The Semperoper (the Opera House) in Dresden is one of the city’s many fanciful buildings.

Dresden

      • Slow to recover from the ravages of World War II and damaged by  floods in 2002, Dresden, the capital of the state of Saxony, is known for world class art museums, extravagant palaces, and a beautiful setting on the Elbe River.
        • View the river from the  Brühlsche Terasse, known as the “Balcony of Europe”, a rampart on the south bank of the river.  It is located on Terrassenufer near the Carolabrücke Bridge.
      • For many, the highlight of a visit to Dresden is the recently restored Church of Our Lady (the Dresden Frauenkirche) which was re-consecrated late in 2005.

    If you have time, also see the Cathedral (Katholische Hofkirche), a beautiful church in  the baroque style. Its interior detail is quite interesting.

      • Be sure to visit the Zwinger Palace (a baroque masterpiece with a small, but fantastic art collection), the Semper Opera House (Semperoper) and the Dresden Royal Palace (Residenz  Schloss).
        • At the Royal Palace, the Green Vault, one of Europe’s renowned collections of artistic treasures, reopened in September 2006.  The collection had not been seen in its entirety for nearly 70 years. The original museum was a casualty of World War II and the collection was rescued from destruction at the end of the war by the Russian Army.  It was returned  to Germany in 1958.
          • Be sure to tour the “Jewel Room” and the “Entrance Vault” to examine luxurious gemstones displayed in  elaborate settings. Reservations are suggested.  For more information visit the Museum’s official site
      • If you have time, explore the nearby Elbe Valley, which has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

    Moritzburg, Albrechtsberg, Ligner, Pillnitz and Eckberg are just a few examples of the many picturesque castles in the Dresden Elbe Valley)

  • Dresden celebrated its  800th anniversary in 2006.
  • See the city’s official tourism website for more details on visiting Dresden.

Black Forest

    • Black Forest, GermanyThe Black Forest (the Schwarzwald) is not black and many visitors would claim that many of its areas are too prim and proper to be called a forest, but that does not subtract from the region’s attractiveness. The Black Forest offers some of the best food in Germany, served at upscale resorts and spas featuring natural thermal pools and more treatments than you can imagine.
      • The locations of many of these spas are based on sites originally discovered by Roman Soldiers and, then, abandoned and lost for centuries.
      • If you have the time and money, the Black Forest can be a delightful place to travel. Make reservations early, as Europeans  consider this area one of the continent’s best places for a relaxing vacation.  There are numerous cities and villages to visit, although we highlight just two below.
      • Finally, when touring this area, try some Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (the Black Forest Cherry Cake), as this delight is the most popular dessert in Germany.
  • Baden-Baden
          • This is one of the exclusive spa-resort towns located  on the edge of the Black Forest.  Baden-Baden is the place to stop if you want luxury treatment and, perhaps, to gamble away the family fortune at the casino.
          • Look for shopping in the town centre, along  Lange Strasse, Lichtentaler Strasse, and the pedestrian area near the spas.

    For more information, visit the city’s official tourism site.

      • Baden-Baden can be an expensive place to stay, as the hotel rates here seem higher than most other locations in Germany.
  • Freiburg
    Freiburg

    Freiburg

    • Freiburg, the capital of the Black Forest, offers numerous attractions and is a pleasant place for a stay.
    • Freiburg’s Old Town is one of the most interesting and beautiful in Germany. The Old Town (town centre) is filled with interesting shopping opportunities and is pedestrian only.
    • Be sure to see  the Münster, the town’s towering cathedral, and its square the Münsterplatz (Minister Square), where an open market is held each morning.  In addition, while visiting the Square, take a look at the Merchant’s Hall, which, in the past, served as customs house and warehouse for the market.
    • See the official tourism website of Freiburg   for more details on visiting.

Hamburg

  • Germany’s second largest city and one of Europe’s leading ports, Hamburg is well known for its historic “Warehouse Quarter”, museums, grand avenues, and shopping.
  • Be sure to see the Town Hall, the Harbor, Stoll through the Blankenese District along the Elbe River and visit the Speicherstadt (warehouse district) (or view it from a harbor cruise).  Make time for the Church of St. Michael ( a Baroque masterpiece) that provides a great view of the city if you have enough energy to climb the steps to the viewing platform in the tower.
  • For the best shopping, visit the Mönckebergstraße, (also known as the “Mö”), which is known throughout Europe as a shopper’s paradise.
  • If you are a model railroader (and, perhaps, even if you are not) Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland features the world’s longest model railway.
    • The Wonderland has over  6 miles of track, spread over displays that mimic sections of Germany, the United States, Scandinavia and the Swiss Alps.
    • Apparently, the best is yet to come and the displays will not be completely finished until 2014 when France, Italy, Africa and Outer Space are expected to be completed.
    • The Miniatur Wunderland, which is well worth seeing, is located in the Speicherstadt area at Kehrwieder 4, 20457 Hamburg.
    • For more details see the official webite of Hamburg.
  • Hamburg is very enjoyable from the water, so take a harbor cruise to get to know the city.
Hamburg
Hamburg

Frankfurt

  • Frankfurt am Main is  the gateway to Germany for many travelers. If you arrive here, we suggest that you take a day to tour the town after your arrival, as spending some time walking and touring on your first day abroad is a good way to remedy jet lag before you hit the road to your ultimate destination in Germany.
  • Today’s Frankfurt is a thoroughly modern city that is the commercial and financial center of Germany.  Although the city was devastated by bombing during World War II, there are several “historic” sights worth seeing.  Head for the  Römerberg  Square (including the Römer – the Old Town Hall), St. Paul’s church and the Old Opera House (Alte Oper) for a recreated taste of historic Frankfurt.
  • Visit the Museum Embankment along the Mainz River for a number of good quality museums (including the incredible Stadel Art Museum ).
  • Frankfurt holds many major trade fairs (e.g. the International Book Fair (November) and the International Auto Show (October).  Make sure to plan your visit for some other time of the year.   During  these huge shows hotels will be unavailable (if available the rates will be much higher than usual), and the waiting times at restaurants will be extraordinary.
  • See the Frankfurt’s official tourism website for more details on visiting.
Frankfurt
Frankfurt