Notes for Visitors
International travel to Germany is possible via a variety of routes. Most visitors will arrive by air for
which Frankfurt remains the main hub for international airlines. However, other airports with good
international links include Düsseldorf, Berlin and Munich. The growth of economy airlines has also
opened up a number of new options. Easyjet, Ryan Air, and other budget airlines connect British
Easy Jet (www.easyjet.com)
Air Berlin (www.airberlin.de)
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Hapag Lloyd Express (HLX) (www.hlx.com)
Although these notes are designed to cover all of Germany the main focus is on Berlin where the
British Council office is located. Please note that there may be differences according to the region
you travel to. We will be happy to supply further information if needed, including more detailed
connection information for the airport you are using.
Arrival / Departure
Berlin has 3 airports: Tegel, Tempelhof and Schoenefeld. Most commercial flights from western
directions arrive at Tegel. Schoenefeld, which is the former East-Berlin airport, serves most flights
from an easterly direction and most recently the low-cost carriers. Tempelhof is a centrally located
airport which is now mainly used for internal flights, but some from neighbouring countries also land
All airports offer excellent connections by public transport in addition to taxis.
Tegel Airport is connected to the city by bus. Depending on your destination your main choices are:
TXL – which will take you e.g. to Alexanderplatz, Reichstag, Unter der Linden and Friedrichstrasse.
X9 – to Zoo station (with good connections to urban rail and underground links and regional trains).
Schoenefeld used to be the East Berlin airport before re-unification. Onward travel from Schoenefeld
airport can be by
Airport Express Train or
Stadt-Bahn (normally abbreviated to S-Bahn)
The Airport Express is a fast rail connection to the city centre. It takes approximately 25 minutes. The
train leaves twice per hour leaving Schoenfeld Airport at 26 minutes and 54 minutes past the hour.
The route from the terminal to the station is distinctively marked and easy to find.
The S-Bahn is a bit slower taking approximately 45 minutes to the city centre. It runs three times per
hour leaving 18, 38 and 58 minutes past the hour.
Both these connections will take you to major central interchange stations such as Alexanderplatz,
Friedrichstrasse and Zoo
Tempelhof airport was the historic airport operating the Berlin airlift. It is connected to the city centre
by underground (U-Bahn). From the terminal it is approximately 5 – 6 minutes walk to the
underground station Platz der Luftbrücke. From here line number 6 (U6) will take you directly to the
city center, e.g. Friedrichstrasse. During the day trains run every 5 minutes.
More information on Berlin airports is available under www.berlin-airport.de Here you will find
information about arrival/departure arrangements as well as general information.
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More information on routes and timetables can be found under www.bvg.de/index.php/en/Bvg/Start
You will also find information about fares and tickets at:
The fare for any of these journeys would be €2,10. Using the Express Train, the S-Bahn or the
Underground you should obtain a ticket beforehand from one of the machines on the platform. English
language menus are available. On buses you may buy the ticket from the bus driver. Do not forget to
stamp the ticket before boarding as otherwise you might be fined for travelling without a valid ticket.
The fine for this would be €40.00.
Arriving by Rail
Berlin, as the German capital, has very good national and international rail connection. There are
connections from most bigger cities by high speed ICE (Inter City Express) trains. Most trains from
the east arrive at Ostbahnhof. Those from the west mostly go to Bahnhof Zoo (Zoo station). From the
middle of 2006 trains will stop at the newly built Hauptbahnhof. Onward travel will be by S-Bahn, U-
Bahn, bus or tram.
Please see above for purchase of equivalent tickets for onward travel.
Taxi services at the airports and stations are also available and are safe to use. You will find lots of
taxis in front of the airport or stations. Please make your way to the first one in the row and indicate
your destination. Fares to the British Council office in Hackescher Markt would be approximately:
From Schoenefeld Airport €45.00
From Tegel Airport €20.00 – 25.00
Should you need a taxi on your way back to the airport most hotels will be happy to call one for you.
Some taxi service phone numbers:
City Funk: 21 02 02
Funk Taxi Berlin 26 10 26
Quality Taxi 26 30 00
Taxi Funk Berlin 44 33 222
Taxi Ruf Würfelfunk 0800 222 2255
All taxis have visible meters. Please make sure the meter is switched on when the journey starts.
Taxis are very reliable and safe. A small number offer payment by credit card.
Visa Requirements /Entry Procedure
Since these requirements are subject to change, you are advised to check the following website for
the most up-to-date information:
Normally, citizens of the EU and other Schengen states do not require a visa to visit Germany.
Citizens of other countries require a visa unless they are from a country for which the Schengen
states have specifically abolished the requirements and this will need to be checked prior to the visit.
General information about customs procedures can be found under www.zoll-d.de/english_version/
Import of certain goods, e.g. guns, fireworks, drugs, is prohibited. Please note that as a measure
against “bird flu” passengers will not be allowed to import any goods containing poultry.
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We recommend that comprehensive travel and medical insurance is obtained before travelling to
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical
treatment that becomes necessary while you’re in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or
The EHIC has replaced the old E111. From 1 January 2006, E111s are no longer valid. The quickest
and easiest way to get an EHIC is to apply online.
Applying for a European Health Insurance Card
The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes
necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-
provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living
in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of
charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care.
People who are ordinarily resident in the UK are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC.
Most pharmacies are open from 9 – 18.30 hrs. These are called Apotheke and the sign can be
easily distinguished by the Gothic character letter A in red on a white background. There is
always at least one pharmacy in a district providing an emergency service for evenings and
nighttimes. Addresses can be found on a board in the window of any pharmacy.
Germany is an hour ahead of the UK. GMT+ 1. (This one hour difference is maintained during British
Summer Time when the Germans also put their clocks forward one hour).
Public transport in Germany, and especially in Berlin, is excellent. Berlin has a very extensive
network of S-Bahn, Underground, trams and buses. They all run frequently and you can easily get
from one point of the city to another. More information can be found under
The above link will also provide information about fares. The normal single fare for travel within Berlin
is €2,10. Daily as well as weekly tickets are available from ticket offices and machines on the
platform. Berlin also offers a special tourist ticket called “Welcome Card”. This offers 48 hours or 72
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hours of travel as well as reduced admission to a number of tourist attractions and museums. Rates
are €16.00 or €22.00 respectively. More information can be found under
Please note that there are very frequent control checks on public transport. Travelling without a valid
ticket may result in a €40.00 fine if you are caught. Not stamping/validating a ticket purchased from a
machine is also considered as travelling without valid ticket.
Germany is part of the EU monetary union. The currency is the Euro. Please note, however, that the
use of credit cards is less frequent than in the UK. Although hotels and restaurants usually accept
payment by credit card you may find shops and department stores where this will not be possible. It is
advisable, therefore, to bring some cash currency.
Public telephones can be found in many places. Telephone cards can be purchased from the post
office, news agencies or tourist information centres. Telephone shops – normally combined with an
internet café – can also be found in many places in most cities.
A list with internet cafés in Berlin can be found at: www.berlin-tourist-information.de/deutsch/berlin-
Weather and Dress
Berlin’s climate is at the threshold between oceanic and continental. During the summer daytime
temperatures reach 22- 23°C on average (72°F), although heatwaves with temperatures of more than
30°C (86°F) are not uncommon. During winter daytime temperatures are between 2 – 3°C (35°F) on
average. Longer periods with frost, snow and ice sometimes occur. Rain falls regularly over the year
with an average of 580 mm. There are no particular peak periods.
The dress code is similar to the UK.
The following public holidays are observed nationally in Germany:
New Year’s Day
May Day (1 May)
Day of German Unity (3 October)
Furthermore the following holidays are observed in certain regions:
All Saints Day
On public holidays shops and banks are closed. You may find that in bigger cities shops in railway
stations will be open. Restaurants and bars will also be open during their normal opening hours.
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Berlin has a reputation for its numerous theatres, e.g. the Berliner Ensemble, the Volksbühne and the
Deutsches Theater. Its opera houses offer very interesting programmes, e.g. Deutsche Oper,
Komische Oper and the Staatsoper. As the capital, Berlin is also the seat of excellent orchestras,
including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester and it has a lot
of famous museums, e.g. the Old National Gallery, the Pergamon Museum, the New National
Museum and the Jewish Museum.
These links offers all kinds of information for a stay in Berlin, including information about forthcoming
events, hotels, etc. as well as general information about the city.
Another useful website for hotel bookings is www.hrs.de This site offers online booking with
immediate confirmation. It normally offers preferential rates.
The electricity supply in Germany is 220 V with a two-pin plug. Visitors from the UK or countries
outside Europe should bring an adapter for their electrical devices.
It is safe to drink tap water although bottled supplies will be provided by most hotels and are also
available in supermarkets and convenience stores.
Berlin is the capital and the most densely populated and biggest city in Germany. After London, Berlin
is the second largest city within the EU. Since reunification Berlin is also seat of the German
government. Berlin now has approximately 3.4 million inhabitants.
During the Second World War large parts of Berlin were destroyed. In 1945 the city was divided into 4
sectors, administered by the USA, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. Increasing disputes between
the western allies (i.e. France, Britain and the USA) and the eastern ally (the Sovjet Union) led to the
economic blockade of Berlin in 1948/49, which the western allies overcame by means of the so called
“Airlift”. In 1949 the Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic were founded. In 1961
the Berlin wall was erected.
In 1989 massive pressure from the population on the GDR government resulted in the opening of the
wall, the so called “Wende”. In 1990 both German states were reunified.
Germany is an overwhelmingly safe county with high standards of security. The same sensible
precautions need to be taken, as in any western city, to guard against pickpockets. There is a very
small number of isolated pockets of support for extreme right wing movements especially in some
parts of the former east where there are high unemployment rates, especially amongst young people.
Away from major cities there is a low risk of incidents of intimidation which would most probably be
targeted at people of a non-European origin. This risk is virtually non-existent in the bigger cities
Germany shares with the rest of Europe a threat from international terrorism. Attacks could be
indiscriminate and against civilian targets, as demonstrated by the serious bomb attacks on trains in
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Spain. The German government has recently strengthened its counter-terrorism policy, which has so
far led to a number of arrests of individuals linked to Al Qa’Ida.Please read
007029390590&a=KCountryAdvice&aid=1013618387090 for more information on travel to Germany.
Most visits to Germany are trouble-free. Levels of crime are comparatively low but pick-pocketing,
handbag snatching and theft from cars are not unknown. Passports, credit cards, travel tickets and
money should not be carried together in handbags or pockets. You should leave spare cash and
valuables in a safe place. Do not leave any valuables in an unattended car.
The quality of passenger and baggage control checks at airports guarantees a high degree of
Road safety in Germany is generally good. There is a wide network of motorways which are normally
in very good condition. You should note, however, that there are very few speed limits and that the
speed on motorways is normally faster than in the UK.
Local Laws and Custom
Visitors should be aware that local laws in connection with possessing, dealing or consuming drugs
are severe. Regulations in connection with driving under the influence of alcohol are very strict.
Working / Opening Hours
Opening hours for shops/department stores/ banks in bigger cities are normally as follows:
Supermarkets: 0800 – 2000 hrs
Department stores: 1000 – 2000 hrs
Centrally located in bigger cities: 0900 – 1600
Please note, however, that some banks may close over lunchtime.
On Fridays they normally close at 1400 hrs.
In general museums open at 1000 and close at 1700 hrs. All museums are closed on Mondays. Most
are open at the weekend.
The British Council office is open from 0900 – 1800 hrs (Mondays to Fridays), although colleagues
are normally on the premises before and after these times.
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Useful information, addresses, and phone numbers
Hackescher Markt 1
phone: (0049)(0)(30)31 10 99-0
phone: (0049(0)(30)204 57-0
Emergency phone no: 110
Emergency phone no: 112
Medical emergency service:
030/31 00 31
Dental emergency service:
You will find at least one pharmacy on any main street. They are normally open from 9 – 1830
hrs. A night service as well as a weekend emergency service is available. Information about
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pharmacies on duty can be found on an information panel in any pharmacy’s window or under
Emergency service for poisonings:
Other useful contact details in Berlin are:
Lost and Found Offices
Central office from city authorities:
Platz der Luftbrücke 6
Public transport: U 6
Central office for public transport:
Potsdamer Str. 180
Public transport: Underground station: Kleistpark
Berlin Mitte: Rathausstr. (near Alexanderplatz) and Georgenstr. (in Friedirchstr. Station)
please also see www.deutschepost.de/dpag?xmlFile=828&skin=lo for more information on
offices and opening hours
Berlin has numerous hospitals. Centrally located are
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Große Hamburger Str. 3
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