Fewer countries have had such an impact on the world as Germany – a cultural, political and economic powerhouse that has fostered the minds of everyone from Beethoven to Karl Marx. City breaks in Germany are a great choice if you’re looking for culture, history and food. From Munich in the south to Hamburg in the north, German cities are full to bursting with museums, galleries and beerhouses.
The vibrant culture of Berlin has prospered throughout its rollercoaster history. Today the city is one of the trendiest in Europe, and home to an array of world-class galleries, museums and theatres. The Brandenburg Gate dates from the 18th century, and has become an icon for the reunification of Germany. The Reichstag is the German seat of power, and the Potsdamer Platz is a key public square and home to the glass-covered Sony Centre. When it comes to museums there are ancient monuments in the Pergamonmuseum, Egyptian artefacts in the Neues Museum and Jewish history in the Jüdisches Museum. Revisit the recent past at Checkpoint Charlie, the East Side Gallery, and at the sobering Holocaust Memorial, then embrace the dynamic, multicultural present at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and the Volksbühne theatre.
Germany’s second largest city has a long maritime history, and enjoys a reputation as the country’s ‘gateway to the world’. Close to the main railway station is Mönckebergstraße where you’ll find St Jacobi and St Petri, two of the main churches in Hamburg. At the end of Mönckebergstraße you’ll come across the city’s opulently designed Rathaus city hall, built in 1897. Elsewhere in the city is Speicherstadt, the largest continuous warehouse complex in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Close to this are the newly constructed HafenCity and the lively harbour area that Hamburg is famous for. One of the city’s most famous areas is Reeperbahn, a red light district but also home to a range of theatres, restaurants and art galleries. Also worth checking out is the popular Fischmarkt and the exciting Hamburg Dungeon.
The capital of Bavaria, Munich in the south of Germany has a markedly different flavour to its northern counterparts. This is a land of Oktoberfest, Alpine culture and cutting-edge art galleries. If you’re looking for grand public squares there’s the enormous Odeonsplatz, lined on the south side by the Feldherrnhalle and Residenz on the north. Residenz was the home of Bavaria's Wittelsbach rulers until the First World War, and their treasures can be discovered at the Residenzmuseum.
A smaller square with just as much character is the Marienplatz, where you’ll find Mariensäule (Mary’s Coloumn) and the elaborate Gothic façade of the Neues Rathaus (New Townhall). For a taste of the drinking culture in Munich head to one of the city’s many beerhouses, or the outdoors Biergarten Rathenauplatz.
Other top city locations in Germany include Dresden, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Cologne. There are also plenty of fantastic locations that aren’t as well known with tourists, such as Münster, Essen, Bremen, Bonn and Mannheim.
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