Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in West-central Europe. It is bordered on the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; on the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; on the south by Austria and Switzerland; and on the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Germany has the second largest population in Europe and is seventh largest in area. The territory's elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps in the south to the shores of the North Sea in the north-west and the Baltic Sea in the north-east. Between lie the forested uplands of central Germany and the low-lying lands of northern Germany, traversed by some of Europe's major rivers such as the Rhine, the Danube and the Elbe. Most of Germany has a cool, temperate climate, in which humid westerly winds predominate. Top destinations include vibrant cities with amazing architecture, medieval villages with festivals and regional specialities, as well as castles and abbeys that are the epitome of German romanticism. To name a just a few: the Cologne Cathedral; King Ludwig II's world-famous castles (in Neuschwanstein and in Hohenschwangau); the Brandenburg Gate; Mainau and Reichenau Island on Lake Constance; and the palaces and gardens of Potsdam.