Best time to go: Year Round. May – September is high season.
Best for: Medieval Architecture, Museums, Oktoberfest
Germany has something interesting for everyone to see or do. Lots of cultural attractions, beautiful scenery, great cities and of course the world renowned Octoberfest to add a huge fun factor at that time of the year.
Make sure to see the German Parliament (Reichstag), re-designed by British architect Norman Foster, and the Brandenburg Gate; both potent symbols of German unity.
Stroll along part of the path of the Berlin Wall, clearly marked in the road, from the Brandenburg Gate to glitzy Potsdamer Platz, derelict during Germany`s divided years, but now restored as a modern focal point for the city.
Take the kids to Europa-Park, Germany`s biggest theme park, at Rust, near Freiburg in the southwest. For the brave it features Europe`s highest rollercoaster.
Be pampered. Germany has over 300 spas and health resorts that offer a wide range of traditional and modern treatments. The most famous spa town is Baden-Baden, in the southwest.
For up to date Health & Visa information click here
Capital: Berlin (BER)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: German. English is widely spoken and understood.
Dialling code from SA: +49
Time Zone: UTC / GMT +1 (1 hour behind South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sun in March to last Sun in Oct: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Side of the Road: Right
Plugs: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style round two-pin plugs are in use
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. For English speakers in need of a doctor and unable to reach easily a surgery or pharmacy, call 01805 321 303 (www.calladoc.com). It costs more than an average phone call but you’ll be able to discuss your symptoms in English, and receive medical advice.
Customs: Normal social courtesies. Do not address someone by their first name unless you have been invited to. When in a shop or other place of business, it is polite to say “guten tag” when entering and “auf wiedersehen” or “tschüss” when leaving. Casualwear is largely acceptable, but some restaurants, clubs and casinos may have a dress code. Punctuality is highly valued.
Local Offences / Laws: Visitors should carry a form of identification at all times. Smoking in prohibited in public places.
Duty Free: Germany is within the European Union. If you are travelling from the UK, you are entitled to buy fragrance, skincare, cosmetics, Champagne, wine, selected spirits, fashion accessories, gifts and souvenirs – all at tax-free equivalent prices. There are no allowance restrictions on these tax-free items.
If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Büsingen and the Isle of Heligoland are treated as being outside of the EU for duty-free purposes. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg of tobacco.
• 10L of spirits over 22%, 20L of alcoholic beverages less than 22%, 90L of wine (no more than 60L of sparkling wine) and 110L of beer.
If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Germany by travellers over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 4L of wine and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume.
• Other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers and €300 for other travellers (reduced to €175 for children under 15).
Prohibited Imports: Unauthorised firearms and ammunition, unapproved fireworks, unconstitutional literature, pornography which is violent or involves children, any food considered a health hazard, narcotics, dangerous dogs, endangered species and counterfeit goods.