Germany is Europe’s most populous nation and has its largest economy. For decades, the aberrations of the Nazi era obscured the achievements of Das Land der Dichter und Denker (“The Land of Poets and Thinkers”), but today, the great cities of Berlin, Hamburg and Munich are once more magnets for commerce and centers of cultural sophistication. During summer, the country comes alive with cafés and beer gardens. Even in the high season, most destinations do not yet suffer from overtourism (Neuschwanstein Castle and Rothenburg ob der Tauber being notable exceptions). With excellent roads, this is an ideal country for a driving tour. The Romantic Road stretches 217 miles from Würzburg to Neuschwanstein in Füssen; originally a Roman trade route, it wends its way through dozens of medieval villages in Bavaria. Germany is the country of the Brothers Grimm, and when the mist wreaths around the forested hills crowned with crumbling castles, the landscape resembles a scene from a fairy tale.

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