Reisisihiks SaksamaaSuurenda pilti (© dpa)
Bavaria tops the table as far as the popularity of German federal states is concerned. Munich and the Royal Court brewery, the Bavarian alps and lakes, the castles of King Ludwig II, Nuremberg and its Christmas market along with Bayreuth and its Wagner Festival pull in the crowds every year. The local tourist industry nevertheless tries to come up with something innovative every year. “Hiking on the Maximilian way” is among the new attractions. For 360 kilometres the route follows in the footsteps of Bavarian monarch Maximilian II. who is believed to have traversed the path in the summer of 1858. It takes walkers along the edge of the Alps from Lindau to Sonthofen and Fuessen to Berchtesgaden. A little farther to the north hikers can follow the Limes long distance footpath on a route taken by the Romans. The route is flanked by Roman baths which have been excavated along with reconstructed towers and forts.
North Sea and Baltic
Three federal states share the North German coastline: Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The last mentioned contains Germany’s largest island of Ruegen which can boast the most rapid growth of recent years. One of the current trends is towards “holidays up North” and guests from overseas are fascinated by the typical canopied beach chairs which holidaymakers use to protect them from wind, rain and too much sun . The area is also home to Germany’s oldest seaside resort of Heiligendamm which made world headlines in 2007 when it was the venue for the G8 Summit. By the way, Germany’s most famous island is still Sylt on the North Sea which has managed to absorb a growing number of visitors while retaining its reputation as a haunt of the rich and famous. Cyclists in the region can now enjoy the “Viking-Friesian-Way” which guides them for more than 180 kilometres from Maasholm on the Baltic to St.Peter-Ording on the North Sea.Suurenda pilti (© dpa-Zentralbild)
Black Forest and LakeConstance
Mainau, the island of flowers, is visited by a million guests a year, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the land. The climate around Lake Constance is so mild that millions of bulbs start to come out in early Spring. In summer visitors relax under palm trees and sequoias while the season of roses and dahlias lasts until late autumn. The landscape was created by Swedish baron Graf Lennart Bernadotte who arrived on the island in 1932. He died in 2004 aged 95 years. Not far away from Germany’s largest freshwater lake lies the Black Forest with its picturesque stretches of water and woodlands. Mountain bikers can conquer an overall altitude difference of 15,000 metres on a new route through the region. For those who prefer to take things a little easier, some of Germany’s best wines grow in the hills of the Kaiserstuhl, literally the emperor’s chair, along the Upper Rhine.
The Rhine Valley
The Rhine river has been an important waterway from North to South for thousands of years, as evidenced by the towns, ruined fortifications and castles along its banks. Since 2002 the stretch between Bingen and Koblenz, which is often known as the Rhine Gorge, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For hikers a network of paths known literally as “dream paths” has been created. The most popular visitor sites in these parts are the steep banks at St. Goarshausen, the Loreley rock with its breathtaking views which was immortalised by the poet Heinrich Heine: “I don't know what it may signify ...“ In the summer months the region attracts visitors to its historic markets, castle festivals and jousting re-enactments to take a step back in time to the Middle Ages.
Dresden and the Elbe Valley
The Church of Our Lady, The Semperoper opera house, the Green Vault – following extensive restoration of its most famous landmarks, Dresden is enjoying more visitors than ever before. But the city also has much more to offer. Film nights along banks of the Elbe, picnics to the sound of classical music, the 10th Dresdner City Festival from August 15 to 17, a rally for children retracing the steps of writer Erich Kaestner - and the chance to sample some marvellous excursions into the surrounding countryside. As a wine producing region Saxony is enjoying a revival. The around 55-kilometre-long Saxony Wine Route between Pirna and Dießbar-Seußlitz takes visitors past celebrated wineries and magnificent castles. In Pirna, where the River Elbe takes its leave of the Sandstone mountains, the sights include the historic marketplace, St. Mary’s Church and the Canaletto House. Close by is the town of Meissen, where the federal state-owned porcelain factory is among the area’s top attractions.Suurenda pilti (© dpa-Zentralbild)