Travel to Germany

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Your guide to why 2019 is a great year to travel in Germany

It’s 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

Travellers early in 1989 saw two Germanys and two Berlins. Today these countries and cities have blended into one exciting mixture of culture and people that international visitors want to see. This is the year Germany looks back on the unique project of reunification, assesses its achievements and challenges and presents its progress report to the world.

Berlin’s anniversary events include:

Nineties Berlin – Multimedia Exhibition in the Alter Münze, the former mint building near the Spree bank at Molkenmarkt 2 (M-Su 10-20, €12.50/8.50), runs until the end of February. This is a multimedia experience of Berlin life, politics and its techno past around the time of reunification, told by witnesses and leading figures and showing photographs and film.

East Berlin – half of the capital starts on May 11 and runs until the date the borders opened, November 9, at the Ephraim-Palais, an 18th century Rococo Berlin mansion at Poststraße 16. Stadtmuseum Berlin and the Centre for Contemporary Historical Research holds an exhibition on the history of the East German capital from the late 1960s to reunification.

Key sites that give an insight into Berlin’s divided period are many.

Mauermuseum — Haus am Checkpoint Charlie at Friedrichstraße 43 is the story of the Berlin Wall at the site of the chief US sector and border crossing from 1945 to 1961. It shows the stories of escape, division and frustration and occasional triumphs.

The Yadegar Asisi panorama Die Mauer, at Friedrichstraβe 205 near Checkpoint Charlie, puts the viewer back in the 1980s, showing the Berlin Wall looked from the western side in the counter-culture pocket of Kreuzberg, peering over the wall into the tightly controlled east – a contrast of which the artist had personal experience. The exhibition (Mo-So 10-18, entrance €10/4) also gives a sense of the Keuzberg alternative culture.

Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer on Bernauer Straße puts the division of the city into an everyday perspective. A string of open-air and exhibition sites line the remaining Bernauer Straße stretch of the Berlin Wall, where residential buildings were hard up against the security barrier and windows and doors were bricked in by security forces. The visitor centre (Apr-Oct Tu-Su 9.30-19, Nov-Mar Tu-Su 10-18) at Bernauer Straße 119 has a bookshop full of varied literature and other materials about the wall and the GDR between the years 1961 and 1989 and the documentation centre at Bernauer Straße 111 (entrance free) takes the explanations further. Across the road is the former no man’s land, marked between the Nordbahnhof station and Brunnenstraße by the remains of barriers (in Bergstraße), information boards, audio and visual posts and memorials to those who died along with the wall’s archaeology. Small footpath plates mark the places of successful escapes. The chapel of reconciliation (Tu-Su 10-17 except during services) is east of Ackerstraße and another surviving section of wall is the focal point of Mauerpark, running north parallel on a now pedestrian section of Schwedter Straße. A free exhibit at Nordbahnhof shows the strange divided rail network of the Berlin Wall years and how the forbidden ‘ghost’ stations of East Berlin were guarded while West Berliners travelled through them on underground trains.

The Tränenpalast exhibition (Tu-F 9-19, Sa-Su 10-18, free entry), at Reichstagufer 17 on the Spree near Friedrichstraße station, focuses on the business of border controls and how they affected people during the division of the city.

Kunstmeile, also known as East Side Gallery, comprises more than 100 separate works of art in the open air, painted 1989-90 along the Mühlenstraße bank of the Spree in Friedrichshain, on the 1300-metre longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall. Political comment is the focus of these works by international artists and photographs added to the river side of the wall observe human rights themes.

Democracy’s journey has another milestone

The Weimar Republic, successor to the Prussian German Empire, was even shorter in duration and ended in the yoke of Nazism in 1933. But it was Germany’s first run at democracy, a confused period of licentious hedonism, violence and economic instability.¬¬¬ Stadtmuseum Berlin has a series of exhibitions on the so-called November Revolution of 1918-19 at various sites, including Berlin 18/19, running at Märkisches Museum, at Am Köllnischen Park 5, until May 19.

Berlin’s city castle comes back to life

The Berliner Schloß or Stadtschloß at Schloßplatz has risen again in a new form. The Hohenzollern electors of Brandenburg first developed a strategic fortress at the Spree crossing and gradually an enlarged Renaissance palace was followed by an early 18th century Baroque building by Andreas Schlüter (with necessary later work by Johann Friedrich Eosander von Göthe). It was the centre of Berlin’s revolutionary chaos of 1918 after its World War I defeat and heavily bombed in World War II. In 1950 the communist East German government decided on demolition and in the 1970s the Palast der Republik was built on the site. But after reunification this too fell foul of political taste and was demolished. The rebuilt palace is expected to be complete late this year as the Humboldt Forum, which will house museums of ethnology and Asiatic art and part of Berlin’s city collections, including the history of the Schloßplatz site. The adjacent glass Humboldt-Box, for several years an information centre for the project, will be the venue for periodic exhibitions.

The Bauhaus celebrates a century

The centenary of the foundation of the Bauhaus design movement will be celebrated from this month. An opening festival takes place in Berlin between January 16 and 24 at the Berlin Academy of Arts, next to the Brandenburg Gate, with events and performances. The Bauhaus Imaginista project with an exhibition in the city's Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Bauhaus Week in Berlin.

New cultural centres will open their doors for the first time in Weimar, where the Bauhaus movement began in 1919, and Dessau, where the Bauhaus centre and design school operated from 1925 to 1932. The Bauhaus Archive, built by the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius in Berlin, will be extended to include a new museum building scheduled to open in 2021, designed to exhibit much of the international Bauhaus collection. From August 31 until September 8, the Bauhaus Week will take place in Berlin. A glass festival centre will be opened on Ernst-Reuter-Platz. In cooperation with the Berlinische Galerie and the Bauhaus Archive, the Original Bauhaus exhibition will be on view from September 6. This exhibition will shed light on the differences between original Bauhaus items and copies.

Pergamon Museum

Another Asisi panorama has been added to the famous museum (F-W 10-18, Th 10-20), showing the Hellenistic city of Pergamon on the Aegean coast, with its monumental buildings, as it would have appeared early in the second century under the Romans. The hall containing the full Pergamon Altar, pride of the city, will not reopen until 2023, but parts of the altar can again be viewed. The Market Gate of Miletus and the reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate of Babylon remain as the museum’s othjer highlights. The adult combined ticket for the exhibition is €19, but for visitors up to 18 entrance is free.

Mantegna and Bellini – Masters of the Renaissance

An exhibition of about 100 works by the Renaissance artists Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini, who collaborated closely at one time, will be reunited at Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie from March until the end of June.

Berlin’s Futurium opens

In September, the Futurium is scheduled to open at Alexanderufer opposite the Bundestag. This forum will all future questions and ideas on politics, science and energy, the economy and ways of working, art and society can be exchanged and discussed. The exhibition of the future and the Futurium Lab will provide additional information and opportunities for participation.

Bamberg's Day of Beer

The Day of Beer in April allows visitors to taste the local beers in the city centre at Maximiliansplatz. Beer is still brewed in several breweries in the Baroque and Renaissance city and there is a nightly tradition of enjoying more than 50 local varieties in busy summer street gatherings around the city's historic brewery taverns. But Bamberg will this year raise a glass to the centenary of the constitution for the Bavarian free state – known as the Bamberg constitution – which was ratified in August 1919 by democratic vote after several months’ turmoil under socialist and communist administrations.

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Culture Encounters

Jewels of the Past


Great Cities of Germany


Füssen travel guide PDF in 3 pages

The tiny town at the foot of the Alps has its own medieval castle and Baroque monastery as well as being the jumping-off point for visits to the famous Romantic castles nearby.

● How to visit Schloß Neuschwanstein and Schloß Hohenschwangau

● The Wieskirche, a UNESCO-listed Rococo pilgrimage church, is a short ride away

● The town’s own castle, churches and museums

Hyperlink access to essential tourist and accommodation information


Aachen travel guide PDF in 5 pages

The Romans developed the hot springs at the site, then 1200 years ago the Frankish king Charlemagne set up his court there and Aachen became the centre of his empire. The 2018 Raven Guide to Aachen is available for free download now.

● A guide to Charlemagne's church, which grew to become the present Aachen cathedral, one of the first world heritage sites

● The Roman and medieval survivals of the city and details of the city tour

● Essential services with hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites


Eisenach travel guide PDF in 4 pages

The new Raven guide to the Thuringian town, birthplace of Bach and hiding place of Martin Luther early in his revolt against the established church. It is also the site of one of Germany’s great medieval castles, with links to another great German composer, Wagner, and a centre of automobile making.

● Guide to the Wartburg castle

● Guides to the Bach museum of his life and work and museum of car manufacture

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites

Lutherstadt Wittenberg

Wittenberg travel guide PDF in 4 pages

More than 500 years after Martin Luther's Reformation, this free guide covers the place where it all began. The town was the cradle of the religious movement that threw off the structures of the Catholic church and shaped new ideas and ways of worship, but also more than a century of bitter conflict that shaped Germany forever.

● Key sites, now world heritage monuments, include Luther's house and the castle

● The church where Luther's revolt began and churches Luther and his associates preached

● Hyperlinks to further tourist information and to websites for city accommodation


Bamberg travel guide PDF in 5 pages

The layout of the UNESCO heritage-listed city centre and a range of Baroque and medieval architecture makes Bamberg one of Germany’s most beautiful cities.

● The Romanesque cathedral, the opulent bishops’ Residenz palace, and its Renaissance predecessor dominate the old town

● The old town hall in the middle of the river Regnitz and the mysterious statue Bamberger Reiter attract millions of travellers

● Summaries of 35 historic sites and museums

● Information on tours, parks, food and the arts

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites


Trier travel guide PDF in 7 pages

The Roman Trier was at one time second only to Rome itself. It was home to one of the most powerful Roman emperors, Constantine the Great, and later to Karl Marx. Signs of its past greatness remain for travellers to marvel at. Germany’s oldest city – and one of its oldest cathedrals – remain and are world-heritage listed.

● Read about the ancient Roman city gate Porta Nigra, the Roman bath complexes, a well-preserved amphitheatre and Constantine’s former imperial palace, plus the buildings of the medieval city

● The guide includes more than 30 sites, churches and museums, with essential services, *transport links, transit and tours

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg travel guide PDF in 4 pages

Completely walled with more than 40 towers, the cobbled pedestrian streets of the Romantic Road town perched above the Tauber valley are little changed since the 17th century, with medieval and Renaissance half-timbered houses and stone churches.

● The guide includes 17 sites and museums and an excursion to the Franconian open-air museum at nearby Bad Windsheim

● Essential services, transport links, food tips and tours

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and websites for many of the town’s small accommodation houses


Potsdam travel guide PDF in 8 pages

The Stadtschloß palace was the first Prussian royal residence and more gradually multiplied in the city's extensive parklands. The city’s minorities grew with waves of immigration, leaving the Dutch quarter Holländisches Viertel and the Russian colony Siedlung Alexandrowka and its tiny Orthodox church.

● The delicate Rococo palace Schloß Sanssouci and the palaces and pavilions of Park Sanssouci with brief histories

● Potsdam’s ornate city gates, its Baroque streetscapes and 10 museums

● Essential services, transport links and fares, accommodation, food and tours

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites


Regensburg travel guide PDF in 6 pages

The streets, archways and buildings of this medieval city, which grew from remains of a Roman legionary camp, remain. The range of ancient monuments and its streetscapes justify Regensburg’s world heritage listing.

● One of Germany’s classic Gothic cathedrals, several medieval churches, rare Gothic tower houses and one of Germany’s oldest stone bridges

Almost 30 sites and museums, including the nearby Walhalla gallery of great Germanic figures of history

● Information on essential services, transport links and urban transit and fares plus listings of travel essentials

● Hyperlink access to accommodation websites and further tourist information


Würzburg travel guide PDF of 7 pages

The prince-bishops who controlled Würzburg for centuries built wealth, power and influence expressed in Baroque by their huge palace, the UNESCO world-heritage Residenz. Their medieval castle still commands the city, reached by a stone bridge.

● Summaries of Würzburg’s grand residences, the medieval cathedral, churches and other sites

Museums and galleries including one of Europe’s prominent Jewish museums

Tours, essential services, transport links, transit services and fares and food tips

● Hyperlink access to accommodation and further tourist information websites


Passau travel guide PDF in 4 pages

The border city of three rivers includes the Baroque cathedral of St Stephan, with one of the world’s largest organs, the fortress Veste Oberhaus and the well preserved old town.

● Descriptions of 13 sites and museums, including the exhibits of Passau’s Roman past and history of glass manufacture

● Details of essential services, transport links and urban buses including fares, accommodation, food, tours and spectacular views

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites


Dinkelsbühl travel guide PDF in 2 pages

This short guide covers a tiny medieval walled town, left unchanged by a royal decree and now a favourite of artists and a small number of travellers.

● Dinkelsbühl’s town walls and many Gothic and Renaissance buildings keep its atmosphere alive

● Small hotels, pensions and restaurants complement the historical scene

● Essential services, tourist and transport information are included with hyperlinks to accommodation


Augsburg travel guide PDF in 6 pages

The wealth and influence of Augsburg’s powerful families brought the Renaissance to Germany at a time when the city was also the site of key events of the Reformation.

● The home of Germany’s onion-domed towers, museums with magnificent works of art, and one of the beautiful Renaissance streets of Germany, the Maximilianstraße

Guides to more than 30 sites, including monuments to Roman settlement

Transport links and fares, food and tours

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites


Heidelberg travel guide PDF in 7 pages

The most common description for Heidelberg is Romantic. This comes from its valley location, half-ruined castle and the towered stone bridge crossing the river Neckar.

● Explore Heidelberg’s cobbled streets in search of the essence of the city – Germany’s oldest university, the churches, monuments to its religious struggles, and its restaurants and cafes

● Discover the castle, its history, and thefunicular railway that makes the climb – and vantage points above the city – much easier

● Several budget hotel and private hostels that help make Heidelberg accommodation affordable, plus hyperlink access to other accommodation and tourist information sites

● Guides to 27 sites and museums


Goslar travel guide PDF in 5 pages

The medieval town has hundreds of colourful half-timbered houses, Romanesque churches and the Kaiserpfalz, one of Germany’s oldest palaces. Its ancient Rammelsberg mines were the source of its wealth and are partly responsible for the town’s world heritage status.

19 sites and museums including the finest town houses

● A town walk and Rammelsberg tour

● Information on transport links plus listings of travel essentials and hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites

● An excursion to the nearby half-timbered Harz town Wernigerode


Lübeck travel guide PDF in 7 pages

Trade made Lübeck the centre of the Baltic and the red-brick Gothic old town its merchant wealth built is now UNESCO world heritage-listed. Its churches, town houses and civic institutions are preserved and restored.

● The commercial and civic culture of the city through guides to 30 sites, museums and galleries

Tours, the best views and food options with other travel essentials

● Information on transport links and transit services including fares

● Hyperlinks to further tourist information and to websites for city accommodation


Berlin travel guide PDF in 31 pages

Berlin is used to crisis, novelty and immigrants – so any journey to Berlin is a journey to many Berlins. The city that the Enlightenment and industrial progress created survived years of destruction and division.

● Separate sections for the districts Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukölln, Schöneberg-Tempelhof, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Spandau, with local food and accommodation and quick guides to essential services

● Summary of major transport links with Berlin

● How to use urban transit services with fares

● Descriptions of more than 60 historic sites, with guides to walking sections of the Berlin Wall and its memorials

● Summaries of more than 50 museums of history, art and culture, and information on all major performance groups including orchestras, opera and theatre

● Short history of the city and its precincts

● Parks, views, tours and cruises

● Hyperlinks to websites for accommodation houses and further tourist information


Bremen travel guide PDF in 6 pages

One of Germany’s oldest cities includes UNESCO world heritage monuments, ornate Renaissance architecture with a regional stamp, the story of world travellers including emigrants to the US and arts precincts with works by some of the most innovative German artists.

● The ancient St Petri cathedral and 11 other sites including the giant Roland figure

17 Bremen museums including art and the remarkable Übersee-Museum, with exhibits of the wonders of the continents touched by Bremen’s worldwide trade interests

Transport links and the city’s complicated transit system explained

● Hyperlink access to websites for accommodation houses and further tourist information


Dresden travel guide PDF in 11 pages

Twice over the centuries, Dresden has been an amazing place. The first period was the Baroque magnificence of the 17th and 18th centuries. The second is now, with much of the city’s splendour restored.

Dresden's city palaces with their museums and galleries, highlighted by the two Green Vault museums, are among the most remarkable in Germany

● The exquisite, rebuilt Frauenkirche

● The Saxon ducal and royal summer palaces of Pillnitz and Moritzburg

● In all, 30 museums and galleries of art and culture

● Information on tours, essential services, parks and views, food and performing arts

● Details of excursions to the medieval city of Meissen, centre of European porcelain, and the fortress of Königstein

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites


Hamburg travel guide PDF in 8 pages

Germany’s mighty port city attracts travellers from all over the world and was the departure point for generations of migrants. ● 25 sites, ships, museums, monuments and churches that reflect Hamburg’s maritime and trading traditions

● The UNESCO world heritage Speicherstadt, centre of Hamburg’s former free port

● Essential services are listed with a choice of tours, including port tours

● Information on transport links and extensive urban transit services including fares

● Listings of essential traveller services

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites

● The city’s arts and music scene, including opera

Nuremberg (Nürnberg)

Nuremberg travel guide PDF in 8 pages

Modern Nuremberg has preserved or restored many walled and historic areas. The city’s leading late medieval citizens were some of the best known German personalities. Then came the Nazis.

● Guides to 20 buildings, historic streets and monuments, among them the Kaiserburg, the castle of early imperial German assemblies

● 13 museums, including Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Germany’s leading cultural history museum

● The courts of the post-World War II war crimes trials, now also a museum

Transport links, urban transit, tours and essential services

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites

Cologne (Köln)

Cologne travel guide PDF in 11 pages

Cologne is Roman, medieval and modern all at once, a city known for piety, carnival and perfume. Travellers can walk the historic centre and the remains of the Roman wall.

Germany’s mightiest cathedral, which took more than 600 years to complete

● Cologne’s Roman and medieval walls and gates picked out for travellers

● 12 precious Romanesque churches with historical background

● In all, 25 sites and 17 museums of art, history and culture including the Römisch-Germanisches Museum and associated archaeological sites

Transport links and urban transit services including fares

Tours, parks, views, food and performing arts

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites


Stuttgart travel guide PDF in 6 pages

The Baden-Württemberg capital is one of Germany’s beautiful lifestyle cities, surrounded by hills and some of the country’s most beautiful palaces and pleasure pavilions.

● 10 sites including Stuttgart’s castle complexes, Schloß Solitude and the magnificent palaces of Ludwigsburg nearby

● 10 museums and galleries of art

Tours, walks through the city’s extensive parks and views

● Guide to essential services and hyperlinks to tourist information and accommodation house websites and a guide to performance art

Munich (München)

Munich travel guide PDF in 13 pages

Munich was founded by monks and built up by dukes and kings, but became a centre of revolution as well as a home for arts, industry and travellers enjoying the good life.

● Germany’s largest museum, Deutsches Museum, and some of its richest art museums

● The city’s extensive palaces and palace gardens are featured

● Almost 30 museums of history, art and culture

● 30 historic sites in and around the city

● Information on major performance groups including orchestras and opera

Accommodation, food and a guide to essential services including transport links and urban transit services and fares

● A choice of city tours and some of its finest views

● Hyperlink access to further tourist information and accommodation websites