp light to the castle and rides on the post carriages – Nuremburg is turned into a unique all-out Christmas experience.
Quedlinburg, which enjoys an idyllic location on the Romanesque Route, was an important royal and imperial town in the Middle Ages. With its historical layout and over 1,300 timber-framed houses from a period spanning six centuries, Quedlinburg is a fine example of a beautifully preserved medieval town. It also boasts a wealth of art nouveau architecture.
Time seems to stand still in the Saar Bow. Ships slow down to navigate the hairpin bend in the river, while visitors on top of the Cloef viewing point stop to catch their breath at the stunning views.
Garlands, illuminated trees and fairy lights bathe the Christmas market and the romantic market square in a warm, festive glow. Musical accompaniment is provided by trumpeters in historical costume and alpenhorn trios. Beneath the towers of the castle there is an enchanting 'living' Nativity scene in a straw-thatched stable, while a musical shepherd features in the landscaped Nativity scene at St Michael's Church.
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.
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.
Nestled deep in the Black Forest is the small town of Triberg, which is also home to a breathtaking natural spectacle: waterfalls plunging into the depths from a height of 163 m. A hiking path allows visitors to explore at their leisure, taking in its seven steps from all angles. The waterfalls can be visited all year round, and are an impressive sight – even in winter! At Christmas, millions of lights conjure up a romantic atmosphere and transform the surrounding forest into an utterly beautiful outdoor winter festival with performers and other highlights.
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.
From 1961 to 1989 the Berlin Wall divided the city in two. Most of this concrete structure has since been torn down, but fragments do remain a feature of the city. The Berlin Wall Trail, a route for walkers and cyclists split into 14 sections, follows the path of the former wall. Information panels installed at 30 points tell the story of the Berlin Wall. The colourful and recently restored East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain is a piece of the hinterland wall that in 1990 was painted by artists from 21 countries. On Bernauer Strasse, where there is a replica section of the Berlin Wall, you can also visit a memorial site, a documentation centre and the Chapel of Reconciliation.
Reminders of Germany's earliest industrial heritage: documenting around 1,000 years of mining history, the Mines of Rammelsberg on the outskirts of the beautiful old town of Goslar were once the largest interconnected repositories of copper, lead and zinc ore in the world. Energy for the mine was supplied by the Upper Harz water management system, the world's foremost pre-industrial water management system for the mining industry.
For centuries, Weimar in Thuringia was at the centre of intellectual life in Germany: the city experienced its heyday in the early 19th century when it was home to no fewer than three of Europe's leading intellectuals – Goethe, Schiller and Herder. The Classical Weimar ensemble is testimony to the enlightened, courtly but also civic culture of the period around 1800.
From the rolling foothills of the Alps all the way up to the mountain peaks, the Allgäu has always attracted active holidaymakers. As a sustainable destination for health and wellness, the region is aiming for more, and its Allgäu brand logo can only be used once a strict set of sustainability criteria has been met.
A truly unmissable Bavarian experience awaits at the famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall at Am Platzl in the old quarter. Originally a brewery, today it is an internationally acclaimed 'beer temple'. Locals can be seen dressed in traditional costume, drinking Munich beer from the famous Mass, a one-litre tankard, and enjoying traditional hearty specialities served up with a good dose of Bavarian hospitality. Probably the largest beer hall in the world serving some 30,000 guests every day, it is always noisy and full of beer-fuelled cheer.
Visible from afar: romantic Wernigerode Castle towers high above the little town north of the Harz mountains. It’s just one of many highlights on every corner in and around Wernigerode – especially in the restored old town with its colourful timber-framed houses.
Wuppertal is the biggest city in the Bergisches Land and is the region's main centre for business, education, industry and the arts. It is above all known as the city with the suspended monorail – as Wuppertal's official slogan proudly proclaims. From the windows of the monorail, visitors look out onto a confident, historically aware city, with an amazing amount to offer.
With its rich, gold-adorned ceremonial room in the Augsburg Town Hall, the Golden Hall is regarded as one of the most important cultural icons of Germany’s Late Renaissance. The ceiling of the 14-metre-high hall is clad with gold foil. It was completely destroyed in 1944 and reinstated in 1996 after 17 years of restoration. Since then, the Golden Hall is used as reception hall and meeting room for the city.
Bavaria, located in the south-eastern corner of Germany, is home to the country's first national park, which was founded in 1970 and extended to its present size of 243 square kilometres in 1997.
Since around 1290, the rows of houses with their gabled fronts and covered walkways have been a dominant feature of Prinzipalmarkt, Münster's oldest market street in the heart of the city. Shopping whatever the weather – this was even possible back in the Middle Ages under the arcades of Prinzipalmarkt. Once the town's main square, it features 48 gabled houses along with the famous town hall where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed, the wine tavern with its Renaissance facade, merchants' houses and the market church of St. Lambert.
Of the three palaces that Ludwig II actually had built, Linderhof Palace is the most inspired. A triumph of splendour and extravagance, it lies in the secluded Graswang valley.
The Pilgrimage Church of the Scourged Saviour at the foot of the Alps is considered a perfect example of Bavarian rococo architecture. Around one million visitors come here every year from all over the world – to look, marvel, pray, attend services, enjoy the summer concerts and, of course, for quiet contemplation.
Beilstein, or as many call it: the "Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle", lies between vineyards and the Moselle Valley.
The little town has a wild and romantic feel and exudes historic flair with its town wall dating back to 1310, its picturesque market square and its many nooks and narrow alleyways. It is no wonder this place is not only home to 140 people but also has been used as a backdrop for countless films!
In 1878, Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned an extravagant palace to be built on idyllic Herrenwörth Island in Lake Chiemsee. Inspired by the French 'Sun King' Louis XIV, this fairytale showpiece now attracts millions of visitors every year.
The Fuggerei, the world's first welfare housing project, was founded by the wealthy merchant Jakob Fugger in 1516. Hardworking, honest but poor citizens were taken in and given fully furnished homes that even included cutlery. Featuring eight lanes and three gates, the settlement is known as a 'town within a town' and comprises 67 two-storey houses and 147 apartments, its own church, fountains, town walls and gates, which are still closed every evening at 10pm by the nightwatchman. The annual basic rent for an apartment is, to this day, one Rhenish guilder – a nominal amount equivalent to just 88 euro cents.
In the Bavarian town of Günzburg, one hour from Munich and Stuttgart, there's a land where everyone can be a true hero – LEGOLAND Deutschland Resort, which was awarded the Parkscout Public Award for the 'most child-friendly theme park' in 2012 and is ideal for ages four and above.
In Hainich National Park, part of the World Heritage region of Wartburg Hainach, world history comes face to face with nature: what was once a military exclusion zone is now the largest unbroken expanse of mixed deciduous forest in Europe.
The maritime town of Bremerhaven is opening a new chapter in its history: on the Weser dike, in the area around the old and new harbour, the Harbour Worlds complex offers a very special tour of discovery through maritime history. Bremerhaven's new town centre features a host of outstanding attractions including the Klimahaus® Bremerhaven 8° Ost and the German Emigration Centre, as well as the Zoo am Meer, the U-boat 'Wilhelm Bauer' - part of the German Maritime Museum, along with hotels and top-class restaurants. This ambitious project was completed in June 2009 and now attracts up to a million additional visitors to the town every year.
The route along Wilhelmstrasse right through the old and new government quarter and embassy district heads towards Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. The ministerial buildings and the Federal Chancellery, in particular, reflect the successful synthesis of the old with the new through prestigious yet modest elegance. From here, your gaze is immediately drawn to the Reichstag, one of the most famous sights in Berlin. Its glass dome by leading British architect Norman Foster has become a hugely popular attraction for visitors from far and wide.
The atmospheric Christmas market in Bernkastel-Kues is set against the historical backdrop of the old town with its medieval squares, narrow streets and magnificent town hall. Other highlights are a giant Advent calendar, swimming with flickering torches in the Rhine and St. Nicholas tours.
When Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach laid the foundation stone for the palace in 1715, he also marked the birth of the city. At his behest the palace was built amid previously unspoilt countryside in the Hardt forest, just like Louis XIV had done with Versailles. The streets and avenues of Karlsruhe radiate out from the palace – a symbol of power and perfection. The palace served as a residence for the Margraves and Grand Dukes of Baden until 1918. Today it houses the Baden State Museum and part of the Federal Constitutional Court.
The Bauhaus art school revolutionised artistic and architectural thinking and work in the 20th century. Today, the original buildings in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau, along with museums and exhibitions, provide an insight into this formative building block of the modern age.
The German Alpine Road – drive-in cinema at its very best! Welcome to a winding 450 km tour through the majestic panorama of the Bavarian Alps, from Lindau on Lake Constance to Berchtesgaden on Lake Königssee. Driving, cycling or walking this route is like travelling through the greatest hits of the Alps:
Heligoland's rust-coloured sandstone cliffs jut dramatically out of the North Sea some 70 kilometres from the mainland. Blessed with a unique natural setting, the island also enjoys a mild maritime climate.
Müritz National Park hugs the long eastern shoreline of Lake Müritz, which is by far the largest of the Mecklenburg Lakes in north-east Germany. A 660-kilometre network of trails leads through an enchanting landscape characterised by ancient beech forests, mysterious marshes and huge expanses of water – including more than 130 lakes.
Built in 1914, Stuttgart's market halls are regarded as a triumph of the art nouveau period. There's the aroma of exotic spices hanging in the air, a medley of voices speaking all different languages, and rows and rows of stalls covering an area of around 3,000 square metres. Flowers, fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and baked goods are available here every day. In this extravaganza of epicurean delights and other refined pleasures, visitors can sit and relax over a delicious latte or enjoy some Swabian specialities in the restaurant with the hustle and bustle in the background.
More than 18,000 animals captivate visitors in the heart of Berlin. The exotic animal houses and naturalistic enclosures are home to rare animals such as gorillas and kiwis.
The largest North Frisian island is a popular destination for fine food and water sports. Located off Schleswig-Holstein's North Sea coast, Sylt also has lots to offer when it comes to health and wellness.