The most populous country in the European Union, Germany couples medieval history with modern innovation. You can get lost in forests and castles straight out of a fairy tale; wander cobblestone streets in search of pretzels and a fresh stein of beer; and follow the trail of some of the most important events in human history. The vast diversity of this country – coastline, valleys, rivers, mountains – and the mix of major cities and cozy villages will keep you coming back.
BASICS /// Flag: 🇩🇪 // Capital: Berlin // Currency: euro // Languages: German
Capital of Bavaria, famed for Oktoberfest but offering much more than beer.
SEELenbachhaus: An art museum housed in a fantastic yellow metal building, featuring works by Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group of expressionist artists founded in Munich which included, among others, Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. The Pinakotheken: A complex of five museums (Alte Pinakothek (Middle Ages/Renaissance); Neue Pinakothek (17th-19th centuries); Pinakothek der Moderne (20th-21st centuries); Museum Brandhorst (contemporary); and Sammlung Schack (German romantics)) each with extensive and engaging collections. Haus der Kunst: Originally built during the Nazi era as a monument to Third Reich art, this building has since been repurposed into an exhibition space for contemporary art.
DOWalk around Marienplatz, see the Glockenspiel chime: Take in Munich's main square, and spend some time admiring the Gothic and majestic town hall. Make sure to stake out your spot early to watch the Glockenspiel chiming. Take a stroll through the English Garden: Munich's version of Central Park is perfect for a stroll. Don't miss watching the improbable surfers catching waves on the river. Viktualienmarkt: A food lover's dream - part farmers' market, part gourmet treats. Climb to the top of St. Peter's church: Known by locals as "Alter Peter" ("Old Peter"), this church offers sweeping views of the city if you can manage the nearly 300 steps to the top. Beer halls: Even if Oktoberfest is not going on, it's hard to come to Munich and not step inside a beer hall. Each one is steeped in centuries of history. Hofbrauhaus is perhaps the most famous, but for less crowds try Augustiner.
EATSpezlwirtschaft: New and delicious spins on German comfort food classics like schnitzl or knödel. Brezelina: A chain offering pretzel sandwiches (how is this not a thing everywhere?) for a perfect on the go snack. Bratwurstherzl: A traditional restaurant offering plates of sausages and mustard that tickles your nose, all in an old wooden house setting.