“Beautiful is everything one looks at with love.”Christian Morgenstern, German author and poet
Top Five Destinations In Germany
- Hamburg Is a port city on the banks of the shimmering Elbe River. The city has maritime deep roots but also is a cosmopolitan city with vibrant nightlife. The canals add to the mystique and make wandering it fascinating.
- Oktoberfest Occurs throughout Germany, but the best experiences are in Munich. It is the largest Volksfest in the world that draws over 6 million visitors. It is about food, singing, dancing, and of course the beer.
- Heidelberg Old City Sitting on the lovely Neckar river is a charming, iconic city with a romantic atmosphere that captures the heart. The old town is a wonder to wander, which has one of Germany’s longest pedestrian areas. Heidelberg Castle, has beautiful churches, monuments, rich cultural activities, and is known for its music events.
- Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate Built-in 1791 Is an iconic monumental structure of sandstone that is the Eiffel Tower of Germany. It was once part of the Berlin wall. The city of Berlin is the bustling capital of Germany that has vast ethnic diversity and fascinating history. The museums are world-famous, and there are historic structures throughout. It is home to the Holocaust Memorial.
- Neuschwanstein Castle Is a fairy tale we all imagine in our childhood. To add to its magic are the rugged hills it resides in southwest Bavaria. Its dramatic architecture comes with some tragic history with its owner. This was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.
Did you know?
- Population: 83.8 million
- Capital City: Berlin
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Government type: Federal Parliamentary Republic
- Chancellor: Angela Merkel
- Ethnic groups: German 87.2%, other 12.8%
- Languages: German (official)
- Religions: Roman Catholic 27.7%, Protestant 25.5%, Muslim 5.1%, other 5.9%, none 37.8%
- US State Department Risk Level: 3 due to Covid and Terrorism
- Terrorist groups: Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sam (2019)
- GDP 3.846 trillion Ranks #1 Europe
- The country of Germany has 16 constituent states.
- Germany has the largest population in Europe.
- It is one of the largest car producers in the world.
- Germany is the second most popular ex-pat destination in the world.
- Nine countries share borders with Germany.
- The legal drinking age is 16
- Most highways do not have speed limits.
- Germany has high levels of employment.
- Third, the most widely taught language in the world.
- Public consumption of alcohol is permitted, but NO smoking in public spaces.
- Major industries include automotive, healthcare, and medical industries, electronics, eco-energy, IT, machinery, and aviation.
- Inventions from Germany: Light bulb, calculator, automobile, insulin, the pocket watch, motorcycle, the jet engine, walkman, contact lenses, printing press, clarinet, and electron microscope.
- Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.
- Life expectancy is 81 years old.
- Literacy rate 99%.
- Denmark is the world’s biggest consumer of meat per capita.
- Germany was the first country in the world to adopt daylight savings time in 1916.
- The capital of Berlin has more bridges than Venice.
- The popular European drink Fanta originated in Germany.
- Prison escape is not punishable by law as it is a basic human instinct to be free.
- A college education is free to all, even international students.
- Germany is referred to as the land of poets and thinkers.
- 86% of adults have completed some form of secondary education.
- Germany is the second-largest beer consumer in Europe. More than 1,200 breweries are producing over 5,000 brands of German beer.
- Munich Oktoberfest is the world’s biggest folk festival.
- Germany leads in Climate and Energy policies.
- It is illegal to run out of gas on the autobahn. Keep your tank fueled!
- 104 Nobel laureates have been from Germany.
- Albert Einstein was born in Germany.
- Football (soccer) is the main sport.
- The Christmas tree tradition came from Germany.
- In 2017 Amazon.com accounts for 50% of Germany’s online retail sales.
- The most popular food is sausage.
- The Black Forest in Southern Germany is home to the Cuckoo clock.
- Beethoven was born in the city of Bonn in 1770.
- Germany surrendered in 1945 during WW2.
- There are over 20,000 castles in Germany.
- The first book ever printed came from Germany.
- Germany shares a rich history with the Holy Roman Empire.
- Hamburger came from the city of Hamburg.
- Chinese checkers were invented in Germany.
Good to know before you go
- Tipping in Germany is varied. In restaurants, round up to the nearest euro or add a few euros for good service. Cash is the preferred way to leave a tip. In hotels, it is customary to tip the porter and housekeeper. 1-3 euros per bag and for housekeeping 3-5 euros per night. If the concierge provides you service, you can tip 10-20 euros. Taxi drivers round up to the next euro. Tips are not required, but 5% is customary.
- Cash is the main form of currency. 74% of payments are in cash, so make sure to have plenty! This is unique to Germany compared to other European nations.
- Overall, clothing is stylish and well kept. They typically dress western. Jeans are common. Men and women wear simple dark suits for business. Each region does have its traditional costume.
- Highways and roadways are known to be excellent. Good signage, and though Germans can drive, they are respectful drivers as a whole. If you go slower, stay to the right.
- There are lots of traffic cameras and street cameras around. Though, this is not a country that issues speeding tickets much.
- You can order a beer in Germany with your fingers. A thumb raised is one beer, a thumb and index finger two, and so on.
- Beer is German life. It is a beer-loving nation.
- Germany has amazing bread. It plays a cultural role in their lives. There are over 300 varieties.
- Germany has over 400 zoos, more than any other country on earth. The most famous Zoo Berlin is well worth a visit.
- German culture is rich in literature, arts, cuisine, and architecture. It has the most cultural activities than any country in the world. Much of the influence comes from their strong Christian values and philosophies. Seek these out when in any city or community.
- This is a country that plays by the rules. Respect the rules.
- When crossing streets, do so at the lights and only when green.
- Know about your transport zone. If crossing a different zone, your ticket must account for that. Ticket checkers will not have sympathy for tourists.
- Be punctual; timekeeping is important to the German people.
- This is a nation that strongly encourages recycling.
- Going to repeat this for emphasis, Cash is king. Carry lots.
- Sunday is a day of rest; you will find stores, shops, supermarkets, and pharmacies closed.
- Music is classical, romantic to modern. The world’s greatest composers come from Germany: Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, and Handel Schubert. There are music festivals throughout Germany year-round. They draw international guests to their Opera houses.
- Germany’s strongest trait is they take care of each other.
- Most Germans speak excellent English but learn the basic words out of respect.
- It is a very safe country. Crime rates are low, and the law is respected.
When to go to Germany
Germany is a top-rated destination for bordering nine EU countries as well as international tourists. It is mostly landlocked in western Europe. The country has two major climatic regions: the maritime north and the Continental south. There is a good climate overall, which makes it a year-round destination: peak tourist season, June-August, which can be crowded. The shoulder seasons are spring and fall season.
Summers stay mild, which draws many people there in the summer. It does rain in the summer months, so plan rain gear accordingly. The Winter months are the low season, and some areas could be challenging to get to or closed, but the Christmas markets and festivals draw many visitors. The best time to visit is from April to June and September/October. You will find fewer crowds, lovely weather, and easy access to most sights. Germany is known for its lovely fall colors and its vibrant spring colors. The Black Forest and Bavarian Forest’s coniferous alpines are spectacular, along with amazing flora and fauna.
Spring and Fall can still be cool, but a jacket takes care of that. Germany is a more affordable country to visit overall, especially in peak travel months. Traveling during the non-peak months when the weather is still mild, you will find much better pricing overall.
- Summer 5-77 °F (12-25 °C)
- Spring 34-67 °F (1-19 °C)
- Fall 37-67 °F (3-19 °C)
- Winter 29-41 °F (-1-5 °C)
Our Favorite Germany Resources
This resource section contains some Amazon affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Germany was part of a seven-country trip, so we only used one guide for most countries. Rick Steves has always been our go-to, and Germany was the case as well.
A passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice, the highlights Germany has to offer, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore the wonder of Berlin, tour some of the most beautiful castles in Europe, and sail along the gorgeous Rhine – all with your trusted travel companion. Detailed info to plan your visit to this amazing country. Discover this travel guide here.
We cannot recommend this book enough; it is the perfect German resource. The guide is full of great info and detailed strategic guidance to help you both plan every detail. For history buffs, it provides just the right amount of background to tickle your fancy. With Germany being so rich in castles, it does a nice job describing the best ones to visit. It guides you to authentic experiences in quaint villages, forests, and modern cities. Discover this wonderful travel guide here.
Our Favorite Websites
2. US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs German Country Info
We cannot encourage you enough to visit this website as you plan and prepare for your trip. This is the US Federal Government addressing the safety, security, travel risk, entry, exit, visa documents mandates, emergency US and Embassy contacts, health, local laws, special circumstances, threats, traveler vulnerabilities, government warnings, and transportation in Germany. This is your best and most reliable resource for all this important info. Check back often before you go, as things can change quickly. Being prepared is essential in all travel, but especially internationally.
3. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers Health Resource
This CDC travel resource provides essential health info for your specific destination. Using their tool, you can determine which vaccines, medications, and health advice recommendations are needed for Germany.
Our Favorite Maps
This is a great map. It’s easy to read with practical road and travel information. Castles were marked as well as all major destinations. Though we default to Google maps, this came in handy when service was poor or during construction detours. Waterproof, Tear-resistant. Find this essential map here.
Our Favorite Apps
Rome2rio: Trip Planner Trip and Holiday Organizer. Enter any address, landmark, or city in the app will instantly display all your travel options, booking info, accommodation providers, and things to do. Find it on your local App store.
Rick Steves Audio Europe This app includes a vast library of Rick Steve’s audio content. Get cultural and travel info. Includes self-guided tours of top attractions and historic walks. A must-have. Find it on your local App store.
Google Translate We use this often to practice proper pronunciations of German words. As we always encourage, it is essential to learn the basics to greet and thank people in the local language. Google translate was an easy app to use. If needed, you can enter text in English, and it will speak back in German to aid in communicating with locals. Furthermore, it came in very handy to translate text into images instantly.
iTranslate Converse Found at your app store. Turns your phone into a translation device.
Learn German Phrases For travel. Found at your app store. Easily practice basic phrases needed during travel.
Do you have a favorite German travel resource? Share your favorites in the comments section at the bottom of this page or
© 2021 Wanderers Compass All Rights Reserved
Our Germany Photo Gallery
Our Recommended Travel Resources
Our favorite travel insurance site!
If you are booking a trip, don’t forget to get travel insurance within 14 days of your first booking. We could not be stronger advocates of being well insured. Not for the little stuff but the big stuff like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Over the years, we have used many sites but have now found our go-to place. Squaremouth.com does a fantastic job; it has a user-friendly interface, they use top-rated and reputable insurance carriers, and most policies cover Covid medical issues and cancellations. They also mediate on your behalf if you have problems with your policy.
Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world
They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the U.S. to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. They cover Covid-related transports as well.
Medjet carries its own policies. The policy is only for transport and no other aspects of travel insurance. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for $295. Most of their policies limit the age to 74 and younger. Prices are not based on age below that.
Hotels, home rentals, BNBs, flights, and other transportation & tours
Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Whether planning a family vacation, booking for business, or organizing the trip of a lifetime, they are a fantastic resource. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you would need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, cruises, to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.
Hotels, Home rentals, BNBs, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours
Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes.
We always start with Expedia to check prices, but it sometimes says it is sold out. We then try Booking.com, and we find it lists plenty of rooms. It could be they are a Europe-based company. Try both before booking accommodations.
Are you traveling with a family or having an extended stay at your destination?
With over 2 million bookable vacation rentals, VRBO connects homeowners with families and vacationers looking for something more than a hotel for their trip. The VRBO community offers families or groups various rental property types such as condos, cabins, lake rentals, beach houses, etc.
VRBO is under the Expedia group ownership now, which many were worried about, but it hasn’t panned out to be a concern. It is a massive network that also has access to all forms of lodging should issues arise. Joelle has used VRBO for many years with her family, with no problems to date.
Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, helps hundreds of millions of people each month become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Travelers around the world use the Tripadvisor site and App to discover where to stay, what to do, and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before.
With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions from nearly 8 million businesses, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places to see nearby. We use them for guidance and research on every trip, it is a valuable app for the independent traveler.
Discover Europe by Train
Rail Europe sells train and bus tickets for travel across Europe. They cover 24 countries, 105 rail operations, and 20,000 stations. They are the official rail and bus operations agents in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Rail Europe continues to add coverage all the time.
It is a fast, easy and economical way to purchase train and bus tickets for Europe. Eurail passes are also available to buy through their site.
An excellent source for travel essentials and guides
Amazon is one of the most extensive shopping online sources in the world. On behalf of their customers, teams worldwide provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery. They offer a vast inventory, and it is their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com that provide extensive options for customers.
We buy most of our travel books, accessories, and luggage from Amazon. We have ordered up to two days before travel and get what we need.
Thoughtfully Designed | Meticulously Constructed | Quality Guaranteed.
We have used this luggage for years, left briefly to try others, and returned to Travelpro. Travelpro luggage is carried by crews from over 90 airlines worldwide.
Travelpro takes the time to learn what travelers want and need, then builds it. The key factor for us is that it must be lightweight upfront and very resistant to rough handling. Their luggage is the best, and we could not recommend it enough. It is our go-to luggage.
Travel documentation made more accessible
iVisa.com is dedicated to providing customers with a simple, fast, and reliable way to get travel documentation for their journey. Their online application process makes getting visas, health declarations, or passport photos a breeze, all from your home’s comfort. As a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry, they take pride in making global travel more accessible for everyone. In the end, it is a simple and affordable travel resource to get the necessary entry documents complete for your international travel.
This section contains affiliate links. If you use these links (the ads with photos are NOT affiliate links) to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Want to learn about Wanderers Compass?
Check out some of our most recent posts.
A guide to making the most of your visit “The sun is setting in…September 23, 2022
Let us show you how to build yourself a powerhouse of a “village“ Remember…September 20, 2022
Get to know this Tuscan Marvel “What is the fatal charm of Italy? What…August 21, 2022