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How to Plan an Amazing Trip to Germany

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If you have never been to Germany and want to plan a trip, you are in luck! Germany has a lot of sights to see and things to do. You will not run out of options anytime soon. Moreover, the country is easily accessible via plane or train. Here is how to plan a trip to Germany.

A trip to Germany can be exciting and confusing, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. Therefore, you must plan everything. I am sure you are excited about your trip to Germany as it’s one of the most visited countries in the world. If you want to plan a trip there, you have come to the right place!

This guide will help you with everything you need to consider while planning your trip to Germany. It will ensure you do not miss anything and have a smooth experience.

If this is not your first trip to Germany, read this informative article until the end. It offers advice on exploring more than just Berlin and other famous German cities – you might learn something new! Either way, I will attempt to get you as prepared as possible so that you can maximize your enjoyment.

Plan a Trip to Germany: Important Points

Aerial view of Drachenburg Castle's turrets and rooftops
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

As much as I’d like to, I cannot go over every little detail about the perfect plan for a German trip in this article, but I will discuss the most important things.

1. Passport & Visa Requirements

Well-Travelled US Passport with International Entry and Exit Stamps
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Before you plan a trip to Germany, you must learn the passport and visa requirements. If you are a citizen of a Schengen member state, you can travel to Germany without obtaining a Visa. As per the Schengen Agreement of 1985, people of member countries get a waiver on visa charges.

Currently, Germany offers a visa-waiver program to citizens of 62 countries. They can stay in Germany for 90 days within six months.

If you do not belong to the abovementioned countries, get a visa first. Since you are visiting Germany as a tourist, you can apply for a tourist/visitor short-stay visa. It allows you to stay in Germany for 90 days within six months.

Note: If you want to stay more than 90 days, apply for a national visa.

Requirements to Apply for a Tourist/Visitor Visa

  • Visa application form with complete and accurate information.
  • Two recent photos comply with the Schengen Visa photo criteria.
  • A valid passport with at least three months of validity from your departure date.
  • The passport should not be older than ten years.
  • Your passport must have at least two blank pages to affix the visa sticker.
  • A document that mentions your itinerary and round-trip reservation.
  • Proof of travel health insurance that covers medical emergencies. You can easily buy it from TravelInsurance.com.
  • Proof of flight reservation.
  • Also, you may need to show proof of accommodation in Schengen.
  • Invitation letter in case a host in Germany invites you.
  • Proof of civil status.
  • Proof of residence, such as driver’s license, utility bill, etc.

You can apply for a German visa at the official Visa Centre, the German Consulate, and the German Embassy. Apply for the Visa at least two weeks before you visit Germany. Before you plan your Germany itinerary, it is crucial to check these small yet significant details. 

See Related: What is a Passport/Travel Document Number?

2. Find Flights to Germany

Plane and Skyline

A perfect trip is when you stick to your intended budget. A flight ticket is one of the biggest travel expenses. However, booking your ticket in advance does not cost you an arm and a leg.

Booking tickets in advance is a smart move if you’re traveling to Germany during peak season. Additionally, you can correctly arrange your Germany vacation and tours with a confirmed flight. Several online tools are available to help you get cheap flights to Germany.

Going.com sends cheap flight deals directly to your email box. Just add the airports from which you want to get deals. Their team will look for good deals and send them to you as soon as possible. 

Skyscanner is another tool for finding deals on flights to Germany. It is a flight comparison search engine that compares prices with several companies so you can choose the best deal.

Depending on what place you want to visit first in Germany, you can book a flight to Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, or Dusseldorf.

3. Currency Conversion

Euro Paper Bill

Since Germany is part of the European Union, its official currency is the euro. If you visit Germany from a non-euro-using country, you must convert your currency into euros. You may exchange your money at the airport or through your local bank or post office.

There are many ATMs in Germany, just like in the U.S. and most other countries. In Germany, cash is king, and you must get some euros in cash to buy food and transportation.

Although using a bank card is quite prevalent in Europe, cash payments are sometimes the only accepted form of payment in certain German businesses, particularly restaurants.

So be prepared, and remember to convert your pounds, dollars, or krona into euros as soon as possible. For more information, check out our page about German currency.

4. Power Conversion

Two Phones Charging

Travelers often overlook power conversion. However, it is crucial, especially if you are from the United States. There is a chance that your American devices (especially ones that use heat, like curling irons) might suffer damage if you put them into a power socket in Germany. This happens because European and German power outlets have 220-volt output, while U.S. power outlets come with 110-volt power.

This might sound dangerous, but European electronics’ build quality and fail-safes are typically much better than their U.S. counterparts. The good news is that many new gadgets feature a dual-voltage system. You can plug them into 220—or 110-volt outputs without worry.

These products can recognize the difference in voltage output and operate just fine. However, some older devices do not feature dual-voltage capabilities.

As a result, you will probably need a power converter to use any electrical device that is 110 volts in Germany. For more info on this, see our page on the dangers and cautions in Germany.

See Related: Essential Women’s Travel Accessories

5. Transportation in Germany

Red commuter train arriving at Nuremberg Station at sunset
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Almost all German cities and municipalities have an excellent public transportation system. In big cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich, the transport association manages the entire transit system. 

S-Bahn

Red Munich S-Bahn train at platform, showcasing city transport with clear signage and accessible features, set against urban backdrop
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

S-Bahn (or Stadtschnellbahn) is a local rapid rail network in Germany that serves the metropolitan areas by connecting commuting areas and suburbs to the city center and main train station. 

U-Bahn

The U-Bahn (or Untergrundbahn)is more like a metro train system. It is a prominent local transport system in Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin.

Trams

Trams are available in several cities in Germany. They run on rails alongside regular roads. Trams have several stations throughout the city. Usually, their stops share space with bus stops.

Regional Trains

Deutsche Bahn administers regional trains, which manage the majority of railway services in Germany. They come in two varieties: the normal-speed one with more stops and the speedier RE (or Regionalexpress). 

If you want to visit interstate in Germany, the train system will be your best friend. Deutsch Bahn offers train schedules and maps online. 

Bus

Buses in Germany connect cities and towns to several locations, and local buses are frequent throughout the day. For more information, see our page about getting around in Germany.

6. Emergency Prep

Ambulance and Medics

In the United States, you call 911 for any emergency. However, in Germany, the number is 112 or 110, depending on your emergency. The emergency helpline number 110 is for the police (Polizei), and 112 is for fire and medical services.

Remember the helpline numbers 110 and 112. For more information, see our page on emergencies while in Germany.

7. Communication

Man on a Call

Your cellphone may or may not work in Germany. It all depends on the type of phone you have and the type of cellular network you are using. Even if your phone’s network works, you may get a huge bill after your trip.

As a result, contact your network provider beforehand. Figure out exactly how your phone network works and how your calling plan is set up. Also, learn what options you have for international roaming.

If you want to explore the entirety of Germany and have several days in the country, you could buy a new SIM in Germany or one ahead of time from Amazon.

I would advise you to go for a T-Mobile (Telekom Germany) SIM card before you visit Germany. It is one of Germany’s most used mobile networks, covering most of the country. It is the best in terms of the internet and network availability. For more info on this, see our page about cell phones in Germany.

See Related: Best Travel Accessories: Save Time and Money

8. Driving

Man Driving a Car

Driving in Germany is generally similar to driving in the U.S. However, a few differences can be very dangerous if you are unaware of them.

In numerous junctions around Germany, there are neither stop signs nor traffic signals, yet you must still slow down or stop your vehicle. Failure to do so can cause an accident.

Additionally, you cannot turn right on red; there is no right before the left regulation. For more info, please check our page about driving in Germany. It’s borderline essential and could save you a ton of money—and maybe even someone’s life!

If you are planning to drive in Germany, check out these different day trips for each city:

9. Red Light District

Stop Hand Gesture

Overall, Germany is a safe and fun country to visit. However, like in every country, some German towns and big cities have [ahem] red-light areas. I recommend avoiding these areas – especially if you are traveling with kids.

Drug dealers and drug users, as well as pimps and prostitutes (duh), can be found in the red-light districts. Such places are often close to train stations. When traveling with family and children, be careful when strolling around any city or town center or outside train stations. For more info on this, see our page on the dangers of Germany.

Like in most European countries, prostitution is legal in Germany. There are several red-light districts and regulated brothels that pay taxes. Local authorities implement limits and laws on prostitution on a local level. They are liable to fines and custody if they do not comply with these regulations.

These are some crucial things to remember when planning a trip to Germany. Now, let’s learn where to go in Germany to see the best of the country.

regions of Germany

Best Regions in Germany to Visit

Northern Germany

Northern Germany attracts tourists from all over the world. It is known for its great diversity, historical towns, and ultramodern cities like Hamburg and Berlin. Let’s talk briefly about the top tourist destinations in northern Germany that you must add to your bucket list.

In the bustling metropolis of Hamburg, Germany’s maritime jewel, visitors can delve into a blend of contemporary life and historical ambiance. The Speicherstadt, a storied warehouse quarter, beckons, as do the scenic shores of Alster Lake. A must-see attraction is Miniatur Wunderland, boasting the most expansive model train exhibit globally.

The heart of Germany, Berlin, offers a tapestry of historical significance and a pulsating arts scene. Key historical sites include the Brandenburg Gate and remnants of the Berlin Wall. The city’s museums are renowned internationally, and its nightlife and culinary offerings reflect Berlin’s eclectic culture.

Step back to Lübeck, a medieval gem recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. stroll through its historic core or admire the iconic Holstentor gate. Rügen Island, the largest in Germany, is celebrated for its breathtaking cliffs, pristine beaches, and quaint fishing hamlets.

See Related: Best Islands to Visit Around the World

Southern Germany

If you want to participate in fun folk festivals or visit fairytale towns and castles, Southern Germany must be on your itinerary. Here, you will find the Bavarian Alps and the crystal clear waters of the alpine lakes.

The Black Forest is a great destination for people who love hiking and mountain biking. In the wintertime, it has excellent ski slopes. You can take a day trip to the Black Forest and Rhine Falls from Zurich.

There are several other places that you might want to include in your Southern Germany trip. These include Mainz, Lindau, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Regensburg, and more.

West Germany

If you’re visiting Germany, it’s well worth your time to explore the western part of the country and take in its many fascinating attractions, such as the Cologne Cathedral and Old Town Düsseldorf.

Eastern Germany

Like Northern Germany, the country’s Eastern region has countless delights for travel lovers. If you appreciate architecture, historical arts, and medieval fortifications or have a penchant for Ostalgie, you will love Eastern Germany. It is also a paradise for nature lovers!

Central Germany

Chemnitz City

Central Germany (also known as Mitteldeutschland), is the central region of Germany. Duh. While it may not be as notable as other German regions, it contains many fascinating places that are well worth a visit.

Besides the above major attractions, I’d recommend visiting Hof in Central Germany. It is a beautiful town on the banks of the River Saale.

How to Plan a Trip to Germany – How Many Days Should You Spend in Germany?

When planning a trip to Germany, you must also consider how much time you have. You can create your itinerary based on this to see and do as much as possible.

A Few Days

If you have just a few days in Germany, it would be best to focus on one city at a time and take a day trip. For example, Hamburg is a great city to visit on a day trip or weekend.

You could also plan a day trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein & Linderhof Castle Full-Day trip. Similarly, you can easily enjoy a Rhine Valley day trip from Frankfurt.

One Week

If you have a week to spend in Germany, you can visit more than one city and take two-day trips to different parts of the country.

Consider the travel time between each German city you want to visit. You can easily spend a few days in Berlin and then take a day trip to one of the smaller cities nearby.

Two Weeks

If you have two weeks, then you have the opportunity to explore Germany a little more deeply. I recommend you start your trip from Berlin and end in Munich. You can travel between regions by car or by train.

If you want to book top activities and tours in Germany, you can use GetYourGuide. It lets you book day trips, private tours, and guide tours directly from the website.

See Related: Family Vacation Ideas

Train Travel in Germany

First-class Deutsche Bahn train seating and scenic views
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If you choose to travel to Germany by train, you will find that it is inexpensive, quick, easy, and convenient. Trains cover almost all tourist attractions in Germany.

The best part is that it is an affordable mode of transport. Moreover, you will reach your destination on time – trains in Germany are rarely late and typically faster than cars.

For example, it takes less than six hours to go by train from Hamburg in the north to Munich in the south. The same trip takes around eight hours by car. And if you choose to go by bus, it might take up to 10 hours.

In addition, trains often run every hour or every two hours, while long-distance bus schedules are typically considerably more irregular. While services like Kayak can help you find a great deal on car rentals, additional costs like insurance and fuel do add up.

See Related: Best Hiking Trails in the World You Must Visit

Small Town Vibes

Stade Architecture

If you prefer to explore a small town or little village where you can appreciate the architecture, you may want to visit one of the following cities in Germany:

  • Stade: A picturesque, medieval town surrounded by canals. It is in Northern Germany, around 28 miles from the West of Hamburg. The city is part of Lower Saxony.
  • Goslar: A medieval old town known for half-timbered houses. In Lower Saxony, Goslar is a beautiful town in Germany’s Harz Mountains. The Old Town of the Goslar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Cochem: Cochem is a big town in the Cochem-Zell district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is known for its castles and vineyards.
  • Esslingen: Esslingen is an eye-appealing town, popular for its medieval market and vineyards. It is located in Baden Wurttemberg in Southern Germany.
  • Rothenburg Ob der Tauber: Rothenburg Ob der Tauber is a town in Northern Bavaria in the Southeastern portion of the country. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.

You can find cobblestone streets, charming local shops, and more on a walking tour through these small-town locations. Find a German travel guide that dives a bit deeper into local culture. It will help you learn what sights and areas to include in your itinerary.

Big City Exploration

Berlin Aerial View

If you prefer to visit bigger cities, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, and Dusseldorf are prime locations. Travelers who can’t visit all these cities can visit the two below.

Hamburg

Hamburg is an international tourist destination in Northern Germany. It is famous for its port area. It’s a crucial cultural and commercial center in the world.

The central Jungfernstieg Boulevard connects the Neustadt (New Town) with the Altstadt (Old Town). Landmarks like St. Michael’s Church from the 18th Century are here.

Dusseldorf

Rathaus Square, Old Town Düsseldorf, Germany
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Dusseldorf is in Western Germany and is known for its arts and music. It is the home of several seminal artists. Rhine Tower, Burgplatz, Koenigsallee, Carlsplatz Markt, and Nordpark are a few major points of interest.

See Related: Best Accommodation & Hotels in Dusseldorf, Germany

More Tips When Planning Your Trip to Germany

We will leave you with a few more tips for planning your trip to Germany.

Book Trip in Advance

Always try to book your Germany trip early and in advance, especially if you are traveling during a peak season. You can find lower prices when you choose specific travel dates and times.

Choose Your Flight Smartly

It never hurts to look for last-minute deals. That would be even better if you could be flexible with your travel dates! Finally, flying in or out of a smaller regional airport may work best for your trip, depending on where you want to visit. Check out Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich, and Dusseldorf for some deals.

Get Travel Insurance

Also, don’t forget to buy a travel insurance plan before flying out of your country. This will protect you against all travel-related issues, including flight interruption, baggage loss, and medical expenditure. We recommend using VisitorsCoverage to find comprehensive travel and medical insurance. If you are a younger traveler, check the policies on World Nomads.

FAQs

What is the best month to go to Germany?

Any month of the year is appropriate for visiting Germany. Summer is ideal for trekking and hiking as you get snow-free trails. During the Spring and Fall, you can enjoy harvesting, and wine festivals celebrated in several towns and villages. The weather in Germany is cool from December to February, so be well prepared if you are coming during this season.

How many days are enough in Germany?

Germany is a big country with many places to see and visit. It depends on how many places you want to explore in Germany. Three to seven days should be enough for the Germany tour if you do not have long plans. If you are planning a trip to Germany and Austria together, it may take up to 15 days.

What should I do on my trip to Germany?

Germany has something for everyone. Whether you love the nightlife, trekking, water sports, or visiting historical places, Germany is an ideal destination.
You can visit World War landmarks and memorials all over Germany. There are a lot of historical buildings in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Nuremberg.

How can I travel around Germany?

All major tourist attractions and cities in Germany are well-connected through trains, state highways, and flights. Germany is also connected to neighboring countries through an excellent train network.

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