Germany is the largest country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by Denmark, to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany is a federation of 16 states, roughly corresponding to regions with their own distinct and unique cultures. The financial centre of Germany and continental Europe is Frankfurt am Main, and it can also be considered one of the most important air traffic hubs in Europe, with Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa known for being not just a carrier, but rather a prestigious brand, though its glamour has faded somewhat during recent years.
Being a federal republic, Germany is very much a decentralised country, which embraces the cultural differences between the regions. Some travellers will perhaps only think of beer, Lederhosen and Oktoberfest when Germany comes to mind, but Germany's famous alpine and beer culture is mostly centered around Bavaria and Munich. Here the beer is traditionally served in 1 litre mugs (normally not in pubs and restaurants, though). The annual Oktoberfest is Europe's most visited festival and the world's largest fair. Germany's south-western regions, however, are well known for their wine growing areas (e.g. Rheinhessen and Palatinate) and Bad Dürkheim on the 'German Wine Route' (Deutsche Weinstraße) organises the biggest wine festival worldwide with over 600,000 visitors annually.
Germany's climate is temperate and marine, with cold, cloudy winters and warm summers and in the south occasional warm föhn wind. The greater part of Germany lies in the cool/temperate climatic zone in which humid westerly winds predominate.