Historical Regions of Europe

The Holy Roman Empire

Modern-day administrative boundaries may not be the most useful guide for deciding where to travel and what to see. In ages past, borders meant different things, and the flow of people and ideas went unhindered by lines in the sand.

Discovering new places to see can sometimes be best informed by looking at ancient centers of power and trade. The Holy Roman Empire was simply a collection of states, many with distinctive identities and cultures. Uncovering these means moving past modern-day borders.

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Regions Overview

Tricks for Traveling in Germany

Tricks for Traveling in Germany

Travel across Europe and you will learn many different tricks for navigating each country. From my experience in Germany, I can say that it’s fairly easy and stress-free. However, there…

What should I see in Germany?

What should I see in Germany?

Travel is by no means something that must be limited to national borders. However, with so many things to see in this world, national borders can provide a starting point…

Baltic

Baltic

The Baltic region is best known for the Hanseatic League, a powerful trade league of cities and city-states that dominated the political environment of Northern Europe through to the end of the Middle Ages. Their influence can be felt across Northern Europe, but today it is most visible in the brick cityscapes of Lübeck, Wismar, and Stralsund. As the League declined, it was supplanted by new powers, the Dukes of Mecklenburg and Pomerania.
Bavaria

Bavaria

The Bavaria we see today is a multi-tribal state, binding the Bavarians together with the Swabians and Franks. The Bavarians’ lands are some of the most beautiful in Europe, having been spared centuries of European conflict.
Brandenburg

Brandenburg

Brandenburg formed the core of the modern German state. Around the royal and later Imperial capital of Berlin, the state grew from an impoverished medieval colony to form a European great power. The region is formed from three medieval marches, which represent the progress of German colonization over the 12-14th centuries. Beyond Berlin, the region is known for its cultural landscapes of beautiful riverside towns and inspiring palace and garden complexes.
Franconia

Franconia

Franconia is, in essence, an alternate spelling of France, as both refer to the same Germanic tribe. The Franks settled along the Main, bordered by the Bavarians to the South and the Saxons to the North. The spectacular achievements of the Franks can be seen in the great monuments of Würzburg, Nürnberg, and Bamberg and the countless towns, castles, and monasteries to their name.
Hessen-Nassau

Hessen-Nassau

The quiet forests and fields of the Hessen and Nassau families mask the dynamic nature of the lands they ruled over. Both the deep-rooted Catholic traditions of the Fuldaer Land and the dynamic Urban landscapes of the Wetterau contrast deeply with the rest of the pastoral and protestant landscapes. This is a land of sleepy towns of half-timbered houses and ancient castles.
Lotharingia

Lotharingia

Lotharingia originated as the realm of Emperor Lothair I, who inherited Middle-Francia from Charlemagne. The region once stretched from the North Sea to the Alps and wielded immense cultural influence. Today, the vestiges of Lotharingia form a much smaller borderland region between the French and German-speaking worlds. Centuries of cultural exchange, border changes, and wars create a distinct identity visible in the architecture, landscape, and food.
Rhine-Maas

Rhine-Maas

In a forested vale between the Maas and Rhine Rivers and among crumbling ruins of a Roman bath town, Charlemagne founded the capital of his new Empire, Aachen. Around it emerged cities built on trade and the arts. Cologne, Maastricht, Liege, and others formed a brilliant cultural light for the new Kingdom. As the Empire aged and faded into irrelevance, so did the Rhine-Maas region, a victim of shifting trade routes and wartime devastation.
Saxony

Saxony

In the beginning, Saxony ruled the Empire, as the Ottonian dynasty made it her capital region. Saxony today is a diverse land focused on the families that emerged from the collapse of the Saxon tribal duchy in the early Middle Ages. In the north, the remnants of the Welf fought over their Ottonian legacy. In the East, the Saxons started their colonization of Slavic lands. In the South, the Wettin dynasty squabbled over inheritance but eventually built a nation that could challenge the Emperor.
Swabia

Swabia

Swabia is an ancient land, home to the greatest Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and modern Germany’s most unintelligible dialect. Fractured into parts during the Middle Ages, the region is known for its many Imperial Cities, resplendent churches, and inspiring palaces. Of the regions in modern-day Germany, Swabia offers one of the richest travel experiences, from its world-class heritage sites to its strong cultural identity.
The Lowlands

The Lowlands

The Lowlands represent the large coastal strip of low-lying plains facing the North Sea. The region has two histories, North of the Maas River, and the history was written by Holland and the Protestant Union of the States-General. To the South were the Catholic lands of the Habsburg Domain and Belgium. But as is evident in the architecture and language, the region is in many ways more united by its geography than first evident.
Tuscany

Tuscany

Tuscany receives more tourists annually than any other part of Europe, outstripping even major European capital cities. It is perhaps most famous for the ancient winding streets of Florence and its rolling landscape of cultivated fields and Cyprus trees.
Upper-Rhine

Upper-Rhine

For travelers today, the Rhine valley allows us to experience the imperial majesty of a forgotten Empire. Soaring cathedrals, sweeping vineyards, and secluded mountain fortresses dot an ancient landscape. Though scarred by the tragedy of war, there is still much to see and experience in this region today.
Westphalia

Westphalia

Westphalia was the original home of the Saxon people and one of three great divisions of the Saxon kingdom, the others being Engern and Eastphalia. This is a flat land dominated broken only by a low range of hills separating the Ems basis from the Weser. Here you find large and ancient cities rising from the plains sprinkled with timeless villages and moated castles.