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Where to turn off the Autobahn? Click here for Twelve Teutonic Treasures worth heading off the beaten track for ...

But first, ten reasons why Germany is wunderbar:
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1: Drink and food
: in that order, because discerning people know that German beers and wines are among the best in the world - even though you can't so easily get hold of them in the UK: you can order a genuinely local beer anywhere you go in Germany, and in much of the south and west there’ll be the alternative of a genuinely local wine too. Wines are usually served in 1/8 or 1/4 litre carafes, great for serious sampling. And the standard Gaststätte is a wonderfully flexible combination of restaurant and cafe - good quality options for what you want, when you want it (and unlikely to be part of a chain.)

2: Small towns: all different, usually well-presented, with a real sense of local civic pride. Many until relatively recently had some degree of independence as ducal capitals, so palaces and castles are ten a penny, along with attractive central squares which are still the focus of everyday life.

3: Scenery: generally getting better the further south you go, but the classic patchwork landscape of rolling hills, forests and red-roofed villages covers much of the country.

4: Autobahns: they’re free to use, they go just about everywhere, and often show you the best of the countryside. Less than half now is without speed limit - but this is perhaps more a downside for the average British motorist - see below ...

5: Minor roads: always well-maintained, generally quieter than in England, with good clear signposting. Particularly impressive is the logical lane-marking of city streets - it’s very difficult to get lost in Germany.

6: Value for money: more of a surprise, but Germany counts as one of the cheapest Euroland countries for much of what the visitor needs to buy - food and drink, entrance fees, hotels (usually with an impressive breakfast buffet included) ...

7: Shop hours: another surprise, perhaps, but since significant deregulation, many shops, including department stores, open well into the evening during the week - so town centres are livelier for longer than their British counterparts. But see below for the problem of the German weekend ...

8: Public transport: yes, even the driver will want to use city transport from time to time. Tram networks in even some smaller cities do a lot to enhance the quality of urban living.

9: Distinct regions: the well-entrenched federal system does make a difference: there is strong regional pride in the different Lander, backed up by impressively high-quality regional and local press.

10: Order: but finally, yes, the stereotype lives on - everything is generally well-organised, precise and maybe even predictable, in a diverse way, of course ...

... and (in the interests of some balance) five reasons why it’s not all wunderbar:

Autobahns (again): the sheer volume of through traffic, particularly freight, can make for some stressful driving, with traffic jams frequent and unpredictable. And the stretches with no speed limit can be pretty unnerving for an ordinary driver with a strong sense of self-preservation - particularly so on those two-lane stretches where you need nerves of steel to pull out and overtake a slower vehicle.

Weekend opening hours: deregulation of hours hasn’t had much impact on weekends, with almost all shops shut on Sundays and the majority still abiding by the tradition of early afternoon closure on Saturdays for much of the year.

Crossing the road: a problem for impatient Brits is the respect most Germans still show for pedestrian lights. It feels antisocial to cross an obviously empty road on a red light, but we are adults who can take our own decisions, aren’t we ... ?

Slow bar service: there’s a lot to be said for the self-service principle of the British pub, particularly when the German bar-owner takes such pride in carefully finessing the head on the pils, testing the patience of the thirsty drinker.

Weather: the best that can be said is that it’s not much different from what we are used to in Britain. Surely the ten reasons listed above are enough to make Germany worth visiting, even if it does rain from time to time.