Things to Know About Germany Before You Go

Planning a trip to Germany? There are several things to keep in mind to make the most of your experience. Before you pack your bags and head off, take some time to learn about the essentials.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about Germany before you go. From visa and entry requirements to culture and etiquette, we’ll cover all the important aspects to ensure your trip is enjoyable and stress-free. Let’s get started!

Overview of Germany

Germany, located in Central Europe, is known for its rich history, culture, and scenic landscapes. The country is home to several vibrant cities such as Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt, as well as picturesque towns and villages. It boasts a highly developed economy and is a global leader in industries such as engineering, automotive, and technology.

Germany is a diverse country with a population of over 83 million people. The official language is German, although English is widely spoken in many tourist areas. The country has a temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters, and visitors can expect to experience a range of weather conditions depending on the time of year they visit.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or simply enjoying good food and drink, Germany has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your trip to this fascinating country.

Visa and Entry Requirements

If you are planning a trip to Germany, it’s important to understand the visa and entry requirements. If you are a citizen of the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, you don’t need a visa to enter Germany. However, if you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you may need a visa depending on the purpose and length of your stay. It’s recommended to check the visa requirements well in advance of your trip.

When entering Germany, you’ll need a valid passport or ID card. If you are a non-EU citizen, you may also be asked for proof of onward travel, accommodation, and sufficient funds to support your stay. Additionally, there may be restrictions on bringing certain items into the country, such as food, plants, and animals. It’s important to check the customs regulations to avoid any issues at the border.

Language and Communication

Germany is a country with a rich cultural history, and as such, the German language plays a significant role in everyday life. Although many Germans speak English, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic German phrases before your trip. Saying “Guten Tag” (good day) or “Danke” (thank you) can go a long way in showing your appreciation for the culture and making connections with locals.

It’s important to note that German is a complex language with many different dialects and nuances. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t pick it up right away, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Germans are generally friendly and happy to assist visitors who are trying to learn their language.

Currency and Payment Methods

Germany is part of the European Union, and the official currency used is the Euro (€). It is recommended to exchange your local currency to Euros before arriving in Germany. However, most banks and exchange offices will also exchange foreign currency. In major cities, you will find ATMs where you can withdraw Euros with your credit or debit card. Credit cards are widely accepted in Germany, but it is always a good idea to have cash on hand as well, especially in smaller shops and restaurants.

When it comes to tipping in Germany, it is customary to round up to the nearest Euro or to leave a tip of around 5-10% for good service. However, it is not mandatory and entirely up to your discretion. It is also worth noting that some restaurants may add a service charge to the bill.


If you’re planning a trip to Germany, it’s important to know the different transportation options available to you. One of the most popular ways to get around is by train. Germany has an extensive railway system that connects almost every major city and town, making it an easy and efficient way to travel.

Another popular option is to rent a car. This gives you more flexibility and freedom to explore the country on your own schedule. However, it’s important to note that Germany has strict driving laws, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road before hitting the pavement.

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly way to get around, consider renting a bike. Germany has an extensive network of bike paths and trails, and many cities offer bike rental services.

Finally, if you’re only planning to stay in one city or town, walking is always a great option. Not only is it free, but it also allows you to fully experience the local culture and architecture.


If you’re planning a trip to Germany, one of the most important things you’ll need to consider is your accommodation. Germany offers a wide range of options to suit every budget, from hostels and budget hotels to luxury resorts and everything in between.

If you’re looking for affordable accommodation options, hostels are a great choice. They are a popular choice for backpackers and solo travelers and offer a social atmosphere where you can meet other travelers. Another budget-friendly option is budget hotels or “Pensionen”. These are small, family-run hotels that offer basic amenities at a reasonable price.

If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, there are plenty of luxury hotels and resorts to choose from. These hotels offer top-notch amenities and services, including spas, fitness centers, and fine dining restaurants.

Another popular type of accommodation in Germany is the bed and breakfast. These are typically family-run establishments that offer a more personalized experience than a hotel. You’ll often get to know the owners and receive insider tips on the best places to visit in the area.

No matter what type of accommodation you choose, it’s important to book well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. You can use online booking sites to compare prices and find the best deals.

Food and Drink

Germany is known for its hearty, flavorful cuisine. From bratwurst to sauerkraut to schnitzel, there are plenty of traditional dishes to try during your visit. One must-try dish is currywurst, a popular street food that consists of a grilled sausage topped with ketchup and curry powder. Another delicious option is spaetzle, a type of soft egg noodle that is often served with cheese and onions. Don’t forget to also sample some of Germany’s world-famous beers, which come in a variety of styles and flavors.

When dining out in Germany, it’s important to note that table service is the norm, and tipping is customary. A tip of 10% is generally expected for good service, but rounding up to the nearest euro is also common practice. It’s also worth noting that tap water is not typically served in restaurants, and instead, bottled water must be purchased.

If you have any dietary restrictions or preferences, don’t worry – there are plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans, and those with gluten-free diets. Just be sure to communicate your needs clearly when ordering, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about ingredients or preparation methods.

Culture and Etiquette

When traveling to Germany, it’s important to be aware of cultural differences and etiquette in order to avoid any misunderstandings or unintentional offenses.

  • Firstly, punctuality is highly valued in German culture, so make sure you are on time for appointments and meetings.
  • Germans tend to be very direct and value honesty, so don’t be offended if someone speaks their mind or gives you constructive criticism.
  • When greeting someone, a firm handshake is the norm. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s also common to address them with their last name and title (e.g. Herr/Frau).
  • During meals, it’s considered impolite to rest your elbows on the table or to eat with your hands (unless it’s finger food).
  • When dining out, it’s customary to round up the bill to the nearest Euro or to leave a small tip of 5-10%.
  • Finally, Germans are generally reserved and private, so it’s best to avoid discussing topics like politics, religion, or personal finances unless you know the person well.

By keeping these cultural norms and etiquette in mind, you’ll be able to make a positive impression and enjoy your time in Germany to the fullest.

Weather and Climate

Germany experiences a temperate climate, which means that it has relatively mild winters and warm summers. However, the weather can be unpredictable and can vary greatly depending on the region you are visiting.

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Germany is in the late spring or early autumn, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. During the summer months, temperatures can get quite hot, especially in the south, and many Germans go on holiday during this time, which means that popular destinations can be quite crowded.

It is important to note that Germany is a relatively large country, and as such, the weather can vary greatly from one region to another. For example, the coastal regions in the north tend to be cooler and wetter than the interior regions, which have more of a continental climate. The mountainous regions in the south, such as the Bavarian Alps, also tend to have their own microclimates and can be quite different from the rest of the country.

Overall, it is a good idea to check the weather forecast for the region you will be visiting and to pack accordingly. It is always a good idea to bring layers, as the weather can change quickly, and to pack a raincoat or umbrella, just in case.

Top Tourist Attractions

If you’re planning a trip to Germany, make sure to add these top tourist attractions to your itinerary:

  • The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
  • The Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria
  • The Cologne Cathedral in Cologne
  • The Romantic Road in Bavaria
  • The Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg
  • The Oktoberfest in Munich
  • The Berlin Wall Memorial
  • The Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg
  • The Rhine River
  • The Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg

These are just a few of the many amazing attractions Germany has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or food, you’re sure to find something to love in this beautiful country.

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