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Germany Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Germany vacation


annatravel
Train discounts 5 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Deutche Bahn has enhanced it’s special offers Dauer-Spezial. This is the offer which one can use on any rout in any direction inside of Germany for 29, 39, 49, 59 or 69 EUR (depending on the destination). Now there is a new discount for the first-passenger’s companions – they will need to pay only 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 euro accordingly. This additional discount is valid for the purchase of tickets till 31st of March (2008) for the trains departing till 30th of June. There can be 1 to 4 co-passengers. The main offer of Dauer-Spezial is supposed to be valid at least till the end of the year 2008.
I have already tried the main offer and now I am happy to encourage my friends to travel with me through Germany for a cheaper price. Last week we bought two tickets with my friend (one for 29 EUR and one for 20EUR for the companion), so each of us paid about 25 EUR.
The conditions are the following:
The ticket must be bought minimum three days and maximum 3 months I advance. The amount of special tariff places is limited. You have to book the ticket for a particular train and you cannot return it. The cheapest way to buy it – using the Internet reservation system, otherwise you will have to pay the service fee of 5EUR at the train station ticketing office.


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annatravel
Saint-Valentines train - Flirt express 5 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I was booking some tickets on the website of Deutsche Bahn and noticed a bright red hear-shaped sign. That was announcement of a special offer for Saint-Valentines day. The will have several Flirt Express trains which will take off from different cities in Germany for a 1,5-3 hours ride and will return to the same train station. All the single people can buy a ticket till 10th of February and participate in speed dating in one of these trains: changing a partner after a short conversation. For those who will successfully find somebody there will be available a specially reserved restaurant or cafe for the continuation of the evening at the train station. DB will keep contacts of people in case later they want to meet again.
Sounds quite fun for a Valentines Day if you don't have somebody to spend it with.


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annatravel
flight tickets in ATM 4 stars
There is a pilot project in some banks of Eastern Germany for selling TUIfly flight tickets in ATM machines. In Niedersachen finials of Volksbank there are specials buttons now for going to the reservation system of TUI. The passenger needs to choose the date, the time and the destination. The money are transfered directly from the bank account. Moreover the customer gets a 20EUR voucher, which he can use for the next flight with TUI. If this experiment will be successful, the they will implement the system all over Germany. It was stated that it is already available in Hanover. We were very interested after the announcement and decided to try to buy a ticket, but didn't find the right ATM.

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annatravel
Nude flights 3 stars
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Good news for nudists! One of the German airlines decided to organize the first naked flight on 5th of July from Erfurt to the island of Usedom in Baltic sea. Tickets are available for reservations from 1st of February and cost 499 EUR. Passengers will be allowed to take all of their clothes on board, but the pilot and the crew will stay dressed for the safety reasons. I guess it was quite hard to find employees who will agree not only to serve all the naked passengers but also to be nude themselves.
I've heard mass nude holidays were very popular in Eastern Germany some time ago and now they are trying to come back to this weird tradition. I hope they will always clearly state at the reservation moment that this is the nudists flight, so that other people won't get in very confusing situation.


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annatravel
Cigarettes from vending machines 4 stars
When you are looking for cigarettes after 10pm in Germany, you will more likely need to buy them in vending machines. Almost all the stores, supermarkets and kiosks are closed by this time.
When I moved to Germany in 2006 I found out that things had changed since the first time I was using vending machines there. You still pay 4 EUR cash but you need to use your bank card or valid EU drivers license. This is the way to prevent children from buying cigarettes and smoking.
So every time going out in the night to the next cigarette automate don't forget one of these documents.


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annatravel
Types of trains and tickets 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
There are several types of trains in Germany. The most common are: ICE; EC, R, S.
ICE and EC are the fastest and most expensive once. They have less stops.
R and S are normal regional trains which have very frequent stops, they are quite slow.
When you buy a ticket to some destination you should be careful with which type of train you actually pay for. Once I've bought a ticket from Mainz to Frankfurt. I came to the right platform at the right time and there was a train to Frankfurt there. I got a nice place inside and were surprised with how clean, nice and comfortable the wagon was. Finally when the ticket controller came to check the tickets, he told me that I took the wrong train, my S train was supposed to be 1 minute later and this was ICE train, which costs 3 times more. I told him that I am a foreigner and that I am very confused and he nicely allowed me to stay. Normally that doesn't work and you have to pay the fee.


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annatravel
Different ticketing machines 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
First time when I was going from Wiesbaden to Mainz I was trying to use the red machine with an option of English language. After quite long but easy navigation I came to the point when the machine told me it doesn't sell this kind of tickets. These red machines sell only longer distance tickets.
As far as Deutsche Bahn is trying to promote self-service they have some special employees taking care of the people who are lost in all the choices of ticketing options. I asked one of them and she told me that I need to use a green machine which is only in German. First you need to choose the destination in the list next to machine then type its number and then the machine tells you how much you need to pay.


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annatravel
Where to buy the ticket 5 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I find traveling by train in Germany quite comfortable. The ticketing system though can be a little confusing for the first time traveler.
At the train stations there are several types of ticket machines and only of type has the option of language choice.
The easiest way is just to go to the desk and to buy the ticket there, but according to my experience tickets for long distance trains (like from Frankfurt to Paris) turn to be 5EUR more expensive - this is the payment for the service. What I do in this cases: I go and ask the person at the desk everything I need, making sure I understand everything and then I buy the ticket at the machine.
You can't buy the ticket in the train! If you are in the train without a ticket, you have to pay much more then the normal tariff.
Internet is also an option for buying a ticket in advance.


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annatravel
Sushi crisis in Germany 2 stars
I am from a big urban city of Saint-Petersburg where sushi is adored and offered in thousands of restaurants and bars in a very proper classy way, always fresh and not very expensive at the same time.
I was really disappointed when found out that my life in Germany is not going to be full of good sushi and nice evenings at trendy sushi bars. Sushi and the rest of Japanese food is not so much welcome in Germany. For each decent city (I am not talking about tiny towns now) there are about 3-6 Japanese places and may be 2 of them would be more or less ok (but not "Saint-Petersburg OK"). The most part of them are poorly decorated and served (like plastic garden tables, no wet towels), and have a really limited choice (like California is the only known roll). Some are very expensive and then they are a little better (but the variety is still really small). Of course it is possible to find good places in biggest cities, but it will take time and there won't be so many is some of us are used to.


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NOFXmike
Kurfuerstendamm (Ku’damm) 2 stars
Kurfuerstendamm, also known as Ku’damm, has been a major road in Berlin since the 16th century when it was originally the route that the elector would take between his palace and his hunting lodge. In modern times, it has been known as THE shopping street in West Berlin. Since the wall came down things have changed for the Ku’damm as many of the designer stores have either moved to former East Berlin or at least made a new second store in the east as well. It certainly is a still a place with a lot of shopping options, however, I don’t think it is today what it was in the 1980’s, or even the 1990’s. The street is definitely worth visiting just to get to “The Story of Berlin” museum, even if you don’t want to go shopping.

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Marijke
Travelling cheap on the train 4 stars
The train network in Germany is generally very convenient, but also very pricey. The ICEs are spacecraft-like trains that will get you across country in no time, but be prepared to pay €60 for a single from Hamburg to Berlin. A fantastic (albeit more-time consuming) alternative is the Wochenendticket (weekend ticket) valid on Sat or Sun for 5 people at €33. This allows you to take all regional trains (so not the ICEs, ECs or any other fast connection) in all of Germany until 3am the following day .If you travel during the week, there are Landertickets which are valid also on weekdays on regional trains in one or more Bundesland for one day and 5 persons. They cost between €20 and €30. Beware that travelling time on long distances might triple, on short distances it might make 5 min difference.

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milandutch
Pizzeria I Due Forni Berlin 3 stars
I’ve only eaten at Due Forni once but it’s a place where everything you might read in your guidebook is true, meaning the pizza is authentic and fabulous but the service could leave you too upset to properly digest your food.
Being staffed by punks and Italian at that, they could care less whether you storm out without leaving a tip as long as they don’t see you desecrating the Italian way of eating Italian food.
Come with lots of friends and plan on sipping cheap wine and talking for a good 2.5 hours before you see your food. During this time you will get served bread and only olive oil and if someone at the table ordered pasta, you’ll get parmesan as well.
Being that we were starving and were not given vinegar, we decided to mix in some parmesan to the olive oil to dip our bread. Our waiter then, who had been elusive for the 40 minutes before we got to order, comes and tells us that it is illegal in Duo Forni to create your own combinations like this (olive oil and parmesan) and that it was written in the menu as such but that he will leave the plate since he commented we were not children and left.
In astonishment, we gave a round of what-the-hell looks to each other and immediately turned to the menus to find these commandments of how to dine at Duo Forni.
We did in fact find something on the menu that said we were not allowed to change the good in anyway.
When our food finally comes, he tells my friend who had ordered pasta that the parmesan goes with the pasta and not with the bread and leaves.
Stunned, we can’t believe how ridiculously stupid his last comment was.
Unfortunately, eating my pizza made me feel like I was in Rome again. It was huge and thin crusted. The pastas however seemed unimpressive.


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milandutch
Hegel's Berlin 5 stars
Hegel’s Berlin ends at the Dorotheenstädtischer Cemetery. He is buried there next to his wife and the philosopher Fichte. The grave is a bit hard to find since its in-between two main walkways. Once you enter the cemetery, walk toward a bench on your left and follow the small path between two large trees.
You can also see his desk in a seminar room 3103 on the third floor at the Humboldt University. The room is usually locked but the secretary in 3105 will be happy to let you in.
From Humboldt, make your way to Gendarmenmarkt. At 56 Charlottenstrasse, you will find the Lutter & Wegner wine bar frequented by Hegel. Lutter & Wegner was originally located at 49 Charlottenstrasse and destroyed during WWII and was recently rebuilt in 1997.


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annatravel
Visa and Health Insurance great informaiton source 5 stars
I am writing this tip in section Germany because the source is owned by Germany-based country, and there is no special section for general traveling tips which could be used for any country.
I am talking about a Star Alliance website. They have a great page there where you can easily find out the details of visa and health insurance rules to enter any country in the world!
It is really convenient! When you are not sure what do you need to enter some country you have never been before, just go to http://www.staralliance.com/en/travellers/tools_services/health_visa_form.html
fill in the form: the citizenship, destination country, type of passport, country of residence and so on, and it generates an individually customized result on your particular needs.
It makes it so much easier, then to search in the Internet for hours or trying to reach Consulates and Embassies.


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cosmoclaudio
German Drinks 5 stars
Some of the things you may want to try when going to Germany are the beers. Germany has many varieties of beer but my favorite is the Hefe Weissbier, Franziskaner is my favorite brand although Paulaner is also a very good one.
There are light beers, dark beers, white beers, white dark beers, and so on. It depends on your taste.
There are also some liquors like Jägermesiter which is probably the most disgusting thing I have tasted (just my opinion) because it is very sweet and strong at the same time. I know lots of people that love it, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Wines are also a good choice since Germany has Vineyards that produce very good quality wine.


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cosmoclaudio
German Restaurants 4 stars
Prices of a German food vary depending on the place, but saying that you go to a real restaurant where you can actually order a soup, main dish and dessert, the price is between ten to fifteen euros without the drink. But if you go to a restaurant in the city centre of a big city, prices could go a lot higher.
Some restaurants do not allow you to pay with credit card so be sure to ask before you order. There is no need of leaving a tip, but if you do, it is common to leave ten percent of the food price.
Even when a restaurant has the credit card logo, sometimes they only accept it after a certain price is met.


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Elizaoprisor
Unpleasant trip with the S-Bahn 2 stars
I love using the public transport in Germany and I have rarely seen strange thing happen in the trains. But one evening I got really scared. My boyfriend and I were going back home after visiting a friend in Ludwigshafen. The guy who checks the tickets came and while he was checking our tickets, he started running towards the other end of the train, where he suddenly started hitting a lady. Then the train stopped and we were all motioned out of the train. The lady he was hitting apparently had no ticket and she wouldn’t get out of the train. He got very violent and he was acting like crazy. He wanted to hit a young man who had taken a picture of him hitting the lady. Then the police came and they all left. I have no idea what happened next, but it was a scary experience.

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WorldTourist
Car Pooling 4 stars
Germany offers a great way to save money with their carpool system. By using Mitfahrgelegenheit.de, I was able to find a ride from Berlin to Stuttgart. Basically the person planned to meet me at a certain spot before the designated departure time.

During my carpool experience, the car was full of three other people who payed to join in the journey. This was a great way to meet new people and pass the time quickly. 7 hours can fly by when you have new people to talk to and who are interested in hearing about your adventures. It also saved me a lot of money on traveling.


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cosmoclaudio
EC train 4 stars
I have been in an EC just very few times, and one could say an EC is a mixture between an IC and an ICE because it offers things that the IC does not offer and it lack of things that you get with the ICE. Some of the most important things that are more tangible are: The EC offers electricity output for laptops but does not offer the speed and comfort that the ICE offers. Tables at the EC are usually smaller than the tables at the ICE.
It is usually a little bit more crowded since it makes longer trips, which makes it a little less comfortable. As long distance trains, the EC is usually few minutes late and not always as clean as the IC and ICE.


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cosmoclaudio
Inter city express train ICE 5 stars
I ride the ICE everyday to work and it is my favorite train of all, I just love it. It is fast and it makes almost no stops which is a very good thing when you are trying to get early to work. The service there is amazing, completely different from what you usually get at the Regional Bahn where the people who check the tickets are or seem to be angry most of the time. In the ICE you always get a smile and the workers there usually know some English, so if you have a question about a train connection do not hesitate in asking. The train is always and I mean ALWAYS clean and comfortable. I sometimes have to seat on the floor because the train is overcrowded but that has happened to me few times.

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