England takes pleasure in London, the U.S. loves New York, France is slightly narcissistic about Paris and, following suit, Germany proudly claims Berlin. More than two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city basks in a cultural renaissance that boasts everything from museums and fashion to food and nightclubs. But that's not to say that this city has forgotten its dark past; in fact, attractions like The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Topography of Terror and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum are evidence of its steadfast reverence. And yet, Berlin is on the upswing. An afternoon of people-watching at a lively cafe or an all-night dance fest at a hip club will provide you with the proof.
Hamburg's bubbly energy is displayed in everything from the emerging HafenCity to the cutting-edge fashion design and its humming nightlife to its reinvigorated dining. This northern Germany city is also a watery one, criss-crossed by canals, sidling the River Elbe and wrapping around a lake. You'll undoubtedly enjoy its beauty, but this cosmopolitan city also prizes its musicals, nightclubs, shopping and unparalleled Fish Market. For travelers interested in a German vacation, Hamburg might not be an obvious choice -- after all, the country also contains capital city Berlin and Oktoberfest-central Munich. But as many visitors have discovered, this thriving harbor city is almost sure to surprise and please you.
Munich, the most expensive city in Germany, is also very quaint — and perhaps it's this dual personality that visitors find so charming. Although München plays host to the country's 200-year-old bacchanalia, Oktoberfest, it's also highly modern: the unofficial European capital of publishing and technology. Nuzzling the Bavarian Alps and resting beside the River Isar, the city is rife with natural beauty and yet its streets are also lined with man-made marvels, in the form of designer retail shops and shiny BMWs. In short, you should visit for both the provinciality and progressiveness.
Best Places to Visit in Europe