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.
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.
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
Avg High Temp (C)
Avg Low Temp (C)
Avg Precip (mm)
Avg High Temp (F)
Avg Low Temp (F)
Avg Precip (in)
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.
- 1Thank You - Danke [Dunk-uh]
- 2Please - Bitte [Bit-uh]
- 3You're Welcome - Bitte schön [Bit-uh Shh-ön]
- 4Excuse Me - Entschuldigung [Ent-schul-di-gung]
- 5Hello - Hallo [Ha-low]
- 6Goodbye - Auf wiedersehen [owf ve-da-zehen]
- 7Yes - Ja [Yaw]
- 8No - Nein [N-eye-n]
- 9Do 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 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).
If you see spätzle as a side option, take it. It's an egg based noodle that's cut directly into boiling water. Delicious.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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
This is an orange-flavoured fizzy soft drink made locally since 1955 by the Egils Skallagrímsson Brewery.
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.
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.
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 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!
- 1Schleswig-Holstein - Flensburger Pilsener (Flans)
- 2Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - Darguner Pilsener
- 3Hamburg - Astra Premium
- 4Lower Saxony - Jever (pron. yay-fa)
- 5Bremen - Freie Brau Union Bremen Rotbier
- 6Saxony-Anhalt - Hasseröder Premium Pils
- 7Brandenburg - Neuzeller Badebier
- 8Berlin - Berliner Kindl Weisse
- 9North Rhine-Westphalia - Früh Kölsch
- 10Hesse -Braufactum Darkon
- 11Thuringia-Köstritzer Schwarzbier
- 12Saxony - Radeberger Pils
- 13Rhineland-Palatinate - Bitburger Pils
- 14Saarland - Karlsberg Bock
- 15Baden-Württemberg - Eichbaum Ureich
- 16Bavaria -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.
- Neuschwanstein Castle - Schwangau
- Reichstag - Berlin
- Eagle's Nest - Berchtesgaden
- Berlin Wall
- The Romantic Road - Bavaria
- The Black Forest
- Speicherstadt & Reeperbahn - Hamburg/St.Pauli
- Oktoberfest - Munich
- Cologne Cathedral - Cologne
- Heidelberg Castle - Heidelberg
- Burg Eltz and nearby city of Trier
- Rhine Valley
- 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.
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 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.
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.
11 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?
Trick question. There are three different answers technically.
- Germany was recognized as a region on Feb 2, 962 AD.
- It became a unified state on Jan 18, 1871.
- It became the Germany as we know it (East and West Germany united) on Oct 3, 1990.
What popular tradition started in Germany, that many countries around have adopted?
The Christmas Tree (Tannenbaum)
What is the longest word in German?
It's 80 letter long compound word.
It translates into: Association for Subordinate Officials of the Main Maintenance Building of the Danube Steam Shipping Electrical Services.
Don't worry, you'll never have to use it.
How many different types of sausages, beers and breads are there in Germany?
Too many to list. All these things vary region to region, making Germany such a diverse place when it comes to food and drink.
- 1000 different sausages
- 1500 different beers
- 300 different types of bread
What was declared legal in 2002, that most countries haven't?
Prostitution. They have even gone so far as to as cover the cost of intercourse for those with disabilities through the welfare system. There is even certified training for sex workers on how to cater to the sex needs of disabled clients.
Hamburg has one of the largest red-light districts outside of Amsterdam. It's called Reeperbahn. It's more than sex clubs. You'll find a lot of great music venues here. This is where the Beatles got their start.
How did the town of Bordesholm have its power turned off for an hour, and not one of its 7500 inhabitants noticed?
Another world first happened as they disconnected the town from the power grid and switched it to 100% renewable energy for an hour and then back. Not even a light flickered and no one noticed.
What law in Germany determines whether a beer can be labelled as beer?
The Provisional Beer Law states that German beer can only be labelled beer, if it contains four ingredients. Water, malted barley, hops and yeast.
What was a world first, launched in the Germany in 1663?
The first magazine in the world was the Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen. It was a literary and philosophy magazine.
Which famous German person has a Barbie doll made after them?
Angela Merkel, the former long-time chancellor of Germany who was chancellor from 2005-2021.
What is the narrowest street in Germany and the world?
It is Spreuerhofstrasse in Reutlingen. At it's narrowest point it is 31 cm or about a foot. Read about it here.
Germany's trains are powered by 61% of what?
Renewable power from wind and solar. They plan to operate the whole rail system in the country on 100% renewable source by 2038.
Currently all the Hamburg's S-bahn trains run on 100% renewable resources.