Important information to avoid problems during your stay in Germany

Travel Guide

 It is always a good idea to learn about the local customs when visiting a new country. With that in mind, this list of valuable tips for traveling to Germany has been prepared. Although customs may vary slightly by region, most of these tips will come in handy whether you're traveling to Berlin on business or to Bavaria for sausages and charcuterie.

Make sure to respect the rules

When it comes to the Germans they like to follow the rules, and you should do the same when you're on their soil. If you're a beginner, wait until the pedestrian light turns green before crossing the road, even if it looks safe and there are no oncoming cars in sight. People might frown and shake their heads at you for crossing the road against traffic regulations, and you might get a lecture about setting a good example for the children around you. And if you like to ride a bike, be aware that you should always have your front and rear lights working for safety. Add to this that running red lights or driving in the dark can result in heavy fines.

Don't walk in the bike lane

Important information to avoid problems during your stay in Germany

Bicycling is a great way to get from one place to another with ease as long as you follow the rules. Berlin has twice as many bicycles per capita as there are vehicles, with an estimated half a million cyclists traversing the city every day, due to the presence of their own lanes in the motorways. But that can make things more difficult if you're commuting on foot. Look out for the Radweg bike path signage, which has a white outline of a bike on a blue background, which can sometimes appear in red or other distinctive colours. Radwij is only for cyclists, so pedestrians should try to avoid it. And know that it is advisable to respect this rule, otherwise the consequences can be dire. If there is a sign in the pedestrian area indicating Frei with the image of a bicycle, be aware that it is also open to cyclists.

Be sure to pay for and validate your train tickets

Most newcomers to Berlin are surprised to discover that there are no security gates or ticket inspectors when entering train stations. But be careful and know that this is not a free pass to ride the subway, as officials in plain clothes ride on the subway. They can validate tickets at any moment, costing you a €60 (£52) fine and much embarrassment. You can buy tickets at the station or from outlets at reasonable prices compared to many other countries. There are also stories of people who actually bought train tickets, but forgot to validate them by putting them into the machine (Entwerter), which stamps the date and time on the tickets.

It is worth noting that a ticket without the Entwerter stamp is invalid, and the ticket inspectors will not have any sympathy for you in this case, but you will be fined. And if you'll be using public transport frequently, it's a good idea to get a less expensive weekly ticket, which only needs to be validated the first time you use it.

Make sure you know which transportation zone is right for you

You need to purchase the appropriate ticket for the area you will be traveling to. In general, moving away from the heart of the city means entering a different area. If you are not sure, be sure to check the area maps at the station frequently. For example, Schönefeld Airport is in Berlin's C-ticket district, and assuming you get around the whole city center on an AB ticket, know that it won't suffice.

Munich has recently simplified its districts, but it still has around 20 different types of tickets for public transport, so it's not hard to get confused. Most of the tourist attractions are located in the center of Innenraum, now known as Zone M. However, you will need a Zone M-1 ticket to visit nearby cities and tourist destinations such as Schleissheim Palace, and you will need a Zone M-5 ticket in order to get to the airport. Once again, pleading tourist ignorance will do you no good in front of the relevant authorities, no matter how sorry you are.

Examine punctuality and adherence to time

Fünf Minuten vor der Zeit ist des Deutschen Pünktlichkeit is one of many German expressions about time, meaning that German punctuality is being there 5 minutes before the agreed time. This saying may sound comical to people from societies who don't care much about time, but it really is a good and important rule in Germany. Being on time for social and business appointments is part of etiquette in Germany, and you quickly appreciate the pleasure of people coming to appointments the moment they say they will. The German phrase Pünktlich wie die Maurer, which means “as precise as a mason’s,” is another example of time. It is not always used in a positive way to describe not only people who show up on the agreed date, but also those who finish on time.


The Germans were the first to sort glass, paper, plastic and other materials into colored bins for recycling, and other countries are starting to catch up. Putting a bottle in its own trash or vice versa is definitely not as hands-on as sorting glass by color. And if your glass or plastic containers contain a deposit, you can get a small refund (about 25 cents / 22 pence) by returning them to a supermarket, where it doesn't have to be the same person who sold them to you. And if you don't care about the Pfand, instead of throwing away the recoverable bottle, put it on top of or next to the trash can. It might be taken by someone else interested in getting some cash back.

Germany shopping tips

Many convenience stores and restaurants did not have card electronic payment machines until recently. However, the Corona pandemic changed the situation, as now you can pay with plastic cards in almost every bakery or kiosk. But it's also a good idea to have cash on hand, because stores don't accept all kinds of cards. It is also important to know which cash machines require lower withdrawal fees, as some of them charge very high fees.

And be aware that although many cafes are often open all weekend, most shops, supermarkets and pharmacies are closed on Sundays, so be sure to get everything you need before Saturday. Moreover, not all shops have the same opening hours, it varies from place to place; But they are often open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm. While some stalls and shops at railway and petrol stations sell basic foods even on Sundays, they sometimes remain open 24/7.

Smoking in Germany

There is generally a more tolerant attitude towards smoking in Germany than anywhere else, despite laws against the habit. Smokers have now been prohibited from lighting cigarettes in cafes or restaurants for many years, a widely accepted rule. As a general rule, German smokers are less likely to accept completely smoke-free spaces, while non-smokers are less agitated about smoking in party spaces or outdoors. You are also not allowed to smoke on the grounds.

Eat a vegan or vegan diet

You'll likely find somewhere to eat no matter where you are in Germany, but it can be difficult to find good vegetarian food in smaller towns. But metropolitan cities like Berlin have a thriving culture of veganism and a vegan diet, with plant-based foods sold everywhere from Michelin-starred restaurants to market stalls. It is worth noting that this is rapidly spreading across the country, but rural areas may take longer to implement. And Mediterranean restaurants have more options as you might think. While farmers' markets, where you can find fresh seasonal and organic fruits, can be great places to go for a picnic. The majority of supermarkets now cater largely to non-meat-eaters.

Eat in restaurants on a small budget

 If you are on a limited budget, look for Imbiss, which are cheap snack bars, and you can often find them in any busy street, train station or market, and they can even be found in parking lots. There are some misconceptions about sausages but some are true. Germans actually eat quite a bit of sausage with local favorites such as Blutwurst black pudding in Cologne and Currywurst in Berlin. Places serving a variety of international cuisines are another great source of affordable food in expensive cities. Thus, kebab shops and Chinese fast food are no longer the only options available. If you ask around, you might be directed to a bistro that serves chilli stew, pasta arrabbiata or brilliantly spiced Thai curries straight from the frying pan, for just a few euros.

language in Germany

Berlin is a melting pot of cultures and languages ​​from Spanish to Arabic, and the majority of people speak English, but this is not always the case across the country. Knowing a few basic phrases will help you avoid feeling completely lost, and phrasebooks and phone apps are useful in this case. The signs are in German, of course, so it helps to know some basic terms like Damen (women), Herren (men), Apotheke (pharmacy) and Polizei (police).

be cerfull! And know that it is not a good idea to carry on a conversation in English out loud and think that the people next to you will not understand what you are saying. But it is likely that many Germans will easily understand what you are saying and may not like your comment.

The need to reduce noise

German author Kurt Tucholsky said that “there are many types of noise, but silence is only one.” Es gibt vielerlei Lärm. Aber es gibt nur eine Stille

Where Germans prefer peace and quiet, and that is of course, with the exception of punk bands, motorcycles and carnivals. Several regions of the country generally enjoy quiet hours, as there is supposed to be less noise between 10 pm and 6 am throughout the day on Sundays, and after lunch (mitajsruhe) in certain areas.

Noisy gatherings, playing the violin, or repairing the house during these hours can cause you trouble, and you may receive complaints from neighbors. And it's important to note that for most tourists, Germans are less tolerant of train and bus noise (even if you're not traveling in a decidedly quiet vehicle). In addition, laughing and talking loudly, especially in a foreign language, may make them stare at you, and you can get direct feedback from them.

Go on out-of-town tours

If you want to immerse yourself in the nightlife, creativity and festivals, then the big metropolitan cities like Berlin and Munich are the perfect choice for you. Germany is a land of hidden wonders and beauties, there is so much to discover and see from the mysterious Black Forest to fairy tale castles dotted across the countryside. You will be able to rent a car if you have a valid EU driving license or other approved driving licence; Citizens of most countries are allowed to keep their current license for six months after registering their residence in Germany. Alternatively, you can plan your trip using the German rail system, which is fast and efficient. A modest half-hour train ride from Berlin will take you through lakes and forests to Potsdam and its quaint castles. A two-hour rail journey from Munich will take you to the idyllic, wooded, historic town of Bamberg.

Book trains in advance in Germany

ICE express trains are very popular, with top speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph), making them the fastest way to travel between major metropolitan areas. It is worth noting that they are not cheap, and reservations can incur an additional cost (in addition to being sometimes compulsory due to limited seats for Eurail pass holders). If you have time and want to save money, a slower train or bus may be a better option. And if you book longer flights at least a week in advance, you'll get better fares (up to 50 percent off regular fares). And remember, tickets are limited, so the earlier you book and the more flexibility you have, the better. You will spend your trip staring out the window and enjoying the beautiful views, as Germany abounds with some amazing scenery: such as the Black Forest, the Bavarian Alps or the Rhine River. In conclusion, as they say in Germany: “The journey is the destination.” Der Weg ist das Ziel. So choose your destination!

You can read the following article:  What is the best time to visit the Czech city of Prague?

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