Surrounded by three lakes on the banks of the River Havel, Brandenburg an der Havel is a charismatic city to the southwest of Berlin. It’s home to the iconic Dominsel (Cathedral Island) and surrounded by medieval city walls while being the gateway to some of central Germany’s most magnificent scenery.

Take time to visit the 12th-century Brandenburg Cathedral on the Dominsel, which is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. Designed in a Romanesque style, it features Gothic ornamentations and 13th-century stained glass windows, as well as a stunning Bohemian Altar and a memorial chapel commemorating the Christians who were murdered during World War II.

Brandenburg an der Havel’s Town Hall is another highlight, with this Gothic brick building dating to the late 15th century. It is fronted by a prominent sandstone statue of the German knight Roland and shares a square with the 13th-century Ordonnanzhaus, one of Germany’s oldest secular buildings.

Discover the local history at the Brandenburg an der Havel City Museum, which is situated within the Baroque Frey-Haus and the stone gate tower of Steintorturm. Exhibits include an impressive collection of European graphic art dating from the 16th century and artifacts detailing the importance of the city’s waterways. Another museum not to miss is the State Archaeological Museum, which boasts Neolithic tools, centuries-old weapons and the oldest woven net in the world, set within a beautifully restored 13th-century Dominican Friary.

Brandenburg an der Havel is noted for having some of the best preserved medieval fortifications in the region, with stone walls dating to the 14th century and imposing gate towers. Of particular note is the Gothic arcading of the Rathenower Torturm and the impressive openwork crown of the Plauer Torturm.