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The largest and richest state in Germany, Bavaria (German: Bayern) is also the source of most foreigners' stereotypes of Germany. Cultural icons like Oktoberfest, Christkindlmarkts, Alpen huts, pretzels, strong beer, Apfelstrudel, Dirndls, Lederhosen, Lebkuchen and those wonderful Christmastide candied almonds are all essentially Bavarian.
Bavaria shares international borders with Austria and the Czech Republic as well as with Switzerland (across Lake Constance). Because all of these countries are part of the Schengen Area, the border is completely open. Neighbouring states within Germany are Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Thüringen and Sachsen. Two major rivers flow through the state, the Danube (Donau) and the Main. The Bavarian Alps define the border with Austria, (including the Austrian federal-states of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg) and within the range is the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze. The Bavarian Forest and the Bohemian Forest form the vast majority of the frontier with the Czech Republic and Bohemia.
Lake Konstanz, (in German: Bodensee) is the largest lake in all of Germany, bordering both Austria and Switzerland. This is a great place for boating and cycling. There are several ferries crossing the lake and there is a bicycle path around the lake that can be done over several days. On the German part of the lake, there is a small island called Mainau, which is a place of interest for lovers of flowers and gardens.
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The Castle Neuschwanstein is the biggest legacy of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The construction of the castle commenced in 1868 and was completed in 1892, several years after the King died. The castle is that of a fairytale prince. It was the inspiration for Walt Disney's Castle of the Sleeping Beauty, and has been copied in some of the Disney parks. The castle itself was inspired on Opera's by Richard Wagner, especially the Opera Tannhauser, in which the Swan knight Lohengrin is the central figure. Seven weeks after the King died in 1886 the castle was opened for the public. It has become one of Europe's top attractions and is visited by around 1.3 million people every year. The Castle is situated in the Alps of southern Germany, near the town of Füssen. Visits can be done pretty easy from Munich as well. There are several tour operators offering day trips, but you can also go by train and bus. Near to the castle also lies the castle of Hohenschwangau.
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The Oktoberfest is held annualy in Munich, actually starting already in September! Although more cities have Oktoberfeste, this one is the best known and in fact is the largest fair in the world, with 6 million visitors a year. Finding a place to stay during these days can be very hard, and if you want to stay in Munich itself booking ahead (far ahead) is requiered. The festival takes place at the Theresienwiese since 1810, when it was held as a celibration for the marriage between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen Over the years there have been 24 cancellations of the fest for many reasons in this period, including wars and diseases. Since 1950 the Oktoberfest as we know it today emerged. Most of the breweries set up an own tent at the festival. Over the last few year the one from the Hofbrauhaus has been the biggest, with a capacity of almost 10,000 for this tent alone. Besides drinking beer, there is (in good German tradition) enough to eat, and enough to do. A fairground is erected at the grounds to entertain the young and the old. The beer is poured in 1 litre mugs. The mugs carry the logo of the brewery who's beer you are drinking. If you like your mug so much that you want to take it home, be warned that stealing a mug can cost you a fine of €50. It's better to buy one, and keep the receipt for the occasion that the police wants to see the receipt.
1. Munich Airport (also called Franz Josef Strauss International Airport) (MUC) is the second busiest airport in Germany and is only 28 kilometres from the city. This airport is a major hub for Lufthansa making it easy to connect to many major cities in the world.
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2. Memmingen Airport (FMM) is a small airport, mainly serving low-cost flights, for example with Ryanair, which flies to/from Alicante, Bremen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Faro, Girona, London Stansted Airport, Malaga, Oslo, Porto, Rome, Stockholm and Valencia and seasonal to/from Alghero, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Reus and Trapani. Several other airlines serve destinations like Kiev, Belgrade, Antalya, Heraklion, Belfast and Naples, some of them chartered and/or seasonal (summer) only. Because of its proximity to Munich, the airport is also sometimes called Munich West Airport.
3. Nuremberg Airport (NUE) is the 2nd busiest airport in Bavaria and the 10th busiest in Europe. It is mainly used by charter flights to Southern European destinations. The closest bigger airports with intercontinental flights are Frankfurt am Main International (FRA) and Munich Airport (MUC).
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To get to Nuremberg Airport by public transport take Underground 2 from the main train station to stop "Flughafen". It travels every 10 to 15 minutes, and takes only 12 minutes to reach the Hauptbahnhof (Central Railway Station) and the nearby Altstadt (historic old town). Just taking the bike or walking to the airport is even possible if you like, as it is not that far from certain neighbourhoods.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) is the national railway company of Germany and offers trains to and from Bavaria.
Eurolines connects to several German cities, including Munich.
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