All that residents of EU member states require to enter Germany is an up to date passport. The same requirement applies to citizens of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand but they will also require a visa if staying for longer than three months. South African citizens do need a visa to travel to Germany and nationals of all other countries should contact the German Embassy in their home country before travelling.
The currency used in Germany is the Euro which is made up of 100 Cent. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, 0.50C, 0.20C, 0.10C, 0.05C, 0.02C and 0.01C.
The language spoken is Munich is German but a large number of people in the country’s major cities also speak English.
It has a modified continental type of climate, with a pronounced summer rainfall maximum. Winters are rather cold (January mean: 0.5 C), but heavy snowfall is rare, especially in recent years. Summers are fairly warm (July mean: 19.2 C) with frequent thunder, and temperatures throughout the year are somewhat reduced relative to lower-lying parts of Germany due to the altitude.
If you need to buy medical products the only place you can buy products for minor health problems is in a pharmacy (Apotheke). For more serious problems you will have to bring a prescription to obtain certain medications.
If you need an ambulance in case of an emergency call 192 22.
It is advised that you take out travel insurance before going. You can now purchase travel insurance on Hostelmunich.com. Click here for further details.
Munich uses Central European Time which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Most shops in Munich are open from Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 6.00pm and on Saturdays from 9.00am until 2.00pm. Many now open late on Thursdays until 8.00 or 9.00pm. They also open until 6.00pm on the first Saturday of the month.
Banks are generally open from 8.30am to 12.30pm and again from 1.30pm to 3.30pm from Monday to Friday. Some also remain open until 5.30pm on Thursdays. Businesses generally are open during hours similar to shops in Munich.
The main tourist office in Munich is located at Hauptbahnhof and opens between 8.00am and 10.00pm from Monday to Saturday. It also opens from 11.00am and 7.00pm on Sundays. There is another office at Sendlingerstrasse 1 near Rindermarkt and this is open from Monday to Thursday between 8.30amd and 4.00pm and until 2.00pm on Fridays.
The price of most goods and services in Germany includes a fifteen percent value added tax or Mehrewertsteuer. This includes restaurant and hotel bills as well as items which you purchase in stores. You should note that stores displaying a ‘Tax Free’ sticker will give you a Tax Free Shopping Check when you are paying for your purchases. When leaving the country you need to get this check stamped by the Customs officials as proof of legal export. Once you complete and return this check you will get your cash refund. Some of the major airports, train stations or ferry terminals will process this for you. Otherwise you need to send it to Tax-Free Shopping Service, Mengstrasse 19, 23552 Lübeck, Germany
Foreign currencies can be exchanged and used in unlimited amounts. You can get cash around-the-clock at cash machines with an ATM card which is valid oversears (Cirrus) and with international credit cards (American Express, Visa, Diners Club, Euro Card and MasterCard), which can be used for payment practically everywhere.
Banks and, in particular, post offices give better exchange rates than currency exchange offices.
Electricity in Germany is 220 Volts AC.
The international calling code for Germany is +49 and the area code for Munich is 89. To dial from abroad you dial 00, followed by 49, the local area code 89 and the local number. If you wish to call abroad from Germany, again you dial 00, followed by the international calling code for your particular country, the local area code and then the local number. It is worth noting that you need to drop the first zero from the local area code for both types of call.
Public telephones (Telefonzellen) can be found in all post offices as well as train and bus stations. You will also find one on almost every street corner. In other words, they are not hard to find, you just need to keep your eye out for them. Most are phones use phonecard and you can buy them (Telefonkarten) at post offices, newsstands or the major train stations.
The main post office in Munich is situated at Bahnhofplatz 1 and its hours are between 7am-8pm Mon-Fri and 8am-4pm on Satudays.
If the service charge is not included on the bill, you should leave a tip of between ten and fifteen percent. If it has already been added on, you will see the word Bedienung at the end of the bill. For taxi fares, you should round up the total to the nearest mark and, with regard to luggage, you should tip €1 per item.
In Germany are they take place on January 1st, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Thursday, May 1st, the first Monday in June, October 3rd and December 25th and 26th. It is worth noting what the public holidays are before travelling as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day.