Prepare for a roller coaster of feasts, treats and temptations as you take in Germany's soul-stirring scenery, spirit-lifting culture, big-city beauties, romantic palaces and half-timbered towns.
Eating well is as important to a memorable journey as captivating scenery and great architecture. And you'll quickly discover that German food is so much more than sausages and pretzels, schnitzel and roast pork accompanied by big mugs of foamy beer. Beyond the clichés awaits a a cornucopia of regional and seasonal palate teasers. Share the German peoples' obsession with white asparagus in springtime, chanterelle mushrooms in summer and game in autumn. Indulge in Black Forest cake, doner kebab, Spaetzle or Michelin-starred haute cuisine. Sample not just famous beer but also world-class wines, most notably the noble Riesling, while exploring ancient cellars. Experiencing the country through its food and drink will add a rich layer to your memories (and possibly your belly!).
Pleasures of Civilisation
You'll encounter history in towns where streets were laid out long before Columbus set sail and in castles that loom above prim, half-timbered villages where flower boxes billow with crimson geraniums. The great cities – Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Leipzig among them – come in more flavours than a jar of jelly beans but will all wow you with a cultural kaleidoscope that spans the arc from art museums and high-brow opera to naughty cabaret and underground clubs. And wherever you go, Romanesque, Gothic and baroque classics rub rafters with architectural creations from modern masters like Daniel Libeskind, David Chipperfield and Frank Gehry.
Few countries have had as much impact on the world as Germany, which has given us the printing press, the automobile, aspirin and MP3 technology. This is the birthplace of Martin Luther, Albert Einstein and Karl Marx, of Goethe, Beethoven, the Brothers Grimm and other heavyweights who, each in their own way, have left their mark on human history.
As you travel the country, you'll have plenty of brushes with genius, but Germany's storybook landscapes will likely leave an even bigger imprint on your memories. There's something undeniably artistic in the way the scenery unfolds – the corrugated, dune-fringed coasts of the north, the moody forests, romantic river valleys and vast vineyards of central Germany's backbone, and the off-the-charts splendour of the Alps, carved into rugged glory by glaciers and the elements. All are integral parts of a magical natural matrix that's bound to give your camera batteries a workout. As much fun as it may be to rev up the engines on the autobahn, getting off the highway lets you soak up the epic scenery that makes each delicious, slow, winding mile so precious.
Best places to stay in Germany
Best treks with killer views
Trekking may be hard work but it’s all worth it to encounter exceptional landscapes, extraordinary mountain peaks and serene snapshots of local colour. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures.
Germany's best Christmas markets
WWII history in Germany
Germany destination guides
The largest state in Germany, Bavaria (Bayern) is well endowed with natural riches: snowy Alpine peaks, rushing streams and velvety forests that stir the romantic soul.
Ten of the world's best city hikes
Stretch your legs over hours or days, without leaving some of the world’s biggest cities. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro Aerial shot of Rio de Janeiro surrounded by the Tijuca Forest. Image by Paddy Eckersley / Digital Vision / Getty Images.
Germany's best castles and palaces
Berlin City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Berlin hop-on hop-off tour allows you to hop-on and off as many times as you like aboard open top double decker buses. There are 20 stops around Berlin, and buses departs every 10 minutes in Summer or 15 minutes in Winter. The continuous route without hopping-off is approx. 2.5 hours and a guided commentary in 13 languages is available.
Berchtesgaden and Eagle's Nest Day Tour from Munich
Embark on a guided tour of Berchtesgaden, Hitler's mountain retreat and the southern headquarters of the Nazi party on a full day coach trip from Munich. Eagle's Nest is a mountain top lodge built by the Nazis, and is a fascinating sight of historical significance.
Revamped: 10 neighbourhoods that have had incredible makeovers
Some neighbourhoods are effortlessly charming while others bring new meaning to the phrase 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. From gritty to glossy, these 10 neighbourhoods around the world have been completely revamped into coveted places to live, work and play. Grünerløkka cafe.