Germany — The Basics
Germany is a prime destination for European tours. Between the fantastic castles, beautiful forests, stunning cityscapes, and stoic people, Germany is an extremely appealing place! Travel to Berlin Germany for a great Berliner jelly donut. An obscure man known as JFK claimed to be one, but he doesn’t look nearly as tasty. Travel Munich to sample some beers at Oktoberfest.
Explore the expansive Schwarzwald , the forest where Grimm’s fairy tales take place. Have a sweet-tooth? Try Scwarzwaldkuche — black forest cake. It’s out of this world, and it’s the perfect way to top a meal. Germany is just too sweet to pass up. So what are you waiting for? Go take a bite!
Sights and Attractions
In the heart of Europe, this land over 80 million is actually a rather new country! The different, often opposing, German states didn’t unite until 1871! Because of this, various states have pretty unique cuisines, cultures, and customs. If you plan to travel to Munich , you’ll be in the state of Bavaria.
The Bavarians’ culture is influenced by their alpine surroundings. They’re proud of their beers, and lovers of the old national costumes. Compared to the rest of Germany, Bavaria is very catholic. This is reflected in the architecture. Of course, no European tours are complete without colossal religious structures The Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers opened 1772, is a marvel of rococo architecture. Every aspect of its design, inside and out, is gloriously maximal. Colorful marble pillars, gold-clad statues, and intricate carvings cover every square inch of this over-the-top holy building.
As you travel in Germany, you’ll find plenty of grand structures outside of Bavaria as well. The city of Dresden is home to yet another maximalist marvel. The Semperoper Opera House is a grandiose place to see a show. Germans tend to be humble personally, but their monuments do not reflect this trait. It seems that German architects really take “bigger is better” to heart.
Between August and September, the Luneberg Heath is a sea of crimson-purple. The enchanted fairy grottoes, as the name implies, look like something out of a fantasy film. Spiderlike stalactites and creepy columns are at every corner in this enormous cave structure.
Germany Travel Tips
Germany Currency Considerations
Germany uses the Euro. You will have to exchange your dollars or pounds for Euros to get any value out of your money. It’s best to exchange currency ahead of time. You’ll get a better rate in your home country than you will at some hotspot tourist destination. An online currency exchange site is a great way to get a fair rate conveniently.
Hotels can be found everywhere and anywhere in Germany. If you plan to travel to Berlin Germany, expect to pay more for a hotel than you would in a more touristy destination. Consider the time of year when booking a hotel. Munich? It’s already expensive, especially around Oktoberfest. Look for good deals ahead of time and save some dough on your trip!
Flights and Transportation
International airports are scattered throughout the country. Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Munich, and Berlin are the biggest. As you plan to travel in Germany, consider your starting point. Public transit is inexpensive enough. Focus more on the price of the ticket than where it will land.
Travel in Germany is quick, efficient, and affordable. You can find a bus or a train almost anywhere. The metro system is immaculate, modern, punctual, and orderly. If you plan to travel Munich, you’ll get around the city without a hitch. Generally, you’ll want to avoid taxis. They’re a rip-off anywhere — especially where public transport is so abundant. Walk a few minutes or ask a local. There is bound to be a bus stop or metro stop nearby.
Take your shoes off when you’re invited into someone’s home. Everyone in Finland does it, and they expect you to abide. Make sure your socks are presentable.
Make sure you don’t try to fare-skip. A 60 Euro fine is no joke!
Germans speak German. This incredibly literal and straightforward language is always fun to listen to. The German word for an ambulance is “Krankenwagen.” That roughly translates to “sick-car.” See? Right to the point and absolutely delightful.
Although there are many dialects and variety of German, almost all Germans speak “Hochdeutsch” — standard German. About 18% of Germans can speak French. 63% of Germans speak English to a functional degree. Outside of major cities and tourist centers, you may have occasional trouble finding an English speaker.
If you look hard enough, you’ll undoubtedly come across someone who gets the gist of what you’re saying. A few German phrases will help. The numbers are fun, and pretty much any word you learn will just roll off the tongue. Remember: W’s are v’s. V’s are f’s. Eu’s are oy’s or oi’s. If there is any doubt as to the pronunciation of something, look it up and listen.
Cultural Sensitivity in Germany
Really, no one anywhere is excited to talk about the man with the silly mustache. Usually, conversations featuring Hitler are not pleasant. The vast majority of Germans are deeply ashamed of this part of their history. They live their every day. They haven’t forgotten. That reality is part of the German collective consciousness. Expressing any Nazi sympathies, or calling any German a Nazi outright, is a great way to be shunned and hated. Regarding the events that happened between 1933 and 1945, just don’t mention them.
Germans are orderly people. They take recycling and waste disposal very seriously. While your country may just have a recycling bin and a trashcan, that’s not the case in Germany. There are bins for plastic. You’ll find receptacles for organic waste. Bins for glass. Not just any glass, either. You must separate white glass, green glass, and brown glass.
Don’t throw your aluminum cans in with your glass. They have cans for cans! There’s a home for every kind of refuse in Germany. Follow these rules, and ask if you don’t understand. Not only do you want to avoid offending the people, but you also don’t want a fine.
When it comes to traffic, this respect for the rules doesn’t wane. Don’t jaywalk. The fines aren’t very steep, but you’ll look like a silly goofball. Getting a ticket for jaywalking in Germany is an exercise in public humiliation. Be a good foreigner. Cross at a crosswalk.
If you’re invited anywhere or you have a meeting, arrive on time! Fashionably late is totally unfashionable in Germany. They’re not like Spain or Italy, where a time table is more of a loose suggestion. You’re not special enough to wait for. Budget your time appropriately; Germans don’t want to hear anyone’s lame excuses.
Outside of grand festivals, don’t be loud and obnoxious. Don’t stagger around wasted and yell into the night. Germans won’t tolerate it. German people are very peaceful, and they expect their peace to be respected. Acting like a loud, boisterous chimpanzee is no way to ingratiate yourself with the locals anywhere unless you’re at the zoo!
Certain gestures or images could land you in serious trouble. No matter how much of an obnoxious, mindless buffoon someone in Germany may be, they know better than to do the Hitler salute. Such a gesture is a criminal offense.
Standards of free expression are different in Germany. Namely: they prohibit Nazi expressions and imagery. Don’t possess any material with a swastika. Don’t even draw one. Don’t say anything like “heil Hitler,” for the fatherland, or “arbeit macht frei.”
It’s in terribly poor taste, and you don’t want to end up with a fine or in a jail cell. Sometimes, these displays can even be punished with a years-long prison sentence. “Deutschland uber Alles” is not illegal to say, but it’s in very poor taste. Whether you travel Munich or travel to Berlin Germany, Nazi talk is absolutely off-limits.
In Germany, you generally don’t want to wear shoes in a person’s home. Some people are ok with it, but you want to default to a shoes-off policy. Wear nice socks, and don’t track mud through their house.
Germany is awesome! Large castles. Colossal cathedrals. Tasty beer. What’s not to love? In German, a proper farewell is “auf wiedersehen” — until we meet again. When you have to step on that return flight, you’ll be saying “auf wiedersehen” since there’s no way you won’t want to come visit again!
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