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Travel guide for Germany

Germany, the country for every kind of traveller! It is famous for its vibrant cities, bustling with life and intense rhythms. It is also famous for its stunning architecture, historic cathedrals and medieval castles. In terms of nature, its dense forests and mountains steal the show. Don’t miss out on their delicious beers and food. It is still, one of the biggest economic powers in Europe and has the third largest car production in the world (Mercedes-Benz, Bmw and Volkswagen). Below in our complete travel guide you will find all the information you need before your first trip to Germany.

General Information

  • Information for the necessary travel documents, depending on your nationality and destination can be found here.
  • The power voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50Hz. Socket type C and F.
  • The currency of Germany is the Euro (€). To keep up to date on currency exchange rate changes visit XE Currency Converter.
  • If you travel frequently buy a surfroam sim. You use it for global internet with very low charges and use in over 200 countries including the Netherlands. For more information see here.
  • Germany’s population is more than 83 million according to the latest estimate.
  • Germany’s capital and largest city in terms of area and population is Berlin.
  • The official language of the country is German.

Budget

The issue of staying in a destination, as we have mentioned before, is a subjective one. Each of us can travel either alone or with a group of friends, have different selection criteria and obviously different budgets. However, the solution to all of the above is provided by the platforms that now exist and we list them in the rest of the article, with countless options for all types of travelers. As an indication, we give an overview regarding accommodation in Germany:

Low budget: In the first category, which is the most economical, one can find a Hostel within 1.5 km from the center for as little as 27 €. There are even cheaper ones, but at a greater distance from the centre. Similarly in Munich the prices are more expensive with the most economical solution being that of 40€, in a double room with private bathroom.

Mid budget: One can find a room from 40€ up to 75 €. This accommodation has to do with more central hotels and rentals, both in Berlin and in Munich or Frankfurt. The rooms include private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and several of them include free breakfast.

High budget: As far as luxury accommodation is concerned, one can find 5-star hotels in the capital from as little as 79€ per night, up to 420€ at the famous Radisson Blue. In Frankfurt, respectively, a 5-star hotel within 2 km from the centre can cost 105€ per night for 2 people, but it can also cost more than 260€ for a more central hotel.

For the most part it is preferable to book rooms as centrally as possible, at points of interest. Some more remote hotels may be more economical, but usually the difference in the money one saves ends up being spent on transport plus wasted time. The above searches have been made on scattered dates throughout the year. The criterion was a double room for couples.

Find available rooms and deals on Booking by clicking here.

Traditional Food

German cuisine may not be particularly popular worldwide, but there are several traditional recipes that are no match for more well-known cuisines. They are primarily for meat lovers and beer lovers. Something you will see from the first hours you are in their country. Below we will list some must try dishes you should try when you are there.

Rouladen: A typical German dinner, often served with potato dumplings, red cabbage and gravy. It can also be served with vegetables or mashed potatoes. The rolls consist of thin slices of beef wrapped around bacon, pickles, onions and mustard before being cooked with red wine. It’s a relatively time-consuming dish, but it’s definitely a traditional dish worth trying.

Sauerbraten: It is a traditional German food that takes a lot of time to prepare. It is made with meat, which is cooked slowly in the oven for hours until it is soft and tender. It is usually served with potato dumplings, boiled potatoes or spätzle, Rotkohl (red cabbage) and gravy.

Spätzle: It is a type of pasta and is usually served as a side dish and can also be accompanied with cheese.

German sausages: There are several varieties with the most well-known being Currywurst, Bratwurst, Frankfurter, Weisswurst, Nürnberger Rostbratwurst, Blutwurst, Landjäger.

Jägerschnitzel: The Schnitzel comes from Austria, but it is still considered a traditional German food and can be found in most restaurants in the country. One of the most common German variations is the Jägerschnitzel, which is a schnitzel with mushroom sauce, often served with potatoes or sauerkraut.

Schweinshaxe: Also known as pork knuckle. It is one of the most traditional dishes in Germany, especially in the Bavarian region. It is usually served with potatoes and some kind of cabbage. The meat is marinated for days before it is finally cooked at low temperatures for several hours

Kartoffelpuffer: French fry pancake, which can be served with eggs for breakfast, but also with applesauce and sour cream.

Maultaschen: A type of pasta dough, which is filled with meat, spinach, onions and various herbs and spices.

Eintopf: There are many regional versions of Eintopf, but it is usually made with a variety of vegetables and some kind of meat. It is essentially the German stew. The meaning of the name refers to the way the ingredients are cooked in a pot rather than a specific recipe.

Brezel: The German Brezel, known internationally as pretzel, is a type of baked bread with salt. It is one of the most traditional snacks in Germany and you can find it freshly baked in any bakery and or small pretzel shops around the country.

Read our article about Austria here.

Transportation

Plane: Germany is one of the most developed countries and has many airports. There are several connections and frequent routes within its cities. Offers are often available, so you can find cheap tickets, but not always. A flight from Berlin to Munich can cost 53€, while a flight from Frankfurt to Berlin can cost 71€.

Public transport: Germany has some of the best public transport in the world. The Germans created the first ever motorway system! All cities and major towns have public transportation that is reliable and efficient. In cities like Berlin and Munich, all networks are integrated: one ticket can give you access to buses, trams, U-Bahn (subway) and S-Bahn (suburban) trains. Fares are fixed per zone. In general, a one-way ticket starts at 2.9€. You can even buy an unlimited travel pass for one day for 7€ or for three days for 17€. Train timetables and prices can be found here.

Bicycle: Germans love cycling and most cities have a well-organized network that supports it. Most cities have a good network of cycling clubs and many cities have a good network of cycling routes. Bikes for rent can be found for as little as 18€ per day. There are even many hostels that have bike rental services.

Taxi: Are quite expensive and are usually not recommended for tourists. All official taxis have a meter. The cost starts at 3.7 € plus an additional 1.90€ per kilometre. Uber services can be found in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Cologne. Even if you want to call a taxi, you can use the My Taxi app.

Buses: One of the most economical ways to get around the respective city or even to go from one city to another. Buses are obviously not as fast as trains, but they do offer comfortable seats, air conditioning and some lines even offer free Wi- Fi. The biggest companies you will find in Germany are Flixbus, Eurolines and Deinbus. Timetables and prices by bus can be found here.

Car rental: If you want to have the luxury of being able to tailor your own exclusive schedule, then this is the best option. Prices and car availability can be found here.

What to do in Germany

Lake Constance

Located along the country’s southwestern border with Switzerland and Austria, Lake Constance is the largest freshwater lake in Germany and the third largest in Central Europe. The area around the lake and in the Rhine Valley has a very mild climate and fertile soil, making it the country’s most important region for wine and fruit production. A suitable place for peace and relaxation.

Lake Constance in Germany
Hanover

Hanover is not a typical European city. Do not expect to see beautiful and modern buildings. This city was hit hard during World War II, leaving it with only a few historical landmarks. This area is surrounded by grey buildings from the 1950s that give a somewhat heavy atmosphere to the streets. But what attracts most people to Hanover are the large green areas, with forests and large parks, the Leine River running through the city and the Sprengel Museum. It doesn’t have much tourism, but is considered to be one of the most underrated destinations in Germany.

City hall in Hanover of Germany
Trier

The oldest city in the country. With a history of 2000 years, Trier was founded by the Romans and contains many well-preserved Roman structures. Landmarks such as the Porta Nigra gate, the ruins of Roman baths, an amphitheatre just outside the centre and a stone bridge over the Moselle river.

Trier, the oldest city in Germany
Dresden

Explore the treasures and grand buildings of this baroque city, divided by the majestic Elbe River. This city was completely rebuilt after the war. Today it is an attraction for young people, as far as the city’s nightlife is concerned.

city of Dresden
Neuschwanstein Castle

One of the largest castles in Europe and one of the most important tourist attractions in the world. It was built for King Ludwig II between 1869 and 1886. The palace is also known as Sleeping Beauty Castle because it was used by Disney. This much-photographed castle is located near the village of Hohenschwangau and the town of Füssen, next to the Austrian border in Bavaria. Information about access to the castle, hours, prices and what you can see inside can be found here.

the famous neuschwanstein castle of Germany
Munich

One of the reasons why this city is famous is the most famous German festival. Oktoberfest, Which lasts for 2 weeks and is considered one of the world’s biggest beer festivals. It starts in September and ends on the first weekend of October. Plenty of beers and an introduction to Bavarian culture, with this meaning: music, dancing and food! The festival takes place in the large open-air square Theresienwiese. Outside the festival it is still worth walking through the Marienplatz, which is the main square of the city. There you will find some of the city’s most important sights, such as the imposing neo-Gothic Neue Rathaus (New Town Hall) and the famous town hall clock, the Glokenspiel.

Crowds gather around the perimeter to watch the shows that take place, starring the clock statuettes. For football fans, a visit to the impressive Allianz Arena is a must, while for car enthusiasts a visit to the BMW building is a must. Finally, for adrenaline lovers there is the possibility to approach Germany’s highest mountain. The Zugspitze at a distance of about 120 km from Munich. You can either climb it via a hiking trail, or even easier via cable car or train. Don’t miss the view from the impressive AlpspiX viewing platform. More information about routes and costs can be found here.

City of Munich
Bremen

One of the 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany. Bremen is a beautiful city with impressive architecture. The city’s magnificent City Hall and the character of the Roland statue in the historic Marktplatz are part of the unique World Heritage Site under UNESCO protection. They show the citizens’ will for independence since 1404. With its back to the town hall and overlooking the Liebfrauenkirchhof, the bronze statue of the Bremen Musicians designed by Gerhard Marcks is presented in front of you.

The statue is well-known from the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale of the same name. It is said that whoever touches the legs of the donkey can make a wish. A few meters down from the statue of the Musicians of the City, on the west side of the town hall, you can find the entrance to the oldest wine cellar in Germany. Fine spirits have been produced since 1409. With 650 different varieties of wine, it is considered the most extensive collection of German wines. Best of all, you can visit all of these attractions in just one day.

City of Bremen
Berlin

Obviously the capital of Germany could not be missing from our list. You can start your tour from the famous Alexanderplatz, where the famous TV Tower is located. Visit the Pergamon Museum (on the so-called Museum Island on the Spree River) with its impressive exhibits and the German Historical Museum in the Zeughaus. The city’s landmark, however, is the famous Brandenburg Gate on Pariser Platz. A short distance from the Brandenburg Gate, you can find the Holocaust Memorial, dedicated to the memory of Europe’s murdered Jews. Be careful not to climb on the memorial’s slabs for photographs because it is forbidden.

A highlight of the city for film lovers is the Berlin International Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, in February. The city is also home to the internationally renowned Madame Tussauds wax museum. For nightlife lovers, the parties at the famous Berghain could not be missed, which among other things is famous for the difficult entrance that you have to pass through to avoid being eaten at the door. Multi-day parties and plenty of drinking to test your stamina. Finally you can visit the city’s parliament and climb its dome, enjoying the panoramic view of the city.

brandeburgen tor in capital of Germany
Hamburg

Hamburg is the second largest city in the north of Germany. Several waterways run through the city centre. Hamburg has more bridges than Amsterdam and Venice. It boasts one of the largest harbours and the Reeperbahn is the heart of Hamburg’s nightlife, with many bars and one of the largest Red Light Districts in Europe! It is also the place where the well known band The Beatles started. It is also worth visiting  St. Paul’s area and spending time in the harbour.

Hamburg is known for the Fischmarkt (fish market), which is a meeting place for locals and tourists and started in 1703 to sell the freshest fish, flowers and spices. If on the other hand you want something classic, you can stay in the city centre with its elegant neoclassical town hall and the nice shopping street of Mönckebergstraße. As far as children are concerned, Hamburg is definitely a key destination. In the city there is the Miniatur Wunderland which is the world’s largest miniature exhibition. You can find miniatures of everything from the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica to Las Vegas and the Swiss Alps. The most popular of all is Hamburg Airport, where every few minutes there is a re-enactment of a Lufthansa aircraft taking off.

Hamburg canals
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the most romantic cities in Germany, thanks to its picturesque riverside location, beautiful old buildings and bridges. It attracts almost four million visitors every year. The city is full of historical sites and attractions and offers excellent dining and entertainment experiences to visitors. Heidelberg is located at the point where the Neckar River rises from the hills of the Odenwald into the Rhine Valley. It is also one of the warmest places in Germany, as evidenced by its almond, fig and olive trees, as well as its wild African parakeets. Don’t miss a stroll through the beautiful old town and the bridge to enjoy the views from Philosophers Way and the charming Heiligenberg.

heidelberg castle
Frankfurt

Thanks to its international airport, Frankfurt is the largest travel hub for Germany. Many tourists usually just wait for their connection and leave immediately. However if there is time it is definitely worth the visit. Frankfurt is a city that was largely destroyed in World War II. It is the financial centre of the country with its own stock exchange (Deutsche Börse) and modern skyscrapers. Its central tower is the only multi-storey building open to the public and offers unrivalled panoramic views of the city. If you are looking for something traditional in this modern forest, you can explore the reconstructed city centre of Römerberg in Frankfurt which hosts many important events and conferences, such as the International Book Fair in October. It started in 1949 and is the largest book fair in the world.

Frankfurt city

Packing Tips & When to go

Most of the country is characterised by a temperate climate with seasonal variations. Winter temperatures are low and summers are cool. Generally because there is a big difference in weather depending on where you travel within the country, you need to plan accordingly. Below we list some basic things to bring with you.

Sunglasses: Ideal for most summer days in Germany, especially for those who spend a lot of time outside. Useful even in the winter months for those who choose a winter sport.

Waterproof shoes & clothing: Whether you’re trying out some hiking trails or just want to enjoy walks in the cities, you’ll definitely want to stay dry. Waterproof clothing and shoes are essential, as even in the summer or spring you may get caught in some rain.

Power bank: Whether you are doing some hiking activity or just touring you don’t want to run out of battery either in your phone or in your photography equipment.

Hiking gear: It is advisable to have the basics such as a waterproof backpack or waterproof gelatin, esothermics, sleeping bag and hiking boots. The reason is to avoid incurring additional rental or purchase costs there.

Best months to visit Germany are May, September and October. In May everything is in bloom and the temperature is ideal for excursions. Tourism is at reasonable levels so you can do your activities comfortably and at better prices. September and October are 2 more popular months to visit, as the annual Oktoberfest beer festival takes place in Munich at that time, as does the Berlin Festival of Lights.

In general, most people choose the summer months due to more favourable conditions. They enjoy outdoor activities, festivals and even picnics in the parks. However, prices in that period are higher. If you want to get even lower prices you can put Germany on your itinerary during the winter months. The temperatures are quite low, however the Christmas spirit that prevails in several cities such as Berlin, Dresden and Munich is well worth the visit, (and so is the mulled wine or glühwein)!!!

Useful Words

The official language in Germany is obviously German. However, you won’t have any problems communicating, as most people have a good command of English. Below we list some basic words in German:

YesJaGood MorningGuten Morgen
NoNeinGood nightGute Nacht
HelloHalloGood ByeAuf Wiedersehen
How are youWie gehtsThank youDanke!
My name is..Ich heiße …You’re welcomeBitte!

Useful Sites & Apps

Throughout the years we have been travelling we usually look for apps or websites that help us to get around better, either before or during the trip. In this way we have access to useful information like where can we get the best deals and expand our options. We usually make our choices on what activities we are going to do and where to go with help from those apps and follow the best ratings. Some we used are:

Booking.com

With a plethora of choices, traveller points that help you get better deals the more you travel, promo codes for you and your friends, with available credit options as well and much more. Start booking and see for yourselves. For available rooms and prices look here.

Welcome Pickups

One of the best, most trustworthy, and most convenient 5-star airport taxi companies for your airport transfer based on user reviews across various platforms such as Google, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot. Welcome Pickups offers a great experience and safety to its travelers. Local English-speaking drivers, flat, pre-paid fee, flight monitoring for delays, 24/7 Customer support + free cancellation. Check your options here.

Air Bnb

With more than a million properties around the world and still growing. A very popular choice for those looking for more affordable options even at the most expensive locations. Having the choice to pick an apartment or even a whole villa would make you feel more at home while you travel.

Hotels.com

Registering here is free and easy. Every hotel on this platform will grant a free tenth night, so if you stay for ten nights the tenth night is free.

Trip Advisor

I don’t know anyone that has ever travelled and not used this platform for reviews or information about almost any location around the world. Hundreds of millions or reviews are available for most interesting locations when one is traveling. It can even help you find interesting things to do where you live and haven’t noticed yet.

Omio.com

Anything you need a click away. Find the best deals on trains, buses, flights, or even ferry tickets. Travel to thousands of destinations in Canada, the USA, and Europe. I often check here when I am already on a trip and I need to visit some neighbouring town or city. Check available routes here.

Kiwi.com

The first place to visit before any trip for advice on the fastest and most efficient search engine for flights, especially when you are trying to find the best deals. We love the option to choose any location and get the cheapest options for a fixed timeframe. This way you don’t even have to pick where to go, save money and have a spontaneous trip. For available flights and prices look here.

GetYourGuide

And for whomever likes activities and adventures or are even interested in museums and historical locations there is anything available to do and can be mostly found on this platform. You can even set a time and location to find what to do and not waste time waiting. Only make sure you check the reviews to know what to expect at each different activity or visit. We have used it many times throughout Africa, Asia, and the USA without any issues. For available activities and tours check here.

Discover Cars

For car rentals at the lowest prices, servicing in over 150 countries and with the best deals and support in over 12 different languages for your own leisure.

Hotel Tonight

Here you will find last minute discounts on vacancies from hotels. This is an amazingly simple app and it doesn’t take long to book a room. You may search in each town for sights and maps. Furthermore, you can check the reviews and photos of other travellers in order to be sure about the trustworthiness of each hotel. It also has a 24/7 customer service. If you’re stuck somewhere and you need a room desperately, this is the perfect app for you.

City Maps 2Go

Maps for travelling, hiking, mountain cycling and many other activities. A necessary app for every adventure, activity or touring abroad. You may only download one map per country, whereas it was possible to download two in the past. For an additional map you need to pay.

You can mark all the places of interest on the map you have downloaded. Whether they are sights, shops, or restaurants you can use the directions guide to get there. The great advantage to this app is that you don’t need to have internet connection although it might get stuck a few times. Nevertheless, it is quite a reliable and useful app.

EXTRA TIP

Once you have marked all the places you want to visit prior to your trip, you can also book your accommodation accordingly. This way you can be sure you’ll be staying somewhere close to all places of interest.

iVisa.com

More information for the necessary travel documents, depending on your nationality and destination can be found here.

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