Too many travellers think they know Germany. Theirs might be the country of oompah and sausages in Bavaria, the arty, hipster districts of Berlin, the cuckoo-clock villages in the Black Forest or wonky fairytale towns along the Romantic Road to Schloss Neuschwanstein – the original Sleeping Beauty castle. Each is brilliant, yet the more I see, the more I realise how extraordinary Germany is.
Nowhere else in Europe combines so much history or scenery – from white powder beaches on the Baltic coast to romantic river valleys like the Rhine or Elbe and corkscrew alps – with such excellence. If England had as many outstanding galleries, museums, brilliant nightlife, world-renowned beers or the best Christmas in the world, it’d be insufferable. Germany? Not a bit. Welcoming and relaxed, it has never been a more rewarding destination to travel. Given that autobahns and rail are the envy of Europe, it excels in that too.