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Germany Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT +1 (GMT +2, Apr - Oct)

Electricity

230 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

Language

German is the official language. English is also widely spoken and understood.

Travel Health

There are no serious health risks for visitors to Germany and no vaccinations are required. The German health service is excellent and there is a reciprocal health agreement with most EU countries, whose citizens are entitled to free medical and dental treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance. Nationals of other countries should take out travel insurance.

Tipping

German law stipulates that all prices, menus and bills include both tax and a service charge, so tipping is not necessary in restaurants. Cleaning staff, hairdressers, taxi drivers and other menial services appreciate small tips.

Safety Information

A visit to Germany should be trouble free, but take normal precautions to avoid mugging, bag-snatching and pick-pocketing, especially at airports, railway stations and markets in the large cities.

Local Customs

Visitors are not required to carry their passports with them at all times in Germany, but carrying some form of identification is advised. Smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants is illegal.

Business

In Germany, business is conducted in a formal manner, with a conservative and formal dress code being the norm. Punctuality is vital at all meetings and it's considered rude to be late. Germans use titles often, with men referred to as 'Herr' and women as 'Frau', followed by their last names.

Meetings are often purely business and may not occur over lunches, which are generally more social. Shaking hands at the beginning and end of the meeting is common. Business hours are generally 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with an hour taken over lunch.

Communications

The international access code for Germany is +49. Travellers will find it easy to use a local SIM card, Skype, WhatsApp or similar apps. Free WiFi is available in most hotels, cafes and restaurants.

Duty Free

Passengers arriving from EU countries can enter Germany without paying duty on 800 cigarettes or 400g cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg tobacco; 90 litres of still wine; 110 litres of beer; and 10 litres of alcohol stronger than 20 percent or 20 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other liqueurs up to 22 percent.

Passengers arriving from non-EU countries, over the age of 17, can enter Germany without paying duty on 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g smoking tobacco; 4 litres of wine and 16 litres of beer and 1 litre of spirits over 22 percent volume; or 2 litres of spirits under 22 percent volume. Other goods to the value of €430 for travellers arriving by air or sea, and €300 for travellers arriving by land.

Become our Germany Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Germany travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Germany or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.