Located in southern Germany north of the Bavarian Alps, on the River Isar, Munich is Germany's third largest city, its most visited after Berlin, and a city that seems to revel in its contradictions.
Munich perpetuates the folklore of the ‘jolly Germany' – rosy-cheeked, lederhosen-wearing men singing over their super-sized beer tankards, ginger-bread architecture fresh from fairy-tale illustrations, and Gemütlichkeit (cosy, hearty hospitality). The flip side is a city that displays all the trappings of 21st-century world prosperity – gleaming BMWs (the manufacturers' base is here), flashy boutiques and glitzy nightclubs.
In reality, Munich's citizens encapsulate all of this, demonstrating a cosmopolitan refinement as well as genuine passion for the region's many traditions. Tourists flock to the city for the world-famous Oktoberfest, indulging in vast quantities of beer and sausage in an orgy of Bavarian revelry.
However, there's more to Munich than this stereotypical image, thanks to its strong cultural scene, richly endowed art collections, romantic palaces and excellent shopping. Indeed, from balmy summers in the beer gardens to the glittering Christmas markets during snowy winters, Munich is a popular destination all year round.