Prepare for a roller coaster of feasts, treats and temptations as you take in Germany's soul-stirring scenery, spirit-lifting culture, big-city beauties, romantic palaces and half-timbered towns.
Pleasures of Civilisation
You'll encounter history in towns where streets were laid out long before Columbus set sail, and in castles that loom above prim, half-timbered villages where flower boxes billow with crimson geraniums. The great cities – Berlin, Munich and Hamburg among them – come in more flavours than a jar of jelly beans but will all wow you with a cultural kaleidoscope that spans the arc from art museums and high-brow opera to naughty cabaret and underground clubs. And wherever you go, Romanesque, Gothic and baroque classics rub rafters with architectural creations from modern masters such as Daniel Libeskind, David Chipperfield and Frank Gehry.
There's something undeniably artistic in the way Germany's scenery unfolds – the corrugated, dune-fringed coasts of the north; the moody forests, romantic river valleys and vast vineyards of the centre, and the off-the-charts splendour of the Alps, carved into rugged glory by glaciers and the elements. All are integral parts of a magical natural matrix that's bound to give your camera batteries a workout. Get off the highway and into the great outdoors to soak up the epic landscapes that makes each delicious, slow, winding mile so precious.
High on History
Few countries have had as much impact on the world as Germany, which has given us the Hanseatic League, the Reformation and yes, Hitler and the Holocaust, but also the printing press, the automobile, aspirin and MP3 technology. It is the birthplace of Martin Luther, Albert Einstein and Karl Marx, of Goethe, Beethoven, the Brothers Grimm and other heavyweights who, each in their own way, have left their mark on human history. You can stand in a Roman amphitheatre, sleep in a medieval castle and walk along remnants of the Berlin Wall – in Germany the past is very much present wherever you go.
Experiencing Germany through its food and drink will add a rich layer to your memories (and possibly your belly!). You'll quickly discover that the local food is so much more than sausages and pretzels, schnitzel and roast pork accompanied by big mugs of foamy beer. Beyond the clichés awaits a cornucopia of regional and seasonal palate-teasers. Share the German people's obsession with white asparagus in springtime, chanterelle mushrooms in summer and game in autumn. Sample not only the famous beer but also world-class wines, most notably the noble Riesling.
Why I love Germany
By Andrea Schulte Peevers, Writer
Truth be told, I had to leave my home country of Germany to learn to love it. From my new perch in Los Angeles, I returned time and again, criss-crossing the land on my travels between the wind-caressed North Sea and the jagged Alpine peaks. I’ve cycled through romantic river valleys, sampled the best beer and wine, partied to techno till sunrise and stood in awe before sites that have shaped the course of history. After 15 years of discoveries, I could no longer resist the temptations of this gorgeous, complex and forever changing country, and decamped to Berlin for good. I haven’t looked back.