Germany is known for many things, like beer, castles, sausage, bread, and festivals. But if you are planning on heading over to this unique European country for the very first time, you might be at a loss about where to start.
To make the most of your trip and to fill it with as many unique activities as possible, there are a few things that you should know before you go to Germany. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips on everything from where to go and how to get around, to how to pay and what to pack. Hopefully this information will help you sort out the details of your next adventure.
What are some of the must-see places in Germany?
With so many amazing places to see and fun things to do throughout Germany, it’s easy to quickly become overwhelmed. To make it a lot easier to create a list of sights to see during your trip, check out the list below:
- Neuschwanstein Castle: One of the most famous castles on the planet, Neuschwanstein Castle can be found in the Alps of Bavaria. This stunning architectural wonder, which also happens to be one of the most photographed buildings in the country, will make you feel as though you are in some kind of fairytale. It dates back to the 1800s, so even history buffs will enjoy the experience of seeing this castle in person. Don’t forget your camera for this one!
- Black Forest: When it comes to checking out some of the natural wonders of Germany, the Black Forest should definitely be on your to-do list. There, you can experience small villages amidst lush forest and rolling hills. It is as beautiful in person as it sounds on paper, and you can take it all in by driving, biking, or walking the scenic routes throughout it. If you have a hard time picking the tour to take, go with the German Clock Road to start. And don’t forget to grab some yummy black forest cake, complete with cherries, chocolate, cherry schnapps, and cream. Delicious!
- Berlin Wall: Visiting Berlin and the Berlin Wall is a must if you are going to spend some time in Germany. The Wall has been in ruins since it came down in 1989, but the area is full of history. Plus, you can tour the Wall and the murals created by the artists who have used the ruins as their canvas.
- The Rhine Valley: Considered one of the most important waterways in Europe, the Rhine is a lovely sight to behold. The river makes its way from Switzerland all the way through Germany and into the Netherlands. Wow! The best place to view it is the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, where you will find a host of medieval towns and castles that you can explore and photograph.
- The Romantic Road: If you are in search of one of Germany’s most scenic routes, check out The Romantic Road. You will make your way through an area of the country that features classic German culture and scenery, along with medieval towns, castles, and historic hotels. Stop at one of the restaurants along the way, too, in order to dig into some authentic German cuisine and beer.
What cities are worth visiting in Germany?
In addition to gorgeous natural landscapes and cute small towns, Germany is also home to vibrant cities that are full of culture and packed with fun things to do.
Schedule in some time to visit famous cities like Munich, with its traditional architecture and museums, or head over to Hamburg, where you will find a thriving nightlife, plenty of bridges, and one of the largest harbors on the planet.
Famous figures like Bach and Goethe spent time in Leipzig, so you should too, especially if you are interested in German culture and art. And for old world charm, you could spend some time exploring Heidelberg, with its cobblestone roads and the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle.
When is Oktoberfest, and what can you do there?
No discussion about Germany would be complete without diving into all things Oktoberfest, right? Here are a few things you should know:
Oktoberfest is held in Munich every year from the third Saturday of September through the first Sunday of October or October 3, depending upon which one occurs later in a given year. So you have quite a few days to catch it and celebrate Bavarian culture with the locals. You don’t need to pay a fee to get into the festival, to enter the beer tents, or to sit at a table. What you will need to pay for is anything that you eat or drink, as well as any souvenirs that you decide to take home with you. Be sure to bring enough cash with you to pay for everything. It is a good idea to bring around 60 euros so you can make the most of this fun event.
It is also worth noting that the tents at Oktoberfest can be family friendly, so if you are traveling with your kids, you could take them to the festival too. And when it comes to getting there, it is best to use public transportation, especially if you will be drinking a lot of alcohol. You could, for example, take a taxi or a train to the festival. Bonus: taking public transportation means you can avoid having to look for parking, which can be difficult.
What are the best ways to get around in Germany?
You have several great options when it comes to getting around easily and affordably while you are in Germany.
Trains are easy to access, and they are a comfortable way to check out the many regions in Germany that tourists flock to. The German railway system is known as Deutsche Bahn, or just DB for short. Overall, this is a reliable system that you can use to access just about all of the cities in the country. And nothing beats watching that incredible scenery from your window as you relax while someone else takes care of the driving. Another public transportation option is the bus system in Germany. This could be even more affordable than taking the train, and one of the most highly recommended companies is the Berlin Linien Bus. You could purchase tickets affordably and enjoy a comfortable ride to whatever your destination might be. So simple!
If you would prefer having more control by being the one behind the wheel, you could rent a vehicle and even take a ride along the famous Autobahn for some extra fun. Just be sure to follow the rules of the road, and don’t be surprised by other drivers speeding past you. If you are at all apprehensive about heading out onto German roads on your own, public transportation is always there for you. Keep in mind, too, that renting a car could be expensive. And if you are planning on spending a lot of your time in German cities, renting a car might actually be more of a hassle than getting around by train or bus, especially since parking could be scarce and pricey.
When is the best time to go to Germany?
You could visit Germany at any time of the year, as the country enjoys four seasons and each has its own benefits. What you hope to do during your trip could help you determine the best time of year to head over there.
During the summer, you should expect larger crowds, as this is the height of the tourist season. This also means that you may have to pay more and book your trip further in advance than you would for other seasons. Generally, the temperatures are warm and the days are sunny, but the middle of summer is also when Germany could experience a lot of rain. Overall, though, this is the perfect time of year to visit if you are hoping to enjoy the beaches, pools, and outdoor festivals.
Germany could be stunning in the winter, and you could also expect more affordable prices and much smaller crowds, especially if you are visiting outside of the holiday season. But if you do visit during Christmas, the country is renowned for its Christmas markets, which travelers love to check out. It is after the New Year that things are quiet, but the weather will be cold, so pack plenty of warm clothes, winter accessories, coats, and boots. Then head out and enjoy winter sports like skiing.
If fall is your favorite season of the year, you will thoroughly enjoy it in Germany. Summer crowds are gone by this time of year, and you can take in the beauty of the leaves as they change color along the landscape. Prices drop, along with the temperatures, but this is the ideal time to visit for Oktoberfest, wine festivals, and quiet time spent in the great outdoors.
The spring season in Germany also has plenty to offer to travelers from around the globe, with May being one of the most popular months for visitors. The temperature starts to rise, so you can enjoy eating outside at the country’s best restaurants, and you can also participate in fun spring fairs. Don’t forget to take in the beauty of the cherry blossoms too. Just be aware that prices tend to rise in the spring, even though they are still lower than they would be during the summer.
What should you pack for a trip to Germany?
The clothing and accessories that you will need to pack for your trip to Germany will depend upon what time of year you are going there, as weather conditions change throughout the year. However, it is a good idea to have a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a pair of sunglasses, whether you are heading over to Germany in the summer or the winter. And because the weather could change quickly while you are out exploring, it is a good idea to wear layers and carry an umbrella and a jacket, just in case.
What is the currency of Germany?
Because it is a part of Europe, the currency in Germany is the euro (EUR). Exchanging your money before your trip will ensure you will have enough cash upon your arrival in the country. You could use a currency converter to get an idea of how far your home currency will stretch after it has been converted into the euro.
When traveling internationally, it is often a good idea to have cash on hand at all times, as not all establishments will take credit cards. That rule definitely applies in Germany, where cash is the preferred method of payment. Depending upon the vendor, you might be able to use a debit card or credit card for goods or services as well, but debit cards are generally preferred over credit cards.
Which electrical outlet adapter do you need for Germany?
The power sockets in Germany are type F, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz, while the standard voltage is 230 V. Therefore, you might need to pack a power plug adapter and a voltage converter if you wish to use your appliances during your stay.
Do you need vaccinations to go to Germany?
If you are planning a trip to Germany, ask your doctor if you are up-to-date on all of the routine vaccinations that could help keep you safe while you travel abroad. These vaccines might include the varicella vaccine, the flu shot, the polio vaccine, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because of the possibility of contracting hepatitis A from contaminated water and food in Germany, your doctor might recommend getting the appropriate vaccine to protect yourself.
Excited to check out everything that Germany has to offer?
Whether you are ready to go skiing in a winter wonderland, have beer at Oktoberfest, or visit picturesque towns and castles, Germany has it all. No matter what season you decide to visit, there will be no shortage of memorable things to do. So get out there and have the trip of a lifetime!
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