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Between 21 September 2014 and 1 March 2015, food lovers and culinary explorers from all over the world will be making their way to Germany's northernmost state for the 28th annual Schleswig-Holstein Gourmet Festival. In 31 events centred around food and wine, 19 guest chefs – including the acclaimed Harald Wohlfahrt – will be presenting dishes made with locally and sustainably sourced ingredients. Numerous top restaurants in the region are expanding culinary horizons too, among them the beautifully situated Töpferhaus lakeside hotel in Duvenstedt. Isn't it time you got a taste of Germany?

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Germany's biggest and spookiest Halloween parties are being held in the ruins of Castle Frankenstein near Darmstadt from 24 October to 9 November 2014. The ruins are transformed into a haunted castle crawling with creepy characters such as vampires, witches, monsters and werewolves. Every year, more than 15,000 horror fans enjoy a spine-tingling experience set within walls that date back thousands of years. For under-14s, there are special events staged on family days and children's Sundays, when the otherwise beastly monsters and witches are uncharacteristically friendly. It's a great day out full of fun and games... and screams!

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It was 850 years ago that the relics of the Three Wise Men arrived in Cologne, making the city one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages. The shrine of the Three Kings inside the UNESCO-accredited Cologne Cathedral is just one of many architectural monuments devoted to their memory. To mark the anniversary, the Museum of Medieval Art is running a major exhibition dedicated to the Three Wise Men from 25 October 2014 to 25 January 2015. The display includes exquisite paintings and sculptures as well as art treasures from around Germany and Europe. Discover the many sides to this Magic City and make a trip to its other museums, such as the heavenly chocolate museum.

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The magnificent landscape and biodiversity of the UNESCO Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve is like nothing else. Besides its varied scenery, its popular walking routes and cycle trails, and its impressive industrial heritage, the Saarland region also has many towns and cities that are well worth exploring. Of particular note is the region's capital, Saarbrücken, which has a distinctive character and friendly feel. Saarbrücken will appeal to every one of your senses, whether you're learning about local culture in the Saarland Museum, shopping in the bohemian quarters or sampling the menus of top chefs.

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The tradition of public festivals goes back for centuries in Germany, as exemplified by the Onion Fair in Weimar. The 361st Onion Fair will take place between 10 and 12 October 2014. Onion farmers have been plaiting colourful strings of onions since the start of September. Every year the extensive programme of events attracts visitors in their hundreds of thousands. Besides experiencing the biggest public fair in Thuringia, festival-goers have the opportunity to marvel at the city's UNESCO world heritage sites and to explore the local connections with Goethe, for instance at the National Museum. The region around Weimar also makes for a great day out in nature – just come and see for yourself!

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On 8 October 2014 at 5pm, the Church of the Holy Cross (Kreuzkirche) in Dresden is holding a special anniversary service with the motto 'The peaceful revolution - day of awakening' to commemorate the historical events 25 years ago that brought about the collapse of the East German regime. At the same time, an exhibition at the memorial site on the city's Bautzener Strasse will be displaying words and images that portray the events that unfolded in Berlin, Plauen, Dresden and Leipzig on those defining days between 7 and 9 October 1989. Exhibitions like this one will be running in parallel at different sites in all four of these towns and cities. One Dresden landmark that has come to symbolise German unity is the Church of Our Lady – a compelling example of civic engagement.

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The idyllic Hanseatic city of Rostock on the Baltic coast is a place of extraordinary soul and character. It offers a wide choice of shopping opportunities, restaurants serving delicious food & drink, and inviting pubs all around the city harbour. Attractions such as the zoological gardens or the Maritime Museum in the IGA Park will light up the eyes of children and adults alike. A major landmark of this historical city is the old lighthouse in Warnemünde. While you're there, why not take advantage of the many health and wellness facilities in this coastal resort? What are you waiting for?

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The fresh autumnal air and mild temperatures make this an ideal time to explore the great outdoors on foot. With around 200,000km of marked footpaths, Germany has plenty to offer walkers and those looking to get away from it all: from the sweeping pastures of the Uckermark region in north eastern Brandenburg to the Alpine spa town of Oberstdorf in southern Bavaria. The Walking in Germany pocket guide contains details of 70 walking trails and the interactive map provides route descriptions as well as attractions along the way.

Be inspired by the variety of active holidays on offer in Germany!

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From 11 to 19 October 2014 the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park and its partners will be hosting their Migratory Bird Week for the sixth time. More than 250 different events in connection with migratory birds will be taking place on the North Sea coast in Lower Saxony and on the East Frisian islands. The programme is aimed at experts and amateurs, locals and tourists. Families are well catered for too, as there are lots of ways for kids to get creative. Many of the activities are designed for small groups, so early registration is recommended. Discover the remarkable flora and fauna of Germany at the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea!

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As one of Germany's oldest cities, Augsburg is home to many historical sights, including the Fuggerei, the oldest social housing project in Europe. The city also has close ties with Martin Luther and is famous for the Imperial Diet of Augsburg in the Middle Ages. Members of the Mozart family also left their mark on the city and there are many monuments to them here. And thanks to its fantastic location in the Alpine foothills of Bavaria, Augsburg is an ideal base for days out in the surrounding countryside. It's well worth exploring Sisi's Road in the Wittelsbacher Land region, for example.

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