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Welcome in the new year in style on Theaterplatz square in Dresden, against the backdrop of the Semper Opera House, the cathedral and Zwinger Palace. The Silvester Open-Air in the Magic City of Dresden is the biggest New Year's Eve party in Saxony. The highlight of the programme, which features live music and great food and drink, is the spectacular firework display at midnight. A children's firework display at 8pm ensures the younger visitors won't miss out. Be sure to book your tickets early!

Top tip: there are lots of different places where you can get 2015 off to a relaxing start in the Saxony region. The traditional spa resort of Bad Elster, which harnesses the benefits of the local mineral-rich mud, and the hydrotherapy resort of Bad Schandau are just two of your many options.

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On the weekends of 5 and 12 December 2014, you can get into the festive spirit at the Christkindlmarkt at Schloss Oelber in Lower Saxony. Held in the castle's former stables and stud farm, it is the region's largest indoor Christmas market. Handicrafts, atmospheric music, regional winter specialities and the Christmas circus are just some of the highlights on offer.

Did you know? Lower Saxony is Germany's only federal state that combines both the sea and the mountains. It really does have something for everyone. As well as the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea and Germany's most northerly mountain range, the Harz, it boasts fantastic cities such as Hannover, Braunschweig and Lüneburg, and Heide Park Resort in Soltau, home to the world's biggest wooden rollercoaster.

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From 18 to 21 December 2014 fans of equestrian sport will be in their element in the city of Frankfurt. The International Festhalle Horse Show offers world-class competitions in showjumping and dressage. You can look forward to top sporting action and fantastic entertainment as the world's top riders battle it out for victory.

But this isn't the only sporting highlight on offer in Frankfurt: the FraPort Skyliners are in the top division of the national basketball league, Eintracht Frankfurt play in the football Bundesliga, 1. FFC Frankfurt play in the top division of the women's football league, and Löwen Frankfurt play in the 2nd division of the national ice hockey league.

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If you are looking for an unforgettable Christmas experience in Germany, be sure to visit the Black Forest on the weekends between 29 November and 21 December. The Upper Black Forest Christmas market is set against the magical backdrop of the Ravenna gorge, where the 40-metre-high viaduct of the Höllentalbahn railway is lit up in spectacular style – with light art installations. Other features of the market include stalls selling regional wares, food and drink from the Black Forest and an illuminated fairytale trail.

The Black Forest has countless traditions and customs that give the region its unique character. It is the home of the famous cuckoo clock, the red pompom hat, Black Forest farmhouses and Black Forest gateau.

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Calling all chocoholics! The ninth edition of chocolART, Germany's biggest chocolate festival, will be taking place in Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg from 2 to 7 December 2014. For the duration of the festival, Tübingen's historical market square is transformed into a chocolate-themed world of discovery. The illuminated timber-frame houses and glass-fronted chocolART patisserie are just two of the highlights on offer. Chocolate tastings and chocolate making courses are ideal ways to join in the fun. So come along and be dazzled by Baden-Württemberg's best chocolatiers!

Top tip: the Tübingen festival's late night shopping event on 6 December is not the only chance to buy Christmas gifts. This university town on the Neckar river is also close to Outletcity Metzingen, the perfect place to find luxury gifts and designer brands.

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The Tollwood Winter Festival gets under way in Munich on 25 November 2014. All manner of cultural events – from concerts and theatre to variety entertainment and comedy – will be taking place at the Theresienwiese festival grounds until the end of the year. The Market of Ideas Christmas market is also part of the festival. Here you can watch artisans at work, sample a wide array of international food and enjoy a memorable winter's day in the Magic City of Munich.

Another attraction in the Bavarian capital is the Deutsches Museum, which was voted one of Germany's top 100 sights in 2014. With around 73,000 square metres of exhibition space, it is one of the biggest museums of science and technology in the world, and is currently showing an exhibition about the history of the Trans-Siberian railway.

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In the UNESCO town of Quedlinburg in Saxony-Anhalt, the air will be filled with the aromas of mulled wine, cinnamon stars and gingerbread from 28 November to 21 December 2014. The whole town will be transformed into a festive wonderland with all manner of attractions. 'Advent in den Höfen', for example, is a unique Christmas market held on the first three weekends of Advent in more than 20 Quedlinburg courtyards that are usually closed to the public. The Christmas market on the market square, set against a backdrop of medieval buildings, has been voted the loveliest in Saxony-Anhalt many times. You can also look forward to a cultural programme of theatre, concerts and variety entertainment.

Aside from Quedlinburg, there are three other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Saxony-Anhalt: the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, the Bauhaus sites in Dessau and the Luther memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg.

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In 2015, connoisseurs will have yet more reasons to visit Germany as the country is now home to three new restaurants with two Michelin stars and 31 new restaurants with one Michelin star. A total of 282 establishments in Germany now hold Michelin star ratings, proving once again that German restaurants are among the best in Europe and around the world. The new additions to the two-star category for 2015 are Brenners Park-Restaurant in Baden-Baden, EssZimmer at BMW Welt in Munich and ammolite – The Lighthouse Restaurant at Europa-Park. The number of restaurants awarded three Michelin stars is unchanged at eleven.

Foodies can also look forward to the many regional specialities that Germany has to offer: Leipzig allerlei vegetables, green sauce from Frankfurt, Black Forest gateau, Thuringian dumplings and Nuremberg bratwurst sausages to name but a few – don't miss them!

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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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