Germany

First Time

Are you visiting Germany for the first time? Then you have come to the right place!

Germany is a country that has something for everyone. Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, or a nature lover, Germany has it all.

Even as Germans, we are blown away by our country’s beauty, culture, and history. From the bustling cities to the charming villages, Germany offers a unique experience.

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What to prepare for your first trip to Germany?

Before embarking on our trip to Germany, there are a few important things to consider. In this section, we will cover getting your visa, booking your accommodation and packing essentials.

Getting Your Visa

Depending on our country of origin, you may need a visa to enter Germany as a tourist. It is important to check the visa requirements and apply for the appropriate visa well in advance of our trip. Your embassy or consulate in our home country can provide you with the necessary information and application forms.

What to pack for Germany?

When packing for our trip to Germany, you should consider the weather and activities you have planned. In general, Germany has a temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters. You may want to bring lightweight and versatile clothing for the summer months and warm layers for the winter.

Other essentials to pack include a power adapter for our electronic devices*, comfortable walking shoes, a waterproof jacket or umbrella, and a travel-sized toiletry kit.

It is also a good idea to bring a small backpack or daypack to carry our essentials while exploring the city.

But don’t worry: There are plentiful clothing stores if you have forgotten something! We have complied several packing lists, so you are fully prepared for your vacation in Germany.

Booking Your Accommodation

Booking our accommodation in advance can save us time and money. There are many options available, from hotels and hostels to apartments and vacation rentals (= „Ferienwohnungen“). Websites like Booking.com*, Airbnb, and Expedia can help us find the best deals and reviews from other travelers.

When choosing our accommodation, it is important to consider factors such as location, amenities, and price. You may want to stay in a central location to be close to the main attractions, or in a quieter neighborhood for a more peaceful experience.

Please note that air-condition is not a standard in Germany. So if you want an air-condition (=Klimaanlage) you need to clearly check if your hotel room has one.

We book all our hotels in Germany with booking.com*

Getting Around Germany

Germany has an extensive public transportation network, including buses, trains, and trams. You can purchase tickets at ticket machines located at most stations or online. If you are taking the local trams, it is important to validate your ticket before boarding and to keep it with you throughout your journey.

If you plan on driving in Germany, we will need to obtain a valid and international driver’s license. If you are from the US, it is important to note that we do not count in miles but in kilometers.

Germany

best places to visit for the first time

When exploring Germany for the first time, there are tons of sights to see.

Here are some of our favorite places to see in Germany when you are a first time visitor:

Best places to visit in Germany for the first time

Germany is full of landmarks, natural wonders, and historic sites as well as WWII memorials.

When coming for the first time, you want to put those sights on your bucket list:

  • Brandenburg Gate & Berlin Wall in Berlin
  • Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria
  • Füssen
  • Munich
  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  • Cologne Cathedral
  • Black Forest
  • Dachau
  • The Zugspitze Mountain

Keep on reading here

German dishes you need to try

German dishes you need to try when visiting for the first time:

  • Schnitzel
  • Currywurst
  • Klöße
  • Sauerkraut
  • Spätzle
  • Brezel (Pretzels)
  • Black Forest Cake
  • Beer (Germany is famous for its beer)

10 Beverages you need to try

Germany is famous for its beer, and trying a variety of local brews is a must-do when visiting.

However, there are also other beverages to try, such as Apfelwein (apple wine), Glühwein (mulled wine), Radler (lemon beer) and Riesling wine.

For non-alcoholic options, try the refreshing and tangy Berliner Weisse or the classic German hot chocolate, known as Heiße Schokolade.

Experiencing German Culture

Germany has a rich history and culture that is worth exploring. Some of the best ways to experience German culture include:

  • Visiting the Christmas markets (especially in Nuremberg and Munich)
  • Attending Oktoberfest in Munich
  • Exploring the museums and galleries in Berlin
  • Taking a river cruise on the Rhine
  • Attending a classical music concert in Hamburg

Tips for your first trip to germany

When traveling to Germany for the first time, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:

Language Barrier Solutions

While many Germans speak English, it’s always a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in German.

This can help you navigate public transportation, order food at restaurants, and interact with locals.

Some useful phrases to know include:

  • Guten Tag (Good day)
  • Danke (Thank you)
  • Bitte (Please)
  • Entschuldigung (Excuse me)
  • Sprechen Sie Englisch? (Do you speak English?)

If you’re still having trouble communicating, consider downloading a translation app such as Google Translate or carrying a pocket dictionary with you.

Money Matters: Cash is king in Germany

Germany uses the euro (EUR) as its currency. While credit cards are accepted in larger cities, it’s always a good idea to carry cash with you, especially if you plan to visit smaller towns or rural areas. ATMs are widely available, but be aware that some may charge fees for withdrawals.

It’s also important to note that tipping in Germany is generally less common than in other countries. While it’s always appreciated, it’s not expected to leave a large tip at restaurants or for taxi rides. A small tip of around 5-10% is usually sufficient.

And as Germans we can say, we only tip when we have been satisfied with the service, if there have been hick-ups with the service crew, it is ok that you do not leave a tip.

But please consider giving feedback to the staff if something happened which made you unsatisfied.

Etiquette and Customs

Germans value punctuality (A LOT!). German punctuality means that you are actually not on time but rather 10 minutes early. In fact it is a matter of respect to show up on time for appointments and meetings.

Also Germans value personal space. You will probably notice that people in public do not stand very close to each other.

When greeting someone, it’s customary to shake hands and make eye contact. It’s also polite to say „Guten Appetit“ (enjoy your meal) before eating, and „Prost“ (cheers) before drinking.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a successful and enjoyable trip to Germany.

10 day itinerary for first timers

  • Start in the bustling Berlin
  • Discover the East of Germany in Dresden
  • Explore the German history in Nuremberg
  • Head to to Munich and see Neuschwanstein
  • Discover the romantic city of Heidelberg
  • Enjoy the lively bar-scene in Cologne
  • End your trip in Northern Germany in Hamburg

First time in Germany: 10 – Day Itinerary

Embark on a 10-day journey through Germany, starting in the bustling capital of Berlin.

Discover the vibrant history of the East in Dresden, with its stunning architecture and cultural treasures.

Immerse yourself in the romantic atmosphere of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of Germany’s most picturesque towns.

Head to Munich to marvel at Neuschwanstein Castle and explore the city’s Bavarian charm.

Experience the enchantment of Heidelberg’s ancient castle and stroll along its idyllic streets. In Cologne, visit the awe-inspiring cathedral and indulge in the city’s vibrant arts scene.

Finally, end your trip in the dynamic city of Hamburg, exploring its maritime heritage and modern attractions.

This itinerary offers a diverse and enriching experience of Germany’s rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture.

Germany

Frequently asked questions

We answer the most common questions about Germany

Germany is located in the heart of Europe.

Yes, you can visit Germany without speaking German. English is taught in school and many Germans speak English. Download a translation app in case you are travelling to smaller villages.

Germany has a lot to offer! If you are a history buff and like castles, bustling cities like Berlin or mountains, then you will find many great places in Germany to visit.

If you are visiting Germany for the first time, we can reccomend our 10 day itinerary for first timers including Berlin, Munich, Neuschwanstein, Heidelberg. See the itinerary here: 10 day itinerary for Germany

Germany is safe to travel. But of course as everywhere: Trust your guts, don’t leave your valuables unattended.