Germany

No visitor will remain untouched by this country's complex past and the way it affects the nation today. Germany today is exciting and interesting, as two completely different states, separated for over 40 years, grow together again. For the tourist, among the joys of a trip to Germany is an evening at the Berlin Philharmonic or Munich's National Theatre, which offer some of the best orchestral sounds and operatic productions to be heard and seen anywhere in the world. Sausage, sauerkraut, beer, coffee and enormous cakes come to mind as typical German fare... and yes, sausages come in hundreds of varieties, cabbage is consumed frequently as are large quantities of potatoes.

Of course one of the best times to visit this incredible country is at Christmas time when the famous christmas markets take over many of its major cities and towns. The magic of the traditional German Christmas markets is casting more and more visitors under its spell every year.



Since November 1989, the two halves of the city of Berlin have slowly and painfully attempted to fuse. Berlin is just as fascinating to the visitor today as is ever was in the midst of the Cold War, but Berlin still remains a compelling city and prepares to regain its former status as the capital of a reunited Germany.

One of Germany's great metropolitan cities, Cologne is a centre of culture, arts and learning as well as industry and commerce. The people of Cologne seem smaller and swarthier than the German norm, their desire to have a good time reaching its peak during Karneval.

Pulsing with prosperity Munich revels in its own contradictions. Folklore and age-old traditions exist side by side with sleek cars, designer boutiques and high-powered industry. Despite all of its sophistication, Munich retains a touch of provincialism that visitors will find charming.

Dusseldorf is the showcase in which the country's wealth is displayed. The skyline is dominated by monuments of modern commerce such as the Thyssen skyscraper, but don't forget Dusseldorf's parks, gardens and landscaped pedestrian areas which make it possible to stroll for hours across this city without ever crossing a road.

Hamburg

Germany's second largest city and major port, Hamburg, has a great merchant seafaring tradition dating from Hanseatic days. With probably the best opera in Germany, Hamburg is a spacious and civilised city that delights the visitor.

Nuremberg boasts a unique mixture of tradition and modern times. Bursting with medieval architecture and over 30 museums to explore there is never a dull moment in Nuremberg.