One thing that sets Germany apart from most other nations is its astonishing lack of big cities, if you take into account how comparatively small the country is (about 350,000 km^2, slightly smaller than Montana, accoring to the CIA) and how big its population is (over 82 million). In fact, it has only 4 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants (Berlin, Hamburg, München and Cologne)!

How is this possible? Mainly through two factors:

  • There is a relatively large number of medium-sized cities (at least 9 with more than 500,000 but less than 1 million inhabitants), large enough to offer all the conveniences, yet small enough not to become the large sprawls that mar other countries (OK, in some areas they are so close together as to amount to the same thing).
  • (more important) The country is very densely covered with small villages. So densely that the average distance between two neighbouring villages is only 6 kilometers (and much smaller in most areas). In most places with an even average view, you can see at least 3 or 4 of them.
Personally, I think this is a pretty good way to live, although it means that it's not easy to get away from civilization for a while.