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Travel to Germany

Germany is synonymous with beer gardens, fairytale castles, medieval towns, and scenic rivers. With Globus, you'll experience the magic of Germany—from its vibrant cities to the enchanting Black Forest. See the must-see sights, such as the Glockenspiel and Marienplatz in Munich, King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, the infamous cathedral in Cologne, and Nuremberg's Old Town. Cruise on the prettiest part of the Rhine River and travel the Romantic Road to visit the walled, medieval town of Rothenburg. Globus also takes you beyond the must-see sights and offers unique activities, such as an opportunity to enjoy a beer in the Colner Hofbrau Frueh in Cologne and a stay at a family-owned hotel in the Black Forest, where you will learn about the cuckoo-clocks that make the area famous.

Dusseldorf dazzles with boundary-pushing architecture, zinging nightlife and an art scene to rival many higher-profile cities. It’s a posh and modern city that seems all buttoned-up business at first glance: banking, advertising, fashion and telecommunications are among the fields that have made North Rhine–Westphalia's capital one of Germany’s wealthiest cities. Yet all it takes is a few hours of bar-hopping around the Altstadt, the historical quarter along the Rhine, to realise that locals have no problem letting their hair down once they shed those Armani jackets. The Altstadt may claim to be the ‘longest bar in the world’ but some attention has strayed to Medienhafen, a redeveloped harbour area and a feast of international avant-garde architecture. Older neighbourhoods are also changing. Case in point: Flingern, which has gone from drab to fab in recent years and is has a multifaceted arty boho scene. Highbrow types, meanwhile, can get more than their fill at the city’s many world-class art museums and cultural institutions.
Cologne (Koln) offers seemingly endless attractions, led by its famous cathedral whose filigree twin spires dominate the skyline. It’s regularly voted the country’s single most popular tourist attraction. The city’s museum landscape is especially strong when it comes to art but also has something in store for fans of chocolate, sports and even Roman history. Its people are well known for their liberalism and joie de vivre and it’s easy to have a good time right along with them year-round in the beer halls of the Altstadt (old town) or during the springtime Carnival. Cologne is like a 3D textbook on history and architecture. Drifting about town you’ll stumble upon an ancient Roman wall, medieval churches galore, nondescript postwar buildings, avant-garde structures and even a new postmodern quarter right on the Rhine. Germany’s fourth-largest city was founded by the Romans in 38 BC and given the lofty name Colonia Claudia Ara Aggripinensium. It grew into a major trading centre, a tradition it solidified in the Middle Ages and continues to uphold today.
Surrounded by forest 93km south of Frankfurt, Germany’s oldest and most famous university town is renowned for its baroque Altstadt, spirited student atmosphere, beautiful riverside setting and evocative half-ruined hilltop castle, which draw 11.8 million visitors a year. They follow in the footsteps of the late 18th- and early 19th-century romantics, most notably the poet Goethe. Britain’s William Turner also loved Heidelberg, which inspired him to paint some of his greatest landscapes. In 1878, Mark Twain began his European travels with a three-month stay in Heidelberg, recounting his observations in A Tramp Abroad (1880). Heidelberg's rich literary history, along with its thriving contemporary scene involving authors, translators, publishing houses, bookshops, libraries, festivals and events, saw it named a Unesco City of Literature in 2014. Heidelberg’s Altstadt has a red-roofed townscape of remarkable architectural unity. After having been all but destroyed by French troops under Louis XIV (1690s), it was built pretty much from scratch during the 18th century. Unlike the vast majority of German cities, it emerged from WWII almost unscathed. Today, Heidelberg is one of Germany’s most enchanting cities. The longer you stay, the more heartstopping panoramas and hidden treasures you’ll discover.
Ask many Germans their opinion of Stuttgarters and they will go off on a tangent: they are road hogs, speeding along the autobahn; they are sharp-dressed executives with a Swabian drawl; they are tight-fisted homebodies who slave away toschaffe, schaffe, Hausle baue (work, work, build a house). So much for the stereotypes. The real Stuttgart is less superficial than legend. True, some good-living locals like their cars fast and their restaurants fancy, but most are just as happy getting their boots dirty in the surrounding vine-clad hills and hanging out with friends in the rustic confines of a Weinstube (wine tavern). In the capital of Baden-Wurttemberg, city slickers and down-to-earth country kids walk hand in hand.
Hypezig! cry the papers, The New Berlin, says just about everybody. Yes, Leipzig is Saxony's coolest city, a playground for nomadic young creatives who have been displaced even by the fast-gentrifying German capital, but it's also a city of enormous history, a trade-fair mecca and solidly in the sights of music lovers due to its intrinsic connection to the lives and work of Bach, Mendelssohn and Wagner. To this day, one of the world's top classical bands (the Gewandhausorchester) and oldest and finest boys' choirs (the 800-year-old Thomanerchor) continue to delight audiences. When it comes to art, the neo-realistic New Leipzig School has stirred up the international art world with such protagonists as Neo Rauch and Tilo Baumgartel for well over 10 years. Leipzig became known as the Stadt der Helden (City of Heroes) for its leading role in the 1989 ‘Peaceful Revolution’, when its residents organised protests against the communist regime in May of that year; by October, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets and a few years later, the Cold War was history. Don't hurry your visit here: while you can easily do the sights in a day or two, to really experience the place stay for longer and acquaint yourself with Leipzig's less obvious areas: drink beer on the Karli, go antique shopping in Plagwitz or hang out with the punks in Connewitz.
Nuremberg (Nurnberg), Bavaria’s second-largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia, is an energetic place where the nightlife is intense and the beer is as dark as coffee. As one of Bavaria’s biggest draws it is alive with visitors year-round, but especially during the spectacular Christmas market. For centuries, Nuremberg was the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire and the preferred residence of most German kings, who kept their crown jewels here. Rich and stuffed with architectural wonders, it was also a magnet for famous artists, though the most famous of all, Albrecht Durer, was actually born here. ‘Nuremberg shines throughout Germany like a sun among the moon and stars,’ gushed Martin Luther. By the 19th century, the city had become a powerhouse in Germany’s industrial revolution. The Nazis saw a perfect stage for their activities in working class Nuremberg. It was here that the fanatical party rallies were held, the boycott of Jewish businesses began and the infamous Nuremberg Laws outlawing German citizenship for Jewish people were enacted. On 2 January 1945, Allied bombers reduced the city to landfill, killing 6000 people in the process. After WWII the city was chosen as the site of the war crimes tribunal, now known as the Nuremberg Trials. Later, the painstaking reconstruction – using the original stone – of almost all the city’s main buildings, including the castle and old churches in the Altstadt, returned the city to some of its former glory.
Bremen, one of Gemany’s three city states (along with Berlin and Hamburg), has a justified reputation for being among the country’s most outward-looking and hospitable places, with a population that strikes a good balance between style, earthiness and good living. Nature is never far away here, but Bremen is better known for its fairy-tale character, unique expressionist quarter and one of Germany’s most exciting football teams. That nature would get its chance to win back a few urban patches did seem likely from the late 1960s, when the population, having peaked at over 600,000, began to decline. Something else happened, however, to clinch it: in 1979 Bremen was the first to elect Green Party candidates to its state parliament, unwittingly becoming the cradle of a Green movement worldwide. Today, it's also one of Europe's leaders in science and technology, home to Airbus' Defence and Space headquarters and a major Mercedes Benz plant. More populous than Hanover, Bremen scrapes in as Germany’s 10th largest city, but feels quite the contrary, offering a relaxed, unhurried lifestyle. Closer inspection reveals some vibrant districts with fine restaurants and fun bars, a selection of excellent museums, a beautiful Altstadt and some tall tales to complement its legitimate history – likely proof that the people of Bremen are also among Germany’s most gregarious.
Football (soccer) is a major Dortmund passion. Borussia Dortmund, the city’s Bundesliga (Germany’s first league) team, has been national champion a ridiculous eight times, including the 2011–12 season and runners-up 2013-14. So it's appropriate that the city is home to the new German Football Museum. As the largest city in the Ruhrgebiet, Dortmund built its prosperity on coal, steel and beer. These days, the mines are closed, the steel mills quiet and more Zeitgeist-compatible high-tech industries have taken their place. Only the breweries are going as strong as ever, churning out oceans of beer and ale, much of it for export.
When this relaxed city on the Rhine became West Germany’s ‘temporary’ capital in 1949 it surprised many, including its own residents. When in 1991 a reunited German government decided to move to Berlin, it shocked many, especially its own residents. A generation later, Bonn is doing just fine, thank you. It has a healthy economy and lively urban vibe. For visitors, the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven has plenty of note, not least the great composer’s birth house, a string of top-rated museums, a lovely riverside setting and the nostalgic flair of the old government quarter.
Surrounded by factories and heavy-industry plants, Mannheim, situated between the Rhine and Neckar Rivers, near their confluence, isn’t Germany at its prettiest. Industrial giants based here include Daimler (automotive), John Deere (agricultural machinery), Caterpillar (construction machinery), ABB (electrical equipment), Fuchs Petrolub (chemicals), IBM (computers), Roche (pharmaceuticals), Unilever (consumer goods) and Siemens (engineering). However, Mannheim compensates with an energetic cultural scene and decent shopping in its busy city centre. Two important transportation firsts took place in Mannheim: Karl Drais created the world’s first bicycle in 1817, and Karl Benz built the world’s first automobile to combine an internal combustion engine and integrated chassis in 1885; the three-wheeled vehicle was patented in 1886.
Berlin is without doubt one of the most exciting cities to visit in Europe. It’s cutting edge fashion, it’s cosmopolitan vibe and liberal atmosphere combined with it’s incredibly rich ancient and modern history make it a must see city break for a widely diverse following.
The natural habitat of well-heeled power dressers and lederhosen-clad thigh-slappers, Mediterranean-style street cafes and Mitteleuropa beer halls, high-brow art and high-tech industry, Germany’s second city is a flourishing success story that revels in its own contradictions. If you’re looking for Alpine cliches, they’re all here, but the Bavarian metropolis sure has many an unexpected card down its Dirndl. Statistics show Munich is enticing more visitors than ever, especially in summer and during Oktoberfest. Munich’s walkable centre retains a small-town air but holds some world-class sights, especially its art galleries and museums. Throw in a king’s ransom of royal Bavarian heritage, an entire suburb of Olympic legacy and a kitbag of dark tourism and you can see why it's such a favourite among those who seek out the past, but like to hit the town once they’re done.
Germany’s ‘other’ Frankfurt, on the Oder River 90km east of Berlin, was practically wiped off the map in the final days of WWII and never recovered its one-time grandeur as a medieval trading centre and university town. It didn’t help that the city was split in two after the war, with the eastern suburb across the river becoming the Polish town of Slubice. The GDR era imposed a decidedly unflattering Stalinist look, but the scenic river setting, a few architectural gems and the proximity to Poland (cheaper vodka and cigarettes, for all you hedonists) make fairly compelling excuses to pop by.
There are few city silhouettes more striking than Dresden’s. The classic view from the Elbe’s northern bank takes in spires, towers and domes belonging to palaces, churches and stately buildings, and indeed it's hard to believe that the city was all but wiped off the map by Allied bombings in 1945. Dresden's cultural heyday came under the 18th-century reign of Augustus the Strong (August der Starke) and his son Augustus III, who produced many of Dresden’s iconic buildings, including the Zwinger and the Frauenkirche. While the devastating 1945 allied firestorm levelled most of these treasures, their contents were safely removed before the bombings and now take pride of place in Dresden's rebuilt museums. The city has had a few tough years of late, however. In 2014, a populist protest movement called PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West), was founded here and quickly became a nationwide phenomenon. But although the city, once known as the 'Florence of the North', gave birth to this anti-Islamic movement, the overwhelming majority of Dresden's residents do not agree with its message. It's hard to find a single museum, cultural institute or university here that isn't bedecked with large signs declaring support for multiculturalism, welcoming migrants and generally subverting the PEGIDA message, which itself seems to have lost public support in the intervening period. Dresden and its surroundings may have been nicknamed "the valley of the clueless" under communism (due to locals not being able to pick up West German TV), but its public institutions now proclaim themselves "fur ein weltoffenes Dresden" ('for a Dresden open to the world'). Take some time to get to know this fascinating, contradictory city.

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