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Country Guide: Germany
Country Guide: Germany
What’s it all about? Beer, bustling cities, beautiful castles and more beer.
With that little selection and more, there's a lot to love about Germany. This selection of where to go and what to do will get you started.
Where better to start than at the world's largest piss-up; on it’s own, it’s a good enough excuse to visit Germany. Munich is host to Oktoberfest – a 16-day beer extravaganza that starts, oddly, in September – because the weather is better.
It is impossible to get bored in Germany's capital. Berlin is an edgy and diverse city with an intriguing history as well as a modern, thriving arts scene.
For a city with more than 1.2 million residents, Munich has done well to retain a 'village' feel. Hang out in Marienplatz, the old town square, and down a beer or two at Hofbräuhaus.
Germany's Rhine River is at its most magical between Koblenz and Bingen. In fact the 65km stretch has been named as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Cycle, hike or cruise among the medieval castles and vineyard
This fairytale castle, the inspiration behind Disney's famous logo, is the major attraction in the Köningswinkel (Royal Corner) – 4km east of Füssen.
Roman ruins, an amazing cathedral and a chocolate museum – that alone is a good enough reason to visit Cologne. Add in a local brew called Kölsch and you're set. Might as well move here.
Sure, they're a little naff, but Germany's Christmas markets will certainly put you in the spirit of the season.
Now, here are some sample itineraries for you. An excellent rail system means it is easy to get around Germany and plan your trip.
Germany in 2-3 days
Head straight to Berlin for a long weekend of history and hedonism or if you'd rather get a taste of Bavarian Germany, head to Munich where you can cruise the beer halls.
Germany in 7-9 days
Start in Berlin, where you'll need at least two nights. Catch a train south to Dresden – an 18th century centre of art that was bombed extensively in World War II.
After at least two nights in Munich, head towards Heidelberg where you can start exploring the castle-lined Romantic Rhine. End your travels in Mainz or continue north for a couple of nights in Cologne.
Germany in two weeks +
Use the 7-9 day itinerary as a starting point, but spend longer exploring the many different Berlin neighbourhoods.
After visiting Munich consider heading down to King Ludwig's beautiful palace Neuschwanstein and then travelling to Freiburg where you can begin to explore the Black Forest.
Take a detour into Stuttgart if you're keen to see the home of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz before heading north-west to Heidelberg for your Romantic Rhine experience and a short stay in Cologne.
Frankfurt International Airport is a major hub, so visitors flying from outside of Europe will normally pass through here. If travelling from the UK, there are many budget airlines servicing the major cities and regions.
Arriving from neighbouring countries by train is a more relaxing way to travel, although you may need to book ahead at peak times and on public holidays. For train times and prices see the Rail Europe website.
You probably wouldn't need to book internal flights in Germany, as the rail system is fast and efficient. If you do have to fly across the country Lufthansa has the most comprehensive network.
The Germans sure know how to run an efficient train network. Most of the country's trains are run by Deutsche Bahn (DB) and you can pretty much get anywhere you want.
If you can't get there on a train (unlikely) you can probably get there on a bus. In larger towns, head to the main bus station, the Busbahnhof, where tickets are sold by the bus companies.
Food and drink
Beer and sausages, what else?
Even if you don't visit during Oktoberfest, beer will probably still feature high on your to-do list. Make sure you head into a traditional beer hall – and don't forget to chow down on some traditional German sausages (bratwurst, currywurst) and pork knuckles.