Germany covers an area of 357,000 square kilometers and is home to 81 million people. The country boasts at least five major geographical regions, each totally different in character.
The flatlands in the north of Germany stretch from the Netherlands to Poland, skimming southern Denmark where it bridges the North and Baltic seas. Sophisticated German cities like Cologne and Munich offer fine museums, galleries, operas and concerts combined with lively and cafes, beautiful parks and gardens and exhilarating nightlife. From charming Heidelberg, to the busy port cities of Bremen and Hamburg, and revitalized cities of the former east like Dresden.
No other country gives the sense of a living history in the way that Germany does. Overshadowing them all is the fresh vitality of Berlin; the infamous Berlin Wall divided the city for 28 years until it was torn down amidst great celebration on November 9, 1989. Berlin became the German capital once again in July 1990.
This is the heart of Germany, its pulse echoing through magnificent museums and theatres, stately public buildings, and its urbane restaurants and cosmopolitan nightclubs. Visit the north and experience the breathtakingly beautiful coastal areas and miles of fine sandy beaches, the island of Rugen with its magnificent white cliffs and coastal towns like Wilhelmshaven that offer excellent facilities for adventures on the North Sea.
The German landscape is similarly varied in the south; the Alps attract ski-lovers in winter and hiking enthusiasts in summer, who come to explore the picturesque lakes and impressive castles here and in the Black Forest. Visit the south for the romance and mystery of Bavaria. The majestic castles dotted among the snow-capped mountains will make you feel that you have stepped into an enchanted land. A land where history and culture come to life and whose complex past has made it the remarkable country it is today.
Restaurants in Germany & German Food
This is truly a meat-and-potatoes kind of country and hot meals are served throughout the day. Most of the GaststÄtte,
Gasthaus,Gasthof,Brauhaus or Wirtschaft establishments belong to a brewery and function as a gathering place, drinking refuge and cheap restaurant. Their cuisine resembles hearty German home cooking, and the portions are usually generous. Standards in west German restaurants are remarkably high, but this is not the case everywhere in the east. Main courses are vastly based on pork, served with an assortment of sauces.
Sausages feature regularly, and can be delicious, with distinct regional varieties. Elegant cafes are a popular tradition in Germany, serving a choice of coffee accompanied by cream cakes, pastries or handmade chocolates. Although service charges are included in all hotel and restaurant bills, it is conventional to tip up to 10% of the total bill as an expression of your satisfaction for good service. All restaurants display their menus and prices by the door. Beer is the national beverage is excellent and relatively cheap.
City Break in Germany
City breaks in Germany are a great way to spend a weekend and there are many Cites to choose from. If it’s a city break to Munich to visit the Christmas markets or the Schloss Nymphenburg or the world famous Hofbrauhaus during Oktoberfest or a short break to Berlin to visit the great shops or the famous Berlin wall or Hitlers bunker. Germany has a lot to offer for a city break.
Weddings in Germany
Germany is not the most popular for getting married and is probably due to the red tape involved. You will need at least 6 months in advance to start preparing for the marriage license and only a civil wedding can take place.
Wedding legal requirements; Full birth certificates for both bride and groom showing both parents names, Passports, if divorced documents showing final divorce, if widowed the death certificate of the former husband or wife, if you have changed your name you will be required to provide documents proving the change of name, if you have been adopted you will be required to provide adoption certificates. You may also be required to provide a certificate of no impediment and a sworn affidavit that you are free to marry or a certificate of single status No minimum residency is required.
For your personal quotation for a Wedding in Germany please complete our on line Honeymoon & Wedding Planner
Honeymoons in Germany
Germany can be a wonderful destination to choose for a honeymoon and can be twinned with another destination so easily. The wonderful cities of Munich and Berlin offer so many sights to see together on your honeymoon as well as the endless restaurants and bars to choose from. Twin a German city with a visit to the mountains in Austria for that twin centre honeymoon in Europe.
For your personal quotation for a honeymoon holiday please complete our on line Honeymoon & Wedding Planner
Skiing in Germany
Skiing in Germany is not the first choice of many and is more than likely to be tried when living in Germany. However there are some great resorts close to the city of Munich which can be reached by a 1-2 hour car drive or a short train transfer. Combine a city break in Munich with a few days skiing in Austria for a great short break.
For your personal quotation for a skiing holiday please complete our online Ski Planner
Accommodation in Germany
In Germany, you will find a variety of accommodation. You can choose to stay in everything from privately rented rooms to holiday homes or luxurious hotels. Hotels are not graded as such, but every establishment offering accommodation falls into a specific class, which specifies strict criteria regarding the facilities offered. The categories are as follows:
Hotels must be accessible to all persons; must provide accommodation and at least one restaurant for guests and non-guests. It must also have a number of rooms for common use by all residents such as a lounge etc.
A ‘Gasthof’ (inn) must provide the same facilities as a hotel except for the common rooms such as a lounge, etc.
A ‘Pension’must provide accommodation and food only for guests. It does not have to provide a restaurant for non-residents nor does it have to provide any common rooms.
Hotel garni provides accommodation and breakfast only for guests.
Weather in Germany
Germany is not prey to dramatic climatic extremes, although there are regional differences. The German climate is variable so it’s best to be prepared for all types of weather throughout the year. That said, the most reliable weather is from May to October. There is no special rainy season. Winter is wet, especially in the south, with snow not usually settling for long except in the high country.
German Banks and Currency
As a member of the European Union, Germany has been part of the Economic and Currency Union which introduced the EURO as common currency – since 1.1. 2002. The Euro is subdivided into 100 cents
All the major international brands of plastic – MasterCard, Visa and American Express – are recognized but not yet widely accepted, except in major hotels, gas stations and department stores. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to use your card to pay for meals. ATMs are everywhere throughout Germany and you should have no problem accessing your credit or debit account back home. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and special exchange shops in large towns.
Banks are generally open from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM and from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM (Thursdays to 5:30 PM), Monday to Friday. They are closed Saturdays, Sundays and on legal holidays.
Visa Requirements for Germany
EU citizens can enter on an official identity card. Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and Japanese just need a valid passport (no visa).
Calling Home from Germany
National and international calls can be made from coin- or card-operated telephone booths. Calls can also be made from post offices. Cheap rate applies Mon-Fri 1800-0800 and all day Saturday and Sunday. Discount phonecards from private companies can be bought from shops and kiosks.
Outgoing international code: 00.
In case of an Emergency in Germany
In case of an accident or other emergency, call the police on 110. This number is toll-free from public phone booths. There are also special emergency phone booths at the stations, and on roads and superhighways. In case of fire, call 112.
Events in Germany
Throughout the year you will find Germany chock-a-block with events for every taste: A top-quality concert run, exceptional theatre, art exhibitions, major international sporting events and colourful street festivals.
Winter festivals occur throughout Germany, with big cities such as Cologne, Munich and Mainz erupting into carnival mayhem just before Ash Wednesday. Germany’s rich musical heritage is showcased throughout the year. Some towns concentrate on a particular composer, such as the Thuringian Bach Festival in March or the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth each July, whereas others focus on a particular style. The jazz festivals in Frankfurt (March), Stuttgart (April) and Berlin (October) are lively and popular. These are only a few of the event highlights that take place in Germany all year round.
Driving tips in Germany
If you are travelling by car, an ultra-modern and efficient freeway network awaits you. Over 700 restaurants, gas stations, motels and kiosks are open day and night to travelers driving across the approximately 11,000 km freeway network. A maximum speed of 100 km/hr applies. Within city limits, the speed is 50 km/hr. City limits are clearly marked by signs. On freeways, a speed of 130 km/hour is recommended.
German roads are excellent and the national and famous motorway network known as autobahns can be wonderful and motorised transport can be a great way to tour the country.
Automatic cameras are used extensively to catch violators. These may be permanently rigged or in unmarked police cars parked on the shoulder. The ticket will be posted a few days later to the address on the registration. Rental companies will forward such tickets to the offending client. To rent a car in Germany please email or call for more inforamtion.
Christmas Markets – Munich
26.11. – 24.12.2010
24 Dec 10am-2pm
For more information on Germany see the German Tourist Board