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Germany Travel Guide:

       Tourism Information

Flag of Germany
  Tourism Rating    Travel Safety   Entry Requirements  Avoiding Petty Theft

 Special Note    Road Safety  Medical Care

   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tourism Rating   Top of Page

 

Climate Note:

Temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm foehn wind.
Berlin Climate
Frankfurt Climate

Munich Climate

Germany: Travel Destination of a Lifetime (four of four globes)

Germany is one jewels of world travel: it is, justifiably, one of the most popular  tourist destinations.  Germany offers  numerous world-class tourist destinations.  Its industrious culture has produced a country that mixes the old with the new, the historic with technologically innovative.  Scenic landscapes, beautiful villages, quaint castles and a sense of history pervade the country, making it a wonderful place for exploration.

  1. Germany provides a wide range of destinations some of which are best seen while cruising Germany's scenic waterways.  If you have the time (and the budget) consider taking a river cruise on one of the many tour lines that ply the Rhine. The country offers an incomparable travel experience laced with good food, exciting festivals, and hidden treasures along most every road. 
    • Much of Germany is best seen by automobile: set out on a relaxed schedule that lets you experience the wonders of the countryside.


  2. Germany is a good destination for independent travel.


  3. ThereArePlaces recommended travel destinations for Germany are located at Germany: Places To Visit.


  4. Additional information on travel in Germany can be found at country's official tourism website www.germany-tourism.de/.

  5. When planning your travel, be sure to review the ThereArePlaces Travel Planning Guides for insights on how  to "travel well" and "travel safe".
 
Travel Safety   Top of Page
Green - safe travel conditions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, Germany is a safe travel destination for tourists.
  1. No official health advisories, travel advisories, or specific terrorism warnings for Germany have been posted by the U.S. Government at this time.  Before you depart, always check with the Department of State  and CDC to insure that these conditions have not changed.  In addition, you will find that the     Foreign & Commonwealth Office  of the British Government provides excellent travel advisories.


  2. The State Department's Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-202-501-4444 .


  3. Germany experiences,  a number of demonstrations every year on a variety of political and economic themes. These demonstrations have a tendency to spread and turn violent, and anyone in the general area can become the victim of a random attack.
    •  Prior police approval is required for public demonstrations in Germany, and police oversight is routinely provided to ensure adequate security for participants and passers-by. Nonetheless, situations may develop which could pose a threat to public safety. We caution you to avoid the area around protests and demonstrations and to check local media for updates on the situation.


  4. In addition, hooligans, most often young, intoxicated “skinheads,” have been known to harass or even attack people whom they believe to be foreigners or members of rival youth groups.
    • This problem occurs most frequently in the areas of the country that were formerly part of Eastern Germany.
    • While U.S. citizens have not been specific targets, several Americans have reported that they were assaulted for racial reasons or because they appeared "foreign. "


  5. If you have an emergency in Germany, call 112. 112 is a European Economic Community initiative to provide a one telephone number contact for ambulance services, the police, the fire service, air and sea rescue and other emergency services available within a specific country (such as mountain patrol). The 112-telephone number is designed for use in emergencies only. Calls are answered in German.  The direct number for police is 110


  6. The U.S. Embassy Berlin is located at: Neustaedtische Kirchstrasse 4-5; Tel: (49)(30) 238-5174 or 8305-0; the consular section is located at Clayallee 170; Tel: (49)(30) 832-9233; Fax : (49)(30) 8305-1215.  The Embassy's web site is www.usembassy.de.

    See our article on how U.S. Counsels can help Americans abroad.

    See the bottom of this page for a comprehensive list of the US Embassy's Consular Offices and Agencies in Germany

 
Entry Requirements   Top of Page  
  A passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist/business stays up to 90 days within the Schengen Group of countries, which includes Germany (that period begins when entering any of the following countries which are parties to the Schengen agreement: Austria, Belgium,  the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg,  Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia Spain, and Sweden).
  • German border officials routinely require Americans entering the country to have six months of validity remaining on their passports.  Schengen rules, which govern European Union countries, require that a passport be valid for a minimum of three months after the date of departure from a Schengen country.

Further information on entry, visa and passport requirements may be obtained from the German Embassy at 4645 Reservoir Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone ( 202) 298 -4000, or the German Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco, and on the Internet at www.germany.info/relaunch/info/consular_services/visa.html . Inquiries from outside the United States may be made to the nearest German embassy or consulate.

 If you do not have a passport, see our article on the Ins and Outs of Passports.  Other important travel documents (including visas) are covered in our Information Guide on Passport, Visas, Customs.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parents or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure

Dual nationals, who are German citizens as well as U.S. citizens, are subject to all German laws that affect U.S. citizens. Moreover, dual nationals also may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on German citizens.

In some instances, dual nationality may hamper U.S. Government efforts to provide protection abroad. For additional information, please see the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet home page at
http://travel.state.gov for an explanation of dual nationality issues. U.S. citizens who are also citizens of 
any other nation are reminded that U.S. law requires they enter and
depart the United States documented as U.S. citizens.

   
Avoiding Petty Theft   Top of Page  
 
Most incidents of "tourist" crime consist of theft of unattended items and pick-pocketing. 
  • American travelers are advised to take the same precautions against becoming crime victims as they would in any American city.
  • German train stations are potentially high risk areas for pick-pocketing and theft of mobile personal electronics.

Before you travel, read our articles on Pickpockets, Con Artists, and ATM safety in the ThereArePlaces Information Guide on Personal Safety for travelers.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of any crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.

If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members of friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution for the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney

   
Special Note   Top of Page  
  1.  When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).

2.  The official unit of currency in Germany is the Euro. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available throughout Germany. They utilize many of the same account networks that are found in the U.S., so it is possible in most cases to get German currency directly from your U.S. bank while you are in Germany without paying any inordinate fees for currency exchange.

3.  Credit cards are not accepted as widely as in the United States.

4.  When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).

5.  ThereArePlaces makes every attempt to ensure that the travel information we present to you is current. Before you depart, be sure to check with official government sources to determine the status of critical information relating to a particular county.

   
Road Safety   Top of Page  
Be careful driving the older roads found in eastern Germany
While in Germany, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Germany is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:

Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent Urban Roads Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent Rural Roads Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent                                        Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent

Road conditions in general are excellent, although caution should be exercised while traveling on older roads in eastern Germany. The high speed permitted on the German autobahn, weather, and unfamiliar road markings can pose significant hazards, and driver error is a leading cause of accidents involving American motorists in Germany.

Tourists driving rented vehicles should pay close attention to the provisions of their rental contracts.  Failure to do so could result in fines or confiscation of the car during your travels.  Make sure that you are familiar with the terms, restrictions and costs related to your car rental (see our article on Rental Car Costs).

Rules on right-of-way differ significantly from the U.S. Notice should be taken that it is generally illegal in Germany to pass vehicles from the right.

ThereArePlaces recommends that you do not drink and drive.  In most foreign countries, especially in Europe and the UK, the maximum permitted blood alcohol levels are lower than those enforced in the United States. Penalties and punishments are significant. See our article on drinking and driving in foreign countries.

  • Drivers are reminded to watch out for bicycles, especially when turning right.


  • Bicycles are far more numerous on German city streets than in the U.S. and generally have the right of way over motor vehicles.
    • Many German streets and sidewalks have dedicated bike lanes for use by bicyclists. Pedestrians should be aware that bicycles have priority use of these lanes and should be careful to observe whether any bicyclist is approaching before crossing or stepping into the bike lane. Bicyclists also have priority over cars turning onto side streets, and motorists should always confirm whether a bicyclist is approaching from either direction before attempting to enter side streets, even when the light is in their favor. Motorists turning into a side street who hit a bicyclist who is using a marked bike lane will be held responsible for any injury or damage caused.


  • The use of cell phones while driving is prohibited in Germany.  The fine for violating laws against the use of mobile phone while driving is significant.  If you need to use your mobile phone while on the road, stop your car in a designated parking area and place your call.


  • For specific information on travel within Germany contact the German National Tourist Board Office in New York at (212) 661-7200, fax (212) 661-7174 or via the Internet at     http://www.germany-tourism.de/index.htm.

Speed Limits in Germany:

  1. Built-up areas - 50 km/h
  2. Outside Built up areas (including  dual carriageways) - 100 km/h
  3. Motorways - 130 km/h (on the Autobahn, 130 is a recommended maximum.

Our information on speed limits is as current as possible. Always confirm the speed limits with your rental car agent and observe the posted speeds limits whenever and wherever you drive.

Travelers should also note that railroad crossings are differently marked in Germany than in the U.S. There have been several accidents involving Americans in recent years at railroad crossings. In addition to the standard crossbuck (X-shaped) sign, railroad crossings are often marked by signal lights. Signal lights flash only when a train is approaching. Regardless of the color of the light, a flashing light at a railroad crossing means that a train is approaching and that all vehicles should stop.

Individuals holding U.S. drivers' licenses may drive in Germany for up to six months without acquiring a German driver's license.

For information on obtaining international drivers licenses, contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance. For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet home page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1179.html#safety .

   
 
Watch out for bicycle riders
Railroad Crossing Warning
 
Medical Care   Top of Page  
 
Good medical care is widely available. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment in cash for health services from tourists and persons with no permanent address in Germany. Most doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies do not accept credit cards.

We strongly urge you to consult your medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, you should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing medical service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your departure, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur.

Your existing medical insurance carrier may cover "customary and reasonable" medical care while you are abroad. Usually, if reimbursement is provided, it is paid at a reduced rate (due to the use of an "out of system" provider). Check with your insurance carrier before you depart to determine the type and amount of coverage that may be provided. If coverage is provided, be sure to ask how claims should be filed and ask them to send some claim forms, in case you require any medical treatment while on vacation.

Read our article on  travel insurance to learn the factors that you should consider before you purchase or decline to purchase a travel related insurance policy.

ThereArePlaces Information Guide on Health contains valuable health related advice for the traveler considering a trip abroad.

   
U.S. Consular Locations      
 

U.S. Embassy Berlin is located at: Neustaedtische
Kirchstrasse 4-5; Tel. (49)(30)238-5174 or 8305-0:
The consular section is located at Clayallee 170;
TelL49)(30)832-9233; Fax: (49)(30) 8305-1215

U.S. Consulates General are located at:

Dusseldorf: Willi-Becker-Allee 10,
Tel. (49)(211) 788-8927; Fax: (49)(211) 788-8938.

Frankfurt: Giessner Str. 30,
Tel. (49)(69) 75350; Fax: (49)(69) 7535-2304.

Hamburg: Alsterufer 27/28,
Tel. (49)(40) 4117-1351; Fax: (49) (40) 44-30-04.

Leipzig: Wilhelm-Seyfferth-Strasse 4, Tel. (49)(341) 213-8418; Fax: (49)(341) 2138417 (emergency service only).

Munich: Koenigstrasse 5,
Tel. (49)(89) 2888-0; Fax: (49)(89) 280-9998.

There is also a U.S. consular agency in Bremen located at Bremen World Trade Center, Birkenstrasse 15,
Tel: (49)(421) 301-5860; Fax: (49)(421) 301-5861.

 
When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).

   
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