Germany

Discover the country from the coastal regions of the north to the Alpine peaks in the south

flag_of_germany

Europe

Berlin

Euro

82,175,700

357,168 SQ. KM

German

1

TRAVEL INFORMATION

When to go

Getting to

Getting around

Health & Safety

Money & Costs

WHEN TO GO TO GERMANY

GERMAN EVENT CALENDAR

Best time to go: May - September (Late Spring to early Autumn)
Hottest months: July & August
Coldest months: December & January

Germany has a predominantly mild, temperate climate. Summer temperatures are typically between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F. The average winter temperature hovers around 0°C/32°F.

Extremes normally reach -10°C/14°F in the winter and 35°C/ 95°F in the summer months. The highest annual temperatures tend to be in the southwest region of the country, especially around the Rhine. But it is also in the mid summer when Germany experience its maximum rainfall.

Winters are more severe further east and around Alpine ranges in the south where a think blanket of snow may remain until beginning of spring.

 

MAJOR GERMAN HOLIDAYS

If You are flexible with Your travel dates, make sure to avoid the following German public holidays:

  • Good Friday (April 14th  in 2017, always a Friday before Eastern Sunday)
  • Eastern Monday (April 17th in 2017, always a Monday after Eastern Sunday)
  • Labour Day (May 1st)
  • White Monday (June 5th in 2017, always 7th Monday after Eastern)
  • German Unity Day (October 3rd)
  • Christmas Day  (December 25th)
  • St Stephens Day (December 26th)

During these periods, some people in Germany are traveling to visit their family, friends, to spend few days in a holiday resort or just outside the city. The motorways are more crowded with higher probability on traffic jams. Public transport services might be substantially reduced during this time.

  • February 9-19

    Berlin International Film Festival
  • February 27

    Carnival or Shrove Tuesday
  • March 1

    Carnival or Ash Wednesday
  • June 2 – July 2

    Mozartfest, Würzburg
  • June 9-18

    Bach Festival, Leipzig
  • September 16 - October 3

    Oktoberfest (Munich)
  • November 11

    Carnival Season Opening
  • December

    Christmas Markets in all cities
  • December 6

    Parades on Saint Nikolaus Day

GETTING TO GERMANY

By Air 

Travelling by air is probably the most convenient way to get into Germany.

If you fly from outside Europe, your port of entry will be most probably:

  • Frankfurt Airport (Hessia)
  • Munich Airport (Bavaria)

Other major French airports are:

  • Düsseldorf Airport (North Rhine-Westphalia)
  • Berlin Tegel Airport  (Brandenburg)
  • Hamburg Airport  (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg)
  • Stuttgart Airport  (Baden-Württemberg)
  • Cologne Bonn Airport  (North Rhine-Westphalia)

Lufthansa and Air Berlin are the two major German airlines, with flights all around the world.

By Land

By Car

Traveling by car from neighboring countries is very comfortable. There are no land border controls, making travel between Germany and other Schengen states easier (with the accession of Switzerland to the Schengen area in 2008).

By Bus

Traveling by bus is very handy way of traveling on routes that are not serviced by trains. Especially for many immigrants that are commuting to work from nearby countries (Czech Republic, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina etc.)  it is a common way to get directly from more remote towns and villages into Germany.
There are many bus companies around Europe that routes to Germany. One of the biggest ones is Eurolines which is present in 34 European countries. It operates from more than 700 cities and towns in and around Europe and goes to around 80 bus station spread across whole Germany.

By Train

The German railway company Deutsche Bahn is the second-largest transport company in the world. It operates most regular train services which connect Germany with nearby countries.

Majority of those countries have a network of high speed trains that go into Germany but besides that EuroCity trains are a great option to travel to Germany (particularly from Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark). They are a bit slower and might be less comfortable but still they reach up to 200 km/h (124 mi/h).

Visas

EU citizens are not required a visa to enter Poland.

Thanks to the Schengen Agreement, 26 European countries have a passport and border control free zone (except for UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus).

Passport holders of the US, Canada, Australia and some other countries are not required a visa to enter Poland for stays under 90 days.

Citizens of other nationalities who are planning to come to Germany as tourists for a period of up to 90 days, can apply for a Short-Stay Visa (called Schengen Visa).

For more information on visa requirements and application procedures visit: http://www.germany-visa.org/

GETTING AROUND GERMANY

By Air

Each larger city has its own airport, serving both international and domestic flights, though the domestic routes are mainly used by business travelers. Main reason for that is that the competitive network of railways and highways running across the country. Therefore the introduction of  low-cost airlines on domestic routes hasn't been that successful as seen in other European countries.

By Bus

After the liberalization of the law that protected the national railway operator Deutsche Bahn from long-distance competition till 2012, many bus companies have been created and are currently fighting for their share of the German market.

The domestic bus network is extensive and provide an attractive alternative to trains on many routes throughout the country. But on the longer routes time of traveling is a thing to consider, as often it takes much longer to travel with a bus than with a train.

Following inter-regional bus services are available throughout the country:

  • FlixBus – current market leader in Germany, providing connections to all major cities and smaller towns
  • BerlinBus – with 40 long distance routes, available in all major cities throughout the country
  • Eurolines/Touring: offering domestic routes between major cities

 

By Train

Traveling by train is one of the most popular mode of transportation across Germany not only for tourists but also for local people. Almost the whole railway transport is run by the private joined-stock company called Deutsche Bahn.

To move around major cities, InterCity Express and regular InteriCity trains are the best options. They accelarate up to 300 km per hour (186mi/h) and cover distances between major cities faster than cars. Most of the time the tickets cost much more than those for local railway lines but booking far in advance can save a lot of money. Additionally there are some saver fare for high speed trains called Sparpreis (https://www.bahn.de/i/view/GBR/en/prices/germany/savertickets.shtml) with tickets starting from 19€ per journey up to 250 km (155 mi) and from 29€ for a long distance route.
Regional train transportation is a cheaper option most of the time when traveling around the country. But it be also quite slow depending on the train type:

  • InterRegioExpress (IRE) connecting cities between two regions with few intermediary stops
  • Regional Express (RE) semi-express trains that link rural areas with metropolitan centres within one region
  • RegionalBahn (RB) stops everywhere except for some S-Bahn stations

There are also some promotions that allow to travel for less. One of them is Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (Lovely Weekend Ticket) which allows to travel anywhere across Germany on Saturday or Sunday until 3:00 the following day with 2nd class on all regional trains. It costs only 42€ for up to 5 people.

Another possibility is Quer-durchs-Land Ticket (Travel throughout Germany) which offers unlimited rail travel for one day on regional trains for 44€ and only 8.00€ supplement for 2nd to 5th person. It is valid from 9 a.m. (Mon-Fri) or midnight (Sat-Sun) until 3 a.m. of the following day.

For extended information on train traveling, check out the following websites:

Carpooling

It has become a very popular mean of transport in Germany as it is often cheaper than traveling by train or even by bus. What is more important, you can arrange a pick up place convenient for you and the time of departure which can be often move around a bit so it fits all of the potential passengers.

The drivers post their rides on a carpooling website with details on the departure time, cost per passenger, the car they own and possible range of detour. The websites often also provide ratings on the drivers posted by previous passengers.

 Some of the most used carpooling websites available in English:

City Transportation

Germany is well known for its modern and very reliable public transport system. Bigger cities have integrated metro, suburban trains, trams and buses into a single network which should encourage to give up driving a car while in the city. Smaller cities, if they don't have a full transportation package, they have at least a well-organized bus system.

U-Bahn & S-Bahn

Rapid transit in German cities consist of U-Bahn (metro) and S-Bahn (elevated trains). Metro is present in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Nuremberg and is the fastest way to get around the city. The elevated train system (S-Bahn) exists in 13 metropolitan areas, which usually run underground in the city centers and above ground in the suburbs. They cover all major metropolitan areas such as: Dresden, Hamburg, Hanover, Magdeburg, Leipzig-Halle, Munich, Nuremberg, Rhein-Main (including Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden, Mainz, Offenbach am Main, Hanau and Darmstadt), Rhein-Neckar (including Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen), Rhein-Ruhr (including Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Wuppertal, Solingen, Cologne and Düsseldorf, Unna, Mönchengladbach) Rostock and Stuttgart.

What is different in comparison to other countries is the lack of fare gates. The validity of the passenger's ticket is only randomly checked by the fare inspectors. The current fine for those who don't have a ticket is 60€.

Trams

Strassenbahn (tram) are very common, especially prevalent in eastern German cities. Currently more than 50 cities have a network of tramway. What makes them fast is that they are traveling on their own tracks and are largely independent from other traffic. Service is fairly frequent, usually every 5-10 minutes during rush hours and 20-30 minutes during off-peak periods. In most cases, you can get a ticket at the tram stop before boarding the tram or after boarding in the tram itself.

Buses

Buses are the most common mode of transport, present in all cities and towns. They run at regular intervals during day time and with restricted services in the evening and weekends. Bigger cities have introduced night buses. Bus (as well as tram) stops throughout Germany are marked with sign „H”. In bigger cities you can buy a ticket in the vending machine before boarding but in smaller towns only directly from the bus driver. In both cases only cash will be accepted.

Taxi

The taxi industry is heavily regulated in Germany, therefore there is almost no chance of being caught for a ride by an illegal taxi. It is also relatively expensive in comparison to other means of transport. They might be mostly a good option during night-time, when you missed the last bus or tram. The average taxi fare is approximately 2.50€ and 3.50€ as a get on fee and additional 1.50€ to 2.00€ per kilometer. All taxis are recognizable as cream-colored  Mercedes or Audi with a yellow- black taxi sign on the roof.

HEALTH & SAFETY IN GERMANY

Vaccinations

It is recommended to consult with a doctor what vaccines are needed based on the target destination, period of travel and the activities planned.

An International Certificate of Vaccination (known as the ‘Yellow Card’), verifying that proper procedures were followed in administering vaccinations for foreign travel,  is used to demonstrate receipt of required vaccinations for entry into foreign countries.

No vaccinations are required for entering Germany.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reccomends to be up-to-date with following vaccinations:
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
- Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Polio

Insurance

The health service in Germany is considered one of the best in the world. There are more than 2000 hospitals out of which somewhere around half of them are private ones. Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during your stay in Germany. The EHIC isn’t a substitute for travel insurance, but any treatment provided would be on the same conditions as for German residents.

You need to pay by yourself for the medical service provided only if it is not offered for free for local residents. If the treatment requires payment, you can claim any refunds back in your country from your health insurer.

Treatment in private hospitals or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts or stolen property is not covered by EHIC.

Citizens from other countries have to check if a complementary arrangement for medical care between their country and Germany is provided.

 

Scams

Fake Ticket inspectors Scam

Most inspectors in Germany wear plain clothes but have visible badges that give exact information on their ID, name and type of work they are performing. If you don't have a valid ticket, they will give you the option of printing out a penalty notice for you to pay later at a customer information office. The fake ones, will tell you that the only option is to pay the fine on the spot, as you are not from the country and there is the possibility that you won't pay it at all.

 

Pick-pocketing Scam

It is the most often scam that can happen everywhere, especially on public transportation, main train stations and tourist hot-spots. Most of the time someone drops a ring or a wallet or some other valuable. When you are distracted by helping the person and picking it up for them, you may loose your wallet. Be careful on a packed tram, a bus or on crowded street market as it is an easy target for thieves to pick your pockets and run off. The safest is to wear a money belt that goes under your shirt or pants.

MONEY & COSTS IN GERMANY

Currency Facts

Euro (€)

Daily Budget

  • Backpacker
  • up to €60
    per day
  • dorm 15€
  • breakfast 5€
  • lunch 10€
  • dinner 15€
  • beer 1€
  • Berlin 1 Day Transport travel card: 7€
  • Tourist attractions 0-15€
  • Berlin-Munich ICE train (~6.0h) - 2nd class 19€ / $21 (non-refundable fare)
  • Mid-range
  • 150-250
    per day
  • double room in 3 star hotel 50-100€
  • café au lait in a café 2-5€
  • lunch 15€
  • dinner 20-30€
  • cocktail in a bar 5-10€
  • taxi (5km/3mi) 10-15€
  • city bike tour/beer tour 30-60€
  • Berlin-Munich ICE train (~6.0h) - 2nd class 68€ / $75 (flexible fare)

Sample prices

  • Meal (local restaurant)

    10-15€
  • Meal for 2 (mid-range restaurant)

    40-60€
  • Milk (1l/33oz)

    0.70€
  • White Bread (500g/1,1lb)

    1.50€
  • Egg (1)

    0.40€
  • Chicken breast (1kg/2,2lb)

    12€
  • Banana (1kg/2,2lb)

    2€
  • Tomatoes (1kg/2,2lb)

    3€
  • Water (0,5l/17oz)

    0.40€
  • Coke (0,33l/11.2oz)

    1.80€
  • Pack of cigarettes

    6€

Tipping

In Germany, service and VAT are included in the prices, therefore tipping is not obligatory.
But it is often a custom to „round up” the amount - such as if the check is 2,30€ for a coffee, you can leave 2,50€ or for a check of 32€, you can leave additional 3€. If you are not sure how much tip to leave, a general rule of thumb of 5-10% applies.

ATMs

ATMs are widely available. ATM withdrawal fee with bank-issued debit cards come with various fees depending on the bank. The names often used are: Geldautomat or Bankautomat.

Bear in mind that cash is the main method of payment everywhere across the country. The Germans rely on debit cards called “EC” which  are linked to a checking account and used for direct payment and ATM withdrawals. Credit cards are not widely accepted (especially in restaurants, some supermarkets, some hotels).
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are major banks in Germany.

Bargaining

Bargaining is not a custom in Germany. The price on the price tag is the one you should be paying for an item.

Tourist attractions

  • Miniatur Wonderland (Hamburg)

    13€
  • Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site - guided tour (near Munich)

    3€
  • Berlin Hop on Hop off daily Pass

    19€
  • Mercedes-Benz Museum (Stuttgart)

    8€
  • Paris Seine river cruise

    15€
  • Europark (Water & Amusment Park)

    44.50€
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COUNTRY OVERVIEW

Background

Geography

Language

Food

Cultural Insights

GERMANY BACKGROUND

Germanic Tribes

First information about German tribes are dated back to somewhere around first century BC when they started to wage wars with the Roman Empire. Thanks to victory in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (AD 9) annexation by the Roman Empire has been prevented.

Middle Ages

Since the 5th century, the Franks started to build their own empire and subjugating the neighboring regions peopled by Germanic tribes such as Saxony and Bavaria. In 800 Charlemagne, King of the Francs who became the first Holy Roman Emperor, crushed all the remaining Germanic resistance and extended his Empire covering most of the Western Europe. However the Empire did not long survive after his death in 814. In 843 by the Treaty of Verdun, the Empire was divided into West, Middle and East Francia - which with the time has been referred as the Kingdom of Germany. In 962, the Holy Roman Empire was re-established with the coronation of Otto I and the German Kingdom became the most powerful territory in Europe by that time.

Early modern Germany

With the death of Emperor Frederic II in 1250, the Empire collapses into independent territories governed by dukes, princes and bishops. The Protestant Reformation, led by Martin Luther, in early 16th century led to religious split of the country where northern states became Protestant and the southern ones remained Catholic. After a short period of peace and stability, both Catholics and Protestants states decided to increase their powers leading to Thirty Years' War (1616-48). The war brought immense destruction to the country, where more than half of the German male population was killed and much of the country was devastated. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 marks the end of the Holy Roman Empire and divides Germany into hundred independent states.

German Confederation, 1815–1867

For almost next two centuries the largest states such as Prussia and Austria fought for their dominance and the smaller states tried to keep their independence by allying themselves with each other. After the French Revolution, Napoleon started to conquer much of Europe winning more than 50 battles (out of 60 in total during his military career). He was defeated finally at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 and in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, German Confederation consisting of 39 states was formed.

For the next few decades, the pressure to unite Germany grew and led to German Revolutions in 1848. It wasn't successful but soon after in 1871 Otto von Bismarck, known as Iron Chancellor, achieved to unify the country. He formed new German Empire with national parliament (Reichstag) yet leaving an extensive power to the Emperor. Bismarck stimulated German economic growth within the country and in the same time built a colonial empire in Africa and the South Pacific.

German Empire, 1871–1918

At the beginning of 20th century, Europe was divided between camps: Germany and Austria-Hungary on the one side and Great Britain, France, Russia and USA (since 1917). Nevertheless, the military strategy of Germany to invade France and Belgium to the west and Russia to the East, eventually failed. Germany was forced to sign Treaty of Versailles in 1919, losing both its colonies and land to its neighbors (France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia).

Weimar Republic, 1919–1933

The Weimar Republic was established soon after the World War I, but since its beginning fought with high unemployment rate, hyper-inflation and lack of nation's confidence in the new government. People turned to radical parties like Communists and the Nazis which by 1932 became the largest party in Reichstag and Adolf Hitler the Chancellor of Germany in 1933. The era of totalitarian regime began for the Third Reich.

Nazi Germany, 1933–1945

With the invasion on Poland in September 1939, Hitler triggers World War II and divides Eastern Europe with Stalin in 1940. Soon after, Hitler is in control of almost all of the Western Europe. Only in May 1945 a military alliance of several nations was able to defeat the Germany army and end the  terrible regime of Hitler. Due to the genocide taking place during the War - known as Holocaust, six million Jews and five million Poles, Romanies and Russians were killed in concentration camps.

Modern Times - after Second World War

In 1949 Germany was divided into communist German Democratic Republic in the east and Federal Republic of Germany in the west. The economy in the western part has been very successful and soon the country became one of the world's richest nations. East Germany on the other hand felt behind and many people decided to flee to the western part, which led to the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. In 1990 the countries have been reunited.

Germany is part of the European Union since 1993 and since 1999 part of the euro zone. Since 2005, Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany. Currently the country is the largest economy in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world, in the same time it is the biggest capital exporter globally.

Famous German people

Angela Merkel

Since 2005 Chancellor of Germany and the leader of the Christian Democratic Union

Steffi Graf

Former tennis player. Ranked World No.1 by WTA for a record of 377 weeks, the longest period of all times

Albert Einstein

World's most famous physicist who developed the general theory of relativity

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Famous composer and pianist who composed some of his most extraordinary music while deaf

GEOGRAPHY OF GERMANY

Germany is located in Western Europe, sharing borders with 9 countries: Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It has also two maritime boundaries with Sweden (Baltic Sea) and with United Kingdom (North Sea).

With an area of 357,021 km2 (137,847 sq mi) Germany is the seventh largest country in Europe.

Mountains

The Bavarian Alps at the southern end of Germany are the country's highest mountain range with Zugspitze at 2,962 meters (9,718 ft.). In central Germany there are Rhon and Harz as well as Rothaargebirge and Vogelsberg ranges. Towards the east part of the country, along the border with  Czech Republic, there are Ore Mountains forming a natural border between Saxony and Bohemia.

Rivers

With 865 km (537 mi) the Rhine is the longest river in Germany, forming the Franco-German border in the south-west region. It flows through Bonn, Cologne and Dusseldorf and eventually empties into the North Sea. The Elbe with 727 km (452 mi), is the second longest river linking Dresden, Magdeburg and Hamburg and Danube with 687 km (427 mi), the third longest one rising in the Black Forest.

Black Forest

With about 28 million overnight stays per year, this forested mountain range located in southwestern part of the country, counts to its top attractions. The region is about 160 km (99 mi) long and 60km (37mi) wide. It provides ideal conditions for hiking, cycling and ski enthusiasts.

Islands

There are some hundred of islands laying off the Germany's north coast. Rugen and Usedom are the biggest ones on the Baltic Sea and Sylt and Foehr on the North Sea. The islands serve as Germany's major holiday and recreation areas due to its beaches, its natural beauty, and a number of elegant seaside towns. They are also a popular destination with windsurfers and kite-surfers.

Worth seeing

  • Cologne Cathedral
  • Brandenburg Gate (Berlin)
  • Miniature Wonderland and the Historic Port of Hamburg
  • Heidelberg Castle and Old Town

LANGUAGE IN GERMANY

With about 95 million native speakers around the globe, German is one of the major languages of the world and most widely spoken language in European Union. It is an official language not only in Germany, but also in Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. It is a co-official language in Italy (South Tyrol), Belgium (Germany speaking community) and Luxembourg.

German is spoken by 95% of the people living in Germany as a first language. The other languages spoken by the immigrant communities in the country are Turkish, Kurdish, Russian, Arabic and Greek.

Famous German monster words

The German grammar makes extensive use of compound words. Instead of using a phrase, the whole content is often packed into one word which stretches across the whole page. As Mark Twain put it „Some German words are so long that they have perspective”... For instance, "Unabhängigkeitserklärungen" consists of the noun Unabhängigkeit (independence) and the noun Erklärungen (declarations).

Some longest words are:

  • Massenkommunikationsdienstleistungsunternehmen (46 letters) - companies providing mass communications services
  • Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften (39 letters) - insurance companies providing legal protection
  • Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung (37 letters) -  automobile liability insurance

Basics

English German
Hello Hallo
How are you? (formal) Wie geht es Ihnen?
How are you? (informal) Wie geht es Dir?
Thank you. Danke
Goodbye Auf wiedersehen
Yes Ja
No Nein
OK Einverstanden

Shopping

English German
How much? Wie viel?
Too expensive Zu teuer
I want... Ich würde gerne
buy kaufen
this diese/das
sale Ausverkauf

Directions

English German
Where is...? Wo ist...?
Go straight Gehen Sie geradeaus
Turn left Biegen Sie links
Turn right Biegen Sie rechts

In a restaurant

English German
bill / check Die Rechnung
menu Das Menü
delicious köstlich
water Das Wasser
tea Der Tee
coffee Der Kaffee
beer Das Bier
beef Das Rind
pork Das Schweinefleisch
chicken Das Hähnchen
fish Der Fisch
noodles Die Nudeln
soup Die Suppe
potatoe Die Kartoffeln
appetizer / starter Die Vorspeise
main course Die Hauptspeise

Numbers

German
1 eins
2 zwei
3 drei
4 vier
5 fünf
6 sechs
7 sieben
8 acht
9 neun
10 zehn
11 elf
20 zwanzig
100 hundert

FOOD IN GERMANY

German cuisine is mainly associated with stodgy and fatty food with meat, potatoes and sauerkraut playing the major role. This is partially explained by the country's relatively northern location and its quite cold climate. Especially few hundred years ago, during icy winters, the Germans had to consume a lot of calories contained in heavy and hearty meals. Nowadays Germany has integrated many of the culinary customs into their way of cooking contributing not only from their European neighbors but also various immigrants living in the country.

Regional specialities

Since the country has unified only in 1871, besides the traditional national cuisine, various regions of Germany have developed and maintained till current times their special regional food. In general, there are four main divisions of German cuisine: south-eastern, south-west, central and northern.

  • Southeast Germany: representing Bavaria and Hessen regions which are well-known for its love for many variety of beer and sausages. The most famous sausage in Bavaria is "Weisswurst'' served with sweet mustard and a freshly baked roll. In Hessen it is a Frankfurter, a long, thin parboiled sausage made from pork. It is traditionally served with bread, mustard, horseradish and sometimes with potato salad. Potato dumplings, Pretzels and a traditional baked Christmas treat know as Lebkuchen are some additional regional specialties.
  • South-west Germany which includes North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg is strongly influenced by its neighboring France and Switzerland. Its regional specialties are among others Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) and Ham, Snail Chowder (Badener Schneckensüpple), Veal and Spinach-Filled pockets (Maultaschen) and Wine Stewed Pot Roast (Rheinischer Sauerbraten).
  • Central Germany is a mixture of green forests, river valleys and some sharp mountain ranges. Therefore the local cuisine is very diverse with Thuringen being a large vegetables production field, it is home to Onion cake (Zwiebelkuchen), Potato Dumplings (Thüringer Klöße) or Schleizer Bambser (Sweet apple & potato noodles) and Saxony, with Leipziger Allerei (side dish made of different vegetables and butter sauce) and Stollen (a famous fruit bread served during Christmas).
  • North Germany: specialties from this area come with a strong Baltic Sea influenced cuisine with dishes containing seafood and interesting spices. Halibut, herring are popular stables and are the base for thick fish soups and stews. Another dish, which became a sailor’s specialty, is lapskaus made of out beef, herring, mashed potatoes served with a fried egg and a pickled cucumber.

Food in Pictures

wiener_schnitzel

Wiener Schnitzel

sliced piece of veal-meat
sauerbraten_with_potato_dumplings

Sauerbraten

sour or pickled roast
spaetzle_und_pfifferlinge

Spätzle

soft egg noodle
currywurst

Currywurst

fried pork sausage with curry ketchup
kartoffelsalat

Kartoffelsalat

Potato salad with mayonnaise
black_forest_cake

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

chocolate cake with cherries
apfelstrudel_mit_vanillesauce

Apfelstrudel

buttery pastry filled with apples
rote_grutze_mit_sahne

Rote Grütze

red fruit pudding

CULTURAL INSIGHTS ON GERMANY

Visiting a Restaurant/ Dinning

  • It is a custom to say “Guten Appetit” before eating. It means “Enjoy your meal”. As a response to that you can use the same phrase or just say “Danke, ebenfalls” (“Thank you, same to you”).
  • While making a toast, the Germans tend to look each others in the eyes when clinking their glasses and say “Prost” (meaning “Cheers”).
  • It is not customary to serve tap water at a restaurant. You have to order a bottled water and you will be asked if you wish to have it “mit oder ohne Kohlensäure” (meaning still or sparkling).
  • Ice cubes won't be normally served with your soda. You need to ask for it. There are also no free refills on drinks (except for some US fast food chains).
  • Germans love paying with cash. Therefore most restaurants and bars don't accept credit cards.
  • Tipping is not obligatory, but it is customary to leave 5 - 10% of your total bill, if the service was satisfying

Establishing relations

  • Being correctly dressed for a business meeting is very crucial.  Men should be wearing suits (rather dark colors) and ties and women should wear a dress, suit or a skirt and a blouse.
  • Be very punctual or even ahead of time for a meeting. Germans pay a lot of attention to being on time.
  • There are different form of greetings depending on time of the day. Till approximately midday use “Guten Morgen” (Good morning), during lunch time “Mahlzeit” and from then onward “Guten Tag”. In the evening the Germans say “Guten Abend” (Good evening).
  • When greeting someone, use a brief but firm handshake and keep an eye contact. The handshakes are often expected at the beginning and at the end of a meeting.
  • As titles and other professional certifications are very important, address people appropriately -  using at first Herr (Mr.) or Frau (Mrs.), their title if given (e.g. Doctor) and family name (e.g. Kramer) - Frau Doctor Kramer. Only when talking to friends or family members it is appropriate to  use the “Du” (you) form.
  • During a private or professional meeting don't talk about your personal finances, especially your salary. It is most often a taboo to talk about those topics with others.
  • When invited to someone's home, do not bring lilies or chrysanthemums as they symbolize mourning and are used for funerals. Besides flowers, bringing a bottle of good wine, whiskey or some homemade souvenir is very welcomed.

Books on Germany

Movies on Germany

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IN PICTURES

  • Brandenburg Gate

    Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

  • Blick_auf_die_Altstadt_von_Regensburg

    Amazing old town on Bavarian city of Regensburg

  • Munich

    Munich - beautiful capital of Bavaria with its breathtaking old town

  • black forest

    Black Forest - a large forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württemberg

  • Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg

    Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg

  • Cologne carvnival

    The famous Cologne carnival which is traditionally is declared open at 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th of the 11th month November

  • black forest

    Somewhere in the Black Forest - a large forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württember

  • Berlin_Wall

    Berlin Wall - concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989

4

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