Best time to visit
November to April for fewer tourists and surprisingly pleasant weather
- Hiking from Gasthaus (hotel) to Gasthaus in the Black Forest
- Experiences Dachaue, Buchenwald, or another Holocaust memorial
- Immersing yourself in the urban cultures of Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Dresden
- Taking a trip down the evocatively scenic Rhine Valley
- Discovering the picturesque walled cities and towns along the Romantic Road
- Enjoying a traditional meal in a Ratskeller (basement restaurant)
- Viewing lofty cathedrals such as the Ulm Münster and the Dom in Köln
- Summertime swimming at lakes and Schwimbads (swimming pools)
- October beerfest in Munich
- River cruising down the Rhine
- Visiting the alstad in Dusselford and eating eisbein
- Rudersheim – old medieval town on the Rhine
Wurst (sausage) with mustard, sauerkraut and potato salad
Beer, with 80% of Europe’s breweries in Germany, the choice is ample; or sample white wines such as Gewurtztraminer and Rieslings.
Most people’s idea of the ultimate traditional German experience involves ordering a stein of beer from a busty Bavarian barmaid while men in lederhosen play comically cliched oompah music in the garden of a centuries-old beer hall. If this is your bag, Germany won’t fail to disappoint. However, Germany is not all beer-gardens and bratwurst! Modern Germany is a place of state-of-the art trains and glistening city skylines as well as world-class museums and restaurants offering a slew of cultural wonders and culinary delights. You can spend one day exploring half-timbered medieval towns and spectacular baroque palaces in Bavaria, and the next immersing yourself in uber-cool Berlin’s historic sites such as the Brandenburg Gate and the remains of the Berlin wall. Whether you are looking to explore fast-paced cosmopolitan cities, cultural and historical sites or pristine Alpine pistes, Germany always makes for inspiring, fascinating and invigorating travel.
Munich conjures up images of busty Bavarian beer maids in “dirndis” serving up steins of beer and sausage to beer houses full of large drunken men in embroidered “lederhosen”. While Munich does indeed offer all of these cliches in abundance, it is also a city of bizarre contrasts and contradictions which are enthusiastically embraced by its residents who seem quite comfortable with the surprising combination of cosmopolitan consumerism and old-world charm. Munich is a modern, technological hub complete with state-of-the-art skyscrapers and 21st Century football stadiums. However, it is simultaneously a city that revels in its traditional customs, its old-fashioned gingerbread architecture and its boisterous beer house culture. With its wide pavements strewn with designer boutiques alongside quaint antique stores and contemporary eateries neighbouring traditional taverns, this Bavarian metropolis manages to combine a forward-looking, cosmopolitan character with a folksy, small-town atmosphere.
No tour of Germany would be complete without a visit to its vibrant capital which, despite its turbulent history, finds itself at the cutting-edge of European art, architecture, culture, entertainment and nightlife. There is an array of fascinating sites to interest history buffs including the previous site of the Berlin wall, Museum Island which contains the magnificent Berlin Cathedral, the formidable Brandenburg Gate and the eerily haunting Holocaust Museum. However, even non-historians will find plenty to do in the hip, funky neighborhoods emerging in the former Eastern part of the city where the streets are strewn with trendy eateries, quirky boutiques, innovative art galleries and thriving nightclubs. Energetic travellers can enjoy a cycle along the Spree riverfront or a stroll through one the city’s wonderful parks. No matter your preference, there is always plenty to see and do in this fascinating, dynamic, modern city.
Frankfurt is a city of bizarre contrasts and contradictions. As the economic powerhouse of Germany, its famously futuristic skyline glistens with massive, ultramodern skyscrapers and its street are abuzz with large herds of suits scurrying around the avant garde superstructures of its central business district. But Frankfurt is by no means all work and no play. At its heart lies an unexpectedly traditional, medieval Alstadt (old city) complete with half-timbered buildings housing apple-wine taverns which serve hearty local dishes, and village-like neighbourhoods brimming with quirky boutiques, trendy galleries and cutting-edge street art. Add to this melting pot a slew of museums, theatres and opera houses, as well as an unbeatable 24 hour party scene, and you’ll find that this sophisticated, cosmopolitan city has much more to offer than initially meets the eye.
Situated on the banks of the picturesque river Rhine, Germany’s oldest metropolis, Cologne, offers an interesting combination of well-preserved heritage alongside extreme modernisation. This blend of old and new only adds to the appeal of this remarkable city where historical buildings stand in striking contrast to cutting-edge modern architecture and a host of world-class museums featuring masterpieces by the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Pablo Picasso. The city is perhaps best known for its magnificent, grand cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has long held the title of Germany’s most-visited monument. Visitors can look forward to visiting an unlimited array of atmospheric beer gardens, sophisticated restaurants, trendy bars, dance clubs and discover its thriving contemporary art scene. Cologne always makes for inspiring, intriguing and invigorating travel.
Resting on the southern point of the Jutland Peninsula, the historic port city of Hamburg certainly lives up to its reputation as Germany’s ‘gateway to the world’. It is the country’s biggest port and the second-busiest in Europe, despite being located astride the River Elbe, some 100 km from the North Sea. Hamburg’s maritime spirit infuses the entire city; from architecture to menus to the cry of gulls, you always know you’re near the water. Spend your days sampling some delicious local food served in a diverse range of fine restaurants, party all night at one of the trendy upmarket nightclubs, or enjoy a relaxing picnic on the banks one of the lovely inner city lakes. With its abundance of renowned museums and art galleries, its astonishing variety of luxurious theatres, excellent music venues and a world-class ballet company, Hamburg has more than enough cultural interest to keep even the most avid culture enthusiast blissfully engaged.
Dresden, the capital of Saxony, is often referred to as the ‘Florence of the Elbe’ alluding to both its picturesque riverine location on the banks of the River Elbe and its role as a centre for arts and beautiful architecture. Almost entirely destroyed following the fall of the Reich in 1945, Dresden has undergone a remarkable renaissance – its main monuments and former GDR buildings have been tastefully restored and its historic centre pedestrianised. The most famous symbol of reconstruction is the Dresden Frauenkirche Church with its magnificent baroque dome dominating the city centre. The city features panoramic terraces, ceremonial staircases, huge squares adorned with statues of solemn-faced saints and monarchs and a spectacular cityscape characterised by countless spires, towers and domes.
Resting on the banks of the Pegnitz river, the Bavarian city of Nuremberg is the epitome of a typical German city complete with half-timbered houses, imposing forts, stone towers and Gothic churches all contained within a medieval city wall and presided over by a magnificent imperial castle. Must see-visitor attractions include: the extensive Germanisches Nationalmuseum, housing a large collection of items relating to German culture from prehistoric times through to the present day; the Hauptmarkt (central square) where you will find the Schöner Brunnen, an exquisite gilded fountain with tiers of sculptured figures; and of course the remarkable imperial castle, the Kaiserburg. With all of its medieval charm and intriguing historical significance, Nuremberg has developed into one of Bavaria’s most popular destinations particularly over the Christmas season when the city explodes with festivity as it hosts one of the world’s most spectacular Christmas markets.
Resting on the banks on the Neckar River in southwestern Germany, Heidelberg offers romance and historical intrigue in equally large measure. As the home of countless lively beer gardens, Germany’s oldest university, and, of course, the world’s most famous castle ruins, this remarkable city offers a virtually unrivalled variety of culture and entertainment. The highlight is undoubtedly the magnificent Heidelberg Castle, perched on the slopes of Mount Königstuhl offering panoramic views of the exquisite baroque Old Town and the surrounding forested hills. Venture beyond the tourist hotspots and you will discover an array of beautiful old monuments and churches interspersed with exclusive boutiques, cozy student pubs, breweries and wine bars at every turn. This lively metropolis with its picturesque scenery and its pleasant climate appeals to a variety of tastes and satisfies almost any interest.
The birthplace of two inimitable motor vehicles, one of Germany’s greenest cities, the home of countless cosy wine taverns – Stuttgart is all these things and more. Motor enthusiasts will have a field day at Stuttgart’s Porsche and Mercedes Benz museums, dedicated to the history of these legendary automobiles and home to superb vintage car collections. The city’s historic train station, with an iconic Mercedes Benz sign topping its 12-storey tower, offers fantastic views of the city from its upper deck. Directly in front of it is Stuttgart’s main road, the Koning Strasse, lined with high-end department stores and designer boutiques that offer the city’s finest shopping.
A mesmerising mix of slick, glittering, cosmopolitan and bohemian, Düsseldorf is Germany’s creative capital – particularly in the realms of art, architecture and couture. Divided into ancient and modern by the Rhine River, the city’s old district has a wealth of historical buildings and a nightly buzz in its myriad bars, cafes and restaurants. Fashionistas will be in their element in the contemporary quarter – Düsseldorf offers some of Germany’s finest department stores and most cutting-edge boutiques.Take a break from shopping and join the local skaters, bikers and walkers for a meander on the promenade flanking the Rhine.
The Black Forest is a large forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany. The area is famous for its cuckoo clocks, its distinctive traditional native German garb, its quaint half-timbered houses and as the setting of countless Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. Visitors flock here year round to take advantage of the Black Forest’s excellent skiing and spa facilities and to explore the area’s many quaint small towns and villages including Baden-Baden, a grand old nineteenth-century spa town, the attractive and lively university town of Freiburg, and the enchanting river-valley city of St Blasien. With its lush extensive forests, impressive towering mountain peaks, mysterious cirque lakes and charming valleys, this unspoiled wilderness is nature lovers paradise.
Known for the medieval architecture and cobblestone lanes of its charming Old Town (Aldstadt), the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the epitome of a classic German fairy tale town and is one of the most popular tourist destinations along Bavaria’s Romantic Road. This remarkably well-preserved, walled town is positioned halfway between Frankfurt and Munich and features countless half-timbered houses as well as a wealth of fountains and flowers against a backdrop of towers and turrets. Don’t miss the panoramic views afforded by the Town Hall tower and the St. Jakob’s Church where you will find an exquisite late Gothic altarpiece by woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider.
Resting at the northern foot of the breathtakingly beautiful Alps, Lake Constance is Central Europe’s third largest freshwater lake. Stretching over 60 kilometres in length and spans three countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This beautiful lake is fringed by numerous little resort towns, dotted with little islets and surrounded by majestic mountains. Adventure seekers can enjoy the 260-kilometre Bodensee-Radweg cycle path encircling the lake and those looking for a more relaxed activity can enjoy a soak in the thermal baths and visit one of the many famous German Christmas markets. In summer, popular activities include swimming, windsurfing and sailing and in winter, skiing, snowboarding, birdwatching, hiking, and visiting a variety of museums and centuries-old castles.
Originating from the Latin word ‘(ad) confluentes’, meaning ‘(at the) merging of rivers’, Koblenz is certainly an apt name for this ancient city resting at the meeting point of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers and the convergence of three low mountain ranges – the Hunsrück, the Eifel and the Westerwald. While many visitors use Koblenz as merely a gateway to the terraced vineyards and ruined castles of the Rhine Gorge, the city itself offers a rich abundance of cultural monuments and historic buildings. Its cosy lanes and narrow alleyways as well as the relaxed atmosphere of its squares and river promenades make Koblenz an attractive town that has continued to delight visitors for centuries. Don’t miss the Kurfürstliches Schloss (Elector’s Palace), the romantic Schloss Stolzenfels (Stolzenfels Castle). the neo-classical Theater and the unique Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which is accessible by cable car and hosts some wonderful museums and cultural events.
Tucked away at the foot of the Alps at the southernmost point of the Romantic Road, lies the picturesque town of Füssen. While primarily known for its proximity to the enchanting castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenswangau, the town itself has a wealth of cultural interest. Meandering aimlessly through this romantic 700-year-old town is a true delight with its medieval alleyways and small squares packed with quaint boutiques, cute cafes and homely restaurants. Historical and artistic treasures hide around every corner including charming turreted town houses, baroque churches, the Benedictine abbey of St. Mang, as well as a branch of the Bavarian State Art Gallery. Füssen is not only a great base to discover Germany’s most loved fantasy castles, it is also an ideal place to sneak away from the crowds to explore the spectacular surrounding landscape of gentle hiking trails and Alpine vistas offering panoramic views that will undoubtedly be the highlight of any tour of Southern Germany.
No tour of the Berlin area would be complete without a visit to the royal residential town of Potsdam, located approximately 30kms southwest of the capital. The town is idyllically situated among tranquil woods and is surrounded by gorgeous, glistening lakes. While the town experienced major destruction during World War II, much of the city has been restored to its former glory and has miraculously managed to regain its grand imperial atmosphere. Potsdam’s Prussian, Dutch and 18th-century Baroque influences have resulted in some awe-inspiring architectural wonders. The star attraction is undoubtedly Sanssouci Park with its small but exceptionally extravagant palace consisting of 12 exquisitely decorated rooms. Just North of the Park lies The New Garden where you will find the stunning Marmorpalais and the Palace Cecilienhof. With its impressive palaces set in immaculate gardens and its scenic natural surroundings dotted with lovely little lakes, Potsdam is an ideal destination for history, architecture, and nature enthusiasts alike.
An evocative mix of old-world charm and modern sophistication, the city of Leipzig, boasts a glittering cityscape of Renaissance, Baroque and contemporary structures in the German state of Saxony. The town first gained prominence as a trading hub due to its position at the intersection of the Via Regia and the Via Imperii, two important medieval trade routes. Today, the area is teeming with an ever-growing influx of artists drawn to the many museums, and academies of dramatic art, musical history, graphic arts, and visitors dubbing the town ‘The New Berlin’. For a glimpse into the past, visitors can explore the myriad attractions and monuments St. Thomas Church, St. Nicholas Church and the Miracle of Leipzig Monument Battle of the Nations Monument, Leipzig University and New Town Hall.
Set on the banks of the Rhine River, Bonn is one of Germany’s oldest cities, first settled by Roman troops in 12BC. One of its most outstanding historical attractions is its Roman Fort – the biggest of its kind in the world. At Bonn Marketplace, you can see the elaborate Rococo-style City Hall, or take a tour the home in which Ludwig van Beethoven was born, now functioning as a museum dedicated to the life and craft of this legendary musician. For more indulgent pursuits, peruse the various fresh produce markets dotted around the square, or enjoy a meal and a spell of people-watching at one of the cafes in the area. Bonn is also a perfectly positioned for visitors to experience the liberal charms of the wider Rhine Valley – dense forests, ancient castles and rich culture.
Germany’s southwestern city of Trier lies near the Luxembourg border in the attractive Moselle wine region. The astounding ancient Roman city boasts eight UNESCO-listed heritage sites, incredible natural scenery and a superb culinary scene. As one of Germany’s oldest cities and a Roman centre, the town is a wonderland of historical monuments including the imposing Porta Negra, the best preserved Roman gate north of the Alps; the enormous, almost-unbelievable second-century Barbara Baths; the Karl Marx birthplace and museum; and many others. Nature lovers can explore myriad paths and trails through the surrounding forested countryside, or simply wonder at the picturesque views of the river and its stone bridge. The area is famous for its production of award-winning white wines (most notably Reisling) and gourmet traditional and international specialities.
Situated near the France border in southwestern Germany’s Black Forest area, Baden-Baden is famous for its curative natural hot springs, its wealth of historic architecture and its numerous gorgeous parks. The town’s renowned mineral-rich waters are said to assist in healing all kinds of ailments, and visitors can either soak in them at the luxurious Caracalla Baths or drink the liquid at the fairy-tale-like Fettquelle Fountain and Trinkhalle. History enthusiasts have an overwhelming itinerary at hand including the Old Town (adorned with Baroque-influenced buildings, magnificent churches and antique shops), Roman Bath Ruins, Altes Schloss Hohenbaden Castle, and famous composer Johannes Brahms’s summer house. Beautiful and varied lush parks often boasting complex fountains provide an ideal wonderland for a leisurely day of picnicking.
Postcard-perfect Konstanz is a thriving university town set at the western end of Lake Constance and beckons to travellers with its combination of heritage, nature, and art. History lovers will delight in the array of architecture. The 600-AD Konstanz Munster is filled with gold and marble interiors, two massive organs and exquisite frescoes, while the enormous stone Konzilgebaude makes an impression with its hipped roof and striking structure. Outdoor enthusiasts, nature photographers and picnickers should make sure to head to Mainau Island (also known as Flower Island), where they stroll among gorgeous meadows, gardens, and cultural exhibitions. Of the many art galleries in Konstanz, the Rosengarten Museum takes the cake with its prehistoric tools, ecclesiastical art, and beautiful sculptures.
Known as Germany’s “grand old dame of ski towns”, this busy, year-round resort and spa town is the undisputed capital of Alpine Bavaria and the country’s most popular mountain resort. As the hyphenated name suggests, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was once two separate towns that reluctantly joined forces to accommodate the 1936 Winter Olympics. While there is no longer any clear distinction between the two towns, they have starkly contrasting characters: Garmisch is modern and vibrant with a cosmopolitan air, while Partenkirchen retains a charming old-world Alpine village quality. Presiding over these unwitting bedfellows is Germany’s highest mountain, the mighty Zugspitze, which provides some unbeatable outdoor sport facilities including more than 99 km of downhill ski runs, 40 ski lifts, and 180 km of cross-country ski trails. Garmisch-Partenkirchen manages to meld the best of both towns to form a culture and adventure filled winter wonderland in the heart of this spectacular Bavarian wilderness.
Mixing commerce and residential areas in the eastern outskirts of Munich, Germany is the tiny town of Trudering-Riem. This attractive urban village is the former location of Munich’s old airport, Riem Airport. Today, the area is a den of small town leisure, with the popular district of Michaelibad at its heart. Families can make use the lakeside ICM International Congress Center and Messe München, visit the Hofbräu München brewery and relax in the indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, steam bath and sanarium at the thermal spa. At the heart of town lies the old village centre of Riem, dotted with religious landmarks such as the church St. Peter and Paul in the street Martin-Empl-Rin. Nature lovers can revel in being surrounded by The Truderinger Wald, the largest forest in modern Munich.
Bordering Belgium and the Netherlands in the westernmost part of Germany, lies the charming spa city of Aachen. Ranked eighth among cities in Germany for innovation, this modern hub is home to Germany’s leading institutes of higher education in technology including the RWTH Aachen University. Boasting a flair and atmosphere of its own, Aachen is best known for the historic Aachen Cathedral, a cultural site that is not only the last resting place of Charlemagne, but it played host to the coronations of over 30 German kings. A stay in this bustling city is incomplete without a stroll down the streets of the old city or a relaxing dip in one of Europe’s hottest natural springs. Should one be lucky enough to stay within this magical city over Christmas, the famed Aachen Christmas Market is not to be missed as both locals and visitors alike gather to soak up the holiday spirit.
Serving as the capital of Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, the city of Hannover, also ‘Hanover’, rests on the scenic banks of the Leine River and the Mittelland Canal. This laid-back city features relaxing green spaces, fascinating museums, and a flourishing theatre and arts scene. Visitors can look forward to exploring the immaculately designed and manicured Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen; visiting Lake Maschsee, stretching almost 80 hectares just south of the city centre; and strolling through the vast and lush Eilenriede, Europe’s largest urban forest. Art enthusiasts can view the work of the famed late French artist Niki de Saint-Phalle at the Sprengel Museum. Other popular activities include: exploring Kropcke, a vast pedestrianized shopping and entertainment area in the heart of Hanover and wandering through the neighbourhoods of Oststadt, List or Linden to view the impressive heritage architecture.
Saxony is a state of east Germany, sharing borders with both Poland and the Czech Republic. This region offers much to see and do, from interesting cities to excellent outdoor attractions. The main hub is Dresden, with its attractive position on the River Elbe and its Baroque architecture (especially Zwinger Palace) to admire, though Leipzig is another major city and a must for lovers of Bach, with a top-class Museum dedicated to the musician, as well as a chance to visit his grave. Other key destinations include the historic towns of Freiburg, Gorlitz and Meissen, in particular, where you can tour the village’s famous Porcelain Factory and Museum. Finally, active travellers can look forward to hiking and climbing in the area known as Saxon Switzerland, as well as winter sports in the Saxon Ore Mountains.
The city of Dortmund is the largest and most densely populated city in the Ruhr Industrial Area, yet it is also the region’s greenest city, with numerous parks, forests, botanical gardens and waterways peppering the urban canvas. Like the rest of the Ruhr, Dortmund is known for its rich culture, showcased in dozens of museums, theatres, exhibition centres and concert halls. Fans of theatre and classical music can take in performances at world-class venues such as the Konzerthaus and the Opernhaus Dortmund, while the city’s diverse museums delve into everything from art, culture and natural science to football, cuisine and the art of brewing. Don’t miss a visit to the iconic U-Tower, a former industrial brewing plant that is now a museum and centre for creativity, playing host to regular events, exhibitions and lectures.
Essen is an interesting and heritage-rich city situated in western Germany, between Dusseldorf and Dortmund. The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is UNESCO-listed for its incredible architecture, and for its historical significance as the world’s largest coal mine. Today, visitors can enjoy its museums, open spaces, swimming pool, and concerts held in what is now an atmospheric venue. The city is also a cultural hub, home to the remarkable Aalto Theatre; Lighburg, the oldest cinema in Germany; and the Essener Dom, boasting what has been argued to be one of the most technologically advanced concert houses in Europe. Make sure to visit the Red Dot Design Museum to see some spectacular contemporary design. Architecture and history enthusiasts will enjoy seeing the magnificent Old Synagogue.
Famously housing one of Europe’s largest intact old town centres, the picturesque UNESCO listed town of Bamberg is idyllically set on the tranquil banks of the Regnitz River in Upper Franconia, Germany. Extending over seven majestic hills, each crowned by a beautiful church, and dominated by the imperial Bamberg Cathedral, Bamberg is an ensemble of medieval and baroque architecture. This bustling, culturally rich destination is home to a plethora of architectural gems, fine-dining restaurants, alluring museums, and enchanting botanical gardens. Notable attractions include: Bamberg Rose Garden, Bamberg Old Town Hall, Neue Residenz Bamberg, Historical Museum Bamberg, and the Altes Rathaus. Bamberg’s fascinating history can be absorbed along with a refreshing draught of its famous Schlenkerla Rauchbier from the acclaimed Franconian Brewery Museum Bamberg; while its serene surroundings can be admired during a leisurely hike.
The southeastern state of Bavaria is independent of greater Germany and Bavarians are fiercely proud of their homeland and heritage. And no wonder. This is the stuff of fairytales and legends – dense green forests and ancient stone castles; cosy taverns and snowy peaks. For foodies there is also a strong culinary culture – Bavarian specialities include pretzels and white sausages, superb craft beer and a spectacular range of cheeses. The state is home to the annual Oktoberfest where drink and food are celebrated according to sociable local custom, by about 6 million visitors. Beer is the most important ingredient in this festival and it flows freely.
Bremen has long made its mark as one of Germany’s most progressive cities – it has clung firmly to its independence over the centuries and today is still one of Germany’s independent city-states, defined by its liberal attitudes. The old quarter houses an array of architectural treasures, such as the Renaissance Town Hall, built in the early 15th century, and St Peter’s Cathedral, an ornate early Gothic building with a voluminous vaulted interior. For nightlife, head to the beer gardens on the riverside promenade known as the Schlachte, or to the vibrant bar district of Ostertorviertel, which has been going strong since the 19th century.
Bringing together a rich artistic scene, some interesting industrial history, and several gorgeous natural spaces, it is little wonder that the university town of Hagen is so popular. Resting on the southern bank of the Ruhr River in North Rhine-Westphalia, the town is home to the largest university in the country, bringing an atmosphere of youthful vibrancy to the history-laden centre, where travellers should visit the mighty Werdingen Castle and its Museum of Paleontology and Archaeology, the fascinating Freilicht Museum, the highly-acclaimed Historisches Centrum, and the lovely Westphalian Open-Air Museum. History enthusiasts can look even further back in time at the remarkable Blatterhohle Cave, which is filled with Mesolithic-era fossils. Spend a day paddling around the photogenic Hengsteysee and Harkortsee, and make sure to try the local ‘Zwieback’ (a crunchy rusk-type biscuit).
Rhine River Valley
Once a critical European trade route, the Rhine River Valley was hotly contested for centuries, sought after by emperors, princes and priests. The region has long been legendary for its fairytale natural beauty and romantic ambience – its banks are lined with dense forests, deep green valleys and sprawling vineyards, and dotted with ancient chateaux and medieval castles – some of which now function as luxurious hotels and historical museums. Spend a night in one of the revamped palaces, enjoy a leisurely boat cruise down the Rhine River; go wine tasting through Riesling country in Rheingau, or take in the dramatic stony peaks of the Rhine Gorge.
Stretching for 65km through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the Rhine Gorge offers striking scenery of steep, stony peaks, dense forests and terraced vineyards flanking the Rhine River, along with quaint medieval villages and 40-odd ancient castles and forts. The combination of spectacular landscape, rich history and authentic culture led to the region receiving World Heritage Site status in 2002. The gorge’s most famous geological feature is the Lorelei (Loreley), a sheer-sided slate rock that towers above the river at 132 metres high.