When you plan to travel to Germany, you may think you don’t need any help and tips from others. But, one or the other way, we all know Germany, especially as one of the most developed nations in the world.
It is true. But once I travelled through German’s Bavarian region for a week, I realised I should have known many more things. It is neither a cakewalk nor rocket science to travel through Germany. But it can be tricky if you aren’t prepared well.
So, in this post, I have listed 15 Essential tips that will help your plan your Germany Trip better.
Heads Up :
Is Germany open for Tourism?
COVID-19 Update as of 11th APRIL 2023: All COVID‑19 entry restrictions to Germany are lifted for now. Entry to Germany is permitted for all travel purposes (including tourism and visits). It’s important to note that the situation is fluid and subject to change based on the development of the pandemic and government regulations. Therefore, it’s always best to check with official government sources.
- Germany Tourist Visa
- Using Debit and Credit Card.
- Cell Phone Network and Wifi
- Type of Power sockets
- Public Hygiene and Toilets
- Roads and Transport
- Food and Beverages
- Alcohol and Smoking
- Germany Language
- Is Germany Safe to visit
- What to see in Germany and when
- Tipping Culture.
- Expenses – Is it a budget-friendly country for tourists?
- German etiquettes
Is a German tourist visa easy to get?
It depends on where you are from! 60+ countries can enter Germany visa-free for tourism purposes. This list here shows you whether you need to get a visa for tourism purposes in Germany.
Is Germany visa-free for Indians?
As usual, Indians aren’t eligible for visa-free or E-Visa to enter Germany. As Germany is one of the 26 Schengen countries, you must submit almost 50-80 pages of documents to get Schengen Visa. I entered Austria before Germany. Hence my Schengen Visa was submitted to the Austrian embassy via Vfs Global. So if Germany is the first country you land in the Schengen area, you must apply to the Germany Embassy through Vfs Global.
Does Germany use the Euro?
Yes, Germany uses Euro like 20 other countries of the 27 nations in the European Union. You can’t exchange INR for Euro once you enter EU nations. So exchange your local currency for Euros before leaving your country.
Is it best to use a card or cash in Germany?
“Cash is king” is an age-old saying. Unfortunately, this phrase is still up to date for much of Germany! I carried 3 credit cards and 3 debit cards from Master, Visa, and American Express. For the love of god, none of them worked anywhere! Luckily I had some cash and somehow could manage!
Why are card payments getting rejected in Germany?
Back in 2022, when I was in Germany, there was a malfunction in the card machine’s software! So none of the cards worked properly in Austria worked in Germany.
Can foreigners buy a sim card in Germany?
Yes! Foreigners can buy SIM cards in Germany by submitting a passport copy with a visa as proof at the time of purchase. Simon, Lidl, and Aldi are the most famous network providers. I bought “Wowww Austria” SIM cards in Vienna, which also worked in Germany.
The hotels had decent wifi. Munich airport’s wifi sucked. Some restaurants provide free wifi to customers.
What plugs work in Germany?
Germany uses Type C & Type E power sockets ( Two Round pins). Therefore, Indians need to carry adaptors.
Is Germany a clean country?
Compared to it’s contender and neighbouring countries, Germany isn’t clean ! After roaming in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria, I expected similar hygiene in Germany. But it wasn’t. The streets of Munich had litter in many places. The busy tourist districts of Santorini were cleaner than Munich’s! But Berchtesgaden and other countryside were much cleaner.
But no matter where you go, it is common to find empty beer cans and bottles! So despite being such a developed country, it was shocking to see Germans leaving the beer bottles then and there and walking away.
Why do people collect bottles in Germany?
Thanks to the Pfand system, you’ll spot many pensioners pedalling around on bikes, collecting bottles and cans for extra cash. Return those empties to any store selling them, and you’ll get a few cents back.
Sometimes I wondered if Germans leave bottles on the streets for the pensioners so that it helps them. Or bottle-collecting pensioners came into the picture after seeing the German’s behaviour of leaving thrash on the road.
Do you pay for bathrooms in Germany?
Yes. You can use any restaurant toilet by paying 0.5 euros if you aren’t having their food. Even the train stations had payable toilets.
Rarely shared Travel Tips for Germany
Most toilets will neither caricatures nor wordings in English to specify men’s and women’s toilets. Look “der or herren-Men” and “die or damen- women”
Can people drink tap water in Germany?
Yes. Tap water in Germany is safe for drinking. You won’t find many public drinking water spouts in Germany. So carry a big bottle of water when you head out. No restaurants serve you a glass of water when you order food. You must either buy a bottle from them or use your own.
Does Germany have good public transport?
Yes. Connectivity-wise, Germany’s public transport is great. It is easy to get to any remote village using buses. Most cities are connected by trains and are easy to take. Cities have trams and metros. While rural areas have well-connected bus systems. You don’t need to rent a car unless you are an “I only travel by car” person and are ready to drive on the right lane among the vrooming cars on the highways.
Is public transport in Germany expensive?
No. Germany’s transport is cheaper if you buy the right pass after doing a little math about the journeys you will take.
Starting on April 3rd 2023, Germany made its monthly nationwide public transport ticket available for a meagre €49. The ticket, valid from May 1st, will allow unlimited travel on local and regional transportation systems across the country. This is the sequel of 2022 Sumer’s 9 Euro ticket that reduced my Germany travel expense drastically.
Airports in Germany
There are a sweet sixteen international airports in total. 12 of them are the world’s major airports. We all know how well Frankfurt is. Then comes Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart ……So flying to any part of Germany is super easy.
But, remember you are in one of the Schengen countries. That means trains run between two Schengen nations as they do between two cities inside a nation. So getting to Germany from any neighbouring country by train is more economical and hassle-free.
What is the cheapest way to move around in Germany?
Trains are the cheapest way to get around in Germany. The train network in Germany is great! Deutsche Bahn (a state-owned private company) is the main railway service provider. Buying tickets on the Deutsche Bahn app is very easy.
Cost saving travel tips -Take trains Throughout Germany
While you book, it shows you several options and varieties with a code. This may look complicated, but it is simple once you know what they mean.
|Names||What does it Mean||Example|
|ICE:||Intercity Express. Fast long-distance trains that connect all larger cities in Germany.||Munich to Stuttgart.|
|IC||Intercity. Not quite as fast and modern as ICE but with more stops, thus connecting more cities.|
|EC||Eurocity. Same as Intercity but crossing borders||Innsbruck of Austria to Munich.|
|RB||Regional Bahn slower than RE.||Fussen to Munich|
|S -Bahn||Connecting suburbs to the city||Regional Bahn is slower than RE.|
|U-Bahn||Underground Metro||Commuting in the cities|
Most crucial Germany Train Travel Tips:
Germany’s train network is like a Peripheral Nervous system of the human body. But this nervous system frequently suffers from delays! Over a week, I must have made 6 train journeys across 7 days, including Innsbruck to Munich, Fussen to Munich, Munich airport and the outskirts. Unfortunately, each train was delayed by a minimum of 30 minutes! As a result, some were cancelled, and I had to break my head for a connecting train.
Because of the frequent delays, it is best to avoid journeys that involve a transfer. So that even if you are late, you arrive at the destination late and won’t have to worry about catching the next train. If this isn’t possible, a book so that you have more trains and it isn’t the last one.
Is Eurail Pass good in Germany?
If you travel in Germany for less than 15 days, don’t buy a Eurail pass.
Eurail pass doesn’t allow you to make unlimited train journeys on every line and is expensive. A Eurail pass is worth only when you travel through different countries for a longer time, like two or three months, without a fixed plan.
Is German Rail Pass worth it?
For tourists, German Rail pass isn’t worth it. The basic, 3-day consecutive travel German Rail Pass costs more than 190 Euros. It is mainly opted by people on business who intend to take multiple high-speed, long-distance trips that are notoriously expensive.
Is Germany bicycle-friendly?
Yes. Germans love to use bicycles. Most accommodations provide bicycles for rent. Like how they manufacture their automobiles innovatively, their bicycles are also creative. They have detachable kid’s seats with an overhead covering. There are even specialised fittings to take your dogs on your bicycles.
Germany Food and Beverages
Although food culture differs between regions, German cuisine mainly emphasises the consumption of bread, potatoes, and various types of meat, notably pork, alongside a generous portion of green vegetables like cabbage and kale. Additionally, German cuisine is widely known for its love of cake, coffee, and beer.
Is Germany famous for its food?
Not really! It may be a personal experience of a vegetarian in Germany. But when you compare the food taste and variety to Turkish, German, Greek and Austrian, I don’t find anything exciting about German food.
What food is Bavaria famous for?
Since I spent all my German vacation in the Bavarian region, I can discuss it more than others. Finding vegetarian food isn’t a task but you won’t find variety like you do in it’s neighbouring countries. Because Bavarians love fruits, bread and potato. The cuisines are mostly beetroot and potato based in Bavaria.
Travel Tips on getting vegetarian food in Germany
The knodeln (Dumplings) is a German-origin dish famous in Austria. If you don’t find anything in Bavaria as a vegetarian, you can ask for Dumpling.
It typically begins with some bread or rolls, which come with various spreads such as butter, jam, and marmalade ( fruit preserve made by orange and its peel cooked with sugar), sausage, eggs, cheese, bacon, and even potato pancakes are popular options to fuel your day.
What is a German breakfast?
Pretzel ( the criss-cross interlocked bread) is German’s favourite. However, I found it hard to chew and salty wherever I tasted it. It is quite the opposite of Croissants, actually. So I often went for Hefezopf, which is softer and sweeter.
What is German favourite non-alcoholic beverage?
Fresh fruit drinks aren’t as common as you would find them in Turkey. Surprisingly most bottled juice shops sold rhubarb drinks! Then you will discover Apfelschorle ( Apple juice kind of thing), and Radler is also pretty famous.
Where are you allowed to smoke in Germany?
As per a survey, 28% of Germans are smokers as of 2023. That means more than 1/4th of its population are smokers. So it was common to see smokers in public, especially in Munich. However, the countryside of Bavaria didn’t have many.
Is smoking allowed inside Germany?
Their laws say smoking in indoor and public places is strictly prohibited. Though nobody smoked inside trains, many cafes and restaurants had smokers. Smoking in public squares, buses and railway stations was also common! To confuse you further, these laws change statewise!
Having spent a week in Bavaria, I can say don’t smoke inside your hotel rooms; smoke anywhere in public. Ask the cafe people if it has a designated smoker zone, or you can puff out from wherever you want.
Is drinking part of German culture?
When you picture German culture, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most folks, it’s the legendary Oktoberfest and the Germans’ undying affection for beer.
But let’s face it; this isn’t just a cliché; beer is practically the national beverage consumed around the clock throughout the country. And if you opt for the right brew, you can even savour a morning pint or evening snack at a park without anyone raising an eyebrow!
What is the most popular beer in Germany?
Yet again, this varies with region. Pilsner, Paulaner and Hofbrau are the most common bottle I found in German hands when they sat by a public square or at Munich’s park. The restaurants in Munich served Hofbrau. Out of all the beer I tried, I prefer Hofbrau.
Is it safe to visit Germany?
Female travellers usually find Germany safe, and I feel the same. My mother and I walked at night and travelled outside Munich in the farmland. We never faced any threats and felt unsafe.
Travel Tips on Safty in Germany
The country boasts a low crime rate. So when you hear Germans drink a lot, you may think of getting troubled by drunkards. But Germans aren’t that way. Most times, they don’t drink to get drunk. When they do, they quietly pass out on the street!
Nevertheless, women should exercise the same caution in any other country, such as avoiding poorly lit areas and keeping a vigilant eye on their surroundings.
What are some common Tourist Scams in Germany?
The most common thing you see in Munich’s historical areas is beggars with babies. Or a person who claims to be the victim of war from the middle east.
Travel tips on escaping scams in Germany
When you look at their state, your heart will wrench, and you want to help them. But be careful; sometimes, your 5 euros may not be enough, and they demand more! I saw it happening to an American tourist couple. Luckily the lady created a ruckus, started shouting, and the beggar woman ran off in fear of the police.
Fake petitioners, “I found your ring”, overpriced taxis and cafes, and fake tickets are the usual scam you find in any part of Europe. You must be conscious of the same in Bavaria too.
Credit card scams in Germany
Though Germany doesn’t top in Credit Card Skimming scams, there is definitely a threat of it.So stay sharp and keep an eye on your plastic
The most common scam in Germany happens online!
You will realise you are a victim of a fake booking only when the officials can’t scan your QR Code at the entry gate of a monument! I saw it happen to a group of 4 at the Neuschwanstein Castle Gate entrance.
This happens to to some tourists because, Germany’s Domain Extensions is neither .ge (It is for Georgia) nor .gr ( It is for Greece).
What is the real name of Germany?
The official name of Germany is Bundesrepublik Deutschland. It is also known as the Federal Republic of Germany. So .de is the extension for Germany, AKA Deutschland.
Do they speak English in Germany?
Though they know English, Germans refuse to speaking in English.
Speaking German isn’t just a suggestion in Germany – it’s the rule! With over 95% of the population speaking, it is tough in Germany to cruise without knowing the German language. If you want to blend in and avoid being lost in translation, it’s time to brush up on your Deutsch!
The Sanskrit and German Language Connection!
Sanskrit and German language have some similarities in Grammar system.with various cases and tenses, as in Sanskrit. However, German and Sanskrit are gendered languages with three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. That is all. So knowing Sanskrit doesn’t pave an easy path to learning German in 15 days.
How many days do you need in Germany?
If you plan to see most parts of Germany, you will need at least 3 weeks. This may sound insane to many people. But the truth is Germany’s history, and natural beauty are undersold!
Travel tips on what to see in Germany
Dachau – World’s first Concentration Camp is just 30 min from Munich
If you are short of time but want to visit Germany, pick a state out of its 16 federal states. I picked Bavaria for six days as it is the only German state that shares the Alps mountains with other nations. Other states you can consider depending on what you love to experience, are
- Berlin and Hamburg: For city break and history
- Rhineland: For wine and castles
- Hessen for: Medieval towns, Rolling Hills and Frankfurt.
What is the best time to visit Germany?
The typical tourist season in Germany spans from May to September. However, summer is the favoured season, as it boasts optimal weather, clear alpine trails, extended daylight hours (with light lasting past 9:00 PM), and abundant tourist activities.
What month is the cheapest to visit Germany?
Travelling during the shoulder season (spring and fall) is more convenient and cost-effective.
Do you have to leave tips in Germany?
Tipping at hotels and other services isn’t mandatory. But expected. Usually, at cafes, the waiters typically ask, ” The bill amount is 12.50 Euros”, and they pause and look at you. If you wish, you can round up to 13. Or say, “Charge 12.50.” Of course, you may face a grumpy look from the other side when you don’t leave tips. But it is ok. You can pay extra if only you are happy.
Is Germany expensive for tourists?
The good news is Germany isn’t very expensive for tourists. It is cheaper than Austria, Greece and many other Western European countries. During the peak tourist season, my business hotel room in Munich in the heart of the Tourist interest area cost me approximately 140 Euro/per Night/2 people.
Germany Travel Tips for saving money on Accomodation
Your budget can reduce further down if you look for hotels outside tourist hubs; the price can reduce to half. So as a midrange flashpacker, you can keep 190 Euros/day/person, including -Accommodation, Food, Public Transportation and Attractions in peak season.
German Etiquettes and their Rudeness.
Germans are known for following rules! And are notorious for being rude! There is a lot to tell, and I want to show how racists Germans were towards us and others. Read our post “Encountering Racism in Germany.” and “Germany’s Quirky Quirks: Uncovering the Weird and Wonderful Aspects of German Culture” to know more
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