Germany

by Ucman Scher
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Everything You Need To Know Before Travelling To Germany

I’ll never forget my solo trip to Munich because it was my introduction to Europe and Germany being my first solo trip within Europe outside the U.K. And this started the beautiful journey I am still on the path of. Germany really is the country of wonders, despite their history of war and violence, it is an amazing modern society, hard-working with a lot of focus on quality, efficiency and functionality of life. The first time I visited I expected blatant show-off of wealth like the UK and The US but German life is rather simple and they derive pleasure from smaller things rather than blatant showing off. (You can still see the mansions with private lakes in Bavaria if you want to satisfy the capitalist inside).

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The infrastructure in cities is very good and clean and transport and social links are amazing. Despite their colder stance towards strangers Berlin is at the forefront of world art and creative industries with and the government backs startups with innovative ideas extensively.

You have a lot of options for entertainment be it the Oktoberfest or the fetish pride or visiting the beautiful gothic castles, Germany has something to offer to everyone and with flights really cheap flying out really is very convenient…

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Is Germany Racist?

Germans are very friendly and nice people once you get to know them but they also don’t tolerate BS. I approached the country accordingly and the experience was positive on my solo trip to Germany. Do not expect a heartwarming welcome that you’d get in the Middle East or Brazil. It is slightly cautious but a nice interaction that sweetens with time. At the time when I visited, I didn’t experience any racism but I imagine things must have changed slightly since the recent refugee influx and attacks so I’d suggest a cautious approach.

Is Germany Safe For LGBT Travellers?

I found Germany to be very tolerant on my solo trip when it comes to sexuality. Berlin is actually known as the fetish capital of the world. You will come across all sorts with a special fetish pride organized every year. The guys are quite good looking especially if you like blonde guys with blue eyes or if you like Turkish guys…

Berlin and Munich both have an established alternative scene with lots of bars and clubs offering everything from BDSM to dark rooms and everything in between. A downside of this is lots of drugs use and a tendency to indulge in risky sexual behaviour but I suppose each to his own. In terms of hanging out and apps, there are a lot of guys around and with germans obsessed with perfect bodies you can drool over those six-pack abs.

The society, in general, is very tolerant towards homosexuality in fact tolerance is probably the wrong word, they don’t discriminate or judge you based on being gay at least in the big cities.

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Is Germany Expensive?

Germany is a high income developed country but it is reasonably priced. Berlin especially can be quite cheap based on where you go. With its alternative scene, it is quite easy to find cheap and great venues without a lot of looking around. Munich, on the other hand, can be a little expensive but coming from the UK both cities seemed really reasonably priced to me.

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How To Plan Your Trip To Germany?

On my solo trip to Germany, I spent 3 days in Munich when I first travelled to Germany and the three days flew by. There’s quite a lot to do and see in the city and around. Similarly, I spent a long weekend in Berlin a year later which was just the right time before I got depressed from all the WWI and WWII stuff.

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What Is Accommodation Like In Germany?

In both my trips, I stayed with friends who were living and working in the city. Both cities have great accommodation options from hostels to hotels to Airbnb. With the recent crackdown on Airbnb in Germany, you should be cautious but I still see a lot of options on the site for stay and at a very good price.

A really good area to stay in Berlin is around Nollendorfplatz. It has a vibrant gay scene around and is close to everything and easy to travel around from. Similarly, the area around Sendlinger Tor metro station in Munich is great. It has good connections and is quite central, so a place around this area would be very convenient.

Check this guide to find the best accommodation wherever you go.

How Is Food In Germany?

With everything else quite prim and proper, the German food is probably the only thing I just couldn’t get myself to like. And I have tried a lot, trust me. One main reason is Pork and since I don’t eat it, most of the food is out of bounds. Whatever is left is quite unappetizing but luckily both Berlin and Munich have a good selection of restaurants especially Turkish restaurants. These restaurants serve amazing BBQ meat which I absolutely loved.

Another thing to try is schnitzel. It is breaded parchment of veal usually but sadly, even that is a bit bland. If you like sausages, however, this is your place to be with sausages of each size and shape easily available. I loved this one place which sold amazing veal sausages with sourdough bread and strong mustard sauce so if you find a place serving that, give it a try.

Which Sim Card To Buy For Germany? Is Internet Good In Germany?

The phone reception in Germany is quite good within the cities and you get good reception even when underground using the metro. Internet is also fast and good and free wifi is easily and readily available. I used my roaming during my solo trip to Germany but if you want to get a sim card you can explore some options here. I saw plenty of shops selling these sim cards and you don’t even need your ID to buy them.

Should You Carry Cash Or Cards In Germany? 

Card payments were a bit of a shock for me, especially in Berlin where a lot of places didn’t accept cards. We had to go looking for cash machines which were also not very common outside the city centre. It would be a great idea to keep some cash on you for these instances. Munich was much better though with most places accepting cards and quite a lot of cash machines.

During my solo trip to Germany, I found quite a lot of money exchange shops everywhere in both cities, especially in tourist hot spots. If you are coming from the EU, it is the same currency (Euros) or if you are going from elsewhere you will need to convert.

You can learn how to manage your budget during travelling.

Practical Travel Tips For Germany

  • Book your walking tour in advance for both cities because the companies are in high demand especially during summer.
  • There are a lot of reminiscents of WWI and WWII all around both cities. While visiting these places is a must, do prepare to be depressed and alternate your days to keep it balanced.
  • Germany is bitterly cold in winter and you should pack accordingly. I generally don’t get cold very often but this was a whole different level altogether.
  • A visit to a Biergarten (Beer Garden) is a must. Good ones are fully booked weeks in advance since they are in high demand, so advanced booking is a must.
  • If Opera is your thing, Germany has a lot to offer. I would strongly recommend booking your tickets well in advanced with good seats to avoid disappointment.
  • Brush up on your cycling skills for Potsdam. That is the best way to wander around in this beautiful town and you can easily rent cycles right outside the train station.
  • Don’t forget to try your luck at Berghain in Berlin. If you fail, don’t forget to get a ‘I didn’t get into Berghain’ t-shirt.

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