Mad King Ludwig’s maddest creation combines Wagnerian inspiration with a superbly dramatic alpine site to create a romantic fantasy from the age of chivalry.
© Samet Guler/Shutterstock
#02 Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
This iconic white building is a temple to modernism, from the classics of modern art to masterpieces of furniture and automotive design.
© Gudjon E. Olafsson/Shutterstock
#03 Visiting a spa
Soak, sweat and rejuvenate in one of Germany’s many saunas and spas
#04 Long-distance cycling
Almost every major German river – including the Mosel – has a long-distance cycle path alongside.
#05 Christmas markets
Christmas cheer the way it’s been for centuries.
Rhine-side castles and vineyards in the Germany of tourist brochures.
#07 Oktoberfest, Munich
The world’s biggest excuse for a beer – and it comes in big measures, too.
© Frank Gaertner/Shutterstock
Revel in the Eastern Bloc nostalgia fondly known as Ostalgie.
#09 The Zwinger, Dresden
The most extravagant alfresco ballroom Germany ever built.
© Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock
#10 Fairytale villages on the Romantic Road
A Disney-like Bavarian road-trip where the steep roofs and ancient towers are real.
© Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock
#11 Kaffee und Kuchen
This elegant mid-afternoon sugar-rush is another national obsession.
© Animaflora PicsStock/Shutterstock
A liberal, cosmopolitan metropolis with two thousand years of art and history.
Germany’s most iconic sausage, from pale, lemony Weisswurst to Currywurst with ketchup and curry powder.
Electronic dance music rules in Germany, but there’s plenty of room for quirkier sounds too.
#15 The Ruhr’s Industrial Heritage Trail
The Ruhr’s reinvented industrial heritage offers some of Europe’s most original travel experiences.
#16 Bavarian Baroque
Bavaria’s heavenly church interiors pair élan with excess. For more information, see The Wieskirche.
#17 The Rathaus, Bamberg
Trompe l’oeil trickery in the town hall that launched a thousand flashbulbs.
#18 Rügen’s Cliffs
Edged by white cliffs, Germany’s largest island remains a gentle, pastoral place where it’s easy to escape the crowds.
#19 German wine
High local demand means that many German tipples barely leave the valleys where they are grown.
#20 Skiing, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Soak up the views from high-altitude pistes, or brave the fearsome Kandahar World Cup Run.
© Zoltan Major/Shutterstock
#21 Aachen’s cathedral
Aachen’s ancient cathedral is a taste of Byzantium in the heart of the city.
#22 Christopher Street Day
#23 North Sea islands
Idle in escapist Strandkörbe seats or skim across the sea on a kite-surf.
© Thorsten Schier/Shutterstock
#24 Hiking in the Allgäu, Bavaria
Alpine scenery, clean air and challenging hikes in Bavaria’s beautiful south.