Neuschwanstein castle, germany

Best places to see in Germany

Visitors in search of classical German landscapes flock to the Black Forest, the Rhine Valley, and the Bavarian Alps. The attractive German countryside is easily accessed thanks to the best road network in Europe. Of the cities, the most popular destinations are the capital Berlin, a vibrant metropolis in a state of transition since reunification in 1990, and Munich, the historic former capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria. East Germany, now open for tourism, has many attractions to draw visitors - particularly the city of Dresden, rebuilt after World War II.

SIGHTS AT A GLANCE

Bamberg
Bayreuth
Berlin
Black Forest
Bonn
Bremen
Cologne
Dresden
Frankfurt am Main
Freiburg im Breisgau
Hamburg
Hanover
Heidelberg
Koblenz
Lake Constance
Leipzig
Lübeck
Mainz
Mosel Valley
Munich
Münster
Neuschwanstein
Nuremberg
Passau
RhineValley
Rothenburg
der Tauber
Stuttgart
Trier
Weimar
Würzburg

CULTURE AND THE ARTS

Germany is rich in legends and sagas, such as the tale of Sieg fried told in the epic poem the Nibelungenlied, written down around 1200. It has been reworked many times, notably in Richard Wagner's great Ring opera cycle.

Of all the arts it is to classical music that Germany has made the greatest contribution, Johann Sebastian Bach from the Baroque period and Ludwig van Beethoven from the Classical period being perhaps the two most influential figures. In the 19th century poems by Goethe, Schiller, and others were set to music by composers Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Hugo Wolf.

Germany has also produced many of the world's most influential philosophers: from Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), father of modern philosophy, to Karl Marx (1818-83), founder of the 20th century's most potent political ideology.

MODERN LIFE

The German economy tends to be dominated by long-established giants such as Siemens in the electrical and electronic sectors, Volkswagen and BMW in cars, and BASF in chemicals.

Despite the continuing success of German industry and banking, and the people's reputation for hard work, the Germans actually enjoy longer annual holidays and spend more money on foreign travel than any other European nation. When at home they are enthusiastic participants in many sports, and have enjoyed great success in recent years at football, motor racing, and tennis. They also enjoy gregarious public merrymaking, for example at Fasching (carnival) and the Oktoberfest, Munich's annual beer festival.