The Albrechtsburg at Meissen
Head to Germany for a unique holiday experience, where millenia of fascinating cultural history have left their mark and are embodied within the 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of ‘extraordinary universal interest’ to be found within the borders of this beautiful and diverse country.
Starting in the northern region and naming but a few, the Hanseatic city of Lübeck, for example, surrounded by water on all sides, is one of Germany’s best known and immaculately preserved cities of the Middle Ages, listed for its superb brick Gothic architecture and with seven church steeples proudly dominating its amazing historic centre. Along the North Sea coast, you can witness at the Wadden Sea conservation area, one of Europe’s most pristine coastlines, characterised by expansive mudflats and magical white sand dunes and the wonders of the changing tides across the sandbanks, which form the habitat for over 10,000 animal and plant species. Further south, in central and western Germany, the legacy of its mighty industrial history is showcased in a series of wonderful museums such as those now housed within the disused mines of Rammelsberg dating back to the 10th century, the Zollverein Coal Mine in Essen regarded as ´the most beautiful mine in the world’, and the Völklingen Ironworks whose colossal smelting works will simply blow your mind.
A trip to Berlin will take you to the Museum Island on the River Spree, where five temple-like classical buildings hold treasures from all of the ages of civilisation. Just outside the centre are the palaces and parks at Sanssouci in the royal city of Potsdam, while modernists may be drawn to the iconic social housing estates for which Berlin became famous as Germany emerged from World War I, and set the standards for a new society.
Autumnal Black Forest landscape
As if you needed any other excuse for a visit, there are many annual cultural events which attract visitors from abroad to destinations all over Germany. Munich in southern Germany is the venue for the famous Oktoberfest, which lasts from mid-September to early October and is the perfect opportunity to enjoy German brew in its traditional surroundings, to the rhythm of folk music and in the company of dirndl-clad beauties. Munich’s Hofbräuhaus has got to be the most famous tavern in the world and a mecca for international beer-drinkers. On the first Saturday in May, the towns of Linz, Remagen, Bad Honnef and Bonn are illuminated by the spectacle of ‘Rhine in Flames’, which is Germany’s best-known firework display and will allow you the opportunity to explore one of the country’s most romantic and best-loved wine regions along this legendary river.
Since 1955, the city of Kassel has played host to a 100-day contemporary art exhibition which takes place every five years, while Germany’s biggest rock festival in Nürnberg is held annually and attracts international superstars to perform in front of huge crowds. Sporting attractions too are many and varied, where big events take place in motorsports at the Hockenheimring Formula 1 circuit, in cycling at the spectacular AWD Dome in Bremen, and in ski-jumping at New Year at the world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, one of Germany’s prime Alpine resorts. Christmas and New Year is also the season when some of Germany’s most enchanting city squares become alive with a wonderland of delighful stalls, selling high quality gifts and decorations. In Cologne, the market has set sail and takes place aboard the MS Wappen von Köln, a riverboat hosting not only the market but also dinner shows and culinary tours.
Ice skating rinks
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