Prominent for being one of the worlds largest producers of cars and machines, Germany offers travelers a one-of-a-kind experience with its rich culture and history. It never fails to captivate the hearts of tourists with its old and preserved timbered houses, Baroque buildings, beautiful castles, and of course, German beer. As with any other country in the world, Germany has its own set of decorum and customs.
While these can vary in every German city or state, there are some etiquettes which are considered standard all over the country. Upholding German values and customs is very important for the locals, as non-compliance from tourists may not only raise eyebrows and head shakes but also earn you a harsh reprimand from straightforward Germans. If you are planning to visit this charming European land of Bier and Wurst, its normal to get a culture shock, but being prepared and keeping in mind the following dos and donts will earn you respect from the Germans.
Do bring enough cash
This may sound funny, but despite Germany being an efficient first-world country, locals are still cash-intensive people. A survey revealed that Germans feel that paying by cash makes it simpler for them to monitor their spendings. There are even some restaurants and establishments that dont accept credit card payment. So make sure you always have Euros on hand to prevent any inconvenience when paying.
Do buy and stamp your ticket when riding public transportation
This is especially true for tourists. Due to the absence of a ticket seller or inspector, some might be excited at the prospect of saving some Euros and be tempted to ride the U-Bahn (underground train) and other public transport for free. This is a big no-no and could get you in trouble. Ticket inspectors are always around, wearing plain clothes. They will randomly ask people to show their tickets, and those who are not able to provide a valid one will have to pay huge fines.
Do try the wide variety of German bread and beer
Considered as a staple food of the country and a big part of the German culture, Germany produces more than 300 types of bread in all shapes and sizes, freshly baked every day. Its only appropriate to try a few of the many types of bread and learn why the Krauts love their Brot so much. As with beer, Germany has about 1,300 various breweries which manufacture over 5,000 different beer brands. Keep it on your list to try a few of them, including Kölsch beer, Altbier, Helles, and Weißbier. A trip to Germany is not complete without drinking one of their best-exported products.
Don’t travel to Germany without pet papers
If you plan on visiting this mighty country with a do, please pay attention to the rules and regulations regarding travelling with pets. Canine visitors must have the necessary papers otherwise they will not be permitted into the country. It is well advised to read tips on dog travel before you embark on a journey to Germany – or any other country in the world for that matter.
Dont walk in the bicycle lane. EVER.
Germans like things to be in order. As a testament to that, they have specific lanes for bicycles and for pedestrians. Do not be surprised if you receive an unfriendly or even aggressive response (including some shouting/cursing coupled with the ringing of their bicycle bells) when cyclists find that youre walking on the bicycle lane. So dont forget to always keep to the pedestrians path.
Dont throw your plastic/glass bottles & aluminum cans anywhere
As part of their efficient recycling system, Germans have put a deposit of 0.25 for most plastic/glass bottles & aluminum cans on top of its price. You can claim back the money at any supermarket when you return the bottles or cans, which can be a lot depending on the number of bottles you have. Most locals will frown at (or even scold) you if you throw the bottle or can in the rubbish bin instead of returning it where it belongs.
Dont make the Nazi salute just for fun
Because of the countrys dark history, Germans are quite sensitive and careful when it comes to discussions about Hitler and the Nazi era. As such, locals are not so keen on talking about it in public (unless you have a very close German friend), more so making the Nazi salute. It is considered an offense in Germany. Doing so could get you reported to the police and land you behind bars. So yes, it is a serious thing.
Although these are not the only customs and etiquettes you have to observe during your visit to Germany, following these standard rules will guarantee that you will avoid committing cultural blunders in Deutschland.