Germany - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Germany


As Germany moves forward into the 21st century, leaving behind a history of division and tyranny, it is a nation embracing its newfound liberalism and redefining a modern cultural identity. Yet even today, visitors to the country can't escape feeling profoundly moved by this country's past and the effects it still has on its people.

Situated in the heart of Europe and bordering nine other countries, Germany provides an ideal gateway to any tour of the subcontinent. Its land is wide and varied with turreted castles nestled below snow-capped mountains, lush river valleys, dark and mysterious forests and bustling medieval villages. This is the land of fairy tales, where farmland minstrels headed to Bremen to become musicians, where Sleeping Beauty was woken and Little Red Riding Hood ventured into the woods.

Germany's cities each have something unique to offer the visitor. Each year millions of litres of beer are consumed in Munich during the city's Oktoberfest, where locals and visitors discover true German revelry and 'gemutlichkeit' (a word the locals use to describe a comfortable, sociable environment). Berlin, while still recovering from some of the scars of division, contains many sights from the iconic Brandenburg Gate, to the path of the old Berlin Wall. The city's vibrant nightlife is still evocative of its height in the 1920s and 30s, as characterised by the songs of Marlene Dietrich, the theatre of Brecht and the Film Cabaret.

Discover the country that gave us Beethoven and Bauhaus, Goethe and Glühwein, Lager and Lederhosen - you won't be disappointed.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Germany remains one of the worlds leading sightseeing destinations by virtue of its unique and important historical attractions, charming medieval buildings, varied, beautiful landscape, and legendary cultural events. The country has played a leading role in world history and many of its attractions, varying from celebrated to infamous, are connected to this colourful legacy.

The major cities such Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt are attractions unto themselves, each jam-packed with historical treasures and sites of interest. Dachau and Checkpoint Charlie point to more troubled periods, while the magnificent Rhineland and Garmisch-Partenkirchen region offer natural splendour to please the most demanding outdoors enthusiast. Munich is home to one of the worlds biggest parties, the legendary Oktoberfest, while the Romantic Road between Berlin and Frankfurt is a self-drive tourist classic that never fails to disappoint with its perfectly preserved towns and villages.

Germany is certainly a year-round destination, although be warned the European winters (December to February) can get very cold. The best way to travel around the country is by train as the network is comprehensive, very reliable and safe, and decent value for money. Another good option is to rent a car and drive between attractions as fast as you like on the Autobahn.


In Germany, business is conducted in a very formal manner. A conservative, formal sense of dress is to be adhered to. Punctuality is vital at all meetings and it is considered rude to be late. Germans love titles; men are referred to as 'Herr' and women as 'Frau', followed by their last names until otherwise specified. Meetings are often purely business and may not occur over lunches, which are generally more social. Shaking hands at the beginning and end of the meeting is common. The exchange of business cards is common but there is no accompanying ritual. Decisions are often made behind closed doors. Business hours are generally 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.


Coastal regions of Germany have a temperate climate with warm summers and mild cloudy winters. Inland, the climate is more continental with warmer summers and colder winters. The Alpine and upland regions have cooler weather and more rain. Rain can be expected throughout the country all year round.


The international access code for Germany is +49. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The city code for Berlin is (0)30. Note that telephone numbers in Germany can range from four to nine digits. There are surcharges on international calls made from hotels; it is often cheaper to use public telephone boxes in post offices, which use phone cards. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns.


Visitors should carry passports with them at all times. Smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants is illegal.

Duty Free

Passengers arriving from non-EU countries can enter Germany without paying duty on either 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars, 250g smoking tobacco, or a proportional mix of these products; 1 litre of spirits with 22% alcohol volume, 2 litres of spirits or aperitifs made of wine or similar beverages with alcohol content lower than 22%, sparkling, still or liqueur wines, or a proportional mix of these; perfume up to 50g or 250ml eau de toilette; 500g coffee; and other goods to the value of EUR175 for personal consumption. Prohibited items include any poultry or pet birds from poultry and derived products coming from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam.

220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

There are no serious health risks in Germany. The German health service is excellent. There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to free medical and dental treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Nationals of other countries should take out medical insurance.

German is the official language. English is also widely spoken and understood.

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents. ATMs and exchange bureaux are widely available. The major credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in many large shops, hotels and restaurants, although Germans themselves prefer to carry cash. Travellers cheques are best cashed at exchange bureaux, as banks often won't change them. The quickest and most convenient way to change money is to obtain cash from one of the ATM machines that are ubiquitous features on all German streets. Banks are closed on weekends, but exchange bureaux at airports and main railway stations are open daily from 6am to 10pm.

Passport Visa

The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. Additionally, non-EEA members require proof of (i) onward or return tickets, (ii) the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and (iii) sufficient funds to support themselves while in Germany. Note that citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the USA are exempt from the requirement to hold onward tickets. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


A visit to Germany should be trouble free, but take normal precautions to avoid mugging, bag-snatching and pick-pocketing, especially at airports and railway stations in the large cities.

GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).

German laws stipulates that all prices, menus and bills include both tax and a service charge, so tipping is not necessary in restaurants. Cleaning staff, hairdressers, taxi drivers etc. appreciate small tips.

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