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More than 80 venues across Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will be playing host to around 120 classical music concerts until 21 September 2014. Every year over 72,000 enthusiasts head to the region's beautiful natural landscapes and to various towns along the Baltic coast to see young talents and established stars of the classical music scene. The festival is the third biggest of its kind in Germany and its Small Festival in the Big Park alone draws an audience of over 17,000 to baroque Ludwigslust Palace. The festival calendar also features events in the colder months with concerts for Christmas and New Year.

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From 28 to 31 August 2014 Hamburg celebrates the city's biggest festival, which takes place on all sides of the Inner Alster lake. The event's extensive programme of family activities and cultural events attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year, and this year will be no exception. A wide range of attractions and shows will be set on the shores of the Inner Alster and out on the water too. Hamburg's diversity is also on display at the stalls of food and drink and handmade crafts – perfect for a bite to eat or a leisurely stroll. The spectacular programme features more than 500 artists, athletes and acrobats from home and abroad.

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If you like the sound of strolling through the gardens of UNESCO World Heritage Sanssouci Palace and soaking up the harmonious and romantic atmosphere, be sure not to miss Potsdam Palaces Night on 16 August 2014. This grand festival held within the palace's extensive grounds is now in its 16th year. The wide-ranging programme of events includes concerts, dance performances and plays featuring impressive masks and costumes that span several periods. Not only do visitors get to experience the charm of this baroque palace at night, but they also get to do their bit for sustainability, because some of the proceeds from the event will be put towards renovating the Prussian palaces and gardens.

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Perfectly timed for the year of Charlemagne in 2014, the Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch UNESCO site has reopened after a three-year renovation project. Restored to new splendour, the former imperial abbey with its famous King's Hall was built during the reign of Charlemagne and was granted UNESCO World Heritage status back in 1991. The site now includes a three-kilometre loop trail linking the imperial abbey with the original Altenmünster monastery. There is now also an abbey garden with medicinal plants, just like in the Middle Ages. Inside the museums you'll find an extensive display of archaeological finds and other exhibits that paint a vivid picture of how the monks lived. Lauresham, the Carolingian open-air laboratory, is due to open on the site in September 2014.

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From 30 August to 20 September 2014 the Bremen Music Festival will be marking its 25th anniversary. Over 35 events spanning a wide range of musical styles will be taking place at venues in and around Bremen and Bremerhaven. With a varied choice of concerts for festival-goers, the opening evening promises to be 'a big night of music'. The UNESCO World Heritage town hall and Roland statue, bathed in a sea of lights, add a special atmosphere to the occasion. The festival programme includes major works from musical history performed by international artists, as well as first performances and German premieres.

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July 2014 sees the opening of a new trans-border railway linking the two national parks of Saxon Switzerland in Germany and Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic. The route taken by the trains is one of the prettiest and most varied in the Saxony region. This national park railway showcases towns and villages in the Elbe Sandstone Massif that are set back from the popular tourist routes along the Elbe. Jointly operated by Deutsche Bahn's regional subsidiary and České dráhy (Czech Railways), the new rail link boasts air-conditioned and disabled-friendly carriages. The service runs eight times a day between Germany and the Czech Republic.

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On the evening of 13 July 2014 the German football team lifted the coveted World Cup trophy. The 2014 world championship in Brazil was watched by hundreds of millions of fans around the world and football fever took hold at fan parks in many towns and cities across Germany. One of the biggest events was at the fan park in Berlin. On arriving back in Germany, the national squad was welcomed home by hundreds of thousands of jubilant fans. There were huge celebrations in other cities too, including Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Frankfurt. After just a short break, the beautiful game will be back in August for the 52nd season of the Bundesliga.

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Calling all mountain bikers! For 162 kilometres of pure mountain-biking pleasure, look no further than the Stoneman Miriquidi trail in the Erzgebirge mountains. The challenging route covers nine of the highest peaks in the Saxon-Bohemian Erzgebirge region, three of which are beyond the Czech border.

Hikers too, can indulge in their passion in the Erzgebirge mountains. The Kammweg, a 289km quality-certified ridge trail, takes you from the eastern Erzgebirge mountains, across the Vogtland and on to Thuringia. As well as enjoying the magnificent scenery, you'll also discover museums, workshops demonstrating local crafts, and visible reminders of the region's mining heritage.

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Unparalleled, exclusive, extraordinary – there are no better words to describe this top golfing event, the Island Golf Trophy on Germany's North Sea islands. From 22 to 24 August 2014 the beautiful East Frisian islands of Langeoog and Norderney play host to a tournament of the highest calibre – a tournament like no other in the world. The event is played across two first-class courses, and golfers travel between the two islands on small, modern planes operated by a respected airline. Accommodation is provided in select luxury hotels, complete with spa facilities for relaxing after the tournament.

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From 13 to 17 August 2014, gamers will be descending on Cologne and Cologne exhibition centre for the world's biggest expo for interactive video entertainment – gamescom. Last year's trade show welcomed over 340,000 visitors, and tickets for 2014 are selling fast with fans keen to discover the newest and best games. There's so much to see and do, including exciting indoor and outdoor performances, skateboarding and sensational live acts on stage for the gamescom festival.

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