If you want to marvel at Icelandic-style geysers, gondolas straight from Venice and many other wonders, all you need to do is come to Germany. Many of the attractions around the world have a twin – let's embark on a German voyage of discovery brimming with exotic surprises.
A romantic gondola ride
Bamberg, affectionately known as "Little Venice", attracts visitors with similar pleasures. Gondoliers wearing traditional striped shirts and straw hats row in genuine Venetian gondolas here, along the Regnitz river and past picturesque half-timbered fishermen's houses. They also sail past the Old Town Hall.
Lüneburg Heath around the Wilseder Berg hill and the village of Undeloh always transforms into a sea of purple blossoms when the buds of the bushes on the heath open up in late summer. You can also enjoy this lilac temptation on a horse-drawn carriage ride – an extra not on offer in France.
Lake Eibsee, over in the Bavarian Alps, is a similarly luminous colour and is set against the backdrop of the mighty Wetterstein mountains. If you like whipping out your camera for amazing shots, you will find no shortage of enchanting images to capture here.
Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover. Electress Sophia commissioned the gardens to be designed in the finest Baroque style in around 1700. She ensured the garden was adorned with bubbling and impressive fountains and shimmering marble statues. New life was breathed into the historical grotto not so long ago, when artist Niki de Saint Phalle transformed it into a colourful haven.
Brandenburg's Spreewald Forest, a good hour's drive from Berlin, paddling through an enchanted forest. Whether you want a multi-day tour or a quick lap for beginners, the network of waterways that date back to the Ice Age forms an idyllic backdrop in the romantic Spreewald Forest, with small garden restaurants, picturesque wooden bridges and locks that are still operated manually today