GERMANY TRAVEL GUIDE

GERMANY TRAVEL GUIDE

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TOP GERMANY SOLO TRAVEL ITINERARY

WILLKOMMEN IN DEUTSCHLAND!

Germany – one of the most densely populated countries that borders 9 countries, Germany is the largest national economy in Europe (if not the world) and a leader in climate and energy policies.

Germany is also home to 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Romantic Road, over 2100 castles and 1,500 different beers, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, approximately 20,000 castles, Oktoberfest, the Autobahn, wine, a free university system (even for non-Germans), over 300 kinds of bread and1,000 kinds of sausages, sauerkraut, the largest train station in Europe, the most zoos in the world, and world class cities like its capital, Berlin, and Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.

LANGUAGES IN GERMANY

The official language is German (of course), called Deutschland.

How's Your German?

Need any easy way to brush up on your German for your trip to Germany?

GERMAN CULTURE

Germany has been known as the country of poets and thinkers and has been shaped by major intellectual and popular European currents. For centuries Germany has influenced the world with its literature, science, music, cinema, philosophy, art and architectural contributions. They continue to hold traditional celebrations and festivals, like Oktoberfest and Day of German Unity, as well as the religious celebrations of Christmas and Easter. 

In the 21stcentury, Germany has been considered one of the world’s highest respected nations and recognized for having a positive influence.  Germany’s modern, advanced society promotes gender equality, disability rights and is socially and legally tolerant towards homosexuals. 

Today’s German government, and much of its society, acknowledge immigrants from diverse cultural backgrounds. About 60% of the German population identify as Christian being almost equally distributed between the Roman Catholic and Protestant affiliations. 

German cuisine can vary by region, but beef, chicken and pork are predominant in all dishes – pork being the most popular and served mostly in sausage form. However, since Germany is bordered by many countries, it has also adopted those surrounding, international dishes.

POPULAR GERMAN ACTIVITIES

Germans are very active – many work out weekly and participate in popular activities like jogging, cycling, ice hockey, tennis and skating, to name a few. Germany has also contributed to some of the most successful contenders in both the winter and summer Olympic Games. 

Spectator sports are also very popular.  Association football (soccer) is the most popular with Germany having more football fan clubs than anywhere else in the world. Germany is also one of the leading motorsports countries in the world.

In addition to sports, you may find Germans also participating in clubs like civic, bowling, and singing.  In fact, over 23 million Germans belong to at least one form of social or sporting club.

Germans also like to socialize in bars and restaurants amongst friends over food and beer as well as spend time at home with their families.

GERMAN CURRENCY

Germany uses the Euro (€).  Exchange rates are usually favorable for Europeans but could fluctuate in the other direction.  Check throughout your travel planning phase on any exchange rate changes.

GERMANY TRANSPORTATION

Germany has Bolt, Uber, Carpoolworld, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area). There are also taxis, of course.

Germany also part of Europe’s incredible regional and inter-country bus and train services, including Thalys, so getting around and booking transportation is easy.

TIPPING IN GERMANY

Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules.  That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated. 

What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc.  For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.

Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.

GERMANY'S HOLIDAYS

A key activity to do in your early planning stage is to know, at minimum, the national holidays. I so suggest also looking into the local holidays.  It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money to take the holiday of your lifetime and when you show up at one of your key attractions, it’s closed due to a holiday.  It’s also not fun trying to travel and have a hard time accessing travel or other essential resources when no one is around because, yes, it’s a local holiday. So, take just a few moments to look at Germany’s holidays.

GERMANY ELECTRONIC ESSENTIALS

Besides money, required ID and your ticket, Germany voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz, so bring Type C and F adapters (it doesn’t hurt to bring 2 of each) for Germany outlets and research if your electronics require a voltage converter, if not already included in the adapter; or, you can bring electronics already adapted for Germany outlets or wait to purchase them there (I recommend just bringing the adapters with converter).  

Remember, most smart phones, tablets and laptops don’t require a converter, but double-check your device(s) before you leave home.  If you are going to another country in addition to Germany on your trip, you can check the global adapters list to make sure you’re prepared. I have also provided suggested adapters below for your convenience.

Schuko, Germany France Travel Power Adapter by Ceptics, Grounded European Plug - Type E/F Outlet, Adaptor for USA to Europe EU Socket - 3 Pack - Use In Norway, Korea, Spain, Greece, Russa, Iceland
14,100 Reviews
Schuko, Germany France Travel Power Adapter by Ceptics, Grounded European Plug - Type E/F Outlet, Adaptor for USA to Europe EU Socket - 3 Pack - Use In Norway, Korea, Spain, Greece, Russa, Iceland*
  • Compact heavy duty - 3 prong grounded safe Type E/F Plug adapter - Compatible in most of European countries such as
  • Perfect for travelling and using with your iPhone charger, laptop charger, camera charger and other dual voltage chargers.
  • Accepts plugs from all countries including USA, does not accept plugs from S. Africa
European Travel Plug Adapter by Ceptics Europe Power Adaptor Charger Dual Input - Ultra Compact - Light Weight - USA to any Type C Countries such as Italy, Iceland, Austria and More (CT-9C), white
6,002 Reviews
European Travel Plug Adapter by Ceptics Europe Power Adaptor Charger Dual Input - Ultra Compact - Light Weight - USA to any Type C Countries such as Italy, Iceland, Austria and More (CT-9C), white*
  • Perfect for your travel needs: This is all you need to charge your cell phones, laptops, camera chargers, CPAP machine or anything else that is dual voltage Compatible.
  • 2 in 1 Input: Accepts the standard N American 2 and/or 3 prong flat pin Plug (including polarized) - No Messy Universal Outlet
  • Ultra Compact Size & Safe: only measures 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.75" & max load rating: 10-15A/250V, round pin thickness - 4.0 mm
Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK
471 Reviews
Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK*
  • A Powerful Set of 12 Adapters - Our all-in-one international travel adapter set features 1 universal input socket that allows you to connect a plug from almost any country worldwide, including the 2-prong and 3-prong North American plugs.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS FOR GERMANY

From the U.S., you will need a valid passport.  Visas are not required if your stay is less than 3 months.  Make sure your passport expiration date is greater than 3 months from your return to the U.S.  

The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Germany.  It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

VACCINATIONS FOR GERMANY

There are normally no vaccinations required for Germany travel. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Germany.  It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

GERMANY TRAVEL BOOKING

GERMANY ECOTOURISM TIPS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Germany. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

ECO-FRIENDLY AIR TRAVEL

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

ECO-FRIENDLY GROUND TRANSPORTATION

Try to avoid renting a car in Germany by using Europe’s regional and inter-country bus and train services, including Thalys.

When booking a rideshare in Germany, select the Bolt Green or Uber Green options instead of a traditional rideshare, or use Carpoolworld, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Germany.

Bolt and Lime also have electric scooters to rent in Germany for faster and cleaner commuting. Search Bolt and Lime for select city availability.

ECO-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATIONS

Look for accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Germany and other European Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Germany certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find an establishments implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is through Booking.com in which you’ll need to find and review each establishment’s ‘Sustainable Initiatives’ within the booking process. Starting 2022, however, you’ll be able to filter searches for accommodations with the Travel Sustainable badge. Finally!

ECO-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Germany has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Germany. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

MORE ECO-TRAVEL TIPS

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel.  Read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

GERMANY SAFETY TIPS

HOW TO TRAVEL GERMANY SAFELY

Germany is one of the safest countries to visit.  Crimes are low and crimes towards tourists considered low as well.  If you are in a larger city, like Berlin, just be careful at night when streets could possibly be more dangerous, especially in areas that are not well traveled. There could be instances of pickpocketing, which could happen in most places to be honest, but beyond that there is nothing I can recall from Germany making it any more of a “safety concern” than traveling in my own home country, so my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:

  • always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
  • always be “street wise”.
  • always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
  • never leave your food or drink unattended.
  • keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
  • be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
  • research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
  • if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.

GERMANY BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS

BEST TIME TO VISIT GERMANY

Like other countries in Europe, Germany’s high, tourist season, and most expensive time, is the summer (late June to August).  Crowds are not as heavy in the late Spring (April to early June) and Fall (September and October), the weather is still nice and prices in these months are lower.  Plus, the spring and autumn times may offer great festivals like the Carnival of Cultures, Berlin Festival of Lights or Octoberfest! 

The least expensive time to go to Germany would be November to March.  Keep in mind, however, if you are going to a ski or winter sport area – prices could be high and you may want to book in advance.  For overall best weather and prices, try booking well in advance for Spring or Autumn.

PERSONAL STORY

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Hamburg, Berlin (while they were still dismantling the Berlin Wall – I have a piece of it), and Munich, as well as some of the Romantic Road towns: Dinkelsbühl, Füssen, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Hohenschwangau where the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles are located. Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the Neuschwanstein Castle may look familiar to you from the film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but that would not be the reason to visit them.  Both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles were home to the Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria and are fascinating to visit – a definite must if you are on the southern Romantic Road, which resides in the Bavarian area and is just hands-down gorgeous.  “Picturesque” would be the appropriate word.  The towns are quaint, the countryside is epic, and there is much history in the area.

I thought Munich’s city center and Marienplatz were beautiful. There seemed to be musicians playing on many of the streets which added to its ambience.  While there I toured the Dachau Concentration Camp just north of Munich, which was very interesting.  If you go, I recommend going to the Nazi Museum in Munich first if you are into learning from some of Germany’s tumultuous past of what not to repeat.

I do look forward to going back to Germany to revisit Munich (must try that Octkoberfest) and Berlin, but also visit Cologne and Frankfurt.  Also on the bucket list is finishing the Romantic Road, 28 stops along 220 miles between Füssen and Wurzburg, not to mention try some lovely German wines in the Franconian, Mosel, and Württemberg wine regions, just to name a few.

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