Germany

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Germany Money-Saving Tips

Plan Ahead

Mixing train use (www.eurorailways.com) and car rental (www.bahn.de) wisely can safe a lot of money. For example, get rail pass for 4 days in a month and rent a car for a weekend special rate.

Road Rules

Remember that Germans are notoriously rude and fast drivers – avoid left or middle lanes if you’re driving slowly and try to stay zen when tailgaters begin flashing. Finally: stick to speed limits and always opt for full insurance on rental cars.

Weather Wise

Even in summer, the air can get cool, so make sure you have some extra sweaters, a light windbreaker and something rainproof. Sturdy footwear is a must for mountain hikes.

Sauna Etiquette

Enjoying a sauna or steam bath is a great way to relax, just remember that full nudity is not only accepted, it is expected!

Beer Count

Bavaria is the world's greatest beer producer. While sampling the many different brews, keep in mind that they tend to be stronger than what you may be used to at home.

Money back

Germany has a 19% sales tax on goods abbreviated MWSt. If you are leaving the European Union with purchased goods, you can get a refund – just save your receipts and ask the store clerk for an Ausfuhrbescheinigung (export papers).

Card Power

Always check the city websites for Welcome Cards for one or more days. These usually allow you to use public transportation and visit museums for free or at reduced rates.

Love, love, love

Berlin’s great annual techno party known as the Love Parade (in Munich it’s called Union Move) has migrated to the Ruhr region’s cities Essen, Dortmund, Bochum and Duisburg. It usually takes place in July or August. www.loveparade.de

Mardi Gras

Carnival is celebrated wildly all along the Rhine, with grand parades on “Rose Monday” and parties on Shrove Tuesday. Cologne is notorious for its revelry, but even small towns like Bad Dürrheim in the Black Forest put on quite a show.

Homecoming

September in Upper Bavaria means that the cows are brought back down from the high Alpine meadows in a process known as “Almabtrieb.” It's a traditional and picturesque event with lots of food and drink as well. Make sure your camcorder is well charged.

Cuisine

Food in Germany is diverse. Northern specialties include fresh fish from the Baltic and North seas. Munich is famed for its pork roast with bread dumplings and white veal sausages and Berlin is known for its Currywurst stands selling boiled sausage with curried ketchup.

Riverside art

Each August, a huge cultural festival takes place along the Main River in Frankfurt. During this time, museums showcase their works alongside local artists, musicians and street performers.

Long nights

Many cities – including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Heidelberg, Aachen, and Frankfurt – host nights reserved for special activities like going to museums, listening to live music, even buying books. There are no specific dates. Google "Lange Nacht der Museen” for hits.

Christmas markets

Once Advent gets going, the Christmas markets open offering gifts of all sorts, lots to eat and drink, and a congenial atmosphere. The most famous one is in Nuremberg.

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