Germany Travel Guide

By Admin | Last Updated October 31, 2019

Germany is a western European country between the Baltic and North Seas to the North. The Alps is in the South.  The country shares its boundary with Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. With an area of 357,022 square kilometers and population of 81.7 million people, Germany is the 7th largest country by size in Europe.

Germany is one of the most visited countries in the world. 37.5 million international tourists visited the country in 2017 according to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data, up from the 35.6 million of 2016, which is an increase of 5.2%. This makes Germany the world’s 9th most popular country for tourists. France tops this list, followed by Spain, United States and China.

Germany with its 16 states is a perfect blend of time-honored nationalism and tradition, multi-cultural modernism and self-confidence. The country offers almost everything – the majestic Alps, miles of river, forest and vineyards, beaches, spectacular castles, rejuvenating spas, art treasures, holiday markets, fine dining and irresistible shops. The beautiful Alps have world-class skiing in winter and the mountains and forests in summer is a delight for hikers and cyclists. Some of Europe's top museums including the Ludwig Museum with a splendid Picasso collection are in Germany.

Some of the most visited cities of Germany include Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne. Berlin, the capital, is not only the largest city in Germany, but also one of the cheapest European cities. Berlin is known for its spectacular architecture, art and music scene, hip vibes, world class museum, amazing cafe culture, pocket friendly food and fantastic night life.

Germany is the world’s 9th most popular country for tourists according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). 37.5 million people visited Germany in 2017.

Germany – Quick Facts

  1. Official Name – Federal Republic of Germany
  2. Form Of Government – Federal Republic
  3. Capital – Berlin
  4. Population – 82,422,299
  5. Official Language – German
  6. Money – Euro
  7. Area – 349,223 square kilometers
  8. Major Rivers – Rhine, Elbe, Main, Danube
  9. Germany has had an unsettled history, including the Nazi regime and tension between the East and West Germany (which were reunified in 1990).
  10. Countries that border Germany include Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, The Czech Republic, France, Luxembourg, Poland and Switzerland.
  11. Germany has the largest economy in Europe.
  12. Large German companies include BMW, Adidas, SAP, Mercedes-Benz, Nivea, Audi, Bayer, Volkswagen and Siemens.
  13. There are many national parks in Germany include the Bavarian forest national park, Jasmund national park, Harz national park, and the Wadden sea national parks among others.
  14. Over 100 Germans have been awarded the Nobel Prize in their field, including Albert Einstein, who was born in Germany.
  15. Germany has been home to famous composers such as Johann Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner.

Photo Gallery

Major Cities To Visit In Germany

  • Berlin
  • Frankfurt 
  • Munich
  • Hamburg
  • Cologne 
  • Dresden
  • Leipzig
  • Heidelberg
  • Stuttgart 
  • Dusseldorf

Distances between the major cities in Germany while traveling in trains –

  • Berlin to Munich: 4 hours 
  • Berlin to Hamburg: 1 hour 40 minutes to 2 hours
  • Berlin to Heidelberg: 5 hours to 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Berlin to Freiburg: 6 hours 30 minutes to 7 hours
  • Berlin to Frankfurt: 4 hours
  • Berlin to Cologne: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Munich to Hamburg: 6 hours
  • Munich to Freiburg: 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours 
  • Munich to Cologne: 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours
  • Hamburg to Freiburg: 6 to 6 hours 30 minutes

15 Reasons To Visit Germany

  1. Munich is steeped in culture – You will find century’s old building, museums, trekking tracks, parks, famous beer halls and lip smacking food in the city.
  2. If you are in Germany in September you cannot miss the 16-18 days Oktoberfest – the world's largest beer festival held, which is held in Munich.
  3. Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany and the second-busiest port in Europe is a beautiful city with lots of green spaces, parks and canals.
  4. Frankfurt and Cologne boast of plenty of historical sites, cool science museums and cathedrals. The underrated city of Hanover gives an amazing insight into the German culture. 
  5. Bavaria is another popular destination you cannot miss. It is not only about sausage, beer and lederhosen. There are many castles, scenic drives and historic sites.
  6. Hike the Berchtesgaden National park surrounded by lush forests, crystal clear lakes and steep rock faces.
  7. The Black Forest, a mountainous region in South West Germany, is famous for its dense evergreen forests, enchanting villages, vineyards, Gothic buildings and miles of beautiful landscapes. Before venturing deep into the Black Forest, a stop at the quaint and colorful town of Freiburg.
  8. Rent your own chalet in the Alps or leave the beer halls for a mountain monastery that makes some of Bavaria’s best brews.
  9. Take a cruise on the Rhine River or travel to the peaceful Elbe, leading to remarkable East German towns that the average traveler usually fails to notice.
  10. Amazing street food and delicious dishes. Try Spatzle, Maultaschen,  Brezel,  Schweinsbraten, Flammkuchen, Rouladen, Bratwurst and Currywurst. Some of the best restaurants are Marjellchen, Ratskeller Munchen, Zur Haxe and Atelier Gourmet.
  11. Bachfest Leipzig – A delightful annual event for lovers of classical music and the great baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Bachfest Leipzig takes place every summer at the historical venue of ‘Thomaskirche’ in Leipzig, where Bach served as the ‘Kapelmeister’ during the last three decades of his life.
  12. The Frankfurt Book Fair.
  13. Weird Museums – There is an onion museum in Weimar, a gnome museum on the fringes of the Thuringian Forest, and a museum in Berlin dedicated to currywurst.
  14. Germany produces excellent reds and whites and is heaven for Kebab lovers.
  15. The Beaches – The sea coast to the North is a popular destination for Germans. There are hundreds of miles of white beaches and off shore islands to explore. Rugen is famous for its white chalk cliffs and Jasmund National Park for its ancient beach forest. The island of Sylt will take you back in time with its picturesque cottages with sloping grass roofs. It is extremely popular with sailors and surfers and also offers great spa resorts.

Visa

If you are planning to visit Germany, you will have to apply for a Schengen visa. Germany is one of the 26 European countries forming the Schengen Area where there is no border controls. These countries also issue a common visa – the Schengen visa for up to 90 days.

You must apply 6 weeks before your travel date. The normal processing time for a visa is 24 to 48 hours. However, it can take as long as 14 to 21 days for citizens of certain countries.

With the visa, you can visit all the other members of the Schengen Zone: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Customs

Free import to passengers arriving with goods purchased within the EU which are for personal use only:

  1. Tobacco products:  800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each), 200 cigars, 1 kilogram smoking tobacco.
  2. Alcoholic beverages: 10 liters of spirits over 22%, 20 liters of alcoholic beverages less than 22%, 90 liters of wine (though no more than 60 liters of sparkling wine), 110 liters of beer.
  3. Tobacco products, for passengers aged 17 and older: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each); or 50 cigars; or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; or a proportional mix of these products.
  4. Alcoholic beverages for passengers aged 17 and older: 1 liter of spirits over 22% volume, or non-denatured ethyl alcohol with more than 80% volume; or 2 liters of spirits or aperitifs made of wine or similar beverages less than 22% volume, or sparkling wines or liquor wines; or a proportional mix of these products; and in addition 4 liters still wine; and 16 liters of beer.
  5. Food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use.
  6. Other goods (for air travelers) up to a total value of EUR 430 per adult or EUR 175. per passenger aged under 15 years.

Products of animal origin, not originating from an EU Member state, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino or Switzerland cannot be imported into an EU Member State, with the exception of limited amounts from Andorra, Faroe Isl., Greenland, Iceland and small amounts of specific products from other countries. Potatoes and vines cannot be imported into Germany.

If you are traveling with pets it is important to note that cats and dogs are subject to Regulation.

Airport Tax

There is no airport tax levied on passengers on embarkation at the airport.

Vaccines And Immunization

In Germany, vaccination isn’t compulsory, but strongly advised by all health authorities. If you are unsure what to do, you can ask your doctor for help, or base your decision on the German vaccination system and its specific recommendations.

Depending on the country you grew up in, you might already have been vaccinated against certain diseases. However, these illnesses might not be prevalent in Germany at all. Instead, German doctors might recommend vaccinations against other diseases. Even if you are an adult, you might, therefore, have to get vaccinated again.

Germany Nightlife

Germany is popular for its night life. It does not matter whether you are a party animal, barhound or music lover, Germany has plenty of options to fulfill your needs. Berlin is the place to be if you’re after an eclectic range of bars. Munich has a similar range of stylish venues, while Leipzig is better known for its slightly low-key pubs perfect for sampling authentic German beer.

If you are in one of the major cities, you will find a plethora of bars, night clubs and musical events. Germany’s nightlife scene is remarkably tolerant. Wherever you are in the country, you’ll find bars and clubs that cater to LGBTQ clients.

Best Time To Visit Germany

The best time to visit Germany is May when the weather has finally warmed, tourists start flooding in, cherry blossoms start blooming, and Berlin gets decked up for the festival season. Although there really is no bad time to visit Germany there are several factors that can influence when you visit Germany. Germany's four seasons are clearly marked by changes in weather and special events and festivals.

Season Characteristics Important Events
Winter Officially begins in late December, temperatures have already dropped by November. Average lows dip down to 23 degrees F with highs only hitting the low 40s. Snow is fairly common. Christmas, Berlin Fashion Week, Carnival in Cologne and winter sports.
Spring The air is still cool, but sunshine breaks between the clouds and the temperatures rises to 40 to 65 degrees F. Rain is still frequent. With the warmer weather in late spring, there can be epic storms of thunder and lightning. Spring festivals, Walpurgisnacht, Easter parties.
Summer Temperatures are usually between 65 to 75 degrees F, but can get downright hot. There are days that peak 100 degrees F with high humidity. Ertser Mai's chaotic celebrations of labor, the fireworks of the Rhine in Flames, rowdy parties for Father's Day, and the foodie delights of white asparagus (spargel) and fruit wines.
Fall Temperatures range from the low 40s to high 50s till late November when the temperatures really start to fall. Be prepared for early snow, windy days and rains. Oktoberfest, Wurstmarkt, the world's largest wine festival, Festivals of light in Berlin and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Top Tips To Save Money In Germany

  1. Avoid Oktoberfest. Everything costs more at this time.
  2. Keep an eye on school holidays. Prices are higher during these times.
  3. Watch out for trade fairs and exhibitions. You’ll have trouble finding a hotel room and will pay more if you do find one.
  4. Choose your airport wisely and book your tickets in advance.
  5. Avoid taxis. Go for simple public transportation. Go for a German Rail Pass.
  6. Share your ride with a local as it is an inexpensive way to travel in Germany. It is a very safe country.
  7. If you’re willing to gamble a bit while booking your hotel you can often find great deals at the very last minute.
  8. Avoid your hotel's minibar as it might be costly. Drink where the locals go.
  9. Check out the farmer's markets on Saturdays for fresh produce and tasty and inexpensive lunch.
  10. Ask for Leitungswasser (tap water), otherwise, the waiter will likely bring you a pricey mineral water.
  11. While shopping go for winter sales and flea markets instead of the malls and branded stores. 
  12. Use official bank ATMs to get the best exchange rates.

Top 8 Attractions In Germany

1. Berlin's Brandenburg Gate This was the city's first neoclassical structure resembling the Acropolis in Athens. It is 26 meters high including the four-horse chariot on top and six huge columns forming impressive passage way.
2. Cologne Cathedral This Gothic architecture is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. The highlights include the panoramic views from the South Towers, the 12th and 13th century stained glass in the Three Kings Chapel, and the Treasury with its many precious objects.
3. Black Forest This region of dense forest, beautiful villages and Gothic landscapes in South West Germany is one of the most visited regions of Germany. Other highlights in this region includes spectacular Black Forest Railway centered on Triberg with its famous falls, and Triberg itself, home to the Black Forest Open Air Museum.
4. Neuschwanstein Castle This is the ultimate fairytale castle that inspired Walt Disney's famous theme park castles.
5. Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg The world's largest model railway in Hamburg appeals to both young and old.
6. The Rhine Valley One of Germany's most dramatic landscapes. Rhine cuts deeply through the Rhenish slate mountains, meandering between hillside castles and steep fields of wine-producing grapes.
7. The Romantic Road The Romantic Road is Germany's best scenic route. It takes you through a region with splendid German scenery and culture, castles, charming medieval towns surrounded by walls, half-timbered houses, popular hotels and restaurants that offer great German food and beer.
8. Dresden Frauenkirche A spectacular church with its history of the Second World War when it collapsed into 42 piles of rubble. The piles were left untouched for 40 years to denote the devastating effects of the war and were reconstructed in 1994.

 

What You Should Not Do In Germany

  • Germans are punctual. Don't be late.
  • Don't get too drunk. Public drunkenness is looked down upon. 
  • Do not show Nazi Salute or talk about Hitler as it is a criminal offense. 
  • Do not jaywalk as you may be fined. 
  • Do not eat with your fingers or keep your elbows on the table while eating.
  • Do not make noise between 10 PM and 7 AM.
  • You should never turn up on a German doorstep unannounced – unless of course you are warning the neighbors that their house is on fire.
  • Follow traffic signals religiously.
  • Don’t assert extreme opinions on the refugee crisis.
  • Don't go out without an ID.
  • Please don’t ask for tap water at the restaurant as you would be depriving the restaurant of one of its main sources of income.
  • Do not litter.