The Reichstag in Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag in Berlin

Germany Overview

Germany is located in the heart of Europe and is arguably its most interesting country to travel through. For centuries, Germany has been a major political and economic powerhouse throughout the European continent. Due to its long history of continuous human habitation, unique cultures and frequent conflict across its territory, Germany has so much on offer that you have to visit multiple times. On its borders sit the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark and the North Sea. With so many neighbouring countries offering spectacularly diverse travelling opportunities themselves, Germany can be combined with any European trip which will help cover its many excellent regions. Eastern and Western Europe can still be seen and distinctly felt in the country, even decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany. Having been the epicentre of both World Wars that defined the 20th century, then partitioned by the allies after WWII, travellers will find a country at odds with itself in some ways yet unified and strong enough to pretty much carry Europe economically. The stoic, reserved and highly intelligent nature of the German people means most of them speak multiple languages, have a forward thinking mentality on the environment and their country's self sustainability. Yet, their citizens are surprisingly liberal with a wild side, nudity in public parks in many cities during the summer is not uncommon, porn is widely available and they drink more beer than anywhere else on the continent in big 1L steins. With 82 million people, this is still one of the cleanest and most efficient countries you can travel through. Must see areas are Munich, Füssen, the Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen, Berlin, Dresden and surrounding areas; just to get the big ones in. The Travelling Backflip team has more than a dozen combined trips to Germany which far exceeds any other country our team has travelled to. Germany is simply so good that you can't help yourself.

Berlin
Braubach
Burg Eltz
Coburg
Dresden
Fussen
Heidelberg
Hohenzollern Castle
Mainau
Munich
Rhine
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
St Goar
Tubingen
Wartburg Castle
 

Image Gallery

Photography by Eric Starling, Mike Minckler, Footside and Peter Dale

Marksburg Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle
Heidelberg Old Town, Germany
Heidelberg Old Town
The Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag, Berlin
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Tübingen, Germany
Tübingen
Berg Rheinfels Castle, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Berg Rheinfels Castle, St Goar
Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg
Hohenzollern Castle Stained Glass, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle Stained Glass
Hohenschwangau Castle with Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle with Neuschwanstein Castle
Burg Eltz Castle Backflip, Germany
Burg Eltz Castle Backflip
Theatinerkirche, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Theatinerkirche, Munich
Friedrichsburg on Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Friedrichsburg on Königstein Fortress
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Veste Coburg Castle, , Germany
Veste Coburg Castle
View of the start of the German Alps above the town of Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of the start of the German Alps above the town of Füssen
View of the town of Kaub and the local passenger ferry on the Rhine River, Germany
View of the town of Kaub and the local passenger ferry on the Rhine River
View of Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg Old Town and the Old Bridge over the River Neckar, Germany
View of Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg Old Town and the Old Bridge over the River Neckar
View from St Peters Church in Central Munich of City Hall on the Right and Frauenkirche in the middle, Bavaria, Germany
View from St Peters Church in Central Munich of City Hall on the Right and Frauenkirche in the middle
The football stadium in Hamburg during the World Cup in 2006, Germany
The football stadium in Hamburg during the World Cup in 2006
Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Potsdam Palace, near Berlin, Germany
Potsdam Palace, near Berlin
Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany
Regensburg
The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
The Rhine River, Germany
The Rhine River
Mainau Island Castle and Church, Lake Constance, Germany
Mainau Island Castle and Church
Hamburg Train Station, Hamburg Hautbahnhof, Germany
Hamburg Train Station
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden
Reichstag Backflip, Berlin, Germany
Reichstag Backflip, Berlin
Statue in Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Germany
Statue in Heidelberg Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle, Füssen
Hohenzollern Castle, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle
Burg Katz, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz, Rhine River
Wartburg Castle, Germany
Wartburg Castle
View of the Rhine River and the town of St Goarshausen with Burg Katz above, Germany
View of the Rhine River and the town of St Goarshausen with Burg Katz above
The Reichstag in central Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag in central Berlin
View from the Hausmannsturm Tower of the Semperoper Opera House on the left and the Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral in the middle with the Elbe River running through Dresden, Germany
View from the Hausmannsturm Tower of the Semperoper Opera House on the left and the Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral in the middle with the Elbe River running through Dresden
Interior of the Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Interior of the Nymphenburg Palace, Munich
The Olympic Stadium in Berlin during World Cup 2006, Berlin, Germany
The Olympic Stadium in Berlin during World Cup 2006
Hohenschwangau Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle, Füssen
Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany
Olympic Stadium, Berlin
The Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany
The Berlin Wall
Wartburg Castle, Germany
Wartburg Castle
The Hamburg Rathaus, Hamburg, Germany
The Hamburg Rathaus, Hamburg
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, Rhine River
View of the Viktualienmarkt, Munich, Germany
View of the Viktualienmarkt, Munich
Munich Train Station, Munchen Hautbahnhof, Germany
Munich Train Station
The Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
The Hofbrauhaus, Munich
Lowenbrau Beer Garden, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Lowenbrau Beer Garden, Munich
Augustinerbrau Beer Garden, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Augustinerbrau Beer Garden, Munich
World Cup 2006, Berlin, Germany
World Cup 2006, Berlin
Schonburg Castle and the town of Oberwesel, Rhine River, Germany
Schonburg Castle and the town of Oberwesel
Wartburg Courtyard Backflip, Germany
Wartburg Courtyard Backflip
View of the town of Oberwesel which still features its Medieval Walls, Rhine River, Germany
View of the town of Oberwesel which still features its Medieval Walls, Rhine River
View of the town of Füssen in southern Germany at the base of the Alps, Bavaria, Germany
View of the town of Füssen in southern Germany at the base of the Alps
Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany at the base of the Alps, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany at the base of the Alps
Outside view of Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Outside view of Nymphenburg Palace, Munich
View of Burg Rheinfels Castle from the town of St Goarshausen, Rhine River, Germany
View of Burg Rheinfels Castle from the town of St Goarshausen
Berlin Cathedral and Fernsehturm, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Cathedral and Fernsehturm, Berlin
Erfurt City Square, Germany
Erfurt City Square
Burg Eltz Castle, Germany
Burg Eltz Castle
Festung Königstein, near Dresden, Germany
Festung Königstein, near Dresden
Kehlsteinhaus or Eagles Nest, near Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Kehlsteinhaus or Eagles Nest, near Munich
Nymphenburg Palace Backflip, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nymphenburg Palace Backflip, Munich
Veste Coburg Castle, Coburg, Germany
Veste Coburg Castle, Coburg
Heidelberg Backflip, Germany
Heidelberg Backflip
City Hall in Marienplatz in Munich, Bavaria, Germany
City Hall in Marienplatz in Munich
Hohenzollern Castle, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle
Burg Stahleck, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Stahleck, Rhine River
Oberbaum Bridge, Berlin, Germany
Oberbaum Bridge, Berlin

Rhine

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Mike Minckler, Peter Dale and Footside

Burg Katz, Katz Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz
Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, Rhine River Germany
Burg Pfalzgrafenstein
Burg Ehrenfels, Ehrenfels Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Ehrenfels
Burg Stahleck, Stahleck Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Stahleck
Burg Reichenstein, Reichenstein Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Reichenstein
Marksburg Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg

The Rhine River begins as a trickling stream in the eastern Alps and runs the length of Western Germany, through Belgium and the Netherlands, before emptying into the North Sea. The Rhine is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe and from its small beginnings in the Alps, it grows into a huge river reaching 300 metres across at its widest point. Since the days of the Roman Empire when the Rhine was a dangerous northern frontier, the river has been a vital waterway for trade, bringing goods deep inland to the European continent's heartland. The many castles and fortifications along the Rhine are proof of its importance as a trading waterway. The fortune to be had by controlling trade along this river has shaped the landscape and its people for thousands of years, which contributed to a key section of the River from Koblenz to Bingen becoming a Unesco World Heritage Site. The pictures and material for this page focuses on this amazing stretch of river that's roughly 65km long and features dozens of castles in different states of preservation. Travelers can expect picturesque small villages and towns hugging narrow winding gorges that feature a castle at almost ever bend. Some of these castles have remained in different states of ruin since the 30 Years War that ravaged the region, including some boutique hotels restored to their former glory at a hefty cost. Most of the fortresses between Koblenz and Bingen occupy a commanding view of the river from a clifftop, bombarding anyone not paying the toll, so expect a bit of hiking to explore these amazing pieces of history. This part of Germany can arguably be considered one of the best places in the entire country to spend a couple of weeks. If you don't have that amount of time, even a half day will give you a taste of whats on offer and entice you back. Whether traveling by train, car, ferry, bike or on foot, don't miss a chance to explore some of the most historically rich parts of Europe.

View of the Rhine and the town of St Goarshausen with Burg Katz above, Rhine River, Germany
View of the Rhine and the town of St Goarshausen with Burg Katz above
View of the ruins of Burg Rheinfels above the town of St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
View of the ruins of Burg Rheinfels above the town of St Goar
View of the town of Kaub and the local passenger ferry, Rhine River, Germany
View of the town of Kaub and the local passenger ferry
View of the Rhine River with St Goar on the right and St Goarshausen on the left from Burg Rheinfels, Rhine River, Germany
View of the Rhine River with St Goar on the right and St Goarshausen on the left from Burg Rheinfels
The Rhine from Marksburg Castle, Rhine River, Germany
The Rhine from Marksburg Castle
The town of Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
The town of Braubach
The town of Kaub and Burg Gutenfels, Gutenfels Castle, Rhine River, Germany
The town of Kaub and Burg Gutenfels
Burg Maus, Mouse Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Maus
Burg Rheinfels, Rheinfels Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels
Burg Katz, Cat Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz
Burg Sooneck, Castle Sooneck, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Sooneck
The town of Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
The town of Braubach
Schonburg Castle and the town of Oberwesel, Rhine River, Germany
Schonburg Castle and the town of Oberwesel
Burg Rheinfels and the town of St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels and the town of St Goar
Keg House in Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Keg House in Braubach
Burg Gutenfels, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Gutenfels
Marksburg Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle
The Rhine near Oberwesel, Rhine River, Germany
The Rhine near Oberwesel
Stolzenfels Castle, near Koblenz, Rhine River, Germany
Stolzenfels Castle
View of the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle above the town of Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
View of the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle above the town of Braubach
View of the town of Oberwesel which still features its Medieval Walls, Rhine River, Germany
View of the town of Oberwesel which still features its Medieval Walls
View of the floating toll castle Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, the town of Kaub and Burg Gutenfels, Rhine River, Germany
View of the floating toll castle Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, the town of Kaub and Burg Gutenfels
Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach
The Lorelei Cliff, Rhine River, Germany
The Lorelei Cliff
Braubach Tower, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach Tower
Suits of Armour in Marksburg Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Suits of Armour in Marksburg Castle
Burg Sooneck, Sooneck Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Sooneck
Burg Stahleck, Stahleck Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Stahleck
Burg Klopp near Bingen, Castle Klopp, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Klopp near Bingen
Burg Rheinstein, Castle Rheinstein, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinstein
Burg Reichenstein, Castle Reichenstein, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Reichenstein
Town of St Goarshausen and Burg Katz, Rhine River, Germany
Town of St Goarshausen and Burg Katz
Town of Boppard, Rhine River, Germany
Town of Boppard
Small Village on the Rhine, Rhine River, Germany
Small Village on the Rhine
Burg Ehrenfels, Castle Ehrenfels, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Ehrenfels
Marksburg Castle at Night, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle at Night
Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach
Town of Oberwesel, Rhine River, Germany
Town of Oberwesel
View from Marksburg Castle, Rhine River, Germany
View from Marksburg Castle
Tavern in Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Tavern in Braubach
Marksburg Castle Tower, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle Tower
Marksburg Castle Gate, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle Gate
Burg Maus, Castle Maus, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Maus

Füssen

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Mike Minckler and Footside

Schloss Hohenschwangau, Hohenschwangau Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Schloss Hohenschwangau
St Mang's Basilica, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
St Mang's Basilica
Schloss Neuschwanstein, Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Schloss Neuschwanstein
Inner Courtyard of Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Inner Courtyard of Neuschwanstein Castle
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from cliffs, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from cliffs
Hohenschwangau Castle with Neuschwanstein Castle in the background, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle with Neuschwanstein Castle in the background

Füssen is a beautiful Bavarian town boasting two nearby castles, amazing mountain views, a picturesque old town and adventure activities for enthusiasts in both winter or summer. Located in southern Germany at the base of the Alps, about 5 km from the Austrian border, this quaint little town has been a settlement since Roman times. Today, the town boasts a 9th century Benedictine monastery, a small walled town and some of the warmest hospitality on offer in Germany. Visitors flock to this area to see the famous castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau which are a mere 6 km walk away or a few minutes drive. Neuschwanstein castle was built by the eccentric King Ludwig II who envisioned building his masterpiece in the authentic style of an old German knight's castle. Started in 1869, the castle remained unfinished due to King Ludwig continuously changing his mind and having finished sections torn down and rebuilt. By 1886, the King was declared insane by the state and mysteriously died only days later leaving the majority of his castle's interior rooms unfinished (only 14 rooms were finished before Ludwig's death). He spent 20 years of his kingdom's resources living his dream of romanticizing the middle ages.

View of the town of Füssen at the base of the Alps, Bavaria, Germany
View of the town of Füssen at the base of the Alps
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the neighbouring cliffs with Hohenschwangau Castle in the distance, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the neighbouring cliffs with Hohenschwangau Castle in the distance
View of the beginning of the Bavarian Alps and the town of Füssen in southern Germany, Bavaria, Germany
View of the beginning of the Bavarian Alps and the town of Füssen in southern Germany

Neuschwanstein is the most photographed building in Germany and is the country's most visited tourist destination. For the keen photographer, whether amateur or pro, climbing the ridge above the castle offers stunning views and no crowds to appreciate this extravagant marvel. The other castle in the area is Hohenschwangau and although it is overshadowed by its nearby fairytale neighbour, it offers a glimpse into where King Ludwig grew up. It was built on the ruins of a 12th century fortress by King Ludwig's father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria, in 1833. Hohenschwangau was more of a royal palace than fortress although it still has the look of a defensive castle in some respects. It was just been made more luxurious and livable for Kings and Queens during the 1800's. Although crowds can get very congested at all times of the year in this fantastic location below the Alps, make sure you don't miss the unique German fairytale experience to be had in Füssen and the surrounding sites.

Neuschwanstein Castle side view, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle side view
View looking out of Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View looking out of Neuschwanstein Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle Main Tower, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle Main Tower
Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle
Front Facade of Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Front Facade of Neuschwanstein Castle
Backflip overlooking Alps and Castles, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Backflip overlooking Alps and Castles
Neuschwanstein Castle from the bridge, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle from the bridge
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip
Neuschwanstein Castle Dragon Mural, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle Dragon Mural
Hohenschwangau Castle Gate, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle Gate
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Team Picture on the cliffs above Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Team Picture on the cliffs above Neuschwanstein Castle
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the viewing bridge with a helicopter lowering tools to workers below, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the viewing bridge with a helicopter lowering tools to workers below
View of the Bavarian Alps with Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle at the base of the mountains, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of the Bavarian Alps with Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle at the base of the mountains
View of the front facade of Neuschwanstein Castle from the inner courtyard where the tour starts, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of the front facade of Neuschwanstein Castle from the inner courtyard where the tour starts
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the cliff line that runs up the mountain, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the cliff line that runs up the mountain
View of the inner courtyard at Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of the inner courtyard at Neuschwanstein Castle
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
Clock Tower in the town of Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Clock Tower in the town of Füssen
Hohenschwangau Castle courtyard, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle courtyard
The town of Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
The town of Füssen
Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Travelling Backflip Team in 2004, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Travelling Backflip Team in 2004
Neuschwanstein Castle Tower, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle Tower
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip
Trails above Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Trails above Neuschwanstein Castle
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the viewing bridge over the waterfall, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the viewing bridge over the waterfall
View of the town of Füssen and the rolling hills leading up to the Alps, Bavaria, Germany
View of the town of Füssen and the rolling hills leading up to the Alps
Hohenschwangau Castle Main Tower, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle Main Tower
View of the Bavarian Alps from the mountains above Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
View of the Bavarian Alps from the mountains above Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle from the cliffs above the castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle from the cliffs above the castle
Path to the viewing bridge, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Path to the viewing bridge
Tree view of Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Tree view of Neuschwanstein Castle
The town of Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
The town of Füssen
Hohenschwangau Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
Front Facade of Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Front Facade of Neuschwanstein Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle
Jumps on the Alps, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Jumps on the Alps
Trails above Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Trails above Neuschwanstein Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip
Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip, near Füssen, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle Backflip

Munich

Text by Footside and Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Mike Minckler and Footside

Olympic Park during World Cup 2006, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Olympic Park during World Cup 2006
Lowenbrau 1 Litre Stein, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Lowenbrau 1 Litre Stein
Marienplatz and City Hall, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Marienplatz and City Hall
View of Marienplatz from the Frauenkirche Towers, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
View of Marienplatz from the Frauenkirche Towers
Munich Derby Football Game, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Munich Derby Football Game
World Cup 2006 Festivities, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
World Cup 2006 Festivities

Munich is Germany's third largest city located just north of the Bavarian Alps and is one of Europe's most prosperous and memorable places to visit. Founded in 1158 Munich, which is pronounced Munchen in German, means "Monks". This translation gives insight into the founders of this beautiful city, from back when the area was within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire. Munich is a city worth visiting multiple times.  Sitting in the city centre in a beautiful square with a large 1L beer stein in your hand and the tantalizing smell of bratwurst in the air will have you finding it hard to leave. Munich is one of those classic European city gems. Old world architecture, deep culture and quality sites, yet with all the pleasantries of accessible parks, markets and open squares. It's a rare mix of big time city, with a small town feel. Boasting a mountain backdrop and iconic skyline, Munich is certainly a city easy to enjoy. And best of all, being easily walkable, you'll have every opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant Bavarian city. You wont have to go far to be impressed by Munich, but if you want bang for your buck, you can't do much better than the stretch from Karlsplatz to the Viktualienmarket. Walking this one long boulevard is like being on the conveyor-belt of Munich sites. On either side you'll run a continuous gauntlet of picturesque multi-level facades, the buildings having all been converted into boutique shops, cafes and other pedestrian friendly businesses. Amongst all this, you'll also find churches, towers, theatres, restored administrative buildings and 800 year old breweries further adding to the charm of the area.

The Antiquarium at the Munich Residenz Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
The Antiquarium at the Munich Residenz Palace
Glyptothek Museum, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Glyptothek Museum
Building in Munich, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Building in Munich
Lowenbrau Advertising, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Lowenbrau Advertising
Augustiner Bräu Beer Hall, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Augustiner Bräu Beer Hall
Nymphenburg Palace Backflip, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nymphenburg Palace Backflip

A bit further on, as the skyline opens up and the distinctive double green domes of the Frauenkirche hit the clear mountain background, you've now reached Marienplatz and the centre of Munich tourism. A fantastic open square fronting the skeleton white gothic facade of the town hall. It's giant clock tower houses the famed Glockenspiel. This old clock is a tourist attraction in its own right, and it's not uncommon to see hundreds of people, waiting with tilted heads, for the mechanical show of the Glockenspiel to commence. From here it's a quick walk around the corner to the Viktualienmarkt, where you can indulge in everything bavarian. There's nothing better than sitting outside enjoying some of the worlds best beer, bratwurst and pretzels with a hundred or so others. After 5pm this place gets swamped by locals looking to unwind after work, it's all good times and refreshing to see that this isn't a tourist trap, but a true local Munchener hangout. Around the rim of the market are quality food stores, where you can pick and choose from the best salami, hanging meats and cured products you'll find anywhere in the city. A Bavarian and Munich specialty not to be missed is the extremely tasty Weisswurst, which is a white sausage served with sweet mustard, and a freshly baked pretzel washed down with a smooth local wheat beer.

View from St Peters Church in Central Munich of City Hall on the Right and Frauenkirche in the middle, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
View from St Peters Church in Central Munich of City Hall on the Right and Frauenkirche in the middle
View of the Königsplatz with the State Collections of Antiques Museum on the left and Glyptothek Museum on the right, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
View of the Königsplatz with the State Collections of Antiques Museum on the left and Glyptothek Museum on the right
Interior of the Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Interior of the Nymphenburg Palace

Further afield, people flock to the Englischer Garten off from the city centre. This is an enormous open park area, with fields, forests, covered pathways and of course beer gardens. It's a nice walk, but an even nicer place to sit down with some snacks or beers and watch the world. Be aware that its not uncommon to see the occasional nudist sunbathing in the summer months on their lunch break. One place firmly on the Munich tourist trail is the Hofbrau beerhall. By no means older than any of the more established local breweries, Hofbrau however has a recent history which puts it seemingly on everyone's 'to-do' list. Sure it's a cool place, it's big, it looks nice, it serves beer, but the atmosphere is more akin to an assembly line of a production plant. The scale is almost industrial as teams of traditionally-dressed bar staff pump out stein after stein as quickly as they can to a never ending supply of tourists who are there for their "I've been here" bragging rights. It can be a bit disappointing as there are far better beer halls and beer gardens to enjoy the world's finest beers, Augustinerbrau and Lowenbrau to name the best and coincidentally oldest drinking establishments. So if you're unfortunate enough that your tour bus dropped you off at the Hofbrauhaus at dinner time, take solace in knowing that you are getting at least some exposure to a bavarian beer hall experience, just understand that you'll be sharing it with every other tour bus in town too. Walking 10 min away to the Augustinerbrau beer hall up Karlsplatz will be worth your time. Munich is one of the all-time great European cities. It's close proximity and role as a hub for Bavaria also places it as a convenient staging point for day trips to the south of Germany. For an insight into traditional Germany, and in my opinion for all the best things that Germany has to offer, no person should miss Munich.

View of the Viktualienmarkt, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
View of the Viktualienmarkt
Karlsplatz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Karlsplatz
Oktoberfest Entrance, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Oktoberfest Entrance
Jeweled item, Munich Residenz Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Jeweled item, Munich Residenz Palace
Frauenkirche Tower, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Frauenkirche Tower
TV Tower in Olympic Park, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
TV Tower in Olympic Park
Inside the Frauenkirche, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Inside the Frauenkirche
Munich Residenz Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Munich Residenz Palace
Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Alte Pinakothek
Giant Stein near Marienplatz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Giant Stein near Marienplatz
Marienplatz and City Hall, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Marienplatz and City Hall
Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Hofbrauhaus
The Munich Derby Football Match at Olympic Park in 2004, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
The Munich Derby Football Match at Olympic Park in 2004
View of Olympic Park built for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
View of Olympic Park built for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games
Nymphenburg Palace Grounds, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nymphenburg Palace Grounds
Building around the Viktualienmarkt, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Building around the Viktualienmarkt
Theatinerkirche, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Theatinerkirche
Mariensäule Pillar in Marienplatz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Mariensäule Pillar in Marienplatz
Munich Fountain Backflip, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Munich Fountain Backflip
Residenz Palace Backflip, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Residenz Palace Backflip
View of Olympic Stadium from the TV Tower, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
View of Olympic Stadium from the TV Tower
Kehlsteinhaus or Eagles Nest, near Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Kehlsteinhaus or Eagles Nest, near Munich
Oktoberfest Beer Tent, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Oktoberfest Beer Tent
Oktoberfest Grounds, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Oktoberfest Grounds
City Hall in Marienplatz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
City Hall in Marienplatz
Alte Pinakothek Painting, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Alte Pinakothek Painting
Strolling to the Lowenbrau Brewery, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Strolling to the Lowenbrau Brewery
Augustiner Bräu Beer Hall, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Augustiner Bräu Beer Hall
Viktualienmarkt MayPole, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Viktualienmarkt MayPole
Olympic Park, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Olympic Park
World Cup 2006, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
World Cup 2006
Lowenbrau Beer Hall, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Lowenbrau Beer Hall
Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nymphenburg Palace
Nymphenburg Palace Backflip, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nymphenburg Palace Backflip
Olympic Park, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Olympic Park
Oktoberfest Beer Tent, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Oktoberfest Beer Tent
Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich
Karlsplatz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Karlsplatz
Karlsplatz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Karlsplatz
Augustiner Bräu Beer Garden, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Augustiner Bräu Beer Garden
Augustiner Bräu Beer Hall, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Augustiner Bräu Beer Hall
Ludwigstrasse, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Ludwigstrasse
Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nymphenburg Palace
Lowenbrau Beer Garden, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Lowenbrau Beer Garden
Frauenkirche, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Frauenkirche

Berlin

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

The Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag
Piece of the Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany
Piece of the Berlin Wall
The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
The Brandenburg Gate
Potsdam Palaces, Berlin, Germany
Potsdam Palaces
Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, Germany
Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin Cathedral, Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Cathedral

Berlin is Germany's capital city and a place that has been the epicentre of important world events throughout its turbulent history. Located in northeastern Germany, about 70 kilometres from the Polish border, Berlin is the country's largest city at roughly 3.5 million people and the second most populous city in the European Union. First documented as a thriving population base in the 13th century, Berlin has gone through intense change in the last 60 years. A city divided between east and west during the height of the cold war, not just by ideologies but also by the oppressive Berlin Wall, mostly positive developments have followed the reunification of Germany since 1990. Past divisions are still noticeable today but the previous eastern block areas have undergone major regeneration to erase the scars left by decades of communism. As of the early 2000s, areas that had previously been in East Germany were struggling to shake off their recent repressive past and develop like the western sectors of the city. Key areas near the wall like Potsdamer Platz have had major renewal and were examples of the new Germany rebuilding itself. Berlin now offers visitors a vast array of different looks, from the Reichstag and iconic Brandenburg Gate to the ultra modern structures built over the site of the Berlin wall and the new amazingly efficient Berlin Hauptbahnhof (central train station). Berlin is a proud German city that is building itself back up to being one of Europe's best capital cities while still dealing with its difficult past. The history on offer in museums and landmarks throughout the city illustrate what all of Europe has dealt with since the Third Reich started World War II and the Russians drew their Iron Curtain across Eastern Europe. Berlin requires at least a week to sample its museums, sports teams, trendy bars and social scene, historical districts and distinctive people. Give Berlin a week and by the end you will probably want more.

Reichstag Backflip, Berlin, Germany
Reichstag Backflip
Berlin Victory Column, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Victory Column
Potsdam Palaces, Berlin, Germany
Potsdam Palaces
Berlin Canal and Cathedral, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Canal and Cathedral
Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany
Olympic Stadium
Statue on Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
Statue on Brandenburg Gate
Fernsehturm, Berlin, Germany
Fernsehturm
Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin Central Train Station, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin, Germany
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Humboldt University of Berlin
Section of the Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany
Section of the Berlin Wall
The Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag
Berlin Cathedral and Fernsehturm, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Cathedral and Fernsehturm
Oberbaum Bridge, Berlin, Germany
Oberbaum Bridge
The Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag
Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Wall
Potsdam Gardens, Berlin, Germany
Potsdam Gardens
The Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
The Reichstag
Olympic Stadium during the World Cup, Berlin, Germany
Olympic Stadium during the World Cup
Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany
Olympic Stadium
World Cup Crowds in 2006, Berlin, Germany
World Cup Crowds in 2006
Panoramic view of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin built in a neoclassical style by the Nazi's for the 1936 Summer Olympics, Berlin, Germany
Panoramic view of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin built in a neoclassical style by the Nazi's for the 1936 Summer Olympics
View of the Reichstag upper facade, Berlin, Germany
View of the Reichstag upper facade
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, near Berlin, Germany
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Brandenburg Gate during World Cup, Berlin, Germany
Brandenburg Gate during World Cup
Section of the Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany
Section of the Berlin Wall
Crowds during the World Cup, Berlin, Germany
Crowds during the World Cup
Potsdam Gardens, Berlin, Germany
Potsdam Gardens
Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
Reichstag
Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
Reichstag
Berlin Cathedral, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Canal near Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Canal near Reichstag
Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin, Germany
Charlottenburg Palace
Charlottenburg Palace Tea House, Berlin, Germany
Charlottenburg Palace Tea House
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, near Berlin, Germany
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany
Olympic Stadium
Reichstag side view, Berlin, Germany
Reichstag side view
Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
Reichstag
Reichstag with German Flag, Berlin, Germany
Reichstag with German Flag
Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin, Germany
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Oberbaum Bridge, Berlin, Germany
Oberbaum Bridge
Panoramic view of the Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
Panoramic view of the Reichstag

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Text and Photography by Mike Minckler

View from the Town Hall Tower
View from the Town Hall Tower
Stained Glass in St James Church
Stained Glass in St James Church
The town gardens
The town gardens
View from the town gardens
View from the town gardens
Galgengasse
Galgengasse
Wodden carvings in St James Church
Wodden carvings in St James Church

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, or the red fortress above the Tauber, has a classical medieval feel to this traditional bavarian town. Perched on a plateau above the Tauber river, Rothenburg is one of the few towns with a completely intact ring of fortified walls around the Old Town. The majority of the walls are accessible to walk upon and offer great views of the city's interior. Inside the old town walls much of its historical architecture has been well maintained, including the Town Hall which dates back to 1250. The town hall tower rises 200 feet above the main square and for two euros you can take the stairs to the top for amazing views of the old town, walls and surrounding area. Another feature to visit is St. James Church which houses some impressive stained glass and wooden alters. Walking through the streets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber you'll be struck by the story book feel of the traditional cobbled streets and half timber houses. The town gardens offer a quiet change of pace as they extended out on a peninsula above the river below. Rothenburg can be visited easily as a day trip by utilizing the excellent Deutsche Bahn rail network. However, if you have the time to stay overnight the city town quiets down after the tour buses leave and you can have section of a medieval town to yourself. 

The city walls of Rotheburg
The city walls of Rotheburg
Medieval tower
Medieval tower
Youth Hostel
Youth Hostel
St James Church
St James Church
Traditional Streets of Rothenburg
Traditional Streets of Rothenburg
St James Church
St James Church
A painting in the town museum
A painting in the town museum
The ceiling of St James Church
The ceiling of St James Church
Town gardens
Town gardens
View from the town hall tower
View from the town hall tower
An old painting of Rothenburg
An old painting of Rothenburg
Carvings in the church
Carvings in the church
Southern city walls
Southern city walls
View from the city walls
View from the city walls
The town well
The town well
Town Hall
Town Hall
Rothenburg's central square
Rothenburg's central square
Interior medieval streets
Interior medieval streets
St James Church
St James Church
Alter in the church
Alter in the church
Central alter of St James Church
Central alter of St James Church
Statue in the church
Statue in the church
St James Church
St James Church
St James Church
St James Church
Medieval tower of Rothenburg
Medieval tower of Rothenburg
City walls
City walls
Northern walls of Rothenburg
Northern walls of Rothenburg
Eastern city walls
Eastern city walls
Torture museum
Torture museum
Main gates to enter the city gardens
Main gates to enter the city gardens
Looking through the gates to the city gardens
Looking through the gates to the city gardens
Old jail cells below the city
Old jail cells below the city
View from the city walls
View from the city walls

Dresden, Königstein Fortress and Schloss Moritzburg

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Semperoper, Opera House, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Semperoper, Dresden
Schloss Moritzburg, Moritzburg Castle, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Festung Königstein, Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Festung Königstein
Hausmannsturm Tower, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Hausmannsturm Tower, Dresden
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Friedrichsburg on Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Friedrichsburg on Königstein Fortress

Dresden is a beautiful city in Eastern Germany that has seen prosperity as well as utter destruction in its long history. Located on the river Elbe, not far from the border with the Czech Republic, Dresden was the capital and royal residence of the Kings of Saxony for centuries. During those prosperous times, Dresden became a key centre for art and culture which was funded by the wealthy kings and for a time was known as the 'Florence of the North'. More recently, it was the site of one of the more controversial Allied actions of World War II when it was completely destroyed by firebombing by the US and Britain in February of 1945. Serious comprehensive reconstruction has worked to rebuild Dresden and now the city is one of the more successful stories to emerge after decades of languishing under communism. The city offers some spectacular art galleries with some of the finest art works commissioned during Dresden's golden era. The Old Masters Gallery in particular is a must see with over 750 paintings from the 15th - 18th centuries. For a look at before-and-after examples of the fireboming of Dresden during WWII, there is a sobering exhibition on its destruction and rebirth that puts this late action of the war in perspective. Dresden also has some amazing sites that can be visited as day trips around the local region. Saxony Switzerland is a hilly area nearby that has all sorts of unique sandstone formations for climbing and hiking. The Festung Königstein, or Königstein Fortress, is a massive complex on a sandstone plateau some 240 metres above the River Elbe that has been a defensive position with some kind of castle or fortress since the 1200s. The walk around the perimeter of the walls and sheer sandstone cliffs overlooking the surrounding hills and River Elbe are fantastic. An even closer day trip is to the lavish Schloss Moritzburg. Only 13 km from Dresden, this "castle" was a luxurious hunting lodge for the kings of Saxony. Set on expansive lands that remain as a park, the king would hunt at his leisure and entertain guests of the state in the palatial rooms. Moritzburg is an easy half day trip or you can bring a lunch and picnic in the park while taking your time. Dresden has outdoor activities, plenty of art and history on offer and numerous day trips around the local area providing days worth of exploration. Be sure to take time to sit back on the banks of the Elbe and have a drink or two while absorbing the view of a city that has risen from rubble and repression to reclaim most of its former beauty.

View from the Hausmannsturm Tower of the Semperoper Opera House on the left and the Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral in the middle with the Elbe River running through Dresden, Saxony, Germany
View from the Hausmannsturm Tower of the Semperoper Opera House on the left and the Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral in the middle with the Elbe River running through Dresden
View of Festung Königstein, the Königstein Fortress which is one of the largest hilltop fortresses in Europe, an easy day trip from Dresden, Saxony, Germany
View of Festung Königstein, the Königstein Fortress which is one of the largest hilltop fortresses in Europe, an easy day trip from Dresden
View of Schloss Moritzburg, the hunting lodge for the kings of Saxony, an easy day trip from Dresden, Saxony, Germany
View of Schloss Moritzburg, the hunting lodge for the kings of Saxony, an easy day trip from Dresden
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Old Masters Gallery, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Old Masters Gallery, Dresden
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Semperoper, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Semperoper, Dresden
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden
Dresden Building, Saxony, Germany
Dresden Building
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress Gate, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress Gate
Dresden Main Square, Saxony, Germany
Dresden Main Square
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden
View of the River Elbe from Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
View of the River Elbe from Königstein Fortress
Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral, Dresden
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Dresden Frauenkirche in 2004, Saxony, Germany
Dresden Frauenkirche in 2004
View from Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
View from Königstein Fortress
Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral and River Elbe, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral and River Elbe, Dresden
Dresden Door Handle, Saxony, Germany
Dresden Door Handle
Old Masters Gallery, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Old Masters Gallery, Dresden
View of the Dresden Skyline in 2004 as the city rebuilds, Saxony, Germany
View of the Dresden Skyline in 2004 as the city rebuilds
Schloss Moritzburg, near Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg, near Dresden
View from Königstein Fortress in Saxony Switzerland, near Dresden, Saxony, Germany
View from Königstein Fortress in Saxony Switzerland, near Dresden
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
The Procession of Princes or Fürstenzug, Dresden
View from Hausmannsturm Tower, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
View from Hausmannsturm Tower, Dresden
Old Masters Gallery, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Old Masters Gallery, Dresden
View from Königstein Fortress of the Elbe and village of Königstein, Saxony, Germany
View from Königstein Fortress of the Elbe and village of Königstein
Königstein Fortress Gate, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress Gate
Königstein Fortress Backflip, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress Backflip
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral and River Elbe, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral and River Elbe, Dresden
Dresden Building, Saxony, Germany
Dresden Building
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Dresden
Hausmannsturm Tower, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Hausmannsturm Tower, Dresden
Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Dresden
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Schloss Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Schloss Moritzburg
Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Dresden
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress, Saxony, Germany
Königstein Fortress
View from the Hausmannsturm Tower of the Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral with the Elbe River running through Dresden, Saxony, Germany
View from the Hausmannsturm Tower of the Katholische Hofkirche Cathedral with the Elbe River running through Dresden

Heidelberg

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Mike Minckler

View of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
View of the Church of the Holy Spirit
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Wine Keg, Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Wine Keg, Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Kornmarkt and Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Kornmarkt and Heidelberg Castle
View of the Old Bridge from the Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
View of the Old Bridge from the Castle

Heidelberg is a thriving riverside city in southwest Germany that is world renowned for its Baroque style Old Town, its Renaissance Castle and the oldest university in the country. The Old Town consists of the usual well kept high street, with squares and a cathedral, that offers some fantastic bars and restaurants along with shopping establishments. The main feature of the Old Town is the looming Heidelberg Castle that stands some 80 metres above the area perched on a hillside. Heidelberg Castle was originally a small fortress in the early 1200s before becoming two separate castles on the same hillside and finally a proper castle/palace for a king in 1401. At this time Rupert III became Emperor and expanded the castle and its surrounding lands to ensure it would impress visitors and also serve as a defensive structure if need be. The castle even served as a prison in the early 1400s for a pope deposed by the Holy Roman Emperor before it, like many other castles in Germany, was ravaged during the 30 Years War. Also, during the next couple of hundred years, the castle was hit twice by powerful bolts of lightning that destroyed two sections of the vast structure. By the 1700s, the royal court was moved to Mannheim which signaled the beginning of Heidelberg's gradual decline. The castle would become a romantic ruin and still acts as much today. There are some fantastic detailed statues of past kings and high ranking officials that adorn a number of facades of the castle and survive to this day. The giant kegs used for making wine centuries ago can still be seen taking up entire rooms and the surrounding gardens on the hillside provide some panoramic views of the Old Town and River Neckar that runs through the valley. Due to the fact Heidelberg has one of the oldest universities in Europe, dating from 1386, and was a major location of the royal court centuries ago, it is established as a transport hub that allows great train and motorway access to the surrounding region and neighbouring France. Heidelberg is a fun and lively town that provides a great base for exploring the surrounding Rhine area, if you're looking for an alternative to staying near the sprawl of Frankfurt.

View of Heidelberg Old Town and Old Bridge, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
View of Heidelberg Old Town and Old Bridge
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Old Town
Heidelberg Castle Backflip, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Backflip
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle and River Neckar, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle and River Neckar
Lowenbrau Bar, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Lowenbrau Bar
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Old Houses across the River Neckar, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Old Houses across the River Neckar
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle and Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle and Old Town
Heidelberg Castle Fountain, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Fountain
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle Statue, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Statue
Church of the Holy Spirit, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Church of the Holy Spirit
Heidelberg Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Old Town
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg
Heidelberg Castle Fountain Backflip, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Fountain Backflip
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Church of the Holy Spirit, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Church of the Holy Spirit
Heidelberg Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Old Town
View of Heidelberg Castle on the left, Heidelberg Old Town and the River Neckar, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
View of Heidelberg Castle on the left, Heidelberg Old Town and the River Neckar
Heidelberg Castle Statues, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Statues
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle Facade, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Facade
Heidelberg Zoo, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Zoo
Heidelberg Castle Statues, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Statues
Heidelberg Zoo, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Zoo
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Old Town
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle Statue, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Statue
Heidelberg Castle Statue, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Statue
Heidelberg Castle Statue, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Statue
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Wine Keg
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle Emblem, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle Emblem
Heidelberg Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Old Town
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Heidelberg Old Town

Burg Eltz

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Mike Minckler

Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard
Walkway to Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Walkway to Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Painting in Moselkern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Painting in Moselkern
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Stained Glass, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Stained Glass
Burg Eltz Towers, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Towers

Burg Eltz is a rare medieval castle that has escaped destruction over its long history and is located in the hills above the Moselle River. Most castles in this area of Germany were destroyed during the continuous centuries of strife throughout the middle ages; Burg Eltz is one of only a handful of medieval castles in Central Europe that escaped destruction. Due to its fortunate preservation, travellers are rewarded with a unique example of medieval architecture that has remained unchanged for centuries. Burg Eltz is built on a rocky crag some 70 metres above the Eltz river which is a tributary to the Moselle. Construction started around 1157 and it was not by one man or family but a group of families. The castle was a so-called Glanerbenburg (castle belonging to a community of joint heirs), and is still owned by one of the original families who built it in the 12th century. Each family had different sections of the castle to live in and the construction of the castle was a slow, progressive process amongst the joint owners. The castle site is situated on an old Roman trade route that connected rich farmland with markets and the key river route provided by the Moselle. To explore Burg Eltz you have to take a tour which runs you through many of the old rooms, set up as they would have looked hundreds of years ago. After exploring the castle, one of the best aspects of visiting this important part of history is relaxing on the stone ramparts overlooking the surrounding hills and enjoying a tasty Wheat Beer. The prominent German historian Georg Dehio had this to say about Burg Eltz, "Eltz castle is simply what a castle should be. Its solitude and the beauty of its situation stimulate the imagination."

Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Stained Glass, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Stained Glass
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard
Burg Eltz Drain Pipe, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Drain Pipe
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Ramparts, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Ramparts
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard
Burg Eltz Wheat Beer, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Wheat Beer
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Emblem, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Emblem
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard
Burg Eltz Stained Glass, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Stained Glass
Burg Eltz Painting, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Painting
Burg Eltz Stained Glass, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Stained Glass
Burg Eltz Turrets, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Turrets
Burg Eltz Drain Pipe, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Drain Pipe
Burg Eltz Turrets, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Turrets
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Outer Walls, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Outer Walls
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Inner Courtyard
Burg Eltz Emblem, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Emblem
Burg Eltz Wheat Beer, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Wheat Beer
No Dog Shit Sign, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
No Dog Shit Sign
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Backflip, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Backflip
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz Chapel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Burg Eltz Chapel

Braubach and Marksburg Castle

Text by Eric Starling; Photogrpahy by Eric Starling and Peter Dale

Marksburg Castle, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle
Rhine River from Markburg Castle, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Rhine River from Markburg Castle
Braubach Architecture, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach Architecture
Braubach Architecture, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach Architecture
Rhine River from Markburg Castle, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Rhine River from Markburg Castle
Marksburg Castle, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle


Braubach is a small town on the Rhine River, roughly 10km south of the city of Koblenz. The town is located at the base of a small hill on the Rhine, below Marksburg Castle. Braubach is a small town with much character in its medieval architecture , remaining sections of the town wall and the castle towering above the many half-timbered buildings. The main feature of Braubach and its surrounding area is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Marksburg Castle. Marksburg is the only castle on the Rhine River between Bingen and Bonn that has never been destroyed. The castle showcases different building styles that were undertaken over its history since it was first built around 1117 AD. Marksburg is also the main headquarters of the German Castle Association, founded in 1899 to protect and preserve castles throughout Germany. Viewing the castle can only be done by private tour but there are many throughout the day in multiple languages so you just need to show up and book in a slot. The area around Braubach offers further castles and some great trails for hiking the wooded areas surrounding the Rhine River. It is well worth staying in one of these small towns to soak up the atmosphere outside of the cities in this region of Germany

Braubach Old Town, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach Old Town
Lorelei Rock, south of Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Lorelei Rock, south of Braubach
Braubach Tower, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach Tower
Rhine River, near Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Rhine River, near Braubach
Stolzenfels Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Stolzenfels Castle
Rhine River, near Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Rhine River, near Braubach
Braubach and Marksburg, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach and Marksburg
Marsburg Castle Gate, Rhine River, Germany
Marsburg Castle Gate
Marksburg Castle Tower, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle Tower
Marksburg Castle Restaurant, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle Restaurant
Braubach Keg House, Rhine River, Germany
Braubach Keg House
Rhine River, near Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Rhine River, near Braubach
Marksburg Castle, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle
Suits of Armour, Marksburg Castle, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Suits of Armour, Marksburg Castle
Marksburg Castle at Night, Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle at Night
View of the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle above the town of Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
View of the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle above the town of Braubach
View of Stolzenfels Castle from the road to Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
View of Stolzenfels Castle from the road to Braubach
View of the Rhine River south of Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
View of the Rhine River south of Braubach
Marksburg Castle on the road to Braubach, Rhine River, Germany
Marksburg Castle on the road to Braubach
View of Marksburg Castle from Braubach
Brauchbach town gate
Braubach Architecture
View of Braubach from Marksburg Castle
View of Stolzenfels Castle from Marksbrug Castle
Old Pub in Braubach
Inner Marksburg Castle
Suits of Armour, Marksburg Castle
Passage in Marksburg Castle
Road to Braubach
Braubach Church
Road to Braubach
Braubach Architecture
Old Pub in Braubach
Inside Marksburg Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

Text by Footside; Photography by Eric Starling, Mike Minckler and Footside

Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle
Castle Tower, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Castle Tower
Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle
Main Courtyard, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Main Courtyard
Stained Glass, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Stained Glass
Entrance Gate and Tower, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Entrance Gate and Tower

Hohenzollern is one heck of a polished castle. The location is almost unrivaled in an otherwise flat, low-lying landscape sitting atop the apex of a slow sweeping hill covered by thick forest some 234 metres above the surrounding plains. A perfect spot for a castle, Hohenzollern has the advantage of being able too see far and wide, and also to be seen from far and wide. Even today, the unavoidable sight of the spires of Hohenzollern Castle act as a constant reminder of where you are and the history of this land. The castle can be reached by a long walk from the town of Hechigen. This town is well serviced by public transport and, conveniently, there is a shuttle bus running to the castle. The castle itself is the seat of the Prussian Royal Family, which once entitled the holder to claim the position of Emperor of Germany. This explains the sheer size, expanse and grandeur of the castle. With massive walls, turrets and towers spearing skywards, Hohenzollern castle is huge. The thick stone foundations, royal statues and family crests capture a real medieval feel, however, this is tempered by the relatively modern appearance of the buildings. The hilltop is recorded to have had its first fortress built in the 11th century which was destroyed by a ten month siege in 1423, then rebuilt later that century. By the 1700s, the original castle fell into disrepair after losing strategic importance. The current form was largely revived and rebuilt in the mid 19th century, not as an active castle but as a family memorial. Of course, the benefit of this being a modern 'show castle' is obvious. A great museum, fantastic artworks, decadent dining and reception halls and all manner of smaller sub-rooms and quarters fit for a king. The grounds of the castle are freely accessible to the public, however, getting inside the buildings to view the amazing stained glass among other aspects requires a guided tour. The walk back down the hillside into Hechigen is recommended. Just remember it will take some time and it gets real hot in the summer. Nonetheless it's a pleasant stroll through open fields and provides a great view of the castle as it towers over the land.

One of the Castle Towers, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
One of the Castle Towers
Castle Upper Walls, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Castle Upper Walls
Inner Courtyard, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Inner Courtyard
Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle
Entrance Tunnel, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Entrance Tunnel
Castle Towers, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Castle Towers
Stained Glass, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Stained Glass
Stained Glass, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Stained Glass
Stained Glass, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Stained Glass
Castle Tower, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Castle Tower
Inner Courtyard, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Inner Courtyard
Outside Walls, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Outside Walls
Hohenzollern Emblem, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Emblem
Hohenzollern Castle from the Road, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle from the Road
Inner Courtyard, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Inner Courtyard
View of Hohenzollern Castle from the road to the nearby town of Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
View of Hohenzollern Castle from the road to the nearby town of Hechingen
Statues and tower of Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Statues and tower of Hohenzollern Castle
Outside Walls, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Outside Walls
Stained Glass, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Stained Glass
Castle Tower, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Castle Tower
Statue, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Statue
Statue, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Statue
Statue, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Statue
Entrance Gate, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Entrance Gate
Chapel, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Chapel
Outside Walls, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Outside Walls
Statue, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Statue
Inner Courtyard, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Inner Courtyard
Statue, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Statue
Dragon Killing Statue, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Dragon Killing Statue
Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle
Castle Towers, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Castle Towers
Inner Courtyard, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Inner Courtyard
Tower and Statues, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tower and Statues
Inner Courtyard, Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Inner Courtyard

Tübingen

Text by Footside; Photography by Eric Starling, Mike Minckler and Footside

Tübingen Main Square and Town Hall, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tübingen Main Square and Town Hall
Tübingen Houses on the River Neckar, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tübingen Houses on the River Neckar
Tübingen Architecture, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tübingen Architecture
Tübingen Altstadt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tübingen Altstadt
Tübingen City Hall Painting, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tübingen City Hall Painting
Tübingen Square Backflip, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tübingen Square Backflip

As a traveller through the town of Tubingen, I was struck by one thing: its serenity. Cut in half by the Neckar River, you can't help but feel relaxed by the slow traffic of punts drifting along the waterway, or young students hanging their legs over the banks and whiling away the afternoon. Vanish into the maze of narrow lanes and you'll enjoy getting lost amongst the rows of fairy-tale houses, complete with colourful facades, wooden supports and narrow attic roofs. That being said, Tubingen is a renowned University town and with students making up about 25% of the population, there's no shortage of bars, cafes and entertainment - especially during class time. The central Holzmarkt is the life of the town. A reasonably sized square with a fountain as its centrepiece, the Holzmarkt is encased on all sides by eight and nine storey alpine A-frame style buildings and the decorated town hall. These decorative facades have all the architectural hallmarks of the region - colourful windows, open shutters and steep tiled roofs. Most have been converted into bars, cafes and boutique shops and the whole square comes to life at night when locals and students congregate at this popular meeting point. Of course, with all the revellers comes music, drinking, entertainment and generally a good vibe. Even at this time, Tubingen retains its air of serenity. It's the kind of place where you can take up a spot on the cobblestone dining areas, have a good conversation and soak in the ambient lighting and surrounds. Having a strong academic base, Tubingen boasts more than its fair share of cultural delights. Apparently equipped with sixteen choirs, three theatres and a quality art gallery, there's no reason to miss out on the classical offerings of this town. Alternatively, Tubingen provides a great base for exploring the region's outdoor pursuits. Surrounded by national parks, and with both the French and Swiss borders within easy striking distance, Tubingen is a great place to soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of south western Germany.

Tubingen Streets, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Streets
Tubingen Altstadt with Stiftskirche, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Altstadt with Stiftskirche
Tubingen Buildings, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Buildings
Tubingen Old Town, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Old Town
Tubingen Town Hall, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Town Hall
Tubingen Drive Thru Building, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Drive Thru Building
Traditional Architecture, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Traditional Architecture
Houses on the River Neckar, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Houses on the River Neckar
Tubingen Old Town, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Old Town
Tubingen Pub, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Pub
Tubingen Main Square, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Main Square
Tubingen Altstadt with Stiftskirche, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Altstadt with Stiftskirche
Hohenzollern Castle, Day Trip from Tubingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle, Day Trip from Tubingen
Hohenzollern Castle, Day Trip from Tubingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle, Day Trip from Tubingen
Hohenzollern Castle, Day Trip from Tubingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Hohenzollern Castle, Day Trip from Tubingen
Tubingen Wheat Beer, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Wheat Beer
Tubingen Altstadt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Altstadt
Tubingen Town Hall, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Tubingen Town Hall

Wartburg Castle

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Mike Minckler and Footside

View of the Castle near entrance, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
View of the Castle near entrance
Castle Mosaic, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Mosaic
Wartburg Castle Backflip, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Wartburg Castle Backflip
Entrance Gate, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Entrance Gate
The Margareth Hallway, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Margareth Hallway
The South Tower, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The South Tower

Wartburg Castle is an important UNESCO World Heritage site that has deep roots and importance in German history.  Located on the outskirts of the central German city of Eisenach, castle construction began in 1068 and remained the seat of the rulers of Thuringia for 400 years. The castle gained early fame in 1207 when it was the site of the Sängerkrieg, a contest of the top minstrels in the land. Even more importantly, from May 1521 for almost a year, Martin Luther took refuge in the castle after being excommunicated by the pope. During this time he translated the bible into German which made the word of god accessible to common people. This translation had a massive impact on the church, German culture and the German language. The castle today is accessed from the city of Eisenach by a trail through thick forests up to the pinnacle of a 410 metre hill that offers commanding views of the surrounding area. The outer area of the castle and its surrounding park lands are open to walk around for free but the interior of the castle can only be seen by guided tour. The tour is worth doing for the access it provides to this exceptionally well preserved castle. The castle has been continually renovated throughout its nearly 1000 years of existence with many earlier parts being built over, depending on what the ruler at the time fancied. This gives the castle an impression of something of a patchwork design but because it was not destroyed by war or left to fall into ruin, you can see different stages of castle design from medieval times up to the 1800s. The town of Eisenach is a great place to stay, not just for visiting Wartburg Castle but to get an idea of what East Germany was like outside of Berlin. This is a major train hub to the region and weeks could be spent exploring this part of central Germany.

View from the castle upper floors, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
View from the castle upper floors
Pillar Carvings, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Pillar Carvings
View of the castle from lookout, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
View of the castle from lookout
Restaurant Building, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Restaurant Building
Castle Well, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Well
Main Tower, Castle Keep, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Main Tower, Castle Keep
The Palas, Great Hall, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Palas, Great Hall
The Palas, Great Hall, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Palas, Great Hall
Castle Mosaic, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Mosaic
Small Suit of Armour, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Small Suit of Armour
The Palas, Great Hall, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Palas, Great Hall
Castle Painting, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Painting
View of an important Tapestry within Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
View of an important Tapestry within Wartburg Castle
View of Wartburg Castle from the lookout point, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
View of Wartburg Castle from the lookout point
Wartburg Castle Mosaic, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Wartburg Castle Mosaic
Castle Well, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Well
The Palas, Great Hall, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Palas, Great Hall
The Bailiff's Lodge, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Bailiff's Lodge
The Bailiff's Lodge and Castle Well, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Bailiff's Lodge and Castle Well
Gold Cross, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Gold Cross
Eisenach Building, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Eisenach Building
View from the Castle Walls, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
View from the Castle Walls
The Palas, Great Hall, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Palas, Great Hall
Armour Helmet, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Armour Helmet
Castle Fresco, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Fresco
Castle Well, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Well
Castle Fresco, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Castle Fresco
The Elizabeth Hallway, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
The Elizabeth Hallway
View from the Castle Gate, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
View from the Castle Gate
Pillar Carvings, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Pillar Carvings
A Lutheran Bible, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
A Lutheran Bible
Upper Floor Window, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Upper Floor Window
Main Castle Tower, Wartburg Castle, Thuringia, Germany
Main Castle Tower

St Goar, Burg Rheinfels, St Goarshausen and Burg Katz

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Mike Minckler

View of the town of St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
View of the town of St Goar
Burg Katz and St Goarshausen, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz and St Goarshausen
Burg Rheinfels and the Rhine River, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels and the Rhine River
View of St Goarshausen from Burg Rheinfels, Rhine River, Germany
View of St Goarshausen from Burg Rheinfels
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep
Pub in St Goar town, Rhine River, Germany
Pub in St Goar town

The twin towns of St Goar and St Goarshausen are located on the banks of the Rhine River some 30 km upstream from the city of Koblenz. These two towns are located in the centre of a stretch of the Rhine River that is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its many small towns and castles that line the river. Known as Sankt Goar and Sankt Goarshausen in German, these two towns are separated by roughly 250 metres of the Rhine River and each town has a castle towering above it. St Goar has the towering ruined fortress of Burg Rheinfels which was a key point of controlling the Rhine and charging tolls from the late 1200s until the cannon made castles less useful. The complex is one of the largest on the Rhine River and the castle served as a defensive and palatial structure over the centuries by local rulers. Hours can be spent exploring the many ruined buildings, castle museum and some claustrophobic tunnels that have graffiti dating back centuries. Across the river, St Goarshausen has its own castle looming above the town called Burg Katz. This is a private castle and not open to the public but its old stone tower along with two turrets that face the river add some distinctive character. St Goar was settled even before Roman times as it's a strategic part of the Rhine and has seen its fair share of conflict and devastation over the centuries. The scale of Berg Rheinfels castle on the cliffs above St Goar attest to the prosperity and importance of this part of the Rhine during the Middle Ages. Most recently, the Allies used St Goar as a crossing point during World War II and the area was under bombardment from both sides as the Allies fought to cross the Rhine into Germany. St Goar and St Goarshausen are connected by a small ferry that crosses back and forth many times a day giving easy access between the towns. It is well worth spending at least a day exploring the towns, castles and local pubs that line this stretch of river. Easy access to either side of the river is provided by local trains or if you have a car. If you only have time to sample one part of this amazing stretch of the Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen, make it St Goar.

Burg Rheinfels Castle and St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Castle and St Goar
Burg Katz Castle, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz Castle
Burg Rheinfels as seen from St Goar town, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels as seen from St Goar town
Burg Rheinfels Backflip, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Backflip
Burg Rheinfels inner tunnel, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels inner tunnel
Burg Katz and St Goarshausen, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz and St Goarshausen
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls
View from Burg Rheinfels, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
View from Burg Rheinfels
Burg Rheinfels Tower, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Tower
Burg Katz from St Goarshausen, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz from St Goarshausen
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep
Burg Rheinfels, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels
View of the Rhine and St Goarshausen, Rhine River, Germany
View of the Rhine and St Goarshausen
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls
Burg Rheinfels Main Tower, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Main Tower
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Outer Walls
View from Burg Rheinfels Tower of the Rhine and the town of St Goar on the right and St Goarshausen on the left, Rhine River, Germany
View from Burg Rheinfels Tower of the Rhine and the town of St Goar on the right and St Goarshausen on the left
Burg Rheinfels ruined inner keep, St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels ruined inner keep
View of St Goarshausen and Burg Katz on the other side of the Rhine in St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
View of St Goarshausen and Burg Katz on the other side of the Rhine in St Goar
View of Burg Rheinfels from across the Rhine in St Goarshausen, Rhine River, Germany
View of Burg Rheinfels from across the Rhine in St Goarshausen
Burg Rheinfels as seen from St Goar, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels as seen from St Goar
Burg Rheinfels Inner Walls, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Inner Walls
Burg Katz and St Goarshausen, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Katz and St Goarshausen
Burg Rheinfels Jump, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Jump
Burg Rheinfels Main Tower, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Main Tower
Burg Rheinfels Ruined Tower, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Ruined Tower
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep
View from Burg Rheinfels of Rhine and Burg Maus, Rhine River, Germany
View from Burg Rheinfels of Rhine and Burg Maus
Burg Rheinfels Backflip, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Backflip
View of Rhine from Burg Rheinfels, Rhine River, Germany
View of Rhine from Burg Rheinfels
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep, Rhine River, Germany
Burg Rheinfels Inner Keep
St Goar Backflip, Rhine River, Germany
St Goar Backflip

Mainau Garden Island

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Mike Minckler and Eric Starling

Mainau Island Flower Arrangement
Schwedenturm, Mainau Island
Mainau Island Flower Arrangement
Mainau Island Castle and Church
Lindau Harbour, Lake Constance
Mainau Island Flower Staircase

Mainau is an island located in Lake Constance, near the city of Konstanz, that is an impressive collection of gardens and forested areas with a Baroque castle and church. Mainau is a popular tourist attraction for lovers of flowers, botanical gardens and all manners of plants native and exotic to the area. The Baroque palace only allows access to a few areas along with the church but the main reason to visit this small island in Lake Constance is for the gardens. There is a large enclosed green house that houses some exotic plants and flowers to go along with 500 species of trees, 200 rhododendron and azalea varieties, 30,000 rose bushes and 20,000 dahlias. Be aware the food and beverage options on this small island are pricey and geared towards the older bus tour crowds that frequent the island so bring your own food and drink if you're planning a day here.

Mainau Island Tropical Garden, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Tropical Garden
Mainau Island Baroque Palace, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Baroque Palace
Mainau Island Backflip, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Backflip
Mainau Island Tropical Garden, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Tropical Garden
Mainau Island Castle, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Castle
Mainau Island Statue, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Statue
View of Lake Constance from Mainau Island, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
View of Lake Constance from Mainau Island
Mainau Island Flower Staircase, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Flower Staircase
Mainau Island Church, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Church
Mainau Island Flower Arrangement, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Flower Arrangement
Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Lake Constance
Mainau Island Flower Arrangement, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Flower Arrangement
Mainau Island Flower arrangement, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Flower arrangement
Mainau Island flower arrangement of Lake Constance, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island flower arrangement of Lake Constance
Mainau Island Forests, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Forests
Mainau Island Church, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Church
Mainau Island Forests, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Forests
Mainau Island Gartnersturm, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Gartnersturm
Mainau Island Gardens, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Gardens
Mainau Island Castle and Church, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Castle and Church
Mainau Island Forests, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Forests
Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Lake Constance
Mainau Island Statue, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Statue
Zeppelin over Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Zeppelin over Lake Constance
Mainau Island Forests, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Forests
Mainau Island Gardens, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Gardens
Mainau Island Forests, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Forests
Mainau Island Gardens, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Mainau Island Gardens
Lake Constance from Mainau Island, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Lake Constance from Mainau Island
Veste Coburg
Veste Coburg
Castle walls of Veste Coburg
Castle walls of Veste Coburg
Inner courtyard
Inner courtyard
Walkway outside the castle
Walkway outside the castle
Exterior walls of Veste Coburg
Exterior walls of Veste Coburg
Inside Veste Coburg
Inside Veste Coburg

Located in central Bavaria, Coburg is home to one of Germany's largest castles, Veste Coburg. Built in 1225, the triple tried castle sits atop a hill overlooking the 40,000 person town below. The former home of local nobility, today the mighty fortress is home to three museums. The first, a collection of complete historical apartments featuring a famous hunting room. The second museum houses the largest medieval armour and weapons collection in Germany. The third is a world class art museum with engravings, coins, documents and glassware. At the base of the hill leading up to the castle is the Ehrenburg Palace which was rebuilt in 1543, only to fall victim to a fire in 1690 and once again resurrected in a Baroque style. The palace has a long history of royal ceremonies and weddings throughout the past 200 years. Coburg is the perfect stop on the way north through Bavaria and definitely worth a visit.

Inside Veste Coburg
Inside Veste Coburg
Bridge Entrance
Bridge Entrance
Local Crest
Local Crest
Veste Coburg
Veste Coburg
Courtyard
Courtyard
Second Tier of Walls
Second Tier of Walls
Statue at the base of the castle park
Statue at the base of the castle park
Walkway on top of the castle walls
Walkway on top of the castle walls
Covered entrance way
Covered entrance way
Ehrenburg Palace
Ehrenburg Palace
Interior of Veste Coburg
Interior of Veste Coburg
Castle Courtyard
Castle Courtyard
Hofgarten
Hofgarten
Walls of Veste Coburg
Walls of Veste Coburg
Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms
Castle Battlements
Castle Battlements
Hofgarten
Hofgarten
Exterior walls from the Hofgarten
Exterior walls from the Hofgarten
View from Veste Coburg
View from Veste Coburg
Exterior Walls
Exterior Walls
Castle Walls
Castle Walls