Germany is bordered by France, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland and Switzerland. Its separate landscapes are individually famous, for example, the Rhine, Bavaria and the Black Forest region. The country is divided into sixteen states, known as Bundesländer. Each Bundesländer has its own dialect, traditional dress and food. The east is dotted with river basins and lakes and the south is well known for its beer halls. Rhine and Moselle house steep terraced vineyards and beautiful castles. The north is best known for its costal city of Hamburg.


German is the official language, but regional dialects are varied. Regions close to Denmark speak and teach Danish, but English and French are also widely spoken. A small ethnic minority called the Sorbs speak Sorbic, and this is taught in around 50 schools.


The German currency is the (€) =100cents. The most common paper currency in Germany comes in denominations of €500, €200, €50, €20, €10 and €5. Coins appear in denominations of €2 and €1. Coins also come in 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 2 cents and 1 cent.


Germany has warm summers and cold winters, though long periods of frost or snow are rare but rain is present all year round.


Wherever you go in Germany you are bound to find plenty of things to keep you occupied. In the northeast, Berlin, the country's capital, is one of the most cosmopolitan places in Europe, full of culture, trendy bars and nightclubs. It is of course also packed with tragic history, the tangible legacy of the Second World War remaining until the 1989 opening of the Berlin Wall.

Munich, the capital of Bavaria to the south, is a beautiful place to visit. Surrounded by gorgeous baroque and rococco architecture, it is the perfect place to relax, eat out, or visit the city's many museums. Of course, don't forget the world famous Oktoberfest! Munich is also within easy driving distance of the Alps.

But you don't just have to stick to the cities. Germany offers many opportunities for active hiking and biking holidays, camping is very popular, and the Alps are one of the most awe-inspiring sights in Europe! Whatever you're after you won't be disappointed.


  • The Blood alcohol limit in Germany is 80 mg.
  • As with most of Europe, you should drive on the right and overtake on the left.
  • It is compulsory to carry an emergency triangle, first aid kit and spare bulb kit.
  • A parking disc system operates in major towns, for which discs are available from police, tourist offices and tobacconists.
  • Always give way to vehicles on the right unless advised otherwise by relevant signs.
  • Driving licence and vehicle documents should be carried at all times.
  • Immediate fines can be charged for speeding, parking and running out of fuel on a motorway.
  • Both the driver and all passengers must wear seatbelts if they have been fitted.
  • Buses have right of way when leaving bus stops.
  • Use dipped headlights in poor visibility.
  • In built-up areas, the use of horns is only permitted for emergencies.
  • In cities, you must give way to any trams and do not pass them at official stops.
  • Do not park facing oncoming traffic.
  • Do not overtake or pass a school bus stopped outside a built-up area when red lights are flashing.

Food and Drink

In Germany the main meal is eaten at lunch, and they have a small continental breakfast, and a small dinner at around 7pm. Specialities include: Wurst - grilled, fried or boiled sausage with a crusty bread roll or potato salad; Leberkäse - pickled herring, gherkins and onion rings; Strudel – a pastry, traditionally with apple filling and Kaffee und Kuchen - coffee and cakes. Apart from the traditional foods Germany also has a large selection of speciality restaurants, including Chinese, Greek and Turkish. German beer is excellent and there are many varieties to sample throughout the country.


Good buys in Germany include binoculars and cameras, porcelain, crystal, sliver, Solingen knives, leather, sports equipment and wooden children’s toys from Nuremberg, Bavarian and the Erzgebirge Mountains.

Shopping hours are generally within the hours of 6am and 8pm, then on Saturday from 6am until 4pm. Small shops may take a 2 hour lunch break. All shops are traditionally closed on Sundays.


In larger towns and cities there are a vast collection of theatres, operas, clubs and bars. Berlin is particularly well known for its selection of nightlife. The traditional folk music is found in more rural areas. Pubs are open in Germany until 2 in the morning or later. Food is generally available until midnight. Germans typically go out after 9pm.

Tourist Information

Official German Tourist Office: Other contacts:Tel: (24hr-Brochure Request Service) 09001 600100 (calls cost 60 pence per minute) Tel: (Consumer Information) 020 7317 0908 (press Option 1) Fax: 020 7495 6129

All car hire locations in Germany