Germany, a country country in Western Europe, stretches in the south from Austria and in the north to North and Baltic Sea. This is a country of beautiful and diverse landscapes of forests, mountains and rivers. Its capital, Berlin, is a modern city with waste cultural heritage and bustling art and nightlife scene. It is a home to famous Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag parliament building and many sites related to WWII.
Germany is famous for its castles, world known classic music composers, car industry, beer, sausages and bread products and famous Octoberfest in Munich.
We hope our brief guide will help you when you decide to visit Germany!
1. Quick facts
- Official name: Federal Republic of Germany
- Capital: Berlin
- Population: 82 million
- Area: 357,027 sq km (137,849 sq miles)
- Major language: German
- Major religion: Christianity
- Life expectancy: 78 years (men), 83 years (women)
- Currency: Euro
2. Where is Germany?
Germany is located in Western Europe and it is surrounded by several European countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Netherlands. Based on its size, Germany is 63rd country in the world and 7th in Europe.
Germany has access to North and Baltic Sea.
3. Visa requirements
As with many countries, your passport must be valid for at least three months after you complete visit to Germany, so please plan ahead. Germany is part of Schengen agreement and visa for any of the countries from the Schengen group is also valid for Germany. List of countries requiring visa can be found here.
4. Getting there
Getting to Germany is easy, even from most remote locations in the world. The main airport is in Frankfurt (FRA), with almost 65 million passenger a year, followed by airports in Munich, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and many more. You can also drive from any neighboring countries or take a train or bus.
5. Where to stay in Germany?
Based on your budget and your actual travel needs, staying in Germany (in various areas) can range from hostels, AirBnB, where you can rent a room or entire apartment or a house, to regular and high end hotels. You can also try to rent something via Rental Homes. For latest offers on hotels from our providers use search form below:
6. Moving around
German public transport in cities is efficient, reliable and integrated. You can use train, bus, taxi or rent a bike to move around, all options are there. Again, depending on your budget and your travel needs, you can chose the option most suitable for you.
Here is public transport authority info for major cities:
Munich: www.mvv-muenchen.de Berlin: www.bvg.de Hamburg: www.hvv.de Frankfurt: www.rmv.de. They have English version of their websites as well.
To move between cities or to go to the country side, you can chose any of the option, including air transport, as Germany has dozens of airports.
Learn more about moving around in Germany.
7. Food in Germany
Food in Germany is rich and sometimes heavy (depending on a consumer, of course), but it is very tasty and incredibly diverse. Each region and even each city has slightly differ cuisine and local specialties. And of course, there is a beer, famous German beer that deserves entire festival – Oktoberfest!
We can recommend you following dishes: Rouladen (sliced meat wrapped around bacon, mixed with vegetables and mustard and braised), Eintopf (a stew with vegetables and meat, many variations exist), Sauerbraten (marinated meat, and when we say marinated, we mean marinated – for 10 days, in wine, vinegar, spices, herbs and seasoning!), Schnitzel (classic breaded meat, originating from Vienna, variation of veal or pork) and, of course, Wurst (or a sausage and there are about 1500 different types.
3.5-Hour Berlin Foodie Tour
For ‘lighter’ snacks or desserts, we recommend: Brezel (Pretzels, made as plain, salted, buttered or combined with meat, you probably got the pattern here), Apple strudel (local pastry, made with apples, not unlike apple pie) and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (rich and tasty chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream – yum!). You can always go to famous world food chains while in Germany, but this is your loss.
How safe is Germany for tourists and to move around?
Germany is very safe, it is ranked as number 14 on the world safest country list. Tourist areas are generally safe, both for single tourists and groups/families, but extra caution for pickpocketers is advised. More details about safety in Germany you can find here.
Germany is not that costly for tourists, and you can always find great deals on accommodation, meals and attraction tickets. For detailed pricing information for various items, click here.
Prices throughout German cities are almost the same, with slight variation, so you will spend similar amount in Berlin, Munich or Frankfurt, for an example (although Frankfurt, as European financial center, is slightly more expensive).
Germany, like most of European countries, has four seasons and weather changes both in temperatures and in atmospheric events.
Temperatures in spring (March-June) and summer (June-September) average around 22 C (72 F) and in autumn (September-December) and winter (December-March) are at around 3 C (37 F), but it can be much hotter and colder depending on the location.
More info on weather in Germany.
11. Best time to visit Germany
Best time to visit Germany is between May and October, when the weather is nice, but there are also Christmas markets in December and skiing opportunities the whole winter in Alps region (Bavaria).
More info on best times to visit Germany.
12. Money matters
Germany is part of the European Union and Euro zone and official currency is Euro. You should always pay attention when paying bills if you are coming from non-Euro countries and mind the exchange rate. (Xe.com). You should be able to pay almost everywhere with credit cards, but check card charges from your bank in foreign countries before the trip. It is always good to have some cash on you, especially when leaving a tip in the restaurant. There are ATMs and banks on every corner and cash withdrawals are in Euros with a fee. Major banks don’t charge ATM fees to foreigners, but privately operated ATMs may sometimes charge high fees. However, machine should warn you about the charge so you have a choice to cancel the transaction before committing to it.
More info about banks, ATMs and charges.
13. What to see in Germany?
There are hundreds of sites to visit in Germany and we will list some of the most popular. It is up to you to decide about what to see in Germany, and you will have a plenty of places to choose from:
Neuschwanstein Castle. Medieval and fairy-tale looking, but built only in 19th century, this hilltop castle was built for King Ludwig II. Tours available and visits to furnished rooms.
Brandenburg Gate. This, 18th century neoclassical monument, located in Berlin, is an impressive archway sitting on built on twelve Doric columns with goddess statue on top. Built by Prussian king Frederick William II after establishing of order during Batavian Revolution.
Reichstag building. Historic building in Berlin, originally constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until it was burned in 1933. Restored with an addition of glass dome and used as Parliament building since 1999.
Berlin Wall. Heavily guarded concrete barrier dividing Berlin into West and East part during the Cold War era. Demolished in 1989 when Germany was reunited. Memorial in place available to visit and learn about its history.
Hohenschwangau Castle. Also known as Schloss Hohenschwangau, this 19th century palace is located in southern Germany. It’s famous for being childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (and later his summer residence) and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
Cologne Cathedral. Massive Gothic cathedral with twin spires in Cologne, can be seen from any point in the city. There are guided tours with spectacular views of the city.
Linderhof Palace. Also known as Schloss Linderhof, smallest of three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 19th century, but still very impressive. Famous of its mirror and chandelier-filled interiors, it is located in southwest Bavaria.
Alexanderplatz. Named after Russian Emperor Alexander during his visit to Berlin in 1805, was originally famous for main train station and market place. Nowadays it is pedestrian square hosting iconic 365 meter TV tower and World Clock.
Museum Island. Also known as Museumsinse, is a northern half of an island in the Spree River in the central Mitte district of Berlin. Hosting several museums and a national gallery.
Checkpoint Charlie. A symbol of Cold war era, this former border crossing between West and East Germany stands as a reminder of terrible past of once divided Berlin. Preserved white sentry guard house and cobbled border line serve as a reminder of those times.
Sanssouci. Famous summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, located in Potsdam (near Berlin). Many compare it to Versailles in France, although this palace is much smaller and decorated in intimate Rococo style.
Potsdamer Platz. Important historic square that was reborn when Berlin Wall was demolished in 1989. Nowadays is central to Berlin’s entertainment and it is hosting many restaurants and shops.
Nymphenburg Palace. Also known as “Castle of the Nymph”, this Baroque style palace is located in Munich in southern Germany. It was the main summer residence of rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach.
Europa-Park. Largest theme park in Germany, and the second most popular theme park resort in Europe (after Disneyland Paris). Various rides and themed areas with live shows.
Königssee. A natural lake in Bavaria, near the Austrian border. Clear water boating, parks and small peninsula with the iconic St. Bartholomew church.
Fernsehturm. Iconic tower with viewing platform and revolving restaurant. Located in Berlin at famous Alexanderplatz.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Also known as the Holocaust Memorial, located in Berlin, consists of 2,711 columns commemorating Holocaust together with an underground exhibition room.
Marienplatz. Central square in Munich, built in 12th century, famous city landmark. Nowadays main transport hub with St. Peter’s church, two town halls and a toy museum.
Spree. River flowing through Germany and Czech Republic, almost 400 km in length. It is flowing through central Berlin, where it is crossed with several unique bridges.
Englischer Garten. Also known as English Garden, is a largest public park in Europe, located in Munich. Built in 18th century, this urban park has a beer garden, cycling and jogging trails and a lake.
Romantic Road. A scenic route of about 350 km (220 mi) originally promoted in 1950s by travel agents. Worth a road trip with many attractions and sceneries along the way.
East Side Gallery. Open air gallery of graffiti painted on a remains of Berlin Wall. About 118 artists collaborated on a project to celebrate wall’s destruction.
Tauber. A river in Franconia, Germany. It flows into river Main and is 132 km in length. The name derives from the Celtic word for water.
Chiemsee. A picturesque freshwater lake with 3 islands in Bavaria. Great for swimming and boating. One of the island hosts Benedictine nunnery.
Kehlsteinhaus. Or Eagle’s Nest in English, is a Third Reich era building erected on the summit of the Kehlstein, above the Obersalzberg near the town of Berchtesgaden. Nowadays, it’s a mountain top restaurant with a view.
Tropical Islands Resort. Located near Berlin, this tropical themed resort features a rainforest, a lagoon and a spa. It’s a tropical theme park with rooms and cottages.
Heidelberg Castle. Also known as Heidelberger Schloss, is a ruin of a castle from 16th century. An important landmark of Heidelberg and t is regarded as the most important Renaissance structure north of the Alps.
Lorelei. The Lorelei is name of a 132 m high, steep slate rock on the bank of the river Rhine at Sankt Goarshausen in Germany. It is linked to a legend about siren due to a murmur water creates in the area. The legend inspired Heinrich Heine to write famous poem “Lorelei”.
Munich Residenz. Museum complex in a former royal residence. It’s a largest city palace in Germany and it is preserved with original interiors and artworks.
Hofbräuhaus am Platzl. Legendary three floor beer hall in Munich. Originally built in 16th century, it was remodelled several times and destroyed during WWI bombing. Reopened in 1960. Hosts typical Bavarian restaurant, shows in a relaxing atmosphere.
Berlin Cathedral. Located on famous Museum Island, this 19th century elaborate cathedral hosts church organ with 7,000 pipes and royal tombs. Guided tours also witch visits to the dome for views of the city.
Zwinger. The palace in Dresden, near the border with Czech Republic, was built in Baroque style and designed by court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. It served as the orangery, exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court. Nowadays it hosts a garden, porcelain collection and museum on ancient scientific instruments.
Eltz Castle. Medieval castle in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier. Built in 12th century and it is still owned by the same family that lived there, generations ago. Hosts a treasury and Knights’ Hall.
Frauenkirche. Gothic church in Munich with iconic domed towers. It’s a symbol of Munich and recognisable landmark and it’s also know for legendary Devil’s Footstep.
Bastei. Famous rock formation above Elbe River in a national park. Picturesque set of towering rocks in scenic surrounds with a historic bridge and hiking trails.
New Town Hall. Neo-Gothic town hall in Munich, with 85m high tower. It hosts city council. Guided tours with city views from the tower are offered.
Dresden Frauenkirche. Destroyed during WWII, this Lutheran church in Baroque style was reconstructed in 2005. It has one of the largest domes in Europe.
Elbphilharmonie. Modern concert hall atop old warehouse, located in Hamburg. It is considered as most acoustically advanced concert hall in the world.
Speicherstadt. Harbour and canal in Hamburg. This is the largest warehouse district in the world. It was built during 18th and early 20th century.
Charlottenburg Palace. Also known as Schloss Charlottenburg, this is the largest palace in Berlin. Built at the end of 17th century, but expanded during 18th century, this palace has some lavish decoration in both baroque and rococo style.
Miniatur Wunderland. A model railway attraction in Hamburg, the largest of its kind in the world. Exhibition is constantly expanding, featuring famous global sites and has guided tours.
Hohenzollern Castle. Located on top of the mountain, this 19th century castle hosts art collection and the Prussian king’s crown.
Unter den Linden. A boulevard in the central Mitte district of Berlin, stratching from the City Palace to Brandenburg Gate, and it is named after the linden (lime) trees that line the grassed pedestrian mall on the median and the two broad carriageways. The avenue links numerous Berlin sights and landmarks and rivers for a beautiful sightseeing.
Reeperbahn. A street and also entertainment district in Hamburg. One of the two centres of Hamburg’s nightlife and also major red-light district.
Gendarmenmarkt. Monumental, 18th century square and events space in Berlin. It is surrounded with impressive architecture and also famous for hosting an annual Christmas market and an ice rink.
Friedrichstraße. A major culture and shopping street in central Berlin. It is 3.5 kilometres long and one of the city’s most important roads with many landmarks.
For more thing to do in Germany, please check this page from our friends from Your RV Lifestyle. Enjoy!
14. Interesting facts about Germany
City of Berlin has more bridges than Venice – Berlin has incredible number of 960 bridges and 59.8 square kilometers of water consisting of lakes and around 180 kilometers of navigable waterways.
Munich is the second most punctual large airport in the world – only Tokyo airport is more punctual.
Germany is Europe’s second largest beer consumer, immediately after Czech Republic. Germans consumed 101.2 liters per capita in 2107.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Germany!