Your comprehensive travel guide to Germany - All in one place!
History, culture, and natural beauty perhaps best describe the essence of vacationing in Germany. With its many historic cities and small towns, along with an abundance of forests and mountains, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a unique place to visit. Those wanting to sightsee or experience the arts should head to the metropolitan areas such as Munich, Frankfurt, or Hamburg, while those looking for recreational activities should visit places such as the Bavarian Alps, the Black Forest, or the Rhine Valley.
Lovely old cathedrals and grand palaces are everywhere, and in the smaller towns and villages - some with their original medieval Old Towns still intact - many centuries-old traditions, including traditional Christmas markets, festivals, and fairs, continue to this day. At the cultural heart of Germany is the capital, Berlin, home to many fine museums and galleries, while nature lovers will find a world of possibilities in Germany's great outdoors.
Germany is located in the Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark. Roughly the size of Montana and situated even farther north, unified Germany has an area of 356,959 square kilometers. Extending 853 kilometers from its northern border with Denmark to the Alps in the south, it is the sixth largest country in Europe. Germany measures approximately 650 kilometers from the Belgian-German border in the west to the Polish frontier in the east.
The territory of the former East Germany accounts for almost one-third of united Germany’s territory and one-fifth of its population. After a close vote, in 1993 the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany’s parliament, voted to transfer the capital from Bonn in the west to Berlin, a city-state in the east surrounded by the Land of Brandenburg.
Culture doesn't just refer to how people interact and look. "Culture also means refined intellectual, artistic and creative achievement, for example as in cultural knowledge, or a cultured person," Cristina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London, told Live Science.
Germans have made tremendous contributions to classical music, and the traditions of famous German or Austrian composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler live on today.
With their penchant for precision and engineering, it is not surprising that Germans have a strong tradition of printmaking by woodcut and engraving. There is also a strong representation of all phases of architecture — including Romanesque, Gothic, Classicist, Baroque, Rococo and Renaissance — represented in cathedrals, castles and public buildings. One well-known example of classic German art is the Brandenburg Gate, a former city gate that is now used to symbolize Berlin's unity.
Germany is the most populous European country west of Russia. Its population is 83000000. Population density is high in comparison with most other European countries, though it is exceeded by Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany has one of the world’s lowest birth rates, and its life expectancy—some 75 years for males and 80 for females—is among the world’s highest. Over the last several decades Germany has witnessed years of both positive and negative population growth. From the mid- 1970s to the mid-1980s the country’s population dropped; however, Germany experienced significant population growth—largely because of immigration—over the following decade. Thereafter the country’s population growth was slight.