ON THE GO
Traveling by plane
Lufthansa (LH) is the best-known domestic German airline. Eurowings (EW) and Air Berlin (AB) connect numerous German cities.
In the summer, connections to Helgoland, Sylt and some East Frisian islands such as Usedom are offered by demand flight services with fixed departure times.
Air Hamburg (HH) flies from Hamburg to Helgoland, Sylt and Juist.
In addition, taxi services are also available between all commercial airports upon request.
Air Berlin flies to Sylt in summer from Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne / Bonn, Munich, Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Osnabrück / Münster. Air Berlin also flies to Sylt from Berlin and Düsseldorf in winter. In summer, Air Berlin also flies to Usedom from Düsseldorf, Nuremberg and Stuttgart.
Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt and Munich to Westerland (Sylt).
On the way by car / bus
Germany has a state-of-the-art motorway network of around 12,220 km. The total road network covers around 630,000 km. Unleaded petrol is available at every petrol station. Over 700 rest stops, petrol stations, motels and kiosks are open 24 hours a day along the motorways. Automobile clubs: The General German Automobile Club (ADAC) from Munich (Internet: www.adac.de) and the Frankfurt Automobile Club of Germany (AvD) (Internet: www.avd.de) have information desks at the main border crossings and offices and agencies in all major cities. Technical assistance is provided to members of affiliated foreign automobile clubs. Maps and travel guides can be purchased from the organizations’ offices. Snow chains can also be rented.
Right-hand traffic / left-hand traffic r condition of roads
A telephone information service with current information on traffic jams, road conditions, construction sites, etc. is available on (0180) 510 11 12 (charges apply). Detailed information about petrol stations, rest stops and motels on the motorways can be found in the “Motorway Service” brochure, which can be requested from the DZT, or from Autobahn Tank & Rast GmbH & Co (Internet: www.tank.rast.de).
The ADAC travel call notifies drivers in emergencies with radio announcements. Road traffic reports are broadcast all year round on all channels. There is also the Auto- und Reiseclub Deutschland (ARCD) (Internet: www.arcd.de) and the Auto Club Europa (ACE) (Internet: www.ace-online.de).
Companies such as Avis, Europa Service, Hertz, Sixt and Budget lend motor vehicles for a minimum period of 24 hours. Booking offices are available at all airports, in cities and at over 40 train stations. The prices depend on the type of car. In the larger cities you can also rent a car with a driver. A car can be provided at the airport, train station or hotel on request. Fuel cannot always be paid for by credit card at petrol stations. Several airlines (including Lufthansa) offer »Fly & Drive«. Further information from the GNTB.
Taxis are readily available everywhere. Waiting fees and other surcharges are required. All taxis are metered. With the abbreviation Tel: 221 18 (0.69 per minute), there is now a uniform, Germany-wide number available for calling a taxi for users of all cell phone networks. More information at http://www.22118.info/.
Eurolines (Internet: www.eurolines.de) and Flixbus (Internet: www.flixbus.de) connect the German cities with one another.
The traffic signs are adapted to the international signs.
– Children under 4 years of age must sit in the child seat, children up to 12 years on a child seat cushion in the back seat and may not be taken in the front seat.
– Buckle up is compulsory on the front and rear seats.
– A safety vest must be carried in the car.
– Helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists.
– The use of a handheld cell phone or car phone is prohibited while driving, the use of hands-free devices is permitted.
– The nationality symbol of the home country must be affixed to foreign motor vehicles.
– It is advisable to always keep the tank full. Anyone who remains on the motorway with an empty tank can be towed away and punished for a fee.
– Warning triangle and first aid kit must be carried.
– Blood alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰.
– Alcohol limit for novice drivers: 0.0 ‰. (There is a ban on alcohol during the two-year driving license probation period and up to the age of 21).
– There is a situational winter tire requirement, ie summer tires are not permitted in winter road conditions (slippery snow, slush, slippery frost or black ice). The winter tire requirement is not linked to a specific start and end date.
– During the day, you should also drive with dipped beam outside of town during the day. This recommendation may become law in the near future. Motorcycles must drive with dipped headlights during the day.
Inside built-up areas: 50 km / h,
outside built-up areas: 100 km / h;
Recommended speed on motorways and expressways: 130 km / h, but no general speed limit. For cars with trailers (e.g. caravans) and mobile homes (3.5-7.5 t), the maximum speed on roads and highways is now 100 km / h.
Regional speed limits are signposted.
The breakdown service of the General German Automobile Club (ADAC) (Internet: www.adac.de) provides help around the clock throughout Germany.
In addition, the Auto Club Europa (ACE) (Internet: http://www.ace-online.de/) and the General German Motorsport Association (ADMV) (Internet: http://www.admv.de /) help with breakdowns.
The ADAC breakdown assistance can be reached nationwide under the phone number (0180) 222 22 22 (local rate), for mobile communications (all networks) without a code under 22 22 22, the ADAC emergency call can be reached on tel: (089) 22 22 22. The ADAC also maintains a helicopter emergency service. The assistance is available to members of these and similar organizations free of charge, but material costs must be reimbursed.
Emergency telephones are available on motorways. When calling, the “road guard” should be requested. For the police emergency number and accident rescue, dial 110 or 112 (fire department).
National or international driving license and national or international registration are valid for one year. For nationals of EU and EFTA countries, the license plate is the proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are advised to take the international green insurance card with them in order to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance cover applies. The green card can also make it easier to record accidents.
Traveling in the city
Public transport: In the big cities there are trams, underground and suburban trains as well as suburban trains. Day and trading cards can be purchased in advance. In many large cities, you buy the tickets you need from vending machines at the stops before entering public transport. A lot of public transport is conductorless. However, there are regular ticket controls, passengers without a valid ticket usually have to pay a fine on the spot. Numerous timetables and brochures are available to travelers.
Car: The centers of numerous cities such as Berlin, Dortmund, Frankfurt am Main, Hanover, Cologne, Leipzig, Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart and Tübingen are so-called environmental zones. Only cars with a sticker that shows that the car does not exceed a certain level of pollutants and fine substances are allowed into the environmental zones.
The Berlin local transport system is excellent and includes an extensive bus line as well as underground and S-Bahn network, which is operated by the regional train of Deutsche Bahn AG, the tram in the eastern part of the city and the ferries of the Berliner Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVG) (Internet: www .bvg.de) and the East Berlin Stern- und Kreisschifffahrt (on regular services) is added.
With the day ticket (valid until 3 a.m. of the following day) you can make as many journeys as you like on the entire bus, underground and suburban train network as well as the BVG ship line. The BVG excursion bus routes are excluded.
The WelcomeCard (Internet: www.visitberlin.de/welcomecard/index.php?lang=de) is valid for 48 or 72 hours or 5 days after it has been stamped. You also get up to 50% discount on cultural, sporting and tourist attractions in Berlin and Potsdam.
With the CityTourCard (Internet: www.citytourcard.com) use all local public transport in the Berlin AB tariff area. In addition, the card enables discounts at over 50 partners, including sights, museums, theaters, city tours and guided tours. The card is available in three versions: for 48 hours, 72 hours or 5 days. It is available at sales counters and vending machines of the BVG and S-Bahn Berlin.
With the BVG small group card, up to 5 people can use public transport in the AB, BC or ABC tariff zones from validation until 3 a.m. the following day.
With the regular buses 100 and 200 you can take a city tour from the Zoo station through the entire city center, past all the important sights to the Prenzlauer Berg district.
Further information from the BVG information points.
On the go by train
The route network of Deutsche Bahn (Internet: www.bahn.de. Tel: (0180) 699 66 33 (around the clock) (subject to charges).) Covers approx. 42,000 km. These include numerous high-speed routes for high-speed traffic. There are high-speed trains such as the ICE, Thalys and TGV in Germany.
InterCityExpress, InterCity, EuroCity and local transport lines are largely coordinated in terms of arrival and departure times. The InterCity network serves over 50 cities with InterCity trains every hour. Berlin is fully integrated into the IC / EC and ICE network.
A large number of InterCity lines, EuroCity and ICE connections are available, each running every one to two hours, including the
Berlin – Frankfurt / O lines. – Warsaw (EC),
Berlin – Cologne (IC),
Berlin – Rostock (ICE),
Hamburg – Cologne – Stuttgart (IC / EC),
Hamburg – Berlin – Munich (ICE) and
Dresden – Frankfurt / M. – Wiesbaden (IC).
The ICE sprinteroperate non-stop from Frankfurt / M. to Berlin and from Hamburg via Hanover to Frankfurt / M.
The Nightjet night trains (Internet: www.oebb.at/de/angebote-ermaessigungen/nightjet) connect the following routes:
Hamburg – Berlin – Freiburg,
Düsseldorf – Cologne – Frankfurt – Passau,
Hamburg – Hanover – Passau,
Hamburg – Munich – Kufstein,
Düsseldorf – Cologne – Munich – Kufstein.
Train4you operates the Vacation Express – car train (website: www.urlaubs-express.de) on the Hamburg – Munich.
The BahnTouristikExpress car train (Internet: bahntouristikexpress.de/) serves the Hamburg – Lörrach route.
The private railway company Köln-Express GmbH (HKX) (Internet: www.hkx.de) connects Hamburg with Cologne via Hamburg-Altona, Hamburg Hbf, Hamburg-Harburg, Osnabrück Hbf, Münster Hbf, Gelsenkirchen Hbf, Duisburg Hbf, Essen Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf.
North and Baltic Sea coast: In summer IC trains run from and in the direction of Cologne-Dortmund-Bremen, Stuttgart, Dresden-Berlin and Frankfurt / Main-Kassel-Göttingen-Hanover to the North Sea islands of Föhr and Amrum. From Munich via Nuremberg, Leipzig and Berlin Hauptbahnhof there are direct ICE connections to the Baltic seaside resort of Binz. On the weekends in summer, direct IC trains run from Cologne via Hanover and Berlin Gesundbrunnen to the island of Usedom to the seaside resort of Heringsdorf. There is a direct connection to Burg auf Fehmarn with the IC train from Cologne, Dortmund and Bremen. There is also the IC line Cologne – Ruhrgebiet – Münster – Emden – Norddeich Mole (ferry to Norderney and Juist) or to Emden outer harbor to the ferry terminal to Borkum. There is also a daily IC service from Cottbus, Berlin, Magdeburg and Hanover to Norddeich Mole.
There is a reservation requirement. The Rail & Fly ticket is offered by over 80 airlines and tour operators and includes the train journey to / from the respective airport. The rail network of the railway is supplemented by numerous regional transport companies.
Meals: All ICE / EC / IC trains and many express trains in domestic and international long-distance traffic offer train restaurants, buffet cars or a mobile minibar.
Sleeping cars: Many sleeping cars in international traffic are equipped with showers and air conditioning. Bed reservations should be made in advance. Some trains have couchette cars. When reserving seats in EC -, IC – andICE trains should indicate whether you want to sit in the open-plan or compartment car. Small children’s compartments with toys and changing tables are available
in ICE s (reservation in advance). Bicycle transport is possible in about 60% of long-distance trains, a cycling map and a parking space reservation per wheel are needed for that. Parking spaces should be reserved in advance. Further information is available from the cyclist hotline (see below). Bike rental:
The DB offers its “Fahrrad am Bahnhof” customer service at around 250 stations. Passengers arriving by train pay a discounted rental fee. Further information from the DB cyclist hotline (Tel: (0180) 599 66 33 (0.14 € / min.). Internet: www.bahn.de/bahnundbike). Rental cars are available at the train station at all ICE stops and in many other cities. In more than 30 cities, car rental companies are represented with their own rental car stations directly at the train station, and the car rental service is available at the DB travel center at over 80 train stations. Mountain railways: In the most famous mountain regions you can take cable cars, chair lifts or cog railways. North Sea Islands:
The DB also offers a connection to the car-free North Sea island of Wangerooge. Ferries operated by DB are available for the crossing (Internet: www.bahn.de/nordseeinseln).
Detailed information on routes, timetables, fares and discounts are available from all DB agencies, local travel agencies, tourist offices and the general agency of Deutsche Bahn AG in Austria, Verkehrsbüro Ruefa Reisen GmbH, Kärntner Ring 10, A-1010 Vienna (Tel: (01)) 503 00 20. Internet: www.bahn.de/at) and the general agency of Deutsche Bahn AG in Switzerland, DB ReiseZentrum, Schwarzwaldallee 200, CH-4016 Basel (Tel: (061) 690 12 15. Internet: www.bahn.de / ch).
Rules of the course:
EC cards are not accepted on Deutsche Bahn trains. Anyone who has to buy a ticket can only pay in cash or by credit card.
In the event of delays on long-haul trips of at least 60 minutes, customers receive 25% of the fare back in cash or in the form of a voucher. In the event of a delay of two hours or more, 50% of the fare will be reimbursed. The decisive factor is the arrival time at the destination, not the departure time of the train.
The most important tariff offers and savings tickets for domestic German rail transport are listed below.
BahnCard: There are three different BahnCard offers: the BahnCard 25 offers a 25% discount on the normal price, the BahnCard 50 offers a 50% discount and the BahnCard 100 allows any use of all DB trains (with the exception of the ICE Sprinter, where a Surcharge is required, and the DB AutoZuges). Further information about the BahnCard offers is available from the DB hotline (Tel: (0180) 699 66 33, around the clock).
Individual travelers and up to four other people can travel all over Germany with the Quer-durch-Land-Ticket, interrupting their journey and changing trains as often as they like. The offer is valid for one day from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. the following day for any number of trips in 2nd class on all regional trains and S-Bahn trains operated by DB and other participating railways. On national holidays, the validity begins at midnight.
Gruppe & Spar: Special offer for tour groups of 6 adults or more for rail travel in Germany and other European countries. 50%, 60% and 70% discounts are available depending on how far in advance is booked. Group & Spar tickets are tied to specific travel dates and trains. Children from 6-15 years pay half.
Happy Weekend Ticket: Valid for up to 5 people traveling together or a couple of parents / grandparents or one parent / grandparent with any number of their own children / grandchildren under 15 on Saturdays or Sundays from 00:00 a.m. to 03:00 a.m. the following day. Valid on local DB trains, in some transport associations and on routes close to the border in the Czech Republic and Poland.
State ticket (e.g. Baden-Württemberg-Ticket, Bayern-Ticket or Sachsen-Ticket): valid for up to 5 people traveling together for one day on local trains of the DB (IRE, RE, RB and S-Bahn) and the participating non-federal ones Railways. The country tickets are often also valid in buses and trains of the transport associations within a federal state and often even in adjacent regions in local transport. Country tickets are valid Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. the following day (all day on public holidays), and on Saturdays or Sundays from 00 a.m. to 3 a.m. the following day.
The Germany Pass is valid throughout Germany for one month and for any number of trips.
Detailed information about saver prices as well as combination / family / frequent traveler / group tickets are available from the DB information centers at the train stations and on the website www.bahn.de.
On the way by ship
Ship traffic on rivers, lakes and on the coast in regular traffic:
(a) on Danube, Elbe, Main, Mosel, Neckar, Oder, Rhine, Saale and Weser;
(b) from the Baltic Sea ports along the Baltic Sea coast and to the Baltic Sea islands;
(c) Seaside bathing service from Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven and other places on the North Sea coast to the Frisian Islands and to Heligoland;
(d) on the Ammersee, Bodensee, Chiemsee, Königssee, Rursee, Starnberger See as well as on the Wannsee and the Müggelsee in Berlin.
Car ferries run regularly between different ports on the Baltic coast at home and abroad. In addition, special trips are offered on all navigable waterways.
The Cologne-Düsseldorfer (Internet:www.kd.com) offers various river cruises on the Rhine and Moselle.
The star and circle shipping GmbH (website: www.sternundkreis.de) and the shipping company Riedel GmbH (website: www.reederei-riedel.de) offer in and around Berlin on scheduled services and excursions.
The Saxon Steamship GmbH (website: www.saechsische-dampfschiffahrt.de) offers boat trips on the Elbe.
With Berta Epple GmbH (Internet: www.neckar-kaeptn.de) it goes to the Neckarand with Flotte Weser GmbH (Internet: www.flotte-weser.de) on the Weser.
If you want to explore the Danube by boat, contact the Donauschifffahrt Wurm & Köck (Internet: www.donauschiffahrt.de).
Lüftner Cruises (Internet: www.lueftner-cruises.com) offers various cruises on the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube.
The United Shipping Companies for Lake Constance and the Rhine (VSU) (Internet: www.vsu-online.info), Bodensee Schiffsbetriebe GmbH (BSB) (Internet: www.bsb-online.com) and the Schweizerische Bodensee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft AG (Internet: www.sbsag.ch), with a fleet of around 40 ships, offer liner shipping, special and excursion trips and car ferry services to Switzerland and Austria in the summer. Certain discounts are available.