Germany is situated in the heart of Europe. It has nine neighbours: Denmark to the north, the Czech Republic and Poland to the east, Switzerland and Austria to the south, and Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France to the west.
There are four main regions in Germany: the North German Plain, the Central Uplands, the Rhineland (Black Forest) in the southwest, and the Bavarian Alps in the southeast.
The North German Plain is mainly a dry, sandy lowland with many rivers, lakes and moors. The eastern part of this region is a rich agricultural area. Several islands lie off the coast, including Helgoland and the East and North Frisian Islands in the North Sea and Rügen in the Baltic Sea. Between the North and Baltic Seas lies a region called Schleswig-Holstein.
The Central Upland Range divides north Germany from the south. This region of hills and valleys, which includes the Harz mountains, is the industrial heart of Germany, from Essen and Dortmund in the west, to Berlin and Dresden in the east. The Rhine and Main rivers form natural inland shipping routes.
The Rhineland and the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) are in southwestern Germany. The Rhine connects the cities of Düsseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, and Frankfurt. This sheltered wine-growing region is popular with tourists. The Black Forest is a region of dark, dense woods that contains many famous spa towns.
The Alps and Alpine Foothills are in southern Bavaria. The Danube flows through this region, and there are many lakes. Munich is the largest city. The Bavarian Alps have the highest mountains in Germany, such as Zugspitze, and picturesque tourist areas such as Berchtesgaden and the Königsee
German winters are generally milder than those in central Canada, its summers are cooler and it receives more rain. There are, however, variations from region to region. The Rhine Valley has the hottest summers, and the Bavarian Alps have the coldest, snowiest winters. Upper Bavaria often experiences a warm Alpine wind from the south, called a Föhn. This wind is like the chinook wind of the Canadian Rockies.