Good to know about Germany

Do you plan to visit Germany? Then you found the right blog post. Here you find some “Insider” news, tips, help and other good-to-know stuff about my home country. 

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin


About Germany

Germany has a size of over 350,000 square kilometres and more than 80 million inhabitants. Our capital is Berlin, and of course, we speak German and pay with Euro. Our country has a big historical background, especially the Second World War is still an important subject in Germany and we were divided into two countries (with a wall which even divided Berlin into two parts). The German reunification was on the 3rd of October 1990, it is our national holiday. We are less than half per cent of the world…


Shops are closed on Sundays

It’s cheaper to buy food in the supermarket and cook your own meal than go out to a restaurant. However, if you go to restaurants or bars you usually give the waiter a tip of around 10% for his – and this is the important part – good service. On the other hand, it is also totally common to actually give no tip in case the waiter was impolite or the service bad.

If you want to buy food in the supermarket you should know that all shops and supermarkets are closed on Sundays. There are some exceptions on special days (Verkaufsoffener Sonntag). There are also special rules for convenience stores, petrol stations and supermarkets which are part of a train station. If you are in Berlin, you can for example go to the supermarket at the central station or Ostbahnhof. But the groceries can be more expensive, especially at the convenience store.

One special attention for tourists in Bavaria (for example Munich, Nuremberg, castle Neuschwanstein) and Saarland: Supermarkets close here a little bit earlier, at the latest 8pm.


Deposit on plastic and beer bottles

In Germany, we have a deposit for most bottles. You recognise it through a little sign on the bottle, which shows a can and a bottle with a returning arrow. Plastic bottles, cans and beer bottles but also some other glass bottles (for example soft drinks) have deposits. Most big glass bottles with alcohol (wine or spirits) are non-returnable.

Plastic bottles and cans have a 0.25 Euro deposit, and beer bottles (glass) 0.08 Euro. There is also a deposit on the crate itself. After you emptied the bottles you can bring it back to the supermarket and get your money back. This deposit system is part of the environmental protection of Germany and should help the recycling system. Furthermore, many homeless people in Germany collect bottles with a deposit from public parks. So if you do not want to bring your bottle home you can just place it next to a trash bin people will collect it from there. 

Bundestag in Berlin
Bundestag in Berlin
Public transport

Compared to many other countries, Germany has expensive public transport. Especially the local transport could be very expensive (price reduction for single tickets only for kids under 14 years). When you want to travel across the country you can use planes, trains (for long-distance travel, it’s cheaper to buy the tickets at least three days before – Deutsche Bahn or sometimes cheaper here), busses (f.e. FlixbusPostbus or Eurolines) or also take a ride with the car (f.e. Blablacar). The last one is a good decision when you want to travel spontaneously. There are different portals you can use and ask foreigners to take them for less money with you.

No speed limit

One cliche about Germans is, that they love cars. The fact is that Germany doesn’t have a speed limit on highways. But it was already discussed a lot if it would reduce car accidents.

Clean tap water

Our tap water in Germany is very clean. So you don’t have to buy water in the supermarket and can just use the tap to refill your bottle. Many people buy their water anyway in the supermarket. One reason will be that sparkling water is really in common here (but you can also buy water without carbonic acid).

Age Limits
Germany produces a lot of wine and beer. The age limit for beer, and (sparkling) wine is 16 years. For any other alcohol like spirits or driving cars, you have to be 18 years old. With 18 you’re at your full age in Germany. But you have to be 21 years old for some clubs and every casino.

First written on Sunday, December 20th, 2015, you have read the blog post Good to know about Germany on My Travel Journal-Blog.

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