Where Germany becomes Mediterranean
The Bavarian capital has more to offer than Oktoberfest and nudists in the English Garden. This charming south German city-lovingly nicknamed "the most Northern Italian town"-can cheer up any kind of traveler. To start with, there is, of course, the beer. Throughout the city your nose will encounter the scent of malt and hops again and again. In the spring and summer, countless beer gardens offer cool shade and communal tables under the mandatory chestnut trees. In the winter, Christmas markets abound, selling anything from mulled wine to roasted almonds, handmade nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, and what have you. You can even partake in the local version of curling on the Nymphenburg canal near the city castle-where Ludwig II was born. Peruse through some of Germany's finest museums, such as the Lenbachhaus with its famous Blue Rider collection, the Deutsches Museum chronicling Germany's technical achievements (mining, shipbuilding, beer-brewing, and so on), or the relatively new Pinakothek der Moderne. Enjoy the ubiquitous bike trails, street cafes, and boutiques. At night simply relish: there are two opera houses, several highly acclaimed theaters, and depending on your taste, the rambunctious beer halls or trendy nightclubs. Ah-and lest we forget-the Alps are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.