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Germany Travel Guide
General Information on Germany TOP

The Federal Republic of Germany shares frontiers with Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland. The northwest of the country has a coastline on the North Sea with islands known for their health resorts, while the Baltic coastline in the northeast stretches from the Danish to the Polish border. The country is divided into 16 states (Bundesländer) including the formerly divided city of Berlin. The landscape is exceedingly varied, with the Rhine, Bavaria and the Black Forest being probably the three most famous features of western Germany. In eastern Germany, the country is lake studded with undulating lowlands which give way to the hills and mountains of the Lausitzer Bergland, the Saxon Hills in the Elbe Valley and the Erzgebirge, whilst the once divided areas of the Thuringian and Harz ranges in the central part of the country are now whole regions again. River basins extend over a large percentage of the eastern part of Germany, the most important being the Elbe, Saale, Havel, Spree and Oder. Northern Germany includes the states of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and the city states of Bremen and Hamburg. The western area of the country consists of the Rhineland, the industrial sprawl of the Ruhr, Westphalia (Westfalen), Hesse (Hessen), the Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) and the Saarland. In the southern area of the country are the two largest states, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria (Bayern), which contain the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), Lake Constance (Bodensee) and the Bavarian Alps. Munich (München), Stuttgart and Nuremberg (Nürnberg) are the major cities. The eastern part of the country is made up of the states of Thuringia, Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Berlin. The major cities in eastern Germany are Dresden, Leipzig, Erfurt, Halle, Potsdam, Schwerin and Rostock. Apart from Leipzig and Rostock, these are also all recently reconstituted state capitals.

The Climate Of Germany TOP

Temperate throughout the country with warm summers and cold winters, but prolonged periods of frost or snow are rare. Rain falls throughout the year.

Required clothing: European clothes with light- to mediumweights in summer, medium- to heavyweights in winter. Waterproofs are needed throughout the year.

Getting To Germany TOP

AIR: The national airline is Lufthansa (LH). Many other airlines serve the country, including an increasing number of low-cost airlines (such as Easyjet and Ryanair) operating from the UK.

Approximate flight times: From Hamburg, Bremen or Hannover to London is 1 hour 20 minutes; from Cologne/Bonn to London is 1 hour 10 minutes; from Frankfurt/M to London is 1 hour 25 minutes; from Nuremberg to London is 2 hours 30 minutes (with one stop); and from Munich to London is 1 hour 40 minutes. From Frankfurt/M to Los Angeles is 11 hours 20 minutes, to New York is 8 hours 20 minutes, to Singapore is 13 hours and to Sydney is 23 hours.

International airports: Berlin-Tegel (TXL) (Otto Lilienthal) (website: www.berlin-airport.de) is located 8km (5 miles) northwest of the city (travel time – 20 minutes). Bus nos. 109 and X9 go to the city every 5-10 minutes from 0500-2400; return is from Bahnhof Zoo, Budapester Strasse, Charlottenburg station or Kurfürstendamm underground station. Airport facilities include duty-free shop, banks/bureaux de change, left luggage (0530-2200), 24-hour medical facilities, post office (Mon-Fri 0630-2100), restaurant (0600-2200), bars (0600-2300), snack bar (0515-2300), shops, tourist information, conference rooms, hotel reservation and car hire.
Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) (website: www.berlin-airport.de) is 20km (12 miles) southeast of the city (travel time – 1 hour). The AirportExpress train departs for the city centre every 30 minutes (0430-2300). S-Bahn no. S9 departs for the city (to Westkreuz) via Alexanderplatz and Bahnhof Zoo; S45 departs every 20 minutes to Westend. Further connections with the regional train services R1, R2 and R12 are available at the same tariff as the S-Bahn. Bus no. 171 runs between U-Bahn station Rudow (Line 7) and the airport. Taxi service is available to the city 24 hours. Airport facilities include duty-free shop, banks/bureaux de change, post office (Mon-Fri 0800-1800, Sat 0800-1200), restaurant (Mon-Fri 0730-2200, Sat and Sun 0600-2200), 24-hour left luggage, medical facilities (0600-2200), 24-hour nursery, 24-hour snack bar, 24-hour hotel reservation, 24-hour tourist information and car hire. The mainline railway station is a ten minute walk from the airport; from here connections to major German cities and to Basle, Budapest, Prague and Vienna are possible. A free shuttle bus is available from the airport to the station.


Berlin-Tempelhof (THF) (website: www.berlin-airport.de) is 6km (4 miles) southeast of the city centre (travel time – 20 minutes). Bus no. 119 departs every ten minutes to the city. The underground lines 6 and 7 run every 2-10 minutes (travel time – 15 minutes). Taxis are available. Airport facilities include duty-free shop, left luggage (0600-2200), 24-hour medical facilities, banks/bureaux de change, snack bar, other shops and car hire.


Bremen (BRE) (Neuenland) (website: www.airport-bremen.de) is 3.5km (2 miles) from the city (travel time – 10 minutes). Tram no.6 takes approximately 17 minutes to the city centre (main railway station). Services run Mon-Sat every 5-15 minutes, and Sun every 15-30 minutes. There is a 24-hour taxi service. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, bank, bureau de change, conference centre, car hire and hotel reservation.


Cologne (Köln/Bonn) (CGN) (Konrad Adenauer) (website: www.airport-cgn.de/) is 14km (9 miles) southeast of Cologne, and 21km (13 miles) northeast of Bonn (travel time – 25 and 35 minutes respectively). Express bus no. 170 goes to Cologne every 15-30 minutes. Express bus no. 670 goes to Bonn every 20 minutes. Return is from the bus stop near the main railway station (stadthaltestelle am hauptbahnhof). There is a 24-hour taxi service at the airport. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, tourist information, conference centre, car hire, restaurant (0630-2000), bar (0600-2300), bank/building society and shops.


Dresden (DRS) (Klotsche) (website: www.dresden-airport.de) is 9km (6 miles) northeast of Dresden (travel time – 25 minutes). Daily bus services are available to the city. Airport facilities include left luggage, bank/bureau de change, car hire, bars, restaurants, shops and tourist information.


Düsseldorf (DUS) (Rhein-Ruhr) (website: www.duesseldorf-international.de) is 8km (5 miles) north of the city. Trains depart to the city every 20 minutes (the airport station is under the arrival hall). Return is from Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) every 30 minutes. An S-Bahn connection (S7) every 20-30 minutes and bus services are available as well. Taxis run a 24-hour service to Düsseldorf. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop (0430-2130), bank (0630-2130), medical facilities, post office (Mon-Fri 0800-1800, Sat 0800-1200), restaurant (0600-2359), bars, snack bar (0430-2130), tourist information, car hire and conference rooms.
Frankfurt/M (FRA) (Rhein/Main) (website: www.frankfurt-airport.de) is 9km (6 miles) southwest of the city. Travel to and from the city is by buses no. 61 and 62 every 20 minutes, returning from Hauptbahnhof (main railway station). Lines S8 and S9 goes to the city (the station is underneath the arrival hall). S-Bahn S8 also goes directly to Mainz and Wiesbaden (travel time – 40 minutes). There is a 24-hour taxi service to Frankfurt. The airport has its own InterCity railway station which also offers international services (Switzerland, Austria and Hungary). The Lufthansa Courtesy Airport Bus connects with Mannheim (travel time – 1 hour) and Heidelberg (travel time – 1.5 hours). Long-distance bus services from the airport include the T271 to Ostrava in the Czech Republic (travel time – 4 hours) and the CHECK LINE bus to Strasbourg in France (travel time – 3 hours). Airport facilities include left luggage, 24-hour medical facilities, duty-free shops, banks, restaurants, bars, snack bars, shops, Airport Conference Centre (23 conference rooms), post office (0600-2200), tourist information and car hire.


Hamburg (HAM) (Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel) (website: www.ham.airport.de) is 9km (5 miles) north of the city centre (travel time – 25 minutes). Coaches go to the city every 20 minutes, returning from Zentral Omnibus Bahnhof Kirchenallee. The Airport City Line bus runs every 20 minutes to the railway station from 0500-2300. Express bus no. 110 runs every 10 minutes to Ohlsdorf Station (travel time – 9 minutes). A taxi service is available. Airport facilities include duty-free shop, banks (0600-2200), shops, restaurants (0530-2200), snack bar, post office, tourist information and car hire.
Hannover (HAJ) (Langenhagen) (website: www.hannover-airport.de) is 11km (7 miles) north of the city (travel time – 30 minutes). S-Bahn S5 runs between the airport and the main railway station every 30 minutes (travel time - 12 minutes). A 24-hour taxi service runs to Hannover. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, 24-hour luggage lockers, 24-hour medical facilities, banks/bureau de change (Mon-Fri 0630-2100, Sat-Sun 0900-1730), bars (0600-1900), snack bar, post office, restaurants, tourist information and car hire.
Leipzig/Halle (LEJ) (website: www.leipzig-halle-airport.de) is 12km (7 miles) northwest of the city (travel time – 30 minutes). Coaches depart to the city. Return is from the main railway station and major hotels. 24-hour taxi services are available to the city. Airport facilities include duty-free shop, conference centre, bank (0800-2000), post office (Mon-Fri 0600-2200, Sat-Sun 0600-2000), snack bar (0600-2200), medical facilities (0600-2230), tourist information and restaurant (0700-2100).


Munich (MUC) (Franz Joseph Strauss) (website: www.munich-airport.de) is 28.5km (18 miles) northeast of the city (travel time – 38 minutes). Direct links with the S-Bahn S8 and S1 run every 10 minutes from Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) (0313-0042; return 0355-0115). The Airport City Bus runs every 20 minutes from 0650-1930 to the Hauptbahnhof and every 30 minutes from 0755-2055; further bus services are available. Coach Oberbayern runs every 10 minutes to the city centre. Airport facilities include duty-free shop, 24-hour left luggage, 24-hour medical facilities, snack bar, restaurants, post office, banks, conference centre, car hire and bars. The airport also has a Visitors’ Park. Attractions include Dimension M (interactive information centre), Viewing Hill (a vantage point to view airport activity), a display of historical aircraft, an aircraft simulator movie theatre, a play area and restaurant.


Münster-Osnabrück (FMO) (website: www.flughafen-fmo.de) is 25km (16 miles) from the city. Buses go to Münster (travel time – 30 minutes) and Osnabrück (travel time – 35 minutes). Taxis take 40 minutes. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop.
Nuremberg (NUE) (website: www.flughafen-nuernberg.de) is 7km (4 miles) north of the city centre. Underground U2 runs to the Hauptbahnhof (travel time - 12 minutes). There is a 24-hour taxi service. Bus no. 32 goes to Thon with interchanging bus no. 30 to Erlangen (travel time – 20 minutes) as well as trams no. 4 and 9. Taxis are available. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, 24-hour luggage lockers, business centre, 24-hour medical facilities, bars (0500-2000), snack bar (0430-2000), post office (Mon-Fri 0630-1730, Sat 0630-1200), restaurants (1100-2300) and car hire.
Saarbrücken (SCN) (Ensheim) (website: www.flughafen-saarbrueken.de) is 16km (10 miles) from the city centre. There is an hourly bus service (27) to the city, and taxis are also available.
Stuttgart (STR) (Echterdingen) (website: www.flughafen-stuttgart.de) is 14km (9 miles) south of the city (travel time – 35 minutes). An S-Bahn link (lines S2 and S3) is available with trains running at 10-minute intervals. There is a 24-hour taxi service to Stuttgart. Airport facilities include duty-free shops (0430-2359), 24-hour luggage lockers, conference centre, 24-hour medical facilities, bank/bureau de change (0730-2100), bars (0530-2359), post office, restaurant (0530-2300) and car hire.

Travelling Around Germany TOP

SEA: The following shipping lines serve routes to Germany from the UK:
DFDS Seaways: Harwich–Cuxhaven.
Stena Line: Harwich–Hook of Holland.
P&O Ferries: Dover–Calais; Hull–Rotterdam; Hull–Zeebrugge.
Hoverspeed: Dover–Calais; Dover–Ostend.
Ferry connections also exist from Germany to The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Russian Federation, Latvia and Lithuania.

RAIL: Train/ferry routes from London are from London Victoria via Dover and Ostend, or London Liverpool Street to Hook of Holland via Harwich. Travel time to Cologne/Bonn is around 10 hours.

The channel tunnel: The quickest route by train from the UK is through the channel tunnel with connections from Brussels or Paris to Austria. Eurostar operates direct high-speed trains through the channel tunnel from London (Waterloo International) to Paris (Gare du Nord) and to Brussels (Midi/Zuid). From London to Paris, travel time is 3 hours; from London to Brussels, travel time is 2 hours 40 minutes. From Brussels, there is a night train to Vienna leaving at 1910 and taking approximately 14 hours; from Paris (Gare de l’Est) there are two trains to Vienna, one at 0749 and another at 1749, taking approximately 15 hours. For further information and reservations, contact Eurostar (tel: (0870) 6000 792 (travel agents) or (08705) 186 186 (public; within the UK) or +44 (1233) 617 575 (public; outside the UK); website: www.eurostar.com); or Rail Europe (tel: (08705) 848 848). Travel agents can obtain refunds for unused tickets from Eurostar Trade Refunds, Second Floor, Kent House, 81 Station Road, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PD. Complaints and comments may be sent to Eurostar Customer Relations, Eurostar House, Waterloo Station, London SE1 8SE. General enquiries and information requests must be made by telephone.
There are excellent connections between the Federal Republic of Germany and other main European cities. In 1998, Deutsche Bahn extended their international network eastwards and it now connects with 13 European countries, including Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. For more information, contact Deutsche Bahn in the UK at Passenger Services, UK Booking Centre, PO Box 687A, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 6UB, UK (tel: (0870) 243 5363; fax: (020) 8339 4700; e-mail: sales@deutsche-bahn.co.uk; website: www.bahn.de). A number of scenic rail journeys begin in Germany and go to Austria or Switzerland, such as the routes through the Black Forest: Frankfurt/M–Offenburg–Singen–Schaffhausen and Würzburg–Zürich.

ROAD: Germany is connected to all surrounding countries by a first-class network of motorways and trunk roads. The Channel Tunnel: Eurotunnel operates trains 24 hours per day through the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone in Kent (with direct access from the M20) and Calais in France. All vehicles, from motorcycles to campers, can be accommodated. Eurotunnel operates three to four passenger trains per hour at peak times. The journey takes approximately 35 minutes. For further information, contact Eurotunnel Reservations (tel: (08705) 353 535; e-mail: callcentre@eurotunnel.com; website: www.eurotunnel.co.uk).
Coach: For regular coach services from the UK to Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt/M, Dortmund, Hannover, Munich and other destinations in the Federal Republic of Germany, contact: Eurolines (4 Cardiff Road, Luton LU1 1PP; tel: (08705) 143 219; fax: (01582) 400 694; website: www.eurolines.com or www.gobycoach.com). Agents in the UK are National Express (tel: (08705) 808 080 or (08701) 595 959 (holiday reservations); fax: (0121) 456 1397; website: www.nationalexpress.co.uk); or Transline (tel: (01375) 390 039; fax: (01375) 394 488; e-mail: coaches@harris-travel.com; website: www.translineuk.com).
In every major city, there are Mitfahrerzentralen (car sharing agencies, see Yellow Pages) which offer shared car travelling to all European cities on the basis of shared costs; an agency fee is charged. See Travel - Internal section for information on documentation and traffic regulations.


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