Tourist information for Southern Germany
Southern Germany, the provinces of Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg, is perhaps the most visited part of Germany. The lovely landscape of the Black Forest in the west, the rolling hills of central Bavaria, the valleys of the Rhine and Danube and the Alpine scenery in the south make up a country full of scenic delights. Add to this the lure of Munich and some of Germany's most beautiful towns - Augsburg, Wurtzburg, Heidelberg, Bamberg among others - and its easy to account for the region's popularity. Our summary should be augmented by a good guide book.
Stuttgart is a prosperous modern city with two famous festivals, one for wine and one for beer, a world class gallery in the Staatsgalerie, excellent shops and innumerable good quality value-for-money restaurants. There is a lively cultural scene. South-east of Stuttgart is Esslingen, featuring important buildings from Roman times onward. To the north be sure to visit Ludwigsburg with its impressive and beautiful planned layout of gardens and palaces dating from around 1700.
In the far south of this part of Germany is the Bodensee (Lake Constance), bordering Switzerland and Austria. On its balmy shores are the popular and very pretty towns of Meersburg and Uberlingen, while the cosmopolitan town of Konstanz has a fine selection of old buildings.To the north is the Schwabian Jura, a landscape of rocky hills and crags, criss-crossed with good marked trails offering excellent walking. The Danube flows through a spectacular gorge, and the village of Haigerloch is one of the loveliest in Germany. The massive Munster at Ulm dominates everything for miles around.
The Black Forest is perhaps the best known tourist destination in Germany, deservedly so. A land of watery gorges, fertile valleys, dark forests and spectacular mountain scenery, as well as countless pretty towns and villages. The mighty Danube rises here, and in the south the Rhine flows through some of the area's most stunning scenery. Visit the Munster in the lively and relaxed town of Freiburg. Swim in the lakes, walk along countless kilometres of trails, make the easy climb of the Feldburg for an amazing view of the distant Alps. Before you leave, bask in the sophisticated opulence of stylish Baden-Baden.
Hilly Heidelberg, with its beautiful sandstone buildings and superb vistas, is the essential place to visit in the north of this region, although the planned cities of Mannheim and Karlsruhe have much to offer.
Bavaria contains some of Germany's loveliest scenery as well as some of its most impressive cities. Beautiful sub-alpine slopes in the south, with abundant walking through flowery meadows, offer winter skiing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, close to Oberammergau, home of the ten-yearly passion play. The gentler hills towards Munich are dotted with tranquil lakes and medieval monasteries. Other highlights are the beautifully restored city of Nurnberg, architecturally magnificent Bamberg, and the prosperous medieval city of Regensburg and the Danube valley. Opera lovers will need no prompting to visit Bayreuth, also a good centre for the wonderful hiking in nearby Franconian "Switzerland".
Munich is one of Europe's major cities. Its great squares and wide streets, alongside the narrow thoroughfares of the Old Town, lend the city an air of sophistication. The Englischer Gardens right in the heart of the city are a great place to relax on a hot summer's day. As well as a wealth of architectural sights, visit the museums and galleries. Munich is a great culinary centre, and is famed for the quality of its beers, celebrated in Europe's greatest beer festival, the Oktoberfest. The nightlife has something for everyone, with music of all sorts, and theatre to satisfy every taste.