Best time to visit
Germany's summers are warm and sunny, often extending well into October. Winters are relatively mild, apart from the mountainous regions. Layers are your best option while travelling here, as weather can be unpredictable, especially in spring and autumn. Rain gear is recommended year-round.
Culture and customs
Germany's territory covers over 360, 000 square kilometres and represents one of the heartlands of Central Europe. For 44 years after WWII, both Europe and Germany were divided by the Iron Curtain, symbolised and carried to the extreme by the construction of the Berlin Wall, which enclosed the western part of Berlin and split the former German capital in half. Nevertheless, West Germany experienced an economic miracle after 1945 and its prosperous industries gained a reputation of reliability and quality. November 9, 1989 found the Berliners in happy turmoil; the wall, the infamous symbol of the Cold War, had fallen as a consequence of peaceful protest throughout East Germany. The country was politically unified within a year, although the daily groundwork of growing together again still continues.
Today, visitors love Germany's romantic images: dense forests, ancient fairytale castles, timber-framed architecture, lakes and mountains, cliffs, ruins and elaborate gardens. In contrast, large cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Frankfurt offer vitality, modern urbanity and avant-garde styles.
Traditional German foods are hearty and comforting, with pork meat and potatoes being a staple. Outstanding beer is produced in over 1200 breweries and excellent wines thrive on the slopes of the southwest, in the Rhine Valley and Franconia. The most famous event is the annual Munich Oktoberfest, which attracts 6 million visitors every year for a two-week period ending on the first Sunday in October.
Language and Useful Phrases
Good Morning: Guten Morgen
Good Day: Guten Tag
Good Evening: Guten Abend
Please/You're Welcome: Bitte
Thank You: Danke
Do you speak English? Sprechen Sie Englisch?
How much? Wieviel kostet das?
Health and Safety
Consult your local doctor for general immunisations and visit http://smartraveller.gov.au for current safety and travel information.
Electronics and Devices
Germany uses a round, 2-prong plug.
Money and Costs
The official currency of Germany is the Euro.
Bank hours are 8:30am - 4pm Monday to Friday. Some branches stay open until 5:30pm on Thursdays.
1 Euro (€) = 100 Cents (c)
Banknote denominations: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500
Coin denominations: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2
Credit cards are widely accepted (mostly Visa and Mastercard), and youshould have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
Soft Drink/Mineral Water/Coffee = €3-4
Salad/Sandwhich lunch with drink = €8-15
Dinner at a mid-range restaurant = €30-40
Visas and Insurances
Germany is part of the Schengen area, which allows Australians and New Zealanders to enter Germany without a visa in some circumstances.
If you're travelling for reasons other than tourism, or for more than 90 days, you will need to get a visa from German authorities before departing Australia or New Zealand.
Berlin became home to the biggest train station in Europe in 2006
The tallest church in the world, Ulm Cathedral is in Germany. It is 161 metres high.
Germans are the second-biggest consumers of beer in the world.