Germany is a potent combination of industry, finance, cultural pre-eminence, traditional cuisine, and local charm. Major cities like Berlin and Frankfort provide modern amenities, whilst the smaller towns retain their 19th-century cultural traditions. The Black Forest offers hunting, fishing, biking, and climbing, and the Autobahns give access to every compass point.
Germany is centrally located in Western Europe, bordered by Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. This vulnerable location gave the country a strong need for a national identity and military ascendancy. Today, Germany is a top travel destination, offering culture, beautiful cities, spellbinding scenery, and a large helping of gemutlichkeit—a “cheery and accepting welcome.”
The capital, Berlin, is a city with a fraught history: heavily bombed during World War II, at the end of the war the occupying Soviet forces were ceded eastern Germany and half of Berlin, while the Allies occupied the western half of the city. The infamous wall that separated the city finally came down in 1989, and the country was reunited in 1990. Today, Berlin is a popular choice for travelers, a beautiful, thriving, modern capital, a phoenix that has come to terms with much of its past as it looks toward a bright future.
The city of Frankfurt lies on the River Main and is the center of the Rhine-Main Metropolitan Complex. A global hub for commerce, culture, education, transportation, and tourism, it is the major financial center for Europe and home to the headquarters of many international corporations. Other key cities include the northern port of Hamburg, a science, education, and research hub, and a financial center; Bonn, which stood as the postwar capital after Berlin was annexed, and is now retained as a “federal” city; and historic Munich, the capital of Bavaria and a center of art, technology, publishing, and finance.