Germany

General Information about Germany

Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe located in centrally surrounded by nine other countries. 

It has many unique landscapes with the Alp mountains in the south, and the shoreline on the North Sea. The Black Forest is near the French border, and the Rhine Valley is home to many of Germany's vineyards. 

There are many festivals in Germany, but none more famous than Oktoberfest in Munich. 

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Map of Germany

Germany is made up of 16 states. Getting around the country is easy and efficient. 


The Autobahn is one of the best highway systems in the world. The rail system runs with typical German efficiency and covers the whole country. 


You can drive from the North to the South of Germany in about 12-hours and East to West in about 9-hours. 


Don't over look the rail system. Driving from Munich to Hamburg takes about 8-hours. You can get there by train in 6-hours and can relax and enjoy the scenery. 

Map of Germany

Weather in Germany

Germany is one of the larger countries in Europe. This means you will find a broader range of temperatures and precipitation.

The north of Germany rests on the North and Baltic Seas. This keeps the north rather mild, and not getting overly hot in the summer or cold in the winter. The summer months will see more rainfall than the rest of Germany. 

In the south of Germany you'll find the Alps. Here you will find a little more snow in the winter, but it doesn't stay around more than a couple of days (except in the mountains). Being close to the mountains means the temperature will be a little cooler than the rest of Germany. 

Spring in Germany

Average temperature: 13ºC (56ºF).

Sunshine: 5-8 hours a day.

Crisp cool weather.

Summer in Germany

Average temperature: 23ºC (73ºF).

Sunshine: 8 hours a day.

Cool-weather.

Fall in Germany

Average temperature: 5ºC (41ºF).

Sunshine: 4 hours a day.

Rainy, windy, & overcast.

Winter in Germany

Average temperature: 3ºC (37ºF).

Sunshine: 2 hours a day.

Wind & snow.

Average Temperatures in Germany

Header

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Avg High Temp (C)

2

4

8

13

19

22

23

23

19

13

7

3

Avg Low Temp (C)

-3

-2

0

4

8

12

13

13

10

6

2

-1

Avg Precip (mm)

42

34

36

41

55

71

45

62

45

36

48

51

Header

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Avg High Temp (F)

36

39

46

55

66

72

73

73

66

55

45

37

Avg Low Temp (F)

27

28

32

39

46

54

55

55

50

43

36

30

Avg Precip (in)

1.7

1.3

1.4

1.6

2.2

2.8

1.8

2.4

1.8

1.4

1.9

2

Basic German Words to Learn

Most people in Germany can speak English. It's always nice to learn a few words in the local language.

German does have a few sounds that native English speakers struggle to say.

For example ö. Looks like two eyes and mouth saying O.  Make that shape with your mouth and say "eh." That'll be close enough. 

  1. 1
    Thank You - Danke [Dunk-uh]
  2. 2
    Please - Bitte [Bit-uh]
  3. 3
    You're Welcome - Bitte schön [Bit-uh Shh-ön]
  4. 4
    Excuse Me - Entschuldigung [Ent-schul-di-gung]
  5. 5
    Hello - Hallo [Ha-low]
  6. 6
    Goodbye - Auf wiedersehen [owf ve-da-zehen] 
  7. 7
    Yes - Ja [Yaw]
  8. 8
    No - Nein [N-eye-n]
  9. 9
    Do you speak English? - Sprechen Sie Englisch [Shpreh-chen Zee Ang-lish]

Booking Flights to Germany

Finding cheap flights to Germany is like any other place. It is more dependant on the time of the year than it is on a secret magic deal. 

It goes without saying, summer is the most expensive time of the year to go. Winter will be the cheapest.

The shoulder seasons are late May to June and September to early October. The shoulder seasons will be cheaper than summer, with the compromise of weather. 

International flights into Germany will usually land in Munich (MUN), Frankfurt (FRA) or Berlin Schönefeld (SXF).  

Airport Transfers for Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin 

All three of these international airports in Germany are about a 45 minute car ride from the city centre. All three airports have public transport that can take you into the city. It is affordable, safe, fast and efficient. Most locals do it this way. 

There are also bus charters that are a couple Euros more than public transport. 

Private transfers are also available. If you are travelling with a group or family then these can be a reasonable option. No lugging your suitcase on and off subways. It may cost a little more than public transport, and it won't necessarily save you time. Many will drop you off at your hotel, so that may be worth it for you. 

Check out some of the options below. 

Food and Drink to Try in Germany

Germany is full of such great food and drink. Region to region the specialities will vary. We are all familiar with the beer, bratwurst and giant pretzels, but what else is there? Oh where do I even begin!

Some of my favourites are the street food. They are found everywhere and make a great daytime lunch on the go. 

Definitely give some of these a try when you travel in Germany. Even the same dish can vary region to region. Leave a comment if you have tried something!


Foods to Try in Germany

Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten is considered the national dish of Germany.

It is usually made from tougher cuts of beef, so it is marinated in vinegar or wine for three to ten days to tenderize it. The marinade varies from region to region. 

It is covered with a gravy, and served with potato pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer), Spätzle, or my favourite, potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße). 

Spätzle

If you see spätzle as a side option, take it. It's an egg based noodle that's cut directly into boiling water. Delicious.

Video: Watch the traditional way it's made

Currywurst

One of my favourite street foods in Berlin. A pork sausage covered in a curry ketchup sauce and curry powder sprinkled on top. It originated in Berlin and found everywhere. 

Video: All about Currywurst

Döner Kebab

Another fantastic street food. It is vertically roasted meat, shaved into a soft bread with a mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, red cabbage, and yogurt sauce. Traditional it was made with lamb but due to cost is often made with beef or chicken. 

Berlin is one of the best places to get it. I have yet to find a better version anywhere else. 

Video: Döner Kebabs in Germany

Bratwurst

Bratwurst translates into fried sausage. There are so many varieties that vary by region. These aren't your typical North American "brats". 

Look for Nürnberger, Coburger, Fränkische, Würzburger, Thüringer bratwursts. The names will give you a hint where they are from

They all are served with different sides, from potato salad, sauerkraut or on bread with German mustard.  

Kaiserschmarrn

You'll find this mostly in the south of Germany in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Originally from Austria, Kaiserschmarrn is a sweet, caramelized fluffy shredded pancake like dessert/lunch that is covered in powdered sugar. 

Schnitzel

When we think schnitzel, we think Wiener Schnitzel. That's actually Austrian (Wien is German for Vienna) and made from veal.

You'll be able to find Wiener Schnitzel in Germany too but Germans often make it with thinly pounded pork. 

My favourite is the Jagerschnitzel which has a mushroom gravy. 

It can be served with a wedge of lemon, red cabbage, potatoes and a variety of sauces too.

Rouladen

Rouladen is a thinly pounded beef, wrapped around bacon, onions and pickles. It is usually covered in a gravy (red wine) and served with potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße) and red cabbage (Rotkohl).

Maultaschen

Maultaschen comes from the Baden-Würtemberg and Bavaria region. It's almost like a large ravioli. It is about 8-12 cm (3-4 in) across.

It's a pasta dough on the outside and filled with smoked and minced meat, breadcrumbs, spices, onions and spinach. 

Drinks to Try in Germany

Apfelschorle

This is an orange-flavoured fizzy soft drink made locally since 1955 by the Egils Skallagrímsson Brewery.

Spezi

Spezi is a brand/drink. It's a soda that is a mix of cola and orange soda. It's uniquely German. You'll find it everywhere. MezzoMix and Schwip Schwap are the other popular brands.   

Glühwein

Gluhwein is a mulled spiced wine that you find at Christmas markets in December. 

The spices of cloves, cinnamon sticks, star aniseed, orange and sugar are boiled and then red wine is added.

Riesling

If you like wine, Germany is known for its Riesling. It's from a white grape that is grown in the Rhine Valley. 

It is often paired with white fish or pork. Pork is a very popular meat in Germany, so you'll find it will go great with a lot of the local cuisine. 

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer comes from a grape that grows better in cool climates, much like that found in the southwest of Germany near the French and Austrian borders. 

It is a semi-dry to off-dry wine with a slight sweetness. It pairs well with many foods. A sweeter Gewüztraminer will help tone down spicy foods.


Beer in Germany

Germany is definitely known for its beer. But the beer you are familiar with back home, is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Beers in Germany often get served in half or full litre sizes. You have been warned.

There are 1300 breweries, perfecting some 5500 different types of beer, so picking just one is difficult. 

I'll give you one beer to try in each state of Germany.

I'm not saying they are the best beer for that region. They are a popular brand and unique to that region, meaning you'll easily find it at most restaurants and bars.

Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments!

  1. 1
    Schleswig-Holstein - Flensburger Pilsener (Flans)
  2. 2
    Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - Darguner Pilsener
  3. 3
    Hamburg - Astra Premium
  4. 4
    Lower Saxony - Jever (pron. yay-fa)
  5. 5
    Bremen - Freie Brau Union Bremen Rotbier
  6. 6
    Saxony-Anhalt - Hasseröder Premium Pils
  7. 7
    Brandenburg - Neuzeller Badebier
  8. 8
    Berlin - Berliner Kindl Weisse
  9. 9
    North Rhine-Westphalia - Früh Kölsch 
  10. 10
    Hesse -Braufactum Darkon
  11. 11
    Thuringia-Köstritzer Schwarzbier
  12. 12
    Saxony - Radeberger Pils
  13. 13
    Rhineland-Palatinate - Bitburger Pils
  14. 14
    Saarland - Karlsberg Bock
  15. 15
    Baden-Württemberg - Eichbaum Ureich
  16. 16
    Bavaria -Weihenstephan Hefe Weissbier

Tours and self discovery

Most Popular Things to do in Germany

There is so much to do in Germany that you couldn't list it all. The list here is just to give a starting point to research things to do in different parts of the country.


Often I stay in one place for 4-7 days and go on day trips from there. Even by doing that I still can't see everything. Germany has so much to do packed into a small space. 


If you are unsure what to do, try some tours. There are day tours, or ones for a couple of hours. You'll learn a lot more with a unique insight into the place you are visiting, plus some skip-the-line tickets for popular places. 

  1. Neuschwanstein Castle - Schwangau 
  2. Reichstag  - Berlin
  3. Eagle's Nest - Berchtesgaden
  4. Berlin Wall
  5. The Romantic Road - Bavaria
  6. The Black Forest
  7. Speicherstadt & Reeperbahn - Hamburg/St.Pauli
  8. Oktoberfest - Munich
  9. Cologne Cathedral - Cologne
  10. Heidelberg Castle - Heidelberg
  11. Burg Eltz and nearby city of Trier 
  12. Rhine Valley
  13. Christmas Markets in December

Getting Around Germany

TRAINS & BUSES IN GERMANY

Trains in Germany are my favourite way to get around. They are fast and efficient. You get to sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery. 

Buses are great options for short distances in Germany. For example from Hamburg to Berlin is 3h20 minutes by bus, or 2.5-hours by train. The bus will cost as little as $10 (USD)  versus $45-$86 (USD) for the train. 

A Eurail Pass (for non-EU residents) or Interrail Pass (EU residents) are great options if you plan on travelling a lot by trains. Otherwise just book individual trains. 

For booking individual train or bus tickets I like using Omio. It shows you bus, train and plane options so you can compare prices and travel times on one page. 

You normally can't book trains more than three months in advance, so if you don't see anything, check your dates!

Try it out!

CAR RENTALS IN GERMANY

With trains being so efficient, and parking at a premium, renting a car in Germany isn't always the best option. 

The Autobahn

The allure of the Autobahn makes many people want to experience it. Driving on it is very different than what you might be used to. 

The Autobahn may not have speed limits but there are understood unwritten rules about the what speed you should be travelling at in which lane. Make sure you understand what those are before you go. 

If you plan on staying in big cities, then use the super efficient rail system. If you plan on staying in smaller towns, than renting a car is an option.

Rental Options

Most car rentals you will find in Germany will be manual and diesel. Automatic rentals are available but will be much more expensive. 

Non-diesel rentals may be cheaper but the cost of fuel is expensive, and you will be filling up a lot more compared to a diesel.

Where to Rent a Car in Germany

My favourite place to rent on is Auto Europe. You can see all the rental company options, and price comparisons all on one page. I also find their insurance options are easier to understand. 

12 Weird German Facts 

Learn a bit about the country of Germany, the culture, and the people. 

Read the question. Click to open and see the answer. How many do you know? 

When did Germany become a country?

What popular tradition started in Germany, that many countries around have adopted?

What is the longest word in German?

How many different types of sausages, beers and breads are there in Germany?

What was declared legal in 2002, that most countries haven't?

How did the town of Bordesholm have its power turned off for an hour, and not one of its 7500 inhabitants noticed?

What law in Germany determines whether a beer can be labelled as beer?

What was a world first, launched in the Germany in 1663?

Which famous German person has a Barbie doll made after them?

What is the narrowest street in Germany and the world?

Germany's trains are powered by 61% of what?

What does Iceland grow 1,100-4,410 lbs of annually using geothermal energy?

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