Ah Deutschland…Germany is one of my favourite countries to visit. You simply cannot say you’ve travelled to Europe without visiting Germany, a country which has been at the heart of the continent for centuries. Deutschland ist gut. I know you’ll like it.
Visa: Germany is a founding member of the EU and is part of the Schengen Agreement bloc which allows for free movement between Schengen member countries. Not all EU countries are members of Schengen.
Language: Politeness is a core value in Germany so learning the courtesy basics will win you favour. German is an easy language to read as it’s pronounced as it’s written with some words having similar English versions. After your efforts at Guten Tag and Danke your German host will modestly apologise in advance for their English language skills. After 10 seconds their fluency will amaze you.
Currency: The Euro. Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank as I examined in my Frankfurt’s Way post.
A to B: The diesel engine, the electric trolleybus and airship were invented in Germany along with pioneering work in the production of the helicopter and other internal combustion engines. Welcome to transport heaven! For long distances within Germany, Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway, comes highly recommended. The main railway station in a city is called the Hauptbahnhof (Hbf). Each city has it’s own extensive public transport system. For private transport, Germany’s autobahn road network is the envy of Europe. Just remember, the most well-known advertising slogan in Germany is Audi’s Vorsprung durch Technik (Progress through technology), a philosophy everyone seems to embrace.
Germany has excellent links to neighbouring countries by train, bus and plane. International airports are dotted around the country near major cities with Frankfurt Am Main airport by far the largest airport.
SAFETY & SECURITY
I’ve always considered Germany a safe country and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs advises to take normal precautions. In recent visits I’ve noticed groups loitering around transport hubs so be careful of personal belongings.