The Federal Republic of Germany borders the North Sea, Denmark and the Baltic Sea in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the south, France in the west and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands in the north-west.
According to 800zipcodes, Germany includes the East Frisian Islands in the North Sea, Heligoland and most of the North Frisian Islands in the Baltic Sea Fehmarn, Rügen and most of Usedom.
Despite his relation to other European countries of rather small size, Germany can offer an astonishing variety of landscapes. Extensive plains alternate with high mountains and also depressions, hills and Lake districts shape the German landscape significantly.
The North German Plain stretches between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and extends to the rising low mountain ranges in the south. This landscape was created during the Ice Age, when Scandinavian inland ice masses with large masses of rubble and debris were deposited. The traces of glaciation on the Baltic Sea coast are much younger, as the last remains of the ice only thawed here around 10,000 years ago.
The Schleswig-Holstein fjords emerged from the meltwater channels during this time. In Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania, after the flooding in the last Ice Age, shallow bays, which are known as Bodden, formed.
The North Sea coast is characterized by the flat Wadden Sea and funnel-shaped river mouths cut deep into the mainland.
Sandy and not very fertile, the landscape of the southern land ridge around Berlin extends to Niederlausitz and the southern end of the North German Plain is formed by a belt of extremely fertile Börde and lowland bays, to which the Lower Rhine Bight and the Westphalian Bight, the Soester and Magdeburger Börde as well belong to the Leipzig lowlands.
The low mountain range adjoins the low mountain range, which extends as far as the Danube. The oldest mountain massifs arose around 300 million years ago; Ore and mineral rocks from this period can be found in the Black Forest, the Harz and the Thuringian Forest. Volcanic activity formed the Thuringian Basin and the Upper Rhine Rift, while the Nördlinger Ries in the Swabian Jura was created as a giant crater from a huge meteorite. Among the northern low mountain ranges, the Harz is to be emphasized because of its particularly harsh climate, while the Eifel, Hunsrück, Taunus and Westerwald form the Rhenish Slate Mountains.
The Thuringian Forest, the Lausitzer Bergland and the Fichtelgebirge are the main low mountain ranges of Eastern Germany. The southern low mountain ranges include the Palatinate Forest, Spessart, Odenwald and Black Forest. The Alpine foreland also includes Lake Constance and the Allgäu and rises with the Swabian-Bavarian plateau towards the Alps.
The Alps, located in the extreme south of Germany, are the largest high mountains in Europe and, measured against the age of the earth, relatively young. The highest mountain in the German Alps is the 2,962 meter high Zugspitze.
The Rhine is the most important German river, which, together with its tributaries Neckar, Main and Moselle, runs through southern and western Germany. In eastern Germany, the Elbe with its tributaries Havel and Saale is important, while the Danube with its tributaries Iller, Lech, Altmühl, Isar and Inn drains south-east Germany, the Alpine foothills and the Alps. The Oder flows in the far east in the Baltic Sea and repeatedly causes widespread flooding. The numerous German lakes are located in the Ice Age regions of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
In Germany this is what determines the temperate climate typical of all of Central Europe. However, since Germany extends over considerable distances in both west-east and north-south directions and also has numerous low mountain ranges, one can find in the country noticeable regional climatic differences.
The northern Germany has by the influence of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea a maritime climate. In the area of influence of the North Sea, the summers are rich in precipitation and the winters are mild and stormy, while the summers in the Baltic Sea area are hotter and drier.
In the western part of Germany one can still find influences of the Atlantic with western weather conditions. The climate here is warm and temperate, with moderately warm summers and rainy winters.
In the east and south-east the Atlantic influence diminishes, the continental characteristics of the climate become more prominent. Here the summers are hot and the winters cold.
In the south-west of Germany it is relatively mild all year round due to the Upper Rhine Graben and the Burgundy Gate (warm air from the Mediterranean can flow in here).
The central part of Germany is characterized by low mountain ranges, where it can be cold depending on the altitude. In addition, there is incline precipitation here, which also falls as snow.