Information & Facts
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
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
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.
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
220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are
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
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.
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
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.