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Germany 

 

Nature

Due to its size and location in central Europe, Germany boasts a large variety of different landscapes. In general, the country's climate is mild and humid, a large part of the rural areas is covered by forests.

Seacoast

Germany's north has coasts to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The landscape, especially along the North Sea shore is very flat, the climate is rough with strong winds, lots of rain and mild, chilly temperatures. Due to the southeastern winds that press water into the Bay of Germany, tidal variations are exceptionally high, creating the "Wattenmeer": Vast areas of the seabed are uncovered twice a day, allowing one to walk from one of the numerous islands to another. The North Sea islands just off the coast are very touristic, although mostly visited by the Germans themselves. Out in the Bay of Germany lies the country's only off-shore island, Helgoland. Thanks to the strong winds, Wind-Surfing is possible all year round. Do not expect Hawaiian temperatures, though.

Forests

Germans are fanatic about their forests. While they are much smaller now than they used to be in medieval times, they are still huge compared to forests in other, especially western and southern European countries and only thinly populated. Among others, the Black Forest has been declared national heritage and will, over the course of the next centuries, slowly return into a wild state. Although Germans love to go for long walks and hikes in these dark and humid woods, there's space enough for everyone to get lost. If you take one of the smaller paths you may not meet another person for the rest of the day (this in a country of 230 people per square kilometer). Especially the more remote areas are of an almost mythical beauty. It is no wonder the brothers Grimm could collect all those fairytales among the dark canopies, and a large part of the German poetry circles around trees, fog and those lonely mountain tops. Even Goethe sent his Faust to the Brocken for his most fantastic scene. Today, wild animals, altough abound, are mostly very shy, so you might not get to see many. Wolves and even bears have been sighted but are never a danger to humans.

Mountains

The southern half of Germany is a patchwork of the so-called "Mittelgebirge": Hilly rural areas where fields and forests intermix. In the very south, Germany borders on the Alps, Europes highest elevation, rising as high as 4000m (12000 ft) above sea level. While only a small part of the Alps lie in Germany, a lot of people go there (or to neighbouring Austria and Switzerland for skiing in the winter and hiking and climbing in the summer.

Lake Konstanz

Lying along the countries south-western border with Switzerland and Austria, Lake Konstanz is Germany's largest fresh-water lake. The area around the Lake and up the lower Rhine valley has a very mild, amenable climate and fertile grounds, making it the country's most important area for wine and fruit growing.


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