Welcome to my Germany Travel Guide…
Germany has come a long way since the World War II. No longer an authoritarian regime, it has now flourished into one of the most prosperous nations in Europe. If you intend to visit Germany, you have arrived at the right place for the most comprehensive Germany travel guide.
With a population of 82,400,000, Germany is a huge country situated in the heart of Europe. Known for its warm summers with showers and exceptionally cold winters, the most ideal time to visit Germany is during spring when the weather and natural vegetation are fresh.
Historic architecture in Germany is like no other. Although most of the buildings have been through the toughest times and even destruction during the second World War, they remain one of the finest works of historic architecture in Europe. Fine examples include the tower ruins of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, the Reichstag, and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the German capital. Besides ancient architecture, modern architecture in Germany is also a cut above the rest. Visitors can scale the 290-metre tall Olympic Tower in Munich and the 365-metre relic of the Fernsehturm in Berlin for the best views of Germany travel.
The museums in Germany offer a myriad of learning opportunities for all, whether young or old. Some museums to visit include the Museum für Naturkunde, Neues Museum, Musikinstrumenten-Museum, Bode Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie and the Museum of Arts and Crafts, all in Berlin.
Germany is a green city owing to its many parks in the urban cities. One of the many green lungs in Germany includes Tiergarten in Berlin, which is home to wildlife. Another great place to take a stroll and get close to nature is the English Garden in Munich.
Enchanting castles await those who visit Germany’s countryside. Located at picturesque sites such as the Bavarian Alps, German castles are rich in history and definitely worth a visit during your stay. Some castles to look out for are the Neuschwanstein Castle near Munich, Burg Eltz above the Mosel River between the Eifel and Hunsruck mountains, as well as Burg Hohenzollern, which is located on a cliff top in Swabian Jura, about 50 kilometres from Stuttgart.
The vibrant culture in Germany revolves around its traditional festivals such as Oktoberfest and May Day. Besides indulging in annual celebrations, Germans are typically civilised people who respect punctuality and cleanliness. Recycling is highly encouraged in the country, as recycling bins that separate different materials can be found in almost every neighborhood.
If you are a meat-lover, you are in for a sumptuous feast in Germany. The main traditional dish is wurst (sausage) as well as Leberknoedelsuppe and pork salamis. Döner Kebab, Turkish pizza, mouth-watering quiches and baguettes, pig trotters, potato pancake and soft berries with vanilla sauce can also be savored in many parts of Germany. It is something not to be missed in your Germany travel trip.
German Facts & Figures
National Capital: Berlin (3,470,000 pop’n).
Land Area: 357,021 sq. km.
Land Use: 31% of Germany is forest.
Coastline: 2,389 km.
Federal & National Waterways: 10,000 km.
Roads & Freeways: 633,000 km, toll free.
Cycle Tracks: 40,000 km.
Highest Point: Zugspitze (2,962m)
Major Cities: Berlin, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart.
Currency: 1 Euro equals 100 cents.
German System of Government
The Federal Republic of Germany is a democracy with a liberal free market economy, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. Germany is a member of the European Union (EU).
Languages in Germany
German is spoken as the first language by 99% of the German population. English is widely spoken in the main tourist areas.
German Banking & Business Hours
Baking hours, in general, are from 8.30am to 1 pm and 2.30pm to 4pm. (on Thursdays to 6pm). Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. There are no uniform business hours for the entire Federal Republic of Germany. Shops are generally open for business from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday and from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays.
Rail Travel in Germany
German Rail (Deutsche Bahn AG) has a network of 40,000 km of line, 17000 km of which is electrified. There are over 33,000 train services each day in Germany (including 12,000 national services), transporting over 4 million passengers. ICE and IC trains link the major cities at hourly or two-hourly intervals, providing connections with the local services. Many airports, such as Frankfurt, are integrated with this system. The new AlRail Terminal at Frankfurt Airport offers direct connections between ICE and IC/EC connections in all directions every hour.
Germany has a typical four season climate, without extremes of temperature. Summer months are generally warm and seldom oppressively hot. The average summer temperature is 18°C.
The average winter temperature is 0°C, with snow falls in the highland areas throughout Germany from December to March. Germany is an attractive travel destination all year round.
Daylight Saving Time
Starts on the last weekend in March. Finishes on the last weekend in October.
German VAT and Tipping
Goods and services are subject to German VAT (MWSt), currently 16% and all prices in Germany are given inclusive of VAT as well as service charges. Extra tipping in Germany is therefore purely voluntary (up to 10% of the total bill) and expresses satisfaction with services received.
German Postal Service
In the larger cities, post offices are usually open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and until noon on Saturday. At major rail stations and airports, they often open longer and even on Sundays. Foreign money orders are paid out in Euros.
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German Telephone Service
You can make local and long-distance calls from all post offices and public phone booths. Most phone booths take phone cards which are available at any post office for 6, 14, 25 and 56 EUR.
Important Telephone Numbers
To call Germany: Dial the Country Code +49, then dial the area code omitting the 0, then dial the local number.
To call Australia: Dial the Country Code +61, then dial the area code omitting the 0, then dial the local number.
German Fire Brigade/Ambulance: 112
German Emergency/Police: 110
The power supply in Germany is currently being changed from 220V to 230V to comply with European standards. This has no effect whatsoever on the vast majority of 220-240V appliances. Plugs are of the 2-pin variety, so an adapter is required.
Tel: (02) 8296 0488
Fax: (02) 8296 0487