Germany Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Germany

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Located on an island in the Schlei, a narrow inlet of the Baltic Sea, Schloss Gottorf is a historic castle estate that served as the ancestral home of the House of Oldenburg. It lies just a couple of kilometers from the Old Town of Schleswig and boasts two of the state’s most significant museums.

The island was first settled as an estate in the 12th century as the residence of Bishop Occo of Schleswig before being transferred to the Count of Holstein of the House of Schauenburg in 1340. It was later inherited by Christian I of Denmark who was the first Danish monarch from the House of Oldenburg.

Schloss Gottorf was expanded throughout the years, particularly during the 16th century when it became the primary residence of Christian I, with the castle seen today built by the famous Swedish architect, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger around the turn of the 18th century. It largely fell into disrepair under the reign of Frederick IV of Denmark and was used as a barracks for both Danish and Prussian forces during the 19th century... read more arrow

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Nestled in the historic heart of Mainz is St. Martin’s Cathedral, a 1000-year-old cathedral that serves as the episcopal see of the Bishop of Mainz. Its soaring towers dominate the half-timbered houses of the pedestrianized Old Town and it represents the high point of Romanesque cathedral architecture in Germany.

The Cathedral of Mainz was first established in 975AD but continually restored and rebuilt over successive centuries. Much of its present form dates to the 13th and 14th centuries, with the cathedral surviving largely unscathed during the Allied bombing of Mainz during World War II. It was here that the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa took up the Cross in the Third Crusade, which was called by Pope Gregory VIII in 1188 to conquer the Holy Land from Muslim leader, Saladin.

Witness the supporting pillars along the nave aisle that are decorated with statues of French and German saints, then admire the combination of Romanesque and Baroque architectural styles employed in the main dome... read more arrow

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Located on the northern edge of the Segeberger Forest between the towns of Bad Bramstedt and Bad Segeberg, the Eekholt Wildlife Park is home to around 100 different species of native wildlife. It showcases the animals in their natural habitats while raising awareness about sustainability in nature.

The Eekholt Wildlife Park was founded in 1970 and is still privately run to this day. It was created to convey awareness about the ecological interdependence of plants, animals and humans, with diagrams and exhibits illustrating the role each plant or animal plays in maintaining the ecological balance.

Follow the walking trails that lead through wetlands, bogs, coniferous and deciduous wooded forests that provide a habitat for more than 700 animals at the Eekholt Wildlife Park. Each of the various ecosystems represents its typical plant life, insects, birds and mammals, with the Osterau creek winding through the park.

Get up close to wolves, deer, wild boars and moorland sheep, as well as rare species like white-furred red deer and endangered otters... read more arrow

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The Neuschwanstein Castle, located in the Bavarian region of Germany is the ultimate when you are thinking of fantasy castles. It is the quintessential 19th century romantic palace. 

Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and homage to Richard Wagner, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the world’s most photographed royal residences. It was built using his personal funds (and through extensive borrowing) and opened to the public shortly after his death in 1886. It is believed to have inspired Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle, with its over-the-top Romanesque Revival architecture. 

It is located just east of Füssen, with its spires and towers soaring high above the Pollat River gorge. The castle is a result of one of Louis II of Bavaria's flights of fancy. This is just one of the three royal palaces built for "mad King Ludwig" as Louis II is called, but it is the most beautiful and popular of the three... read more arrow
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Considered the German version of Versailles, the Sanssouci Palace lies within a sprawling park in Potsdam. It served as the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, and was designed in an elaborate Rococo style, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens.

The Sanssouci Palace was built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 with the purpose of being a relaxing escape for King Frederick away from the Berlin court. Its name “Sanssouci” exemplifies this, translating from French to “without concerns” or “carefree”. The design and decoration of the palace were so influenced by King Frederick’s personal taste that its style has become known as “Frederician Rococo”.

During the 19th century, the Sanssouci Palace became the residence of Frederick William IV who enlarged the palace and beautified its gardens. Following World War II, the palace and its grounds were opened to the public as a tourist attraction and after Germany’s reunification in 1990, King Frederick’s body was returned to Sanssouci and buried in a tomb overlooking his gardens... read more arrow

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Built to house the High Command of the Army and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces during World War II, the Maybach I and II were a cluster of above and below ground bunkers built near Zossen in Brandenburg. They were named after the Maybach automobile engine and together with the nearby military complex, they played an instrumental role in the planning of field operations for the Wehrmacht, connecting the military with civilians along the front lines.

Maybach I was built between 1937 and 1939 in the lead up to World War II and consisted of twelve above-ground three-story buildings that appeared like local housing. Two floors of interlinked bunkers lay below, together with drinking water wells and air-filter systems to protect against gas attacks. Maybach II was completed in 1940 along the same design and it was here that documents conspiring against Hitler were discovered in a safe.

Maybach I and II were both heavily bombed by British and American forces in 1945 and the site was evacuated at midday on the 20 April, just before Russian troops arrived in the afternoon... read more arrow

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Stretching for 98 kilometers through the countryside of Schleswig-Holstein, the Kiel Canal links the North Sea with the Baltic Sea between the towns of Brunsbüttel and Kiel. It was built in the late 19th century to prevent ships from having to make the much longer journey around the northern tip of Denmark and was originally called the Kaiser-Wilhelm Canal.

The first connection between the North and Baltic Seas was the Eider Canal that was completed under the reign of Christian VII of Denmark in 1784. It stretched 43 kilometers from Kiel to the Eider River’s mouth at Tönning, however, its shallow depth of only three meters significantly limited the vessels that could use it. The new canal was initiated in the late 19th century by merchants and the German Navy who wanted to link their bases in the Baltic and the North Sea without having to sail around the Jutland Peninsula. It took more than 9,000 workers around eight years to build the canal, with surviving footage of the opening of the canal preserved in London’s Science Museum... read more arrow

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Germany's largest Mountain, the Zugspitze forms part of the Wetterstein Alpine mountain range that straddles the border with Austria. It lies just south of the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with its summit soaring to 2,962 meters and renowned for its gilded cross and magnificent views. On a clear day, Zugspitze boasts panoramas across four different countries and as far as the Eastern Alps, with the peaks ranging in height from 2,000-4,000 meters. To the south of the mountain stretches the high karst plateau of Zugspitzplatt that is riddled with caves, while immense glaciers carve along its flanks.

The summit of Zugspitze can be accessed along the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn cog railway, with many opting to take the cable car up and walking back down. The Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car and the Eibsee Cable Car also make the journey to the top, with plenty of ski lifts also covering the Zugspitzplatt ski area in winter... read more arrow

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Sprawling along the border between Germany and the Czech Republic, the Bavarian Forest is an extensive area of woodland that once covered much of southern Germany. During Roman times it was known as the Hercynian Forest and today extends across the same mountain range as the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic. It includes the walking trails of the Bavarian Forest National Park (the first of its kind in Germany), the Bavarian Forest Nature Park and the Eastern Bavarian Forest Nature Park, as well as the ski slopes of the Great Arber.

The forest covers hills composed of granite and gneiss and is divided into two sections by the Pfahl, a sharp quartz ridge that runs along the Regen Valley. Rolling meadows dotted with small hamlets scatter across the valleys, with the higher and steeper sections of the mountains largely uninhabited.

On the northeastern side of the Pfahl lies the dense Hinterer Forest, which includes the Great Arber mountain (1,455 meters)... read more arrow

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One of the most popular resort towns in the Bavarian Alps is Berchtesgaden, which lies at one end of the German Alpine Highway. Soaring mountains surround the town on all sides and have long drawn hikers and sightseers, including Adolf Hitler who built his Eagle’s Nest retreat here.

Follow the 6.5-kilometer-long Kehlsteinstrasse (a private road built for Adolf Hitler) to the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest), which now features a restaurant boasting panoramic views of the region. Underground hallways and tunnels used by the Nazis can still be explored, while the Hotel Türken that once housed the SS has just reopened to guests. You can learn more about the Nazi history in the region and the decisions that were made at the Eagle’s Nest at the Dokumentation Obersalzberg museum.

Spend time exploring the lovely glacial lake of Königssee, much of which is protected within the Berchtesgaden National Park and is noted for its crystal clear waters... read more arrow

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Built by Prussian king Frederick William II during the early Batavian Revolution, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the most iconic landmarks in Germany. This 18th-century Neoclassical sandstone monument was modeled on the Acropolis in Athens and is located at the start of the road that extends from Berlin to Brandenburg an der Havel. It lies just to the west of the Pariser Platz and provides a monumental entry to Unter den Linen (the boulevard of linden trees), which once led directly to the City Palace of the Prussian monarchs.

While the Brandenburg Gate has been the site of numerous historical events, today it stands as a symbol of peace and unity, not only in Germany but across Europe. In 1999, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev and Poland's Lech Walesa all walked through the gate to commemorate two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Brandenburg Gate was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans to replace the simple guardhouses that previously flanked the Customs Wall gate... read more arrow

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Originally established in 1679 as a herb garden for the Royal Palace, the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens are now one of the largest and most important of their kind in the world. They sprawl across more than 100 acres in the Lichterfelde area of Berlin, with around 22,000 different plant species represented.

The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens as they are known today were designed under the guidance of architect Adolf Engler, with the main purpose of displaying exotic plant species brought back from Germany’s colonies. It is home to the Botanical Museum that explores themes related to plant structure, the use of plants and the spreading of plant species, as well as the Herbarium Berolinense and the Großes Tropenhaus, which boasts a range of tropical plant species and giant bamboo.

The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens are designed around different geographical zones, which are created to be as close to their natural habitats as possible... read more arrow

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Situated between the River Spree and the Kupfergraben, Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s packed with many of Berlin’s most important cultural institutions. It’s here that the historic Altes Museum is found, having been built in 1830 to house the Crown Jewels, as well as the Neues Museum that was established in 1855 and rebuilt following World War II. It was designed to house collections that could not fit in the Altes Museum, including ancient Egyptian artifacts and the ethnographic collection, and stands as an important monument to the innovations that were taking place in building construction during the mid-19th century.

Museum Island is also home to the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) that was opened in 1876 to house a collection of 19th-century art gifted by wealthy banker Joachim H. W. Wagener. Today this late-Classical/early Neo-Renaissance building boasts Neoclassical, Romantic and Biedermeier works, together with Impressionist and Modernist art... read more arrow

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Of note is the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, a museum dedicated to what was the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by Western Allies to the crossing during the Cold War (1947-1991) and it was here that Soviet and American tanks came face-to-face during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. The museum contains artifacts and exhibits tracing the history of human rights in Berlin, as well as documentation of escape attempts, including cars, chair lifts and hot-air balloons. The guard house that once stood at Checkpoint Charlie is now on display in the open-air Allied Museum in Berlin-Zehlendorf.

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Once the most important residence for German royalty, Charlottenburg Palace is a lavish, 17th-century estate and the largest palace in Berlin. It is renowned for its opulent baroque and rococo interiors that include a 50-meter-high central dome, as well as a stunning formal garden surrounded by woodlands.

It was the wife of Friedrich III, Sophie Charlotte, who originally commissioned the palace and it was designed by architect Johann Arnold Nering. After it was inaugurated in 1699, the palace was greatly expanded during the 18th century, with royal architect Johann Friedrich von Eosander sent to France to study the Palace of Versailles. After Sophie Charlotte died in 1705, Friedrich renamed the palace and the surrounding estate “Charlottenburg” in her memory.

Visitors are now invited to tour the property, including the New Wing’s State Apartments and magnificent Banqueting Halls, with period furnishings and important artworks adorning the rooms... read more arrow

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Stretching from the Brandenburg Gate to the Lustgarten, Unter den Linden is Berlin’s most famous street. Its name translates as “Under the Lime Trees Avenue” and it began as a 16th-century riding track for royalty to go hunting in the Tiergarten. It was formally established in 1647 when its famous lime trees were planted and now features a grassed pedestrian mall and two broad carriageways on either side.

Unter den Linden links many of Berlin’s sights, as well as being the setting for a number of important landmarks. The oldest building on the strip is the Zeughaus arsenal, which was built between 1695 and 1706. It was here that Rudolf von Gersdorff tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Adolf Hiter during the opening of an exhibition in 1943. It’s now home to the Deutsches Historisches Museum which explores the history of the country and its people through images and artifacts, as well as housing a four-floor Exhibition Hall by renowned architect I... read more arrow

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Originally used as a hunting reserve for Berlin royalty, the Grosser Tiergarten was transformed into a public oasis in 1700 and now spans more than 500 acres of English-style parklands. It’s planted with an abundance of trees, large expanses of grassy lawns and picturesque floral borders, as well as being home to a number of important monuments. These include a late-19th-century statue of Queen Luise and a monument to Frederick Wilhelm III that features reliefs illustrating his peaceful reign.

But the most important monument in the Grosser Tiergarten is undoubtedly the Victory Column, which soars 70 meters in the middle of a roundabout. It was completed in 1873 and built to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War. The gold statue of Victoria at the top was added to the design in honor of the victories during the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars.

The Victory Column is built on a base of polished red granite, with the column itself consisting of four blocks of sandstone featuring cannon barrels that were captured during the three wars... read more arrow

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Constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire, the Reichstag was created as a massive Neo-Renaissance palace, with the foundation stone laid by the Emperor himself in 1884. It opened ten years later but was severely damaged after being set on fire in 1933. In the aftermath of World War II, the building largely fell into disuse, with the German Democratic Republic parliament meeting in East Berlin’s Palast der Republik and the Bundestag parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany meeting in Bonn’s Bundeshaus.

While much of the Reichstag was rebuilt in the 1970s, it wasn’t until the reunification of Germany in 1990 that it underwent a full reconstruction. This was led by architect Norman Foster and by 1999, the Reichstag was again the meeting place of the modern Bundestag.

With prior registration, visitors are invited to explore the magnificent Kuppel dome that tops the Reichstag, offering 360-degree views of the Berlin cityscape... read more arrow

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Nicknamed “the hollow tooth” by Berliners, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is one of Berlin’s most interesting landmarks and located on the Kurfürstendamm in the center of Breitscheidplatz. It includes the damaged spire of a late-19th-century church, as well as a modern church and belfry dating to the 1960s.

The original church was built by Kaiser Wilhelm II, countering the socialist and labor movements taking place in Germany during the late-19th century with a Protestant church-building programme that sought a return to traditional religious values. The design competition was won by architect Franz Schwechten whose Neo-Romanesque design was modeled on the Bonn Minster and featured an immense mosaic wall. The 2,000-seat church was dedicated in 1895 and named in honor of Wilhelm II’s grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I.

In 1943, the church was extensively damaged in a World War II air raid, with only the spire, entrance hall, altar and baptistry remaining... read more arrow

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One of Berlin’s largest squares, the Gendarmenmarkt is a charismatic corner of the city and a popular meeting point for both locals and tourists. It’s flanked by three historic buildings - the Konzerthaus, the Französischer Dom and the Berliner Dom - and was named after a regiment of the Gendarmerie that once had their stables here.

The Gendarmenmarkt was originally laid out at the end of the 17th century as the Linden-Markt and created by Johann Arnold Nering, with Georg Christian Unger reconstructing the square in 1773. The square and its buildings suffered extensive damage during Allied bombings in World War II, with almost all restored to their former glory today.

The Französischer Dom was built by the Huguenot community at the start of the 18th century and modeled on a church in Charenton-Saint-Maurice, France. Today it houses a Huguenot museum and restaurant, as well as a viewing platform where you can look out over the Gendarmenmarkt... read more arrow

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The largest model railway in the world, Miniatur Wunderland features more than 12,000 meters of track and almost 900 different trains, set within Hamburg’s historic warehouse district of Speicherstadt. It includes areas dedicated to railways of the United States and Scandinavia, as well as different regions across Germany. In addition to its railways and trains, Miniatur Wunderland also features meticulously recreated airports, planes, buildings and humans, all of which are illuminated by more than 300,000 lights.

Miniatur Wunderland was designed by twin brothers Frederick and Gerrit Braun, with the mountainous German region of the Harz the first section to be created. Today more than 130 trains traverse this section, with illuminated carnival rides, fields ignited by sunflowers and even an open-air theatre where a Shakespeare classic is being performed.

Want to see the sights of Hamburg in miniature? Miniatur Wunderland also features a section dedicated to its hometown, complete with trains traveling to and from the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof... read more arrow

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Nicknamed the “Gateway to the World”, the Port of Hamburg is the largest in Germany and the second-busiest port in Europe. It was founded in 1189 by Frederick I due to its strategic location along the River Elbe and enabled Hamburg to emerge as a leading trade city in Central Europe.

Today the Port of Hamburg (the Hamburger Hafen) is home to many of the city’s most famous attractions and ideally explored by boat tours that depart from Landungsbrücken. This rich historical setting is home to modern bars, musical theaters and museum ships, as well as a floating boat church.

Stroll along the pedestrian walkway that leads through the port’s 19th-century Speicherstadt Warehouse District where tobacco, coffee and spices were once stored. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest warehouse district in the world and was built as a free zone for the transfer of goods. It’s crisscrossed by canals that are flooded during high tides, with small barges taking tourists through its historic streets to admire the Wilhelmine brick Gothic architecture that is renowned for its turreted roofs and elaborate gables... read more arrow

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Hamburg boasts a fascinating seafaring history and the best place to discover the maritime events and people that have shaped the city is at the International Maritime Museum. It’s housed in an immense red-brick heritage building in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg and traces more than 3,000 years of maritime history through artifacts, model ships and artworks.

The International Maritime Museum Hamburg is based around the private collection of Peter Tamm, which was begun in 1934 when he was just six years old. From a single model ship gifted by his mother, it has expanded into more than 40,000 items and over one million photographs.

Witness a 3,000-year-old dugout that was found in the River Elbe, model ships made from whale bones and ivory, as well as weapons, uniforms and decorations relating to international maritime history. There’s also a reproduction of the James Caird lifeboat used by German explorer Arved Fuchs during Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and original letters written by Lord Horatio Nelson who was famed for his Battle of Trafalgar victory... read more arrow

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Set across three connected buildings in Hamburg’s Altstadt district, the Kunsthalle is one of Germany’s most prestigious art galleries and one of the largest museums in the country. It nestles between the two Alster lakes and the Hauptbahnhof and is designed around four different sections: the Gallery of Old Masters, the Gallery of 19th-century Art, the Gallery of Classical Modernism and the Gallery of Contemporary Art.

The Kunsthalle was first established in 1849 when it opened as the Städtische Gallerie, however the rapid growth of its collection soon necessitated a new building. The original red brick Kunsthalle was built in the 1860s, while the Kuppelsaal (domed-hall extension) was erected between 1914 and 1921. The striking Galerie der Gegenwart was added in 1997, having been designed by Oswald Mathias Ungers and stands as one of the largest buildings dedicated to contemporary art in Germany.

The Kunsthalle collection covers seven centuries of European art, including 14th-century North German paintings, 16th and 17th-century works from Dutch, Flemish and Italian artists, as well as French drawings from the 19th century... read more arrow

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Dominating the Rathausmarkt square in the Altstadt quarter of the city is the sumptuous neo-Renaissance Hamburg Rathaus (City Hall). It was completed in 1897 and serves as the seat of the Hamburg government, with offices for the First Mayor of Hamburg and meeting spaces among its 647 rooms. Guided tours of this Hamburg landmark enable you to see the government in action and many rooms are opened during the annual Long Night of Museums event that takes place each April.

The Hamburg Rathaus was designed by a group of seven architects led by Martin Haller and replaced the old city hall that was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1842. It was built during a period of wealth and prosperity, with its architecture designed to reflect this and the independence of the State of Hamburg.

Its balcony is topped by a mosaic of Hamburg’s patron goddess, Hammonia, as well as an inscription that translates as “The freedom won by our elders, may posterity strive to preserve it in dignity”... read more arrow

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The most famous church in Hamburg is St. Michael’s, which was built in an opulent Baroque style during the mid 18th century. Unlike many of the churches in the city that were built by Roman Catholics and later converted to Protestantism during the Reformation, St. Michael’s was intended from the outset to be one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant churches in Germany.

The 132-meter-high spire of St. Michael’s is covered with copper and shines brightly amidst the Hamburg skyline. It has long been a marker for ships sailing up the River Elbe and boasts viewing platforms where you can get an outstanding panorama across Hamburg and its historic port. The church is dedicated to the Archangel Michael, with a large bronze statue of the archangel conquering the devil seen above the church’s portal.

The crypt of St... read more arrow

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The largest rural cemetery in the world, the Ohlsdorf Cemetery sprawls across 966 acres in Hamburg’s Ohlsdorf quarter. More than 1.5 million burials have taken place throughout its history and there are around 280,000 burial sites within the cemetery, together with 12 chapels.

While most of the people buried at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery are civilians, there are also a large number of prisoners-of-war in the Hamburg Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. Memorials for the victims of Nazi persecution and the Hamburg Firestorm of World War II are found in its grounds, as well as monuments dedicated to those who belonged to Hamburg’s anti-Nazi resistance.

Visitors are invited to stroll along the leafy walking trails and gardens that are planted between the cemetery’s 17 kilometers of streets, as well as visit the on-site Museum Friedhof Ohlsdorf. When the cemetery opened in 1877 it was the first American-style park cemetery in Germany and the museum explores its funeral culture through old maps, tools, urns and tombstones... read more arrow

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One of the most important museums of applied arts in Europe, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg is situated within a 19th-century building that resembles a neo-Renaissance palace. It showcases china, furniture and silver from Northern Germany, applied arts from East Asia and an impressive collection of keyboard instruments and porcelain. There are works dating from the ancient era, right up to pieces from present-day craftspeople.

The Hamburg Museum of Arts and Crafts was modeled on London’s Victoria and Albert Museum when it was founded in 1874 and moved to its current premises on the Steintorplatz in 1877. Although partially destroyed by bombs in 1943 and the loss of many contemporary works during the Nazi campaign against “degenerate art”, it was rebuilt in the post-war years and its collection once again accumulated.

Highlights of the collection include vintage harpsichords, virginals and clavichords, as well as faience and porcelain dating to the 17th and 18th centuries... read more arrow

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While the Elbe River has long been the focal point of Hamburg’s trade and port, one of its tributaries, the Alster, also plays an important role in the social life of the city. Originating as a small bog in the Timhagen Brook near Henstedt-Ulzburg, the Alster flows around 25 kilometers north to Hamburg. It’s here that the Inner and Outer Alster have been created, two artificial lakes that are connected to the river and surrounded by many of Hamburg’s most scenic recreational areas and historic avenues.

Picturesque walking trails line the shores of these “Great Lakes” and they provide a setting for sailing and paddle boating during the summer months and ice-skating during the winter. The Jungfernstieg lies along the southern edge of the Inner Alster and was where unmarried daughters were once paraded by their families for potential suitors. This waterfront promenade is still popular with families today and lined with alfresco restaurants where you can soak up the views... read more arrow

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Sprawling on the edge of the St. Pauli Piers, Wallringpark consists of four beautifully maintained gardens to the west of the Altstadt and Alster Lake. It includes the Kleine and Grosse Wallanlagen, which are laid out along the line of the old fortifications, and the Old Botanic Garden, together with the 116-acre Planten und Blomen that was created in 1821.

The first plant to be established in the Planten und Blomen gardens was by Johann Georg Christian Lehmann and it can still be seen next to the Hamburg Dammtor station entrance of the park. The gardens are particularly renowned for their fountains that are illuminated at night while being accompanied by a musical soundtrack.

Planten und Blomen is home to the largest Japanese garden in Europe, which features tranquil rock gardens, miniature tress and meandering pathways designed around its central lake... read more arrow

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Located in the Hanseatic town of Stralsund is North Germany’s most visited museum - the German Oceanographic Museum. It’s set across numerous buildings, including the Nautineum, the Natureum and the Ozeaneum, with the main Oceanographic Museum housed within a former hall of St. Catherine’s Church.

The main Oceanographic Museum features exhibits detailing Germany’s marine environment, including its fishing industries, the flora and fauna of the Baltic Sea and ongoing conservation and research projects. Around 600 living marine crea-tures are on display in its dozens of aquaria, including a vast range of tropical fish and giant tortoises.

The Ozeaneum on Stralsund's harbor island is the main attraction of the German Oceanographic Museum and is one of the largest aquariums in Europe. It boasts around 7,000 marine animals, with a focus on sea life of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and is renowned for having the world’s largest whale exhibition... read more arrow

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Home to the largest chalk cliffs in Germany, the Jasmund National Park is located on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen. It’s the smallest national park in Germany and features ancient beech forests that have been dated to more than 700 years of age, forming part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany.

Follow the 8.5-kilometer-long Jasmund National Park Walking Trail that winds through the beech forests and along the white chalk cliffs, with magnificent views of the Baltic Sea. Keep an eye out for orchids such as the lady’s slipper and rare white-tailed eagles that can often be seen soaring in the skies above.

Cyclists can hit the Hamburg-Rügen Cycle Route, which extends for 100 kilometers through the diverse landscapes of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein. Alternatively, opt for the spectacular Baltic Coast Cycle Route that leads from the Bay of Lübeck through quaint seaside resorts and fishing villages... read more arrow

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Situated within an observation bunker of Peenemünde’s former power station, the Historical Technical Museum explores the development of rockets and missiles here in the lead up to and during World War II. It has become a landmark stop on the European Route of Industrial Heritage, following the history of the Peenemünde Army Research Centre and the Luftwaffe test site of Peenemünde-West that once formed the largest armaments center in Europe.

Around 12,000 people worked here between 1936 and 1945, creating guided weapons and the world’s first cruise missiles, together with large-scale rockets. Today the Peenemünde Historical Technical Museum delves into the creation and use of these weapons, as well as the lives of those who worked on these cutting-edge weaponry projects.

The museum’s permanent exhibition is housed within the former transformer an-nex of the Peenemünde power plant and showcases the history of German rocket technology, as well as the developments made in Peenemünde during the Cold War years... read more arrow

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Situated on an island in the middle of the Schweriner See lake, Schwerin Palace is the opulent former home of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg. It’s regarded as one of the most important works of romantic Historicism and has been nicknamed the "Neuschwanstein of the North”. Schwerin Palace has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and today serves as the seat of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament.

While the earliest records of a castle at this location date to 973 AD, much of the current Schwerin Palace was constructed during the mid-19th century as a collaboration between the renowned architects Gottfried Semper, Friedrich August Stüler, Georg Adolf Demmler and Ernst Friedrich Zwirner. It boasts 635 separate rooms, with elegant balustrades, columns and ornamental figures scattered throughout.

Part of the castle is open as the Schwerin Castle Museum for visitors wanting to wander through its luxuriously appointed reception rooms, drawing rooms and living rooms that are decorated with period furnishings, sculptures and artworks... read more arrow

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Founded in 1899, Rostock Zoo sprawls across 56 hectares to the southwest of the city center. It is one of the largest zoos in Northern Germany, with around 4,500 animals across more than 350 species, including orangutans, gorillas and polar bears. Its animal enclosures are set within a landscaped park that’s dotted with sculptures and artworks while featuring a vast range of plant species from across the globe.

The Rostock Zoo was subjected to heavy air bombings during World War II and many of its buildings and animal enclosures were destroyed. In 1951, rebuilding work began, with many people from the town volunteering to work on the project that led to the enlargement and renaming of the zoo as the Zoologischen Garten Rostock.

During the 1960s, the zoo became the largest breeder of Arabian horses in East Germany and the first polar bear was born here in 1963... read more arrow

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Established in 1882 by Frederick Francis II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the Staatliches Museum Schwerin is a renowned art gallery and museum. When the gallery opened to the public in the late 19th century, it was considered a pioneering piece of modern architecture, with anti-burglary and fire-protection measures installed, together with a state-of-the-art lighting system. It’s particularly noted for its medieval collections that include the Neustädt Al-tarpiece, as well as an impressive collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings.

Admire the works of famous masters such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, Paulus Pot-ter and Peter Paul Rubens that hail from the so-called “Golden Age” of Dutch and Flemish painting. The museum also features iconic works by the French animal painter, Oudry, who was commissioned by the Versailles and Marly castles, as well as pieces by Antoine Pesne and Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich who worked in the artistic hubs of Berlin and Dresden during the 18th century... read more arrow

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Located at the northern tip of Rügen Island, Cape Arkona forms part of the Wittow Peninsula that stretches to the north of Jasmund National Park. It’s home to two historic lighthouses and the Baltic temple fortress of Jaromarsburg, as well as a navigation tower and two military bunker complexes.

Admire the brick architecture of the Schinkelturm, an early-19th-century light-house that stands as the second oldest lighthouse on the German Baltic Sea coast. It’s now home to a small museum where you can learn about the history of Cape Arkona. The Schinkelturm stands near the 35-meter-high New Tower that was built atop an octagonal granite base in 1901 and lies adjacent to the old nav-igation tower of Peilturm that now houses the amber studio of Wiesbaden artist, Nils Peters.

Wander around the ruined ramparts that perch on the edge of Cape Arkona’s cliffs and are all that remain of the Jaromarsburg fortifications... read more arrow

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The second largest lake in Germany, Lake Müritz sprawls across 117 square kilometers in the south of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It’s fed by the River Elbe and descends to a maximum depth of 31 meters, with its surrounding forests and wildlife-rich wetlands protected as the Müritz National Park. It’s easily accessed from the town of Waren on its northern tip or Röbel, which overlooks the Binnensee on the lake’s western shores.

A good first port of call is the Müritzeum visitor center and nature discovery center that is situated near the town of Waren. It explores the region’s history, as well as the native flora and fauna of the Müritz National Park. It boasts the larg-est aquarium for native freshwater fish in Germany, as well as themed exhibi-tions detailing Lake Müritz's underwater world, birdlife and the 1000-year-old oaks of nearby Ivenack. If you’re traveling with kids, they can let off some steam in the adventure playground and garden or step into the cinema to get an insight into the fascinating history of Mecklenburg... read more arrow

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Featuring historic steam locomotives and coaches, the Rügen narrow-gauge railway chugs its way from Putbus to Göhren on the island of Rügen. The first stretch of the railway was originally opened in 1895, with the network being extended to more than 100 kilometers by the end of the 19th century. The Rügensche BäderBahn railway (nicknamed the “Rushing Roland”) is all that remains of this former narrow gauge railway, allowing visitors to explore the magnificent countryside of southeast Rügen in vintage comfort.

Admire the natural beauty of Rügen as you soak up views of the Granitz hills and spot stork eyries in Posewald, with the option to hop on and off along the route to visit Rügen’s historic residences and spa towns. Those wanting to explore on two wheels can bring their bicycles with them, with a dedicated storage area behind the locomotive.

The railway has changed hands multiple times since it was founded by the Rügensche Kleinbahn-Aktiengesellschaft in the late 19th century... read more arrow

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Considered the greatest collection of Dutch buildings outside of the Netherlands, Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter (Holländisches Viertel) was designed by Jan Bouman and built between 1733 and 1740. It is clustered with 169 red brick buildings, most of which have been beautifully restored and renovated, now housing boutique shops and eclectic cafes.

Also known as “Little Amsterdam”, the Dutch Quarter was originally commissioned by Frederick William I to attract skilled workers to the area from the Netherlands. There was an urgency for well-trained craftsmen to help with the expansion of the garrison town of Potsdam and workers were offered not only attractive contracts but also a house reminiscent of their homeland. Four picturesque squares are scattered across the district and are lined with terraced houses made almost entirely of red brick that feature classic white joints and shutter windows.

While the Dutch Quarter suffered little damage during World War II, the area deteriorated throughout the GDR period and it wasn’t until the 1970s that restoration works really began... read more arrow

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Established in 1936 as a Nazi concentration camp for political prisoners, Sachsenhausen (“Saxon’s House”) is situated near the town of Oranienburg to the north of Berlin. It served as an administrative center for concentration camps across Germany, with Schutzstaffel (SS) officers being trained here before being posted elsewhere.

Initially Sachsenhausen was not intended as an extermination camp, with executions of Soviet prisoners of war done primarily by hanging or shooting. However, a gas chamber and ovens were constructed by Anton Kaindl in March 1943, giving Sachsenhausen the means to kill prisoners on a much larger scale.

Prison labor was used in the nearby brickworks to meet Albert Speer’s vision of rebuilding Berlin into Welthauptstadt Germania and to construct He 177 bombers for the aircraft manufacturer Heinkel. It was also the site of Operation Bernhard, one of the largest currency counterfeiting operations ever known, with inmates forced to forge American and British currency to undermine Allied economies... read more arrow

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Established in 1826 at the request of Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, Alexandrowka is a Russian colony located in the north of Potsdam. It was named in honor of the recently deceased Tsar Alexander I and was originally built as a home for the Russian singers of the First Prussian Regiment of the Guards.

Today Alexandrowka is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features 13 wooden houses designed in a quintessential Russian style. Few descendants of the original inhabitants still live here, however, preservationists and current owners are working closely to reconstruct the buildings to their original condition.

Of particular note is the modern Museum Alexandrowka, which is situated within house number two. It illustrates the 19th-century living conditions of the Russian singers that lived here, the historical events that preceded the colony’s establishment and the architectural style employed... read more arrow

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Founded by Ascanian margraves in 1258, the former Cistercian abbey of Chorin is situated around an hour’s drive from Berlin in the Schorfheide. It is considered one of the most important monuments of early brick Gothic architecture in Brandenburg and played a significant role in the Ascanians' influential sphere along the border with the yet-to-be-conquered Slavs.

The Chorin Abbey was secularized in 1542 when the rulers of Brandenburg converted to Protestantism and served as a livestock barn over the following decades. It gradually deteriorated until the early 19th century when it was restored and partly rebuilt under the direction of Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Today it is open to the public as a museum, offering a fascinating insight into the House of Ascania.

Learn about the construction of the former Cistercian monastery in the cellarium and the influential role donors played in its architecture... read more arrow

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Combining history, architecture and nature, the Tree & Time Treetop path Baumkronenpfad Beelitz-Heilstätten is located a short drive from Berlin. This 320-meter-long wood and steel walkway leads through the picturesque grounds and atmospheric ruins of a 19th-century sanatorium, offering a unique perspective on this historic area.

It was in 1898 that the Landesversicherungsanstalt Berlin bought a 140-hectare parcel of woodland near the town of Beelitz, with a lung clinic and sanatorium opening in the spring of 1902. It originally had the capacity for 600 beds but was expanded over the following years to include more than 60 buildings. Adolf Hitler recovered from injuries sustained during World War I here and it was appropriated in 1945 to become the largest Soviet military hospital outside of the Soviet Union.

Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Germany in 1994, the buildings of the sanatorium were left largely abandoned, luring photographers and urban explorers to experience their mysterious beauty... read more arrow

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One of the largest tracts of forest in Germany, the UNESCO-listed Schorfheide Chorin Biosphere Reserve lies to the northeast of Berlin. It features deep valleys and vast open landscapes that were carved by immense moving glaciers during the last Ice Age, resulting in a variety of different terrains and an abundance of plant and animal species.

The largely undeveloped forests provide a home for ospreys and white-tailed eagles while the wetlands are a feeding habitat for cranes, black and white storks. Both beavers and otters can be spotted in waterways throughout the reserve while 16 of Germany’s native bat species reside here.

But true to the biosphere concept of protecting land that has been altered by human intervention, the Schorfheide Chorin Biosphere Reserve also contains the remains of former castles and timber-framed houses, as well as extensive farmlands. Walking trails crisscross the area, including interpretive hikes through the old beech forests of the Buchenwald Grumsin, which served as a former state hunting area... read more arrow

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One of Brandenburg’s most popular family-friendly attractions is the theme park of Tropical Islands Resort, which is housed in a former hangar of the Brand-Briesen Airfield in Halbe. It holds the title of being the largest indoor waterpark in the world, occupying what is the biggest free-standing hall in the world.

The Brand-Briesen Airfield was established for the Luftwaffe in 1938 and taken over by the Soviet Red Army in May 1945. It was returned to Germany following reunification in 1992 and redeveloped to construct airships as the Aerium before the company, CargoLifter, went bankrupt in 2002.

Tropical Islands Resort officially opened its doors on 19 December 2004, with a constant air temperature of 26 °C (78°F) and humidity around 64% recreating a tropical atmosphere throughout the year. It’s home to the largest indoor rainforest in the world, which contains around 600 different species and sprawls around its swimming pools, restaurants and manmade beach... read more arrow

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At the heart of Bremen lies its charismatic Marktplatz, a lively square that is home to many of the city’s attractions. It’s here that the beautiful Gothic Town Hall is located, as well as a prominent statue of Germany’s most famous knight, Roland. Both were established during the Holy Roman Empire and stand as powerful representations of the city’s autonomy and sovereignty.

Bremen’s Old Town Hall has recently been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having been constructed in 1410 and featuring an ornate Renaissance facade that was added in 1612. It’s renowned for its elegant banqueting hall that stretches to 40 meters in length and features a large, 16th-century painting of the Judgment of Solomon. Free concerts are held here on Thursday evenings.

Also of note is the Town Hall’s beautifully carved spiral staircase and a bronze cast of the Bremen Town Musicians - a donkey, dog, cat and a cock - that appear in an old folktale... read more arrow

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Located on the Marktplatz in the heart of Bremen, the Cathedral of St. Peter was first established in the 11th century and is largely medieval in its architectural style. Additions were made in the 13th and 16th centuries, followed by extensive restorations at the end of the 19th century and today it stands as one of the largest historic brick structures in Europe.

Admire the richly-decorated Baroque pulpit, which was a gift to the people of Bremen from Queen Christina of Sweden in the 17th century. The cathedral contains four altars, including a main altar in the choir and a central altar featuring a sculpture of Christ carrying his cross. In addition, there are five organs in different parts of the cathedral, continuing Bremen’s long-standing tradition of fine organ music.

The oldest room in Bremen is the western crypt, which was consecrated in 1068 and exhibits the early Romanesque state of the cathedral... read more arrow

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Explore the nature, culture and trade history of overseas regions at the Übersee-Museum Bremen, an ethnographic “Overseas Museum”. It boasts outstanding collections relating to the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania, as well as an exhibition exploring the effects of globalization.

The Übersee-Museum Bremen is located within a heritage-listed building adjacent to the Bremen Central Station, with its collection established as the “Municipal Collections of Natural History and Ethnography” back in 1875. Around 100 years ago the museum presented “The World Under One Roof” exhibition and continues to set the European standard for modern and engaging ethnographic presentations today.

Discover the people and places that make up North and South America through displays that explore politics, economics and culture in the 20th century. Learn about the waves of immigrants who have shaped America since the 15th century, with eight video portraits expressing their hopes for the future... read more arrow

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Set across 114 acres to the northeast of the city, the Rhododendron-Park Bremen is an extensive botanical garden that’s famed for its vibrant displays of rhododendrons and azaleas. It was established in 1905 by businessman Ernst Franz Schütte along the banks of the Weser River. Plants were organized in geographical zones from the Orient, Mexico and Caucasus and the gardens featured collections of medicinal herbs and poisonous plants. It was transferred to its current location in the mid-20th century.

Explore the landscaped Azalea Park where wild azaleas from North America and historic cultivars from the Czech Republic and Germany are displayed beneath old beech and oak trees. Wander through the dense Rhododendron forest to admire the more than 2,000 different varieties, then witness the new rhododendron varieties being cultivated by German breeders.

In addition to the park’s rhododendrons and azaleas, there’s an eight-acre botanical garden that features plants from the Americas, Asia, the Balkans and Australasia, together with more than 1,000 species native to northwest Germany, some of which are endangered... read more arrow

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Despite stretching only around 100 meters in length, Bremen’s narrow Böttcherstraße is one of the city’s most popular cultural landmarks. It’s renowned for its unusual expressionist architecture, with most of its buildings erected between 1922 and 1931 following the initiative of a Bremen-based coffee merchant, Ludwig Roselius. He was a strong believer in National Socialism and Völkisch-Nordic cultural ideas, which he sought to highlight in Böttcherstraße’s architecture.

The entrance to Böttcherstraße is identified by a prominent gold sculpture known as the Lichtbringer and the thoroughfare had linked the market square and the Weser River since the Middle Ages. It had traditionally been inhabited by coopers, known locally as Böttcher, but following the relocation of the harbor in the mid-19th century, the importance of the street gradually diminished.

After its revitalization by Roselius, Böttcherstrasse is now clustered with art museums, craft workshops, bars and restaurants... read more arrow

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One of the oldest parts of Bremen is the medieval district of Schnoor, which is clustered with historic houses that were once inhabited by merchants and fishermen. Today it’s renowned for its handicraft shops and cafes, making it a popular spot to stroll in the city and discover its rich and storied history.

In the Hanseatic city of Bremen, rich merchants tended to settle in the Obernstraße (Upper Street) while poorer merchants and fishermen settled in Schnoor. During the 10th century, thatched cottages were established on the island between the Weser and Balge rivers, with the district highly susceptible to flooding. An old wall and round tower dating to the 13th century are still visible today, together with the Gothic-style St. John’s Church, which was constructed on top of a Franciscan abbey established around the same period.

The historic district of Schnoor came under official heritage conservation in 1973 and has since emerged as one of Bremen’s most atmospheric destinations... read more arrow

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Located on the “Culture Mile” near the Old Town of Bremen, the Kunsthalle is a renowned art museum. It houses an extensive collection of European paintings dating back to the 14th century, together with sculptural works and a new media collection. The building in which it is located was constructed in 1849 and later enlarged by architect Eduard Gildemeister before being heritage listed in 1977.

The Kunsthalle Bremen is the only German museum housing such an extensive art collection to still be in private ownership, with the gallery managed by the non-profit Bremen Art Society. The majority of the collection is from Western Europe, with highlights including prominent pieces by Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. Other artists represented include German Impressionist painter Max Liebermann and groundbreaking Expressionist artist Paula Modersohn-Becker... read more arrow

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Experience Bremen’s history brought to life at the award-winning Bremer Geschichtenhaus, a “living” museum in Schnoor where historical events are vividly conveyed by costumed actors. What’s particularly unique about this museum is that all of the actors are long-term unemployed, with the project designed to help them find stable work and a new self-confidence.

The Bremen Story House immerses you in historical settings from the mid-17th century right through to the 20th century, with the actors sharing their knowledge and skills in different areas. It’s situated within the St. Jakobus-Packhaus, one of the oldest surviving warehouses in Bremen. The warehouse was first mentioned in documents dating back to 1660, with redevelopments taking place throughout the 19th century and at the end of World War II before being heritage listed in 1973.

You’ll be welcomed by a city guard who once patrolled the streets and taverns of Bremen, breaking up fights and extinguishing fires when necessary... read more arrow

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Located a 50-minute train ride north of Bremen at Bremerhaven, the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum or German Maritime Museum showcases the country’s rich seafaring history. It forms part of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community and consists of a building designed by Hans Scharoun and a number of museum ships moored in the Old Harbour of Bremerhaven.

The German Maritime Museum is dedicated to exploring the pre-industrial shipping of Central Europe and the impact of industrialization on German commercial shipping, as well as how man has used the sea’s resources throughout the centuries. Highlights include a World War II Mark XXI submarine and the Seute Deern tall ship, as well as an old paddle steamer known as the Meißen.

For the 25th anniversary of the museum in 2000, the Bremen Kogge was presented to the public after a lengthy conservation project. This 14th-century Hanseatic merchant ship was found in the Weser River during dredging in 1962, with kogges only known through medieval documents and seals until then... read more arrow

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Situated near the University of Bremen, the Universum Science Center is one of the city’s newest attractions. It covers more than 4,000 square meters and is packed with interactive exhibits related to humans, technology and nature, offering an engaging and hands-on experience.

The Universum Science Center's architecturally impressive building is a work of art in itself, appearing like a partially-opened mussel or a whale (depending on your perspective). It was designed by local Bremen architect, Thomas Klumpp, and is constructed from more than 40,000 stainless steel scales.

Inside are more than 300 exhibits designed to help visitors experience and understand scientific phenomena with all their senses. Experience the kinetic machine of the Ball Roller Coaster and observe flashes in detail with the Lightning Machine, then create digital music using analog objects on the Composing Table... read more arrow

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Serving as the city hall of Frankfurt am Main for over 600 years, the Römer is situated in the Altstadt and is one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks. The three-story complex consists of nine houses encircling six courtyards and exhib-its medieval architectural elements, including its iconic stepped gable facade.

The Alt-Limpurg building displays the Frankfurtia, which is the female embodi-ment of the city, while the Haus Römer exhibits the four kaisers of the Holy Ro-man Empire - Frederick Barbarossa, Louis the Bavarian, Charles IV and Maximilian II. It also features a balcony that was added after the rebuild-ing of the Römer in 1900 and is used as a public stage for official visits and to honor sporting heroes in the city.

The Wanebach and Salzhaus were reconstructed using a design that combines modern architectural elements with medieval timber framing. Of particular note are the mosaics depicting a phoenix motif, which has come to symbolize Frank-furt’s rebirth after the war... read more arrow

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Boasting one of the most important collections of art in Germany, the Städel Museum has a history that dates back to 1815 when it was founded by Frankfurt banker Johann Friedrich Städel. It was moved to its current Gründerzeit-style building in Frankfurt’s Schaumainkai museum district in 1878 and has grown its collection to more than 2,700 paintings and around 600 sculptures, as well as a significant number of drawings and prints.

The Städel was significantly damaged by Allied bombings during World War II and the collection was moved to the Schloss Rossbach, a castle owned by the Baron Thüngen in Bavaria. It was rebuilt in 1966 based on a design by local ar-chitect Johannes Krahn, with an additional exhibition space designed by Austrian Gustav Peichl added in 1990 to display the museum’s 20th-century works.

The collection includes European paintings created over the last 700 years, in-cluding prominent Late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque works, as well as mod-ern works from the 20th and 21st centuries... read more arrow

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Set within the family’s former residence, Goethe’s birthplace is now open to the public as a house museum celebrating the writer’s life and work. Goethe lived here until 1765 when, at the age of 16, he moved to Leipzig to study law. He de-scribed his childhood spent in the family home in his autobiography “Out of my Life: Poetry and Truth”, which was written between 1811 and 1833.

It was in this house that Goethe wrote “Götz von Berlichingen” (1773) and his first widely recognized novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther” (1774), as well as beginning work on “Faust”. Visitors can witness his former study and the writing desk as it appeared when he penned these influential works, as well as the living spaces and bedrooms.

In the 19th century, the house was inhabited by geologist Otto Volger who re-stored it to its original condition. It was then destroyed during the Allied bomb-ing of Frankfurt on May 22, 1944, but restored with original furnishings to offer visitors an insight into what life was like for Goethe and his family in the 18th century... read more arrow

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Spanning the Eder River in northern Hesse, the Edersee Dam was constructed between 1908 and 1914 near the small town of Waldeck. It was breached by Allied bombs during World War II in an event that was portrayed in the 1955 film, “The Dam Busters”. Unlike the Mohne Dam that had anti-torpedo nets and anti-aircraft guns installed, the Edersee Dam had little defense as the Germans believed it impossible to penetrate.

British Lancaster bombers were responsible for what was dubbed Operation Chastise, which took place during the early morning hours of 17 May 1943. Bouncing bombs were dropped to breach the dam, with water emptying into the narrow valley below at a rate of 8,000 cubic meters per second. It led to wide-spread destruction in the floodplains of the lower Eder and the death of around 70 people.

The dam was rebuilt shortly after using forced labor under the Third Reich’s mil-itary engineering group, Organisation Todt... read more arrow

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Overlooking the city of Darmstadt in southern Hesse, the Frankenstein Castle is a hilltop landmark that is believed to have inspired Mary Shelley’s 1818 Gothic novel “Frankenstein”. It’s one of many historic castles that dot the Hessische Bergstrasse (“Hessian Mountain Road”), which winds through the Odenwald Mountains and is renowned for its vineyards.

The name “Frankenstein” translates from German as “Stone of the Franks” and the castle was built in the early 13th century by Lord Conrad II Reiz of Breuberg, the founder of the free imperial Barony of Frankenstein. In 1363 it was divided into two parts and occupied by different families of Frankenstein’s lords and knights before being expanded and modernized in the 15th century. It fell into ruin during the 18th century and was restored (although with historical inaccura-cies) during the mid-19th century.

The Odenwald Mountains have long been associated with folktales and legends, with the landscape featuring dark forests and valleys that are shrouded in mys-tery... read more arrow

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The most completely reconstructed Roman fort in Germany, the Saalburg lies on the main ridge of the Taunus mountain range, part way between Bad Homburg and Wehrheim. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and forms part of the Limes Germanicus, a line of frontier fortifications that bound the ancient Roman provinces.

Evidence indicates that a simple wood and earth fort was first established here in 90 AD before being replaced by a larger cohort fort in 135 AD. The dry-built wood and stone walls were replaced by mortared stone walls and an earthen ramp in the late-2nd century, which is what the reconstructed fort seen today is based upon.

The Saalburg was typical of Roman linear fortifications in the region, with a double ditch and mortared defensive wall enclosing its interior. It features round-ed corners and four gates flanked by towers, with an exterior that was white-washed and painted with a trompe-l'œil pattern of ashlar blocks... read more arrow

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Home to the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, Mathildenhöhe was founded in 1899 by Ernest Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse with the aim of radically reforming the arts in his region. Art Nouveau artists Peter Behrens, Paul Bürck, Rudolf Bosselt, Hans Christiansen, Ludwig Habich, Patriz Huber and Joseph Maria Olbrich were invited to live and work in the colony, with their work financed by wealthy patrons.

Mathildenhöhe has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its role in the development of architectural Modernism. Its buildings, sculptural works and gardens provide a unique ensemble reflecting the experimental creativ-ity spanning the years 1901 to 1914. Four exhibitions were held throughout the period, during which a number of pioneering buildings were created, complete with interior decorations, surrounding gardens and sculptural works that com-bined to make “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total artworks).

The First Exhibition took place in 1901 with the title “A Document of German Art” and featured the colony’s houses and studios... read more arrow

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Showcasing an impressive range of armored fighting vehicles, the German Tank Museum is situated at the Munster Training Area. Its collection evolved from the Bundeswehr instructional school for training officers, with its tanks, military vehicles, weapons, uniforms and decorations now open to the public.

Witness tanks once belonging to the East German military and Wehrmacht vehi-cles from World War II, as well as tanks used by the British, United States and Soviet Red armies. More recent tanks on display include those of the Israeli Merkava, with many of the vehicles having been lovingly restored to their original conditions by the museum’s team of experts.

Highlights of the German Tank Museum include a replica of an A7V German First World War tank and an armored police vehicle from the Weimar Republic era, as well as one of only two "Assault Tiger” tanks still in existence... read more arrow

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Sprawling across the northeast of Lower Saxony, the Lüneburg Heath is an extensive region of heath and farmland that forms part of a culturally rich landscape. Its heathland is typical of that which blanketed much of North Germany until the early 19th century, having been formed as a result of overgrazing during the Neolithic period. Today its remaining areas are kept cleared through grazing of Heidschnucke, a North German breed of moorland sheep.

The Lüneburg Heath is named after the town of Lüneburg, which features a beau-tifully preserved 13th-century Town Hall and the German Salt Museum. But the region is dotted with picturesque villages that are clustered with thatched-roof Low Saxon farmhouses.

Explore one of the many scenic walking trails that traverse the heathlands, including to the area’s highest hill, the Wilseder Berg, that rises to a mere 169 me-ters. Soak up the panoramic views all the way to Hamburg or embark on one of the more extensive cycling trails that weave through the region... read more arrow

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Straddling the border between Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, the Harz Mountain National Park protects extensive tracts of spruce and beech woodlands, as well as several bogs that provide a habitat for rare black storks, peregrine falcons, European wildcats and Eurasian lynx. It’s a walkers paradise and crisscrossed with themed trails that form part of the Harzer Wandernadel network, with badges awarded based on the number of checkpoints visited.

Follow in the footsteps of Goethe along the Goethe Way, which leads from Torfhaus through the Brockenfeld Moor to the summit of Mount Brocken and forms part of the 100-kilometer-long Harz Witches’ Trail. Another popular hike is the Kaiser Way that crosses both the Harz and the Kyffhäuser hills while na-turists can hit the Harzer Naturistenstieg where naked hiking is legal.

In addition to the hiking trails that traverse the slopes of Mount Brocken, a nar-row-gauge steam train makes the journey to the 1,141 meter-high summit. It was built at the end of the 19th century to connect the mineral and forestry-rich Harz region to the rest of Germany while helping to promote tourism in the area... read more arrow

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Nestled at the foot of Rammelsberg hill, the Imperial Palace of Goslar is an ex-tensive complex of historical buildings and one of the most impressive tourist attractions in the Harz region. The grounds include the magnificent Kaiserhaus, the Collegiate Church of St. Simon and St. Jude and the Palace Chapel of St. Ul-rich. Together with Goslar’s Old Town and the Rammelsberg, the Imperial Pal-ace of Goslar has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Imperial Palace was built between 1040 and 1050 during the region of Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich III and is unique in being one of the few secular archi-tectural monuments dating from the period. Its location was selected due to the proximity of the Rammelsberg Silver Mines and was later used primarily as a summer residence for the royal family.

The palace stood strong for more than 200 years but by the late 13th century, it was beginning to fall into disrepair. Fires destroyed some areas while the stone was quarried for other buildings and it wasn’t until 1868 that a concerted effort was made to save the palace and reconstruction efforts began... read more arrow

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Built in the mid-19th century by King George V of Hanover as a birthday present for his wife, the Marienburg Castle is a Gothic revival landmark to the northwest of Hildesheim. It was designed by architect Conrad Wilhelm Hase and served as a summer seat for the House of Hanover and the House of Guelph whose yellow and white flag flies on the main tower.

The Marienburg Castle has remained relatively well preserved after being left un-inhabited for 80 years when the royal family went into exile during Hanover’s annexation by Prussia in 1866. The Duke of Brunswick and his wife moved into the castle in 1945 and their son, Prince Ernest Augustus IV opened the castle museum to the public in 1954.

Join a guided tour to explore the beautifully preserved historic rooms of the Ma-rienburg Castle and learn about King George V and his wife, Queen Marie, in the exhibition “Royal History and Stories”. Soak up the magnificent views of the River Leine and the historic landscapes of Calenberger from the main tower or opt for one of the special costumed tours led by Queen Frederica of Hanover, Princess Sophie Dorothy of Celle or Princess Mary of Hanover... read more arrow

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Set within the glacial landscapes to the northwest of Hanover, the Steinhuder Meer is a picturesque lake and recreational hub that’s named after the nearby village of Steinhude. While it’s the largest lake in northwest Germany, it only drops to around three meters in depth and is surrounded by the rolling landscapes of the Hanoverian Moor Geest.

Follow one of the walking paths that weave through the Steinhuder Meer Nature Park, with a 32-kilometer-long loop following the lake’s perimeter. Alternatively, explore the lake’s natural surrounds on two wheels or hit the waters to test your skills at kitesurfing. Numerous boats offer scheduled trips across the lake, visiting its two manmade islands of Wilhelmstein and Badeinsel Steinhude.

Wilhelmstein was built in the 1760s and transformed into a military fortress by William, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe before being used as a state prison from 1777 to 1867. The island of Badeinsel Steinhude was created more recently in 1975 using sand sourced from the lake and its beach is a popular spot to while away a summer’s afternoon... read more arrow

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Located in the town of Brühl, Phantasialand is a popular theme park that has been attracting punters since 1967. It was created as a family-oriented destination by Gottlieb Löffelhardt and Richard Schmidt but has since grown to include nu-merous thrill rides that make it a popular destination for young and old alike.

Journey through the park’s Wild West section on the mine roller coaster of the Colorado Adventure or brave the high-speed roller coaster TARON that has bro-ken four world records. It boasts the fastest catapult drive in the world and is the longest multi-launch roller coaster in the world, flying through its tunnel just a hair’s width from the rock face.

Other popular rides at Phantasialand include the Raik (the fastest and longest family boomerang in the world) and the Black Mamba, an inverted roller coaster that snakes its way through abysses and gorges... read more arrow

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Rising spectacularly out of the wooded hills near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg, the Externsteine is a collection of distinctive sandstone rock formations. They are considered one of the most impressive natural features of the Teutoburg Forest region, having been shifted into their vertical position millions of years ago and carved by the friction of ice during the Ice Age.

The Externsteine are believed by some to have magical powers and were identi-fied as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons and the location of the Irminsul idol that was said to have been destroyed by Charlemagne. A hermitage was established at the site during the Middle Ages and a Christian chapel was built here by the high medieval period, with a grotto, grave and relief showing biblical scenes all visible today. The relief depicting Christ’s descent from the cross is of particular note and considered a work of European importance. During the late 19th century, nationalist scholars took an interest in the Externsteine and they were later used as a symbol of propaganda by the Nazi regime... read more arrow

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Positioned overlooking the Rhine River on the Drachenfels near the town of Königswinter, Schloss Drachenburg was built as a private villa by Baron Stephan von Sarter between 1882 and 1884. It features a diverse array of architectural styles, including medieval castle elements and Gothic cathedral-like spires that have made it one of Germany’s most striking and unusual landmarks.

Drachenburg translates as “Dragon’s Castle” and this eclectic villa was recently restored by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia because of a mounting apprecia-tion for “historicism”. This 19th-century trend saw various architectural styles replicated to reflect historical buildings, something that is truly apparent with Schloss Drachenburg.

Schloss Drachenburg has had a storied history, starting out as a private villa be-fore being transformed into a museum, an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys, a US army base, a home for war refugees and a squat for the homeless... read more arrow

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Translating as “King's Avenue”, the Königsallee is the most famous boulevard in North Rhine-Westphalia, carving its way through the center of Düsseldorf. It's affectionately known as Kö by local residents and lined with designer fashion boutiques, jewelry stores and high-end hotels, making it the city’s most exclusive address.

Königsallee was created following the removal of Düsseldorf’s fortifications at the end of the 19th century, with the spacious boulevard designed by court architect Caspar Anton Huschberger. It was originally named “Kastanienallee” after the chestnut trees planted along its central canal but the name was later changed to “King’s Avenue” to appease King Friedrich Wilhelm IV.

The eastern side of Königsallee is lined with flagship brand stores, including Bul-gari, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Tiffany while the western side is mostly occupied by banks, offices and hotels... read more arrow

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Located on the outskirts of Düsseldorf, Schloss Benrath is an opulent Baroque-style pleasure palace. It was built in the mid-18th century by court architect Nicolas de Pigage for the Elector Palatine Charles Theodor and his wife, Countess Palatine Elisabeth Auguste of Sulzbach. Its central corps de logis was occupied by the couple, with two symmetrical arched wings on either side where the servants resided. To the north lies the palace pond while on the south is the Spiegel-weiher or “mirror pond”.

Today the corps de logis of Schloss Benrath has been transformed into a museum where you can get a glimpse of the elector’s lavish lifestyle. Join a guided tour to explore its period-furnished rooms and wander through the magnificent gardens. They were designed in relation to the palace building, with each of the gardens matched with a room inside, establishing a total work of art... read more arrow

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Located in the Meiderich quarter of Duisburg, the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord is a unique park that combines industrial heritage elements with natural landmarks and a fascinating light installation. It was created in 1991 to celebrate the industrial heritage of the area (rather than eliminate it), encompassing the abandoned coal and steel production plant of the Duisburg-Meiderich steelworks and agricultural land that had been in use prior to the mid-19th century.

The Landschaftspark was designed by Peter Latz and divided into different areas according to its existing conditions and the plants growing in that space. Walk-ways and waterways were then created to weave the different areas together, fol-lowing the old railway and sewer systems. Concrete bunkers were used to create a series of gardens while old gas tanks became scuba diving pools and concrete walls were transformed for use by rock climbers. The middle of the abandoned steel mill was made into a central piazza for visitors to relax and socialize... read more arrow

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Perched in the hills overlooking the Moselle River, Eltz Castle was established in the 12th century and has been owned by the same family ever since. It stands positioned on a rocky spur along what was an important Roman trade route connecting the valley’s fertile farmlands and markets and is one of only a handful of castles in Rhineland-Palatinate that have never been destroyed.

Eltz Castle is a picture-book scene, with eight towers that soar up to 35 meters in height, turrets and timber-framed structures. It’s surrounded on three sides by the small Eltzbach river and the Eltz Forest, a nature reserve that protects a number of rare fauna and flora species. There are hikes to suit all levels of fit-ness, including the popular “Eltz Castle Panorama” trail that offers some of the most photogenic views.

Join a guided tour to explore the period-furnished rooms, which include precious artifacts, original furnishings and decorative items that showcase life in the Mid-dle and Early Modern Ages... read more arrow

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Officially known as the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Stephen, the Speyer Cathedral is the most prominent landmark in the historic town of Speyer and a des-ignated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to 1030 when its foundation stone was laid by Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor and it has long served as the resting place of the Salian dynasty.

The Speyer Cathedral is designed in a striking Romanesque style in the form of a Latin cross, with a huge triple-nave vaulted basilica. This design is believed to have inspired many other influential Romanesque churches of the 11th and 12th centuries while its fully preserved crypt stands as the largest Romanesque col-umned hall in Europe. It was here that the Salian, Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers (and their wives) were buried, reflecting the power of imperial rule during the medieval period... read more arrow

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Believed to have been built around the year 1000 by the Palatinate count, Ezzo, Cochem Castle boasts a commanding hilltop setting overlooking the River Moselle. It was pawned by King Adolf of Nassau in 1294 to pay for his coronation as German Emperor and remained under the archbishops of Trier until it was set on fire and blow up by French troupes in May 1689. The ruins of Cochem Castle were bought and rebuilt in the mid-19th century by Berlin businessman Louis Ravené who incorporated the remains of its late-Gothic buildings into the new Neo-Gothic design.

Today Cochem Castle is owned by the town of Cochem and is beautifully deco-rated with Renaissance and Baroque furnishings that were collected by the Ravené family throughout the years. Forty-minute guided tours offer an insider’s look at the interiors of the castle and its courtyards, while spine-tingling Ghost Tours take place on Sundays during the summer months... read more arrow

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Located in the town of Nürburg, the Nürburgring is a famous motorsports complex that features a Grand Prix race track and a longer “North Loop” track that weaves around the town and its medieval castle. It has a capacity for 150,000 spectators on race days but it’s the Nürburgring's open-for-all Touristenfahrten that attracts many auto enthusiasts.

Test your skills on the Nordschleife “North Loop”, which extends for 22.810 kil-ometers (14.173 miles) and is often open to the public, with the Grand Prix cir-cuit also opened on rare occasions. This so-called Touristenfahrten allows any-one with a road-legal vehicle to take to the track and experience race car-style driving without any oncoming traffic, intersections or speed limits.

The Nordschleife was constructed between 1925 and 1927 and has a reputation for being both terrifying and merciless. Three-time world champion Formula 1 pilot Sir John Young Jackie Stewart gave it the nickname of “Green Hell” and it’s always been a highly prized win for racing drivers due to its demands... read more arrow

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The oldest wine route in the world, the German Wine Route extends through the sprawling wine growing region of the Palatinate between the Palatinate Forest and the Rhine Rift. It was established in 1935 following a record harvest and with the idea that it would help to boost wine sales in the connected villages.

The beginning of the 85-kilometer-long route is marked by the grand sandstone German Wine Gate in Schweigen-Rechtenbach. The route heads north through the towns of Bad Bergzabern, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Deidesheim and Grünstadt before ending at the House of the German Wine Route in Bockenheim an der Weinstraße.

Sample the region’s renowned riesling, pinot grigio and dornfelder in the numer-ous wine bars and tasting rooms that dot the route, together with alfresco arbors and side-of-the-road stops that add to the German Wine Route’s appeal. Unlike most of Germany’s wine regions that use 25 cl glasses, the Palatinate wine region is famed for its 5 cl glasses that are known as “Dubbegla”s because of their dim-pled design... read more arrow

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Forming part of the UNESCO-designated Palatinate Forest-North Vosges Biosphere Reserve (one of the largest forests in Europe), the Palatinate Forest is a protected swathe of low mountains in the southwest of Germany. Once seen as a source of energy supplies and raw materials, the forest is now protected as a nature park that makes for a popular recreational destination.

The Palatinate Forest Nature Park was established in 1958 as the third nature park in Germany and designed as a place for workers in the polluted cities of the Rhine Valley to escape for some R&R. Today it’s traversed by hundreds of kilometers of walking trails that lead through its mixed forests and past log-style huts where visitors can picnic and relax.

Follow one of the short, themed walking trails that wind through the Palatinate Forest, including the treetop Baumwipfelpfad at the Fischbach Biosphere House, the Rhineland-Palatinate Sculpture Way and the historic Rätselhafte Zeitzeichen. Alternatively, embark on one of the longer treks that include the Saar-Rhine-Main trail and the Franconia-Hesse-Palatinate trail, each of which are signposted by a particular color... read more arrow

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Beginning at the Ahr Spring in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Ahr Valley is a picturesque region of vineyards, Roman ruins and hiking trails. It extends east to Ahrweiler in Rhineland-Palatinate and on to the Ahr River’s meeting point with the Rhine at the the Golden Mile near Kripp. It provides a relaxing escape, with medicinal springs and healing spas, not to mention spectacular rural scenery to explore.

The Ahr Valley runs through rolling pasturelands and charming hamlets before carving through the villages of Ahrhütte and Ahrdorf. It then leaves the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and flows into Rhineland-Palatinate where it joins the Adenauer Bach River and is eventually met by the Ahr Valley Railway.

The rugged rock faces and vineyards of the Ahr Hills mark the Middle Ahr Val-ley where the river flows below the “Coloured Cow” rock formation before broadening into the Lower Ahr Valley... read more arrow

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Forming part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage, the Völklingen Iron-works is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed destination in the Saarland town of Völklingen. The ironworks dates to 1881 when it was constructed by Carl Röchling and didn’t close its doors until 1986. It now stands as the world’s only sur-viving smelting works from the 19th and 20th-century Golden Age of iron and steel.

The Völklingen Ironworks is open to the public as an industrial museum, comprising a themed discovery park and an interactive science center that details the making of iron. Embark on the well-signposted circular tour that leads around the ironworks, allowing you to explore the six immense blast furnaces of the smelting works and the world’s only inclined ore lift. Then take in the views from the charging platform where the coke and ore were once poured into the blast furnaces.

Step into the Ferrodrom science center where you’ll be greeted by one of the larg-est fire tornadoes in the world... read more arrow

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Transporting visitors back to the prehistoric world of the dinosaurs, GONDWANA - the Prehistorium is an interactive and immersive science museum in Schiffweiler. Visitors are greeted by an introductory 3D film “Evolution” that explores nearly four billion years of evolution and offers a fascinating insight in-to our past.

Wander through the life-like primeval landscapes of the Evolution Live exhibit to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the prehistoric world, then learn about the developments of mammals and humans in the Time Travel area. The ZERA Zeitexpress travel agency will guide you step-by-step through some of the most important moments in history, with light, sound and language simulators immersing you in the Age of Discovery, the Industrial Age and Ancient Egypt.

Come face-to-face with the biggest shark known to man at the animated Megalodon exhibit where you can witness a 100-ton prehistoric basking shark... read more arrow

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Located near the villages of Borg and Oberleuken, the Roman Villa Borg is a beautifully reconstructed Roman villa that was discovered at the end of the 19th century. The site consists of a villa rustica agricultural facility that encompasses a large palatial residence and its surrounding settlement. Excavations have indicat-ed little activity at the site since Roman times, resulting in the preservation of its remains.

A local schoolteacher, Johann Schneider, first discovered the remains around the turn of the 20th century but it was until well after the war that excavations be-gan. In addition to the Roman-era foundations, researchers also discovered evi-dence of pre-Roman inhabitation and traces of Iron Age structures, Beaker cul-ture settlements and Neolithic period tools.

Today visitors to the Roman Villa Borg can wander amidst the authentically re-constructed buildings to gain an appreciation of how the site would have once looked, with the foundation walls replicated as they would have appeared in the 2nd or 3rd century... read more arrow

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Consisting of several partially-recreated structures of a Gallo-Roman settlement, the Schwarzenacker Roman Museum is an open-air archaeological museum in the district of Schwarzenacker. It was established by archaeologist Alfonso Kolling who led the excavations at the site and exhibits the remains of a Roman vicus (country town) where around 2,000 people lived from the 1st century AD until it was destroyed by Alemanni in 275 AD.

The settlement benefitted from the Roman military and trade routes leading from what is now Trier to Strasbourg, as well as from modern-day Metz to Worms. It flourished into a residential, commercial and administrative hub, with right-angle intersecting Roman streets that were flanked by large drainage channels. Freshwater was pumped from deep wells and supplied through clay and wood pipelines while the half-timbered houses were decorated with frescoes and ceiling paintings. One of the houses is believed to have been the seat of a cult, with bronze statues discovered in the cellar depicting a rooster, an Apollo and Mercu-ry with a wild boar... read more arrow

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Discover the industrial heritage of Saarland at the Saarländisches Bergbaumuseum, a museum that’s dedicated to the region’s mining legacy. Surrounded by beautiful parklands, the museum is located in the Hindenburg Tower and follows the coal mining history of Saarland dating back to the 15th century.

It was August Ferdinand Cullmann, a lawyer from Zweibrücken and a liberal member of the Frankfurt am Main National Assembly, who in 1879 transformed the pit into the largest coal mine in Germany’s southwest. At the height of its op-eration, the mine had a workforce of more than 3000 people before closing its doors in 1959.

Begin your visit on the seventh floor of the museum to soak up the sweeping views of a landscape that has been shaped by more than 200 years of mining. Then follow the exhibits that detail the development of mining in the region and learn about the production of coke. Visitors are invited to experience “driving” a mining plant before discovering the social history of Saarland and its miners... read more arrow

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Originally built as a lohmühle to serve the purposes of a local tannery, Schloss Fellenberg was transformed into the castle seen today by the Swiss manufacturer, William Tell von Fellenberg. Located in the charming capital of Merzig-Wadern, it features ornate carved sandstone, turrets and oriel bay windows, together with drainage pipes and bauziers, making it a striking example of 19th-century archi-tecture. The castle consists of two distinct sections, a large, multi-level and yellow-plastered structure and a smaller red sandstone one with a tower and gargoyle.

After falling into the hands of the von Boch family following the death of von Fellenberg, Schloss Fellenberg was bought by the District of Merzig in 1934. They established it as a home for the elderly before it became the maternity ward of a local hospital.

Since 1980, the castle has functioned as a museum that explores the regional his-tory of Merzig-Wadern and hosts a range of temporary exhibitions throughout the year... read more arrow

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Located on Kreuzberg Hill in the charming town of Merzig (near where Germany, France and Luxembourg meet), the Garden of the Senses is a leafy oasis designed around 11 themed gardens that are divided into hedge-lined sections. It’s been created to ignite all of the senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste - through carefully thought out plant and flower selections.

Visitors are greeted by a geometric, modern-art sculpture at the entrance to the garden that is themed around the element of water, which is vitally important for the garden to thrive. Step into the Garden of Sounds where you can create your own music or listen to different objects resonating in the wind, then experience the huge diversity of hues on display in the Garden of Colors.

The largest of the gardens is the Gravel Garden, which is planted with a range of rare and sun-loving herbaceous perennials that flourish in the unique microcli-mate that has been created. Traveling with kids? They’ll be in their element in the Touch Garden where visitors are invited to touch the plants and experience tex-tures ranging from soft grasses to sharp pine needles... read more arrow

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Serving as the headquarters of the famous Villeroy & Boch ceramics company for more than 200 years, the Benedictine Abbey in Mettlach boasts a rich history. Its Old Tower stands as the oldest religious building in the Saarland and it’s surrounded by a garden that’s planted with a diversity of native deciduous and evergreen trees.

The former Benedictine monastery was purchased by Jean-François Boch in 1809 and restored following damage during the 18th-century War of the First Coalition. The success of his ceramics company, Villeroy & Boch, resulted in fur-ther construction within the grounds while maintaining the historic character of the abbey.

Today the abbey and headquarters of Villeroy & Boch are open to visitors to learn about the history of the company and admire its modern-day creations, as well as soak up the ambiance of its atmospheric setting. Explore the Museum of Ceramics that details more than two and a half centuries of ceramic-making his-tory in Mettlach, then browse the permanent exposition “Anna and Eugène Boch – From the beginnings of modernity” that details the life and work of the Boch family’s renowned painters... read more arrow

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Following the Saar River from Saarbrücken (near the French border) to the city of Konz (where the Saar River meets the Moselle), the Saar Cycle Route has been designated as a four-star premium route by the German Cyclists’ Federation. It can be completed in either direction, with relatively level cycling paths that make it ideal for young and old alike.

The Saar Cycle Route encompasses asphalt paths and farm tracks while winding through terraced vineyards and steep valleys. It passes through plenty of charming villages where you can stop for refreshments and soak up the stunning views along the way.

If you begin in the city of Konz, the cycling route will take you through hillside vineyards and romantic wine-producing towns en route to the town of Saarburg. Explore its castle complex and picturesque waterfall before continuing through a narrow valley flanked by quartzite rock as you head south to Mettlach. Take time to explore the Villeroy & Boch exhibitions at the former Benedictine Abbey, then continue cycling to the City of the Sun King... read more arrow

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Nestled in the Harz Mountains overlooking the town of Wernigerode, the Wer-nigerode Castle is one of the most popular tourist landmarks in Saxony-Anhalt. Dating to the Middle Ages, it’s an impressive example of the Norddeutschen Historismus building style and exhibits similarities to the fairytale-like architecture of Schloss Neuschwanstein in southwest Bavaria.

The Wernigerode Castle was originally established in the 12th or 13th centuries as a medieval fort and a stronghold for the German emperors during their hunt-ing excursions. In the 16th century, it was rebuilt as a Renaissance fortress before being reconstructed in a baroque style following the 17th-century Thirty Years’ War by Count Ernest of Stolberg-Wernigerode.

The castle was again rebuilt by Ernest’s descendant, Count Otto, who served as the first president of the Prussian Province of Hanover from 1867. It was rede-signed in a Neo-Romantic Historicism style, with a chapel added in 1880 by the renowned Vienna architect Friedrich von Schmidt... read more arrow

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The highest peak in the Harz Mountains, the Brocken towers to 1,141 meters (3,743 feet) between the Weser and Elbe rivers in the far west of Saxony-Anhalt. It has long played a significant role in local folk legends, such as the tale of the child witch Bibi Blocksberg, as well as influencing Goethe’s acclaimed work “Faust”.

The Brocken is protected within the Harz Mountain National Park, which strad-dles the border between Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. It protects extensive tracts of spruce and beech woodlands that provide a habitat for European wildcats and Eurasian lynx, as well as bogs that are frequented by rare black storks and peregrine falcons. It’s crisscrossed by themed walking trails that form part of the Harzer Wandernadel network, with many leading to the summit or along the slopes of Mount Brocken.

You can follow in the footsteps of Goethe along the Goethe Way, which leads through the Brockenfeld Moor to the summit of Mount Brocken or opt to hike from the charming village of Schierke to the top... read more arrow

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Originally built as part of the University of Wittenberg in 1504, the Lutherhaus is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed writer’s house museum that served as the home of Martin Luther for much of his adult life. It was here that he wrote his 95 Theses and it’s considered a significant location in the history of the Protestant Reformation.

After the University of Wittenberg was opened in 1903, the monks of the Order of Saint Augustine began building a cloister that became known as the Black Monastery. It served as a residence hall and academy for the Augustinians studying in Wittenberg, with Martin Luther taking up residence in a cell in the south-west corner following his ordination as a priest. He lived with the Augustinians in the Black Monastery until 1521, at which time the political tensions surrounding the Protestant Reformation forced him to hide out at Wartburg Castle.

When he returned to Wittenberg in 1524, Martin Luther lived at the Black Monastery until his death in 1546 and it was here that he held his influential Table Talks and revised his Bible translation... read more arrow

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Housed in the 16th-century fortified castle of the Moritzburg, Saxony-Anhalt’s Kunstmuseum (art museum) exhibits an outstanding collection of artworks dating from the medieval period.

The Moritzburg served as the former residence of the Archbishops of Magdeburg and combined elements of late-Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Historicism in its design. Much of the castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War and the West Wing where the Kunstmuseum is situated had remained largely in ruins when its shell was transformed into the modern art gallery seen today in 2008. It features high skylights and floating upper floors, with a blending of historical and contemporary elements.

Wander through the 19th-century galleries where paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, Anselm Feuerbach and Max Klinger are on display, together with sculptures by French masters Auguste Rodin and Aristide Maillol. Works by Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Gustav Klimt are also exhibited, with the mu-seum renowned for its collection of works in the Expressionism, Constructivism and New Objectivity genres... read more arrow

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Located at the confluence of the Mulde and Elbe Rivers, Dessau has long been associated with the Bauhaus school of design. Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, Bauhaus design aesthetics were applied in the construction of numerous buildings across Dessau, many of which have now been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Of particular significance is the Bauhaus Building, which was designed by Walter Gropius from 1925–26. It is considered a seminal work of European modernism and employs the principles of functionality with pioneering materials like reinforced concrete and glass. It was built as an institute of higher education but heavily damaged during World War II bombings. After extensive renovations, it was established as the seat of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and is once again a hub for experimental design, research and education.

Also of note are the Master’s Houses in Dessau that are distinguished by their white, cubic structures and the complex connections between the exterior and in-terior spaces... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

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