My Germany Travel Guide is the result of my love for this beautiful, energetic country. I cannot remember when I first fall in love with it, must be some time during my teenage years. Maybe it was the sight of a charming village in the German countryside that told me this country is truly beautiful. With this, I want to take you to every state, every city, every sight, to show you how marvelously charming Germany can be. Gute Reise!
Germany, or officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Western Europe. Much of the country shares land borders with its neighbors, with two stretches of coast line on the northern part of the country, facing the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Germany is bordered by Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west. The country has a total area of 357,021 sq km (137,847 sq mi), making it almost half the size of France.
More on Germany
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic composed of sixteen states. Berlin, with a metropolitan population of 5 million people, is the largest city in Germany. It was the capital of Germany since reunification in 1990, having served as capital of Germany and the former Kingdom of Prussia since 1701, until it was divided into two parts following World War II.
Germany has a population of 81.8 million people. This makes it the most populous country in the European Union. It is also the world’s fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest in purchasing power parity. Despite its relatively small size, it is the second largest exporter in the world. Due to influx of migrant workers, it today has the third largest number of migrants worldwide.
Due to Germany’s central location in Europe and its association with different peoples, the country is called by widely different names. While it is known in German as Deutschland, the German call it Allemagne, the Polish Niemcy while the English call it Germany. The name Germany comes from the Latin word Germania, which was used since Roman times, when Julius Caesar referred to the people living east of the Rhine. The name Allemagne refers to the Alamanni people, a Germanic tribe living in the upper Rhine during Roman times. The Polish name comes from the Nemetes tribe. In addition, other neighboring languages also call Germany by widely different names, such as Saksa in Finnish and Vokietija in Lithuanian.
Germany comprises 16 federated states called
Bundesländer. These include 3 city-states (Stadtstaaten) namely Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen (with Bremerhaven) and 13 area states (Flächenländer). The states are further subdivided into districts (Kreise).
Most of Germany experiences a temperate climate. The areas along the northern coast are affected by the North Atlantic Drift, which moderates the climate. On the southernmost part of Germany, the land is mountainous with a mountain climate, experiencing lower temperatures and greater precipitation.
Preparing Money for Germany
The currency used in Germany is the Euro (EUR). The following are the latest rates for Euro in the last 24-hours.
Planning your visit to Germany
Most people know of Germany as a country famous for producing high-technology product while at the same time, has been able to preserve the old-world charm of its many small towns and villages. Each of the German states has its own distinct culture which visitors will get to appreciate once they get to know the country long enough.
Unlike some countries, where the capital city dominates, Germany is very much decentralized. The beauty of this is that the cultural differences of each region are better appreciated and celebrated. Germany has lots of tourist attractions in the big cities as well as in the countryside.
Most travelers arriving by plane touch down at Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt-am-Main. This is the biggest airport in the country. It has the most numerous connecting flights to other places in Germany. Alternatively, the airports in Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg also receive international flights. You can find a
Berlin hotel near the airport.
Many of the airports in Germany are also connect by the InterCityExpress (ICE) high-speed train. With this convenience, passengers boarding Lufthansa flights at Frankfurt Airport can check-in their luggage at the Cologne and Stuttgart train station, and take the ICE to Frankfurt Airport.
In addition to flights, you can also take the train from neighboring countries to Germany. The ICE connects Frankfurt with Amsterdam in 3 hours 15 minutes. The journey to Paris takes 4 hours while the journey from Hamburg to Paris by ICE takes 8 hours. The Thalys high-speed train connects Cologne with Paris in about 4 hours and with Brussels in about two.
Traveling domestically within Germany by train is also fast, efficient, and – if booked well in advance – quite affordable. The network is operated by Deutsche Bahn, the national rail company. You should check their website, www.bahn.de, for details. The most luxurious and fastest trains are of course the ICE. Next comes the InterCity (IC) and the EuroCity (EC) – both are more or less the same. The ICE is of course the most expensive, and is supposed to be the fastest. However, as you can only enjoy the high speeds on specially equipped routes, you should check whether you can save by taking the IC train.
An alternative to taking the train is the long-distance buses. The Neun-Euro Bus can be very affordable, if booked well in advance. However, they run during the night, so you will not get any sightseeing on board. Check
their website for details.
Germany is a dream destination for people who love to drive at high speeds. It is famous for having some of the best expressways in the world. These, called the Autobahn, do not have tolls for cars. However gasoline prices are quite high in Germany, hovering around €1.40 per liter for 91-octane petrol (called Benzin) and 95-octane petrol (called Super). Strangely, the Benzin and Super carry the same price. In addition, you can get SuperPlus (98 octane) and Ultimate (100 octane).
Roads in Germany
There are four different types of roads between towns and cities in Germany. They are the Autobahn, Bundesstraße, Landesstraße and Kreisstraße. These roads are labelled on Google Maps with the same color coding as appearing on the roads themselves.
Autobahn is the equivalent of the motorway, expressway or freeway. They do not have a general speed limit, but the advisory speed limit is 130 km per hour. They are signaged in blue with the number in white.
Author: 3247 (public domain)
Author: 3247 (public domain)
Next, we have the Bundesstraße, or federal highway. Their signs are in blue with the number in black. On this website, I often call them simply as “highway”.
The Autobahn and some of the Bundesstraße are also European Route. As such, they often carry a second signage showing the European Route number. These are white numbers on green background. The numbers are prefixed with an “E”. I usually write the European Route numbers in parenthesis, like this: Autobahn 10 (E55).
European Route Sign
Author: Malarz (public domain)
One step down, there’s the Landesstraße, or state road. Their signs are white with the number in black. The numbering In most states of Germany, the number is prefixed with an “L”, though Saxony prefixes with “S” and Bavaria with “St”. I often refer to them as “route” or “country road” on this website.
Lastly, there’s the Kreisstraße, or “district road”. They are usually prefixed with K, though their number is not shown on signs.
Administrative Divisions in Germany
The country is divided by Bundesländer, which I will refer as “state”. These are subdivided into
Landkreis, which are districts. To explain the country, I divided by state, and within each state by different towns and cities. Some towns and cities are part of a district whereas some of the larger ones are independent towns within a state. There are also city-states which are cities with the status of states, for example Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen.
Towns and Cities in Germany
- Berlin – capital
- Bad Bellingen
- Bad Bertrich
- Bad Bevensen
- Bad Doberan
- Bad Füssing
- Bad Griesbach
- Bad Harzburg
- Bad Hersfeld
- Bad Hindelang
- Bad Homburg
- Bad Kissingen
- Bad Nenndorf
- Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
- Bad Pyrmont
- Bad Reichenhall
- Bad Sachsa
- Bad Salzuflen
- Bad Tölz
- Bad Wiessee
- Bad Wildbad
- Bad Wörishofen
- Bad Zwischenahn
- Baden Baden
- Brandenburg an der Havel
- Frankfurt (Oder)
- Lake Constance
- Neustadt an der Weinstraße
- Offenbach am Main
- Rüdesheim am Rhein
- Sankt Goar
- Sankt Wendel
States of Germany
- Lower Saxony
- North Rhine-Westphalia
World Greatest Sites
- Gehrenberg Photo Album