GERMANY

GERMANY

GERMANY

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Name: Brandenburg Gate
Location: Berlin, Germany
The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the (temporarily) successful restoration of order during the early Batavian Revolution. One of the best-known landmarks of Germany, it was built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, which used to be capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin within Mitte, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament (Bundestag). The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which led directly to the royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs.

Throughout its existence, the Brandenburg Gate was often a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_Gate
Name: Neuschwanstein Castle
Location: Hohenschwangau, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

The castle was intended as a home for the king, until he died in 1886. It was open to the public shortly after his death. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.

The inspiration for the construction of Neuschwanstein came from two journeys in 1867 — one in May to the reconstructed Wartburg near Eisenach, another in July to the Château de Pierrefonds, which Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was transforming from a ruined castle into a historistic palace. The king saw both buildings as representatives of a romantic interpretation of the Middle Ages, as well as the musical mythology of his friend Wagner.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuschwanstein_Castle
Name: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Location: Berlin, Germany
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000-square-metre (200,000 sq ft) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 metres (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 metres (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.7 metres (7.9 in to 15 ft 5.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.

Building began on April 1, 2003, and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II in Europe, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Mitte neighborhood. The cost of construction was approximately €25 million.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_to_the_Murdered_Jews_of_Europe
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO GERMANY.
FACTS:
Official Languages: German
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1) / CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +49
Local / up-to-date weather in Berlin (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Germany travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Germany, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
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ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO GERMANY.

Germany uses the euro, like several other European countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on one side and a national country-specific design on the other. The latter side is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design on the national side does not affect the use of the coin.

Notes larger than €100 while legal tender aren’t seen in circulation all that often and will be refused at some stores or for small purchases. Be prepared for larger bills to face more scrutiny with regards to potential counterfeits. Deutschmarks (DM) issued between 1948–2002 can be exchanged free of charge for euro at all Deutsche Bundesbank branches.

Currency exchange has diminished greatly since the introduction of the Euro, though you may still find it at or near major train stations and airports. Foreign currency – even those of neighboring countries – will rarely be accepted and often at pretty bad exchange rates. However, you might have some luck with Swiss Francs in the immediate border area, as Germany is quite a popular shopping destination for Swiss tourists. Similarly some fast food restaurants, especially those near US Army facilities accept US dollars (again, at pretty bad exchange rates) but do not count on it. Normal banks will of course offer currency exchange, but they sometimes charge considerable fees for non-customers and when changing from Euros to foreign cash advance notice may be required. Travelers checks are increasingly rare, but banks still exchange them, though it would likely be less hassle to just take your debit or credit card and withdraw money from regular ATMs.

Cash (Bargeld) is the most preferred way of paying for everyday transactions. Independent vendors, small cafes and stalls on the likes of Christmas Markets by and large do not accept credit cards and there is sometimes a minimum purchase amount. While German domestic debit cards – called EC-Karte or girocard – (and, to a lesser extent, PIN-based Maestro cards and VPay) enjoy almost universal acceptance, credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) or foreign debit cards (Visa Debit/Electron etc.) are not as widely accepted as in other European countries or the United States. However, they will be accepted in several major retail stores and some fast food restaurants. Major retailers increasingly accept credit cards (usually Visa and MasterCard only) and the Near Field Communication technology is now widely available even though many people working in retail may not be familiar with the technology yet.

Most ATMs will accept credit cards and if the ATM charges a fee EU legislation mandates the machine to tell you the fee before the withdrawal. However, your card issuer may levy their own charges regardless of or in addition to the presence of charges levied by the ATM operator; check with your issuer before using.

In common with most other Western European languages, the meanings of points and commas are exactly inverse to the English custom; in German a comma is used to indicate a decimal. For example, “2,99€” is two euros and 99 eurocents. The “€” symbol is not always used and is virtually always placed after the price and some Germans consider the “currency sign first” notation weird. A dot is used to “group” numbers (one dot for three digits), so “1.000.000” would be one million. So “123.456.789,01” in German is the same number as “123,456,789.01” in English-speaking countries.

BY PLANE:

Given the size of Germany, there are few routes where flying actually makes sense. Business travelers are increasingly drawn to high speed rail services as they offer better overall travel times on all but the longest routes and flights are almost never cheaper than other options. That said, most airports have at least flights to Frankfurt airport and any one of either Hamburg airport, Munich airport, Cologne-Bonn airport or one of the Berlin airports, mostly as feeder flights for their long distance services or catering to business travellers.

Domestic flights are also more prone to cancellation or weather delays. Strikes are at least as common on airlines as they are on the railways and when only some flights have to be cancelled, domestic flights are invariably the lowest priority. Don’t worry though, you might be given a voucher for a train to complete your journey regardless.

In late 2017 two events drastically changed the picture of aviation in Germany. First Air Berlin – for a long time Germany’s second airline – declared bankruptcy, ultimately flying its last flight late October. This resulted in Lufthansa or its subsidiaries being the only airlines on many domestic routes. Second, a new faster connection by train opened from Berlin to Munich, with travel times competitive with aviation and offers directly designed to go head to head against the airlines. While the effects of this new line on air travel are not yet clear, in its first month of operation, the number of people traveling doubled compared to the same stretch of time the year before. It’s still unclear where the chips may land, but it seems likely that competition will shift from one between various airlines towards competition between modes of transportation.

The picture is a bit different for Germany’s islands, but with the exception of Sylt none of them see service from any airport much farther away from the coast than “their” harbor.

  • Lufthansa Germany’s former flag carrier has greatly reduced its domestic network. Some routes were turned over to subsidiary Eurowings to be run on a “no frills” basis, whereas some feeder flights have been replaced by trains, bookable through Lufthansa if you are booking an international flight with them
  • Eurowings Lufthansa’s no-frills subsidiary is based in Düsseldorf and also serves some domestic routes in Germany
  • Easyjet started several domestic routes in early 2018.
  • Ryanair has a single domestic flight in Germany linking Cologne (CGN IATA) to Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF IATA)

Some islands, such as Sylt or some East Frisian islands have small airports of which Sylt is also served by Lufthansa and Eurowings. Other operators include:

  • Sylt Air mostly flies Hamburg-Sylt
  • OFD (short for Ostfriesischer Flugdienst; East Frisian flight service) flies from Northern Germany to several islands, mostly the East Frisian islands

BY TRAIN:

Germany’s railway system is usually fast, on time and reliable and if you book tickets in advance (180 days before departure at the earliest) it can be surprisingly affordable. Regional trains are now run by a variety of private operators as well as Deutsche Bahn subsidiaries, but they can all be booked through bahn.com. Long distance trains on the other hand are almost all run by Deutsche Bahn. Those few that aren’t have to be booked through the operating company. To give you a hint of just how dense the German railway system is: the biggest town without any rail service has barely over 60,000 inhabitants and you’ve probably never heard of it.

Long distance:

All major cities are linked by DB’s ICE (InterCity-Express) and regular InterCity trains. ICE is a system of high speed trains that are capable of speeds up to 330 km/h. They can be expensive, with a 1-hr trip ( Frankfurt to Cologne, around 180 km) costing around €67 one-way (normal price “Flexpreis” without any discount). However, unlike high-speed trains in most other countries (e.g. France), taking the ICE on a “Flexpreis” fare does not require a reservation or bind you to a particular train.

If you want to save money, try for discounted “Super Sparpreis” or “Sparpreis” tickets, starting at €19.90 or €29.90, respectively regardless of distance. As those tickets are sold mainly to attract people to use less popular routes and times, you should try looking for them on off-peak times (Tuesday at noon is the time when trains are emptiest, according to statistics). You cannot change the train or departure time with the “Super Sparpreis” tickets and you will incur a change fee (plus fare difference) for changes to a “Sparpreis” ticket. However, if you miss a train due to a delay on another train you can use the next train, if you have a confirmation for the delay. With a BahnCard 25 or a BahnCard 50 you will get a 25% discount on the Sparpreis (reduced fare) tickets.

“Sparpreis” and “Flexpreis” ICE tickets include a DB City-Ticket, which gives passengers access to most local public transport networks to allow them to get to the station where they will commence their main train journey and from the station where they terminate their main train journey to their final destination (e.g. hotel). This is particularly useful if your actual origin and final destination are not covered by DB’s railway network.

Seat reservations are not mandatory but are recommended, especially when you travel on weekends or holidays. This means that with an Interrail or Eurail pass you can use domestic ICE trains without supplement (except for international ICE trains).

Next are the regular InterCity (IC) and EuroCity (EC) trains. The latter connect the larger European cities and are virtually identical to the regular ICs. These trains are also fairly comfortable, even if they lack the high-tech feeling of the ICE. The rolling stock used for IC services varies widely with both old coaches from the 1970s and 1980s and much newer ones – sometimes on the same train – as well as bilevel (Doppelstock or Dosto in German) multiple units that only entered service in 2015. Most older rolling stock, including the first two generations of ICE (dating to the 1990s) have since undergone extensive refurbishment. Eurocities on the other hand are often composed of cars from several different countries with the style and quality difference that implies.

On the major lines, an ICE or IC train will run each hour or so during the day, and even certain minor cities of touristic importance like Tübingen or Heringsdorf are connected on a daily or weekly basis. Before you shell out the money for the ICE ticket, you may want to check if it actually makes a significant time difference. ICE trains travel faster than other IC trains only on specially equipped high-speed routes. There are also long distance trains operated by other companies than Deutsche Bahn, usually running over secondary routes. Long distance trains operated by companies other than DB were slowly gaining traction before the opening of the long distance bus market eliminated their niche – people who did not care about price took DB trains while price sensitive customers took the bus. Today the only domestic non-DB train going a significant distance left is the Hamburg Köln Express (HKX) while Locomore now sells its tickets through Flixbus. Other than that international trains such as Thalys or TGV serve stations in Germany and sometimes even domestic routes to an extent. However, a number of operators have announced plans to offer some train service, especially in the sleeper train business, as DB is abandoning that service completely. Usually DB only sells tickets for other operators if a cooperation exists or if forced to by law (e.g. all regional trains). DB tickets are not usually sold by other operators either.

Regional travel:

Regional and local trains in Germany come in several flavours:

  • IRE (InterRegioExpress). The same as RE, but goes between two regions (Bundesland).
  • RE (Regional-Express). Semi-express trains, skips some stations. On many routes, this is the highest available train category.
  • RB (Regional-Bahn). Stops everywhere except that it may skip some S-Bahn stops.
  • S-Bahn. Commuter network for a city or metropolitan area but can travel fairly long distances. S-Bahn trains do not offer a toilet, with the exception of those in Bremen, Dresden, Hanover, Leipzig, Nuremberg and some S-Bahn Rhein-Neckar trains.

Within a region (Bundesland), it is often possible to get a budget (Länderticket) valid for one day. It can be used for RE, RB, most S-Bahn and some bus connections within the Bundesland, some local urban rail networks are included as well, though not necessarily all. It is available as a single or group ticket. Prices for Ländertickets vary from region to region, but start generally at about €23-27 for one person and usually between €3 and €5 for any additional member of your group up to a party of five. More information is provided at the Website of Deutsche Bahn as well as in the get around section of most Bundesländer.

While regional trains are more and more operated by companies other than Deutsche Bahn and carrying a livery other than DB red, in practice this makes little to no difference as all regional trains are subject to franchising with the state prescribing everything from timetables to rolling stock and the operators receiving a subsidy as well as the ticket price. You may see ticket machines or counters for several regional train operators at stations they serve but Deutsche Bahn is – with very limited exceptions – forced to sell you a ticket for them as well and Ländertickets will be accepted there as well. While many non-DB operators follow the scheme outlined above, some chose to name their services something other than RB or RE, however they will still often follow a distinction between (semi)”express” and “local”.

In general local trains have no on board food or beverage service, but sometimes a salesperson passes through the seats to sell (usually overpriced) beverages and snacks. Some lines and operators – such as Metronom – also have vending machines aboard their trains.

Sharing group train tickets:

It is possible to get around cheaply with regional trains when you get a small group together. Deutsche Bahn has published an app (for Android and iphone) for sharing group tickets. While it thus far (May 2016) only covers a handful of states, the implementation of more states has already been announced.

There are four main caveats to keep in mind:

  • The price of the ticket usually depends upon the number of travelers with a relatively high base price and a small supplement for every other member of the group up to five. If your group consists of more than five people, contact Deutsche Bahn about special offers for larger groups.
  • Those tickets are only valid on regional trains (RE, RB and S-Bahn) and some local transport (subway light rail and bus) depending on the city. Taking an ICE or IC with such a ticket is not possible.
  • While some Ländertickets are available for first class (provided you pay extra) they are only valid for second class unless specified otherwise.

If you know your itinerary, you can arrange a group on the Internet buy a ticket and get started. All tickets are valid from 9 am on weekdays and from midnight on Saturday and Sunday. Their validity usually ends at 3 am the following day.

BY BUS:

There are dozens of daily services from most major cities, which are often significantly cheaper than trains. Most buses offer amenities like Wi-Fi and power outlets and some can even transport bicycles.

Apart from these, there is a very dense network of regional and local bus lines. In rural areas, though, many lines run only once per day. Regional and local express bus line designators usually contain the letter(s) CE (local), E (regional around Hamburg; in other areas, E is used for special runs), S (regional), SB (regional and local) or X (local within Berlin), city bus line designators may contain the letter(s) BB (“Bürgerbus”, not integrated within tariff unions), C or O. Always check the departure boards carefully: sometimes, especially at night or in rural areas, you have to order your bus by phone.

BY CAR:

Germany has a world-famous network of excellent roads and Autobahn (motorway) with no toll or fees for cars. Although public transport in Germany is excellent, those who choose to drive will find the road network fast and efficient as well. Like most of Europe, Germany drives on the right-hand side.

Check in advance on whether your non-German driving licence is valid in Germany. Otherwise, you may risk a heavy fine or up to one year in jail. For longer stays most foreign licenses are not valid no matter what your residence status is. If you plan on driving on a longer stay (several months or years) try getting a European drivers license that is usually valid throughout the European Union.

Autobahns, especially those with single digit numbers (connecting larger regions over longer distances) or those in or close to urban areas (e.g. Rhein/Ruhr) get very crowded starting Friday afternoon or the summer holidays. Popular thoroughfares leading south to Italy or North to the Baltic and North Sea Coast experience a certain crowding with the beginning of every state’s school holidays. When planning your trip look for the beginning of school holidays and try to avoid driving on that day or the weekend following it. In winter holidays (Christmas and Carnival) the streets leading to the skiing resorts in the Alps can also get somewhat crowded which is made much worse by even moderate snowfall – particularly if it is the first snow of the season.

Ride-sharing (Carpooling) is popular in Germany and the fare for a ride is often cheaper than rail. Blablacar is a popular website for arranging shared rides. International journeys can also be arranged using the site.

Taxis are expensive and often only accept cash. The conditions are usually not written on the car, so ask the driver. The rates are defined by local authorities.

BY BICYCLE:

Germany is, in general, bicycle friendly, with many bike lanes in cities. There is also a substantial network of well signed, long distance bike routes. The German Cycle Network (Radnetz Deutschland) consists of twelve official routes (D1-12). You can download GPX-tracks for each of the sections on the webpage for free.

Cyclists are expected to follow the same road rules as motor vehicles. While in theory cyclists are subject to many of the same road rules as people in cars or on motorcycles, enforcement tends to be more lenient and for instance the DUI limit is much higher (at 1.3 per mill) than the 0.5 per mille for motorists. Using a mobile phone while cycling is also a fine but not as high as with a motorised vehicle. If there is a cycleway parallel to the road posted with white-on-blue “cycle” signs (see right), cyclist must use it. These cycleways are generally one-way, unless explicitly indicated otherwise, and you may be fined for going in the wrong direction. In some towns bike lanes are marked by dark red paving stones in the main walking area. Be careful though, as cyclists and pedestrians tend to drift across these boundaries. Cycling on the sidewalk is not allowed, unless it is marked as a cycleway (there are exceptions for children younger than 10).

Most rail stations, shopping areas, hotels and business premises have bike stands (some covered) with a place to attach your own bike locking chain.

On regional trains there is usually one carriage that allows you to bring your bike on board. InterCity trains also allow taking a bike, ICEs however don’t. Usually bringing a bike requires a separate ticket and/or reservation. For more details see Rail travel in Germany#Bicycles.

If you want to take your bike on a long distance bus you have to book several days ahead and may not be successful, as the storage room for bikes is very limited (only two or three per bus).

Several German cities now offer bike-share programmes, most run by either nextbike or Deutsche Bahn subsidiary call a bike. They are a great way to go short distances within a city but not the best option for longer tours, because the maximum rental time is usually 24 hours. Classic bike rentals still exist in many cities, as well as in smaller villages close to the coast that see many tourists. They often require a deposit or ID card for rental.

BY E-SCOOTER:

In a number of larger cities such as Berlin, Munich and Cologne; with the right app loaded you can pick up an extricable scooter that are scattered around the streets. Run by a number of companies including Circ, Tier, Bird and Lime. You must be over 14 to ride and are under the same regulations as a bicycle; that is cannot use on pavements/side-walk (only use of cycle-paths or roads) and being over the alcohol limit will affect your driving license status. They are limited to 20 km/h, but even so are a common cause of accidents since their introduction.

EAT:

German food:

German food usually sticks to its roots and a typical dish will consist of meat with some form of potatoes and gravy, accompanied by vegetables or salad. Modern German cuisine has been influenced by other European countries such as Italy and France to become lighter. Dishes show a great local diversity which is interesting to discover. Most German Gaststätte and restaurants tend to be children and dog friendly, although both are expected to behave and not be too boisterous.

Putting places to eat into 7 categories gives you a hint about the budget and taste. Starting from the lower end, these are:

Imbiss:

Schnellimbiss means ‘quick snack’, and is what you will see on the sign of German stalls and small shops that sell primarily sausage (Wurst) and fries (Pommes Frites). Sausages will include Bratwurst, which is fried and usually a boiled pork sausage. A very German variant is Currywurst: sausage chopped up and covered in spiced ketchup, dusted with curry powder. Beer and often even spirits are available in most Schnellimbisse.

Döner Kebab is a Turkish dish of veal, chicken or sometimes lamb stuffed into bread, similar to Greek Gyros and Arab Schawarma. Despite being considered Turkish, it’s actually a specialty that originated in Germany. According to legend, it was invented by Turkish immigrants in West Berlin during the 1970s. In fact, the Döner is Germany’s most loved fast food. The sales numbers of Döner shops exceed those of McDonald’s and Burger King products by far.

Nevertheless, fast food giants like McDonald’s, Burger King and Pizza Hut can be found in most cities. Nordsee is a German seafood chain, which offers ‘Rollmops’ (pickled herrings) and many other fish and seafood snacks. However, many independent seafood snack-bars (most common along the German coasts) offer slightly better and slightly cheaper seafood. You can also find independent shops selling pizza by the slice.

In addition to being able to grab a sweet snack at a bakery, during the summer, it seems like ice cream shops are on every block. Try Spaghettieis for a popular sundae that is hard to find elsewhere. They press vanilla ice cream through a potato ricer to form the “noodles”. This is topped with strawberry sauce to mimic the “spaghetti sauce” and usually either white chocolate shavings or ground almond nuts for “Parmesan cheese”.

Bakeries and butchers:

Germans do not have a tradition of sandwich shops, but you will find that bakeries and butchers sell quite good take-away food and are serious competition for the fast food chains. Even the smallest bakeries will sell many sorts of bread or rolls, most of them darker (for example, using wholemeal or rye flour) than the white bread popular around the world and definitely worth a try. Even if they don’t already have it prepared, almost all butchers will prepare a sandwich for you if you ask. Some butchers even prepare meals for you.

This butcher ‘imbiss’ is mainly popular in southern Germany, and the quality and freshness of food is usually high. Butcher shops that sell a lot of meals will often have a narrow, stand-up counter along one edge, so that you have a place to put your food while you stand up and eat it. Other bakeries and butcher shops even have tables and chairs and serve you more or less like a Café, as they also sell coffee and other hot beverages.

Canteens and cafeterias:

Although rarely a tourist attraction in themselves, if you are wanting to sit down to eat but have little time or a limited budget, canteens and cafeterias are a good alternative to fast food restaurants. Many companies allow non-employees to eat at their canteens although most of these require some local knowledge about location and access, as do the university and college cafeterias. Another option popular with pensioners and office workers are self-service restaurants in the larger furniture stores such as XXXL.

Biergarten:

In a beer garden, you can get the obvious drink. In traditional beer gardens in Bavaria, it is possible to bring your own food if you buy their drinks. Most places will offer simple meals. Some Biergärten are also known as Bierkeller (literally beer cellar), especially in Franconia. Historically, Bierkeller originate from the need to store beer in a cool place prior to artificial refrigeration. Thus underground structures were dug and soon beer would be sold directly out of storage in the summer months, giving rise to the Bierkeller tradition as we know it today. Many are set in quite beautiful natural surroundings, but probably the best known ensemble of Bierkeller can be found in Erlangen where they gave rise to the Bergkirchweih, one of the biggest beer festivals in the area. They were dug through a mountain just out of town and gave the city an edge in beer storage and consequently higher production capabilities, which led to beer from Erlangen becoming a household name once the railway connection enabled export. The invention of artificial cooling ended that advantage, however. The cellars still exist and besides their role in Bergkirchweih one of them operates as a normal Keller (as it is often shortened to) year round.

As the name implies, a beer garden is in a garden. It may be entirely outdoors, or you may be able to choose between an indoor (almost always non-smoking) area and an outdoor area. They range in size from small, cozy corners to some of the largest eating establishments in the world, capable of seating thousands. Munich’s Oktoberfest, which happens at the end of September each year, creates some of the most famous temporary beer gardens in the world.

Brauhaus:

Smaller breweries sell their products straight to the customer and sometimes you will find food there as well. Haxe or Schweinshaxe (the ham hock, or the lower part of the pig’s leg) will usually be among the offerings. It is a distinctively German specialty and probably the best dish in almost every establishment of that sort.

Gasthof/Gasthaus:

Probably 50% of all eating places fall into this group. They are mainly family-run businesses that have been owned for generations, comparable to pubs in the UK. You can go there simply for a drink, or to try German food (often with a local flavour). Food quality differs significantly from place to place but the staff will usually give you an indication of the standard; regulations require restaurant owners to indicate certain possibly harmful ingredients (e.g. glutamates/MSG) in footnotes – a menu containing lots of such footnotes usually indicates low quality; if a cheap “Gasthaus” / restaurant is overcrowded with Germans or Asians, this indicates at least sufficient quality (unless the crowd is thanks to an organized coach excursion).

Restaurants:

Germany has a wide range of flavors (e.g. German, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Polish, Indian, Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Vietnamese) and almost all styles of the world are represented.

Turkish cuisine in Germany ranges from simple “Döner” shops to mostly family-run restaurants offering a wide variation of usually very cheap (in relation to German price levels) Turkish home cooking.

You will rarely find restaurants catering for special needs within Germany (e.g. kosher restaurants are common only in cities with a notable Jewish population like Berlin), although most restaurants will prepare special meals or variants for you if they are neither relying on convenience foods only nor too fancy. Most restaurants have at least some vegetarian meals. Muslims may want to stick to Turkish or Arabic restaurants. At some Turkish or Arab food stalls vegetarians might find falafel and baba ganoush to suit their tastes. For not-so-strict Jews the halal (sometimes spelled helal for the Turkish word for it) Turkish food stalls are also the best option for meat dishes.

In most restaurants in Germany you can choose your own table. You can make reservations (recommended for larger groups and haute cuisine on Saturday nights) and these are marked by reservation cards (“Reserviert”). In expensive restaurants in larger cities you will be expected to make reservations and will be seated by the staff (who will not allow you to choose your table).

Restaurants in commercial areas often offer weekday lunch specials. These are cheap (starting at €5, sometimes including a beverage) options and a good way to sample local food. Specials tend to rotate on a daily or weekly basis, especially when fresh ingredients like fish are involved.

Some restaurants offer all-you-can-eat-buffets where you pay around 10 euros and can eat as much as you want. Drinks are not included in this price.

“XXL-Restaurants” are rising in popularity. These offer mostly standard meat dishes like Schnitzel or Bratwurst in big to inhumane sizes. There is often a dish that is virtually impossible to eat alone (usually bordering 2 kg!) but if you manage to eat everything (and keep it inside), the meal will be free and you’ll get a reward. Unlike in other restaurants it is common and encouraged to take leftover food home.

Typical dishes:

Rinderroulade mit Rotkraut und Knödeln: this dish is quite unique to Germany. Very thin sliced beef rolled around a piece of bacon and pickled cucumber until it looks like a mini barrel (5 cm diameter) flavoured with tiny pieces of onion, German mustard, ground black pepper and salt. The meat is quick-fried and is then left to cook slowly for an hour, meanwhile red cabbage and potato dumplings are prepared and then the meat is removed from the frying pan and gravy is prepared in the frying pan. Knödel, Rotkraut and Rouladen are served together with the gravy in one dish.

Schnitzel mit Pommes Frites: there are probably as many different variations of Schnitzel as there are restaurants in Germany, most of them have in common a thin slice of pork that is usually breaded, and fried for a short period of time and it is often served with fries (usually called Pommes Frites or often just Pommes). Variations of this are usually served with different types of gravy: such as Zigeunerschnitzel, Zwiebelschnitzel, Holzfäller Schnitzel and Wiener Schnitzel (as the name suggests, an Austrian dish – the genuine article must be veal instead of pork, which is why most restaurants offer a Schnitzel Wiener Art, or Viennese-style schnitzel which is allowed to be pork). In the south you can often get Spätzle (pasta that Swabia is famous for) instead of fries with it. Spätzle are egg noodles typical of south Germany – most restaurants make them fresh. Due to the ease of its preparation ordering it might be perceived as an insult to any business with a decent reputation (with the exception of Wiener Schnitzel perhaps), admittedly it is almost unavoidable to spot it on the menu of any sleazy German drinking hole (and there are many…), if nothing else therefore it might even be the most common dish in German restaurants (yes, at least German government officials do call their taverns as well as the common fast food stalls restaurants!).

Rehrücken mit Spätzle: Germany has maintained huge forests such as the famous Black Forest, Bayrischer Wald and Odenwald. In and around these areas you can enjoy the best game in Germany. Rehrücken means venison tenderloin and it is often served with freshly made noodles such as Spätzle and a very nice gravy based on a dry red wine.

Wurst “sausage”: there is no country in the world with a greater variety of sausages than Germany and it would take a while to mention them all. “Bratwurst” is fried, other varieties such as the Bavarian “Weißwurst” are boiled. Here is the shortlist version: “Rote” beef sausage, “Frankfurter Wurst” boiled pork sausage made in the Frankfurt style, “Pfälzer Bratwurst” sausage made in Palatine style, “Nürnberger Bratwurst” Nuremberg sausage – the smallest of all of them, but a serious contender for the best tasting German sausage, “grobe Bratwurst”, Landjäger, Thüringer Bratwurst, Currywurst, Weißwurst … this could go on till tomorrow. If you spot a sausage on a menu this is often a good (and sometimes the only) choice. Often served with mashed potato, fries or potato salad. The most popular type of sausage probably is the Currywurst (Bratwurst cut into slices and served with ketchup and curry powder) and can be bought almost everywhere.

Königsberger Klopse: Literally “meatballs from Königsberg”, this is a typical dish in and around Berlin. The meatballs are made out of minced pork and anchovies and are cooked and served in a white sauce with capers and rice or potatoes.

Matjesbrötchen: Soussed herring or “roll mops” in a bread roll, typical street snack.

Local specialties:

Starting from the north of Germany going south you will find a tremendous variety of food and each region sticks to its origins. The coastal regions are fond of seafood and famous dishes include “Finkenwerder Scholle”.

In the region of Cologne you will find Sauerbraten, which is a roast marinated in vinegar. Traditionally made from the tough meat of the horses who worked their lives pulling river barges up the Rhine, these days the dish is usually made from beef.

Labskaus (although strictly speaking not a German invention) is a dish from the north and the opinions about this dish are divided, some love it, others hate it. It is a mash of potato, beetroot juice and cured meat decorated with rollmops and/or young herring and/or a fried egg and/or sour cucumber and/or beetroot slices on top. The north is also famous for its lamb dishes, the best type of lamb probably being “Rudenlamm” (lamb from Ruden, a small island in the Baltic Sea; only a few restaurants in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania serve this), the second best type being “Salzwiesenlamm” (salt meadow lamb). The Lueneburger Heide (Lueneburg Heath) is famous not only for its heath but also for its Heidschnucken, a special breed of sheep. Be aware that a lot of restaurants import their lamb from New Zealand though because it is cheaper. Crabs and mussels are also quite common along the German coasts, especially in North Frisia.

A specialty of Hamburg is “Aalsuppe” which – despite the name (in this case “Aal” means “everything”, not “eel”) – originally contained almost everything – except eel (today many restaurants include eel within this soup, because the name confused tourists). At the coast there’s a variety of fish dishes. Beware: if a restaurant offers “Edelfischplatte” or any dish of similar name, the fish may not be fresh and even (this is quite ironic) of poor quality. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that, for eating fish, you visit specialised (or quality) restaurants only. A fast-food style restaurant chain serving standardized quality fish and other seafood at low prices all over Germany is “Nordsee”, though you will rarely find authentic specialties there.

Pfälzer Saumagen: Long a well-known dish in Palatinate, but difficult to find outside of this area. Literally this is pig stomach filled with a mash of potato and meat, cooked for 2–3 hours and then cut into thick slices. It is often served with sauerkraut. It gained some notoriety as Helmut Kohl was fond of serving it to official state guests such as Gorbachev and Reagan when he was Chancellor.

Swabia is famous for Spätzle (a kind of noodle, often served with cheese as Kässpätzle) and “Maultaschen” (noodles stuffed with spinach and mince meat, but lots of variations, even veggie ones, exist).

In Bavaria this may be Schweinshaxe mit Knödeln (pork’s leg with knödel, a form of potato dumplings), “Leberkäs/Fleischkäse mit Kartoffelsalat” (a type of meat pie and potato salad), “Nürnberger Bratwurst” (probably the smallest sausage in Germany), Weißwurst (white sausages) and “Obatzda” (a spicy mix of several milk products).

The south is also famous for its nice tarts such as the “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte” (tart with lots of cream and spirits made from cherries).

A delicacy in Saxony is Eierschecke, a cake made of eggs and cream similar to cheese cake.

A specialty of the East is “Soljanka” (originally from Ukraine, but probably the most common dish in the GDR), a sour soup containing vegetables and usually some kind of meat or sausages.

Seasonal specialties:

White asparagus (Spargel) floods the restaurants from April to June all over Germany, especially in and around Baden-Baden and the small town of Schwetzingen (“The Asparagus Capital”), near Heidelberg, in an area north and north-east of Hannover (“Lower Saxony’s Asparagus Route”), as well as in the area southwest of Berlin, especially in the town of Beelitz and along the Lower Rhine (“Walbecker Spargel”). Franconia, particularly the Knoblauchsland around Nuremberg also produces quite good asparagus. Many vegetables can be found all year round and are often imported from far away, whereas asparagus can be found for only 2 months and is best enjoyed fresh after harvest, it stays nice for a couple of hours or until the next day. The asparagus is treated very carefully and it is harvested before it is ever exposed to daylight, so that it remains white. When exposed to daylight it changes its colour to green and might taste bitter. Therefore, white asparagus is considered to be better by most Germans. Especially in areas with a Spargel growing tradition the devotion to this white vegetable can seem near-religious and even rural mom and pop restaurants will have a page or more of Spargel recipes in addition to their normal menu.

The standard asparagus meal is the asparagus stalks, hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes, and some form of meat. The most common meat is ham, preferably smoked; however, you will also find it teamed with schnitzel (fried breaded pork), turkey, beef, or whatever is available in the kitchen.

White asparagus soup is one of the hundreds of different recipes that can be found with white asparagus. Often it is made with cream and contains some of the thinner asparagus pieces.

Another example of a seasonal specialty is kale (Grünkohl). You can find that mainly in Lower Saxony, particularly the southern and south-western parts such as the “Emsland” or around the “Wiehengebirge” and the “Teutoburger Wald”, but also everywhere else there and in the eastern parts of North-Rhine-Westphalia. It is usually served with a boiled rough sort of sausage (called “Pinkel”) and roasted potatoes. If you are travelling in Lower-Saxony in fall, you should get it in every “Gasthaus”.

Lebkuchen are some of Germany’s many nice Christmas biscuits and gingerbread. The best known are produced in and around Nuremberg.

Stollen is a kind of cake eaten during the Advent season and yuletide. Original Stollen is produced only in Dresden, Saxony; however, you can buy Stollen everywhere in Germany (although Dresdner Stollen is reputed to be the best and comparatively cheap).

Around St. Martin’s day and Christmas, roasted geese (“Martinsgans” / “Weihnachtsgans”) are quite common in German restaurants, accompanied by “Rotkraut” (red cabbage, in southern Germany it is often called Blaukraut) and “Knödeln” (potato dumplings), preferably served as set menu, with the liver, accompanied by some kind of salad, as starter, goose soup, and a dessert.

Bread:

Germans are very fond of their bread (Brot), which they make in many variations. This is the food that Germans tend to miss most when away from home. Most people like their bread relatively dark and dense and scorn the soft loaves sold in other countries. Bakeries will rarely provide less than twenty different sorts of bread and it’s worth trying a few of them. In fact, many Germans buy their lunch or small snacks in bakeries instead of takeaways or the like. Prices for a loaf of bread will range from €0.50 to €4, depending on the size (real specialties might cost more).

Because German bread tends to be excellent, sandwiches (belegtes Brot) are also usually to a high standard, including in train stations and airports. However, if you want to save money do as most locals and make the sandwich yourself as belegtes Brot can be quite expensive when bought ready made.

Vegetarian:

Outside of big cities like Berlin, there aren’t many places which are particularly aimed at vegetarian or vegan customers. Most restaurants have one or two vegetarian dishes. If the menu doesn’t contain vegetarian dishes, don’t hesitate to ask.

Be careful when ordering to ask whether the dish is suitable for vegetarians, as chicken stock and bacon cubes are a commonly “undeclared” ingredient on German menus.

However, there are usually organic food shops (“Bioladen”, “Naturkostladen” or “Reformhaus”) in every city, providing veg(etari)an bread, spreads, cheese, ice cream, vegan milk substitutes, tofu and seitan. The diversity and quality of the products is great and you will find shop assistants that can answer special nutritional questions in great depth.

Veganism and vegetarianism is on the rise in Germany so that many supermarkets (such as Edeka and Rewe) have a small selection of vegan products as well in their “Feinkost”-section such as seitan-sausages, tofu or soy milk at a reasonable price.

DRINK:

Beer:

For centuries, beer-making in Bavaria has been governed by the Reinheitsgebot (purity law) that was made national policy with the unification of Germany in 1871, which states that German beer may be made only from hops, malt and water (yeast was still not known back then). The Reinheitsgebot has been watered down with imports due to European integration, but German breweries still have to stick to it since for them, national law applies. The national law has however also been watered down and now states that a variety of additives and auxiliary substances may be used during the production process, as long as they aren’t found in the end product.

The domestic beer market is not dominated by one or only a few big breweries. Even though there are some big players, the regional diversity is enormous, and there are over 1,200 breweries with most of them serving only local markets. Usually bars and restaurants serve the local varieties that differ from town to town. However the North has less variety than the south and especially in localities that aren’t specialized in beer you are more likely to get mass-produced watered down Pils from the big breweries than not. If you truly want to experience German beer, try sticking with smaller brands, as they don’t have to appeal to a mass market and are thus more “individual” in taste. When sitting in a German Kneipe, a local beer is always an option, and often the only option.

Specialties include Weizenbier (or Weißbier in Bavaria), a refreshing top-fermented beer which is popular in the south, Alt, a kind of dark ale that is especially popular in and around Düsseldorf, and Kölsch, a special beer brewed in Cologne. “Pils”, the German name for pilsner, is a light-gold beer that is extremely popular in Germany. There are also seasonal beers, which are made only at particular times of the year (such as Bockbier in winter and Maibock in May, both containing a greater quantity of alcohol, sometimes double that of a normal Vollbier).

Beer is usually served in 200 or 300mL glasses (in the northern part) or 500mL in the South. In Biergartens in Bavaria, 500mL is a small beer (“Halbe”) and a litre is normal (“Maß” pronounced “Mahss”). Except in “Irish pubs”, pints or pitchers are uncommon.

For Germans, a lot of foam is both a sign of freshness and quality; thus, beer is always served with a lot of head. (All glasses have volume marks for the critical souls.)

Additionally, Germans are not afraid to mix beer with other drinks (though the older generation may disagree). Beer is commonly mixed with carbonated lemonade (usually at 1:1 ratio) and called a “Radler” (or cyclist so named because it is commonly associated with a refreshing drink a cyclist might enjoy in spring or summer during a cycling excursion) (or “Alsterwasser”/”Alster” (after the river in Hamburg) in the north); “Cocktails” of Pilsener/Altbier and soft drinks like Fanta, a “Krefelder”/”Colaweizen” cola and dark wheat beer is another combination that can be found. Pils mixed with Cola is very popular especially among younger Germans and goes by different names – depending on your area – such as “Diesel”, “Schmutziges” (dirty) or “Schweinebier” (pigs beer). Another famous local delicacy is “Berliner Weiße”, a cloudy, sour wheat beer of around 3% abv. that is mixed with syrups (traditionally raspberry) and is very refreshing in summer. These beer-based mixed drinks are widespread and popular and can be bought as pre-mixed bottles (typically in six packs) wherever regular beer is sold.

Pubs are open in Germany until 02:00 or later. Food is generally available until midnight. Germans typically go out after 20:00 (popular places are already full by 18:00).

Cider:

Undisputed capital of “Apfelwein” (or Äbblwoi as it is locally called) cider in Germany is Frankfurt. Frankfurters love their cider. There are even special bars (“Apfelweinkneipe”) that will serve only Apfelwein and some gastronomic specialities. Cider is often served in a special jug called “Bembel”. The taste is slightly different from ciders in other countries and tends to be quite refreshing. In autumn when apples are turned into cider you might find “Frischer Most” or “Süßer” signposted at some places. That is the first product in the chain of “Apfelwein” production; one glass of it is nice, but after two or three glasses you will have a problem unless you enjoy spending lots of time on the toilet. In the Saarland and surrounding regions “Apfelwein” is called “Viez”. It varies here from “Suesser Viez” (sweet), to “Viez Fein-Herb” (medium sweet) to “Alter Saerkower” (sour). The Viez capital of that region is Merzig. During winter it is also quite common to drink hot cider (along with some cloves and sugar). It is considered an efficient measure against an oncoming cold.

Coffee:

Germans drink lots of coffee. The port of Hamburg is the world’s busiest place for coffee trading. Coffee is always freshly made from ground coffee or beans – no instant. However, persons coming from countries with a great coffee tradition (like Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Greece or Austria) might find the coffee that is served in normal restaurants a bit boring. A German specialty, originating from North Frisia but nowadays also common in East Frisia, is “Pharisäer”, a mixture of coffee and a spirit, usually rum, with a thick cream top. A variation of this is “Tote Tante” (dead aunt, with coffee replaced by hot chocolate).

Over the past few years, American coffee house chain Starbucks or clones have expanded into Germany, but mostly you will encounter “Cafés” which usually offer a large selection of cakes to go along with the coffee.

Glühwein:

Visiting Germany in December? Then go and see one of the famous Christmas Markets (the most famous taking place in Nuremberg, Dresden, Leipzig, Münster, Bremen, Augsburg and Aachen) and this is the place where you find Glühwein (mulled wine), a spiced wine served very hot to comfort you in the cold of winter.

Spirits:

A generic word for spirits made from fruit is Obstler, and each area has its specialities.

Bavarians like their beer as well their Enzian, a spirit high in alcohol that is best as a digestive after a hefty meal.

Kirschwasser literally means cherry water; it certainly tastes of cherry but on the other hand it is not regular drinking water. There is a long lasting tradition in making spirits in Baden, and “Kirschwasser” is probably the flagship product and it might encourage you to taste other specialties such as Himbeergeist (from raspberry), Schlehenfeuer (flavored with sloe berries), Williamchrist (pear) and Apfelkorn (apple juice and Korn).

Korn, made of grain, is probably the most common spirit in Germany. Korn is more popular in the North, where it exceeds beer in popularity. In the South the situation is reversed. Its main production center (Berentzen) lies in Haselünne, where tours and tastings can be arranged in the distilleries. The town is near the river Ems in northwest Germany; for rail service to Haselünne (very sparse) see Eisenbahnfreunde Hasetal. A common mixture is Korn with apple juice (“Apfelkorn”) which usually works out to about 20% abv. and is usually consumed by younger people. Another town famous for its Doppelkorn (with over five hundred years of tradition to boot) is Nordhausen in Thuringia, where tours and tastings are also easily arranged.

In Lower Saxony, especially in areas surrounding the Lüneburg Heath, different specialised liquors and schnaps are prominent. Ratzeputz holds 58% alcohol and contains extracts and distillates of root ginger. Heidegeist is a herbal liquer that contains 31 heather ingredients with an alcohol content of 50%. It is clear in colour and has a strong, minty taste.

In North Frisia, Köm (caraway spirit), either pure or mixed with tea (“Teepunsch”, tea punch), is very popular.

Eiergrog is a hot mixture of egg liquor and rum.

Tea:

Tea, Tee, is also very popular, and a large choice is readily available. The region of East Frisia in particular has a long tea tradition, and is probably the only place in Germany where tea is more popular than coffee. The East Frisian tea ceremony consists of black tea served in a flat porcelain cup with special rock sugar (Kluntje) that is put in the cup before pouring the tea. Cream is added afterwards, but is not stirred into the tea. The East-Frisian fondness for tea was made fun of in a rather infamous commercial for a certain sweet that supposedly goes well with coffee, only for the claim to be interrupted by a noisy East-Frisian who would say “Und was is mit Tee?” (And what about tea?) in a stereotypical Northern German accent. Most Germans still know this sentence, if not necessarily its origin.

Hot chocolate:

Especially in winter, Germans love their hot chocolate (heiße Schokolade), which is widely available. Hot chocolate in Germany tends to be more or less Zartbitter — that is, bittersweet — and in the more gourmet establishments, it can be quite dark and bitter and only a little sweet. It is commonly served with Schlag (fresh whipped cream, also called Schlagsahne). Although usually served pre-prepared some cafes will serve a block of chocolate that you mix and melt into the hot milk yourself. Milk chocolate is called Kinderschokolade (“children’s chocolate”) in Germany and not taken seriously at all, so don’t expect to be able to order hot milk chocolate if you are an adult.

Wine:

Some Germans are just as passionate about their wines (Wein) as others are about their beer. The similarities don’t stop here; both products are often produced by small companies, and the best wines are consumed locally. The production of wine has a 2,000-year-old history in Germany as may be learned from the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Trier but, of course, this was a Roman settlement at that time. Sunshine is the limiting factor for the production of wines in Germany and, therefore, wine production is limited to the south. White wine plays a main role in the wine production, but some areas produce red wines (Ahr, Baden Württemberg). White wines are produced from Riesling, Kerner and Müller-Thurgau grapes (there are many more), and produce generally fresh and fruity wines. German wines can be rich in acid and are quite refreshing. It is generally accepted that Riesling grapes produce the best German wines, but they demand a lot of sunshine and they grow best in very exposed areas such as the Mosel, Rheingau, Bergstraße, Kaiserstuhl and Pfalz.

The best way to learn about wines is go to the place where they are grown and taste them on the spot. This is called “Weinprobe” and is generally free of charge – though in touristed areas you have to pay a small fee.

Good wines usually go together with good food so you might like to visit when you are hungry as well as thirsty. The so-called Straußenwirtschaft, Besenwirtschaft or Heckenwirtschaft are little “pubs” or gardens where a wine-producer sells his own wine, normally with little meals such as sandwiches or cheese and ham. Normally, they are open only in summer and autumn, and not longer than 4 months a year (due to legal regulations). As they are sometime in the vineyards or in some back streets, they are not always easy to find, so you best ask a local for the next (or best) Straußenwirtschaft he knows.

During the fall you can buy “Federweisser” in south-western Germany. This is a partially fermented white wine and contains some alcohol (depending on age), but tastes very sweet. It is also available from red grapes, being called “Roter Sauser” or “Roter Rauscher”.

Wine producing areas are:

  • Ahr is the paradise of German red wines. Half of the production is dedicated to red wines and it is densely populated with “Gaststätten” and “Strausswirten”. A saying goes: Whoever visited the Ahr and remembers that he was there, hasn’t actually been there.
  • Baden with c. 15,500 hectares of wine yards and a production of 1 million hectolitres, Baden is Germany’s third biggest wine growing area. It’s the most southerly German wine growing area and is Germany’s only member of the European Wine Category B together with the famous French areas Alsace, Champagne and Loire. Baden is more than 400 km long and is split into nine regional groups: Tauberfranken, Badische Bergstraße, Kraichgau, Ortenau, Breisgau, Kaiserstuhl, Tuniberg, Markgräflerland and Bodensee. The Kaiserstuhl and the Markgräflerland are the most famous areas for wine from Baden. One of the largest wine cooperatives is the Badischer Winzerkeller in Breisach.
  • Franken: Franconia is in the northern part of Bavaria and you can find there very nice wines, most commonly the dry white wine. Some wines produced in Franconia are sold in a special bottle called “Bocksbeutel”.
  • Hessische Bergstraße: on the slopes of the Rhine valley it is a quiet small wine producing area and wines are usually consumed within the area in and around Heppenheim.
  • Mosel-Saar-Ruwer: the steepest vineyards in Germany can be seen when driving in the Mosel valley from Koblenz to Trier.
  • Pfalz: biggest wine producing area in Germany. Has some excellent wines to taste and a lot of nice villages embedded in vineyards. Tasting wine in Deidesheim is a good idea and several prime producers of German wine are on the main road. Want to see the biggest wine barrel in the world? Then go to Bad Dürkheim.
  • Rheingau: is the smallest wine producing area, but it produces the highest -rated Riesling wines in Germany. Visit Wiesbaden and make a trip on the Rhine to Eltville and Rüdesheim.
  • Rheinhessen too is especially famous for its Riesling. Visit Mainz and make a trip on the Rhine to Worms, Oppenheim, Ingelheim or Bingen.
  • Saale-Unstrut: in the state of Saxonia-Anhalt on the banks of the rivers Saale and Unstrut is the most northern wine producing area in Europe.
  • Sachsen: One of the smallest wine regions in Germany, nestled along the Elbe River near Dresden and Meissen.
  • Württemberg: As was mentioned before, here the rule that the best wine is consumed by locals, strictly applies; wine consumption per head is twice as high as in the rest of Germany, regardless of whether it’s red or the white wine. The speciality of the region is the red wine called Trollinger and it can be quite nice by German standards.

Germany provides almost all options for accommodation, including hotels, B&Bs, hostels, and camping. You might also consider staying with members of a hospitality exchange network.

German mattresses tend to take a middle ground for firmness, compared to plush American ones and hard Japanese ones. The bedding tends to be simple: a sheet to cover the mattress, one duvet per person (Decke, very nice if you sleep with someone who tends to hog the blankets, but sometimes a little breezy around the toes for tall people) and an enormous square feather pillow, which you can mold into any shape that pleases you. Making the bed in the morning takes mere seconds: fold the Decke in thirds with a quick flick of the wrists, as if it were going to sleep in your place while you are out, and toss the pillow at the top of the bed.

Hotels:

Most international hotel chains have franchises in the major German cities, and a large variety of local hotels exist. All hotels in Germany are ranked by stars (1 to 5 stars). The rankings are made independently and are therefore generally reliable, but in some cases they may be based on rather outdated inspections. The rate always includes VAT and is usually per room. Prices vary significantly by city (Munich and Frankfurt are most expensive). You can find many “value-oriented” chain hotels like Motel One or Ibis, both in the suburbs and city centres of most cities, which are often quite new or renovated and surprisingly nice for the price. For people who travel by car, much like France, Germany has a dense network of Ibis Budget hotels at the outskirts of cities near Autobahns, offering a truly bare-bones hotel experience at prices that can compete with hostels.

On the other end of the scale, Germany has many luxury hotels. The market penetration by hotel chains is high. Local brands include the ultra-luxury Kempinski (which by now is quite a global brand), while Dorint and Lindner operate upscale business hotels. Most global hotel chains have solid presence, with Accor (Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure) leading the way.

It is not a cliche that you can count on German hotels delivering quality and a predictable experience. You may not get pampered if the brochure doesn’t say so, but it is very rare that your experience will truly be bad. Moreover, Germany domestic tourism is quite family-oriented, so you should have no trouble finding family-friendly hotels with extra beds in rooms, often in the form of a bunk bed, and amenities for your younger ones.

When the name of a hotel contains the term “Garni”, it means that the breakfast is included. So there can be a good number of hotels whose name contains “Hotel Garni” in a city; when asking directions, mention the full name of the hotel and not only “Hotel Garni”.

Hostels:

Hostels provide simple, budget accommodation primarily in shared rooms. They are good places to get to know other travellers. In Germany, as in many countries, two flavors exist: international youth hostels and independent hostels.

International Youth Hostels (“Jugendherbergen”) are owned and run by the association “Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk” (DJH), which is part of the Hostelling International (HI) network. There are more than 600 hostels spread all over Germany in big and small cities as well as in the country side. Not only individual travellers are guests but also school classes and other youth groups. To sleep there, you have to be or become a member in a youth hostel organisation belonging the HI network. Detailed information about this and each of their hostels can be found on the DJH’s . Generally, this entails simply filling out a card and paying a few extra Euro per night. In general, the advantage of these places is that they tend to serve a buffet style breakfast for no additional charge, though this is not an absolute rule. However, the quality is often below that of private hostels, and many do not provide a good opportunity for socializing.

Privately run independent hostels are starting to be an attractive alternative for a similar price. More than 60 already exist in Germany, and more and more open every year. They are found in bigger cities, especially in Berlin, Munich, Dresden, and Hamburg. Only a few are in the countryside. Sometimes run by former travellers, hostels refrain from having strict rules. Especially small ones are frequently places where you can feel at home. Many are known for their vibrant, party atmosphere and can be an excellent way to meet other travelers. There is no need to be a member in some organisation to sleep there. About half of the hostels have organized themselves in a “Backpacker Network Germany”, which provides a list of their members hostels. A website which lists almost every independent hostel in Germany is Gomio. Of course, international room booking agencies such as Hostelsclub, Hostelworld & Hostelbookers are also good resources, and give travelers the ability to leave reviews. A & O Hostels/Hotels have a number of quality central city locations in Germany providing an interesting blend of hostel and hotel style accommodation usually catering for young adults and families.

Souvenirs:

German honey is a good souvenir, but only “Echter Deutscher Honig” is a guarantee for reasonable quality. Along the German coasts, smoked eel is quite a common delicacy and a typical souvenir. You can discover an astonishing German cheese variety in cheese stores or in Bioläden.

Some of those products may not be taken into all countries due to agricultural contamination concerns.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Germany
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Name: Brandenburg Gate
Location: Berlin, Germany
The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the (temporarily) successful restoration of order during the early Batavian Revolution. One of the best-known landmarks of Germany, it was built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, which used to be capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin within Mitte, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament (Bundestag). The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which led directly to the royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs.

Throughout its existence, the Brandenburg Gate was often a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_Gate
Name: Neuschwanstein Castle
Location: Hohenschwangau, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

The castle was intended as a home for the king, until he died in 1886. It was open to the public shortly after his death. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.

The inspiration for the construction of Neuschwanstein came from two journeys in 1867 — one in May to the reconstructed Wartburg near Eisenach, another in July to the Château de Pierrefonds, which Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was transforming from a ruined castle into a historistic palace. The king saw both buildings as representatives of a romantic interpretation of the Middle Ages, as well as the musical mythology of his friend Wagner.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuschwanstein_Castle
Name: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Location: Berlin, Germany
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000-square-metre (200,000 sq ft) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 metres (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 metres (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.7 metres (7.9 in to 15 ft 5.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.

Building began on April 1, 2003, and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II in Europe, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Mitte neighborhood. The cost of construction was approximately €25 million.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_to_the_Murdered_Jews_of_Europe
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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

Global Immigration Leader, Big 4

“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

Internal stakeholder, Big 4

“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

External client, Private practice

“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

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