Beer or wine? That sums up the German conundrum. One is at the heart of a pilsner-swilling culture that draws kegloads of visitors annually, is the very reason for one of the world’s great parties (Oktoberfest) and is consumed with pleasure across the land. The other is exported worldwide, is responsible for gorgeous vine-covered valleys and is enjoyed everywhere, often from cute little green-stemmed glasses.
And the questions about Germany continue. Berlin or Munich? Castle or club? Ski or hike? East or west? BMW or Mercedes? In fact, the answers are simple: both. Why decide? The beauty of Germany is that rather than choosing, you can revel in the contrasts (except maybe with the car question…). Exploring this country and all its facets can keep visitors happy for weeks.
Berlin, edgy and vibrant, is a grand capital in a constant state of reinvention. At the other end, Munich perches atop Bavaria, the centre of national traditions. Half-timbered villages can’t help but bring smiles as you wander their cobblestoned and castle-shadowed lanes. Cities of all sizes boast some of Europe’s best clubs, as you’d expect from the home of techno. Enjoying the outdoors, from skiing Alpine peaks to hiking carefully preserved forests, is essential. And compare the ancient traditions of the east, as beautiful Dresden adjusts to the 21st century, with Cologne, where decades of prosperity burnish its grand heritage.