German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution

Plan to be tested in five cities in effort to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines

A local’s guide to Düsseldorf, by music writer Rudi Esch

Home of electro pioneers Kraftwerk and groundbreaking artists like Andreas Gursky, the city on the Rhine is still a melting pot for art, design and music

With Bach to the Baltic: a hike through German history

In 1705, JS Bach walked 250 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck in search of inspiration. Follow in his footsteps now and there are mountains, beech woods and curious relics of the cold war to discover

The best city breaks in Germany

Riesling and Romans, baroque and bratwurst … our tipsters point to alluring cities from Bavaria to the Hanseatic northern ports – but sidestepping Berlin – taking in great food, museums, spas and bars

On the slide in Germany: sledging in the Bavarian Alps

Fancy swooping down snowy Alpine slopes, but not the hassle of ski school and pricey equipment? It’s easy: all you need is a simple sledge. Sarcastic teenage daughter optional

Train wrecked: take the (non) sleeper to Germany’s Melt! festival

Drink and dance the night away, but hold tight as the carriage lurches to Germany’s Melt! electronic music festival. Will Coldwell gets things going when he boards the wild party train the evening before

Berlin’s flat-roofed Hufeisensiedlung – a history of cities in 50 buildings

This horseshoe crescent and its ‘un-German’ roof epitomised modernist values – in opposition to the folkish pitched-roof fantasies loved by the Nazis