Frankfurt & Southern Rhineland
Frankfurt is best known as a banking powerhouse, trade-fair venue and air hub, but ask the residents of Germany’s most cosmopolitan city what they like about living there and they’ll mention the excellent quality of life, flowery parkland, laid-back cafes and pulsating nightlife.
Hamburg & the North
Head to Germany's north because you love the water. From the posh joy of Sylt in the west to the fabled Baltic heritage of historic towns like Lübeck, Wismar, Stralsund and Greifswald. Here you can sense the legacy of the Hanseatic League in beautiful old quarters created with iconic black and red bricks. Even inland there is water.
Central Germany consists of parts of former East Germany, the Harz Mountains and some of northern Germany. The region is very much a cultural heartland, taking in towns like Weimar (famous for Germany’s figures from the Enlightenment), Erfurt, Lutherstadt Eisleben and Lutherstadt Wittenberg.
Stuttgart & the Black Forest
If one word could sum up Germany’s southwesternmost region, it would be inventive. Baden-Würtemberg gave the world relativity (Einstein), DNA (Miescher) and the astronomical telescope (Kepler). It was here that Bosch invented the spark plug; Gottlieb Daimler, the gas engine; and Count Ferdinand, the zeppelin.
Cologne & Northern Rhineland
Cologne's iconic Dom has twin towers that might as well be twin exclamation points after the word 'welcome'. Flowing behind the cathedral, the Rhine River provides a vital link for some of the region's highlights: Düsseldorf, with its great nightlife and fabulous shopping, and Bonn, which has retained its air of Cold War mystery.
Lower Saxony & Bremen
In terms of size, the two German states of Lower Saxony and Bremen could not be more of a contrast. Lower Saxony is the largest German state after Bavaria and, outside its capital Hanover (Hannover), a patchwork of interesting regional centres each of a few hundred thousand inhabitants or less.
Frankfurt am Main
Unashamedly high-rise, Frankfurt-on-the-Main (pronounced ‘mine’) is unlike any other German city. Bristling with jagged skyscrapers, ‘Mainhattan’ – the focal point of a conurbation with some 5 million inhabitants – is a true capital of finance and business, home base for one of the world’s largest stock exchanges as well as the European Central Bank.
The Black Forest
Home of the cuckoo clock, the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) gets its name from its dark, slightly sinister canopy of evergreens: this is where Hansel and Gretel encountered the wicked witch. The vast expanse of hills, valleys, rivers and forests stretch from the swish spa town of Baden-Baden to the Swiss border, and from the Rhine almost to Lake Constance.