Aachen can be found in western Germany, nestled between the borders of Holland and Belgium. This city has a rich history spanning thousands of years, and was once the political and geographical capital of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by Emperor Charlemagne. Roman legions were drawn here to recover from their injuries in the hot sulfur springs, flowing in from the nearby Eifel Mountains. Visitors today can follow in their footsteps at the Carolus Thermen, a massive modern spa with bathing pools of varying temperatures filled with invigorating mineral water.

Make your way to the magnificent Aachen Cathedral, considered the oldest chapel in Northern Europe. Here, you can see a treasury of medieval church artworks, the imperial throne, the Shrine of Charles, where the remains of the beloved Emperor himself are buried. For an authentic taste of Aachen, pop into a local café for some Aachener Printen, a sweet cake similar to gingerbread. This is the city’s signature treat and a protected product; all manufacturers are found within a few kilometers of Aachen.

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