Germany is a federal republic consisting of sixteen states (German: Land, plural Länder; informally and very commonly Bundesland, plural Bundesländer). Since today’s Germany was formed from an earlier collection of several states, it has a federal constitution, and the constituent states retain a measure of sovereignty. With an emphasis on geographical conditions, Berlin and Hamburg are frequently called Stadtstaaten (city-states), as is the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which in fact includes the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. The remaining 13 states are called Flächenländer (literally: “area states”).
The 16 German states couldn’t be more diverse! From the rugged alpine scenery in the south to the lakes and sea shores in the north, well-known and secret holiday destinations abound.
Fascinating traditions and delicious foods vary throughout the country, facts that amaze first-time visitors again and again. Although not all states are internationally famous as tourist destinations, there are always places worthwhile to visit.
- Baden-Württemberg - The federal state of Baden-Württemberg in Southwestern Germany is the country’s third-largest in terms of population and area – with an area of 35,751 km2 (13,804 sq mi) and 10.8 million inhabitants. The state capital and largest city is Stuttgart. The sobriquet Ländle (“small land” in the local Swabian and Alemannic German dialects) is sometimes […]
- Bavaria - Bavaria is the largest state in Germany, and has a feisty, independent spirit which makes the state feel quite distinct from the German “mainland”. Bavaria is the largest of the federal states of Germany by area and the second-largest by population with the area of 70,550.19 square km (27,200 sq mi) and population of 12.9 […]
- Berlin - As Germany’s capital and the country’s largest city, Berlin is not only the political center of Germany, but it has also grown to be one of the most-visited destinations of Central Europe and it has become the epicenter of a large, creative and versatile cultural scene. Berlin has evolved from being an isolated island into […]
- Brandenburg - The federal state of Brandenburg, located in the Northeastern part of Germany, is divided into a number of unique regions, each with its own cultural identity. While the area immediately surrounding the federal capital of Berlin and the state capital Potsdam grows more and more urban, the state boasts three biosphere reserves with extended bodies […]
- Bremen - The proud old Hanseatic city of Bremen is the capital of the German federal state of the same name, which consists of the city itself and the town Bremerhaven some 50 km to the north and is the smallest of all federal states both by area and by population. The city of Bremen on the […]
- Hamburg - Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city and at the same time one of the 16 German states, with its 1.8 million inhabitants is the most populous city within the European Union that is not the respective country’s capital. Although Hamburg is not situated at the ocean coast, but some 100 kilometers away, it is connected to the […]
- Hesse - Hesse (Hessen) was founded as a federal state after World War II in 1945. However, the area of what today makes up the state was inhabited as early as 50,000 years ago. Hesse became independent in 1264 as a landgraviate under the roof of the Roman Empire, but in subsequent centuries and throughout several wars, […]
- Lower Saxony - Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) is Germany’s second-largest state by area, with 47,624 sq km (18,388 sq mi), and fourth-largest in population (7.9 million). It forms much of the northwestern part of the country, sharing a border with the Netherlands and also bordering the North Sea. The small city-state of Bremen forms an enclave within Lower Saxony, […]
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - Mecklenburg-Vorpommern does not only possess the longest name of all 16 German states, it also has three of Germany’s 14 National Parks, the country’s two largest islands – Rügen and Usedom – and about 2000 kilometers of shoreline along the Baltic Sea. Thanks to these assets, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a favorite among tourists. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is Germany’s […]
- North Rhine-Westphalia - The most populous of the German states with approximately 17.5 million inhabitants has long been considered Germany’s blue-collar workplace or rather, as the “land of coal and steel”. The traditional heavy industry in the state, particularly in the densely populated Ruhr area, has suffered through many crises and has forced this part of Germany to undergo […]
- Rhineland-Palatinate - The commodity most people immediately associate with the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is wine. There are six major wine regions in the state which produce more than 70% of the country’s wine exports. These regions along the primary rivers of the state, Moselle and Rhine being the most famous, also are the main tourism regions of […]
- Saarland - With a history clearly distinct from the rest of Germany and close ties to neighboring France, the Saarland has a unique position among the German federal states. Between the two countries of France and Germany, the region has long been disputed and it actually was French once, but ever since the former enemies grew together […]
- Saxony - Saxony, which carries the designation of “free state” in its official name, is located in Eastern Germany, where it shares a border with Poland and the Czech Republic. It is the sixth-largest of the German federal states by population and was until 1990 entirely a part of the now-defunct German Democratic Republic. Its capital is […]
- Saxony-Anhalt - The federal state of Saxony-Anhalt is located in central Germany. It is in large parts, especially in the north, rather sparsely populated. In the western half, contained in Harz National Park, is the highest peak of all of North Germany, the Brocken with an elevation of 1141 meters. While there are a few areas in […]
- Schleswig-Holstein - One of the better-known travel destinations in Germany, the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein forms the northernmost tip of the country, bordering Denmark. The state has access to both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, two destinations very popular with travelers. With the Wadden Sea National Park Schleswig-Holstein is also home to Central Europe’s largest […]
- Thuringia - In its tourism marketing, Thuringia calls itself “the green heart of Germany” and, looking at the fact that large parts of the state are covered by old forests, that claim has a lot of value to it. Thuringia is a landlocked state that has moved into the center of Germany upon the country’s reunification. Many […]