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Back to Germany's Yellow-net Two Germanies Tourists in Germany!
Facts for the Traveler

Visas: EU citizens can enter on an official identity card. Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and Japanese just need a valid passport (no visa). Unless you're a citizen of a developing country, you can probably stay up to three months.
Health risks: The cost of medical care - come with insurance
Time: GMT/UTC plus one hour (two hours ahead in summer)
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Tourism: 17 million visitors per year

When to Go

The German climate is variable so it's best to be prepared for all types of weather throughout the year. That said, the most reliable weather is from May to October. This coincides, naturally enough, with the standard tourist season (except for skiing). The shoulder periods can bring fewer tourists and surprisingly pleasant weather. There is no special rainy season.

Events

From pagan harvest romps to black tie opera galas, Germans are keen to party. The Winter Carnival (Fasching) season occurs throughout Germany, with big cities such as Cologne (Köln), Munich and Mainz erupting into commotion just before Ash Wednesday. Germany's rich musical heritage is showcased in a plethora of festivals. Some towns concentrate on a particular composer, such as the Thuringian Bach Festival in March or the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth each July, whereas others focus on a particular style. The jazz festivals in Stuttgart (April) and Berlin (November) are lively and popular. Autumn is a great time for harvest-inspired mayhem, especially in the Rhineland, where the Rhine in Flames frolics feature barges laden with fireworks. Mention must be made of Oktoberfest, Munich's annual lager frenzy, but it's a bit like being stuck in a nightmarish soccer crowd and is more an example of tourism at its lowest ebb than a display of German culture. Most towns in Bavaria have festivals devoted to beer and they're much nicer than Oktoberfest. Christmas fairs are embraced wholeheartedly by German families, including those in Munich, Nuremberg, Lübeck, Berlin, Münster and Heidelberg.


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