Berlin & Brandenburg
Art & Culture
Museums & Palaces
From art deco to agriculture, sex to sugar, diamonds to dinosaurs, Berlin's blockbuster museums cover the lot, most famously on Museum Island. Schloss Sanssouci is Potsdam's palace jewel, but the Neues Palais, Marmorpalais and Schloss Cecilienhof are just as fanciful.
Berlin is the spiritual home of the 'lost weekend'. Kick off a night on the razzle in a bar or pub, catch tomorrow’s headline acts in an indie-music venue, then dance till dawn or beyond in clubs helmed by DJ royalty.
In Berlin and Brandenburg the past is always present. Its moving sights take you back to the era of Prussian glory, the dark ages of the Third Reich, the tense period of the Cold War and the euphoria of reunification.
Keep an eye out for witches, goblins and 'sleeping beauties' as you follow in the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm along the Fairy-Tale Road.
Reformation & Bauhaus
A keystone of German culture, this region gave birth to Martin Luther and the Reformation, inspired dramatists Goethe and Schiller, launched the Bauhaus design movement and pioneered optical precision technology.
Mountains & Mines
Forest trails beckon in the Harz Mountains, including the trek up myth-laden Mt Brocken. Stop also in half-timbered Quedlinburg, explore medieval mining history in Goslar, and hurtle along on a century-old narrow-gauge steam train.
Cologne & the Northern Rhineland
Romans & Charlemagne
Hunt for history and connect with the Romans in Xanten and Cologne, pay your respects to Charlemagne in Aachen, and applaud Münster and Osnabrück where the epic Thirty Years' War ended.
Mighty Cathedrals & Rivers
Break for a Kölsch between marvelling at Cologne's magnificent cathedral, sampling the city's stunning portfolio of museums or taking a cruise on the Rhine.
It takes ingenuity to recycle dormant industrial sites into something exciting. In the Ruhrgebiet you can see art in a gas tank, sip martinis in a boiler house or listen to Mozart in a compressor hall.
Frankfurt & the Southern Rhineland
History & Heritage
Pinot & Riesling Tasting
Nope, Germany is not all about beer. Put some zing in your step sampling crisp whites and velvety reds in the top wine-growing areas that hug the Moselle River and Rhine.
Few buildings speak more to the imagination than craggy medieval stone castles. From Heidelberg and the Romantic Rhine to the Palatinate, this region delivers them in abundance.
The business of Frankfurt may be business, but this 'Mainhattan' is no buttoned-up metropolis, as you'll quickly discover in its apple-wine taverns, fine museums and fashionable shopping areas.
There's something almost otherworldly about Germany's islands, from the glamorous Sylt to the family-friendly Usedom. Hit the surf, cycle among the dunes or relax on a white sandy beach.
Savour the red-brick splendour of charismatic Lübeck, Wismar, Stralsund and Greifswald; all are Baltic towns with pedigrees going right back to the Hanseatic League.
Hamburg Past to Present
In the 'gateway to the world', you can discover the newly minted (Elbphilharmonie), the naughty (the Reeperbahn red-light district), the historic (St Nikolai), the futuristic (HafenCity), the posh (Alster Lakes) and the raucous (Fischmarkt).
Lower Saxony & Bremen
Sure, you can walk around an island, but have you ever walked to an island? You can do so across the tidal flats in the Wadden Sea National Park in East Frisia.
A major trading town since the Middle Ages, Bremen now wows with a charming historical centre, a hip nightlife quarter, a vast container port and a poignant emigration museum.
A touch of Versailles is what you'll find at Hanover's Herrenhäuser Gärten, a manicured jumble of gardens accented with whimsical art by Niki de Saint Phalle.
Munich & Bavaria
Art & Culture
Baroque & Modern Masters
Feast your eyes on a who's who of creative hotshots traversing 800 years – from Dürer to Dalí – in the triumphal trio of Pinakothek museums. Bavaria houses baroque treasures, including Wieskirche in Steingaden and the Würzburg Residenz.
Beer Festivals & Beer Gardens
The Hofbräuhaus may be the world's most famous stein-swinging boozer, but you'll find cheer and beer throughout Munich and Bavaria. On balmy nights, clink mugs beneath the chestnut trees in a convivial beer garden.
Pitch to Peak
Fussball (football) is king at Munich's Allianz Arena, home of Bundesliga champs FC Bayern München. Beyond the city, hike mountain trails, swim in crystal-clear lakes and schuss down powdery slopes in the Bavarian Alps.
Art & Culture
Classical & Baroque Treasures
Dresden's wealth of paintings, porcelain, armour, sculptures and other priceless collections is truly stunning. If time is tight, focus on the whimsical objects in the unmissable Green Vault.
Style, grandeur and artistry combine in Saxony's grand palaces, such as the Elbe-fronting Schloss Pillnitz, the moated Moritzburg and the hulking Albrechtsburg.
Great Painters & Composers
Saxony's landscapes have long tugged at the hearts of artists such as Canaletto and Caspar David Friedrich, while Bach, Schumann and Wagner have shaped its musical heritage. Walk in their footsteps in Leipzig, Zwickau and Dresden.
Stuttgart & the Black Forest
Gateau & Gourmet
Black Forest gateau, brook trout, smoked ham, Maultaschen, Spätzle – foodies, eat your hearts out in this culinary paradise with Germany's greatest density of Michelin-starred chefs.
No matter whether it's a short woodland ramble to a waterfall or a multiday trek from village to village, in the Black Forest you'll discover natural beauty combined with timeless traditions.
Stuttgart tunes into the zeitgeist, with on-trend craft beer bars, new-wave cafes and the architecturally futuristic Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums. Culture, you say? Find Roman roots in lakeside Konstanz, Einstein in cathedral-topped Ulm and medieval splendour in forest-backed Freiburg.