In this Destination Guide you will find information for :
♦Currency: Euro €
♦Time Zone: +1 GMT
♦Phone Code: +49
♦Best time to visit: May-October
♦Must eat: Currywurst
♦Must drink: German Beer
♦Don't miss: Views from the Fernsehturm (Berlin)
Number of times visited: 11
Getting there and transportation: Germany is one of Europe's favourite destinations and it's to no surprise that it's one of the most accessible destinations from Europe, and in fact, from the world, with very frequent connections by all means of transport. It's possible to reach Germany from every country in the world with only one stop. In fact there are multiple direct destinations, not only from the main cities ( Frankfurt and Munich) but from other secondary cities which get very busy during the summer months and festive periods. (for example Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin etc).
Lufthansa is the national airline carrier offering flights to every continent in the world thanks to one of Europe's largest networks. You can fly direct to Germany from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, USA, Canada, Japan, China, Thailand, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia omongst other countries. Additionally it flies to many European destinations making connections simple and easy. To reach secondary cities in Germany Lufthansa, together with it's affiliates (Eurowings and Air Dolomiti) provides the best connections to reach your destination of choice. If that wasn't enough, Lufthansa has agreements with the national train company DB (Deutsche Bahn) to transfer by train to smaller cities where there are no flights.
There are also other airlines which serve Germany and offer reasonable prices and services. Air Berlin, the second largest carrier in the country is also an excellent airline to fly from Europe and the USA. (as well as seasonal routes to Asia and the Caribbean). Within Europe you also have the possibility to go with the low cost airlines which operate to many destinations, both business and leisure routes. Popular airlines are Ryanair, Eurowings or Germania.
Once in the country, travelling in Germany is very easy thanks to a very comprehensive network of rail and roads linking any city and town in the county. Roads are safe, well paved and there are many highways between major cities making driving a good option if you a renting a car. Driving in Germany is considered as one of the safest countries thanks to the good attitude of drivers, well conditioned roads and modern safety equipment used.
When travelling from neighbouring countries to Germany, it's quite often the trains and coaches are a good alternative to the plane. Specially prices are more affordable and the scenery you cross can be very amazing if transiting via Switzerland, Austria or France for example. Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin benefit from these connections from other countries so it's worth checking train and bus companies for prices. (Interrail for trains and Eurolines for busses)
Within Germany, the train has been the favourite mean of transport, the national company, Deutsche Bahn (DB) provides the best network across the country to connect to any city, large or small. Trains are very comfortable, reliable and efficient. However, sometimes the DB can suffer major delays and cancellations due to the large network it operates and have engineering issues. Always plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time if connecting to another mode of transport, like airports.
Tip: When travelling by DB it's recommend you book your tickets online as early as possible, specially if travelling inter-city, as fares are sold on a first come basis online at reasonable fares, but as time get's closer to departure, the DB is very expensive. Expect to pay up to €80 when you could buy the same trip for only €25 one month ahead.
In recent years now it's also possible to travel by coach across Germany, since the monopoly of the DB was broken up. There are many bus companies offering very good fares to travel around the country, and although there are slower, the price difference is definitely worth trying them. The most popular bus companies are Meinfernbus, Flixbus, or IC Bus amongst many more.
Public transport in Germany is very efficient. When in big cities there is no need to stay within the centre as transport networks are cheap and accessible with many services running during the whole night. Each state in Germany operates it's own transport system and integrated passes and tickets can be obtained to travel around the whole of the state. These passes combine all modes of transport; Regional Trains, Inter-city trains, ICE (Inter-city Express trains), Trams, U-Bahn (metro) and busses. So when staying for a longer period of time, make sure you check passes which can be an interesting way of discovering the state and other places/cities around. For more information of each transport system refer to the city guides below.
Weather and temperature: Germany has a temperate climate throughout the country with warm summers and cold winters. The best time to visit Germany is from May to October when temperatures are pleasant to be out and explore the countryside. However the Summer, July and August can be hot with temperatures reaching as much as 35C in some cities! Generally the further north you go the cooler it will be. Winter's are cold and at times snowy, specially to the east of the country. Winter's temperatures can reach as little as -10C, whilst the average is around 5C. But Winter's can also be a beautiful time of year to visit during Christmas time with all the Christmas Market open and the cities heavily decorated for the festive season. Also it's worth to note that it can rain a lot during the Autumn, Winter and Spring, so adequate clothing should be taken, specially if you are visiting the countryside.
Food and drink: When it comes to German cuisine, it's hard not to think about sausages and beer. Naturally these are very popular throughout the country, but there is much more to Germany that meets the eye. You will find lot's of infusion between German-Turkish recipes and Asian cuisines. However more traditional foods can be found at every town, you won’t have to look far to find pretzels, sauerkraut or schnitzel. At home, most Germans love meat dishes whilst their favourites on second place are pasta, lasagna and pizza.
Specialities which can be found are: Bratwurst, grilled sausage typically made from a combination of pork, beef and/or veal. Currywurst, is a fast food dish of German origin consisting of steamed, then fried pork sausage typically cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup. Eisbein mit sauerkraut: A cured and boiled leg of pork accompanied by mashed potatoes. Schwäbische maultaschen, a large savoury meat-stuffed ravioli from Stuttgart. Butterbrez’n, a soft pretzel sliced in two and slathered with butter. Käsespätzle, hot egg noodles tossed with cheese. Eintopf, a hearty, warming stew made by cooking vegetables, pulses and meat in a broth. Eierpfannkuchen, pancakes commonly served with jam and sprinkled sugar, fruit or cream. Schwarzwälder kirschtorte, black Forest gateau – a cake with layers of chocolate sponge, cherries and whipped cream and lashings of cherry liqueur. Lebkuchen, gingerbread biscuits typically eaten around Christmas. Weihnachtsstollen, is a fruit bread containing dried fruit and often covered with powdered sugar or icing sugar. The bread is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices, typically eaten at Christmas.
As for drinks: Beer, of course, although the Germans are also into their wines. Beer is very well brewed with distintive strong flavours.There are literally thousands of varieties of German beer on offer, from Weissbier (a cloudy light-coloured wheat brew) to Kölsch (a top-fermented beer brewed exclusively in the Cologne region) to Altbier (a dark copper coloured pour most popular in Düsseldorf).There are many breweries around the country producing local and national beers. Ebbelwoi, an apple wine from Hessen. Schnapps, clear fruit-flavoured brandies available in hundreds of varieties. Kirschwasser, a colourless cherry-flavoured spirit that originates from the Black Forest region.