Germany, officially the
Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in west-central
Europe. The country consists of 16 states, and its capital and largest city is
Berlin. Germany has a largely temperate seasonal climate. Germany is one of the
major political and economic powers of the European continent and a historic
leader in many theoretical and technical fields.
According to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Reports, Germany is rated as one
of the safest travel destinations worldwide. Germany is also the top most
visited country in Europe, the majority of foreign tourists coming from the
Netherlands, the United States and Switzerland.
The history of tourism in Germany goes back to cities and landscapes being
visited for education and recreation. From the late 18th century onwards, cities
like Dresden, Munich, Weimar and Berlin were major stops on a European Grand
tour. Spas and resorts on the North and Baltic Seas and along the Rhine valley
particularly developed during the 19th and early 20th century and since the end
of World War II tourism has expanded greatly, as many tourists visit Germany to
experience a sense of European history. The countryside has a pastoral aura,
while the cities exhibit both a modern and classical feel.
The German Tourism Association irregularly publishes statistics on the most
visited landmarks. With an average of over 6 million visitors entering the
cathedral per year, Cologne Cathedral is Germany's most visited landmark. Second
and third places go to the Reichstag building in Berlin and the Hofbräuhaus in
Munich. Other much visited architectural landmarks include the Drosselgasse in
Rüdesheim, the medieval old towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Monschau and Bad
Münstereifel, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Holsten Gate in Lübeck 1.
The most visited tourist regions in Germany are the East Frisian and North
Frisian Islands, the Baltic Sea coasts of Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,
the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the Bavarian and Black Forest, and the Bavarian
Alps. The top ten most visited cities in Germany are: Berlin, Munich, Hamburg,
Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Leipzig.