Taking a multi-night river cruise or simply a one-day sightseeing boat tour is one of the best ways to explore Germany's historic river castles, fortresses and wine estates — with the most famous stretch being the Rhine Gorge on the Middle Rhine Bingen to Koblenz , a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The natural beauty of the Black Forest, Lake Constance, the Thuringian Forest, the Harz Mountains and Bavaria's Lake Konigssee inside Berchtesgaden National Park will take your breath away, and for active vacationers looking for hiking trails and the chance to simply "get away from it all," Germany is home to wonderful national parks, nature parks and biosphere reserves. For better or for worse, Germany has often played a starring role in the history of Europe.
Going back to days of antiquity, Germanic tribes are often unfairly portrayed as the "barbarians" who finished off the Roman Empire and cast Europe into the Dark Ages.
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While this is certainly debatable, what is certain is that these northern "barbarians" majorly shaped medieval Europe. For the most part, they upheld the hierarchical and cultural elements introduced by the Romans. They strengthened the presence of Christianity, and their political and social structures led to the prevalence of the fragmented, feuding kingdoms that now define medieval Europe. This is why we see so many medieval fortresses and defensive castles throughout Europe; they never stopped fighting!
His reign saw the rebirth of culture and scholarship in Western Europe and the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire. The Middle Ages also saw the formation of strong economic alliances, the best known being the Hanseatic League. Traveling south to Bavaria, the Middle Ages saw the rise of powerful dynastic families like the Wittelsbach.
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Their spectacular palaces and patronage of the arts ultimately created many of Munich's best sightseeing attractions like the Alte Pinakothek, the Schloss Nymphenburg and the Bavarian National Museum. And further down the road, a 19th-century Wittelsbach, Ludwig II also commonly referred to as "Mad King Ludwig" or "the fairy-tale king" was responsible for the commissioning of Bavaria's famous castles including the splendidly-rococo Linderhof Castle, Herrenchiemsee Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle, whose design later inspired Walt Disney who replicated it when creating his theme parks' iconic castles.
The 15th and 16th centuries carried the territories of Germany into the Renaissance, and a rebirth of classical subjects made manifest with German painters, musicians, humanists, philosophers, scientists and inventors. Perhaps the greatest figure of Germany's Renaissance is Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the printing press in The German winemaking city of Mainz houses the fantastic Gutenberg Museum; it is well worth a visit.
Many travelers to Germany interested in Martin Luther-related historical attractions also visit the Dom St. Peter in Worms. The 18th century saw the rise and dominance of the Prussian Empire under the command of Frederick the Great, who was part of the powerful Hohenzollern family dynasty.
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Although born in Berlin, the capital of Prussia, Frederick the Great preferred to be buried inside of his summer palace: Sanssouci in Potsdam; this beautiful palace and its grounds merit a visit and make for an easy day trip from Berlin. After Napoleon conquered much of modern-day Europe, formally ended the Holy Roman Empire and eventually received the punishment of permanent exile — in Germany was unified largely thanks to the efforts of Prussia's Otto von Bismarck.
Due to extensively-formed political alliances, the assignation of Archduke Franz Ferdinand heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary in signaled the start of the most gruesome warfare the world had ever experienced. For Germany, the loss represented a loss of territory, money in war reparations , power and prestige.
During the period of Nazi power, it is estimated that there were at least 1, concentrations camps and approximately 5,, died in the camps including Jews, political prisoners, the disabled, and gypsies. Today it is possible to remember the victims by visiting memorial sites like the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site located a half hour northwest of Munich. Following Germany's surrender at the end of the Second World War, the country was reduced in size and then further divided into four occupied areas and the Cold War commenced.
Download brochure View tour. In-depth Cultural. The Majestic Rhine including Strasbourg 8 day river cruise tour through Frankfurt-am-Main, Mainz, Rudesheim and 11 other destinations in 3 different countries Flexible payments. The Majestic Rhine including Strasbourg from Frankfurt-am-Main to Basel 8 day river cruise tour through Frankfurt-am-Main, Mainz, Rudesheim and 10 other destinations in 3 different countries Flexible payments.
Amid the grey architecture of the Communist era, Germans low on cash but big on ideas and innovation are creating a new alternative scene filled with cafes and nightlife, free from the tourist-ready hipster sheen that has glossed over and inflated the prices of Berlin. Skip to content Goway. Search for:.
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Aerial view of Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne Dresden In the mind of many visitors planning a Germany vacation , Dresden is a name synonymous with tragedy. Aerial view of the new town hall and the Johannapark, Leipzig.
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