Steeped in history, brimming with culture, and boasting breathtaking landscapes, Germany offers an incredible variety of experiences for every traveler.
This comprehensive Germany Travel guide delivers must-know information, from practical advice about local currency and best times to visit to inspiring insights into top attractions and culinary must-tries.
Dive in, and let this guide inspire you for your own unforgettable journey into the heart of Germany.
Fast Facts About Germany
- Climate: Germany possesses a temperate seasonal climate, with moderate to heavy rainfall throughout the year. Summers (June to August) can be warm to hot, reaching up to 30°C. In contrast, winter months (December to February) can be quite cold, with temperatures between -2°C and 3°C.
- Local Currency: The official currency is Euro (€). It’s always handy to have a small amount of cash, but most shops, restaurants, and hotels accept credit cards.
- Power Voltage: The standard electric voltage in Germany is 230V, and the frequency is 50Hz. The power plugs and sockets are of type F. Travellers from countries with different voltage might need a voltage converter.
- Language: The official language is German. English is well understood, especially in major cities and tourist areas, so communication shouldn’t pose a major issue.
- Religion: Christianity is Germany’s dominant religion, split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church. However, the country is largely secular, with a significant number of Germans not adhered to any religion.
- Safety: Statistically, Germany is considered one of the safer countries in Europe. However, it’s advised to take normal precautions to avoid petty crimes like pickpocketing.
- Cultural etiquette: Germans are known for punctuality, directness, and rule observance. It’s also important to note that casual wear is commonly accepted, but not in all settings, so consider your wardrobe options, especially for dining out or attending a cultural or business event.
- Tipping: Service charge is included in your bill, but it’s still customary to leave a small tip (about 5-10%) if you are satisfied with the service.
Best Time to Visit Germany: Seasons and Festivals
- Spring (March-May): The weather gets warmer and nature comes back to life, offering perfect conditions for city tours or trips along scenic routes. The Easter season brings several traditional ceremonies and celebrations.
- Summer (June-August): It’s sunny, and temperatures are usually between 20°C and 30°C. Summer is famous for numerous outdoor concerts and festivals, like the rock festival Rock am Ring (June), Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures (June), and the famous Bayreuth Festival (July and August), presenting Richard Wagner’s operas.
- Autumn (September-November): Autumn’s mild weather is suitable for city tours and hiking, but the main attraction is Oktoberfest – Munich’s world-renowned beer festival, happening in late September to first week of October.
- Winter (December-February): Winters are chilly with occasional snowfall – perfect for skiing or snowboarding. End of November through December, various cities host traditional Christmas Markets, with Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt being one of the most famous.
For an adventure Festival Tour in Germany, check out our post:
Exploring the Ultimate Adventure: OKTOBERFEST Festival Tour
Top Attractions and Things to See and Do in Germany
Germany is brimming with history, vibrant cities, enchanting forests, and fairy-tale castles. Here are some not-to-miss destinations to add to your itinerary:
- Berlin: It’s impossible to mention Germany without Berlin coming to mind. Visit the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall remnants, the Holocaust Memorial, and more. Remember to immerse yourself in their rich art scene scattered across numerous galleries and street art.
- Munich: Known for its Oktoberfest, Munich is also home to plenty of traditional Bayerische (Bavarian) heritage sites, such as the Marienplatz and the Bavarian State Opera.
- The Romantic Road: This is arguably the most popular tourist route in Germany, featuring picturesque towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the renowned Neuschwanstein Castle.
- Black Forest: When you need a break from city life, the hiking trails, waterfalls, and the cuckoo clock shops in the Black Forest provide a scenic and peaceful experience.
- Rhine Valley: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rhine Valley hosts charming towns, vineyards, and medieval castles alongside the majestic river Rhine.
The Best Ways to Get Around Germany
- Train: Deutsche Bahn (DB) operates Germany’s vast and punctual rail network, connecting even smaller towns. ICE trains offer high-speed connections between major cities. Savings fare starts from 21.10 Euros and flexible fare from 44 Euros depending on the distance.
- Bus: Long-distance bus services are an economical alternative for intercity travels. Companies like FlixBus serve routes all over Germany and even cross-border routes.
- Public City Transport: Cities have comprehensive transportation systems including U-Bahn (underground train), S-Bahn (suburban train), trams and buses. Day tickets or city passes are great for unlimited travel within a day in one city.
- Car Rental: Germany’s Autobahn (highway) is internationally famous. Renting a car is a good idea if you prefer flexibility or are planning to visit remote areas. Note that in cities, parking can be expensive.
- Bike: Germany is equipped with well-maintained bike infrastructure, and renting a bike can be an ideal way to explore local surroundings, especially in cities like Munich or Berlin.
Accommodation Tips: Germany
- Location: Prioritize accommodation choices that are centrally located or have easy access to public transportation, as this will aid your exploration immensely.
- Budget: Germany’s range of accommodation options cater to every budget, from plush five-star hotels to affordable bed and breakfasts, and even cheaper, clean hostels.
- Booking: Use reliable hotel booking platforms such as Booking.com or Hotels.com to secure the best prices.
- Amenities: Prioritize your needs – access to a kitchen, Wi-Fi, free breakfast, or laundry facilities, and filter your choices accordingly.
- Advance Booking: Especially during popular events like Oktoberfest or Christmas Market season, accommodation sells out fast. Booking your place well in advance will ensure availability and better prices.
- Vacation rentals: Platforms like Airbnb offer you the opportunity to enjoy a home-away-from-home experience, especially for longer stays.
Germany Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
- Purchase a Transport Pass: Investing in a day or week pass can save significantly on transportation costs if you’re extensively using public transport.
- Enjoy Free Activities: Many cities offer numerous free or budget-friendly activities. For instance, Berlin’s iconic East Side Gallery or Munich’s beautiful parks don’t cost a dime to explore.
- Student Discounts: If you’re a student, don’t forget your international ID. It will get you significant discounts at numerous attractions.
- Early Bird or Late Night Discounts: Museums like Berlin’s Pergamon Museum or Neuschwanstein Castle offer discounts for early morning or late-night visits.
- Eat at Local Markets: Save on meals by eating in local markets where you can enjoy delicious food for a fraction of restaurant prices.
Culinary Delights and Traditional Cuisine in Germany
- Bratwurst: A popular German sausage made from pork, beef, or veal.
- Sauerbraten: A pot roast, traditionally made from horse meat, but beef is commonly used now. It’s marinated before being slow-cooked.
- Pretzels: These twists of baked dough, usually sprinkled with coarse salt, are a common sight in German bakeries.
- Sauerkraut: Fermented cabbage, often served as a side dish.
- Beer: Enjoy the local brews. Each region boasts its own unique beer traditions and specialties.
Don’t forget to try the glorious German cakes and pastries, especially the Black Forest Gateau!
Souvenir Ideas: Bringing a Piece of Germany Home
- Beer Steins: Traditionally handcrafted beer mugs that make perfect mementos.
- Cuckoo Clocks: Originating from the Black Forest, these clocks are an iconic German souvenir.
- Music Boxes: German craftsmanship shines in these intricate music boxes.
- German sweets: From the world famous Haribo gummies to marzipan sweets from Lübeck, German confections make a delicious souvenir.
- Christmas Ornaments: Germany is famous for its Christmas markets, and wooden handicrafts, especially Christmas ornaments, of stellar quality and make fantastic gifts.