Horseback riding in Germany

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Equestrian tours in Germany

Germany Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide

Overview

Wherever you venture in Germany, there is something interesting to see or do. It is a goldmine for the adventurous tourist in search of something different to the norm.

The country has now firmly shaken off the shadows of its 20th century past, regained a sense of national pride, and breathed a sigh of relief at its new-found ability to express its distinctive national character again.

Modern Germany has come of age, and while it is still suffering the economic consequences of reunification in October 1990, Europe's most populous country is clearly a nation coming to terms with itself. Massive investment in the long-neglected infrastructure of the former East is paying off, as cities like Dresden once more begin to shine like the jewels they were in the past.

The country is the product of a long history of division, first as a loose collection of independent (and often warring) states before original unification during the 19th century, and latterly as West and communist East Germany following WWII.

For this reason alone, it is a country of remarkable diversity, with cultural differences clearly evident as one travels around the various states that make up the modern Federal Republic.

Germany boasts a heady mix of history and nature, fine arts and youthful rebellion. Its capital, Berlin, has a reputation gained from its decades as a divided city, as a hedonistic, ‘on the edge' community where almost anything goes. In contrast, the quiet academic surroundings of historic university cities like Heidelberg, convey a peacefulness quite at odds with the atmosphere of the capital.

 

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

1

Visa Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

Return Ticket Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

 

Passports

Passport valid for length of stay required by all nationals referred to in the chart above except:
1. EU nationals holding a valid national ID card. 

If travelling from one border-free Schengen country to another however, EU nationals are not required to show a passport or national ID card. It is still recommended that you travel with your passport or ID card to prove your identity if necessary though. Note that Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK are not part of the Schengen area, so a passport or ID card is required if travelling to/from these countries.

EU nationals are not required to possess a return ticket or show sufficient funds.

Passport Note

Germany is a signatory to the 1995 Schengen Agreement.

Visas

Not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for the following durations:
(a) nationals of EU countries for an unlimited period;
(b) nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA for stays not exceeding 90 days in a six-month period; stay begins when nationals enter any of the Schengen countries.

Note:
Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).

 

Money

Currency

Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Cheques are very rarely used.

Currency Exchange

Foreign currencies and traveller's cheques can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change, post offices, airports, railway stations, ports and major hotels at the official exchange rates.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

These are widely accepted in most shops, petrol stations, restaurants and hotels. All major credit cards are accepted, but it is advisable to carry cash as well.

Traveller's Cheques

Generally provide the best rate of exchange. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars. Visitors are advised to have their traveller's cheques exchanged at bureaux de change as banks often refuse to change them and they are not accepted as payment in stores.

Banking Hours

Generally Mon-Fri 0830-1300 and 1400-1600, Thurs 0830-1300 and 1430-1730 in main cities. Main branches do not close for lunch. Bureaux de change in airports and main railway stations are open 0600-2200.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

June 1

£1.00=

€1.29

$1.00=

€0.89

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

No

Hepatitis A

No

Rabies

No

Malaria

No

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

No

Yellow Fever

No

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

Other Risks

Tick-borne encephalitis is present in forested areas of southern Germany; vaccination is advisable. 

During the summer months, sunburn can be a problem. The southwest generally draws the highest temperatures. The usual precautions apply: use a generous amount of sunscreen and be sensible about how long you spend in direct sunlight. Be aware that a breezy day can sometimes mask high temperatures.

If walking over a long distance in warm weather, it’s advisable to drink – and carry – plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing, including a sun hat. Blisters can be another problem for hikers. These can often occur if new walking shoes are being worn across a long distance. Ideally footwear should be worn in before the trip.

As a counterpoint to the balminess of the summer, German winters can be fairly severe. This is generally truer the further east you travel. If you’re arriving during the coldest months of the year, ensure you have adequate clothing. At any time of year, in fact, temperatures can be unpredictable – even in July and August, it makes sense to have a sweater (and maybe a brolly too) to hand.

Other health problems that inexperienced travellers might reasonably encounter are the various knock-on effects of too much alcohol consumption. The risk, unsurprisingly, is particularly prevalent among those attending Munich’s Oktoberfest. Be aware that some beer’s ABV levels can be 6 or 7%, so should be treated with respect.

Health Care

For European visitors who are taken ill or have an accident during a visit to Germany, free or reduced-cost necessary treatment is available – in most cases on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). For non-EEA citizens, insurance is highly recommended. 

The emergency telephone number is 112 – this should be used for requesting an ambulance (Krankenwagen). 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. 

The overall standards of healthcare in Germany are, in most cases, excellent. Hospitals and surgeries are well equipped and staff are proficient. In pharmacies, over-the-counter advice is given and standard medicines are sold. In major cities, you’ll usually find at least one 24-hour pharmacy. Elsewhere, most stay open until 1830 on weekdays, opening on Saturday mornings but remaining closed on Sundays. Many pharmacists speak English. 

The German obsession with spa waters has been well documented, and significant numbers of people still swear by their restorative health qualities. You should be able to sample them for yourself at any town with Bad or Baden in its title. The city of Baden-Baden in the Black Forest translates literally as ‘Baths-Baths’.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Lufthansa (LH) (website: www.lufthansa.com).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Frankfurt/M is 1 hour 30 minutes, and from New York is 8 hours 30 minutes.

Main Airports

Frankfurt/M (FRA) (Rhein/Main) (website: www.airportcity-frankfurt.com) is Germany's major air transport hub, 13km (8 miles) southwest of the city. To/from the airport: Regular buses connect the airport with the city centre (main railway station). S-Bahn (website: www.rmv.de) rail lines S8 and S9 go to the city's main rail station (Hauptbahnhof) from directly beneath the Terminal 1 arrival hall (journey time - around 15 minutes). S8 also goes directly to Mainz and Wiesbaden (journey time - 40 minutes). Intercity ICE trains also stop at the airport station. Taxis are available around the clock (journey time to city centre - 20-30 minutes). Facilities: Left luggage, medical facilities, duty-free shops, banks, restaurants, bars, conference rooms, post office, tourist information and car hire.

Berlin-Tegel (TXL) (website: www.berlin-airport.de) is Berlin's international airport, located 8km (5 miles) northwest of the city centre (journey time - 25 minutes). To/from the airport: Buses go to the city every 5 to 10 minutes from 0500-2400. Facilities: Duty-free shop, banks/bureaux de change, left luggage, 24-hour medical facilities, post office, restaurant, bars, tourist information, conference rooms and car hire.

Munich (MUC) (Franz Joseph Strauss) (website: www.munich-airport.de) is 28.5km (18 miles) northeast of the city (journey time - 45 minutes). To/from the airport: Direct links with the S-Bahn S8 and S1 run every 10 minutes from Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) from 0330-0030. The Airport City Bus runs every 20 minutes from 0700-1930 to the Hauptbahnhof and every 30 minutes from 0800-2100; further bus services are available. Coach Oberbayern runs every 10 minutes to the city centre. Facilities: Duty-free shop, left luggage, 24-hour medical facilities, snack bar, restaurants, post office, banks, conference centre, car hire and bars. The airport also has a Visitors' Park, an aircraft simulator, cinema and a play area.

Departure Tax

None

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Bremen (website: www.keyports.de), Bremerhaven (website: www.bremen-ports.de), Hamburg (website: www.hafen-hamburg.de), Rostock (website: www.rostock-port.de) and Kiel (website: www.port-of-kiel.de).

The following shipping lines serve routes to Germany (via other countries) from the UK:
DFDS Seaways (tel: 0871 522 9955, in the UK; website: www.dfds.co.uk): Newcastle-Amsterdam.
Stena Line (tel: 0870 570 7070, in the UK; website: www.stenaline.com): Harwich-Hook of Holland, Gothenburg-Kiel.
P&O Ferries (tel: 0870 598 0333, in the UK; website: www.poferries.com): Dover-Calais, Hull-Rotterdam, Hull-Zeebrugge.
SeaFrance (tel. 0871 663 2546, in the UK; website: www.seafrance.com): Dover-Calais.
Norfolkline (tel: 0870 870 1020, in the UK; website: www.norfolkline.com): Dover-Dunkerque.
Superfast Ferries (tel: 0870 234 0870, in the UK; website: www.superfast.com): Rosyth-Zeebrugge, Helsinki-Rostock.

Ferry connections also exist from Germany to Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, and the Russian Federation.

Getting There by Rail

Germany's rail network is operated by Deutsche Bahn (tel: 11861; website: www.bahn.de).

Eurostar: If travelling from the UK, Eurostar operates direct high-speed trains from London (St Pancras International) and Ashford International to Paris (Gare du Nord) and to Brussels (Midi/Zuid). It takes 2 hours 15 minutes from London to Paris (via Lille) and 1 hour 51 minutes to Brussels. For further information and reservations, contact Eurostar (tel: 0870 518 6186, in the UK, or +44 1233 617 575, outside the UK; a £5 booking fee applies to telephone bookings; website: www.eurostar.com); from Brussels, there are direct connections to Cologne and Frankfurt, and onward high speed trains to all major German centres. With opening of the TGV Est line in 2007, journey time between Paris and Frankfurt has been cut to less than four hours.

There are excellent connections between Germany and other main European cities. For more information, contact Deutsche Bahn in the UK (tel: 0871 880 8066; website: www.bahn.co.uk).

Rail Passes

InterRail: offers unlimited first- or second-class travel in up to 30 European countries for European residents of over six months with two pass options. The Global Pass allows travel for 22 days, one month, five days in 10 days or 10 days in 22 days across all countries. The One-Country Pass offers travel for three, four, six or eight days in one month in any of the countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Travel is not allowed in the passenger's country of residence. Travellers under 26 years receive a reduction. Children's tickets are reduced by about 50%. Supplements are required for some high-speed services, seat reservations and couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar and some ferry routes. Available from Rail Europe (website: www.raileurope.co.uk/inter-rail).

Eurailpass:
offers unlimited first-class train travel in 17 European countries. Tickets are valid for 15 days, 21 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months. Available from The Eurail Group (website: www.eurail.com).

Getting There by Road

Germany is connected to all surrounding countries by a first-class network of motorways and trunk roads.

The Channel Tunnel: Eurotunnel (tel: 0870 535 3535, in the UK; website: www.eurotunnel.com) runs shuttle trains for all types of vehicles between Folkestone in Kent, and Calais. Vehicles are carried through the tunnel in shuttle trains running between the two terminals. Passenger terminal buildings contain a variety of shops, restaurants, bureaux de change and other amenities. The journey takes about 35 minutes from platform to platform and around 1 hour from motorway to motorway. There are up to four passenger shuttles per hour at peak times, 24 hours per day and services run every day of the year. Passengers pass through customs and immigration before they board, with no further checks on arrival. Tickets may be purchased in advance from the travel agents, or from Eurotunnel Customer Services in France or the UK with a credit card.

Coach: There are numerous and excellent road links with all neighbouring countries. Eurolines (tel: 0870 580 8080, in the UK; website: www.eurolines.com) runs regular coach services from the UK to Germany. Passes: Travellers can book a 15- or 30-day pass.

 

Climate

Temperate throughout the country with warm summers and cold winters, but prolonged periods of frost or snow are rare. Rain falls throughout the year. The average January daytime temperature is 3°C (38°F) and in July is 22°C (72°F). Extremes commonly reach -10°C (5°F) in winter and 35°C (95°F) in the summer months.

Required Clothing

European clothes with light- to mediumweight in summer, medium- to heavyweights in winter.

 

Contacts

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in the UK

23 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PZ, UK
Tel: (020) 7824 1300 (general enquiries).
Website: www.london.diplo.de 
Opening times: Mon-Fri by appointment only.

German National Tourist Office in the UK

PO Box 2695, London W1A 3TN, UK
Tel: (020) 7317 0908.
Website: www.germany-tourism.co.uk

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in the USA

4645 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Tel: (202) 298 4000/ 4224 (visa enquiries) / Passport queries: (202) 471 5529 .
Website: www.germany.info 
Opening times: Mon-Fri 0830-1130.Visa and passport applications by appointment only.

German National Tourist Office in the USA

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 2000, New York, NY 10168, USA 
Tel: (212) 661 7200.
Website: www.cometogermany.com 

Embassy of Germany in the UK

Telephone:
(020) 7824 1300
Website:
http://www.london.diplo.de

Opening times:
Mon-Fri by appointment only.



 

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