While the whole of Europe is a melting pot of cultural excitement, Germany is especially rich in stories and sensations, north and south. With its vibrant, cosmopolitan cities – Berlin, Munich, Baden-Baden – and charming medieval towns – including Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of the most well-preserved municipalities in the country – Germany is an adventure waiting to be added to your calendar. And with so much to see and do, you may need to schedule more than one trip.
Let's begin with Berlin, the capital city. Lean heavily here on the art scene, the live music, the glorious green space and the museums teeming with antiquities. A visit to Berlin is nothing without stops at Schloss Charlottenburg, Boulevard Ku’Damm and the Victory Column. The Brandenburg Gate is a solid symbol of German unity and the nearby Holocaust Memorial brings a painful past into sharp focus.
The complex of Museums-Island is one of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city and on the opposite end of the scale, the East Side Gallery was a former section of the Berlin Wall, transformed into the largest group of murals in the world. Other fascinating reminders of the distinctly separate and relatively recent past of a city divided include the former border crossing, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse, a commemorative stretch of the original barricade.
Farther south in the capital of the Bavarian region, Munich shines as one of Germany’s most charming and still quite traditional towns. Sites the Tully Luxury Travel Designers have on their lists include the Synagogue Ohel Jakob, the Opera House, Odeons Square and the fabled Theatiner Church. Königsplatz is the melting pot of cultural life in the city, home to the Kunstareal gallery. Time also needs to be made for the ornate Munich Residenz, the headquarters of Bavarian royalty for 400 years. Other storied historic sites include the Munich Cathedral and Mary’s Square, Nymphenburg Palace and gardens, and Gothic St. Peter’s Church, the city’s oldest.
Munich has also been enjoying an architectural renaissance of late. Hyper-modern structures and buildings have cropped up quickly over the past 20 years, adding a futuristic counterbalance to all the ancient stone. These include the massive football hub Allianz Arena, high-rises with green façades, a new main train station and old Soviet-era structures renovated and repurposed by young architects.
When it’s time to relax, the spa town of Baden-Baden is your best bet in the Black Forest in the southwest. It was founded more than 2,000 years ago along the Oos River as a holiday spot, a beacon for people in need of a break. Along with the thermal baths, your time here can include a stroll along the central boulevard Lichtentaler Allee and a game of chance at the Kurhaus complex, home of the Versailles-inspired Spielbank, Germany’s oldest casino.