Top events in Germany

July
30

Music, street theatre, clowns, aquatic activities and culinary delights mark this popular annual summer time event. Around two millions visitors...

August
01

Proud German drinkers will tell you their beer is best in the world. Of course, they’re wrong; that accolade belongs to neighbouring Belgium...

August
01

At the height of summer the Römerberg old town and the banks of the river Main are transformed into a huge festival site for four days. What began...

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
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Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

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Germany Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

357,022 sq km (137,846 sq miles).

Population

81.1 million (2013).

Population density

227.2 per sq km.

Capital

Berlin.

Government

Federal Republic since 1949.

Head of state

President Joachim Gauck since 2012.

Head of government

Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2005.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style round two-pin plugs are in use.

Still misunderstood by many, Germany stands as one of the most endlessly engaging countries on the continent. Anyone expecting a homogenous nation conforming to rigid Teutonic stereotypes is in for a shock. As a travel destination it’s somewhere with huge personality, notable for a clutch of truly lovable cities, culture served up in hefty portions and rural scenery so heart-melting you’ll be left bemused why some people still think of the place as lacking allure.

It’s the country’s urban highlights that tend to draw the attention first. Berlin is the very definition of a dynamic city, having forged a goodtime reputation for ground-breaking creativity while still keeping sight of its past. Elsewhere, the likes of Cologne, Munich and Hamburg – to mention three of many – provide the capital with able support. Not only are they rich in historical buildings and eyes-to-the-future nightlife, they also give firm dissent to the notion that Germany doesn’t do gastronomy. These days, you dine and drink well in Deutschland.   

The country occupies a prime position in the heart of the continent, both literally and figuratively. It’s home to the largest economy in Europe, has more inhabitants than anywhere in the EU and shares land borders with no less than nine other nations. It’s perhaps little surprise, then, that today’s Germany is far more diverse, far more cosmopolitan – and in many cases far more liberal – than elements of its past reputation would suggest. You’ll find a destination that well understands how to blend tradition and convention with modernism and self-confidence. There’s good reason why the tourist board now fills its marketing material with buzzwords like ‘youth’, ‘inspiration’ and ‘innovation’. 

For the uninitiated, it’s somewhere full of surprises. The brightest seams of the country’s history are full of reward, whether in the form of classical music, fine art or medieval architecture. Similarly, the humour associated with some of its more clichéd attractions – from oompah-soundtracked beer halls and vorsprung durch technik design to octogenarian-frequented spa towns – belies the fact that the reality often holds massive appeal.

The beauty of the German countryside, too, is a huge selling point. From the fabulous peaks of the Bavarian Alps and the pale cliffs of the Jasmund National Park to the castles of the Rhine and the moors of the Mecklenburg Lake District, there’s much to draw outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers, cyclists, boaters, motorists and skiers will all find plenty to enjoy.   

Germany’s history – particularly those chapters concerned with WWII and the Cold War – more or less ensures that some outsiders will still have misconceptions of the country and its people. A gloomy post-communist landscape of grey skies and greyer cities? A work-obsessed population who don’t know how to let their hair down? Menus of bratwurst, bratwurst and extra bratwurst? Dismantling notions like these is one of the great joys of travel in 21st-century Germany. Costs are manageable, overcrowded attractions are rare and – while it’s a sizeable country – getting from A to B is made straightforward by one of Europe’s most efficient public transport networks.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 29 July 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

There is a general threat from terrorism.

Around 2,000,000 British nationals visit Germany every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

If you need to contact the emergency services call 112.

British nationals have been arrested for possessing counterfeit currency. Avoid changing money anywhere other than banks or legitimate bureaux de change.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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