Germany remains one of the world's top sightseeing destinations by virtue of its unique and important historical attractions, charming medieval buildings, varied and beautiful landscape, and legendary cultural events. The country has played a leading role in world history and many of its attractions, varying from the celebrated to the infamous, are connected to this colourful legacy.
The major cities, such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, are attractions in themselves, each jam-packed with historical treasures and sites of interest. Dachau and Checkpoint Charlie are remnants of more troubled periods, while the magnificent Rhineland and Garmisch-Partenkirchen region offer enough natural splendour to please even the most demanding outdoor enthusiasts. Munich is home to one of the world's biggest parties, the legendary Oktoberfest, while the Romantic Road between Berlin and Frankfurt is a self-drive tourist classic that never fails to delight with its perfectly preserved old towns and villages.
Germany is certainly a year-round destination, although be warned that the European winters (December to February) can get very cold. The best way to travel around the country is by train as the network is comprehensive, very reliable and safe, and decent value for money. Another good option is to rent a car and drive between attractions on the extensive network of autobahn freeways.
The impressive and symbolic Brandenburg Gate that lay forlorn for so long in the no man's land behind the Berlin Wall, is now once again renovated and accessible, along with the newly reconstructed Pariser Platz that links the gate to the beautiful Unter den... see full details
The infamous border crossing point in the wall dividing West and East Berlin has now become a shrine to the wall's memory with the addition of a museum, Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. For nearly three decades, between 1961 and 1990, Checkpoint Charlie in... see full details
The Marienplatz is the heart of Munich and the site of its most important historic buildings. The square is dominated by the Neo-Gothic Town Hall featuring its famous Glockenspiel, both built in the 19th century, although they look authentically Gothic. The Glockenspiel delights visitors... see full details
The fairy-tale castle built by King Ludwig II (known as 'Mad King Ludwig' until his death in 1886) has become the trademark of the German state of Bavaria, with its Gothic wedding-cake tiers and towers. Day tours to the castle are available from... see full details
Dachau Memorial Site
About 10 miles (16km) to the northwest of Munich on the Stuttgart Autobahn is the town of Dachau. Once a quiet artists' community, it became the site of the first notorious Nazi 'death camp', where thousands of perceived enemies of the Third Reich... see full details
Tourists are drawn to the German city of Trier for a taste of ancient Rome. Trier is 120 miles (193km) southwest of Frankfurt and was founded as a colonial capital under Roman Emperor Augustus in 16 BC, making it Germany's oldest city. The... see full details
The historic university town of Heidelberg, about 55 miles (89km) south of Frankfurt, is billed as a city of music and romance. It is one of the few German cities that escaped relatively unscathed from air raids during World War II, and still... see full details
This quaint town on the steep Elbe hillside was once a fishing village favoured by retired ship captains. Today it has become popular with locals as a weekend excursion from Hamburg. Foreign visitors also throng the narrow alleys between picturesque houses packed together on... see full details
Lübeck lies 41 miles (66km) northeast of Hamburg, close to the Baltic coast. Not only is this historic town the home of a couple of noted Nobel Prize winners, but as a living monument to the wealthy Hanseatic merchants of the 13th century... see full details
Schloss Charlottenburg is the largest and oldest palace in Berlin. The 18th-century Baroque structure was originally constructed as the summer home for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Elector Frederick III who became the first Prussian king. The splendid interiors are festooned with art masterpieces,... see full details
Palace Square (Schlossplatz)
The symbolic heart of Stuttgart, the Schlossplatz or Palace Square, is a popular meeting point for locals and travellers alike, with the beautifully Baroque New Palace providing a majestic backdrop. The former residence of kings, the New Palace was built between 1746 and 1806... see full details
Opened shortly before the start of the Football World Cup in Germany, the impressive Mercedes-Benz Museum is housed in a slick, contemporary building, an icon of modern architecture. With an exhibition space of almost 182,986 square feet (17,000m/sq), filling seven levels, the museum takes... see full details
The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart is a retrospective of more than 75 years of Porsche engineering and memorabilia. Porsche is both the smallest independent German automaker and the world's most profitable automaker. This museum is extremely popular with petrol heads but will also interest... see full details
The capital of the Rhineland, Mainz is a bustling city with a curious but exciting mixture of medieval architecture and gleaming office blocks. The city is over 2,000 years old and mixes the old and the new with alacrity. The Dom und Diözesanmuseum dominates... see full details
The Reichstag is one of Berlin's most famous buildings. The seat of Germany's parliament since 1894, the building has had a volatile history, being damaged in World War II, wrapped in a sheet by conceptual artist Christo in 1995, and massively reconstructed in the... see full details
The Fairy-Tale Road
The Fairy-Tale Road follows a meandering 370-mile (595km) route that traces the path of famous storytellers the Brothers Grimm. Many people don't realise that the Brothers Grimm didn't simply invent their famous stories, but recorded and collected local legends and folk tales from their... see full details
A popular starting point for the Romantic Road, Würzburg is nestled in a picturesque location in the heart of the Franconian wine region, with rolling hills, pretty vineyards, and many beautiful buildings. The town is famous for its '100 churches', and the Residential Palace... see full details
Known as the best-preserved medieval town in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (or just Rothenburg) is an absolute must-see for anyone travelling on the Romantic Road. The 13th-century fortified walls are undamaged, and encircle a quaint city centre with a number of interesting buildings... see full details