With Germany’s intricate past, the nation offers a plethora of opportunities to learn and discover. The country’s involvement in World War II, in particular, sparks the interest of many visitors. But beyond the war, Germany offers more than 42 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including ancient Roman ruins, medieval castles, and more. In addition to exploring historical landmarks, visitors can also indulge in German culture, which is rich in traditions like Oktoberfest and Christmas markets. So if you’re a history buff looking for your next adventure, Germany is definitely worth a visit.
The official currency of Germany is the Euro (EUR).
The second series of Euro notes follow a comparable colour and architectural style per denomination like the first series. However, they come with slight modifications that make them distinct and more secure. The redesigns highlighted the consecutive enlargements of the EU since 2002 and were created by Reinhold Gerstetter, an independent banknote designer based in Berlin. Some unique features of the banknotes include the EU symbol, currency name in three alphabets, a revised map of Europe, copyright protection, the signature of the ECB (European Central Bank) President, and initials of the ECB in nine or ten linguistic variants that depend on the denomination.
As for Germany’s euro coins, they boast a unique design that is rich with symbolism. The eagle, an iconic emblem of German sovereignty, is prominently featured on the €1 and €2 coins against a backdrop of stars representing the European Union. The historically significant Brandenburg Gate, which has come to symbolise both the separation and reunification of Germany, graces the reverse sides of the 10, 20 and 50-cent coins. Meanwhile, the 1, 2 and 5 cent coins sport an image of an oak twig that harks back to classic German pfennig coins. These coins are not just pieces of currency, but artistic compositions with deep-rooted meaning, making them a wonderful reflection of Germany’s rich cultural heritage.
Germany’s economy is a social market system that is highly advanced, boasting the largest economy in Europe and ranking as the fourth-largest in the world by nominal GDP and fifth by GDP (PPP). However, fluctuations in currency exchange rates can cause significant variations in Germany’s GDP when measured in dollars. According to the IMF, Germany contributed 28% of the euro area economy in 2017. Germany is a founding member of the European Union and the Eurozone.
Germany has a diverse landscape that is rich in natural resources such as timber, lignite, potash, and salt, with minor sources of natural gas found in Lower Saxony. Prior to reunification, uranium mining took place in the Ore Mountains. Fossil fuels are the primary source of energy in Germany’s energy sector, with wind power being the second most prominent source, followed by solar, gas, biomass (wood and biofuels), nuclear power, and hydro. Germany was the first significant industrialised nation to adopt the renewable energy transition known as Energiewende, making it a global leader in wind turbine production.
The currency history of Germany is a fascinating one that has evolved through times of division, war, recession and hyperinflation. In the 19th century, the Vienna Monetary Treaty established a currency standard for use across German states. The German Empire introduced the Goldmark in 1871, and the Papiermark replaced it in 1914 due to high reparation costs after World War I. The Rentenmark was introduced in 1923 to provide stability and was replaced by the Reichsmark in 1924. During World War II, Germany established a fixed exchange rate between the Reichsmark and currencies of occupied and allied countries, and the Reichsmark became nearly worthless after massive inflation.
After the war, Germany was divided into two states. West Germany replaced the Reichsmark with the Deutsche Mark and became the most prosperous economy in Europe. East Germany replaced the Reichsmark with the East German Mark, but it stagnated. In 1990, Germany was reunified, and the Deutsche Mark became the official currency of Germany until 2002, when the Euro became its legal tender together with other European countries under European Monetary Union.
If you’re travelling to Germany, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollars (AUD) for Euros (Euro).
Although there are benefits to converting currency in Australia or Germany, it is more practical to do so in Australia. This enables you to budget and plan by knowing the exact amount of travel funds you have. Moreover, you can access the money immediately, which is convenient if you arrive in Germany late at night or on a weekend when currency exchanges may be closed.
If you are travelling to or from Germany with cash or payment equivalent of €10,000 or more, you are required to declare it to the customs authorities. This applies to all forms of cash and equivalent means of payment.
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Tipping culture in Germany is not as strong compared to other countries like Australia, and some Germans do not tip at all. Tips usually range from five to ten percent, with most Germans tipping for one-off services like food delivery, restaurant servers, hairdressers, and taxi drivers. Tipping amount varies depending on the type of service received, and for small or casual meals, rounding up the bill and adding a couple of euros is common. Here’s a guide to help you navigate tipping customs.
Restaurants: If you are at a sit-down restaurant, it is generally expected to tip around 10%. If you are not satisfied with the service, it’s alright not to tip, but please inform your food server about the issue so they can help the restaurant improve for next time. However, remember that it is not common to tip at fast food restaurants or supermarkets in Germany.
Bars: When you have drinks at a bar, it’s fine not to leave a tip or just round up the bill to the next euro. For instance, if your drink costs 3.50 euros, inform your bartender to charge 4 euros.
Drivers: If you use a taxi or Uber app, you can add a tip to your bill easily. On the other hand, if you’re paying cash, rounding up the bill and adding a couple of euros is common. For example, if your fare is 33.20 euros, you may pay 35 euros in total.
Hairdressers: If you’re happy with your haircut, a 5% tip is appreciated for your hairdresser. Some hairdressers have a piggy bank or box with their name where you can deposit your tip.
Movers: Movers are tipped in Germany since they are considered one-time service providers. For a short move, the tip for every mover is around 5 euros per hour. On the other hand, for longer moves such as Hamburg to Munich, 10 to 20 euros per helper is appropriate. The exact amount should depend on your budget and how much the move physically challenges the helpers.
Delivery Services: If you use food delivery services or have your groceries delivered, you can tip the delivery person between one to two euros.
ATMs in Germany are referred to as Geldautomat, and you can usually find them either inside or outside of bank branches for ATM withdrawals, as well as at most major airports. However, they are not as commonly found in places such as shopping malls and petrol stations. MasterCard and Visa cards are widely accepted when you withdraw cash.
If you’re considering backpacking through this beautiful country, it’s recommended that you set aside at least 55 EUR per day to cover your expenses. This budget assumes that you’ll be staying in a hostel dorm, preparing your own meals, and exploring mostly free activities like hiking and walking tours. It’s also important to limit your drinking and use local transportation to get around. If you do plan on indulging in Germany’s renowned beer culture, be sure to add an additional 5-10 EUR to your daily budget.
For a moderate mid-range budget of 135 EUR per day, you can make the most of your trip without breaking the bank. This budget will allow you to stay in a comfortable Airbnb room, enjoy a few meals out, take the occasional taxi, sample some of Germany’s famous beers, take the bus between cities, and explore more paid activities like visiting museums and castles.
If you’re looking to pamper yourself while travelling in Germany, setting aside a “luxury” budget of at least 245 EUR per day is a good starting point. This will allow you to indulge in high-end hotels, fine dining, and convenient transportation via taxis or trains. You’ll have the flexibility to book whatever activities and tours you desire without worrying about the cost. Literally, the sky’s the limit!
Cent = 1/100
€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500
1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2
The first stop on your list should be Berlin – the capital city. Famous for its Schloss Charlottenburg palace and museums, Berlin is also home to one of the most extensive street art collections in the world. Take a walking tour to see murals and graffiti artworks in their natural habitats or explore the Berlin Wall, which used to separate East and West Germany. The city is also known for its buzzing nightlife and unique culinary experience, so plan an extra day or two into your itinerary to experience everything Berlin has to offer.
Speaking of culinary experiences, make sure to add Oktoberfest to your list of must-dos. During the festival, Munich becomes a party hub, welcoming tourists and locals alike to enjoy some of Germany’s most famous beer. With carnival rides, games, and traditional food stalls, you’ll find yourself caught up in the festivities in no time.
A particularly beautiful part of Germany, the Black Forest region offers dreamy landscapes filled with traditional German houses and fairy tale views. This beautiful forest is dotted with thermals and waterfalls that are well worth visiting. By experiencing the beautiful outdoors, you’ll quickly discover that the region was the inspiration for several fairytales, including Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood.
Famously known as the inspiration behind the Disney Castle, one must visit the Neuschwanstein Castle while in Germany. This beautiful palace is located near Fussen, surrounded by beautiful mountains and wilderness. This breathtaking castle is a vision of architectural artistry and was once the summer residence of a popular King, Ludwig II.
The Romantic Road winds its way from Würzburg to Füssen and is a must-see when in Germany. As you travel along the Romantic Road, you’ll come across numerous hidden gems and treasure troves of history. Picturing how life was in the past will be made easier by the well-preserved medieval architecture, castles, and churches. Be sure to bring a camera so you can capture many of the beautiful scenes along the road.
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