GERMANY  |  Germany Travel Guide
Sunday, October 22, 2017
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Germany

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Mercedes Benz, S-Klasse, a product of Germany (cc)
Photo: Fadi
 

Germany

Germany is where the notion of Superman was born – in the guise of Übermensch. Its prowess in virtually every field, from the arts to science and technology, dwarfs its European neighbors. It is a land of great composers – Beethoven, Bach, Wagner – and great thinkers – Kant, Nietzsche, Marx. It is the land of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Rudolf Steiner. It is a land of glorious castles and soaring cathedrals, and fabled wine regions besides. It is the land of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche. It is the land of Oktoberfest, the biggest beer bash on the planet, and of techno music, which continues to captivate the hip. Germany gave us two world wars to tear the world apart, and two monumental unions, that of Germany (Reunification) and that of Europe (EU), to bring it back together. To which we say, "Prost!"

The Federal Republic of Germany covers 357,020 square km in north-central Europe. About 30% of its land is forested, and the Rhine, Danube, and Moselle are among its principal rivers. The terrain is a mixture of lowland plains in the north, highland plains in the central lands, and mountains in the South. Germany is bounded by Switzerland to the south, Austria to the southeast, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Denmark to the north, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the west.


Top 10 Destinations in Germany


Germany is composed of 16 states. Its capital is Berlin. The chief of state is the president; the head of government, the chancellor. Recent social issues stem from reunification and its costs, as wealth from the west continues to be sucked into modernization projects in the east. Unemployment rates have soared to 11%, only recently surpassing those of France. Furthermore, Germany’s Basic Law provides for the unconditional citizenship of non-German speakers and for the acceptance of political refugees. Although new laws seek to regulate the influx, the country remains awash in social change, giving rise to racial violence and anti-immigration demonstrations.

Over 90% of Germany’s population is of Germanic descent; the remainder is of foreign origin, including Danes, Turks, Italian, Greeks, Slovaks, and Serbs. Approximately 50% of the population professes the Protestant faith – most of those follow the Lutheran sect. Some 45% are Roman Catholic, and 4% claim the Muslim religion. Over 84% of the population resides in urban settings, with a population density of 222 persons per square kilometer. The largest cities include Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, and Frankfurt.

 

Destinations in Germany (71)

  • Aachen, Germany

    Aachen, Aix-la-Chapelle in French, is known for two things: its Dom (cathedral) and its associations to Charlemagne, the ruler of the Germanic Franks. The two are actually intertwined, for the Dom, at least in part,...

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  • Bavarian Alps, Germany

    The Bavarian Alps run the length of the German Alpine Route, one of the most popular tourist areas in Germany. From Lindau on the Bodensee to Berchtesgaden near Salzburg and the Austrian border, the Alps rise dramatically from...

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  • Berlin, Germany

    Berlin is singularly the most happening place in continental Europe, at once edgy, cultured, hip, anarchical, hedonistic, gritty and irreverent. It has been at the center of much that has occurred over the past century, and...

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  • Best Beer Gardens & Beer Halls in Munich, Germany

    Munich is inextricably associated with beer and beer drinking, with all the trappings of the beer culture. There are scores of beer gardens and beer halls here, several quite popular with locals and visitors alike, offering...

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  • Best Destinations of Germany

    Top Destinations of Germany. Germany is one of Europe's most rewarding countries for travelers, offering a surprising diversity in both its cities and its rural destinations. But among the best, most popular, most interesting,...

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  • Best Small Towns in Germany

    Best Small Towns of Germany. Germany is brimming with great little towns and villages, at once colorful, charming, atmospheric. Each has something distinctive to offer: half-timbered houses, Gothic churches, Romanesque gems,...

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  • Bonn, Germany

    Bonn is best known as the capital of West Germany during the Cold War, and the birthplace of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Of the first it can be said that for more than four decades following World War II, in the wake of the...

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  • Bremen, Germany

    Bremen is the smallest state in Germany, situated in the northwestern part of the country. It consists of two parts, Bremen City and Bremerhaven, both on the River Weser. Bremen City is the one with the tourist appeal, best known...

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  • Celle, Germany

    Celle is a pretty town, situated in the north-central German state of Lower Saxony. It is most famous for its half-timbered houses – there are more than 480 of them in the center of its old town! – and its picturesque...

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  • Cologne (Köln), Germany

    Cologne, Köln in German, is Germany's most adored city, at once sophisticated, laid back, and festive, with more pubs per capita than any other city in Germany. Still, it is most famous for its glorious cathedral, the...

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  • Dresden, Germany

    Dresden is an intrinsically historic city, famous for its Baroque architecture, porcelain, and a fabulous State Art Collection. Originally established in 1206, it rose to prominence as a leading center for the arts and culture in...

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  • Düsseldorf, Germany

    Düsseldorfis Germany's fashion city, where virtually every prestigious fashion house is represented. The city hosts the world's largest fashion trade show every year, and has the best fashion shopping venues in the land. Just...

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  • Eastern Bavaria, Germany

    Eastern Bavaria forms part of the Bavarian heartland and contains some of the oldest parts of Bavaria. For foreign visitors, the two Danube cities of Regensburg and Passau are of most interest. Both cities escaped World War II virtually undamaged...

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  • Eisenach, Germany

    Eisenach is a city in central Germany with a famous castle – the Wartburg. The castle sits on a hill overlooking the town and has been declared the most German of Germany's castles and a national monument of standing. The...

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  • Erfurt, Germany

    Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia, is a former woad plant trading town and one of Germany's most authentic medieval cities. It is a lovely city, at once picturesque, unpretentious, thoroughly charming, and infinitely less crowded...

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  • Famous Museums of Germany

    Famous Museums of Germany. To say that Germany is a museum lover's paradise is to understate the case. For Germany has some of the most astonishing museums in the world, literally hundreds of them, with fabulous collections of...

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  • Franken (Franconia), Germany

    Franken, Franconia in English, occupies the northwestern part of Bavaria. It is an area of supreme natural beauty, and the ancestral home of the Franks who ruled much of Central Europe during the heyday of Charlemagne....

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  • Frankfurt, Germany

    Frankfurt is Germany's only city with a real skyline. It is a city of glass and steel, a city of skyscrapers, largely rebuilt in the latter part of the 20th century. The city was leveled by the allies during World War II, reduced...

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  • Goslar, Germany

    Goslar is a small yet lively historic town in the Harz Mountains, situated on the Gose River at the foot of the Lower Saxon Hills. It is most famous for the Mines of Rammelsberg, situated just to the south of town, which over the...

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  • Great Castles of Germany

    Germany's Castles. One of Germany's greatest treasures is its castles. There are Burgs (castles or fortresses) and Schlosses (castles or palaces) in virtually every corner of the country. But among the most...

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  • Great Cathedrals of Germany

    Germany's Cathedrals. If you like cathedrals, you'll love Germany, for Germany has some of the world's greatest cathedrals. There are Doms (cathedrals) and Kirches (churches) in virtually every German city, town...

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  • Halle (Saale), Germany

    Halle, or Saale, is the largest city in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, situated on the river Saale. It is notable as the birthplace of Baroque composer Georg Frederich Händel, and the home of Halloren-Werke, Germany's oldest...

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  • Hamburg, Germany

    Hamburg, the premier port and second-largest city of Germany, is notably a city of media moguls, shipping magnates, heavy metal bands and nearly 2 million Hamburgers – no, we are not speaking of beef patties here! –...

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  • Hamelin, Germany

    Hameln, Hamelin in English, is inextricably associated with The Pied Piper of fairy tale fame. The town itself is quite charming, and historic to boot, with several interesting buildings, but the famous Rat...

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  • Hann. Münden, Germany

    Hann. Münden is an absolute gem of a town, situated in the Weser Valley at the confluence of the Wera and Fulda rivers, where the two join to form the river Weser. It is filled with centuries-old half-timbered and Weser...

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  • Hanover, Germany

    Hannover, Hanover in English, is situated on the River Leine. It is the capital of the German state of Lower Saxony, and a major center of northern Germany. It is a city of greenery and cultural events, known for its...

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  • Heidelberg, Germany

    Heidelberg is one of Germany's most romantic student towns, and a hugely popular travel destination. It is situated on the Neckar River in a steep valley in the Odenwald, in the German state of Baden-Würtemberg. It is a...

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  • Hildesheim, Germany

    Hildesheim is one of the oldest cities in northern Germany, situated on the river Innerste, a tributary of the Leine, in the German state of Lower Saxony. It is best known for its rich store of half-timbered houses and Early...

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  • Lahn Valley, Germany

    The Lahn Valley is Germany's ecotourism central, and a hidden gem of sorts. It is an area of supreme beauty, situated largely in the German state of Hesse, with parts spilling over into the Rhineland and even Westphalia. The...

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  • Leipzig, Germany

    Leipzig is one of the most prominent cities of former East Germany. Yet, it is more an experience than a city. It reflects the madness of the historical and political shifts and the accompanying unrestrained whims of the...

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  • Lübeck, Germany

    Lübeck is a supremely interesting Hanseatic city on the River Trave in Germany's northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein. It is also Germany's largest port on the Baltic Sea. It is most famous, however, for its Brick Gothic...

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  • Munich, Germany

    Munich, München in German, is the home of beer. It is most famous for its Oktoberfest, the biggest beer bash on the planet, which draws over 5 million people each year. For more than 200 years, beginning in 1810...

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  • Potsdam, Germany

    Potsdam is significant to historians as the site of the Potsdam Conference, where the allies – specifically, Truman, Churchill and Stalin – met at the end of World War II to carve up a defeated Germany into East and...

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  • Rostock, Germany

    Rostock is a Hanseatic city on the River Warnow in the north German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It has a large port on the Baltic Sea and the oldest university in northern Europe, the University of Rostock, which counts...

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  • Rügen Island, Germany

    Rügen is Germany's largest island and a hugely popular travel destination, particularly among Germans, and especially in the summer. It is situated on the Baltic Sea at the northeastern tip of Germany, just off the coast from...

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  • Saarland, Germany

    Saarland is Germany's smallest non-city state, both in area and in population, situated along Germany's southwestern border with France. It is therefore hardly surprising that it is best known as a post-World War II bone of...

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  • Schwerin, Germany

    Schwerin is the capital of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northeastern Germany. It is an unpretentious little town, surrounded by freshwater lakes and centered around its principal attraction, the supremely historic...

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  • Stralsund, Germany

    Stralsund is a lovely old town on the Baltic coast in northern Germany, just one bridge away from Rügen, Germany's largest island. The main reason to go there is to see its large Brick Gothic buildings, notably the 13th-century...

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  • Stuttgart, Germany

    Stuttgart is the home of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. And of Siemens and Bosch and VDO and pretty much all the Who's Who of German industrial and engineering companies, all of whom have their headquarters here. It is a major...

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  • Taunus, Germany

    The Taunus is a rural region overrun by a series of shallow, wooded mountains, quite pretty really, fanning out from just north of Frankfurt to the River Lahn. There is history here, and natural beauty. More than a hundred...

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  • The Black Forest, Germany

    The Black Forest is one of Germany’s most popular vacation areas. It is the largest forested area in the country and the pleasant weather makes it a popular year round destination. The area is mountainous with lovely valleys and...

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  • The Loreley Valley, Germany

    The Rhine Valley from Kaub to Boppard is often called the Loreley Valley. Here the river is at its narrowest, flows fastest, and the valley is at its steepest, with the most dramatic scenery and several castles. The whole stretch of the Rhine...

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  • The Mosel Valley, Germany

    The 545-km (325-mile) Mosel River is one of the longest tributaries of the Rhine. It is a meandering river with a steep valley often more dramatic than the wider Rhine. Like the Rhine, its valleys are planted with vines and castles lurk at every...

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  • The Rhine Valley, Germany

    The Rhine River is arguably Europe’s most famous and most important waterway, from its source in Switzerland to its end in the Netherlands, with the stretch from Basel downriver completely navigable. However, the romantic Rhine of castles,...

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  • The Romantic Road, Germany

    The Romantische Straße (Romantic Road) is the most popular of Germany’s roughly 150 themed vacation routes. It connects several romantic sights along a 210-mile route from Würzburg on the Main to Füssen at the foot of the Bavaria...

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  • Weimar, Germany

    Weimar is a small yet pretty town of around 60,000 inhabitants. Its fame, however, extends far beyond the borders of Thuringia. Foreigners generally associate Weimar with the ill-fated Weimar Republic; founded here in 1919, but...

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  • Wiesbaden, Germany

    Wiesbaden, the capital of the state of Hesse, is a beautiful town. It is filled with tree-lined avenues, huge well-kept parks, and stylish 19th-century villas. During the 19th century Wiesbaden became famous as a spa town, with gambling allowed...

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  • Wismar, Germany

    Wismar is a small Hanseatic port city on the Baltic coast in northern Germany, located roughly midway between Rostock and Lübeck. To vampire movie fans it will be instantly recognizable as the locale of the 1922 film, ...

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  • Wittenberg, Germany

    Wittenberg has a long and deep connection with Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Church, and the major reason for visiting Lutherstadt Wittenberg is to see the sights associated with him. Although the town itself is pretty,...

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