Germany’s last century may overshadow the ones that came before it, and mean the country is one of Europe’s most underrated historical destinations. And while places like Heidelberg, the Rhine Valley and Neusch
wanstein Castle may be well known, treasures like medieval Bamberg,
Aachen’s stunning cathedral and the gothic fantasy of Schloss
Hohenschwangau are close to being secrets little-known outside Germany.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the events on German soil that kick-started the Reformation. Martin Luther is believed to have posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. Heidelberg University and Augsburg Cathedral also played key roles in Luther’s defence of his position. He was condemned as a heretic in Worms, a convenient stop on a journey along the Rhine. The world-class institutions of
Museumsinsel (Museum Island) in Berlin will detain you for several days alone, while the living history at sites like the former Tempelhof Airport justify further exploration. Munich also draws big crowds, but there’s more to Bavaria’s biggest city than beer. Cultural attractions include the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, while just as fascinating is the memorial to the little-known story of the White Rose resistance group inside Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitat. The port city of
Hamburg is home to remnants of the Hanseatic trading centre that flourished here, a reconstructed old town and the redbrick warehouses of the Speicherstadt.
Away from these, quieter destinations like Potsdam and Rostock in the east,
Augsburg and Regensburg in Bavaria andMünster and Osnabrück in the west are rewarding alternatives.
The fairy-tale architecture of the 15th-century town hall in Unesco World Heritage site Bamberg