Travel guide to Germany

» Germany
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Facts

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Local name
Deutschland
Capital
Berlin (3.470.000)
Size
357.021 km2
Principal Languages
German
Principal Religion
Protestantism
Inhabitants
82.797.408 (2000)
Government
Federal Republic
Geography
Germany stretches from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the North to the Alps in the South. This great country borders on nine neighbouring states - and is therefore a very central but also varied country in Europe.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

The German weather varies a lot so it would be a good idea to bring different kinds of clothes. The mildest and hottest weather is between May and October, but the weather can also be very comfortable at other times of the year.

Literature

Lonely Planet Germany Fodors Germany 2000

Local conditions

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Currency

Deutschmark (DM), 1 deutschmark = 100 pfennig

Net cafes

Internet cafes can be found everywhere.

In case of emergency

To call for emergency in Germany you must dial the following numbers: Police and ambulance (110) Fire department (112)

Tipping

You give tips at castles and museums and you round up at restaurants. It is also normal to give taxi drivers 10% extra.

Timezone

When it is 12.00 in England it is 13.00 in Germany.

Weight and Measures

Weights: kilo Distance: kilometre Size: square kilometre Liquid: litre

Photography

You can take pictures as much as you like, but it is polite to ask before taking pictures of the population.

Drinking water

The German drinking water is considered safe. There might be heavy industrial areas and polluted areas in former East Germany where you should buy bottled water.

Electricity

They use the following current: 220V, 50 Hz

Behaviour

Punctuality is perhaps the most important virtue in Germany.

Business Hours

Shops are open from 9.00 to 18.30 (Monday - Friday), Thursdays often to 20.30, and from 9.00 to 13.00/14.00 on Saturdays. Banks are open from 8.00 to 16.00 (Monday - Friday), Thursdays often to 17.30. Some banks close a couple of hours around noon.

Food and drink

Germans have a long cooking tradition, and it is particularly focused on animal flesh . If you go to a restaurant the menu often consists of a lot of flesh, especially pig-flesh is popular. If this is not to your taste you can go to one of the many ethnic restaurants which have emerged during the last 20 years in Germany. Do not forget that beer is the national drink of Germany.

Disabled travellers

Under the motto "tourism without borders", Germany has marketed itself as a country which is very friendly towards disabled travellers. There are several accommodation and transport possibilities for disabled people, and several organisations specifically help the disabled tourist

Holidays

New Year's Day, 1 January 1 May The German Union Day, 3 October Christmas Day, 25 December Boxing Day, 26 December Public holidays, which are not fixed Penance and Praying Day, 3rd Wednesday in November Good Friday, March or April Easter Sunday, March or April Easter Monday, March or April Ascension Day Whit Sunday Whit Monday

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

There are large, well established camping sites all over Germany. Even the most basic camping sites have toilets, bathing facilities and a small shop. The better equipped can almost be characterised as open-air hotels with swimming pool and supermarket. Prices depend on the location and on the facilities and most are occupied between June and September.

Hotels

There is a wide selection of hotels in Germany. Common to them all is that they are clean, comfortable and functional. You should be aware, though, that when there is a fair or a festival in town the hotels often double their prices.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

On German roads you often see signs with the words "Zimmer frei" (free room). They will lead you to some of the many private guesthouses, which are spread all over Germany. These Bed & Breakfast/Guest houses are often cheaper the further you go into the countryside.

Hostels

In Germany it is rarely far to the nearest "Jugendherberge" (Youth Hostel), but most are quite occupied so it is a good idea to book beds a long time ahead. Furthermore you must be a member of "Deutschen Jugendherbergswerk" to use the Hostels.

Other Accommodation

You can spend your holiday in the countryside if you wish to get away from the city rush.

Local transport

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Planes

Lufthansa and quite a few regional air companies control domestic air travel. The airport at Frankfurt am Main is the centre of all domestic flights and all other major airport in Germany can be reached in about 50 minutes.

Bus

Buses are as efficient as trains. This is perhaps due to the fact that many bus companies co-operate with or are part of the German Railway (Deutsche Bahn).

Trains

Trains are probably the most efficient form of transport in Germany. You can for example use the ICE-trains, which travel at 250 kilometres per hour. They go from Hamburg to Munich in six hours. In and around the larger cities you will also find local train connections.

Taxi

Getting a taxi in Germany is easy. In Berlin alone there are about 350 taxi ranks.

Car rental

It is not a problem to rent a car in Germany, land of cars. All over, famous and less famous car rentals chains are ready to rent out a car, which matches your particular needs.

Boat or Ferry

Regular ferry connections operate on most rivers, lakes and coasts in Germany.

Other Transport

Cycling holidays in Germany are not a bad idea. Several travel agents sell cycling trips where food and lodging is included in the price. Most German roads have marked cycle paths, both in the country and in the city. You can also carry your bike on the train and rent bikes at German train stations.

Find your travel arrangement to Germany here

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