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Germany has the dual duty to live down its past yet live up to its reputation. The down side is a past of war and racism - problems that modern Germany will not let itself forget if the memorial reminders that appear throughout the county are any indication. Conversely, the German reputation for craftsmanship, quality, and organization invigorates most aspects of the country from automobiles to websites.

Munich will support and then deflate your stereotype of Bavarian Germany. Behind the beer-halls, where the steins are topped and the oompah never stops, are wonderful avenues, enchanting churches, interesting museums, and one huge park - the Englisher Garten.

Frankfort is noted as Germany's financial capital, but culture is huge here, and the Stadel Museum and the Museum of Modern Art are the best of the country. Berlin, once again the capital, has staid government buildings, historical checkpoints, and fashionable restaurants, but it's also the source of the newest movements in art, music, and theatre.

The German people, inveterate walkers and hikers, have developed many kilometers of trails in the Black Forest, the Harz Mountains and anywhere you find wooded areas. And remember that the German Alps have some of the greatest skiing in the world.

Destination Guides

The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the following reunification of East and West Germany have permitted the country to re-explore itself. Former East German landscapes and cultural sites have added significantly to the list of what-to-see-and-do in Germany and should be added to any tourist's itinerary. The lake-dotted countryside and beautiful coastline of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, north from Berlin or east from Hamburg, is worth the drive or the train trip.

A short list of great names in German culture is enough to remind you of several other reasons to visit: Bach, Beethoven, Boll, Brecht, Durer, Goethe, Grass, Hegel, Hesse, Kant, Mann, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Wagner. The draw of arts and ideas in Germany never slackens, and throughout the year festivals, concerts, productions, lectures, exhibits, and tours revive the rich past and enliven the present.

For detailed highlights of Germany, see our Featured Destination Guides.

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