Germany, a country in Western Europe, stretches in the south from Austria and in the north to the 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 a vast cultural heritage and bustling art and nightlife scene. It is home to the 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, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Based on its size, Germany is the 63rd country in the world and 7th in Europe.
Germany has access to the North and Baltic Sea.
3. Visa requirements
As with many countries, your passport must be valid for at least three months after you complete your visit to Germany, so please plan ahead. Germany is part of the Schengen agreement and a visa for any of the countries from the Schengen group is also valid for Germany. A list of countries requiring visas can be found here.
For more details about obtaining a visa and settling in Germany please visit Farawayplanet.com.
4. Getting there
Getting to Germany is easy, even from the most remote locations in the world. The main airport is in Frankfurt (FRA), with almost 65 million passengers a year, followed by airports in Munich, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and many more. You can also drive from any neighboring country 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 the latest offers on hotels from our providers use the search form below:
6. Moving around
German public transport in cities is efficient, reliable, and integrated. You can use a 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 choose 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 an English version of their websites as well.
To move between cities or to go to the countryside, you can choose any of the options, including air transport, as Germany has dozens of airports.
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 different cuisine and local specialties. And of course, there is a beer, famous German beer that deserves an 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.
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’s safest country list. Tourist areas are generally safe, both for single tourists and groups/families, but extra caution for pickpocketers is advised.
Germany is not that costly for tourists, and you can always find great deals on accommodation, meals, and attraction tickets.
Prices throughout German cities are almost the same, with slight variation, so you will spend a similar amount in Berlin, Munich or Frankfurt, for example (although Frankfurt, as European financial center, is slightly more expensive).
For detailed info about prices and cost of living in Germany, please visit this very useful guide at Simple Germany.
Germany, like most 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) is at around 3 C (37 F), but it can be much hotter and colder depending on the location.
11. Best time to visit Germany
The 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 the Alps region (Bavaria).
12. Money matters
Germany is part of the European Union and Eurozone and the 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, the machine should warn you about the charge so you have a choice to cancel the transaction before committing to it.
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 plenty of places to choose from:
Neuschwanstein Castle. Medieval and fairy-tale looking, but built only in the 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 built on twelve Doric columns with goddess statues on top. Built by Prussian king Frederick William II after establishing 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 barriers dividing Berlin into West and East parts 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 the 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. A 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, it smallest of three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 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 its main train station and marketplace. Nowadays it is a pedestrian square hosting an 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 the Cold war era, this former border crossing between West and East Germany stands as a reminder of the terrible past of once divided Berlin. Preserved white sentry guardhouse and cobbled border line serve as a reminder of those times.
Sanssouci. The 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. The 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. Clearwater boating, parks, and small peninsula with the iconic St. Bartholomew church.
Fernsehturm. Iconic tower with a viewing platform and revolving restaurant. Located in Berlin at the 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. The central square in Munich, built in the 12th century, is a famous city landmark. Nowadays the main transport hub with St. Peter’s church, two town halls, and a toy museum.
Spree. River flowing through Germany and the 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 the largest public park in Europe, located in Munich. Built in the 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) was originally promoted in the 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 the remains of the Berlin Wall. About 118 artists collaborated on a project to celebrate the wall’s destruction.
Tauber. A river in Franconia, Germany. It flows into the 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 islands hosts a 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 the 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 the 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 sirens due to murmur water created in the area. The legend inspired Heinrich Heine to write a famous poem “Lorelei”.
Munich Residenz. Museum complex in a former royal residence. It’s the 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 the 16th century, it was remodeled several times and destroyed during the WWI bombing. Reopened in 1960. Hosts typical Bavarian restaurant shows in a relaxing atmosphere.
Berlin Cathedral. Located on the famous Museum Island, this 19th-century elaborate cathedral hosts a 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 the 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 the 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 a recognizable landmark and it’s also known for the 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. The neo-Gothic town hall in Munich, with 85m high tower. It hosts the 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 the 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 the 18th and early 20th centuries.
Charlottenburg Palace. Also known as Schloss Charlottenburg, this is the largest palace in Berlin. Built at the end of the 17th century, but expanded during the 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. The exhibition is constantly expanding, featuring famous global sites and has guided tours.
Unter den Linden. A boulevard in the central Mitte district of Berlin, stretching from the City Palace to Brandenburg Gate and 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 beautiful sightseeing.
Reeperbahn. A street and also an entertainment district in Hamburg. One of the two centers of Hamburg’s nightlife and also a major red-light district.
Gendarmenmarkt. Monumental, 18th-century square and events space in Berlin. It is surrounded by impressive architecture and is 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 kilometers long and one of the city’s most important roads with many landmarks.
14. Interesting facts about Germany
Here are a few interesting facts about this amazing country:
The city of Berlin has more bridges than Venice – Berlin has an 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 the Czech Republic. Germans consumed 101.2 liters per capita in 2107.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Germany!
Last Updated on October 27, 2021 by Tours Editor @ gotravelyourself.com