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All about Germany.

Land & people

Area: 357,021 sq km

Population (July 2008 est.): 82.4 million

Capital: Berlin

Languages: German is the official language. English is widely spoken

Per capita GDP (2007 est.): $34,100

Germany lies in central Europe. It borders France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, and has a short coastline on the North and Baltic seas.

The German federation comprises 16 states: Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein and Thueringen (Thuringia). Major cities include Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Hanover, Frankfurt, Nuremburg, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf.

Useful addresses

Embassy of Germany P.O. Box 2591, Abu Dhabi +02-644 6693 +02-644 6942 info@abud.diplo.de www.GermEmb.org.ae/ www.abu-dhabi.diplo.de

Consulate General of Germany P.O. Box 2247, Dubai +04-397 2333 +04-397 2225 www.dubai.diplo.de

German National Tourist Board (GNTB) BeethovenstraAe 69, 60325 Frankfurt/Main ++49 (0) 69/75 19 03 info@d-z-t.com www.germany-tourism.de

Passports/visas

A valid passport or identification document is required to enter the country. EU citizens don't need a visa. Please contact the nearest German embassy or consulate for more information on entry requirements.

Cash/credit cards

Most banks in the country are affiliated with international ATM networks such as Cirrus, Plus, Star and Maestro. Traveller's cheques are rarely accepted.

Credit cards have a low usage level in Germany compared to other European countries. Commonly accepted credit cards include MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club, which can be used at petrol stations, large shops and major hotels.

When to go

Germany's climate can be unpredictable. Most people prefer to visit the country between May and September (high season) when it will be sunny.

Popular activities in this season include hiking, cycling and swimming as well as festivals. Between November and early March skies tend to be cloudy and the weather frosty. Travel to Germany is becoming more and more popular in this season.

Accommodation

Finding the right hotel in Germany won't be a problem: choices range from affordable economy- and tourist-class hotels to lavish, ultra-luxurious five-star comfort.

Other types of accommodation include family-run guesthouses, holiday parks, castle hotels, spa resorts, designer hotels, self-catering accommodation and much more.

Getting there

A Travelling by air is the easiest way to get to Germany and several international airlines offer flights to the country. Though Frankfurt International Airport is the main gateway for transcontinental flights, Dusseldorf and Munich also receive overseas air traffic. The national carrier Lufthansa offers flights to and from Germany. Emirates and Etihad airways offer direct flights to some German cities.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) rail passenger system, Eurostar and Intercity Express (ICE) link Germany with other European cities.

Germany is served by an excellent highway system connected to the rest of Western Europe. Ferries run between the country's northern coast and Scandinavia and the UK.

Getting around

Germany has a world-class transportation system with extensive and well-maintained road, rail and air networks. Being a compact country, domestic air travel is not generally a popular means of travel within Germany. Train travel is more convenient and economical. The main passenger rail system is the DB or GermanRail. At speeds of up to 300km/h, ICE trains are the fastest.

The Intercity (IC) trains link major centres throughout the country, while Eurocity (EC) trains connect Germany with major cities in the neighbouring countries. A new generation of local trains, double-decker coaches, tilting coaches and double-decker rail buses, offer greater comfort and faster journey times.

Driving around is an enjoyable way to see the country. Germany's autobahn system is an extensive network of limited-access freeways that provide a speedy route from city to city.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Nov 12, 2008
Words:643
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