This is beer country, with nearly each town, city and village producing its own brand. Although Pilsner dominates, there are local brews as well, most famously Cologne's Kölsch and Düsseldorf's Altbier. The region's most famous wine-growing area is the Ahr Valley which specialises in richly flavoured reds. Sample the region's tipples in traditional taverns, breezy beer gardens, raucous beer halls or cosy pubs.

The Rhineland's Beers

Kölsch From Cologne and unlike any other beer in Germany. It's light, clear, hoppy and slightly sweet.

Altbier Düsseldorf's special: a dark, hoppy beer that's just slightly heavy.

Pinkus Müller An excellent microbrewery in Münster, with a splendid range of seasonal beers.