Home
Destinations
Cruising
Pics
Tips

Berchtes-
gaden

Breisach

Cologne

Fussen

Garmisch

Heidelberg

Kiel

Koblenz

Munich

Passau

Rhine Gorge

Rudesheim

GERMANY

Return to Europe
Cologne Cathedral, Germany
Cologne Cathedral © Can Stock Photo Inc. / pzurek

Germany is officially known as the Federal Republic of Germany.  In addition to having port access to the North Sea, Germany is bordered by Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.   As part of the Economic Union, travelers can now pass these borders without visas or customs inspections. Germany has a population of over 80 million.  The capital and largest city is Berlin.  The Rhine River flows from the Alps, north-northwest through Germany until it reaches the sea in the Netherlands.  The Rhine is popular for river crusing, as is the Moselle River.

Germany was founded by Germanic tribes around 100AD.  It was subsequently part of the Roman Empire and later was a center for Protestant Reformation.  After the end of Hitler's domination of Europe in 1945, the country was divided.  It was reunified after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.   Germany is now one of the economic leaders in the world.

Visas:

Germany participates in the Schengen Zone and Schengen Visa requirements.  That means there are no border controls between members and no border inspections by rail or vehicle when traveling from Germany to Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium or the Netherlands.  That makes it easy to leave Germany by train no matter what direction you are heading.  Some countries that are not members of the Schengen Zone require a Schengen Visa to enter Europe.  More than 40 countries outside the Schengen Zone do not require a visa.  Exemptions include citizens of Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Check your specific country at VisaHQ.  For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.

Language

German has influenced many words in the English language, but it is very different than the Romance languages such as Italian, French and Spanish. The umlaut above the "u" in "ü" isn't easy to adapt to on some keyboards. It has become commonplace to use "ue" for "ü". The same applies to German passports. So expect to find Munich under Muechen on the Eurail bahn.de web site even though you will see it spelled München when you actually arrive and expect the Müller's to have a passport that says Mueller.

Currency:

As a member of the European Union, Germany participates fully in the use of the Euro since 2002.  The Deutsche Mark is a thing of the past.

Weather:

The climate near the sea is moderated, being cool in summer and not extremely cold in winter.  Areas to the east experience more more variation in temperatures, while to the south the Alps generate the most extreme variation between summer and winter.  As with the rest of Europe, the summer months are the most popular for tourism.

Best Time to Visit Germany:

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 Bertesgaden

         X  X  X  X  X      

 Breisach

             X  X        

 Cologne

               X        

 Fussen

         X        X      

 Garmisch

 Ski  Ski      X        X      Ski

 Heidelberg

             X  X        

 Koblenz

             X  X        

 Munich

             X  X        

 Passau

             X  X        

 Rudesheim

             X  X        


View Germany map