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Baden-Württemberg | Bavaria | Berlin | Brandenburg | Bremen | Hamburg | Hesse | Lower Saxony
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania | North Rhine-Westphalia | Rhineland-Palatinate
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Extremely diverse landscapes – state-of-the-art industry. Baden-Württemberg has some of the Federal Republic’s most scenic countryside. The Black Forest is one of the most popular recreation areas in Germany. Lake Constance, the exceedingly varied valleys of the Rhine, Danube and Neckar rivers, the rugged Swabian Jura, the gentle Markgräfler Land and the striking hilly Kaiserstuhl region in the Upper Rhine Plain (famous for its wine) are popular holiday resort areas. Every year more tourists come to Baden-Württemberg than the state has inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg is an important business and industrial location as well; global companies such as Daimler-Benz, Bosch and Porsche have their headquarters here. The state’s economic strength is manifest, for instance, in the fact that the volume of its exports is nearly equal to that of Spain, Sweden or Singapore. This is attributable not only to the productivity of large-scale industry: Hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses manufacture highly specialized products which are in demand all over the world. The people of Baden-Württemberg are born tinkerers – their ingenuity is legend. Thanks to the state’s mild climate, cultivation of special crops such as ornamental plants, hops and tobacco is also possible in addition to traditional agriculture.

On the threshold to the future. In proportion to its gross domestic product, Baden-Württemberg’s expenditure for research ranks near the top worldwide; endeavors presently focus on information technology as well as energy and environmental technologies. Biotechnology and especially genetic engineering are likewise playing a key role today: In this area the state’s research infrastructure ranks at the top in Germany and in Europe – in terms of both quality and quantity. Biotechnology departments have been established at numerous universities and industry-aligned research institutions, and several hundred firms are active in the field. In November 1996 the Rhine-Neckar triangle’s concept for the economic utilization of biotechnology and genetic engineering led it to be designated one of Germany’s three model regions. A high-speed data transmission network has been put into operation which links the state’s nine universities, 39 Fachhochschulen and roughly 130 research institutions (including the Research Centre in Karlsruhe, the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, and several Max Planck and Fraunhofer institutes). International private universities opened their doors in Bruchsal and Stuttgart in 1998. In the field of the humanities, special mention must be made of the German Literature Archive in Marbach on the Neckar River, which among other things conserves the literary legacy of most German writers. Scholarship and research have a long tradition here: The University of Heidelberg, founded in 1386, is the oldest university in Germany; the first technical college was founded in Karlsruhe.

Cities worth seeing. Situated in a picturesque basin, the state capital Stuttgart (586,000 inhabitants) enjoys an enviable location. From the “Liederhalle“ concert hall to the Wilhelma Botanical and Zoological Gardens, from the airport to the folk festival “Cannstatter Wasen“, from the trade fair complex atop the Killesberg to the postmodern New State Gallery, the city offers all the attributes of a modern metropolis.

The distinctive architectural feature of Mannheim (312,000 inhabitants) is the geometrical layout of the city center. Together with its twin city of Ludwigshafen on the left bank of the Rhine in the state of RhinelandPalatinate, Mannheim is an important industrial center, yet with its art collections in the Fine Arts Museum and the Reiss Museum as well as its longstanding National Theater it is also a city with a remarkable cultural flair.

Karlsruhe (277,000 inhabitants), seat of the highest German courts – the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice – has a layout which is just as distinctive as that of Mannheim: 32 streets of the former Baroque Grand-Ducal capital radiate in the shape of a fan from the palace dating from 1715. Favorably situated along major traffic routes, this industrial city has a busy Rhine port.

Freiburg im Breisgau (200,000 inhabitants) with its university dating from 1457, old city gates and Gothic Minster with a delicately articulated spire lies in a picturesque setting between the southern slope of the Black Forest and the Rhine Plain. Heidelberg (139,000 inhabitants) is a tourist magnet famed for its historic city center with the Late Gothic Church of the Holy Ghost, the Old Bridge with the Neckar Gate, the castle and quaint old student pubs. The landmark of the city of Ulm (116,000 inhabitants) on the Danube River is its Minster with the highest church tower in Germany; at the Gothic Town Hall a famous astronomical clock tells the time. Other important cities in Baden-Württemberg are Heilbronn (122,000 inhabitants), Pforzheim (119,000 inhabitants), Reutlingen (109,000 inhabitants) and Tübingen (82,000 inhabitants).

Land of philosophers and artists. Nearly a thousand museums (such as the Clock Museum in Furtwangen with its unparalleled collection of Black Forest cuckoo clocks), two state theaters, ten city theaters, festivals, film festivals and the Solitude Palace Academy near Stuttgart: Cultural life finds exceedingly varied forms of expression in Baden-Württemberg. Literary memorials and literature prizes recall the many great figures in Germany’s intellectual history who were born here: Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805), Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), Wilhelm Hauff (1802-1827) and the philosophers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling (1775-1854) and Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).

Today the Stuttgart Ballet, the International Bach Academy and the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe are internationally acclaimed. 6,400 music and choral groups as well as 90 amateur orchestras by their very number attest to the joy that many people in BadenWürttemberg derive from music. The state is also an important media center and the domicile of major publishing companies; 33 percent of Germany’s magazines and 22 percent of its books are published here.

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The Free State of Bavaria

A lovable state with a long history. The historical term “Free State of Bavaria“ indicates that Bavaria is a republican rather than monarchical state. The largest state (in terms of area) and its twelve million inhabitants are proud of their history, which dates back to the 6th century. Nowhere else in Germany are customs preserved as matter-of-factly as here; people wear colorful traditional dress not only during major folk festivals such as the annual Oktoberfest in Munich. Bavaria owes its great tourist appeal to both its rich cultural and historical heritage as well as the charm of its spectacular natural beauty. The Alps with the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak (2,962 meters), the Alpine foreland with its exquisite lakes such as the Chiemsee and the Königssee, the Bavarian Forest with its national park, the Franconian Jura, the Fichtel Hills, the Steigerwald, the Spessart and many other scenic areas of the state offer tourists incomparably enticing opportunities for rest, recreation and enjoyment of nature. The mountains are a hiker’s paradise; the lakes in the Alpine foothills and the new artificial lakes created in Franconia in the course of construction of the Main-Danube Canal invite vacationers to indulge in water sports. The state is richly endowed with extensive parks such as Schönbusch Park in Aschaffenburg, the Hofgarten in Ansbach and the English Garden in Munich, as well as magnificent palaces, above all the palaces of the “fairy-tale king“ Ludwig II: Linderhof, Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee. The royal residences in Würzburg and Bamberg are likewise of imposing beauty, as is the Veste Coburg with its rich collection of copper engravings.

Agriculture and industry. Until 1950, agriculture was the principal economic sector in Bavaria. Over the following decades this primarily agrarian state has come to be a modern industrial and service center. However, in large parts of Bavaria – not only in the Alpine foreland – farming and forestry still play a key role. Bavarian beer (brewed according to the purity regulations of 1516) is world-famous; the hops used in its production are grown in Bavaria itself. Franconian wine is likewise prized by connoisseurs. Today approximately 35 percent of the state’s gross domestic product stems from production industries and well over half from the service sector. The twin cities of Nuremberg (493,000 inhabitants) and Fürth (109,000 inhabitants), linked by Germany’s first railway line in 1835, form an industrial center focusing on electrical, mechanical and vehicle engineering, the printing trade and the plastics, toy and food industries. Regensburg (125,000 inhabitants), which has a well-preserved medieval townscape (the Stone Bridge dates from 1146), today lives from automobile manufacturing and the textile, machinery and wood industries. It also has an efficient Danube port. Ingolstadt (113,000 inhabitants) is the site of automobile manufacturing and oil refineries. Würzburg (127,000 inhabitants) boasts not only printing press, electronics and food industries but also the state’s three largest wine-growing estates. In eastern Bavaria, glassworks and porcelain manufactories carry on traditional crafts. International trade fairs such as “bauma“ and “SYSTEMS“ in Munich and the Toy Fair in Nuremberg are famous the world over.

“Gemütlichkeit“ and high tech. The state capital Munich (1.22 million inhabitants) lacks nothing as a major metropolis, yet the city also has its own distinctive atmosphere. In addition to the proverbial sociability to be encountered in the Hofbräuhaus, for instance, both the city and the surrounding region have a vibrant and dynamic economic life: automobile and aircraft industries, electrical and electronics industries, insurance firms and publishing houses. With its renowned universities and other higher education institutions, the Bavarian State Library (with over six million volumes one of the largest libraries in Europe), the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, the nuclear research reactor and many other institutions, Munich is an important center of science and research. Its airport is a major international air traffic hub. In February 1998 the new exhibition complex was opened at the former Munich-Riem airport.

Culture and folk art. Bavaria spends well over DM 100 million every year to conserve its cultural heritage. Munich boasts not only the Deutsches Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection devoted to the history of science and technology, but also many historic buildings and art museums such as the Alte and Neue Pinakothek, Lenbach House and the Schack Gallery. Nuremberg, the city of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and Hans Sachs (1494-1576), preserves some of the finest examples of late medieval treasures in its churches. The National Museum of German Culture is itself worth a special trip to the city. The churches in the Banz and Ettal monasteries, the Vierzehnheiligen basilica and the Wieskirche near Steingaden, which appear in the UNESCO World Heritage List, are outstanding examples of Baroque and Rococo architecture, as is the former residence of the prince-bishops in Würzburg. The latter’s staircase, created by Balthasar Neumann (1687-1753) and graced with frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, is one of the most beautiful in the world. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Nördlingen and Dinkelsbühl are virtually open-air museums, linked with other sights by the “Romantic Route“. There are 33 permanent stages and 34 open-air stages in Bavaria. Every year the Bayreuth Festival showcases the operas of Richard Wagner, who lived in Bayreuth from 1872 to 1883. Other outstanding festivals include the Munich Opera Festival, the Passau European Festival Weeks, the Ansbach Bach Week and the Würzburg Mozart Festival. Folk music is popular all over Bavaria as well, especially during the many folk festivals such as the “Leonhardi-Fahrt“ in Bad Tölz, the Augsburg “Friedensfest“, the “Death of the Dragon“ pageant in Furth im Wald, the Würzburg Festival of St. Kilian and the Kiefersfelden jousting tournament. A tradition since 1634 is the Oberammergau Passion Play, which is performed every ten years (the last performance was in the year 2000).

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A capital with a turbulent past. Within just a few centuries, Berlin – today the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany – grew from a fishing village and trading center at a crossing point on the Spree River into the Prussian capital city and royal residence. The town of Cölln was first mentioned in a document dating from 1237. It later merged with its sister city Berlin, profited from Prussia’s rise to the rank of a great power, and after the founding of the German Empire in 1871 became the political, industrial, scientific, academic and cultural center of Germany. In the year 1939 the German capital had a population of more than four million. The Second World War unleashed by the National Socialists had catastrophic consequences for Berlin, resulting in the nearly total destruction of the city center and its industrial districts. After the war, the city was divided into four sectors by the victorious powers. In 1948/49 the Soviet Union imposed an eleven-month blockade of the land routes to Berlin in an attempt to bring the people of Berlin (West) to their knees and force the Western Allies to withdraw from the city. This attempt was thwarted by an airlift launched by the Western Allies. To stem the mass exodus of people from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the eastern part of Berlin, the GDR communist leadership began construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. It fell in 1989 when the communist bloc collapsed. On 3 October 1990 the unification of Germany was consummated in Berlin with a state ceremony. Since then, united Berlin has once again been the capital of unified Germany.

A cultural metropolis in the heart of Europe. Cultural diversity is a long-standing tradition in Berlin. Its museums and collections on the Museum Island, in the Culture Forum and in the district of Dahlem are all renowned the world over. The Philharmonic Hall, three opera houses and many theaters, concert halls and libraries, as well as the Berlin Festival, the Berlin Film Festival and the Berlin Theatre Encounter are further highlights in this European cultural metropolis. Berlin has not only made a name for itself in these classical areas of artistic endeavor, however: For many years it has also been very popular with young artists who flock to the German capital from every corner of the globe to enrich the city’s lively and progressive cultural scene.

Economic, scientific and academic life. Berlin has undergone a process of radical economic change entailing painful adjustments. Its prospects for the future are good, however: Billions of marks are being spent to improve the infrastructure, alleviate traffic congestion and rebuild the city. As the future seat of the Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the Federal Government, as the gateway to the markets of Eastern Europe, and endowed with a first-class infrastructure, Berlin and the surrounding region need not fear measuring up to any standard of comparison. Its outstanding advantage as a business and industrial location is the network of close contacts between research and development, production and marketing. Three universities, four colleges of the fine arts, the European School of Management, nine Fachhochschulen, some 250 non-university research institutions and a multitude of small and medium-sized technology firms constitute key potential for future economic growth and new jobs. One of Europe’s largest integrated technology parks, the Science and Technology Centre Berlin Adlershof (WISTA), is being built in the southeastern part of the city. The rising number of firms active in the communications sector and in the area of information technologies are making Berlin a productive and innovative location for the media.

Berlin is presently the scene of the greatest building activity in Germany. Firms such as debis, Sony and ABB have been constructing spectacular office complexes on Potsdamer Platz. The centrally located Friedrichstrasse has been transformed into an attractive shopping experience. But in the outlying districts as well, more and more building cranes are swinging back and forth over cavernous excavation sites.

Berlin is an important venue for congresses, conventions and trade fairs. Events such as the International Audio and Video Fair, the International Green Week Berlin and the ITB Berlin – International Tourism Exchange make the city an attractive meeting place for more than 3.2 million visitors each year.

The capital city settles into its new role. The transformation of Berlin into the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany is well under way. Now that the Bundesrat has also decided to relocate to Berlin, the capital city expects the supreme constitutional bodies to move from Bonn to Berlin during the years 1999 and 2000.

In 1996, plans for the move were essentially completed. Since then, steady progress has been made in the renovation, restoration and improvement of existing buildings to be occupied by some of the ministries. At the construction sites of the new Federal Chancellery in the bend of the Spree River and the new ministry buildings, every effort is being made to ensure that the structures are completed on schedule.

The former Reichstag building is being converted into the seat of the German Bundestag and was officially opened in April 1999. The Federal Convention convened here in May 1999 to elect the Federal President; in September 1999 the 14th German Bundestag took up its work in Berlin.

Grouped around the Reichstag building with the Alsen, Luisen and Dorotheen blocks are new structures for the Members of the German Bundestag and their staff as well as facilities for the parliamentary groups, the committees and the Bundestag library.

In the year 2000, after half a century, Germany was once again governed from its capital city, Berlin.

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Prussian heritage. The state of Brandenburg surrounds the German capital Berlin; the state capital Potsdam (135,000 inhabitants) lies southwest of the metropolis. During the Potsdam Conference held at Cecilienhof Palace in the summer of 1945, the political leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union made far-reaching decisions concerning the future of Germany.

Potsdam has been linked with Prussian-German history since time immemorial. Beginning in 1157, Albert I the Bear called himself the Margrave of Brandenburg. In 1237 the city of Berlin was founded. In 1640 the Hohenzollern elector Frederick William, later called the “Great Elector“, assumed power in Germany’s largest electorate. He encouraged Huguenots from France as well as colonists from Holland and Switzerland to settle in Brandenburg, thus stimulating the development of commerce and the craft trades. The 1685 Edict of Potsdam granted the immigrants religious freedom; to this very day the “Dutch Quarter“ and the “French Church“ in Potsdam evoke memories of these warmly welcomed foreigners. In 1701 Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg crowned himself Frederick I, King in Prussia, thus laying the foundations for the Prussian kingdom; the Brandenburg March became part of Prussia. Under the reign of Frederick II the Great (1740-1786) Prussia grew to become a great European power. Frederick II made Potsdam his royal residence and oversaw the evolution of the masterpiece Sanssouci Park with its palaces and other magnificent buildings.

Nature reserves and industrial sites. Compared to other states, Brandenburg is sparsely populated. The Havel and Spree rivers meander through its hilly countryside. Nature conservation is practiced in the numerous nature parks, landscape reserves and biosphere reserves in areas such as the Uckermark, the Elbtalaue, the Schorfheide and the Spreewald; in the Lower Oder Valley National Park, nature conservation measures undertaken jointly with the neighboring country of Poland transcend frontiers. In years past, Brandenburg’s poor sandy soil led it to be called the “sandbox of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation“. Today the backbone of the state’s economy is increasingly shifting from agriculture with its traditional crops of rye and oilseed to industries such as vehicle construction, mechanical engineering, electronics, environmental technologies, the optical industry, and the energy, food and chemical industries.

In the context of the program “Upswing East“, Brandenburg has thus far been able to attract more than 120 major investors who have each made available more than DM 50 million.

Now that visas are no longer required for travel between Germany and Poland, the city of Frankfurt an der Oder (80,000 inhabitants) is acquiring ever greater importance as the place of transshipment for trade with the countries of Eastern Europe. Since 1991 a GermanPolish intergovernmental commission has been working to promote good-neighborly contacts.

“Viadrina“ and membrane research. Viadrina University in Frankfurt an der Oder already existed between 1506 and 1811. Heinrich von Kleist and the von Humboldt brothers studied there. In 1991 the institution was reopened as the European University Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder; it places special emphasis on PolishGerman cooperation in teaching and research. But Brandenburg’s other universities in Cottbus and Potsdam as well as its five Fachhochschulen and 15 technology centers also make the region an important center of German research. Since 1992 the GFZ Potsdam has been engaged in basic research on topics of global significance in the geosciences. The likewise unique Membrane Research Department of the GKSS Research Center in Teltow is devoted to the development of high-performance membranes for fields of application such as environmental engineering, materials salvage, recycling and medicine. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research studies today’s climate changes as problems arising from a distorted relationship between mankind and nature. The BerlinBrandenburg Academy of Sciences, which took up its work in March 1993, cultivates not only the natural, biological and social sciences but also the humanities. On its agenda are editions of the works of Jean Paul and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz as well as a documentation of medieval stained glass painting in the new states.

Theodor Fontane and Marlene Dietrich. The 19th-century writer Theodor Fontane described Brandenburg’s beauty and natural charm in his “Walks in the March of Brandenburg“. Approximately 350 palaces and manor houses can be found here; particularly popular tourist destinations in addition to Sanssouci are the palaces in Rheinsberg (which Kurt Tucholsky made the subject of a short novel) and Branitz (with the Prince Pückler Museum). Of the roughly 150 museums and memorials, the Heinrich von Kleist Museum and Research Institution on Kleist in Frankfurt an der Oder deserves special mention here.

Cultural festivals take place throughout the year. Well known beyond the state’s boundaries are the Rheinsberg Music Days, the concerts in the impressive former abbeys of Chorin and Lehnin, and the PotsdamSanssouci Music Festival. A distinctive kind of technical achievement is the world’s largest ship elevator in Niederfinow (built in 1934), which enables ships to overcome a 36-meter difference in elevation along the course of the Oder-Havel Canal.

The film city of Potsdam-Babelsberg with its film and television studios, the “Konrad Wolf“ Academy of Film and Television, the High Tech Center and numerous firms active in the media sector carry on the tradition of the Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), harking back to the days when stars such as Marlene Dietrich and directors such as Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Ernst Lubitsch and Fritz Lang made their famous films here.

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