Germany is a country with a rich history and a brilliant present. It is one of the world’s leading economies, but it is also a country that honours history. Here everyone can find a place that suits them. It is home to open, friendly and independent people who are happy to introduce you to their homeland. Welcome to Germany, it is waiting for you!
Germany on the map
Where is Germany?
Germany is a state practically in the centre of Europe. It is characterized by a wide variety of natural landscapes.
In the north, the territory of Germany is a flat lowland. Here it borders Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. In the north-west the German coast is washed by the North Sea of the Atlantic Ocean, in the north-east – by the Baltic Sea.
In the south, the plains are replaced by high mountains. Here are the country borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic.
One of the largest rivers in Europe, the Rhine, flows through the territory of the republic. In Germany, it is also the source of another major river – the Danube.
Safety for tourists
Germany is considered one of the safest tourist destinations in Europe. There is a very strong system of law enforcement, and it is customary that tourists’ enquiries are dealt with by the police in the first instance. Street thefts and pickpockets are hardly ever feared here. Traffic is also one of the safest in the world, as Germans never break the rules.
Nevertheless, even in safe Germany, there are some places where tourists are better not to go. Thus, local authorities recommend not to visit the neighbourhoods where immigrants from African and Asian countries live. Frankfurt am Main is considered the most dangerous city in the country, while Munich is the safest.
Travelling around the country, it should be remembered that during local holidays the number of offences increases. Tourists are advised to avoid crowds and street processions.
Germans have long been thought of as a pedantic, punctual and very disciplined nation, and this is certainly true. But that doesn’t mean that Germans don’t like or don’t know how to have a good time.
The country has established 8 national holidays that are celebrated very widely. Among them are both secular and church holidays. Germans celebrate New Year, Christmas, Easter, Trinity and Ascension. They also celebrate National Unity Day on 3 October.
Each state in the country has the right to set additional holiday weekends.
There are also many colourful holidays and festivals in the country, attracting not only locals but also tourists. The most famous and popular among them is Oktoberfest, which takes place in Munich from the second half of September to early October.
Fun things to do in Germany
If you exclude beach holidays, for which few people come to the country, Germany can offer tourists a lot of other activities that will satisfy the most refined taste.
- Visiting historical sights and museums. The most popular are Cologne Cathedral, castles of Bavaria, Berlin with its architectural monuments and many other iconic historical sites.
- Amusement Parks. The most popular place in the country is considered to be the famous «Europa-Park» in the city of Rust. This amusement park is visited by almost as many tourists as Disneyland in Paris. Berlin Zoo also attracts tourists.
- Natural attractions. Germany has many beautiful national parks and simply natural wonders. Many stories are told about the Bavarian Forest, about the island of Mainau on Lake Constance, about the white rocks of the Jasmund peninsula. And also in Germany very picturesque, forested mountains, on the tops of which stand medieval castles.
- Festivals. Who hasn’t heard of the famous Oktoberfest in Bavaria? More than 6 million tourists visit this cheerful holiday every year to experience the national flavour and just have a good time. And then there is Cologne Carnival, Berlin Film Festival, music festivals.
- Restaurants and pubs. German cuisine is famous for its colour and unusual taste, which can satisfy any gourmet. There are many exquisite, expensive restaurants, but there are also ordinary cafés or pubs. The famous Hofbräuhaus beer house in Munich, which is visited by 1.5 million beer lovers every year, should be singled out among them.
- Thematic routes. To popularize the country’s history and local attractions, several hiking and transport routes have been created, including the Fairy Tale Road, the German Wine Route, the Castle Road and many others.
- Ski resorts. Having high mountains on its territory, Germany could not stay away from winter sports. Tourists can go skiing and snowboarding in the resorts of the Limestone Alps, Ore Mountains, Harz and others.
- Sailing. The famous sailing regatta in Kiel and its accompanying events attract 3 million tourists each year. This major sailing event takes place in late July and early August.
- Shopping. Germany is renowned for its high-quality goods, both in the food and electronics industries. But besides that, the country holds regular fairs, for example, Frankfurt Book Fair, which is visited by more than 300 thousand people every year. The Cologne Trade Fair, specialising in computer games, is also gaining popularity.
What’s important to know about Germany
If you are planning to visit Germany, here are some of the most important things to know:
The official language of the country is German. It is the mother tongue of the 70 million Germans living directly in Germany. But German is also the official language in five other countries: Austria, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
German is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is spoken by more than 90 million people in Europe alone. At the same time, in Germany itself there are more than 10 dialects, predominantly spread in the border regions.
Currently, the country is home to just over 80 million people. According to this indicator, Germany ranks first in Europe, except for Turkey and Russia. At the same time, 90 per cent of the population lives in urban areas and only 10 per cent in rural areas. The country has four million-strong cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne.
The vast majority of the population is ethnic German. Other national groups are represented in the country in insignificant numbers: Turks are just over 1.8%, Poles, Syrians and Romanians 1% each, other nationalities even less.
More facts about Germans, their character and local colour can be found in this article.
Currently, the national currency of Germany is the euro. The country is the leading EU country in terms of GDP and other indicators and is a pillar of the EU economy.
The transition to the euro took place in 2002, and before that the German mark was in circulation in the country.
German euro coins are characterised by three symbols: the eagle, the oak leaf and the Brandenburg Gate. Commemorative coins of interest to collectors are also regularly issued.
Germany is considered a secular state. Freedom of religion is legally established here, and the church has long been separated from the state.
Historically, there are many Christians in the country. They are about 50 per cent. In second place, which is also not surprising for this progressive country, are atheists. They are about 40% of the population.
The Muslim and Jewish communities are insignificant in number.
Interestingly, the Christians themselves in the country are divided into two almost equal groups. Half of them are Catholics, the other half are Lutherans. Orthodox Christians are represented to an insignificant extent.
The proximity to the sea in the west and to the mountains in the south makes Germany’s climate unique in Europe. To the north is a temperate maritime climate, which to the east changes to a continental climate. And in the south there are areas characterised by altitudinal belt.
Because of this, Germany’s weather is notorious for its variability. Today it can be hot and dry, and tomorrow there will be torrential rains and sharply cold. You should always be prepared for rain in Germany, regardless of the season.
The average temperature in July in the flat part of the country is +22 degrees. Sometimes the heat can reach record highs of +30-35 degrees, but the proximity of the sea smooths out temperature fluctuations and makes them milder. In the mountains, July is cooler and the average temperature stays around +15 degrees.
Winters in Germany are mild, with frequent snowfall or rain. In most parts of the country the average temperature is +5 degrees, in the mountains -5. The absolute record of negative temperatures was recorded in the middle of the last century in the mountains and was -46 degrees.
Germany is not considered a pleasant country for beach holidays, as the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are quite cold. Even the Germans themselves prefer to holiday in Mediterranean resorts or in the tropics. Nevertheless, there are several beaches that are rarely empty, although tourists prefer sunbathing to swimming.
The water temperature in the North Sea, even in summer, rarely rises above +18 degrees Celsius. And in winter it drops to +5, which makes bathing in it impossible.
There is a similar situation on the beaches of the Baltic Sea. There in summer the water barely warms up to +20, and in winter it also drops to +5.
The bathing season in Germany is short and lasts from June to early September.
The situation with natural disasters in Germany is relatively favourable. The country is located on the ancient Eurasian plate, where no serious tectonic movements have been observed for a long time. Therefore, catastrophic earthquakes have not occurred here for a very long time. Although small tremors are felt from time to time, especially in the mountainous areas. There are also no active volcanoes in the region.
The sea coasts of the country often suffer from storms and hurricanes, the most powerful of which penetrate into the continental areas, accompanied by strong winds and heavy precipitation. As a result, severe flooding is not uncommon in the country.
Prolonged droughts often cause severe forest fires. Forests in mountainous areas have been burning especially often recently, which is attributed to the general climate change.
Avalanches, landslides and rockfalls are possible in the mountains.
You can read about the most devastating disasters in German history in this article.
Germany is a parliamentary republic. Its formal head, the president, fulfils rather representative functions, and all real power is concentrated in the hands of the chancellor, the chairman of the government. The chancellor and the government represent the executive branch of power.
The legislative branch is represented by the parliament, here called the Bundestag.
Germany is a federal country. It consists of 16 states, the subjects of the federation.
Major cities and resorts
Berlin is the capital and the most populous city of the republic. It is home to almost 4 million people. It is not only the centre of political and financial life of the country, but also a city with beautiful architecture and numerous historical monuments. Tourists are attracted here by the famous Brandenburg Gate, ancient churches and cathedrals, city hall, opera house and palaces.
Munich is the third most populous city in Germany and the capital of the federal state of Bavaria. It is home to more than 1.5 million people. There are also many old buildings and churches, museums and theatres. The English Park in Munich is considered one of the largest in the world. The capital of Bavaria is also known for its cultural traditions.
Bremen is a city with a population of 550 thousand people, known for the famous fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. There is even a monument dedicated to the Bremen musicians, from which the tourist trail «German Fairy Tale Road» starts. In the city, tourists are also attracted by the Gothic Town Hall and the statue of Roland, located on the Market Square.
Dresden is a city with a population of 540 thousand people, which is also called «Florence on the Elbe» for the beauty of ancient architecture. Here you will find a world-famous art gallery and many castles and palaces.
Baden-Baden is a famous German resort, where representatives of creative intelligentsia at the turn of XIX-XX centuries liked to go to have a rest. The town is famous for its thermal springs, which were used by the ancient Romans.
Symbols of Germany
The eagle symbolises the strength and power of the German lands. It is believed that it was borrowed by Germany from the Romans, because the eagle was the symbol of the legions.
Oak – is considered a symbol of loyalty and steadfastness, uniting the disparate German lands into a single state.
Brandenburg Gate – another symbol of Germany’s unification, but already belonging to the end of the XX century, when the FRG and GDR became one country.
Beer is the national drink of the republic. Germans love their beer so much that several popular festivals are dedicated to it, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Sheepdog is a German breed of guard and service dogs, which has been invariably popular all over the world for several centuries. These large and handsome animals have long been man’s helpers and now rarely guard herds, but often serve as police, customs or border guards.
How to get to Germany
Germany is very easy to get to from any country in the world. The country’s transport infrastructure is one of the most advanced and technically equipped in the world.
There are 15 international airports in the country, and Lufthansa is considered one of the largest and most reliable airlines in the world. Air traffic connects the largest cities of Germany with most countries of all continents. Berlin airport alone can accommodate up to 46 million tourists a year.
The country’s motorways, the autobahns, also remain above reproach. These high-speed highways make it easy to reach any corner of the republic and connect it with all neighbouring countries. You can come here both by buses and tourist buses, and by private car.
Another mode of transport to reach the country is the railway. More than 33 thousand kilometres of railway tracks have been built in Germany. Regular routes connect it with all neighbouring countries.
Finally, you can get to Germany by sea. The largest ports of the country: Hamburg, Lübeck, Bremen and others, annually receive thousands of cruise liners.
More than 130 million people visit Germany every year by different ways, which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
How much money to take with you
Germany cannot be called a cheap country for tourists, although it is often quite inexpensive to get there. This is due to its location and accessibility by any means of transport.
But the prices inside the country are very high. Counting on a holiday in Germany, it should be borne in mind that the lion’s share of expenses will have to be on transport and food. People go to Germany to see as many historical places as possible, which means they have to travel a lot around the country. For 7 days travelling by bus, train, metro and other means of transport can cost 300 euros for two people.
Another 400 will have to pay for meals in restaurants and groceries. Do not ignore the purchase of souvenirs and visiting attractions and paid events.
Total holiday for 7 days for two people can cost 1500 euros. And this will still be the minimum amount. More comfortably you can spend time in the country having from 2500 to 5000 thousand euros for two.
If you have already visited this country, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all in the country, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!