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16 February 2015 is Carnival Monday, which sees parades taking place across the Rhineland. During carnival, or the 'fifth season' as it is known in many regions of Germany, the streets swell with colourful costumed characters, and a festival atmosphere fills the air as they parade through towns and cities. Put on your best carnival outfit and join the party!

The biggest of all the processions is the one held in Cologne. Large parades also take place in Düsseldorf, Mainz, Trier and Koblenz as well as in many other towns and cities across Germany. You can find out more about the long tradition of carnival or fastnacht at dedicated museums, such as those in Cologne, Mainz, Koblenz and Speyer.

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'Das Erbe – the mining exhibition in the Saarland' presents three themed sections exploring the impact of mining on the Saarland and life working with coal. It is set within the former washhouse of the old Reden colliery. The last of the Saarland's coal pits closed in 2012 and its legacy is preserved in this exhibition. Follow a former miner on a tour of the exhibition, and use all your senses to discover the realities of mining.

You can gain other fascinating insights into Germany's industry (past and present) all along the Route of Industrial Heritage in the Ruhr valley, including at the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Zollverein mine in Essen and the Völklingen Ironworks, as well as at the German Mining Museum in Bochum.

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The Wine Forum will be taking place at the Thermen am Viehmarkt Roman baths in Trier from 23 to 25 January 2015. In the underground passages, you'll be able to sample award-winning German wines from vineyards along the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer rivers. The wide selection will feature around 200 wines and sparkling wines from over a hundred producers.

But Trier is not only a great destination for wine connoisseurs. While in the city, you might also like to visit the Roman monuments, the Cathedral of St. Peter and the Church of Our Lady, which have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO, or the TUFA events venue at the former textile factory, which offers an exciting programme all year round.

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An exhibition entitled 'Cologne 1914. Major city in the West' is on in Cologne until 19 April 2015. Three venues in the city – Cologne City Museum, the MAKK Museum of Applied Art and the Stiftung Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv – will each be presenting one part of the exhibition, which explores Cologne's importance in 1914 and the impact of the First World War on the city. Embark on a fascinating journey through Germany's history.

Cologne is, of course, also famous for perfume thanks to Johann Maria Farina, who created his eau de cologne in 1708. Today, Farina House is the world's oldest working perfumery and also houses a fragrance museum. And if you're looking for a souvenir, why not take some eau de cologne home?

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Experience an unforgettable event this winter! On 23 January, Obermaiselstein in the Allgäu will be hosting its third snow shoe night (Schneeschuhnacht). Strap on your snow shoes, along with hundreds of other participants, and get some coaching from the pros, Olympians Rosi Mittermaier and Christian Neureuther. The snow shoe walk will be followed by a huge party with live music.

Another top tip: you can easily combine this event with a tour along the Romantic Road or a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle near Füssen, which was voted Germany's top visitor attraction in 2014.

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This winter, you can take part in a special sporting event in the Erzgebirge mountains in Saxony. The Oberwiesenthal winter golf festival (Wintergolftage) is being held from 23 to 25 January 2015 at a specially created six-hole snow golf course. While you play, you can enjoy panoramic views of the scenery around Mount Fichtelberg. The event in Oberwiesenthal, Germany's highest town, promises plenty of sporting highlights as well as excellent food and drink away from the golf course. So, what are you waiting for!

There are many reasons to visit the Erzgebirge mountains. This region of eastern Germany is known for its traditional crafts, such as nutcrackers and incense burners, its mining heritage, which you can discover on the Saxon-Bohemian Silver Mines Route, and its fantastic walking trails, which include the Erzgebirge-Vogtland Ridge Trail.

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Rhineland-Palatinate has so much to offer – from historical highlights and vineyard scenery to havens of relaxation. Mainz, the state capital, looks back on more than two thousand years of history and is home to an impressive cathedral. The vineyards along the river Ahr also play a big part in the region's appeal. If you're looking to relax, the spa resort of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler is one of many places offering health treatments using natural remedies, or you could visit the Ahr-Therme baths and the historical thermal bathing house which are open daily. Come and discover Rhineland-Palatinate for yourself!

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Germany is a travel destination that offers a wealth of historical and cultural attractions.

The Top 100 sights in Germany, as voted for by international visitors, include a number of museums of art and culture. Attractions such as the Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek in Munich or Beethoven's House in Bonn bring to life the art and music of centuries past. Another cultural hotspot is the German capital Berlin, whose UNESCO World Heritage Museum Island presents an extensive collection of art treasures. Also well worth visiting is Berlin's Jewish Museum, a futuristic setting for a place of historical record.

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On 31 January and 1 February 2015, Frauenwald in the Thuringian Forest will be hosting the German Sled-Dog Racing Championships. As well as the competitions, you'll have a chance to see the camps of the sled drivers, who are known as mushers, and get a first-hand look at how the dogs are handled.

The Thuringia region has much to offer fans of winter sports, such as a husky adventure on the Rennsteig, the longest long-distance ski trail in central Europe, and the natural toboggan run on Mount Kickelhahn, which is fun for all the family. And after an active day, what better way to relax than a visit to the Celtic spa at the saltwater health resort of Bad Salzungen!

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The much-loved musical about the tragic life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, popularly known as Sissi, is making a welcome return to the German stage. With performances throughout 2015, this impressive production with stunning costumes captures the highs and lows in the life of the beautiful empress, a spirited and passionate woman with an irrepressible desire for freedom.

As well as being venues for musicals, Germany's towns and cities offer everything from historical architecture to innovative design. Click here for ideas and inspiration.

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