Germany is full of rich culture and traditions of its own. And, while absolutely fascinating to visit, there are several tips tourists should know to make their visit enjoyable.
1. Be well-prepared when it comes to clothing. Pack layers to put on and remove easily since the temperatures change quite a bit throughout the seasons in Germany. A lightweight shirt or sweater with a jacket should do the trick in most seasons minus winter. Comfortable walking shoes are also encouraged to comfort tired feet.
2. Cash is definitely king. Germans are not as accepting of credit cards and having cash on hand is advisable. Also note that most public restrooms are not free to use, so plan ahead. Water at restaurants automatically comes carbonated and is not complimentary with meals. In addition, don’t be surprised that some things may cost more than expected. For instance, German beer halls often include a “pfand,” or refundable deposit, to encourage recycling. So, as long as you return the beer mugs, you’ll have your pfand returned.
3. Be aware of cultural norms. Most places in Germany observe a day of rest and are closed on Sundays. Some restaurants are open, but you’ll want to run your errands and do your shopping Monday through Saturday.
Cultural norms such as being punctual (the earlier, the better); talking quietly (unless at the bar); avoiding small talk; and, speaking directly are also common. Don’t be surprised if someone honestly says they don’t like your shirt or if it seems people stare a little longer. This is quite ordinary as well. Customer service in places like grocery stores is also a bit more “brisk.” Finally, be prepared for possible nudity, lol. It’s not uncommon to see people frolicking in the buff while enjoying public parks and rivers.
4. Try the local food or you’ll be missing out. From bratwurst and Bavarian beer to apple strudel and Black Forest Cake/Gateau, Germany has fantastic food just waiting to spark those taste buds.
5. Aim to go to a German festival or plan an excursion if you have the time. Some travelers’ top festival experiences are the Berlin Beer Fest in August; Oktoberfest in Munich during middle-to-late September/early October; and the Carnival of Cologne held every February. Throughout the rest of the year, you can journey through popular castles, unwind in Baden-Baden, honor the past with a Berlin History tour, or witness the magic of Nuremberg’s Christmas Markets. There’s so much to discover!
So, what’s next? Book with your travel consultant, take your trip to Germany, and come back to share your adventures!