Oktoberfest is Europe's most-visited festival and is a gateway for broader exploration of this financial powerhouse with a spread of stunningly romantic landscapes and innovative people who look well beyond their 20th-century history.
Known for high-tech engineering, creative fashion and cultural verve, fairytale castles and brothers Grimm landscapes to get lost in, Germany is a little bewitching. You can find gemütlichkeit – coziness – in the thick of its cities and its Alpine farmhouses. The regions still have a strong character and pride. Millions decend on Munich each year for Oktoberfest and Berlin remains an absorbing capital that shifts and changes with a mindfulness of history and a push to the future. Frankfurt is a highrise host to the world's largest book, consumer goods and musical instrument fairs.
The country has at least 37 sites (including buildings, whole towns and landscapes) on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here's a quick-start rough guide to the regions of Germany's 16-state republic:
- Northern Germany – here you'll find the popular North Sea and Baltic Sea holiday spots set amid windswept hills.
- Western Germany – come and sample the fruits of wine country labours and admire the Rhine and Moselle Valleys.
- Central Germany – this is the country's green heart, with historical cities and the Thuringian Forest.
- Eastern Germany – Berlin is the drawcard here, in all its multi-faceted glory.
- Southern Germany – explore the Alps, Black Forest and toast with new friends at Oktoberfest.
City of Cologne