Germany symbolizes a special attraction for travelers. This land of contrasting cities, sceneries, and moods appeals to visitors for several different reasons. On the one hand the countryside with fabled rivers, deep dark forests, castles on a hilltop, palaces in landscaped gardens. For instance, the Bavarian royal castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, located southwest of Munich, are the most popular tourist attractions in Germany, receiving nearly a million visitors a year. On the other hand the culture: every midsize-to-large German city has at least one art museum, a symphony orchestra, and an opera house. At the top of list there is Berlin, famous for its performing arts scene packed with opera and ballet, symphony orchestras and classical music concerts, cabarets and variety shows and theater performances every night of the week, making a visit to this city a feast for those who enjoy world-class art and music. Clubbers, too, will find that the scene in Germany is hot, not only in large cities like Berlin and Munich but also in smaller university towns like Cologne, Leipzig, and Heidelberg. Some tourists come for the chance to drink full-bodied German beer; others come to enjoy a cosmopolitan cafe culture where coffee and cake are afternoon staples. And don't forget the retail: great shopping opportunities abound year-round in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. During the Christmas time, the main squares in Germany's smaller cities sparkle and shine with the lights, food, and gift booths of Christmas markets, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. You'll find as many different reasons to visit Germany as there are tourists who arrive daily, by the thousands, at the airports in Frankfurt, Munich, or Berlin.
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