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Travellers FAQ

VISA regulations

EU and EEA (European Economic Area) nationals do not require a visa. In general all other foreign travelers require a visa for stays in Germany. An overview of countries indicating whether its citizens need to apply for visas or not is given on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

For more information on visa regulations and the application process, please have a look at the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Traveller's Checks
Will shops in Germany accept traveller's checks?

In major German cities and tourist areas traveller's checks are accepted. The rate of exchange is calculated on the daily rate of exchange shown on the newspapers.

ATMs and Debit Cards
Can I use my Credit Card/Debit Card in Germany?

Yes. Most reputable establishments will accept major credit cards. Those establishments accepting credit cards will post the logos in their front windows.

Are there ATMs in Germany? Are the ATMs multilingual?

Yes. The ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) in Germany are known as "Geldautomat". There are many to be found in the large cities and even in small towns. Most of the machines prompt the user for the preferred language at the beginning of the transaction (German, English, French, Spanish are typical choices). You will easily find an ATM which you can operate without having to know German. Using a credit or debit card or your local bank's ATM card is very easy. First, locate the corresponding symbol (VISA, electronic cash, etc.) on the ATM and on your card to ensure the card is usable on that particular unit. If you are unsure about the compatibility or the banking systems, contact your credit card company or local bank. Note that on most ATMs, the keys/digits are not inscribed with the corresponding letters (e.g. 2 and A,B,C). In case you have memorized your PIN as a word, you should make sure that you know the numbers as well.

Banking Hours

Banks in Germany are open Monday through Friday (mainly from 9:00 a.m. to noon and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) and closed all day on Saturday and Sunday and on national holidays. Traveller's checks can be exchanged for European currency at most hotels and shops and at the foreign exchange offices in main railway stations and at the airports.

Currency

The monetary currency is the Euro which is divided as follows: bills of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 Euros; coins of 1, 2 Euro and of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. To find the current exchange rate, please visit The Universal Currency Converter.

How to Get Euros
Once in Germany, how do I convert my money in Euros?

You can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM machines, or exchange office (Geldwechsel) at airports, seaports and railway stations in the main cities in Germany. It is recommended to have a small amount of cash on hand upon arrival in Germany for immediate expenses, i.e. taxies, public transportation. Please keep receipts of currency exchanged in case it would be necessary to reconvert Euros back before leaving the country.

Vaccination Certificate

No vaccinations are required to enter Germany.

Healthcare and Medical Assistance

People requiring urgent medical care should go to the nearest hospital emergency room (airports and many train stations also have medical teams and first aid facilities). Those with serious illnesses or allergies should always carry a special note from their physicians certifying in detail the treatments in progress or that may be necessary. Pharmacies (Apotheken), generally follow shops times (approx. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 3:00 to 7:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday, but in large cities many are open no-stop. Night-time service is provided on a shift basis. Business hours and night shifts are displayed outside of each chemist's (they are also published in local papers). Before departure, it is advisable to procure a document certifying coverage by the national health-care service.

Tipping Advice

Tips are customary in Germany, but not essential. The tradition of the tip remains impervious to change, even though cafe or restaurant prices include both cover charge and service. A typical tip for good service in taxis and restaurants would be some 10%. On paying the bill, if it is paid in cash it is a matter of leaving a few notes from the change, or saying to the waiter "stimmt so " (it's all right), when the difference between the amount paid and the actual bill automatically becomes the tip. When using a credit card, there are two possibilities: if the total on the credit card slip is the same as the bill, again leave some notes as a tip; but if the amount or the total are blank, simply round up the total to include the tip when signing the credit card slip.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

110 Police - Emergency (Polizei - Notruf)
112 Fire Department (Feuerwehr)
11880 Phone Directory Assistance

0180 2 222 222 for the ADAC (Allgemeiner deutscher Automobil-Club) - for road side assistance

Public Telephones

Public telephones are available throughout Germany. Public phone booths either work with Euro coins or with phone card (Telefonkarte) which may be purchased at any newsstand or tobacco shop.

Postal Service

Stamps may be purchased at the Post Office (Post) and at tobacco shops. Always check at the counter for the exact fare to the country of destination. Post Offices are usually open from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. and from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. On Saturdays they close at 12:00.

Electrical Appliances

The electrical current in Germany is AC - the cycle is 50Hz 220V. This implies that a transformer might be needed for some electrical appliances. Plugs have round prongs, not flat, therefore an adapter plug may be needed. This can be obtained either before leaving your country or at an electrical appliance shop in Germany.

Laundry and Dry Cleaners

Most hotels have laundry and dry cleaning facilities. If the hotel does not provide these services, the desk clerk can direct you to the nearest laundry (Waschsalon).

Shopping

Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Custom Regulations

There are no restrictions on gifts purchased in Germany except for antiques and works of art. These require the authorization. For more information please have a look here.

Climate

Generally moderate continental climate without sustained periods of cold or heat, maritime climate in the North, in the South mountain climate (Alpine regions).

Do you have a map of Dresden for download?

Yes. A map with all (for-conference-attendees-)relevant places can be found here.

A short German/English Dictionary

If you can't find below what you are looking for use LEO.

GERMAN ENGLISH
Abfahrt departure
Ankunft arrival
Fahrkarten-Automat ticket vending machine
Datum date
Fahrplan time-table
Flughafen airport
Haltestelle tram or bus stop
Hauptbahnhof main station
morgen tomorrow
nach to
Platz place, square
Reisetag travel day
Richtung direction
S-Bahn name of trains in metropolitan area
Stadtplan city map
Strasse street
Ticket Automat ticket vending machine
von from
Zeit time

 

 
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