Plan Your Visit
Germany operates on Central European Time (CET), which is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the United States. Official times like shop hours or train schedules are usually indicated by the 24-hour clock, means 7:30 pm is 19:30.
The Euro "€" is the official currency in Germany and in most of its bordering countries. You can change money at banks, post offices and currency exchanges in airports or train stations. Classic credit cards, such as American Express, Master Card, Diners Club or VISA are rarely used, but accepted by major hotels, petrol stations or large shops. Otherwise cash or Eurocheque cards will be accepted. Most banks work with international ATM networks like Cirrus, Plus, Star and Maestro.
European electric sockets are designed with two round pin plugs and work with 230 Volts AC, 50 Hz. You might need a plug and a transformer, which fit the German socket.
Most public pay phones were removed in the last few years, but you will find some in high-frequented spots like airports, train stations or shopping areas. The Deutsche Telekom often only accepts their own phone cards, which are available from € 5 to € 15 at newsagents, post offices, some tourist offices and public transport offices, but sometimes you can pay with coins. You could also buy prepaid cards from other providers, but unfortunately there are only a small number of public phones.
German cell phones perform on a GSM network, which is not compatible with the North American or Japanese system. U.S. wireless firms, like T-Mobile or Cingular, use GSM, but on different frequency bands. If you own a multi-band cell phone, you can use it in the USA and in Europe. If not, there are a lot of possibilities buying or renting an unlocked GSM mobile phone with a SIM card, working in Europe and about 190 countries, operating with GSM network, all over the world.
Germany belongs to the temperate zone, which requires a wardrobe as flexible as possible. In summer, the thermometer reaches temperatures about 25°C/77F, but deviations are not unusual. The humidity level is mostly high.