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On the weekends of 29 and 30 November and 6 and 7 December 2014, Pappenheim Castle in Bavaria is especially worth a visit. Hundreds of flickering torches and fire baskets illuminate the castle and light the way to the Castle Christmas market. The romantic atmosphere guarantees a fairytale outing for the whole family. The market, which has been named as one of the 100 best Christmas markets in Germany, is open on Saturdays 4-9 pm and Sundays 2-8 pm.

Good to know: not far from Pappenheim, the Romantic Road runs through the federal state of Bavaria. This 400-odd kilometre scenic route links various attractions from Würzburg to Füssen. Are any of them missing from your must-see list?

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A hugely popular travel destination, the Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg is ranked number twelve in the TOP 100 attractions in Germany.

The spa resorts on the Black Forest Spa Route in the north of the forest are popular destinations for health and wellness holidays. Nature lovers will enjoy the diverse landscape of the North/Central Black Forest Nature Park and the Black Forest National Park. Or you can explore the entire region by bike on the Black Forest Panorama Cycle Route. And cities such as Stuttgart and Freiburg offer a wide range of culture and gourmet regional cuisine. Come and explore this wonderful region for yourself.

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Thirteen German cities have come together to create the Historic Highlights of Germany. Among the oldest cities in the country, they occupy a special place in the history, culture and economic and scientific life of Germany. During the festive season, you can discover a new side to these historical cities as they host their atmospheric Christmas markets. Pay a visit – and lose yourself in the magic.

From Rostock in the far north or Erfurt in the east to Freiburg in the south or Trier in the west – wherever you are in Germany, you're never far from its historic highlights.

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It's back – from 27 November 2014, HOLIDAY ON ICE will be touring ten German cities with its anniversary production, PLATINUM. These breathtaking shows feature figure skating and acrobatics set to contemporary music, electro, classic waltzes, swing, gospel and Brazilian samba. Take your seats for this journey through 70 years of figure skating history. The costumes are derived from creations by German designer Harald Glööckler.

The first stop on the HOLIDAY ON ICE tour is Magdeburg, then Saarbrücken, Erfurt, Münster and other German cities. The tour ends in Kiel in March 2015. Book your tickets now for the city of your choice.

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Festive music and the aroma of glühwein will fill the air at Maulbronn Monastery in Baden-Württemberg on 6 and 7 December 2014. This historical abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage site, provides an enchanting backdrop for the 120 Christmas market stalls. As well as exquisite handicrafts, the market offers a range of food and drink such as fried potato dumplings, flamed-grilled salmon and the monastery's hot punch. You can also take a tour of the monastery or visit a model train exhibition.

Other UNESCO World Heritage sites nearby include Speyer Cathedral and Lorsch Abbey. The towns of Speyer and Lorsch are particularly magical in the run-up to Christmas and well worth a visit.

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On 30 November, 7 December and 14 December 2014, you can spend an Advent Sunday out on the water in the Altmühl valley in Bavaria. From on board a pleasure boat, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the magical wintry landscape of the Altmühl Valley Nature Park with its castles and palaces. You'll also get to savour delicious Bavarian specialities and glühwein. The tour on the Main-Danube Canal starts in Kelheim.

Not only is the Altmühl Valley Nature Park one of the largest in Germany (3,000 square kilometres in area), but it also offers a wide range of leisure activities. Whether it's the Tauber Altmühl Valley Cycle Route for cyclists, the Altmühl Valley Panorama Trail for walkers or the UNESCO World Heritage Roman Limes for culturally minded visitors, the region has something for everyone!

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The brand-new show THE WYLD celebrated its world premiere at Friedrichstadt Palast in Berlin on 23 October 2014.
This elaborate stage show with exceptional costumes is the most expensive production in the 95-year history of Friedrichstadt Palast. 'THE WYLD – Out of this World' is a cosmic love story that plays out in the parallel universes of the Berlin night. Be sure to catch this futuristic spectacle before its run finishes on 29 September 2015.

Another of Germany's entertainment hotspots is the city of Hamburg, which puts on a fantastic programme of musicals. The company Stage Entertainment is currently presenting Disney's The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and Rocky. The Miracle of Bern will be a new addition to the programme from November 2014.

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'Harry Potter: The Exhibition' opened in Cologne on 3 October 2014. Cologne's ODYSSEUM is the very first venue in mainland Europe to host the exhibition. Featuring stage sets and original props from the film series, it's a wonderful opportunity to step inside the magical world of Harry Potter for a few hours. Fans might like to throw a quaffle or unearth a mandrake at the exhibition, which runs until 1 February 2015.

Cologne, one of Germany's Magic Cities, celebrates the start of the carnival season on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11.11am. There's no better time to visit Cologne than during its madcap carnival season.

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Germany's capital will be staging the 25th edition of the Berlin Fairytale Festival from 6 to 23 November 2014. This year's programme is centred around folklore and fairytales from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, with events being held in various languages all across Brandenburg. Come and take a look and be transported to another world!

Germany has lots to offer for fairytale fans. The main attractions are connected by the German Fairytale Route that spans more than 600 kilometres from Bremen all the way to Kassel and Hanau, where the Brothers Grimm were born. With lots of different activities and events to enjoy along the way, the route has something for everyone.

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Hamburg welcomes guests to the Winterdom fair between 7 November and 7 December 2014. The Winterdom, which dates back as far as the 11th century, is the biggest public festival in northern Germany and is held on the Heiligengeistfeld grounds in Hamburg. No trip to the Winterdom is complete without having a go on one of the fairground rides, and sampling some of the delicious treats such as schmalzkuchen doughnuts, bratwurst and glühwein.

If you love that festive feeling you get from a cold winter's day at the fair, and you can't get enough of the local specialities, be sure to visit some of the other Christmas markets in Germany.

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