1. Best Time of the Year to Visit Bavaria
June through September is deemed to be the best time to visit Bavaria. Warm summer months are famous for the bright cultural events like Kaltenberger Ritterturnier or Bayreuth Festival and for the perfect conditions for hiking in the Alps. Spring may offer thinner tourist crowds but is also famed for heavy showers, so it is nice to have an umbrella by your side. Bavarian autumn is mild but can be quite busy due to the Oktoberfest. As the period between November and February can be rather cold, packing a warm jacket sounds like a good idea. Moreover, skiing at Zugspitze makes an unforgettable winter experience, so don't miss the chance to hit the slopes.
2. What languages are spoken in Germany?
Naturally, German is the primary language spoken in Germany or called as Deutsch. There are also lots of dialects, but they are only spoken in particular regions. A Bavarian will not understand the northern German "Platt" dialect, just as someone from the North won't be able to master Bavarian. If you don't know the right words, then try English, as nearly all Germans have learned it at school.
English is the most common foreign language spoken among Germans, followed by French and Spanish. ut Germany is a country of immigration, and immigrants obviously bring with them their native languages as well as their cultures. So in the cities, you will hear lots of other languages, especially Turkish and Italian.
3. Here are some of the words that you need to know in the German language.
a. Hello - Hallo
b. Good morning - guten Morgen
c. Taxi - Zug
4. Travelcard, debit card or credit card?
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Germany. You can also use American Express and Diners Club credit cards; however, they're accepted in fewer locations. Some businesses may not accept cards for purchases below a certain amount, for example, €20, and most supermarkets (even Aldi) won't take credit cards at all. While it's important to find a card that'll let you make over the counter purchases cheaply, a card which lets you use ATMs without the ridiculous charges is more relevant for a trip to Germany.
5. Can you use your mobile phones in Germany?
If your phone will work in Germany, you may want to consider "roaming" with your current service. This assumes that you will be using the phone very little, or perhaps it is necessary that you keep your current cell phone number. The most economical way to use your US or Canadian phone (if it indeed has the correct bands) is to remove the SIM card (the chip in the phone giving you service) and insert a new, German SIM card. This will give you a new German phone number and you will be able to take advantage of the local rates - including unlimited free incoming calls. Make sure you ask your carrier for the unlock code, so that your phone can accept another SIM card and service.
You can get a local SIM card in Germany once you arrive, or prior to your departure. It may be more convenient getting it before you leave since you will then have the new number to give to people before your trip. There are several telecom companies in Germany that offer Pay As You Go plans using scratch cards or "top-up" cards. These "Cards" are available in many locations. It is even possible, in some cases, to "top up" over the internet.
6. Time Difference
The United Arab Emirates is 2 hours ahead of Germany
7. Local Transport
Germany's cities and larger towns have efficient public transport systems. Bigger cities, such as Berlin and Munich, integrate buses, trams, U-Bahn (underground, subway) trains, and S-Bahn (suburban) trains into a single network.
Fares are determined by zones or time traveled, sometimes by both. A multi-ticket strip (Streifenkarte or 4-Fahrtenkarte) or day pass (Tageskarte) generally offers better value than a single-ride ticket. Normally, tickets must be stamped upon boarding in order to be valid. Fines are levied if you’re caught without a valid ticket.
a. Bicycle - Germans love to cycle, be it for errands, commuting, fitness or pleasure. Many cities have dedicated bicycle lanes, which must be used unless obstructed. There’s no helmet law, not even for children, although using one is recommended, for obvious reasons. Bicycles must be equipped with a white light at the front, a red one at the back and yellow reflectors on the wheels and pedals.
b. Bus & Tram - Buses are a ubiquitous form of public transport, and practically all towns have their own comprehensive network. Buses run at regular intervals, with restricted services in the evenings and at weekends. Some cities operate night buses along popular routes to get night owls safely home.
Occasionally, buses are supplemented by trams (Strassenbahnen), which are usually faster because they travel on their own tracks, largely independent of other traffic. In city centres they sometimes run underground. Bus and tram drivers generally sell single tickets and day passes only.
c. S-Bahn - Metropolitan areas, such as Berlin and Munich, have a system of suburban trains called the S-Bahn. They are faster and cover a wider area than buses or trams but tend to be less frequent. S-Bahn lines are often linked to the national rail network and sometimes connect urban centers. Rail passes are generally valid on these services. Specific S-Bahn lines are abbreviated with ‘S’ followed by the number (eg S1, S7).
d. Taxi - Taxis are expensive and, given the excellent public transport systems, not recommended unless you’re in a real hurry. (They can actually be slower than trains or trams if you’re stuck in traffic.) Cabs are metered and charged at a base rate (flagfall) plus a per-kilometre fee. These charges are fixed but vary from city to city. Some drivers charge extra for bulky luggage or night-time rides. It’s rarely possible to flag down a taxi; more typical is to order one by phone (look up Taxiruf in the phone book) or board at a taxi rank. If you're at a hotel or restaurant, ask staff to call one for you. Taxis also often wait outside theatres or performance venues.
e. U-Bahn - Underground (subway) trains are known as U-Bahn in Germany and are the fastest form of travel in big cities. Route maps are posted in all stations, and at many, you’ll be able to pick up a printed copy from the stationmaster or ticket office. The frequency of trains usually fluctuates with demand, meaning there are more trains during commuter rush hours than in the middle of the day. Tickets bought from vending machines must usually be validated before the start of your journey. Specific U-Bahn lines are abbreviated with ‘U’ followed by the number (eg U1, U7).
8. Best Souvenirs to Buy in Germany
a. Beer steins - They’re hideous and impractical, but nothing says Germany quite like a beer stein – maybe a cuckoo clock, but they are expensive and fragile as well. A great buy for uncles or fathers-in-law, choose from stone, porcelain, glass or pewter, with a lid or without. The Silver Bullet never knew such style.
b. Sauerkraut juice - It looks gross on the box, and it tastes gross in your mouth, but many Germans swear by sauerkraut juice as a cure for what ails you, particularly stomach complaints. Supposedly, there is something about the milk and vinegar mixing together with your stomach acid to calm the roiling down. It’s available at any grocery store. For extra Deutsch realness, package the juice with a box of medicinal dirt.
c. Dirndl and/or Lederhosen - While this souvenir is an obvious one, it’s not budget-friendly. Lederhosen for men (and sometimes women) and dirndls for ladies (and, why not, sometimes men too) are the traditional clothing in Bavaria, the state in the south of Germany that touches the Alps and includes Munich. Beautiful silk dirndls start at about 800€, and a quality pair of deer leather lederhosen go for at least 400€.
d. Ampelmännchen - An iconic symbol of East Germany invented by psychologist Karl Peglau, the Ampelmännchen (Little Light Men) has become a hot souvenir item in Berlin. After unification, the little guys were due to get the axe and be replaced by the less charming Western image. Designer Markus Heckhausen stepped in to save the day, and now tourists the world over can enjoy sunglasses, shot glasses, ice cube trays, chalkboards and even pasta, which all bear the mark or even come in the shape of this intrepid little street crosser. Visit the Ampelmännchen shop near Konzerthaus Berlin or order online.