Welcome to Germany!
Germany is a great country, famous for the cars, beer and remarkable history, best known as the land of thinkers and poets, although there are many clichés about the Germans’ punctuality, thoroughness, reserve and lack of humor. Travelling to a foreign country is always an experience. The Germans are known for their culture and etiquette, there are customs and behaviors that differ from those common at home. Do be prepared for culture shock, but by bearing in mind the following Germany travel tips, do’s and don’t, you will be better prepared for your trip to Germany. To avoid troubles, then check in advance.
Using the signs of “Nazi salute”, shout “Heil Hitler”, or show swastikas or other symbols of the Third Reich is a criminal offense and punishable up to five years imprisonment.
Making a circular motion using the index finger while pointing to the side of one’s head is a rude gesture indicating that someone is crazy or deranged.
Germany Travel Donts
- Do not be late. Germans attach great importance to punctuality. You will win their favor if you keep your appointment on time!
- Do not wait to be seated at a German restaurant. It is common to share tables with a stranger.
- Do not ever, under any circumstances, show the “Nazi salute”, shout “Heil Hitler”, or show swastikas or other symbols of the Third Reich, which is a criminal offense.
- Do not get drunk. Public drunkenness is frowned upon.
- Do not put your elbows on the table when eating. Put only your hands on the table.
- Do not jaywalk. Nobody else does, and you might get fined.
- Do not eat with your fingers.
- Do not ever ask for tap water at a restaurant, which will be equated with stinginess.
Germany Travel Dos
- Do be on time. Germans are extremely punctual, so be on time for your appointment.
- Do shake hands with everyone including children, say “Guten Tag” (good day), “not how are you!” and keep eye contact when greet somebody. Shaking hands is the established form of greeting in Germany.
- Do use title and last name to address people. Say Herr (Mr) or Frau (Mrs.) and use the formal pronoun “du” when talking to elderly people.
- Do be formal. Dress formally for business functions. No shorts and extremely casual wear. Ladies do not wear flashy jewellery and accessories.
- Do learn a few common German before you travel to Germany. Germans
- Do have proper medical insurance when visiting Germany. Medical care is expensive, get health insurance especially when you stay longer.
- Do remove your shoes before enter a German house, and present the hostess with a bunch of flowers, but do not give carnations (symbolize mourning) or lilies or chrysanthemums (used at funerals). Yellow or tea roses are always well received.
- Do say ‘Guten Appetit’ (good appetite) before eating, and say ‘Prost’ (cheers) before you sip your beer. Keep your hands but not your elbows on the table.
- Do feel free to have serious discussions on politics and philosophy. They do not like idle chit-chat.
- Do have cash with you. Cash is king in Germany, and many restaurants don’t take credit cards.
- Do tip. It is customary to leave a tip of 5-10% at a restaurant or pub if the service was good, and leave a larger tip around Christmastime.
- Do be aware that some women may bathe topless or even full nudity at the beach. The nude beaches are labelled with “FKK” for “Freikörperkultur” which means free body culture.
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