• Germany occupies 357,112 square kilometres of territory in Central Europe. It has land borders with nine countries and a coastline of 2389km on the North and Baltic seas.

Politically, Germany is a parliamentary democracy, with an upper house – the Bundesrat – and a lower chamber, the Bundestag, both in Berlin. The administrative structure is federal, with the sixteen Länder (states) having a high degree of autonomy.

Germany is the largest economy in the European Union, and it is the world’s largest exporter. As the economic heart of the euro zone it is also home to the headquarters of the European Central Bank.

With a population of around 82 million, Germany is the most populous nation in the European Union, and it is also among its most densely populated and highly urbanized. The four largest cities are Berlin (3.46 million inhabitants), Hamburg (1.8 million), Munich (1.35 million) and Cologne (1 million).

• Germans DO have a sense of humour and they DO love to sunbathe naked. DON’T feel you can’t mention the war though – nowadays Germans are avid consumers of their own history, and the Nazi era is picked over exhaustively in TV documentaries, in books, and at the cinema.

Essentials

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Germany features

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Going underground in Hamburg: 6 ways to see the city's alternative side

Going underground in Hamburg: 6 ways to see the city's alternative side

Hamburg is perpetually on the brink of falling out with itself. On the one hand, it’s a city of convention and millionaires – Hamburg has the highest concen…

18 Jul 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Berlin

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Berlin

Of all Europe’s capitals, Berlin carries the biggest buzz. In the two decades or so since it was reunified, the city has developed into a heady meld of grit a…

04 Apr 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
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