Geography Germany fits between the Netherlands, Denmark and Poland, with
coasts of the North and Baltic seas. On the West is the Belgium and French
borders, while to the south is the more mountainous Swiss and Austrian border
areas. Heavily populated and industrialised, Germany is not a naturalist's
haven. Everything in Germany is organised with over 33% intensely cultivated,
and so with not much distance between the towns, there isn't much in the way of
Climate It is best to be prepared for all types of weather throughout the year. The most reliable weather is May - October but the adjacent months are quite good weather. There is no special rainy season and no dramatic climatic extremes. The most reliably good weather is from May to October. Autumn is a good time to visit Germany as the forests turn golden. Winter is wet, especially in the south.
Culture Many would say that Germany has it all with art, music, poetry, drama and philosophy. Its days begin with a good breakfast of rolls, jam, cheese, cold meats and hard-boiled egg with coffee or tea. Lunch is the main meal of the day, but dinner is supposed to be a lighter meal, however this can still mean a plate full of sausages and dumplings. Beer, the national drink, is excellent and relatively cheap.
Upholding cultural traditions is dear to the German heart. In everyday life, Germans are fairly formal. Germany's rich musical heritage is the basis of many festivals. Jazz festivals are lively and popular. Christmas celebrations are very important to German families.
Currency: Deutschmark (DM)
Getting There & Getting Around The main airports for flights into Germany are Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. If you're already in Europe, it's generally cheaper to get to and from Germany by bus or train. Train travel is more expensive, more comfortable, but less flexible, than catching a bus. To get around inside Germany it is easy with the German train network. Local buses for local travel.
Health risks: None but costs are a good reason for volunteers having to have Travel Insurance with Health Cover
Money & Costs Cheap travel in Germany is difficult because long distance public transport is expensive and budget accommodation is not readily available. With a rail pass, cheap takeaways and self-catering, it is possible to get by on less than US$40 a day. Tipping is not widespread in Germany. Taxi drivers expect a slight tip - 10% is thought to be generous.
Population: 81 million people. Mostly white European, with significant Turkish minority. Germany absorbed the majority of refugees from the former Yugoslavia.
Religion: 90% Christian. About 2 million Muslims and about 30,000 Jews
Visas: EU citizens enter on an official ID card. Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and Japanese just need a valid passport (no visa). Unless a citizen of a developing country, you can probably stay up to three months.