Aachen offers a unique combination of tradition and modernism. As an historic city, its name joins with Charlemagne, who named it capital of the Frankish empire. His Aachener Dom was included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list and forms the heart of Aachen`s old city centre, together with the gothic City Hall. This imperial city is known for centuries as a spa and remedial center. Today, Aachen proves an impressive economic progress, becoming an important European high-tech location.
This ancient southern city was founded by the Romans and carries Autgustus emperor's name. Still, only few Roman relics are to be seen today. The largest town along the "Romantic Road" trip to the Middle Ages and is also an Alps gateway. Most valuable attractions date from the medieval centuries: Fuggerei (the first ever social housing project for the poor), Der Goldene Saal, Town Hall, the Dom. At the Rathausplatz you can enjoy a beer in the summer or admire nice Christmas trees during winter.
Located at the foot of the Black Forrest, Baden-Baden has been renowned since Roman Times for its curative baths and hot springs. Today, it evokes an aura of 19th-century privilege, combined with the most modern facilities. The surrounding countryside is perfect for hiking and mountain climbing and in wintertime is a center for skiing. Don't miss the Hohenbaden Castle, built in 1102, and known locally as the Altes Schloss and the magnificent view of the Black Forest and the Rhine Valley.
Bamberg is one of the few German cities that suffered very little damage in World War II. The Old Town of Bamberg is included in the UNESCO World Heritage, since it has retained intact its medieval look. Bamberg's architecture styles rang from Romanesque to Gothic, Renaissance to baroque, up to the eclecticism of the 19th century. Take a stroll trough the narrow cobblestone streets and admire the ornate mansions and palaces, and the impressive churches.
Bayreuth is famous for its annual Wagner opera festival. Bayreuth is also a university town and offers some interesting sights and museums. The main attraction is the Margravial Opera House, one of the most beautiful Baroque theatres in Europe. Other sights are: the historic gardens of the Hermitage with its water fountains and the Richard-Wagner-Festspielhaus with its unique acoustics. Bayreuth hosts a great number of festivals that offer music, theatre, and art on a very high level.
Located in the German Bavarian Alps, Berchtesgaden is a beautiful village with ancient winding streets, a medieval marketplace and castle square. It is often associated with the Mount Watzmann, at 2713 m the third-highest mountain in Germany, which is renowned in the rock climbing community for its Ostwand, and a deep glacial lake named Königssee. Another notable peak is the Kehlstein mountain with its ever popular Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest), which offers spectacular views to its visitors.
The German capital holds a world cultural record with three opera houses, two concert halls and eight symphony orchestras. This is the heart of Germany, with a stoic beat that echoes through grand public buildings, glorious museums and theatres, urbane restaurants, bustling pubs and raucous nightclubs. Today, structures of steel and glass tower over streets and parks and gardens are again lush. With its field of new skyscrapers and hip clubs and fashion boutiques, post millennium Berlin has recast itself as the Continent's capital of cool.
The former capital of the West Germany stands on the banks of the Rhine and embraces 2000 years of history. The cultural tradition is sustained by the university and Beethoven's memorial house; you can also admire art museums and the famous 'neanderthaler' head at Rheinische Landesmuseum. In search for relaxation and nice pictures, choose the university area for a walk in the Hofgarten park or enjoy a beer at the Alter Zoll, while admiring the picturesque view of the Seven Mountains.
The second greatest German port, on the river Weser, was badly damaged by the War, but it preserved an ancient flavor, especially in the Altstadt (Old Town) - bordered by the ruins of medieval city walls. Altstadt's most important place is Markplatz, dominated by the Town Hall, hosting a restaurant with an impressive list of over 600 German wines. Bremen offers many attractions, both medieval cathedrals and modern places - Universum Science Center, Space Center, art museums, Becks' Beer factory.
Capital of the Lower Saxony district of Celle, this town attracts tourists with its picturesque look. This aspect is given by the ancient half-timbered houses in the old town center, built in the 16th-17th centuries. The dominant building is Schloss Celle ducal palace, rebuilt in 1530 by one of the Dukes of Braunschweig-Lüneburg dynasty in Renaissance style. Important historical and cultural attractions may also be seen: Stadtkirche (1308), a synagogue (1740) surviving the Nazis, Bomann Museum.
Situated in one of the best wine regions of the Mosel Valley, Cochem is a charming medieval town. The main attraction is Reichsburg Cochem, a hilltop castle, dating back from the year 1051. In 1689 the town of Cochem was almost completely destroyed and it remained a ruin until 1868, when Louis Ravené rebuilt the castle. The remains of the late gothic building were integrated into the castle, which was built in the neo-gothic style and corresponded to the romantic ideas of the 19th century.
The world feels at home in Cologne, where people meet to enjoy a Kölsch. (Kölsch is a language, a philosophy of life and also the popular local beer.) The largest city in the Rhineland, Cologne is rich in antiquity. There is much to see from every period of the city's two millennia history: from the old Roman towers to the modern opera house. Cologne is also a bustling modern city with a decent shot at becoming the fine-art capital of Germany. The city of Cologne also hosts an annual Carnival.
Dresden, founded in 1206, is a metropolis of unique art treasures and lively culture. Center of the German Baroque par excellence, its highlights include the magnificent palatial buildings around the Theaterplatz and the Brühl Terraces, and the many art treasures in the state museums. No history book on architecture can leave out the Dresden Zwinger, The Frauenkirche Church, Semper Opera House and Royal Palace as well as many other historical monuments and ensembles that determine the image of the city.
Badly destroyed during the war, Düsseldorf was carefully reconstructed and became the richest economic center in Germany. A relaxing walk along the Rhine or a panoramic view from the Rhine Tower will allow you to admire a "compact" city, where the modern downtown is nearby the Altstadt (Old Town) and the skyscrapers, banks and offices contrasts with the old castles and churches. The open-air pedestrian mall in the Old Town is remarkable by "the longest bar in the world" (260 pubs and taverns).
Eisanach is mainly known by the famous Wartburg Castle, some cultural sights and the auto industry. It is the birthplace of M. Luther and J.S. Bach, so memorial houses and monuments can be visited. Among the open spaces in the city centre, remarkable are Karlsplatz - hosting Nikolaikirche and the city gate Nikolaitor - and Marktplatz - with Georgenkirche, Town Hall, the Baroque city castle Stadtschloss. The cars fans may find Eisanach interesting because of BMW and Opel factories.
This German central city is the capital city of Turingia. Although not a very popular tourist destination, Erfurt definitely deserves a visit, mostly because it was almost perfectly preserved over the wars. Its medieval aspect is given by the old houses, churches, bridges designed in Renaissance and Baroque styles. The city symbols are the two churches, Mariendom and Severikirche. You can spend pleasant time in Erfurt, walking on the Krämerbrücke bridge (1325) or on the winding cobblestone alleys.
For many, Frankfurt is primarily "Manhattan", city of finance and skyscrapers or only as a transit hub, but a closer look reveals a city of many charms: picturesque houses of the beautifully restored Römerberg in the city center, the unique "Museum Mile" along the banks of the Main river, traditional cider pubs in Sachsenhausen, shops galore in the elegant Goethestrasse and the "Fressgass", and a truly world-class cultural and arts scene. It boasts Germany's most spectacular skyline and Europe's tallest office building. Frankfurt throws more money at the arts than any other European city so you'll most likely catch a groundbreaking exhibition at one of its museums.
Freiburg is the warmest, sunniest city in Germany. Its scenic beauty attracts lots of tourists. The longest cable car in Germany (3.6 km, or about 2.25 miles) runs from Gunterstal up to a nearby mountain called Schauinsland. Freiburg is also known for its magnificent cathedral, an excellent example of late gothic architecture. The view from the bell-tower is over 10 km on a clear day. Don't miss out Carnival as Freiburg is one of the few places in Germany where it is traditionally celebrated.
Friedrichshafen is an important modern town, capital of the Bodensee district. Its location, north-east of the Lake Constance - gives it a relaxed resort atmosphere. The most famous attraction of Friedrichshafen is the "Zeppelin museum", meant to preserve something of the "Zeppelin City" old town identity. It served as manufacturing center for giant airships since 1900 to the Hindenburg disaster. A short visit to Switzerland is possible via the streamers crossing Lake Constance.
The highest Bavarian town stands in the foothills of the Alps, marking the end of the "Romantic Road". Füssen's landmark is the 15th century Hohes Schloss (High Castle), an impressive gothic complex; very well preserved, it hosts nowadays an art gallery focused on Renaissance and late gothic masterpieces. It is also the starting point in visiting the romantically situated castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Füssen is best reachable by railway (100 km from Münich).
The twin villages of Garmisch and Partenkirchen make up Germany's top alpine resort. In spite of their urban flair, the towns maintain the charm of an ancient village, especially Partenkirchen. Even today, you occasionally see country folk in traditional dress, and you may be held up in traffic while the cattle are led from their mountain-grazing grounds down through the streets of town. In 1936 it was the site of the Winter Olympic Games. Traditionally, a ski jumping contest is held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year's Day, as a part of the Four Hills Tournament (Vierschanzen-Tournee). A variety of Ski World Cup Races are also held here, usually on the Kandahar Track outside town. The 1978 Alpine World Skiing Championships were organized in Garmisch and the Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 is to be held there as well.
The imperial town of Goslar has a rich history, started in 922 by its discoverer Heinrich I. Goslar. Located at the foot of the Harz Mountains, the town prospered over time by the aid of the silver mines of Rammelsberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The towering 636m summit stands behind the Kaiserpfalz (imperial palace), built in the Romanesque style. The visitor can admire the unique town silhouette, given by the 47 chapels' spires, and also feel the charm of the 600-years-old streets.
Hamburg is Germany's second-largest metropolis, one of Europe's biggest ports, and the greenest city in Europe, lush with vegetation, parks, gardens, canals, and lakes. Elegant and cosmopolitan, Hamburg is now a city of palatial office buildings, magnificent promenades, international musicals, extravagant shopping malls and the famous Reeperbahn and St. Pauli. A ride around Alster Lake will reveal the elegance of its finest parks and buildings and a stroll along one of its many canals explains why this city has been called the "Venice of the North".
Hameln is a small town, situated on a hilly region along the Weser River. By far, the most famous thing about this town is the folk tale of The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Rattenfänger), immortalized by Brothers Grimm and Goethe, which even determined Hameln to be known as Pied Piper's town. By the numerous Weser Renaissance-style buildings in the reconstructed old town centre, the most famous is Rattenfängerhaus (Pied Piper's house - 1602), where the tale is played each Sunday during the summer.
The capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony, Hannover imposes itself as a modern city. It's one of the most important centres of German industry, transportation, commerce, but mostly The City of Trade Fairs - including the biggest european IT-Fair CeBIT. A famous shooting festival (Schützenfest) takes place here every summer. Besides, Hannover offers the visitor some idylic places to enjoy, like big baroque gardens, the Marschsee lake, Eilenriede Forest or the old surviving buildings.
This town is especially famous for its oldest German University of Heidelberg (1386). As students always made up the majority of population, it escapes from the war air raids and managed to preserve the ancient buildings from Middle Ages and Renaissance. Beside the University decorated with towers and turrets, you can admire the Heidelpberg Castle, with its charming color changing with the sunlight. You can get excellent photos from the Karl-Theodor Bridge or walk along the famous Philosophenweg.
Just east of Füssen, there are two former Royal Castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein among the finest in Germany. The breathtaking beauty of surrounding alpine peaks and valleys make them ideal for hiking. For the most magnificent panoramas in all of the Alps, hike up to the Marienbrücke, which spans the Pöllat Gorge behind Neuschwanstein Castle. If you're properly equipped, continue uphill from the gorge for the most splendid view possible of Mad King Ludwig's fantasy castle.
This town was founded as a military post about 8 BC and occupied an excellent strategic position, as a triangle bordered by the confluence Rhine-Mosel and a line of strong forts on the surrounding hills - most razed to make room to the modern railway station. The visitor is invited to admire the Alstadt historical buildings (the church of Saint Castor, the municipal picture gallery) and also the palace Residenzschloss and memorial equastrian statue of the emperor Wilhelm I (in the new city).
Konstanz is a medieval friendly town with a strategic position: on the banks of the Rhine and also the big Lake Constance. Tourists are attracted in this resort by the largest beach in the area and also by the medieval charm of Old Town (Altstadt). The close vicinity with Switzerland caused the town to escape the World War II bombing, so it preserved the historical buildings, like the majestic cathedral Münster and the famous University of Konstanz. It's the birthplace of Ferdinand von Zeppelin.
Leipzig has one of the most dynamic and complex life in Germany, combining culture, economy and nightlife. The city is tightly associated with classical music: Bach worked as a cantor at Thomaskirche, Mozart performed here, Wagner was born in Leipzig in 1813 and the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra is hosted here. In this traditional university center, Nietzche and Goethe were learning once. You can admire here the old and new Rathaus (City Hall) and the Europe's largest train station (Hauptbahnhof).
Situated at the Trave river with the largest German port at the Baltic Sea, Lübeck is a charming medieval town. The old part of the town is an island enclosed by the Trave river and is included on the UNESCO world's cultural heritage list. The old town centre is dominated by seven church steeples. The oldest ones are the Dom and the Marienkirche. The Hanseatic merchants decorated their churches with art treasures and gilded their spires and that's way the city is full of beautiful sights.
This city situated on the Rhine has a rich history, started with the Romans coming here 38 B.C. The 2000 years heritage is revealed by both Roman relics and the impressive baroque palaces and churches built by talented architects and sculptors in the 17th century. The religion always occupied an important role in Mainz and a living proof is the cathedral dominating the Markplatz in the Altstadt (old town). The tourists may notice a remarkable, careful reconstruction after the air raids in 1945.
This Saxon town is situated on both banks of the Elbe and it has a history of over 1000 years. Mainly, it is known worldwide as the "city of porcelain" for the manufacturing of the excellent Dresden china. The best panorama is offered by a hill above the town, a favorite place for photographers. The visitor is invited to enjoy the Albrechtsburg Castle, the Gothic Meissen Cathedral and the Meissen Frauenkirche. Meissen is also a good starting point for taking a trip along the Saxon wine road.
Big-city style and rural charm, Alpine character and Mediterranean verve, art treasures and the Oktoberfest, traditional customs and high technology, beer gardens and haute cuisine, operas and in bars; these are all ingredients that makes Bavaria's state capital so endlessly fascinating, and so popular with visitors from all over the world. Sprawling Munich is one of Germany's major cultural centers, second only to Berlin in terms of museums and theaters. It's also one of Germany's most festive cities, and its location, at the foot of the Alps, is idyllic. Munich's self-imposed image is that of a fun-loving and festival-addicted city - typified by its Oktoberfest.
Nürnberg had suffered a lot of damages during the war but nowadays has regained its vitality and is now a symbol of postwar prosperity. Many of Nürnberg's most important buildings, including some of the finest churches in Germany have been restored. The Altstadt (Old City) is a medieval walled city with large pedestrian walkways. Don't miss the city's churches: Frauenkirche St. Lorenze Kirche and St. Sebaldus Kirche and the Albrecht Durer House where the artist lived for 20 years.
Situated at the northern edge of the Black Forest, Pforzheim was founded by the Romans as a fortified camp, and developed into an important mercantile center during the middle Ages. Surnamed "Goldstadt" or Golden City, it is world famous for its jewelry and watch-making industry. Although it was severely damaged by bombs during World War II, in the twenty years following the end of the war Pforzheim was gradually rebuilt, giving the town a quite modern look that well worths a visit.
Regensburg stands on the banks of the Bavarian Danube for about 2000 years. Although obscure for many foreign tourists, its rich history left very well-preserved fingerprints of different historical and architectural era. The main Gothic buildings are the grandiose Stone Bridge (in service since 1146) and the medieval Dom, the main piece of the Bavarian Gothic architecture. The visitor can also admire Romanesque churches from 11th-13th centuries, great towers and castles (St. Emmeram's Abbey).
The largest city in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Rostock is an administrative and business centre and as well the centre of the holiday area among the German coastline. The historical city centre is dominated by old towers, fortifications, lovely churches and abbeys, most of them Gothic. One of the most picturesque places in Rostock is the Neuer Markt, with the Town Hall (originally built in the 13th century in Brick Gothic style). The attractive seaside resort of Warnemunde also belongs to Rostock.
On the Romantic Road going through the south of Germany, Rothenburg is the best-preserved medieval city in Europe. Inside undamaged 13th-century city walls is a medieval town seemingly untouched by the passage of time. The stately towers, massive fortifications and patrician houses and also the historical festivals will bring you closer to the spirit of the middle ages. If you have the chance, come to visit Rothenburg during Christmas time, when there is a Christmas market in town.
Established in the 11th century by Slavs, Schwerin is a city of ancient history located in the middle of one of Germany's most beautiful lake districts, the "Mecklenburger Seenplatte". The main attraction of the city is the Schwerin Castle, located on an island in the lake of the same name (Schweriner See). It was for centuries the residence of the Dukes of Mecklenburg and today is the seat of the Landtag (state parliament). Don't miss the Schwerin Cathedral, a fine example of Gothic brick architecture.
Situated in a beautiful area of Swabian Mountains, Stuttgart has an important cultural tradition, reflected in the famous Staatstheater - with the worldwide known Opera and Ballet - and also the Phillharmonic and musical theaters. Badly destroyed during the war, Stuttgart imposes itself more like a modern city, home of the Mercedes Benz factory and museum. You may enjoy the silence of the extensive parks and the Black Forrest woodland, take a City Circuit walk or taste the famous local wines.
Located in the southern Black Forest, Titisee is a small lakeside resort especially designed for relaxation and refreshing the spirit and body. The lake owes its creation to the Feldberg glacier and is a legally protected nature reserve. In the wintertime, opening the iced lake to public use is possible but only if ice samples reach a thickness of at least 16 cm. In the summer, the local attraction is the mountain Hochfirst, 1192m high with its lookout tower as the popular attraction for hikers.
The twin towns of Traben and Trarbach have become the wine capitals of the Mosel Valley. On the east bank of the river, above Trarbach, are the remains of the 14th-century Grevenburg Castle. On the opposite bank, above Traben, are the ruins of Mont Royal, a late-17th-century fortress built by Louis XIV. You can admire these magnificent sights without charge. Another attraction, just south of town, is the spa resort, Bad Wildstein, with its thermal healing springs.
Founded under Augustus in 16 B.C. Augusta Treverorum (Trier) became the second Rome. It is Germany's oldest city with buildings and monuments, dating from Roman and later periods. The city is rich not only in art and tradition but also it's one of Germany's largest wine exporters. It is also the birthplace of Karl Marx and a university town with a lively nightlife. Don't miss the "Altstadtfest" when the whole city is one big party with lots of live events, local food, wine and beer.
Weimar is a small town, dating from 899 and located on the edge of the Thuringian Forest. Its main interest points are related to culture and history, as it was home of famous personalities like Goethe, Schiller, Nietzsche, Bach. The town still preserves terrifying reminders of the shocking Nazi's acts: the Buchenwald concentration camp. The visitors coming here will be welcomed by the medieval atmosphere of the narrow, winding streets and houses with gabled roofs reminding of Middle Ages.
Founded in the 13th century, Wismar was once an elegant city of the Hanseatic League. The city lies in a picturesque setting directly on the Baltic coast and its historic Old Town is one of the best preserved mediaeval town centers in North Germany with many unusual architectonic examples. The beauty of the city is enhanced by the old harbor and the impressive Market Square, the largest in Germany surrounded by elegant buildings. Wismar also offers a great deal of leisure and shopping facilities.
Würzburg the capital of Lower Franconia is one of the loveliest baroque cities in the country and became famous as the center of Franconian wine production. Called "the town of Madonnas" because of the more than 100 statues of its patron saint that adorn the house fronts, it is also the best place to start driving the Romantic Road. A famous landmark of Wurzburg is the mighty fortress Festung Marienberg, from where you get a nice view over the famous sights and the pilgrimage church Käppele, also an idyllic spot on a hill above the town. In spring and summer, the liveliest place in town is the Markt (central marketplace). Here street performers entertain and vendors hawk their wares, ranging from fresh fruit to souvenir trinkets. You can also stroll down the traffic-free Schönbornstrasse, with its modern boutiques and cafes. The wine merchants here will sell you a Bocksbeutel, the emerald-green, narrow-necked wine bottle that's native to the region. It's said that the shape came about because wine-drinking monks found it the easiest to hide under their robes.
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