A compelling blend of buzzing cities, half-timbered villages and storybook scenery, Germany is finally beginning to garner the reputation it deserves as a travel destination. Divided and demoralised in the wake of the Second World War, the country has emerged in modern times as both the economic powerhouse of Europe and a hotbed of cultural ingenuity. Cities such as Berlin and Dresden are crammed with galleries, theatres and avant-garde architecture. At the same time, the echoes of history are always present. From the Gothic cathedrals of Cologne and Freiberg to the Baroque extravagances of Dresden and, of course, the harrowing concentration camps at Dachau and Buchenwald, Germany believes in preserving what is great about its past and learning from its tragedies.