GERMANY TRAVEL GUIDE
One of the largest countries in Europe, Germany fits in right smack in the middle of the continent. And as you’ll see in this Germany travel guide, Germany is the home of so many things we know so well: beer, Oktoberfest, enchanting fairy tale villages, giant pretzels, and WWII history. It’s big and beautiful and they have a law that governs the production of beer. A LAW, I tell ya!
Germany is where we raise our beers and don’t understand a thing anyone is saying. It’s where we dance to oompa music and drink by the liter and visit castles too fantastic to be real. It’s where we hike and bike, surf on rivers and walk our weenies.
Being as big as Germany is, it has tourism destinations from top (Hamburg) to bottom (Munich) and a thousand more in between (Berlin). It’s where we eat spätzle and sauerkraut and oxtail soup and pork knuckle and… it’s all just the wurst.
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GERMANY TRAVEL GUIDE: THE BASICS
CURRENCY | Euros (Check out xe.com for the most up-to-date currency conversion–they have a mobile app too.)
TIME ZONE | Germany falls in the Central European Time zone (also known as GMT +2)
VISA / PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS | If you’re planning to spend less than 90 days in Germany/the Schengen area, you can get by using just your U.S. passport–no Visa required. (Except for all those liters of beer you’re planning on buying, ba-dum-tshh!) However, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you leave the Schengen area. It’s weird; don’t ask.
LANGUAGE(S) SPOKEN | German is the primary language spoken in Germany. Go figure.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR? | As with almost all of Europe, pick-pockets are probably your biggest safety concern though I’ve personally never experienced anything in Germany that warrants mentioning.
Obviously, always take standard safety precautions (don’t travel alone, don’t travel at night, don’t flash your wads of cash you baller you). For more information on Germany safety concerns, see this page and always pick up travel insurance before you go.
WHERE TO STAY IN GERMANY
When in Munich, I always prioritize location (either within walking distance to my favorite sites or within walking distance to a U-Bahn or S-Bahn stop). My favorite Munich hotels are:
➤ Four Points by Sheraton | Located just around the corner from the entrance to Oktoberfest and one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed at in Europe (pictured). Great included breakfast and fun bar. It’s wunderbar!
➤ Hotel Senator | Also just mere steps from Oktoberfest – kinda the most important thing when visiting a beer festival, let alone the world’s largest. Great included breakfast and fun bar. Great views of the festival!
➤ H2 München Messe | Great hotel and breakfast, within walking distance of a U-Bahn and quick ride to everything.
IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
Could I love Rothenburg ob der Tauber more? Methinks not. When I’m in Rothenburg ODT I stay at the Akzent Hotel Schranne. This place is absolutely adorable, a close walk to everything, has a phenomenal hotel restaurant and great service.
This hotel is just outside the center, around the corner from where I took that picture (too dreamy to be real, right?), and right next to the awesome medieval city walls making a wall walk immediately accessible.
I would definitely recommend staying at the Akzent Hotel Schranne if you’re looking for a great hotel in an ideal location.
If you’ve got a visit to the Stuttgart Beer Festival in your plans (it is the world’s second largest beer festival, after Oktoberfest, you know–and you totally should because it is THE FUNNEST), I highly recommend the Attimo Hotel Stuttgart.
This hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the main entrance of the Cannstatter Volksfest (aka, the Stuttgart Beer Festival) and is surrounded by many restaurants, a shopping mall for everything you forgot to pack, pharmacies for the after effects of the world’s second largest beer festival, and more.
The included breakfast here, the rooms, the service, and the lobby bar are all fantastic. I would definitely recommend staying here when in Stuttgart.
Munich, Rothenburg, and Stuttgart aren’t the only awesome place to visit in Germany though.
Germany is HUGE and packing tourism destinations out the wazoo. After you decide where in Germany you want to visit,
And don’t forget, there’s always Airbnb and I can help you save $40 on your first Airbnb stay.
Just click here to activate the no-strings discount and shop away!
GERMANY TRAVEL GUIDE: RECOMMENDED TOURS
➤ HIGHLIGHTS OF ROMANTIC GERMANY | If planning an entire trip sounds overwhelming, popular tour company Intrepid offers this 9-day tour of Germany highlighting some of Germany’s most beautiful cities. This tour includes all accommodation, in-Germany transportation, some meals, wine tastings, and your own personal, knowledgable Germany travel guide.
➤ VIATOR TOURS | If you’re just looking for day tours to various attractions in Germany, Viator is my go-to tour company. They’ve got tours for urban sightseeing and bike tours, day trips to the mountains, Christmas market tours, food tours, and every single thing in between. Their tours include pickup and dropoff and offer those from all different parts of Germany depending on your location.
➤ OKTOBERFEST TOURS | In addition to running this travel blog, I’m also a tour manager for an Oktoberfest tour company called Thirsty Swagman. Our Oktoberfest tours include all accommodation, beer tent reservations (which include food + beer), a welcome pack, and a group of full-time Oktoberfest tour guides (like myself). Take the stress out of planning your Oktoberfest trip and check out our Oktoberfest tours. (Tell them Ashley sent you!).
GERMANY TRAVEL GUIDE: PACKING ESSENTIALS
➤ GERMANY GUIDEBOOK | I’m a big believer in travel guidebooks – they’re great for historical and background information, practical information like phone numbers, addresses, and opening and closing times, as well as restaurant recommendations and pretty pictures ’cause I’m a dainty little girl. Consider them your portable Germany travel guide.
Rough Guides and Fodor’s are my personal go-to brands but Lonely Planet has their own loyal followers as well. And you can’t go wrong with Mr. Europe himself, Rick Steves.
And if you’re interested in a different kind of guidebook, check out Culture Smart! Germany. Culture Smart! guidebooks focus less on hotel recommendations and more on getting you acquainted with the local customs and culture of your destination. I LOVE these guidebooks and find them to be 100% accurate..
Besides guidebooks, here are a few more things you’ll need for your trip to Germany:
Outlets in Germany follow the typical, two-pronged European style so if you plan on plugging in any of your American electronics while you’re in Germany, you’ll need one (or, let’s be real, several) of these. I always recommend the 6-pack: for your phone, your camera, your curling iron, and your friends’ too because you know they didn’t bring one.
There’s a good chance it’s Oktoberfest that brought you to this site in the first place. You probably already know Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer and folk festival and has been for over 200 years. It takes place in September (bazinga!) each year in Munich, Germany.
BUT WHAT DO I WEAR?
The answer is YES, you ARE going to dress up! Dressing up is half (okay, maybe 3/4) of the fun of attending Oktoberfest btu deciding what to wear can be confusing at the very least if this is your first foray into Bavarian culture.
So, be sure to check out my full (and honest) guide to How to Dress for Oktoberfest — covering what to wear, how to wear it, where to buy it, what else to pack, where to tie your bow, and so. much. more.
AND WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE OTHER THINGS I DON’T KNOW?
Lucky for you, I just so happen to be a professional Oktoberfest tour guide (See kids? Your dreams really can come true!). I’ve written an entire post dedicated to the Oktoberfest questions I get asked most often. It covers where to stay, luggage storage, how to find the bathrooms, when to see the horses, which tents are the best, and SO MUCH MORE.
It’s your one-stop shop for all those unanswered Oktoberfest questions you have. And if I’ve missed something, ask me in the comments!