|Germany||Main pages||Places||Other links|
Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart, Karlsruhe) • Bavaria (Munich) • Berlin• Brandenburg (Potsdam) • Bremen • Hamburg • Hesse (Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden) • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Schwerin) • Lower Saxony (Hanover) • North Rhine-Westphalia (Aachen, Düsseldorf, Cologne) • Rhineland-Palatinate (Mainz) • Saarland (Saarbrücken) • Saxony (Dresden) • Saxony-Anhalt (Magdeburg) • Schleswig-Holstein (Kiel) • Thuringia (Erfurt)
Germany is a country in Europe
- The German Office of Foreign Affairs "Auswärtiges Amt" issued a Handbook for Germany (pdf download) with helpful information about German all-day life, organizational structure, history, almost everything you might wonder , available in 7 languages
- A Deutschland online magazine in 11 languages
- facts about Germany in 10 languages
- and the Young Germany online magazine in English. Definitely check this out!
- YG also offers free German Lessons in text and video/podcasts, and even with correction service!
- The German Phrasebook from Wikitravel provides German basics (grammar, pronounciation, important words/phrases)
- Weatherforecast for Germany. You can click around and it will show your more about local weather situations.
Germany is divided into 16 States (See Map), capital is Berlin.
State, Capital (writing in german if different)
Hospitality Exchange networks
In Germany there are many hosts or people willing to meet you in nearly all of the hospitality networks. Usually there are also German groups / boards / forums to get in contact, find informations and so on (links to some groups see above in the "other links" section). For links to regional or city groups look at the subpages here.
Taking the train
You can find all information about departure and arrivals, fares, timetables and buy tickets online at the website of Deutsche Bahn.
Train for Free/Less: There several regional and (for weekends) germanwide group tickets for 5 Persons only for the lokal (means small, stops everywhere) trains. There are often groups with less than 5 Persons who have them and it's easy - at least on common routes - to find people who have a place left on there group ticket. Often it's for free but sometimes they'll ask you if you can spend about 5,- €. If you take the risk, you can just go into the trains and ask the people there. If you want to be more careful (and you are not at a very small station) you can ask people on the train platform. You can also ask people who are leaving the train if they don't need there group tickets anymore, but since last year officially you have to write a name on the tickets and very few controllers also asking for passport to check. (At big stations there are also very often people who try to sell there tickets after use. Check the date carefully, occasionally it's a rip off.)
It is very easy to hitchhike in Germany. There are big motorways, called Autobahn in German, which connect the big cities. If you get on these, you can use the stations on the road to change the hosting car. (It is against the law to hike directly on the Autobahn. Often there is no speed limit and you would risk your life.) You have more success if you ask the drivers directly where they go and if they can give you a ride then putting you thumb up. (Best is to have a cardboard sign with your your destination.) A very good site in the Internet is Hitchbase. There are useful experiences from other hitchhikers.
Ride sharing known als Mitfahrgelegenheit is common in Germany especially amongst younger people. The existing systems are also (ab)used for sharing group tickets for Deutsche Bahn. Most pages are available in several languages. Due to the changes at Mitfahrgelegenheit, so far the most important/useful page, a lot of people checking out alternative / new pages right now. So, in the moment, it can't harm to use several pages at once.
- The most popular website to place and search add was for a long time Mitfahrgelegenheit . Unfortunately they recently decided to make lot's of money with the page, made registration obligatory and the system pretty useless for sharing group train tickets. A
- flinc - service for neal-time ridesharing
- Detailed Information on Public Transport in Germany (German)
- detailed information for people with or without disabilities (German)
- regular Buses in Germany or abroad (German)
Especially if you're going long distance within Germany flying might be an option. Very famous for it's prices is Ryanair  - but they have only a few routes within Germany, often fly from suburban airports (Berlin and Bremen are an exception). Also be aware that it easily might happen they rip you off by extra fees - so be aware of their luggage limits... Other low cost airlines are:
Health and security
Germany is known for being one of the safest countries in the Euro- pean Union, and while you could possibly find yourself on some of Earth's safest terrain in Germany's smaller towns and villages, travel- ing in larger cities can be dangerous. The most serious threat for visitors or tourists are pickpockets, who are known for frequenting crowded places like airports, train stations, busy train wagons or buses, and tourist attractions. For this reason, it is best to leave valu- able items and documents in a hotel safe.
You should obtain medical insurance that is valid in Germany before leaving your home country; otherwise, you will be charged for doctor or hospital visits abroad. For less serious illnesses, you can seek advice in one of Germany's many pharmacies (Apotheke).
German pharmacies are abundant, even in smaller towns, and are easy to find. Just look for a red stylized "A" or the word "Apotheke" (www.apotheken.de). Pharmacies are usually open from 8 AM – 6 PM and are generally closed evenings, Saturday afternoons, Sundays and holidays. Each of them, typically, has a list on the door of pharmacies in the area that remain open to handle emergencies. Most pharmacists can offer advice on minor illnesses and recommend over-the-counter remedies. Be aware, however, that all medicines (even aspirin) are behind the counter, and must be asked for, even if you do not need a prescription to purchase them. It is also a good idea to bring any prescription drugs from your home country with you for the duration of your stay abroad. While you will probably be able to find equivalent drugs in Germany, you will need a doctor's prescription, which will not be free of charge. Prescription drugs cannot be sent legally through the postal service if you are planning on having them sent from home.
Finding a doctor in Germany can be an intimidating process because of the language difference, but it should not be. You can refer to the yellow pages (Gelbe Seiten: www.gelbeseiten.de) or a local tele- phone book (www.dasoertliche.de) in which doctors are listed by their specialization. For a general physician look under "Allgemein- medizin", or, simply ask a colleague or friend; the best references are often by word of mouth. Other good sources of medical care are university clinics, which can usually be found in major cities or univer- sity towns. These clinics are staffed by highly skilled doctors who often speak English. Making an appointment When making a doctor's appointment by telephone or in person, the person you will speak to is the Arzthelferin or doctors assistant. She may not speak English, but do not worry, you will not be asked many questions, you simply need to set up a day and a time for an ap- pointment.
Some helpful phrases for an appointment are:
"Ich möchte einen Termin machen." "I would like to make an appointment." "Es ist dringend. Haben Sie keinen früheren Termin?" "It is urgent. Don't you have an earlier appointment?" "Wo befindet sich Ihre Praxis?" "Where is your practice located?"
If you have an urgent medical situation during evenings, weekends or holidays you can always find an available doctor who will provide after hours medical assistance. You can find an "on call" emergency physician by:
• Calling a general physician listed in the telephone book. If he or she is not available, you will most likely hear a recorded message with the telephone number of an emergency doctor.
• In large hotels medical care is usually provided on the premises. If not, ask the receptionist to contact a doctor for you.
• Calling the "Ärztlichen Notdienst" (19292 in some parts of Germany) for the name of a doctor in your area, see also: www.aerztlichepraxis.de/Bereitschaft and www.aerzte-notdienst.de.
• Going directly to the hospital or emergency room.
• Taking yourself or the patient to the nearest hospital or out-patient clinic.
• Checking a local newspaper. Look through a local newspaper for the heading "Notdienst Kalender" (“Emergency Calendar”) to find an emergency doctor in your area.
• In immediate life-threatning situations (i.e, motor vehicle accident, chest pain, severe injury etc.) dial 112(toll-free, no area code necessary)! This call will be answered by an expirienced rescue professional (most likely a Fire-Fighter) who will send appropriate help to your location (i.e., Paramedics, Ambulance). See below.
Advice on calling in an emergency:
How to correctly report an accident/incident. In an emergency, a few seconds can be a matter of life and death. When calling for help, you need to concentrate on relaying essentials without forgetting important facts when calling the country-wide Emergency Numbers
112 (Fire, Ambulance, Emergency Physician) and 110 (Police).
When reporting an accident in Germany, keep the 4-W’s in mind:
• Where? Where did the accident/incident happen? (be as precise as possible! i.e., city/town, street name and house number, intersection, on a highway state the direction you are headed and the last exit you have passed or a mile marker - blue signs on the side of the highway that will read "123,5 KM")
• What? What happened? (i.e., car accident, fire, person with chest pain, injured person etc.)
• Who? Who is injured or sick and/or how many are affected. (Gender, approx. age)
• WAIT! Wait for further questions and provide a (mobile-) phone number where you can be reached for further questions. (Never hang up until the calltaker tells you it's ok to do so!)
When calling in an emergency try to stay calm and listen to the questions you are asked. A calltaker will guide you through the process and will ask all the relevant questions he/she needs to dispatch the appropriate emergency personnel.
The German police can be identified by their predominantly navy blue uniforms, and blue and white (or nowaydays more commonly, silver) signs and auto- mobiles. Motorized police units, known as the "Vekehrspolizei" (traffic police), look after safety on the streets, roads and motorways, and can be identified by their white hats. Uniformed policemen patrolling city streets have a hat that is the same color as their uniform. Those policemen who are responsible for criminal offences, known as the "Kriminalpolizei" (criminal police), are usually dressed in plain clothes, and show their identification only when necessary. Many of the German police personnel speak English and are approachable and easy to find in busy areas like airports and train stations. The number 110 can be used to contact the police throughout Germany. Car accidents If you or someone else has an accident or a serious breakdown on the German motorway, you can use one of the special orange telephones that are set every 2 kilometers along the shoulder of the road. These telephones contact an operator who will inform the appropriate emergency services. The emergency numbers 110 and 112 can be accessed by every telephone, including mobile phones, free of charge.
German automobile clubs
If you are staying in Germany for a longer period of time, membership in a German automobile club has several advantages. The largest automobile club in Germany is the ADAC (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club: www.adac.de). This organization offers information in English, sells insurance, publishes detailed maps and provides emergency roadside assistance. Most cities have an ADAC office. In addition, the ADAC has partnership agreements with some foreign automobile clubs, including AAA in the United States (www.AAA.com).
Lost and stolen property
Thefts and burglaries must be reported immediately to the police (www.polizei.de). If an insurance claim is to be made, a certificate must be obtained to show that the stolen property has been reported. If you have lost a valuable item, try contacting the city's "Fundgrube" (Lost and Found). These exist in every German city and are often in the city hall or "Rathaus". See www.fundbuero24.de . The German Railway has its own lost property office known as the "Fundbüro der Deutschen Bahn AG". The same applies for most airports.
List of Emergency Numbers
- Fire Department, Rescue and Ambulance ("Feuerwehr und Rettungsdienst")
- 112 (toll-free, no area-code required)
- Police ("Polizei")
- 110 (toll-free, no area-code required)
- On-call Doctor (after hours, "Ärztlicher Bereitschaftdienst")
- 19292 (local numbers and availability may vary)
- Emergency Poison Hotline
- (0761) 192 40
Lost & Found ("Fundbüro")
- Fundbüro der Deutschen Bahn AG (German Railroad Lost and Found)
- (01805) 99 05 99
- Zentrales Fundbüro Berlin (Central Lost and Found of Berlin)
- (030) 69 95
Lost Credit Cards
- Central number for all bank cards (EC), credit cards and cellular phones (with a German contract)
- 116116 (toll free within Germany); from abroad: 0049/116116
- American Express
- (069) 97 97 10 00
- Diner's Club
- (05921) 86 12 34
- (069) 79 33 19 10
- (0800) 81 49 100
German Automobile Clubs offering roadside assistance
- ADAC (Allg. Deutscher Automobil-Club)
- (089) 76760
- AvD (Automobilclub von Deutschland)
- (069) 66060
Useful Telephone Numbers
- Directory enquiries, national numbers
- 11842 or 11833
- Directory enquiries, international numbers
Embassies and consulates can provide a number of useful services for their citizens while they are traveling or living abroad. If your passport is lost or stolen, officials in a consulate can issue you a replacement. The consulate will also renew passports, help you obtain legal advice, hire a translator if necessary, and assist you in contacting your family. If you think that your passport has been stolen, report it to the local police and obtain a police declaration. It is recommended that you make a copy of your passport and other important papers and keep them in a safe place to expedite replacement of lost or stolen documents. Should you lose all of your money and other financial resources, consular officers can help you contact a bank, employer, or family member and arrange for them to send you funds. In extreme circumstances, they may be able to arrange for financial loans to finance the purchase of a ticket home.
A list of foreign embassies in Germany and of German representatives abroad can be found at www.auswaertiges-amt.de.