2 years ago

Things To Know Before Visiting Germany

Curious Cat
Things To Know Before Visiting Germany


When researching a trip, it’s always good to learn a bit about local customs. With this is mind, Culture Trip has put together the following tips on travelling in Germany. Some of these rules only apply in more remote areas of the country, but most are sure to help you whether you’re heading to Berlin for business, or to Bavaria for bratwurst and beer.

Sunday stock
Everywhere in Germany, shops, supermarkets and pharmacies are closed on Sundays, so make sure you have all you need before Sunday rolls around. Cafés and restaurants, however, are normally open all weekend.

Recycling plastic and glass bottles is big in Germany, and when you do, you get a small refund for the deposit (Pfand) originally paid for the bottle. Check the bottle label to see if it can be recycled; an arrow usually indicates this. All of the major supermarkets have recycling machines where you can drop of your bottles, and collect some pocket money. The refund for plastic bottles can be up to 25 cents, while glass is a little less. This can add up quickly, and some people living close to the streets make their entire livelihood in this way. If you’re really not going to recycle, then instead of throwing your bottle in a public dustbin, place it on top or next to the bin. It will be collected in a matter of minutes by someone who will be pleased to claim its worth.

Be punctual
Being on time for social and business appointments is part of the German etiquette; there is no such thing as being ‘fashionably late’ here. Let your trip to Germany be a lesson in the importance of time-keeping that you can bring back to your own community.

Know transport zone
You need an appropriately zoned ticket depending on where you are travelling in the city. Generally, going farther away from the city centre might see you crossing into a different zone. Always read the zonal maps in the station if you are not sure. For example, going to and from Schönefeld Airport in Berlin is a different zone to travelling within the city and requires a different ticket and price. Again, ticket checkers won’t have sympathy for the unknowing tourist, no matter how sorry you are.

Validate train tickets
Most newbies in Berlin are especially surprised, even giddy at the fact that there is no security gate or person checking tickets as you enter the train stations. Be warned, this is not a free pass to ride the underground, as ticket checkers (wearing plain clothes) are also riding the subway and could pounce at any moment, costing you at least a €60 fine and a lot of embarrassment. Furthermore, there are endless stories of people who have diligently bought their train tickets, but alas, forgotten to validate them. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before jumping on the train! The ticket checkers pay no sympathy to that, and you will still be fined.

Respect the rules
Germans like to play by the rules, and when you’re on their turf, so should you. For starters, always wait for the traffic light to go green before crossing the road. People will disapprove and shake their heads at jaywalking, so practice a little discipline and respect the code of conduct. Secondly, if you’re planning to ride a bicycle (and you should) you always need to have a back and front light for safety reasons. Being caught in the dark or running red lights both result in hefty fines.

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