I should be in Dortmund. Or Munich

By | Category: Travel destinations

the Phoenix; an artificial lake in Dortmund

If you live in London or are interested in football, it’s hard not to notice the fact that two German teams from Dortmund and Munich are playing a football match at Wembley this afternoon. At Victoria station I heard more German being spoken than I have heard in many a year. So many have come over for the match that newspapers are highlighting all things German in Britain.

But on the reverse side how many of us visit Germany and what do we know of these two cities?

Germany is the eighth most popular destination for us with Berlin being the most popular spot and Munich, the second. In all we spent just over four days each time we travel there. And the numbers of us travelling there has been rising and this isn’t just amongst business travellers. Munich is a regular place to visit for many Brits but Dortmund?

Dortmund, twinned with Leeds, is the least well known of the two cities – -unless you’re a football fan. The stadium of Borussia Dortmund has been called the most beautiful stadium in the world and the city will house – from next year – the German Football Association Museum. Located in the Ruhr area, you would automatically think of heavy industry but that conceals the fact that it is largely a mediaeval city with castles, grand churches and an important stop for salt trading. Now the heavy industry has been substantially altered so that now the city is largely a hotbed of IT development. An old brewery is now a museum as is a colliery and this vast change must have contributed to the Ruhr being named as one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2011. The city even has an artificial lake for the locals to enjoy.

Munich, twinned with Edinburgh, is much better known. Who hasn’t heard of the Oktoberfest? As the Bavarian capital it is ideal as a city break combining a nightlife with an array of museums castles (like Nymphenburg) and galleries and an easy access into the Bavarian forests and countryside. The local tourism authority has been highlighting the green open spaces and the many hundreds of gardens you can view there.

If I’d only thought a little earlier, this weekend might have been an ideal time to visit these two cities. Hotel rooms would be cheaper and the museums and galleries would be less busy. After all, a lot of the inhabitants are over here!

Images © Dortmund-Agentur / Ulrich Hoheisel and München Tourismus

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