Germany

TRAVEL GUIDE

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From half-timbered medieval towns to cosmopolitan cities, Germany offers a thoroughly engaging mix of tradition and modernity. You can explore Bavaria’s magnificent baroque palaces one day, and immerse yourself in Hamburg’s cool, redeveloped HafenCity the next. In hip Berlin, historic sites such as the Brandenburg Gate and contemporary art galleries create exciting contrasts. Throughout the country, discovering world-class museums and cutting-edge design is as quintessentially German as grabbing a stein of beer at a centuries-old biergarten.

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Berlin

Hip, energetic Berlin has grabbed the world’s attention with its exuberant urban life and vibrant arts scene. Gone are the days of drab Cold...

Munich

Known today as the city of laptops and lederhosen, modern Munich is a cosmopolitan playground that nevertheless represents what the rest of...

Hamburg

Frequently described as "the gateway to the world" by its proud citizens, the handsome port city of Hamburg has for centuries welcomed merchants...

Frankfurt

Although many consider Frankfurt more or less a gateway to their European travels, the city’s rich culture and history, dining, and amusement...

Heidelberg

If any city in Germany encapsulates the spirit of the country, it is Heidelberg. Scores of poets and composers—virtually the entire 19th-century...

Koln (Cologne)

Köln (Cologne in English) is the largest city on the Rhine (the fourth largest in Germany) and one of the most interesting. The city is vibrant...

Dresden

Sitting in baroque splendor on a wide sweep of the Elbe River, Dresden has been the capital of Saxony since the 15th century, although most...

Wurzburg

The baroque city of Würzburg, the pearl of the Romantic Road, shows what happens when great genius teams up with great wealth. Already a Celtic...

Leipzig

Leipzig is one of the coolest cities in Europe—but not so cool as to be pretentious. With its world-renowned links to Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn...

Mainz

Mainz is the capital of the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It's a lively university town with friendly locals renowned for their community spirit...

Baden-Baden

Perhaps best known as Europe's most fashionable spa town, Baden-Baden is more than its name implies. With a storied history, original 19th-century...

Stuttgart

Stuttgart is a city of contradictions. It has been called, among other things, "Germany's biggest small town" and "the city where work is a...

Dusseldorf

Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine–Westphalia, may suffer by comparison to Köln's remarkable skyline, but the elegant city has more...

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

More commonly known by American travelers as Garmisch, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is comprised of two separate communities that were fused together...

Nurnberg (Nuremberg)

With a recorded history stretching back to 1050, Franconia's main city is among the most historic in all of Germany; the core of the Old Town...

Trier

Thanks to its deep history, the Trier of today holds a wealth of ancient sites. It's also an important university town, and accordingly boasts...

Passau

Flanking the borders of Austria and the Czech Republic, Passau dates back more than 2,500 years. Originally settled by the Celts, then by the...

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber (literally, the "red castle on the Tauber") is the kind of medieval town that even Walt Disney might have thought too...

Bonn

Bonn was the postwar seat of the federal government and parliament until Berlin became its capital again in 1999. Aptly described by the title...

Bamberg

Sitting majestically on seven hills above the Regnitz River, the entire Alstadt of this beautiful, historic town is a UNESCO World Heritage...

Regensburg

Few visitors to Bavaria venture this far off the well-trodden tourist trails, and even Germans are surprised when they discover medieval Regensburg...

Augsburg

Bavaria's third-largest city, Augsburg has long played a central role due to both its location and its religious history. It dates back to the...

Lindau

By far the best way to get to know this charming old island town is on foot. Lose yourself in the maze of small streets and passageways flanked...

Konstanz

The university town of Konstanz is the largest on the Bodensee; it straddles the Rhine as it flows out of the lake, placing it both on the Bodanrück...

Wiesbaden

Wiesbaden, the capital of the state of Hesse, is a small city of tree-lined avenues with elegant shops and handsome facades. Its hot mineral...

Weimar

Sitting prettily in the geographical center of Thuringia, Weimar occupies a place in German political and cultural history completely...

Koblenz

The ancient city of Koblenz is at a geographic nexus known as the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) in the heart of the Mittelrhein region. Rivers...

Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden is a gorgeous mountain town right on the border with Austria. From its location in a 2,300-foot-high valley, you can see Germany...

Tubingen

With its half-timber houses, winding alleyways, and hilltop setting overlooking the Neckar, Tübingen provides the quintessential German experience...

Aachen

At the center of Aachen, the characteristic three-window-wide facades give way to buildings dating from the days when Charlemagne made Aix-la...

Worms

In addition to having a great Romanesque cathedral, Worms is a center of the wine trade, as well as one of the most storied cities in Germany...

Rugen Island

Rügen's diverse and breathtaking landscapes have inspired poets and painters for more than a century. Railways in the mid-19th century brought...

Tegernsee

The beautiful shores of the Tegernsee are among the most expensive property in all of Germany. The interest in the region shown by King Maximilian...

Sylt

Sylt (pronounced ts-oo-LT) is a long, narrow island (38 km [24 miles] by as little as 220 yards) of unspoiled beaches and marshland off the...

Bayreuth

The small town of Bayreuth, pronounced "bye- roit, " owes its fame to the music giant Richard Wagner (1813–83). The 19th-century composer, musical...

Bernkastel-Kues

Bernkastel and Kues straddle the Mosel, on the east and west banks, respectively. Bernkastel is home to famed Bernkasteler Doctor, a small,...

Speyer

Speyer is a picturesque and easily walkable town filled with interesting sights and a wonderful Christmas market in the winter. It's also a...

Neustadt

Neustadt and its nine wine suburbs are at the midpoint of the Wine Road and the edge of the district known as Deutsche Weinstrasse–Mittelhaardt...

Lubeck

The ancient island core of Lübeck, dating from the 12th century, was a chief stronghold of the Hanseatic merchant princes, until its almost...

Hannover

A little off the Fairy-Tale Road, and better known internationally as a trade-fair center than a tourist destination, the Lower Saxon capital...

Freiburg

Duke Berthold III founded Freiburg im Breisgau in the 12th century as a free trading city. World War II left extensive damage, but skillful...

Halle

This city deserves a second look. The first impression produced by an ever-under-construction train station and dismal tram ride into town is...

Bad Reichenhall

Bad Reichenhall is remarkably well located, near the mountains for hiking and skiing, and near Salzburg in Austria for a lively cultural scene...

Oberammergau

Its location alone, in an Alpine valley beneath a sentinel-like peak, makes this small town a major attraction. Its main streets are lined with...

Lutherstadt-Wittenberg

Protestantism was born in the little town of Wittenberg (officially called Lutherstadt-Wittenberg). In 1508 the fervently idealistic young Martin...

Erfurt

The city of Erfurt emerged from World War II relatively unscathed, with most of its innumerable towers intact. Of all the cities in the region...

Friedrichshafen

Named for its founder, King Friedrich I of Württemberg, Friedrichshafen is a relatively young town (dating to 1811). In an area otherwise given...

Eltville

The largest town in the Rheingau, Eltville rose to prominence in the Middle Ages as the residence of the archbishops of Mainz. Today it's cherished...

Meersburg

Meersburg is one of the most romantic old towns on the German shore of the lake. Seen from the water on a summer afternoon with the sun slanting...

Schwerin

Schwerin, the second-largest town in the region after Rostock and the capital of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, is worth a trip just to...

Mittenwald

Many regard Mittenwald as the most beautiful town in the Bavarian Alps. It has somehow avoided the architectural sins found in other Alpine...

Bad Durkheim

This pretty spa town is nestled into the hills at the edge of the Palatinate Forest and ringed by vineyards. The saline springs discovered here...

Stralsund

This jewel of the Baltic has retained its historic city center and parts of its 13th-century defensive wall. The wall was built following an...

Meissen

This romantic city with its imposing castle looming over the Elbe River is known the world over for Europe’s finest porcelain, emblazoned with...

Gorlitz

Tucked away in the country's easternmost corner (bordering Poland), Görlitz's quiet, narrow cobblestone alleys and exquisite architecture make...

Ravensburg

The Free Imperial City of Ravensburg once competed with Augsburg and Nürnberg for economic supremacy in southern Germany. The Thirty Years'...

Chiemsee

Chiemsee is north of the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, but it demands a detour, if only to visit King Ludwig's huge palace on one of its idyllic islands...

Torgau

Torgau is among Germany's most beautiful Renaissance towns, with more than 500 sterling examples of Renaissance and late-Gothic architecture...

Coburg

Coburg is a surprisingly little-known treasure that was founded in the 11th century and remained in the possession of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg...

Wismar

The old city of Wismar was one of the original three sea-trading towns, along with Lübeck and Rostock, which banded together in 1259 to combat...

Fulda

The cathedral city of Fulda is worth a brief detour off the Fairy-Tale Road. There are two distinct parts to its downtown area. One is a stunning...

Überlingen

This Bodensee resort has an attractive waterfront and an almost Mediterranean feel. It's midway along the north shore of the Überlingersee,...

Rostock

The biggest port and shipbuilding center of the former East Germany, Rostock was founded around 1200. Of all the Hanseatic cities, this once...

Kelheim

Nestled among the Bavarian Mountains on a meandering confluence between the Danube and Altmühl Rivers, Kelheim is widely appreciated for its...

Nordlingen

In Nördlingen a medieval watchman's cry still rings out every night across the ancient walls and turrets. As in Rothenburg, its sister city...

Naumburg

Once a powerful trading and ecclesiastical city, 1,000-year-old Naumburg is the cultural center of the Salle-Unstrut. Although the city is most...

Boppard

Boppard is a pleasant little resort that evolved from a Celtic settlement into a Roman fortress, Frankish royal court, and Free Imperial City...

Kassel

The Brothers Grimm lived in Kassel, their mother's hometown, as teenagers, and also worked there as librarians at the court of the king of Westphalia...

Deidesheim

The immaculately preserved half-timber houses and historical facades lining its narrow streets fit perfectly with Deidesheim's reputation as...

Bremen

Germany's smallest city-state, Bremen, is also Germany's oldest and second-largest port (only Hamburg is larger). Together with Hamburg and...

Triberg

The cuckoo clock, that symbol of the Black Forest, is at home in the Triberg area. It was invented here, it's made and sold here, it's featured...

Freudenstadt

At an altitude of 2,400 feet, Freudenstadt claims to be the "better climate" in Germany and it has the sunny days to prove it. Founded in 1599...

Fussen

A walled town left untouched by World War II bombs, Füssen's red roofs and turrets stand in picturesque contrast to the turquoise waters of...

Magdeburg

A city of history and reinvention, Magdeburg rose from the ashes of WWII to become a vibrant, modern city rife with culture and heritage. An...

Ulm

Just off the Romantic Road, Ulm is worth a visit, if only briefly, to see its mighty Münster. The evangelical church is unusually ornate and...

Bad Schandau

Enjoying a striking natural setting between the Elbe River and lush wooded hills and cliffs, the lovely spa town of Bad Schandau is the oldest...

Breisach

Situated among rolling vineyards between the Rhine River and the Black Forest, the river port town of Breisach shares a wine- and food-loving...

Kiel

The state capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, is known throughout Europe for the annual Kieler Woche, a regatta that attracts hundreds of boats...

Warnemunde

Warnemünde, officially a suburb of Rostock, is a quaint seaside resort town with the best hotels and restaurants in the area, as well as 20...

Bad Tolz

Bad Tölz's new town, dating from the mid-19th century, sprang up with the discovery of iodine-laden springs, which allowed the locals to call...

Quedlinburg

This medieval Harz town has more half-timber houses than any other town in Germany: more than 1,600 of them line the narrow cobblestone streets...

Braubach

Nestled among lush vineyards and forests, this gem of a medieval town dates back 1300 years and boasts the most picturesque and dramatically...

Heilbronn

...

Schleswig

Schleswig-Holstein's oldest city is also one of its best-preserved examples of a typical north German town. Once the seat of the dukes of Schleswig...

Gottingen

Distinguished by its famous university, where the Brothers Grimm served as professors and librarians between 1830 and 1837, the fetching town...

Remagen

The ancient town of Remagen still bears traces of its Roman and medieval past, but in modern times the town's fame stems from its role in WWII...

Rudesheim

Tourism and wine are the heart and soul of Rüdesheim. With south-facing slopes reaching down to the riverbanks, wine growing has thrived here...

Bautzen/Budyšin

Bautzen has perched high above a deep granite valley formed by the River Spree for more than 1,000 years. Its almost-intact city walls hide...

Cochem

Cochem is one of the most attractive towns of the Mosel Valley, with a riverside promenade to rival any along the Rhine. It's especially lively...

Bad Wimpfen

At the confluence of the Neckar and Jagst rivers, Bad Wimpfen is one of the most stunning towns of the Neckar Valley. The Romans built a fortress...

Eisenach

When you stand in Eisenach's ancient market square it's difficult to imagine this half-timber town as an important center of the East German...

Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein

These two famous castles belonging to the Wittelbachs are 1 km (½ mile) across a valley from each other, near the town of Schwangau. Bavaria...

Bingen

Bingen overlooks the Nahe-Rhine conflux near a treacherous stretch of shallows and rapids known as the Binger Loch (Bingen Hole). Early on,...

Usedom Island

Usedom Island has almost 32 km (20 miles) of sandy shoreline and a string of resorts. Much of the island's untouched landscape is a nature preserve...

Steinau an der Strasse

The little town of Steinau—full name Steinau an der Strasse (Steinau "on the road," referring to an old trade route between Frankfurt and Leipzig...

Kaiserstuhl

The southwesternmost corner of Germany, nestled on the borders of France and Switzerland is the Kaiserstuhl (Emperor’s Chair) region, a volcanic...

Pforzheim

Although Pforzheim is not exactly the attractive place the Romans found at the junction of three rivers—the Nagold, the Enz, and the Würm—it...

Bremerhaven

This busy port city, where the Weser empties into the North Sea, is technically part of Bremen, which is an hour to the south. You can take...

Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe, founded at the beginning of the 18th century, is a young upstart, but what it lacks in years it makes up for in industrial and...

Freyburg

Stepping off the train in the sleepy town of Freyburg, it is not difficult to see why locals call the area "the Tuscany of the North." With...

Baiersbronn

The mountain resort of Baiersbronn—actually comprised of nine separate villages, all named after the valleys they inhabit—has become a high...

Reichenau

Reichenau is an island rich in vegetation, but unlike Mainau, it features vegetables, not flowers. In fact, 15% of its area (the island is 5...

Hameln

Given their relationship with one of the most famous fairy-tale characters of all time, it’s unsurprising that Hameln’s townsfolk continue to...

Annweiler

...

Dinkelsbuhl

Within the walls of Dinkelsbühl, a beautifully preserved medieval town, the rush of traffic seems a lifetime away. Although there is less to...

Oberwesel

Oberwesel retains its medieval silhouette. Sixteen of the original 21 towers and much of the town wall still stand in the shadow of Schönburg...

Oestrich-Winkel

Oestrich's vineyard area is the largest in the Rheingau. Lenchen and Doosberg are the most important vineyards. You can sample the wines at...

Bacharach

Bacharach, whose name may derive from the Latin Bacchi ara (altar of Bacchus), has long been associated with wine. Like Rüdesheim, Bingen...

Marburg

I think there are more steps in the streets than in the houses." That is how Jacob Grimm described the half-timber hillside town of Marburg...

Bad Mergentheim

Between 1525 and 1809, Bad Mergentheim was the home of the Teutonic Knights, one of the most successful medieval orders of chivalry. In 1809...

Bad Doberan

Mostly famous for its cathedral, Bad Doberan is a quaint town that also has Germany's oldest sea resort, Heiligendamm. The city is a popular...

Kulmbach

A quarter of Kulmbachers earn their living directly or indirectly from the beer that's brewed in the town. More than 22 different beers are...

Dhrontal

If the heat of the Mosel's slate slopes becomes oppressive in summer, you can revitalize body and soul with a scenic drive through the cool...

Celle

...

Bad Karlshafen

Popular with holidaymakers in mobile homes and trailers, who park up on the banks of the Weser directly across from its historic center, Bad...

Hori

...

St. Martin

This is one of the most charming wine villages in the Pfalz. Narrow cobblestone streets are lined by historic half-timber houses that are now...

Ettal

The village of Ettal is presided over by the massive bulk of Kloster Ettal, a great monastery and centuries-old distillery. ...

St. Goar

St. Goar and St. Goarshausen, its counterpoint on the opposite shore, are named after a Celtic missionary who settled here in the 6th century...

Hoxter

Höxter is not actually in Lower Saxony, but just over the border in North Rhine-Westphalia. The town's appeal lies in its Rathaus, a perfect...

Calw

Calw, one of the Black Forest's prettiest towns, is the birthplace of Nobel Prize–winning novelist Hermann Hesse (1877–1962). The town's market...

Goslar

The lovely, unofficial capital of the Harz region, Goslar is one of Germany's oldest cities and is known for the medieval glamour expressed...

Bodenwerder

The charming Weser town of Bodenwerder is the home of the Lügenbaron (Lying Baron) von Münchhausen (1720–97), who was known as a teller of whoppers...

Konigswinter

Home to one of Germany's most popular castles, Drachenfels, Königswinter is also the gateway to the 30 large and small hills that make up the...

Oppenheim

Oppenheim is slightly off the beaten path, making it an ideal destination if you’re looking to avoid the hordes of tourists that often descend...

Titisee

Beautiful Titisee, carved by a glacier in the last Ice Age, is the most scenic lake in the Black Forest. The heavily wooded landscape is ideal...

Jena

...

Weingarten

Weingarten is famous throughout Germany for its huge and hugely impressive basilica, which you can see up on a hill from miles away, long before...

Gelnhausen

Perched elegantly on the side of a hill above the Kinzig River, Gelnhausen’s picturesque Altstadt (Old Town) offers the first taste of the half...

Mainau

One of the most unusual sights in Germany, Mainau is a tiny island given over to the cultivation of rare plants and splashy displays of more...

Hanau

The Fairy-Tale Road begins in Hanau, the town where the Brothers Grimm were born. Although Grimm fans will want to start their pilgrimage here...

Dessau

The name "Dessau" is known to students of modern architecture as the epicenter of architect Walter Gropius’s highly influential Bauhaus school...

Gleiszellen

Gleiszellen's Winzergasse (Vintners' Lane) is a little vine-canopied street lined with a beautiful ensemble of half-timber houses. Try a glass...

Sababurg

Sababurg’s not really a village as such, but it is the location of an enchanting, 700-year-old Renaissance castle, an impressive animal park...

Neckargemund

Coming from the hustle and bustle of Heidelberg, you'll find the hamlet of Neckargemünd is a quiet place where you can relax by the Neckar River...

St. Goarshausen

The town closest to the famous Loreley rock, pretty St. Goarshausen even calls itself Die Loreleystadt (Loreley City), and it's a popular...

Bayrischzell

...

Aschau

...

Husum

The town of Husum is the epitome of northern German lifestyle and culture. Immortalized in a poem as the "gray city upon the sea" by its famous...

Ediger-Eller

Ediger-Eller, once two separate hamlets, is another photogenic wine village with well-preserved houses and remnants of a medieval town wall...

Rosenheim

...

Neckarzimmern

The main attraction here is the Burg Hornberg castle high above the town, but visitors will find the village itself to be a charming respite...

Winningen

Winningen is a gateway to the Terrassenmosel (Terraced Mosel), the portion of the river characterized by steep, terraced vineyards. Winches...

Traben-Trarbach

The Mosel divides Traben-Trarbach, which has pleasant promenades on both sides of the river. Its wine festivals are held the second and last...

Nierstein

Surrounded by 2,700 acres of vines, Nierstein is a small, quaint town that's home to the largest wine-growing community on the Rhine. It is...

Kronach

Kronach is a charming little gateway to the natural splendor of the Frankenwald region. ...

Hirschhorn

Hirsch (stag) and Horn (antlers) make up the name of the knights of Hirschhorn, the medieval ruling family that gave its name to both its...

Schloss Villa Ludwigshohe

For a cultural break from all that wine tasting, head to this Pompeian-style palace, the former summer residence of King Ludwig I, which overlooks...

Alpirsbach

The hamlet of Alpirsbach was founded in 1035 and developed around the Benedictine monastery Kloster Alpirsbach. Although the Reformation forced...

Creglingen

Touring the Romantic Road brings you through bustling tourist towns, but smaller, quieter villages along the way are what will probably be most...

Radolfzell

...

Hannoversch-Munden

You'll have to travel a long way through Germany to find a grouping of half-timber houses as harmonious as those in this delightful town, seemingly...

Gutach

Gutach lies in Gutachtal, a valley famous for the traditional costumes, complete with pom-pom hats, worn by women on feast days and holidays...

Schliersee

...

Spitzingsee

...

Bad Liebenzell

...

Bruhl

In the center of Brühl stands the Rhineland's most important baroque palace, the Augustusburg. Brühl is also home to one of Germany's most popular...

Alken

One of the Mosel's oldest towns (the Celts were here by 450 BC), today Alken is best known for its 12th-century castle, Burg Thurant. With a...

Rust

The town of Rust, on the Rhine almost halfway from Freiburg to Strasbourg, has a castle dating from 1577 and painstakingly restored half-timber...

Berchtesgaden National Park

The park covers 210 square km (81 square miles) and around two-thirds of its border is shared with Austria. Characterized by mountain vistas...

Staufen

Once you've braved Hell Valley to get to Freiburg, visit the nearby town of Staufen, where Dr. Faustus is reputed to have made his pact with...

Bebenhausen

Between Stuttgart and Tübingen lies this small hamlet consisting of a few houses, a monastery, and the Waldhorn, an excellent and well-known...

Treis-Karden

...

Schloss Linderhof

Schloss Linderhof. The only one of King Ludwig's three castles to have reached completion before his death, this gilded hunting lodge lies...

Nackenheim

This wine village is the birthplace of the writer Carl Zuckmayer (1896–1977), who immortalized the town in his farce Der fröhliche Weinberg...

Bad Bergzabern

The landmark of this little spa town is the baroque Schloss (palace) of the dukes of Zweibrücken. The Gasthaus Zum Engel (Königstrasse 45...

Buhl

...

Gleisweiler

...

Bergen-Belsen

A visit to the site of the infamous prisoner of war and concentration camp where Anne Frank, along with tens of thousands of others, perished...

Friedenau

Just south of Charlottenburg, Friedenau is a residential neighborhood, with quiet tree-lined streets and a handful of cafés. ...

Ludwigsburg

Although its residents would never call it a suburb of Stuttgart, its proximity to the modern industrial and commercial center of Baden-Wurttenberg...

Bad Herrenalb

...

Schweigen-Rechtenbach

The southernmost wine village of the Pfalz lies on the French border. During the economically depressed 1930s, local vintners established a...

Berlin

Hip, energetic Berlin has grabbed the world’s attention with its exuberant urban life and vibrant arts scene. Gone are the days of drab Cold...

Munich

Known today as the city of laptops and lederhosen, modern Munich is a cosmopolitan playground that nevertheless represents what the rest of...

Hamburg

Frequently described as "the gateway to the world" by its proud citizens, the handsome port city of Hamburg has for centuries welcomed merchants...

Frankfurt

Although many consider Frankfurt more or less a gateway to their European travels, the city’s rich culture and history, dining, and amusement...

Heidelberg

If any city in Germany encapsulates the spirit of the country, it is Heidelberg. Scores of poets and composers—virtually the entire 19th-century...

Koln (Cologne)

Köln (Cologne in English) is the largest city on the Rhine (the fourth largest in Germany) and one of the most interesting. The city is vibrant...

Dresden

Sitting in baroque splendor on a wide sweep of the Elbe River, Dresden has been the capital of Saxony since the 15th century, although most...

Wurzburg

The baroque city of Würzburg, the pearl of the Romantic Road, shows what happens when great genius teams up with great wealth. Already a Celtic...

Leipzig

Leipzig is one of the coolest cities in Europe—but not so cool as to be pretentious. With its world-renowned links to Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn...

Baden-Baden

Perhaps best known as Europe's most fashionable spa town, Baden-Baden is more than its name implies. With a storied history, original 19th-century...

Mainz

Mainz is the capital of the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It's a lively university town with friendly locals renowned for their community spirit...

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

More commonly known by American travelers as Garmisch, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is comprised of two separate communities that were fused together...

Stuttgart

Stuttgart is a city of contradictions. It has been called, among other things, "Germany's biggest small town" and "the city where work is a...

Dusseldorf

Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine–Westphalia, may suffer by comparison to Köln's remarkable skyline, but the elegant city has more...

Nurnberg (Nuremberg)

With a recorded history stretching back to 1050, Franconia's main city is among the most historic in all of Germany; the core of the Old Town...

Trier

Thanks to its deep history, the Trier of today holds a wealth of ancient sites. It's also an important university town, and accordingly boasts...

Passau

Flanking the borders of Austria and the Czech Republic, Passau dates back more than 2,500 years. Originally settled by the Celts, then by the...

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber (literally, the "red castle on the Tauber") is the kind of medieval town that even Walt Disney might have thought too...

Bonn

Bonn was the postwar seat of the federal government and parliament until Berlin became its capital again in 1999. Aptly described by the title...

Bamberg

Sitting majestically on seven hills above the Regnitz River, the entire Alstadt of this beautiful, historic town is a UNESCO World Heritage...

Regensburg

Few visitors to Bavaria venture this far off the well-trodden tourist trails, and even Germans are surprised when they discover medieval Regensburg...

Lindau

By far the best way to get to know this charming old island town is on foot. Lose yourself in the maze of small streets and passageways flanked...

Augsburg

Bavaria's third-largest city, Augsburg has long played a central role due to both its location and its religious history. It dates back to the...

Konstanz

The university town of Konstanz is the largest on the Bodensee; it straddles the Rhine as it flows out of the lake, placing it both on the Bodanrück...

Wiesbaden

Wiesbaden, the capital of the state of Hesse, is a small city of tree-lined avenues with elegant shops and handsome facades. Its hot mineral...

Weimar

Sitting prettily in the geographical center of Thuringia, Weimar occupies a place in German political and cultural history completely...

Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden is a gorgeous mountain town right on the border with Austria. From its location in a 2,300-foot-high valley, you can see Germany...

Koblenz

The ancient city of Koblenz is at a geographic nexus known as the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) in the heart of the Mittelrhein region. Rivers...

Tubingen

With its half-timber houses, winding alleyways, and hilltop setting overlooking the Neckar, Tübingen provides the quintessential German experience...

Worms

In addition to having a great Romanesque cathedral, Worms is a center of the wine trade, as well as one of the most storied cities in Germany...

Tegernsee

The beautiful shores of the Tegernsee are among the most expensive property in all of Germany. The interest in the region shown by King Maximilian...

Aachen

At the center of Aachen, the characteristic three-window-wide facades give way to buildings dating from the days when Charlemagne made Aix-la...

Sylt

Sylt (pronounced ts-oo-LT) is a long, narrow island (38 km [24 miles] by as little as 220 yards) of unspoiled beaches and marshland off the...

Bayreuth

The small town of Bayreuth, pronounced "bye- roit, " owes its fame to the music giant Richard Wagner (1813–83). The 19th-century composer, musical...

Bernkastel-Kues

Bernkastel and Kues straddle the Mosel, on the east and west banks, respectively. Bernkastel is home to famed Bernkasteler Doctor, a small,...

Freiburg

Duke Berthold III founded Freiburg im Breisgau in the 12th century as a free trading city. World War II left extensive damage, but skillful...

Speyer

Speyer is a picturesque and easily walkable town filled with interesting sights and a wonderful Christmas market in the winter. It's also a...

Neustadt

Neustadt and its nine wine suburbs are at the midpoint of the Wine Road and the edge of the district known as Deutsche Weinstrasse–Mittelhaardt...

Hannover

A little off the Fairy-Tale Road, and better known internationally as a trade-fair center than a tourist destination, the Lower Saxon capital...

Lubeck

The ancient island core of Lübeck, dating from the 12th century, was a chief stronghold of the Hanseatic merchant princes, until its almost...

Halle

This city deserves a second look. The first impression produced by an ever-under-construction train station and dismal tram ride into town is...

Bad Reichenhall

Bad Reichenhall is remarkably well located, near the mountains for hiking and skiing, and near Salzburg in Austria for a lively cultural scene...

Erfurt

The city of Erfurt emerged from World War II relatively unscathed, with most of its innumerable towers intact. Of all the cities in the region...

Oberammergau

Its location alone, in an Alpine valley beneath a sentinel-like peak, makes this small town a major attraction. Its main streets are lined with...

Lutherstadt-Wittenberg

Protestantism was born in the little town of Wittenberg (officially called Lutherstadt-Wittenberg). In 1508 the fervently idealistic young Martin...

Eltville

The largest town in the Rheingau, Eltville rose to prominence in the Middle Ages as the residence of the archbishops of Mainz. Today it's cherished...

Friedrichshafen

Named for its founder, King Friedrich I of Württemberg, Friedrichshafen is a relatively young town (dating to 1811). In an area otherwise given...

Mittenwald

Many regard Mittenwald as the most beautiful town in the Bavarian Alps. It has somehow avoided the architectural sins found in other Alpine...

Meersburg

Meersburg is one of the most romantic old towns on the German shore of the lake. Seen from the water on a summer afternoon with the sun slanting...

Schwerin

Schwerin, the second-largest town in the region after Rostock and the capital of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, is worth a trip just to...

Bad Durkheim

This pretty spa town is nestled into the hills at the edge of the Palatinate Forest and ringed by vineyards. The saline springs discovered here...

Stralsund

This jewel of the Baltic has retained its historic city center and parts of its 13th-century defensive wall. The wall was built following an...

Chiemsee

Chiemsee is north of the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, but it demands a detour, if only to visit King Ludwig's huge palace on one of its idyllic islands...

Gorlitz

Tucked away in the country's easternmost corner (bordering Poland), Görlitz's quiet, narrow cobblestone alleys and exquisite architecture make...

Ravensburg

The Free Imperial City of Ravensburg once competed with Augsburg and Nürnberg for economic supremacy in southern Germany. The Thirty Years'...

Meissen

This romantic city with its imposing castle looming over the Elbe River is known the world over for Europe’s finest porcelain, emblazoned with...

Torgau

Torgau is among Germany's most beautiful Renaissance towns, with more than 500 sterling examples of Renaissance and late-Gothic architecture...

Kelheim

Nestled among the Bavarian Mountains on a meandering confluence between the Danube and Altmühl Rivers, Kelheim is widely appreciated for its...

Wismar

The old city of Wismar was one of the original three sea-trading towns, along with Lübeck and Rostock, which banded together in 1259 to combat...

Überlingen

This Bodensee resort has an attractive waterfront and an almost Mediterranean feel. It's midway along the north shore of the Überlingersee,...

Rostock

The biggest port and shipbuilding center of the former East Germany, Rostock was founded around 1200. Of all the Hanseatic cities, this once...

Fulda

The cathedral city of Fulda is worth a brief detour off the Fairy-Tale Road. There are two distinct parts to its downtown area. One is a stunning...

Coburg

Coburg is a surprisingly little-known treasure that was founded in the 11th century and remained in the possession of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg...

Deidesheim

The immaculately preserved half-timber houses and historical facades lining its narrow streets fit perfectly with Deidesheim's reputation as...

Boppard

Boppard is a pleasant little resort that evolved from a Celtic settlement into a Roman fortress, Frankish royal court, and Free Imperial City...

Nordlingen

In Nördlingen a medieval watchman's cry still rings out every night across the ancient walls and turrets. As in Rothenburg, its sister city...

Naumburg

Once a powerful trading and ecclesiastical city, 1,000-year-old Naumburg is the cultural center of the Salle-Unstrut. Although the city is most...

Bremen

Germany's smallest city-state, Bremen, is also Germany's oldest and second-largest port (only Hamburg is larger). Together with Hamburg and...

Kassel

The Brothers Grimm lived in Kassel, their mother's hometown, as teenagers, and also worked there as librarians at the court of the king of Westphalia...

Magdeburg

A city of history and reinvention, Magdeburg rose from the ashes of WWII to become a vibrant, modern city rife with culture and heritage. An...

Freudenstadt

At an altitude of 2,400 feet, Freudenstadt claims to be the "better climate" in Germany and it has the sunny days to prove it. Founded in 1599...

Ulm

Just off the Romantic Road, Ulm is worth a visit, if only briefly, to see its mighty Münster. The evangelical church is unusually ornate and...

Triberg

The cuckoo clock, that symbol of the Black Forest, is at home in the Triberg area. It was invented here, it's made and sold here, it's featured...

Fussen

A walled town left untouched by World War II bombs, Füssen's red roofs and turrets stand in picturesque contrast to the turquoise waters of...

Warnemunde

Warnemünde, officially a suburb of Rostock, is a quaint seaside resort town with the best hotels and restaurants in the area, as well as 20...

Breisach

Situated among rolling vineyards between the Rhine River and the Black Forest, the river port town of Breisach shares a wine- and food-loving...

Bad Tolz

Bad Tölz's new town, dating from the mid-19th century, sprang up with the discovery of iodine-laden springs, which allowed the locals to call...

Quedlinburg

This medieval Harz town has more half-timber houses than any other town in Germany: more than 1,600 of them line the narrow cobblestone streets...

Kiel

The state capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, is known throughout Europe for the annual Kieler Woche, a regatta that attracts hundreds of boats...

Bad Schandau

Enjoying a striking natural setting between the Elbe River and lush wooded hills and cliffs, the lovely spa town of Bad Schandau is the oldest...

Braubach

Nestled among lush vineyards and forests, this gem of a medieval town dates back 1300 years and boasts the most picturesque and dramatically...

Heilbronn

...

Schleswig

Schleswig-Holstein's oldest city is also one of its best-preserved examples of a typical north German town. Once the seat of the dukes of Schleswig...

Remagen

The ancient town of Remagen still bears traces of its Roman and medieval past, but in modern times the town's fame stems from its role in WWII...

Gottingen

Distinguished by its famous university, where the Brothers Grimm served as professors and librarians between 1830 and 1837, the fetching town...

Kaiserstuhl

The southwesternmost corner of Germany, nestled on the borders of France and Switzerland is the Kaiserstuhl (Emperor’s Chair) region, a volcanic...

Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein

These two famous castles belonging to the Wittelbachs are 1 km (½ mile) across a valley from each other, near the town of Schwangau. Bavaria...

Eisenach

When you stand in Eisenach's ancient market square it's difficult to imagine this half-timber town as an important center of the East German...

Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe, founded at the beginning of the 18th century, is a young upstart, but what it lacks in years it makes up for in industrial and...

Bad Wimpfen

At the confluence of the Neckar and Jagst rivers, Bad Wimpfen is one of the most stunning towns of the Neckar Valley. The Romans built a fortress...

Cochem

Cochem is one of the most attractive towns of the Mosel Valley, with a riverside promenade to rival any along the Rhine. It's especially lively...

Bautzen/Budyšin

Bautzen has perched high above a deep granite valley formed by the River Spree for more than 1,000 years. Its almost-intact city walls hide...

Bingen

Bingen overlooks the Nahe-Rhine conflux near a treacherous stretch of shallows and rapids known as the Binger Loch (Bingen Hole). Early on,...

Pforzheim

Although Pforzheim is not exactly the attractive place the Romans found at the junction of three rivers—the Nagold, the Enz, and the Würm—it...

Rudesheim

Tourism and wine are the heart and soul of Rüdesheim. With south-facing slopes reaching down to the riverbanks, wine growing has thrived here...

Steinau an der Strasse

The little town of Steinau—full name Steinau an der Strasse (Steinau "on the road," referring to an old trade route between Frankfurt and Leipzig...

Bremerhaven

This busy port city, where the Weser empties into the North Sea, is technically part of Bremen, which is an hour to the south. You can take...

Baiersbronn

The mountain resort of Baiersbronn—actually comprised of nine separate villages, all named after the valleys they inhabit—has become a high...

Reichenau

Reichenau is an island rich in vegetation, but unlike Mainau, it features vegetables, not flowers. In fact, 15% of its area (the island is 5...

Bad Mergentheim

Between 1525 and 1809, Bad Mergentheim was the home of the Teutonic Knights, one of the most successful medieval orders of chivalry. In 1809...

Bacharach

Bacharach, whose name may derive from the Latin Bacchi ara (altar of Bacchus), has long been associated with wine. Like Rüdesheim, Bingen...

Dinkelsbuhl

Within the walls of Dinkelsbühl, a beautifully preserved medieval town, the rush of traffic seems a lifetime away. Although there is less to...

Freyburg

Stepping off the train in the sleepy town of Freyburg, it is not difficult to see why locals call the area "the Tuscany of the North." With...

Hameln

Given their relationship with one of the most famous fairy-tale characters of all time, it’s unsurprising that Hameln’s townsfolk continue to...

Annweiler

...

Oberwesel

Oberwesel retains its medieval silhouette. Sixteen of the original 21 towers and much of the town wall still stand in the shadow of Schönburg...

Marburg

I think there are more steps in the streets than in the houses." That is how Jacob Grimm described the half-timber hillside town of Marburg...

Oestrich-Winkel

Oestrich's vineyard area is the largest in the Rheingau. Lenchen and Doosberg are the most important vineyards. You can sample the wines at...

Kulmbach

A quarter of Kulmbachers earn their living directly or indirectly from the beer that's brewed in the town. More than 22 different beers are...

Ettal

The village of Ettal is presided over by the massive bulk of Kloster Ettal, a great monastery and centuries-old distillery. ...

Bad Karlshafen

Popular with holidaymakers in mobile homes and trailers, who park up on the banks of the Weser directly across from its historic center, Bad...

St. Martin

This is one of the most charming wine villages in the Pfalz. Narrow cobblestone streets are lined by historic half-timber houses that are now...

Hori

...

Celle

...

Bad Doberan

Mostly famous for its cathedral, Bad Doberan is a quaint town that also has Germany's oldest sea resort, Heiligendamm. The city is a popular...

Dhrontal

If the heat of the Mosel's slate slopes becomes oppressive in summer, you can revitalize body and soul with a scenic drive through the cool...

Konigswinter

Home to one of Germany's most popular castles, Drachenfels, Königswinter is also the gateway to the 30 large and small hills that make up the...

Bodenwerder

The charming Weser town of Bodenwerder is the home of the Lügenbaron (Lying Baron) von Münchhausen (1720–97), who was known as a teller of whoppers...

Goslar

The lovely, unofficial capital of the Harz region, Goslar is one of Germany's oldest cities and is known for the medieval glamour expressed...

Calw

Calw, one of the Black Forest's prettiest towns, is the birthplace of Nobel Prize–winning novelist Hermann Hesse (1877–1962). The town's market...

St. Goar

St. Goar and St. Goarshausen, its counterpoint on the opposite shore, are named after a Celtic missionary who settled here in the 6th century...

Hoxter

Höxter is not actually in Lower Saxony, but just over the border in North Rhine-Westphalia. The town's appeal lies in its Rathaus, a perfect...

Oppenheim

Oppenheim is slightly off the beaten path, making it an ideal destination if you’re looking to avoid the hordes of tourists that often descend...

Bayrischzell

...

Weingarten

Weingarten is famous throughout Germany for its huge and hugely impressive basilica, which you can see up on a hill from miles away, long before...

Gelnhausen

Perched elegantly on the side of a hill above the Kinzig River, Gelnhausen’s picturesque Altstadt (Old Town) offers the first taste of the half...

Hanau

The Fairy-Tale Road begins in Hanau, the town where the Brothers Grimm were born. Although Grimm fans will want to start their pilgrimage here...

Neckargemund

Coming from the hustle and bustle of Heidelberg, you'll find the hamlet of Neckargemünd is a quiet place where you can relax by the Neckar River...

Mainau

One of the most unusual sights in Germany, Mainau is a tiny island given over to the cultivation of rare plants and splashy displays of more...

Sababurg

Sababurg’s not really a village as such, but it is the location of an enchanting, 700-year-old Renaissance castle, an impressive animal park...

Gleiszellen

Gleiszellen's Winzergasse (Vintners' Lane) is a little vine-canopied street lined with a beautiful ensemble of half-timber houses. Try a glass...

Titisee

Beautiful Titisee, carved by a glacier in the last Ice Age, is the most scenic lake in the Black Forest. The heavily wooded landscape is ideal...

Husum

The town of Husum is the epitome of northern German lifestyle and culture. Immortalized in a poem as the "gray city upon the sea" by its famous...

Aschau

...

Jena

...

Dessau

The name "Dessau" is known to students of modern architecture as the epicenter of architect Walter Gropius’s highly influential Bauhaus school...

St. Goarshausen

The town closest to the famous Loreley rock, pretty St. Goarshausen even calls itself Die Loreleystadt (Loreley City), and it's a popular...

Ediger-Eller

Ediger-Eller, once two separate hamlets, is another photogenic wine village with well-preserved houses and remnants of a medieval town wall...

Kronach

Kronach is a charming little gateway to the natural splendor of the Frankenwald region. ...

Hirschhorn

Hirsch (stag) and Horn (antlers) make up the name of the knights of Hirschhorn, the medieval ruling family that gave its name to both its...

Creglingen

Touring the Romantic Road brings you through bustling tourist towns, but smaller, quieter villages along the way are what will probably be most...

Rosenheim

...

Neckarzimmern

The main attraction here is the Burg Hornberg castle high above the town, but visitors will find the village itself to be a charming respite...

Traben-Trarbach

The Mosel divides Traben-Trarbach, which has pleasant promenades on both sides of the river. Its wine festivals are held the second and last...

Nierstein

Surrounded by 2,700 acres of vines, Nierstein is a small, quaint town that's home to the largest wine-growing community on the Rhine. It is...

Winningen

Winningen is a gateway to the Terrassenmosel (Terraced Mosel), the portion of the river characterized by steep, terraced vineyards. Winches...

Alpirsbach

The hamlet of Alpirsbach was founded in 1035 and developed around the Benedictine monastery Kloster Alpirsbach. Although the Reformation forced...

Schliersee

...

Hannoversch-Munden

You'll have to travel a long way through Germany to find a grouping of half-timber houses as harmonious as those in this delightful town, seemingly...

Bebenhausen

Between Stuttgart and Tübingen lies this small hamlet consisting of a few houses, a monastery, and the Waldhorn, an excellent and well-known...

Bruhl

In the center of Brühl stands the Rhineland's most important baroque palace, the Augustusburg. Brühl is also home to one of Germany's most popular...

Spitzingsee

...

Bad Liebenzell

...

Staufen

Once you've braved Hell Valley to get to Freiburg, visit the nearby town of Staufen, where Dr. Faustus is reputed to have made his pact with...

Alken

One of the Mosel's oldest towns (the Celts were here by 450 BC), today Alken is best known for its 12th-century castle, Burg Thurant. With a...

Rust

The town of Rust, on the Rhine almost halfway from Freiburg to Strasbourg, has a castle dating from 1577 and painstakingly restored half-timber...

Gutach

Gutach lies in Gutachtal, a valley famous for the traditional costumes, complete with pom-pom hats, worn by women on feast days and holidays...

Treis-Karden

...

Radolfzell

...

Friedenau

Just south of Charlottenburg, Friedenau is a residential neighborhood, with quiet tree-lined streets and a handful of cafés. ...

Ludwigsburg

Although its residents would never call it a suburb of Stuttgart, its proximity to the modern industrial and commercial center of Baden-Wurttenberg...

Nackenheim

This wine village is the birthplace of the writer Carl Zuckmayer (1896–1977), who immortalized the town in his farce Der fröhliche Weinberg...

Gleisweiler

...

Bad Bergzabern

The landmark of this little spa town is the baroque Schloss (palace) of the dukes of Zweibrücken. The Gasthaus Zum Engel (Königstrasse 45...

Buhl

...

Bergen-Belsen

A visit to the site of the infamous prisoner of war and concentration camp where Anne Frank, along with tens of thousands of others, perished...

Bad Herrenalb

...

Schweigen-Rechtenbach

The southernmost wine village of the Pfalz lies on the French border. During the economically depressed 1930s, local vintners established a...

The Rhineland

The banks of the Rhine are crowned by magnificent castle after castle and by breathtaking, vine-terraced hills that provide the livelihood for...

Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia

Germany's traditional charm is most evident in the eastern states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. Although the area formed the cultural...

Franconia and the German Danube

All that is left of the huge, ancient kingdom of the Franks is the region known today as Franken (Franconia), stretching from the Bohemian Forest...

The Bavarian Alps

Fir-clad mountains, rocky peaks, lederhosen, and geranium-covered houses: the Bavarian Alps come closest to what many of us envision as "Germany...

The Pfalz and Rhine Terrace

Pfalz and wine go hand in hand. This region of vineyards and picturesque villages is the home of the German Wine Road and the country's greatest...

The Romantic Road

Nowhere cries "quintessential German" quite as loudly as the Romantische Strasse, or Romantic Road, a 355-km (220-mile) drive through the south...

Schleswig-Holstein and the Baltic Coast

Germany's true north is a quiet and peaceful region that belies, but takes a great deal of pride in, its past status as one of the most powerful...

The Black Forest

A wood so dense that the sun couldn't penetrate the thick pine trees—that's how the Black Forest— Schwarzwald in German—got its name. Stretching...

Heidelberg and the Neckar Valley

Heidelberg remains one of the best-known and most visited cities in Germany, identifiable by its graceful baroque towers and the majestic ruins...

The Fairy-Tale Road

With a name evocative of magic and adventure, the Fairy-Tale Road (Märchenstrasse) takes its travelers on a path through the land of the Brothers...

The Bodensee

A natural summer playground, the Bodensee (Lake Constance) is ringed with little towns and busy resorts. Lapping the shores of Germany, Switzerland...

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