COUNTRY OVERVIEW AND TRAVEL GUIDE
Germany is a wonderfully diverse country. From forests and rivers to beaches and mountain ranges; skyscrapers and thrilling nightlife to beer halls and timber houses. Read on to find out more about this fascinating country with 2 millennia of history.
Welcome to Germany!
THE LAND OF POETS AND THINKERS
THIS INFORMATION WAS CURRENT AS OF AUGUST, 2021. REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY TO SOME COUNTRIES CAN CHANGE QUICKLY. PLEASE ENSURE TO VERIFY IMPORTANT INFORMATION PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FOR YOUR NEXT DESTINATION.
If you're looking for a safe country to visit with incredible architecture, towering mountain ranges, quaint towns, glorious castles and cuisine that makes it worthy of being called a gastronomic wonderland, then look no farther than Germany.
Germany has so many fun facts about its history, culture and lands, and a few of the interesting ones include; 2100 castles spread across the country, there are 1500 types of beer, 1500 variations of sausage, one-third of the country is covered in forests, sixty-five percent of the highways have no speed limit, and its capital of Berlin is nine times larger than Paris and has more bridges than Venice.
All of these facts and so many more make Germany a fabulous choice for any traveller to explore. Read on to get detailed information to help you plan your own journey to this fascinating country.
CITIES IN THIS GUIDE
THE ROMANTIC ROAD
3. LANDSBERG AM LECH
CAPITAL CITY: Berlin
VOLTAGE: 230 V
TIME ZONE: CEST - Central European Summer Time
TELEPHONE CODE: +49
COUNTRY EMERGENCY CODES: 115 (Fire), 112 (Medical), 112 (Police)
Weather and When to Go The best time of year to visit Germany is late spring and early autumn. More specifically the months of May, September and into early October. This time of year gives you pleasant weather and less crowds. The exception being during Octoberfest which lasts for two weeks and ends on the first Sunday in October. The prices will be higher during these two weeks and there will be larger crowds to contend with.
What to Pack When exploring the streets of Germany, it's best to dress casually during the day with comfortable shoes for walking many of the cobblestoned streets. As with many countries in Europe, bring layers. Even if you're visiting in the summer, you may still experience cooler weather if you're high up in the mountain ranges. A lightweight jacket or sweater is a great option to take with you in the morning and evenings when the weather can be slightly cooler. You can find a more comprehensive packing list here.
Travel Insurance There will be no other item you take with you on any trip that will be more important than travel insurance. Life happens, my friends; things go wrong. Even the best-planned trip is not without its potential mishaps, and a great place to start is your own credit card. I purchased insurance for years before finding out that my credit card offered incredible protection for up to 15 days of International travel at no extra cost to me. You can also look at insurance through your bank or a company such as World Nomads, which has very reasonable prices for their coverage.
Safety Germany is a very safe destination for solo female travellers. Whether you're visiting small villages in the countryside or exploring larger cities, it's safe to walk around. As with any European destination, you need to be vigilant in busier areas and keep your belongings close, especially at train stations and around tourist hot spots. To keep yourself from becoming a victim of pickpockets, keep your bags zipped shut and close to your body, especially in crowded areas. Use RFID protectors for your credit and debit cards, and do not wear backpacks that are easily unzipped from behind.
Transportation Germany has one of the best transportation networks in Europe. There are several modes within the cities, including cars, buses, trams, U-Bahn, S--Bahn, bicycles and taxis. If you rely on Uber when on vacation, you may have to use taxis in Germany; at the time of writing, Uber was only available in Frankfort, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Munich. There are trains, short-haul flights, and car rentals to travel from one city to the other. The high-speed trains travel at 300 km/h and with the time you need to spend at the airport it may be faster to take the train from one city to the next.
Vaccines Some people are resistant to the idea of vaccines and medications, and that's understandable. It's best to look into them with your doctor before travelling to see your potential exposure and make your own decision. The suggested vaccines for adults travelling to Germany are Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. The Hepatitis A vaccine's effectiveness will typically last for 25 years in adults, while Hepatitis B can last a lifetime when done in the proper succession. In addition, to Hepatitis A and B, it is also suggested to have these common vaccines up to date, Chickenpox, Diphtheria, Flu, Measles - Mumps - Rubella, Polio and shingles. During COVID, requirements about mandatory vaccination can change quickly, so be sure to check before you depart for your trip.
National Holidays If you're planning on visiting Germany during holidays, it may result in the closure of museums, attractions and possibly some restaurants. If there's a site you would like to see, it's best to check the website ahead of time to ensure it's open. The dates below are Germany's national holidays celebrated across the country for 2022:
1. New Years Day - January 1st
2. Good Friday - April 15th
3. Easter Monday - April 18th
4. Labour Day - May 1st
5. Ascension Day - May 26th
6. Whit Monday - June 6th
7. Day of German Unity - October 3rd
7. Christmas Day - December 25th
8. 2nd Day of Christmas - December 26th
NOTE: There are also other holidays observed by individual states (listed here).
Entry Requirements The entry requirements for a country can change quickly and for numerous reasons, so be sure to check before you depart. Currently, if you reside in Canada, your passport is required to enter Germany, and it must be valid for three months beyond the date you will be travelling. If you're staying longer than 90 days, you will also need a visa. In addition, COVID restrictions can change rapidly; be sure to check the requirements when planning to visit.
ENTRY TO BURG ELTZ
Budgeting for Germany
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? - A trip to this beautiful country will cost the average traveller about €121 a day, making it an expensive destination. This section will outline what to expect in terms of cost for hotels, transportation, attractions, & food. Use the budget planner in this section to see if Germany is a feasible destination for your next adventure.
GERMANY COSTS THE AVERAGE
TRAVELLER €121 PER DAY
BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN GERMANY - In 2020, the average cost of a stay at a budget hotel or hostel is in the price range of €25 to €49.
OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR BUDGET TRAVEL TO GERMANY - The average per person, per day for accommodation, transit, attractions and meals would be around €49. You will have to omit some of the pricier admission fees to stay within this budget or splurge on one or two days to see the attractions on your wish list.
MID- PRICE RANGE TRAVEL
MID RANGE ACCOMMODATION IN GERMANY - In 2020, the cost of mid-range accommodation is approximately €60 - €119 per night.
OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR MID-PRICE RANGE TRAVEL TO GERMANY - The average per person per day for accommodation, transit, attractions, and meals would be around €121. This would allow for entrance to most attractions and a combination of meals in restaurants, fast food and street vendors.
LUXURY ACCOMMODATION IN GERMANY - Accommodation in the luxury price range will land you a hotel in a great location in the centre of the major cities. In 2020, the cost of luxury accommodation was approximately €135 - €269 or more per night.
OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR LUXURY TRAVEL TO GERMANY - The average per person per day for accommodation, transportation, attractions, and meals would be around €292. This would allow for entrance to all attractions and sit-down meals in restaurants or cafes.
Resources for Booking
These are the sites I rely on most often for booking hotels and checking reviews. Booking.com is my go-to site, where I have booked over 70 hotel stays. Airbnb is also a great option when booking homestays, and Trip Advisor will help verify reviews for any hotel bookings, attractions and tours.
COST OF MEALS
The average cost of food per person per day can range from €13 to €77 or more. There are a few popular dishes to try that will keep you on budget; bratwurst, which are sausages sold by street vendors across Germany. Currywurst, made with pork sausage in curry. Flammkuchen, which is a lighter version of a pizza, and finally, donar kebab made with chicken beef or pork in a pita.
COST OF ATTRACTIONS
The average cost per day for attractions in Germany is €9 to €57, but there are many free things to do also. For example, there are free walking tours in major cities across the country. Wander along the Rhine, taking in the old villages, or explore the walking trails. There are also several museums that are free year-round or on certain days of the week. Do an online search to see which museums offer this in the area you're staying.
COST OF TRANSPORTATION
The average cost of transportation in Germany is approximately €7.57 to €48 or more per day. These costs are for travel within the city. On the lower end, you will be using buses, trams, U-Bahn, and/or S-Bahn, while those with a higher budget for transportation can take advantage of taxis or hired cars. These prices do not reflect travel between cities by rail, bus or flight. Those prices are highly variable depending on the mode and class of transportation you choose.
LANDSCAPE OF ROTHENBURG
Things to See & Do
TOP MUNICH ATTRACTIONS
1. MARIENPLATZ - This main square in the centre of Munich has been the city's main square since 1158. When entering Marienplatz, you can't help but notice Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall); it's a 300-foot long building overflowing with arches, statutes, and turrets. If you happen to be in the square at 11am or 12pm, (plus 5pm in the summer), you'll be able to see the glockenspiel (clock tower) put on its show when 32 life-sized figures reenact two stories from 16th-century Bavarian history. While in the square, you can take in the architecture, find a place to grab a bite to eat, and take a walking tour; many of them start from this location.
2. NYMPHENBURG PALACE - A beautiful palace located just 15 minutes outside of downtown Munich. There's a lot to see on a visit to Nymphenburg; the palace is larger than even Versailles in France. On the grounds, visitors are treated to the opulent main palace, four museums, including a carriage and sleigh museum, a natural history museum, and a park with canals, bridges, and little castles. At the very minimum, you should plan to spend 3 hours to a half-day during your visit.
3. RESIDENZ - The largest city palace in Germany with 10 courtyards, 130 rooms, riding stables, a church and its own theatre. Residenz was the official government seat of the Bavarian royals between 1508 and 1918. There's so much to see here, so it's advisable to give yourself at least 3 hours. TIP: Make sure you visit the treasury; it is well laid out, and the objects on display are beautiful.
4. DEUTSCHES MUSEUM - This museum is the largest scientific-technological museum of its kind in the world. Inside Deutsches, visitors will find over 18,000 exhibits and artifacts in all areas of science and technology, from electricity, computers, aerospace and railways to chemistry, astronomy, music and much more! TIP: Don't miss the 45,000-year-old Altamira Cave paintings, the missiles, planes, hot air balloons, space and lunar vehicles, as well as the nanotechnology and DNA labs. Another can't miss is witnessing the walls of the Eastern dome rotate and open to view the sun and sky through a massive telescope. The Eastern dome tour starts at 2:30pm (subject to change). There is an earlier tour in the Western dome (currently, the time is unknown) that can be booked when buying a ticket.
5. ST. PETER'S CHURCH - A lovely 11th-century cathedral, the cities' oldest in fact, with a beautiful white and golden interior. St. Peter's also has a tower that provides views over Munich. It's about 300 steps to the top, and it's definitely worth the effort. The views over Marienplatz and the whole Munich skyline are quite spectacular from here. TIP: If you want to see the Munich skyline from a bird's eye view and cannot climb St. Peter's, Neues Rathaus (New City Hall) in the same square has an elevator to the top of its tower.
6. VIKTUALIENMARKT - This market is a great place to buy traditional German staples and items found only in Munich. There are 140 stalls in an area covering 22,000 square meters. There's a nice variety of food and alcohol, along with decor, keepsakes and Christmas items. It is a great area to take a stroll through, pick up some items for gifts and grab a bite to eat. TIP: The hours at the time of writing are Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm.
7. NEUS RATHAUS (NEW TOWN HALL) - The architecture of the New Town Hall is quite spectacular; even if you're not an architectural aficionado, the Neo-Gothic facade of this building will make you stop and take a look. The building's tower is 85 metres tall, and for those that want views over the city, it has a lift, so no stair climbing is involved. TIP: Don't miss the inner courtyard. After admiring the facade, head through the walkway to see the pretty architecture of this enclosure.
8. BMW MUSEUM - This museum has the 100-year history of BMW on exhibit, with 120 cars, engines and motorcycles for visitors to experience. The museum was expanded in 2008, a dramatic update from its original 1973 shell. The BMW Velt (factory) is right next door which has free admission, and while there are also cars on display at the factory, it's not as extensive as what you can see in the museum. Both buildings have restaurants that offer lighter options and full dine-in meals.
9. ENGLISH GARDEN - Head to the English Garden, where you can wander through the pathways, watch the surfers or find a spot to relax after a long day of walking. If you want to grab a bite, you will find beer gardens, several kiosks and the Seehaus Restaurant.
10. ALTE PINAKOTHEK - Alte Pinakothek is an art museum with a significant collection of Old Master paintings from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. It is one of the oldest galleries in the world. TIP: Plan to spend a minimum of two hours here, but note that this would feel quite rushed, so if you are an art lover, three to four hours would be more appropriate.
CATHEDRAL & BRIDGE IN COLOGNE
Things to See & Do
THE ROMANTIC ROAD
1. FUSSEN - Located just one kilometre from the Austrian border, Fussen is a gem of a town with pretty pastel-coloured buildings, some of them adorned with incredibly detailed frescoes. In the warmer months, the streets are alive with restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and boutiques. Fussen is also just a few kilometres from Schwangau, which is the location of Neuschwanstein Castle. If Schwangau is booked up, you may choose to stay in Fussen for your starting point on the Romantic Road.
2. SCHWANGAU - You'll know you've arrived in Schwangau when you see the impressive Neuschwanstein Castle peeking out from its perch above the green fields below. This is probably the most famous castle in the world since it was the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty. In Schwangau, you will also find Hohenschwangau Castle (definitely worth the visit), hiking trails, as well as four lakes where you can fish, surf and sail.
3. LANDSBERG AM LECH - Landsberg am Lech is located in southwestern Bavaria with medieval walls encasing the town, which are remarkably well-preserved. At the heart of Landsberg is the main square, which contains the town hall completed in Baroque style with beautiful frescoes. While wandering through the old town, visitors will also find a 15th-century basilica with a Madonna and child sculpture and Gothic stained glass windows.
4. DONAUWORTH - Donauworth is an excellent stop on the Romantic Road with its wonderfully kept medieval buildings and picturesque streets. In this lovely city, you will find an original Town Hall built in 1309, gates from the original fortification, which are still standing, and several churches from the 15th-century.
5. NORDLINGEN - With its 2.7-kilometre trek around the city, you can see the architecture and streets of Nordlingden from a bird's eye view while walking the city walls. You may also choose to visit one of the museums (the Railway Museum or Ries Crater Museum). To get a fantastic view of the city, climb to the top of the steeple in St. George's church.
6. DINKELSBUHL - Try to be in Dinkelsbuhl early in the morning to walk the paths around the town as they are so peaceful at this time. The facades of the buildings in Old Town are lovely, and it's worth it to just stroll the streets without an agenda. There is a St. George church located in Dinkelsbuhl, as well as Nordlingen, and the one found here should be visited in the morning to witness the natural light streaming through the windows. TIP: I had such a peaceful experience in Dinkelsbuhl, but as I was leaving around 12pm I could see the crowds starting to fill the streets, so plan your visit accordingly.
7. ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER - Is Rothenburg touristy? Yes. Is it worth the visit? Absolutely! This town is hard to pass up on the Romantic Road journey. So while busloads of people visit, it still should be a stop that you shouldn't miss, and staying in Old Town is a perfect way to experience the city. If you book accommodation here, you not only get to see the night as it falls over the streets, but you also experience the quaint cobblestone roads of Rothenburg in the still morning without the crowds. TIP: Don't miss the 2.4-kilometre walk in the medieval walls around the city and a stroll through Burggarten for stunning views of the landscape.
THE WONDERFULLY QUAINT ROTHENBURG
In this section, you will find a collection of Google Maps of the must-see sights in Germany. In addition, there are attraction site plans and other map-type literature collected during my time in Munich and the stops along the Romantic Road. While I created the Google maps, I did not make the other attraction maps; they were provided at the sites visited.
MUNICH ATTRACTION MAPS
USE THIS GOOGLE MAP
ON YOUR PHONE
ROMANTIC ROAD MAPS
USE THIS GOOGLE MAP
ON YOUR PHONE
10 DAY ITINERARY FOR SOUTHERN GERMANY - This Itinerary features three days in Munich, a day trip to the Alps, then five days travelling the Romantic Road. While it's easy to get around Munich on foot and with public transportation, the rest of the journey will require a rental car. (You may opt to take a day trip to the Eagles Nest with a company like Viator or pick up the car a day early and explore it on your own).
A night to remember. Fresh cheesecake, figs, and pinot noir.
DAY 6 - SCHWANGAU CASTLES
Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
Visit Hohenschwangau Castle
Relax by one of the four lakes in Schwangau
Spend the night in Schwangau
DAY 7 - LANDSBERG AM LECH AND DONAUWORTH
Leave Schwangau early and drive to Landsberg am Lech (1hour)
Spend the morning walking the streets of Landsberg
Visit the main square to see the colourful buildings and head to the basilica to see the frescos and lovely interior
Drive to Donauworth (1hour)
Spend the rest of the day exploring the quaint and beautiful streets of Danauworth
Spend the night in Donauworth
DAY 8 - NORDLINGEN
Drive to Nordlingden (30 minutes)
Take the 2.4 km walk around the city walls to get a birds-eye view of Nordlingden
Visit the Railway or the Ries Crater Museum
Climb the steeple in St. George's to get great views over the city
Wander the streets and enjoy the architecture
Spend the night in Nordlingden
DAY 9 - DINKELSBUHL
Leave early and drive to Dinkelsbuhl (35 minutes)
For a peaceful morning - walk the paths around the town early in the day
Wander the streets of this lovely town admiring the architecture
Drive to Rothenburg ob der Taber
Spend the night in Rothenburg
DAY 10 - ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
Take the wall walk around the city - (approximately 2.5 hours)
Visit the Castle Gardens
Wander the streets
Spend the night in Rothenburg
DAY 6 - 10
Hover Over To See The Plan
A night to remember. Fresh cheesecake, figs, and pinot noir.
DAY 1 - EXPLORE MUNICH
Start the day at the Scientific-technological Deutsches Museum
Visit Viktualienmarkt to experience the food, gifts and decor
Climb the tower of the 11th-century St. Peter's Cathedral
Check out Altes Rathaus - Old Town Hall
Admire the architecture in Marienplatz
See the Neo-Gothic facade of Neues Rathaus
Walk by the floral showpiece of Fassade des Hirmer Stammhauses
End the day by the fountain in front of Karl's Gate
DAY 2 - EXPLORE MUNICH
Experience the impressive Nymphenburg Palace
Head to Olympiapark
Check out the cars at the BMW museum and the factory next door
Wander through the massive English Garden to end the day
DAY 3 - EXPLORE MUNICH
Get your art fix with the Old Masters at Alte Pinakothek
See the beautifully ornate interior of Theatinerkirche St. Kajetan
Visit the largest city palace in Germany at Munich Residenz
Admire the pretty facade and taste the beer at Hofbrauhaus
See the grand Frauenkirche and climb the tower
DAY 4 - DAY TRIP FROM MUNICH
Book a day trip - a great one is the Eagles Nest on Viator
DAY 5 - START YOUR TOUR OF THE ROMANTIC ROAD
Drive from Munich to Fussen (approximately 2 hours)
Wander the streets admiring the frescos, enjoy the landscapes
OPTIONAL: If it's a nice day drive to Mittenwald (1hour 20mins) and take the cable car to the top of Karwendel
Drive back and spend the night in Fussen or Schwangau
DAY 1 - 5
Hover Over To See The Plan
Being prepared before your travels will help reduce the likelihood of misfortunes and undue stress during a vacation. A great way to start planning and organize yourself is by using printable lists and templates like those featured here. These PDFs will help with your travel budget, to-do lists and packing.
The Ultimate Printable
CROSSING GERMANY'S COUNTRYSIDE
Photography Tips The landscapes to photograph when travelling through Germany are limitless. From the sun breaking through the foggy fields in the morning, and the unique timber house architecture, to soaring mountain peaks, you are spoiled for choice. When photographing landscapes, use a wide-angle lens, set your aperture to somewhere between F10 and F16, and set your ISO around 100. Once you have these settings, adjust the shutter speed accordingly. It's a great idea to learn how to read your camera's histogram so you can determine the exposure of your shots even in the bright sunlight when your LCD screen may be hard to see.
Solo Travel Tips Germany is an excellent destination for solo travellers. In Munich, you can take a walking tour to familiarize yourself with the city's attractions and landmarks, stroll around the main square, shop in the market and boutique shops and even enjoy a beer in the beer gardens; When travelling the Romantic Road, you can take your time exploring the landscapes along the safe and well-maintained roads, stop in the towns to admire the fantastic architecture and walk the city walls in a few stops along the way.
Driving Tips Driving in Germany isn't too different from driving in North America. You will be driving on the right, the motorways and most roads are well maintained, and the signage is similar (it's pictorial, so you are fine if you don't speak/read the language). You don't need an International Drivers Permit to drive here, but is it highly recommended and easy to obtain. In Canada, it is merely a matter of having a passport photo taken and either applying online or using a company such as CAA to provide you with the permit. At the time of writing, it was $25 to obtain this licence through CAA.
BudgetTips When in Munich, the further you are from Marienplatz, the cheaper the hotel rate will be, not always, but as a general guideline. When eating out at lunchtime, look for 'mittag teller,' which is a filling dish typically of meat, potatoes and vegetables for about €8 to €10. For an even cheaper option, dine on schnitzel for €3 to €5 from VinzenzMurr, which is a franchise you can find throughout Munich. There are numerous free attraction options in the small towns on the Romantic Road. In these towns, you can wander the streets admiring the architecture, visit the churches and even be in awe of the landscapes while driving from one destination to the next.
Cuisine - Which Foods to try There are far too many incredible dishes to list them all, so the most popular will have to do here. First, you can't go to Germany and not try the sausages, schnitzel and potato pancakes. Each of these items has many variations, so there's something for everyone. Another item with many variations is Maultaschen which are German ravioli typically stuffed with meat, but there are many other options, including those that are vegetarian. For a full hearty meal, you can try 'Himmel un ääd,' which consists of black pudding, potato, and fried onions accompanied by apple sauce. To finish a meal, try black forest cake, German cheesecake or vanilla ice cream that's pushed through a noodle press that makes it look like spaghetti.
Souvenirs and Keepsakes If you're a lover of Christmas decor, Germany is the place to find some excellent collectables. While the Christmas markets are charming places to visit in the winter, stores like Käthe Wohlfahrt sell all types of ornaments and decor year-round. If you're a beer lover, can you resist the temptation of bringing home a beer stein made of either stone, glass, porcelain or pewter? For the foodies, some great options are German chocolate, wine, and beer. Perhaps you have a little one in your life; if so, you may want to find a Steiff teddy bear; Steiff is the creator of the teddy bear, and these soft plush toys are the best of the best. And for something truly unique, you can bring home a piece of the Berlin wall. The Westin Grand Berlin gives you the tools to chip away the original wall and take home that piece of history for yourself.
KARWENDEL MOUNTAIN RANGE
Create a Photo Book
No one wants a vacation to end, but when it does, it's always nice to have mementos of the unique experiences you had during the trip. Mixbook is the ultimate way to share those memories with loved ones and look back and reminisce years down the road.
USE THE SLIDER ARROWS TO SEE MIXBOOK SAMPLE PAGES CREATED FROM PAST TRIPS
Use these related posts to get even more in-depth information on visiting Germany. You can also go to the bottom of the home page and type Germany into the search bar to see all relevant information. Please be advised that this is a new site and quality content takes time. Every week I will be posting new articles, photos, maps and pages to the website. I have so much information to share!
YOUR GUIDE TO MUNICH
Hotels, Attractions and Maps
ROMANTIC ROAD GERMANY
Maps, Photos and General Information!