Saturday, October 8, 2011

Travel Tips to European Countries: Germany

Because it is October and Oktoberfest is in full swing, I feel it is appropriate to write about travel tips to Germany.

About Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany is the most influential country of Europe.  It has witnessed the most controversial events in history, such as Nazism, the Holy Roman Empire, and the building and demolition of the Berlin wall.  Art and culture is abundant with its many magnificent castles.  German is the widely spoken language in German; however, outsiders can find many English speaking locals, especially in common tourist destinations.


The weather in Germany is very unpredictable as rain is possible during many months of the year, so pack accordingly.  April and May is in full bloom of fruits and flowers, while the period from May to September has gorgeous weather with sunny skies and offers the best time for traveling and sightseeing.  People with a passion for swimming, hiking, and cycling can have the best time during these months.  Travelers can take pleasure in winter sports from November to early March.  During the winter months, from six to eight months, temperatures are below freezing and the days are too short.

Local Customs

Locals greet each other by a handshake and saying Guten Tag.  To say goodbye, people use Auf Wiedersehen.  Guests are expected to bring uncovered and an odd number of flowers, especially roses, when visiting someone’s home.  Guests are welcomed with either food or refreshments, and at the table, hosts say Guten Appetit to which the guests should reply with Ebenfalls.  Smoking should be avoided in public areas.  Locals dress informally, but certain occasions such as opera, theatre, certain restaurants, and social functions call for formal wear.


220 V, 50 Hz

Moving Around

The best way to get around is to purchase Welcome Cards or city passes, which allow customers to access unlimited bus facilities in many German cities.  These passes also give special offers on certain tourist attractions.  For flexibility one can rent a car or go for chauffer driven rides.  Along with rent, VAT of 16% is payable.  Car insurance should be available before hand in case of any accident, and the speed limit within the cities is mostly 50kph and 100kph on the highways.

Nine stars

The nine stars of Southwest Germany comprise of Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Pforzheim, Stuttgart, and Ulm.  They are considered to be some of the beautiful cities of Europe; each city playing a vital role in Germany’s culture.  For one, Baden-Baden has some of the finest resorts and also has Europe’s second largest opera and concert hall.  Secondly, Freiburg is known for its historic city center and is famous for cobblestone mosiacs, open streams, and ancient alleys.  Next, Heidelberg has world famous castles and Germany’s oldest university.  Also, Karlsruhe has the famous museum Center for Art and Media.  Look out for various amusements along the Nectar river of Heilbronn.  Furthermore, Pforzheim is the capital for watches and jewelry.  In addition, Stuttgart is famous for its theatres and opera.   Finally, Ulm is the birth place of Albert Einstein and is also house to the world’s tallest hurch spire.


Lufthansa is the national airline that serves Germany.  Berlin-Tegel airport is situated at 8 km from the city and it takes about 20 minutes to get there.  The airport includes duty free shops, banks, post office, eateries, conference hall, and car rental and tourist information for passengers.

Another busy airport is the Frankfurt airport which is located at 13km from that city.  Buses take about 20 minutes to get there, and taxis are available any time.  The Intercity Railway Network at the airport also provides international services to Hungary, Switzerland, and Austria.  The facilities include duty free shops, left luggage, restaurants, banks, conference halls, post office, car hire, and tourist information.  Departure tax is not levied on passengers.

Those wishing to travel by sea can access ferry connections to Finland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Latvia, and Norway.

Eurostar provides railway service to and from Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom; you can book by telephone.  The Inter-Rail offers unlimited second class train travel within 29 European countries.  Also, the Eurailpass offers unlimited first class train travel within 17 European countries.

EuroCity and InterCity trains have a restaurant on board, providing food and drinks.  InterCity Express targets the business class and provides services such as fully equipped office, conference compartments, wifi, etc.  Tourists over 17 years of age can carry alcohol and tobacco within permissible limits.

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