The most liveable cities in Germany
In Germany, working hard means nothing without being able to relax and enjoy life to the full. Germans take recreation and social life seriously, designing cities to enhance the quality of life, with fine food, cultural institutions, and respect for nature.
However, as with any nation, some cities are more appealing than others. So here is our quick guide to the most liveable cities in Germany.
Bavaria's capital is known around the world for the laid back atmosphere of Oktoberfest
Munich is not only known for this well known event, but also for the sporting exploits of Bayern Munich, and the technological achievements of BMW. Prosperous, close to spellbinding scenery and castles, and well-deserving its nickname as "German Italy", Munich is a wonderful place to be.
What is Munich known for?
If a city could ever have everything, Munich fits the bill. For starters, it oozes history. From the Frauenkirche and the glockenspiel clock tower at the Rathaus to the artworks and sublime furnishings of the Residenz, history fans will be in heaven.
But Munich isn't known for standing still. It's responsible for pushing the boundaries of auto technology, giving birth to the architectural pioneers of the Jugendstil, and even creating toys like plasticine. That's why the modern city constantly attracts scientists and engineers: it's a technology powerhouse.
Add in green spaces like the Englische Garten, some of the finest beer ever brewed, and Munich really does have it all.
Living in Munich
Living in Munich also provides the chance to scale the Alps for winter skiing, so don't miss out if you love the slopes.
The hub of North Rhine Westphalia seems to have been designed for good living
With a thriving tech-based economy, art galleries to satisfy any cultural appetites, fine food, and green spaces that make it easy to recharge your batteries, Düsseldorf doesn't disappoint.
Moreover, while Düsseldorf is no Liverpool, it's also one of Germany's great musical cities, having given birth to electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk in the 1970s.
What is there to do in Düsseldorf?
Nowadays, the city is simply one of the best cities in Germany for relaxation and enjoying a pleasant lifestyle.
Culture vultures can feast at the art and theater museums in Pempelfort, or catch global acts at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf. Those looking to relocate will find a blend of large expat communities and dazzling dining options in areas like Hafen and Bilk.
Frankfurt am Main
Germany's busy financial capital prides itself on its innovation, hard-working attitude, and general efficiency, but it's not a soulless metropolis by any means
While the skyscrapers of Bankenviertel dominate the economy, life in Frankfurt am Main offers much more than sealing deals, trading futures, and coding the next killer app.
A cultural hub with an appealing lifestyle
Even if you aren't planning to strike it rich in Mainhatten, Frankfurt am Main will prove seductive. For instance, the city's cultural life is legendary. During the day, there's Museumsufer, with its collection of 16 fascinating museums. And in the evening, DJs spin cutting edge techno and old school classics all over town.
You can sip Apfelwein by the Main, sample some of the best Turkish food in Germany, or try local specialties like extra-long Frankfurter sausages or dishes smothered in herby Grüne Soße (green sauce).
Frankfurt has a huge expat community, so making friends won't be hard either.
When you set foot in Münster, it can seem disorienting
Where are all the cars? Why does the air smell and taste so pure?
This Westphalian gem is full of history, hosts Germany's 5th largest university, and holds its own economically. But the striking thing for visitors is how many locals take to two wheels instead of four.
Dubbed "Germany's cycling capital", Münster is home to half a million bicycles, well over one per resident. And it's superbly adapted to cycling, with hundreds of miles of paths, easy rental services, and cycle shops everywhere.
Germany's most livable city?
Thanks to its eco-friendly credentials, huge parklands, wealthy population, academic institutions, and general "feel good factor", Münster won the 2004 LivCom Award as the world's most liveable community. Pretty impressive for such a small city.
It's a city that manages to be ancient and modern at the same time. The Old Town evokes images of the city's heyday as a trading city in the 15th century, while today's students keep the cultural life fresh.
Münster was home to 2013's "Coolest Nightclub" in one German poll.
Swabia's major city is both beautiful and friendly
When visitors arrive in Stuttgart, they settle into the lifestyle almost immediately, and it's easy to see why.
The Schlossgarten and the "Green U" offer huge expanses of green space; thermal baths bubble up to soothe tired muscles, while the Neckar river snakes through sublime scenery nearby, including some of Germany's finest vineyards.
What is the typical Swabian food?
Food and drink take center stage in Stuttgart and Swabia in general, which is one of Germany's major agricultural regions.
Don't expect sausages and sauerkraut at the city's finest eateries. Instead, Swabians prefer stews, pasta dishes, Spätzle dumplings, and cuts of meat with distinctive sauces. Sauces are king here, giving the locals the nickname of "Nass-Essers" (wet eaters).
After the meal
Don't fill up on Steaks or Spätzle. After the meal, there's always the option of rounding things off with Black Forest gateaux. It's not always low carb, but it's dangerously tasty. And it's a huge attraction for new residents with a gourmet side.