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With sixteen very different states - known locally as “Länder” - the Federal Republic (Bundesrepublik) of Germany is a country of dramatic variations. From towering Alpine peaks and glaciers to dense forests, lush vineyards, national parks and majestic rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe, its shifting landscapes are endlessly beautiful and fascinating.
Although our perceptions of Germany may be dominated by the two World Wars of the 20th century, its national identity and culture have also been shaped by other huge historical events – the Holy Roman Empire, the Protestant Reformation, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia to name but a few.
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the
country was divided by allied occupation into two separate states, East and West Germany. Only in 1990 was the country reunified, after seismic shifts in the former Eastern Bloc and the fall of the Berlin Wall that had come to symbolise the Iron Curtain. Today, with more than eighty million inhabitants, Germany has the highest population in the European Union. The world's fourth largest economy and its second largest exporter, it’s once again the major economic and political power on the European scene.
But Germany is also a historic leader in many cultural, artistic and technical fields. The home of countless influential philosophers, composers, painters, scientists and inventors, it’s often been referred to as “Das Land der Dichter und Denker” (the land of poets and thinkers) thanks to the huge contribution that
its famous sons and daughters have made to Western thought and culture.
For most of the 20th century, Germany had more Nobel Prize winners than those of any other country, especially in the sciences and medicine: Albert Einstein, Hans Geiger, Gottlieb Daimler, Rudolf Diesel and Karl Benz for starters. Where would our musical heritage be without Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Wagner and Strauss? How much duller would generations of children’s bedtime stories have been without the Brothers Grimm and where would our best libraries be without Goethe, Schiller and Thomas Mann? From philosophy and poetry to physics and painting, Germany’s mark on the world is huge and undeniable.
My husband and I have just returned from our tour of Sicily ( Manchester 9th to 16th Oct.).It was our first visit to the island and we were not disappointed. This is a lovely tour, our 6th with .. [Read More]
Dear Riviera Travel, I have just returned from your Sicily Tour. It was fabulous. The itinerary was perfect. All the major sites far exceeded my expectations - which were already high before I .. [Read More]
We have travelled several times before with Riviera and have always found the tours excellent. This tour to Berlin and Dresden was excellent.
The hotel were very comfortable and in .. [Read More]
Now that we’ve recovered from all the walking around Italy on our wonderful holiday with you I felt that I should e-mail you to say that our tour guide, Vanessa, was amazing! I .. [Read More]
We had a wonderful holiday on this tour and our enjoyment was largely down to the excellent itinerary and our very competent guide and driver. Denise was well informed, always cheerful, and .. [Read More]
Pauline and Michael Fielding
Just back from the Loire Valley Tour. Again, an excellent tour by Riviera, well run, well balanced. Paul, our manager/guide was brilliant! The hotels were comfortable as was the coach - great .. [Read More]
Just to let you know that we arrived back from a great trip to Paris. Andy was the best guide we have had on our several trips to Paris with you. He is a credit to your organisation.
John and Penny Pett
Just got home from Bruges after a wonderful four day stay. All of the arrangements went like clockwork and the tour guide (Sue) was brilliant.
Thoroughly enjoyed all of the excursions, but .. [Read More]
John, Jackie, Paul and Lorraine Williams
Excellent week, absolutely no complaints.
A special mention for Tour Manager Elizabeth, who went to extraordinary lengths at all times to help , guide and inform everyone.-an exceptional .. [Read More]
Margaret and Roger Thomas
Wonderful tour to Berlin and Dresden our guide Richard was very good and went out of his way to make sure everything ran smoothly. Hotels the best and breakfasts amazing Only one disappointment .. [Read More]
Ann and Ken Worthy
We have had a truly wonderful experience in Japan! The people are friendly and welcoming, the locations spectacular and the food delicious.
The Riviera experience packed a lot into a .. [Read More]
My wife and I have just returned from the tour of Bologna, Parma and Ravenna which we enjoyed very much.
We should like to thank our excellent tour manager, Geraldine. She was professional, .. [Read More]
Having just returned from my twelfth Riviera holiday I wish to extend my praise to our wonderful guide, Berni. Mid way through the holiday I tripped and dislocated my shoulder but thanks to .. [Read More]
My sister, niece and I have just returned from a most memorable trip to Dresden and Berlin and I would like to commend Riviera for it’s fantastic arrangements and quality accommodation .. [Read More]
A thoroughly enjoyable and simulating tour. Jaw-dropping history, dramatic mountain scenery, expert local guides - especially Christina and Theo. Nafplion is a charming town for a few nights by .. [Read More]
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour, despite some rain at the beginning. Our tour guide, Hugo, was excellent and so were the local guides in Tarragona and Barcelona. We were lucky enough to have a .. [Read More]
Mary and Peter Berg
A very informative and enjoyable trip, hotels 1st class, our tour guide, Richard’s knowledge and attention to to detail excellent, making this holiday memorable
Paul & Claudia McDonald
This was our first trip with Riviera but certainly won’t be the last.It was beautifully organised with Nikki our tour manager and Mariano our driver being outstanding. Nothing was too much .. [Read More]
Keith and Lynda Thatcher