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Germany (a.k.a. Deutschland)
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map comes from the CIA
has been my home away from home since July 1999, and I've been lucky
enough to spend the whole time in the heart of the tourist zone -- Heidelberg
and the Rhein-Neckar Kreis ("Circle", the confluence of the two
rivers). Heidelberg is one of the crown jewels of German tourism,
attracting thousands of visitors every year to its 800-year old castle and it's
mile-long Main Street along the Neckar and serving as the gateway to the famous
German Castle Road that extends eastward all the way to Prague in the Czech
Republic. It is also near Mannheim, which with Stuttgart is a major
crossing point between the north-south and east-west Autobahns and main rail
routes, meaning getting around to other parts of Germany is not difficult.
Germany is definitely one country that cannot be painted in one
brushstroke, or even two or three. Its long history is colored in the
establishment and rivalries of many
kingdoms, large and small. Although they shared a common language root (as
proven by the Brothers Grimm), their cultures and architecture were very
different -- as evidenced by the architectures of the north and northeast
(mostly red brick) versus the Alpine regions (flambouyant mural) versus the west
(half-timber). Much of American popular culture owes itself to Germany,
especially our fairy tales (again, thanks to the Grimms) and the images of
castles on tall hills, dense forests, and wicked witches.
With nearly 100 travelogues for Germany, there are plenty of
places to explore here -- places familiar, places large and small, and places
you never heard of. Most of them are locations worth exploring (like
Nuremberg, Rothenburg, etc.) Some of them (like the dozen or so towns near
Heidelberg) are intended to show life in Germany, which may be of interest to
But it would be hard to believe that I have a "list"
for Germany of places yet to hit. Indeed, it is very long. My
travels to the northern half of the country have been very limited, and there's
a lot of Bavaria I haven't touched either. Fact is, I only have 100
travelogues here, if I hit everywhere in Germany, it could easily be 500!
section is subdivided according to the 13 states of Germany with the three
city-states included (Berlin with Brandenburg, for example), although two states
currently have no travelogues available (Niedersachsen and Sachsen-Anhalt).
The following chart introduces the various state sections.
Germany's most popular tourist area, Baden-Württemberg
contains such well-known destinations as Heidelberg
shown above) with its famous castle overhead), the Black
region of the southwest including the famous Triberg
waterfall (shown below), and the German Castle Road stretch along the Neckar River
and the castles along the east bank of the Rhein such as the Strahlenburg
over Schriesheim and the
Windeck over Weinheim.
The largest city is Stuttgart,
with its grand Neues Schloss (New Palace) and the
massive U-shaped garden that leads to Europe's largest zoo, the
Wilhelmina. Near Stuttgart is Ludwigsburg,
a small royal city with not one, not two, but three beautiful
palaces. Other popular locations include Baden-Baden,
a very famous spa town in the northern Black Forest; Schwaebisch Hall,
a beautiful medieval river town in the Swabian region; and Ulm,
sporting the tallest cathedral spire in the world (768 steps to reach the
top)! In all, 30 travelogues available here and more to come!
Germany's second most popular tourist area, and
the country's richest state. Bavaria
(or Bayern as it is known locally) was a beautiful state with lots of
color, gorgeous mountain scenery, and great castles (thanks in part to King
Ludwig). The Bavarian cities of Munich
and Nuremberg (shown above) were
must-sees, big cities that are more like huge friendly towns. The
northern stretch known as Franconia had several great river cities like Bamberg
and Wuerzburg with impressive
palaces and cathedrals. The Romantic Road connected several popular
medieval towns that are must-sees like Rothenburg
o.d. Tauber (shown below), Dinkelsbuehl,
and Augsburg. And the Alpine
region around Garmisch-Partenkirchen was
a year-round destination with great scenery and great skiing on the Zugspitze.
And finally, there's the Danube River valley with beautiful cities like Regensburg
perched on it! In total, this section has 25 travelogues over 41
pages with over 230 photos.
(and BERLIN). The former East German state
of Brandenburg was mostly low rolling
hills and beautiful forests, great for outdoor
Frankfurt (Oder) sat on the Oder River border with Poland and
became a major gateway when the
borders became more open in 2004. In the center of Brandenburg was the city-state
of Berlin, formerly at the heart of
the Cold War (Checkpoint Charlie pictured) and now the capital of the
re-unified country. The premier destination in the former East,
Berlin was returning into one of Europe's cultural centers. Near
Berlin was the Brandenburg capital of
Potsdam with its famous and fabulous Sans Souci
The state of Hessen
is one of Germany's primary commercial centers, particularly with its best
known city Frankfurt (Main)
hosting one of the most traveled airports on
the continent. Its big cities are impressive, like Kassel
in the north which is a modern metropolis but also a center for the arts
and home of the Brothers Grimm during their days of collecting folk tales
from across the country, and Wiesbaden
in the southwest with its ancient baths. Ruedesheim
on the banks of the Rhine is a popular wine town, while Erbach and
Michelstadt in the Odenwald are treasured old cities hidden away among
The state of Mecklenburg
and Lower Pomerania follows the coastline
of the Ostsee (Eastern Sea), and includes the very popular beach resort
island of Rügen and the wonderful castle town of Schwerin,
the state's colorful capital.
contains the industrial
heart of Germany's northwest, the Ruhr
Valley, but also has its share of major, recognizable destinations such as
Cologne with its famous
massive Dom (Cathedral, pictured), the booming commercial city of Düsseldorf, Bonn
which used to serve as the capital of West Germany during the Cold War,
and Aachen which was the site
of Charlesmagne's coronation.
(and BREMEN). Available are four-chapter travelogues for the
Niedersachsen capital of Hannover
and the city-state of Bremen.
Bremen has two cities spread thirty-minutes apart on the
wide Weser River, Bremen and Bremerhaven,
its major port. Bremen's Altstadt
has several zones of interest -- the huge marketsquare (Bremen's famous
"Town Musicians" shown), the tiny Schnoor district, the
Boettcherstrasse and the Weser Promenade. The chapter on the Buergerpark
covers Bremen's various outdoor and cultural attractions.
is Germany's smallest province in landmass, but
whose significance during the early 20th century
is great. It was a major industrial center built after Prussian
conquest from France, now preserved in the form of the Voelklingen
Iron Works (pictured) along the Saar Valley. French influence in the
region is evident in the Vauban-designed defensive structures of Saarlouis.
The capital of the state, Saarbruecken,
has been refashioned into a beautiful modern city.
region hosts a number of cities of great historical significance,
and includes Germany's best wine areas -- following the regions two major
rivers, the Rhine and Mosel. Along the Rhine are several major
cities, such as Mainz and Koblenz,
that are big, beautiful, and striking (witness the Deutsches Eck shown in
the photo above). Further up river are the great Holy Roman Cities
of Speyer and Worms,
Luther made his famous stand in 1521, while down river is the city of Remagen
and its famous bridge which was the first point where the Allies crossed
the Rhine in 1945. Along the Mosel is the ancient Roman city of Trier
(pictured below) and the lovely wine town of Cochem.
In between is the Moseltal, a fifty-mile stretch of pristine wine valley
with tiny towns nestled in the bends of the river. Meanwhile, along
the western foothills of the Rhine sits the Weinstrasse
(German Wine Road) that connects some forty wine towns and is one of
Germany's great scenic drives.
The state of Saxony is covered with
fantastic mountainous terrain and the peaceful setting of the Elbe River.
Saxony's major destinations are very well-known -- the gorgeous royal city
of Dresden with its impressive Semper
Oper Haus, the Zwinger hall with the massive Crown Tower (Kronentor)
entrance, and Pillnitz Castle; and the former Prussian stronghold of Leipzig
with its old town hall and immense war monument.
Currently, one travelogue
is available for this former East German province -- the Elbe River city
of Lutherstadt Wittenberg,
where Martin Luther began what became the Protestant Reformation.
The city has been restored and is eagerly welcoming tourists to its
(and HAMBURG). The northernmost state of
very historically significant from a maritime perspective.
The capital of the state, Luebeck,
(shown) was the site where the famous Hanseatic League was formed, one of
the world's earliest international trade unions that connected cities from
Russia to Belgium. The city-state of Hamburg
is the largest city in the German north, a massive port city on the Elbe
River and huge commercial center with great shopping!
The state of Thüringen
resides in the center of country and is best known for the Thuringian
Forest, a lovely
forested region of rolling hills and great waterfalls. The capital
of the state is Erfurt (pictured), a
fabulous city with a huge citadel, two large churches perched on a hill
over the main market square, and a bridge built with buildings and shops
on it. A place with great historical significance is Weimar,
site of Germany's first (failed) democracy. And there's Eisenach
with its famous Wartberg Castle where Martin Luther lived in exile for a
Stories and Features:
Links. The below links connect you to
external sites in a new window. All links are official sites sanctioned by
the national, state, or local governments unless otherwise indicated.
These links will open to the German-language home page, which will offer an icon
or link to an English-language section (normally limited content). Most of
these pages use a British or US flag icon as the link to English content, while
others will use the word "English".
Otherwise, look for "tourismus" which should link you to English-language
content. Links updated 12 January 2006.
State and Regional Links:
and Town Links:
State Links (please access the respective state pages for city and town