Baden-Württemberg is a state in southwest Germany bordering France and Switzerland. The Black Forest, known for its evergreen scenery and traditional villages, lies in the mountainous southwest. Stuttgart, the capital, is home to Wilhelma, a royal estate turned zoo and gardens. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have headquarters and museums there. The 19th-century Hohenzollern Castle sits in the Swabian Alps to the south.
Bavaria is a state in southeastern Germany bordering Liechtenstein, Austria and the Czech Republic. State capital Munich is known for its annual Oktoberfest beer festival, art museums and ornate Nymphenburg Palace. The Romantic Road scenic route starts in northwestern Würzburg, winds south through pastoral villages and medieval towns and culminates in the foothills of the Alps near Germany’s southern border.
Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, and everything in between!
Brandenburg is a German federal state encircling Berlin. State capital Potsdam is known for lavish Sanssouci Palace, summer home of Frederick the Great. Nearby, the Renaissance-style Orangery Palace has formal gardens, and the 19th-century Roman Baths blend several architectural styles. The Tudor Revival Cecilienhof hosted a famous WWII summit. Southeast of the city is Spreewald, a huge forest with rivers and lakes.
Hesse is a central German state known for forests and Wiesbaden, a Roman spa town and now the state's capital city. Amid the skyscrapers of Frankfurt am Main, the state's largest city and Germany's financial center, lie the Städel art museum and the Goethe House—the author's childhood home. Across the Rhine River, in the wider cultural region of Rhine-Hesse, is the city of Mainz with its 1,000-year-old cathedral.
Lower Saxony is a state in northwest Germany bordering the North Sea. In its capital, Hanover, Herrenhausen Gardens include the baroque Great Garden and English landscape gardens. The Lower Saxony State Museum displays art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The city of Braunschweig is home to the rebuilt medieval Dankwarderode Castle and the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, with its vast collection of European art.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a state in north Germany. Along the Baltic Sea coast, Usedom island is known for its beaches. On Rügen island, the old steam train Rasender Roland links seaside resorts Binz and Sellin. Also on Rügen is Jasmund National Park and its striking white chalk cliffs, notably the soaring Königsstuhl. Elsewhere on the coast, migrating cranes are drawn to Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park.
North Rhine-Westphalia is a western German state. The city of Cologne's twin-spired Cathedral is a Gothic landmark with views of the Rhine River. The adjacent Museum Ludwig showcases 20th-century art. The state capital, Düsseldorf, is known for its elegant shopping boulevard Königsallee and the soaring, modern Rheinturm tower. Outside the city, Schloss Benrath is an 18th-century palace with gardens and a museum.
Rhineland-Palatinate is a southwest German state bordered by France, Belgium and Luxembourg. The state capital, Mainz, features Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, the Romanesque Mainz Cathedral with ornate tombstones, and the Gutenberg Museum devoted to the inventor of the printing press. The lush Moselle Valley, with its riverside towns of Piesport and Bernkastel-Kues, is one of Germany's largest wine regions.
Saarland is a forested, southwestern German state bordered by France and Luxembourg. Named after the Saar River, a tributary of the Moselle, Saarland is considered part of the greater Moselle wine region. Its capital of Saarbrücken is known for the Saarland Museum and the baroque-style Ludwig’s church. In the nearby town of Völklingen, a restored 19th-century ironworks now offers modern art exhibitions and concerts.
Saxony is a state in eastern Germany. It’s dotted with palaces and castles, some dating back to the Middle Ages. On the Elbe River, the capital city, Dresden, is known for historic buildings rebuilt after WWII. These include the Frauenkirche domed baroque church and the Versailles-inspired Zwinger complex, with gardens and a porcelain collection. Its Old Masters Picture Gallery includes Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna.”
Saxony-Anhalt is a state in Germany. In the capital Magdeburg, the Gothic cathedral is the burial place of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I. The town of Wittenburg is the birthplace of the Reformation, with Martin Luther's home (Lutherhaus) and Schlosskirche, the storied church where he's buried. In the Harz Mountains, Schloss Wernigerode is a medieval fort turned castle built in a variety of styles.
Schleswig-Holstein is Germany's northernmost state. The southern city of Lübeck is known for the Holstentor, a red-brick city gate from the 1400s, and the rebuilt Gothic-style Lübeck Cathedral. Its central Marienkirche, a 13th–14th-century church, is a landmark of northern European church design. Farther north, near the city of Kiel, the Laboe Naval Memorial is dedicated to the fallen soldiers of WWI and WWII.
Thuringia is a state in east-central Germany. It is known for its vast forests punctuated with mountain peaks and medieval villages. Its capital is Erfurt, home of 8th-century cathedral Erfurt Cathedral, where Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, was ordained. As a monk, Luther lived in the medieval Augustinerkloster (monastery). Zitadelle Petersburg is an imposing baroque fortress outside the city.