Germany Panorama Photo

Guide to Germany

Where is Germany?

Germany is a massive country in the middle of Europe which shares a border with France, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg to the west, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south and Denmark to the north. In the north Germany also has a coastline with the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. 

What is Germany?

Germany is a Federal Republic which is currently the financial powerhouse of Europe. Within Germany there are 16 different states all which have their own distinct cultures. The country has had a very turbulent history having been defeated in two world wars, after which Germans were made to pay heavy reparations and give up territory. The capital Berlin was also split in two by the Soviet occupation until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Today Germany has Chancellor Angela Merkel as the head of government and President Christian Wulff as the head of state.

Why go to Germany?

As home to the German Stock Exchange Frankfurt am Main is considered the financial capital of Europe and that is why Frankfurt airport is one of the busiest in Europe. Germany is home to some of the world’s biggest companies and specializes in engineering with top car companies like BMW and VW all originating in Germany. But it is also a highly cultured place which has given the world great philosophers, musicians and writers. German people are known for their hospitality and there are many formidable cities here to explore, not least Berlin which is at the forefront of innovation and excitement. Munich is also home to the world’s largest outdoor fair, Oktoberfest.

Who lives in Germany?

More than 80 million people live in Germany which makes it the most populated country in Europe. Only 91.5% of people living in Germany are Germans though. There are a large number of immigrants including Turkish, Greeks, Italian, Russian, Polish, Spanish and Serbo-Croatians. An equal number of Germans are registered as Roman Catholic and Protestants (34%), while slightly fewer are unaffiliated (28%). 3.7% are Muslim.

How do you get into Germany

Germany is a member of the EU which means nationals of EU countries can enter freely. It is also a member of the Schengen agreement. Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Germany: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Republic of China, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.

1) By Air
While the capital Berlin has two airports with a third one being constructed, the most important airport in Germany in is Frankfurt. Other important German airports are Munich and Düsseldorf while Hamburg and Cologne also have some international flights. There are numerous other regional airports. The national air carrier is Lufthansa, Condor does charter flights and GermanWings offers low cost flights.

2) By Land 
You can drive, or take a bus or a train to Germany from any of the neighbouring countries. There are a number of high speed trains which connect Germany directly with Milan, Amsterdam and Paris. German airports are connected by rail lines and the InterCityExpress services. For more information on driving in Germany take a look at our Drive Smart Germany page.

3) By Sea
There are a number of sea connections to Russia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. These include boats from Lübeck and Sassnitz to Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg.  Kiel has connections to Gothenburg, Rostock has connections to Helsinki and Puttgarden is connected to Rødby.


What to do in Germany

Spend a day seeing the landmarks of the German capital Berlin. These include the Reichstag parliament building and the remnants of the Berlin Wall which caused such heartache for the people who lived here before it was torn down.

Experience the pulsating nightlife of Berlin which has developed an underground music scene that is unrivalled anywhere in the world.

Go to the largest festival in Europe, Oktoberfest, which is devoted solely to the consumption of beer and eating German delicacies.

See the annual gay pride festival in Cologne which is one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world.

What to do in Germany

Visit the Rhine Valley to taste interesting German wines and see some of the most spectacular countryside in Germany.

Head south to the Black Forest, Lake Constance and the Bavarian Alps Mountains for excellent, hiking, cycling and skiing. 

Despite being firebombed, the city of Dresden was rebuilt and is now among the most beautiful in Europe, having been christened the Florence of the Elbe.  

Visit the atmospheric port city of Hamburg in the north of Germany which was part of the Hanseatic Sea League.


Oktoberfest in Germany

Bavarian Alps

Bavarian Alps

Quick facts
Government  Federal parliamentary republic
Prime Minister  
Population  81,757,600
Date Format  
Drives on the  Right
Internet TLD  .de
Dialling Code  49
Time Zone  CET
Currency  EUR - €

Germany Public Holidays

Assumption Day
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