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Travel tips for autumn

Now that the summer is over, where’s worth going, doing and seeing in Deutschland?

–        The temperature is ideal for cycling, and this is a nation that knows how to treat its cyclists well. Long distance cycle routes are well documented in the German Tourist Board’s ‘Discover Germany by Bike’ brochure, which unfortunately doesn’t have an online presence. Particularly recommended routes are the top half of the Danube, from Donaueschingen to Ulm, and the vineyard-lined Mosel between Bernkastel and Zell. But there’s lots more.

–        It’s also a good time for walking in the mountains, particularly at leaf-change time. There are great forest trails, for example, in the Pfälzer Wald in the Rheinland-Pfalz region (nearest airport Frankfurt) or in the Bayerischer Wald (nearest airport Nuremberg).

–        Germany’s vineyard regions will be celebrating the end of the season. There are wine festivals everywhere, including a big Grape Harvest Festival in Neustadt on the German Wine Road (nearest airport Frankfurt), at the beginning of October, when wine queens from various wine growing regions come together to elect the German Wine Queen

–        Museums and galleries, which have been ticking over through the summer, unveil their big autumn shows. In Berlin, for example, the Faces of the Renaissance exhibition at the Bode Museum features portraits by the likes of Ghirlandaio, Botticelli and Da Vinci. It runs until November, and is expected to attract big numbers.

–        It’s a good time to try a new city. Ryanair is launching a new route to Leipzig, particularly good for cutting edge arts and grand opera, on 3rd November. Lufthansa has been operating an under-publicised route to Dresden for a while now, and the city is about to open a new and controversial military history museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind.  And the otherwise sedentary northern city of Bremen (also Ryanair) is about to reveal its lively side with the Freimarkt, a massive celebration which lasts for two weeks from mid-October, with parades, fairground and lots of open-air music.

–        Beer season is upon us. It is, of course, Oktoberfest time. But you don’t have to go to Munich. Stuttgart’s Cannstatter beer festival which starts at the end of September is meant to be the nation’s second largest. There are others, particularly the festival at Straubing and the Bergkirchweih at Erlangen, but they’ve already taken place, so for those you need to plan ahead for next year.

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