Practical A to Z
Practical A to Z
- Eating out
- Embassies and consulates
- Public holidays
Prices are inclusive of service, it is however customary to round up the bill or leave a tip of between 5 and 10%.
Cold meat and cheese are served with breakfast. Lunch, the main meal of the day, will generally begin with soup, followed by meat or fish served with a salad (lettuce, cucumber and grated cabbage). Fast food establishments (Imbisse) are widely available where you can sample the traditional Bratwurst (grilled sausage). Dinner, usually eaten between 6 and 7pm, typically consists of cold meat and cheese served with a wide choice of bread and rolls.
In addition to beer, of course, visitors should be aware that coffee is generally served with cream and that bottled or mineral water is generally sparkling. If you prefer still water, ask for stilles Wasser or Leitungswasser (tap water).
Organic produce is increasingly popular in Germany and many supermarkets offer an extremely wide selection of organic produce.
The voltage in Germany is 220V, but plugs are standard two-pin continental plugs, so you will probably need an adaptor.
Embassies and consulates
British Embassy –Wilhelmstraße 70, 10117 Berlin – t 030 204 570 – http://ukingermany.fco.gov.uk/en/
Irish Embassy – Jägerstraße 51, 10117 Berlin – t 030 220 720 – http://www.embassyofireland.de/home/
Also see Know before you go.
Universal European emergency number: t 112.
Medical emergencies: t 31 00 31.
Surgeries are open 8am-noon and 4-6pm, except on Wednesdays and weekends.
Chemists can be recognised by the large Red A (for Apotheke) sign outside. The names and addresses of out-of-hours doctors and chemists are posted on the window.
The currency of Germany is the Euro.
Banks / exchange
Banks are open on weekdays from 8.30am to 1pm and from 2.30 to 4pm (5.30pm on Thursdays); they are closed at weekends. Exchange offices operate longer opening hours.
Credit cards and traveller’s cheques
Hotels and restaurants accept most international credit cards. Visitors should however be aware that credit cards are not universally accepted, in particular for purchases under €15 or by small retailers or car park pay machines. Cash is frequently the only means of payment. Visitors are also advised to change traveller’s cheques into cash, because they are rarely accepted as payment.
Euro zone residents should note that bank charges for withdrawals and payments are identical to those in their country of origin.
Budget / cost of living
Prices are comparable to those of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Most museums are closed on Mondays. Many art galleries stay open late, one evening per week. Ticket sales close between 30min and 1hr before closing time. National museums are generally free of charge on Sunday afternoons and on public holidays.
Post offices (yellow) are open Monday-Friday from 8am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 12noon. Postage rates, within the Europe zone, are €0.55 for a standard letter (up to 20gr) and €0.45 for a postcard.
6 January – Epiphany - except in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt.
Ascension Day –Forty days after Easter Monday
Corpus-Christi – moveable feast (late May to late June) - only in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and in some parts of Saxony and Thuringia.
15 August – Assumption Day - only in Saarland and some Catholic regions of Bavaria.
3 October – Day of Unity
31 October – Day of Reformation - only in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
1 November – All Saints Day - only in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.
21 November – Repentance Day - only in Saxony.
25 and 26 December
Shops are open Monday-Friday from 9-10am to 6.30-8pm. Most close at 4pm on Saturdays, except for grocers, butchers and bakers, which close between 1-2pm.
Calling Germany from abroad
00 + 49 (country code for Germany) + area code without the 0 + number of the person.
Calling home from Germany
00 + country code. For the United Kingdom: 44; for Ireland: 353.
Dial a 0 before the area code if you are calling from another region of Germany or from a mobile phone. Within the same region, it is not necessary to dial the area code.
From public telephone booths, Telefonkarten (€5 and 10) are sold from post offices and newspaper stands.