With its highlights dotted rather than clustered, Germany rewards touring, be it a classic vineyard-and-castle-studded route down the country’s western flank; a picture-postcard circuit of Bavaria’s cathedral towns; or even a northern coastal tour.
Berlin and Hamburg bookend a circuit that includes beach resorts and pretty medieval ports. Set aside ten days to do it justice.
No longer “poor” as claimed by its mayor in 2003, the capital remains “sexy” nevertheless, with superlative culture and clubbing.
Overlooked by most holidaymakers, Stalsund’s Altstadt is stuffed with architecture from its peak as a medieval trading port.
Travel on the Rasender Roland steam train or just laze on some of the finest white beaches in the Baltic – this holiday island was irresistible even to Hitler. And if you really want to drop off the radar, head to Hiddensee.
4 Bad Doberan
Just a small spa town, yet its twelfth-century minster is a pinnacle of brick Gothic in the Baltic.
A fairytale castle straight from Cinderella is the highlight of the state capital, along with the gentle art of walks around its lake.
The queen of the medieval Hanseatic League is a Venice of the Baltic, with architecture that speaks of former greatness.
Great galleries, gourmet eating and glitzy-to-grungy nightlife – what else to expect of a city that is simultaneously a hip media metropolis and Germany’s largest port?
This classic itinerary wheels around western Germany to include some of its most famous rivers, castles and wine-growing regions as well as the relatively wild swathe of hills known as the Black Forest. Allow ten days.
1 Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate
Tour well-preserved Roman remains in one of Germany’s oldest cities.
2 The Mosel, Rhineland-Palatinate
Follow the Mosel River, with stops at the idyllic wine towns of Bernkastel-Kues and the hidden Burg Eltz.
3 The Romantic Rhine, Rhineland-Palatinate
At its confluence with the Mosel, head along the Rhine’s grander and busier waterways, exploring the Marksburg castle en route.
4 Mainz and Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate
Discover two venerable imperial Rhine cities with their impressive churches and worthwhile museums.
5 Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg
Nip over the state line to an attractive old town that wowed Mark Twain.
6 Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg
Spend time perambulating dignified streets and de-stressing in the venerable baths.
7 Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, Baden-Württemberg
Drive from Baden-Baden through mountains via Freudenstadt and the Kinzig valley to cuckoo-clock country around Triberg.
8 Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg
Return to the Rhine Valley to visit this attractive medieval city with its wanderable old town.
Bavaria has it all, from high culture to viticulture and beer to breathtaking scenery. This circular tour takes in the highlights. Allow two weeks at a leisured pace.
A rich and vibrant metropolis with a seductive lifestyle. No wonder Germans would rather live here than anywhere else.
2 Berchtesgadener Land
A country within a country, dazzling in its scenery and chilling in its reminders of a one-time holiday home for the Third Reich’s elite.
3 The Bavarian Alps
Head west from Berchtesgaden along the northern flank of the Alps through idyllic mountain resorts like Reit im Winkl, Bayrischzell and Walchensee.
4 The Romantic Road
Dawdle along Germany’s most famous tourist road, past Baroque churches, pastoral landscapes and lost-in-time walled towns.
A charming historic core and distinctive smoked beer make this compact but beautiful city a tempting spot to linger.
This pint-sized cultural hotspot is the product of two strong-willed individuals – Frederick the Great’s sister Wilhelmine and the composer Richard Wagner.
The triumphs and tragedies of German history, from the monuments of the city’s imperial zenith to the still-recognizable reminders of the Nazi era.
Hike, cycle or paddle through the Jurassic landscapes of one of Germany’s biggest nature reserves.
Journey’s end is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Central Europe.