opening hours

Due to a federal reform, opening hours are set by the states, therefore opening hours vary from state to state. Some states like Berlin, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have no more strict opening hours from Monday to Saturday however, you will rarely find 24 hours shops other than at petrol stations. Sunday and national holidays including some obscure ones is normally closed for shops everywhere in Germany, including pharmacies. However single pharmacies remain open for emergencies every pharmacy will have a sign telling you which pharmacy is currently open for emergencies. Information can be obtained here ( Shops are allowed to open on Sundays on special occasions called "Verkaufsoffener Sonntag", information on open Sundays may be found here (http://www.verkaufsoffene...) or here (http://www.verkaufsoffene...). Every German city uses these days except Munich.

As a rule of thumb:

Supermarkets: 8 or 9AM – 8PM

big supermarkets 8AM - 10PM

Rewe supermarkets 7AM - 10PM or midnight

Shopping centers and large department stores: 10AM - 8PM

Department stores in small cities: 10AM - 7PM

Small and medium shops: 9 or 10AM – 6.30PM in big cities sometimes to 8PM

Petrol stations: in cities and along the "Autobahn" usually 24h a day

Restaurants: 11.30AM – 11 or 12AMmidnight, sometimes longer, many closed during afternoon

Small shops are often closed from 1 to 3PMIf necessary in many big cities you will find a few sometimes more expensive supermarkets with longer opening hours often near the main station. Bakeries usually offer service on Sunday mornings business hours vary as well. Also most petrol stations have a small shopping area.

In some parts of Germany like Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf and the Ruhr area there are cornershops called "Späti" oder "Spätkauf" "latey", "Kiosk", "Trinkhalle" drinking hall or "Büdchen" little hut that offer newspapers, drinks and at least basic food supplies. These shops are often run by Arab or Turkish immigrants and are, depending on the area, open till late night or even 24/7..

Basic supplies can usually be bought around the clock at gas stations. Gas station owners work around opening hour restrictions by running 7-Eleven style mini marts on their gas station property. Be aware that prices are usually quite high. Another exception to this law are supermarkets located in touristy areas. Towns designated as a Kurort health resort are allowed to have their stores open all week during tourist season. Just ask a local for those well-kept secret stores.

Train stations are allowed to and frequently have their stores/shops open on Sundays, though usually for limited hours. In some larger cities such as Leipzig and Frankfurt, this can include an entire shopping mall that happens to be attached to the train station.


Unlike in some other countries, service staff is always paid by the hour albeit not always that well. A tip is therefore mainly a matter of politeness and shows your appreciation. If you didn't appreciate the service e.g. slow, snippy or indifferent service you may not tip at all and it will be accepted by the staff.

Since the introduction of the Euro, a tip Trinkgeld, lit. "drink money" of about 5-10% is customary if you were satisfied with the service. Nonetheless, service charge is already included in an item's unit price so what you see is what you pay.

Tipping in Germany is usually done by mentioning the total while paying. So if eg. a waiter tells you the bill amounts to "€13.50", just state "15" and he will include a tip of €1.50.

Tipping in other situations unless otherwise indicated:

Taxi driver: 5%-10% at least €1

Housekeeping: €1-2 per day

Carrying luggage: €1 per piece

Public toilet attendants: €0.10-0.50

Delivery Services: 5%-10% at least 1€


Germany has the euro EUR, € as its currency. Therewith, Germany belongs to the 23 European countries that use the common European money. These 23 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain official euro members which are all European Union member states as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members. These countries together have a population of 327 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse as well as all bills look the same throughout the eurozone. Nonetheless, every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.

If you have marks remaining from previous trips, they can still be exchanged at certain banks: inquire first before you attempt to convert your marks.

Do not expect anybody to accept foreign currencies or to be willing to exchange currency. An exception are shops and restaurants at airports and also - more rarely - fast-food restaurants at major train stations. These will generally accept at least US dollars at a slightly worse exchange rate. If you wish to exchange money, you can do so at any bank, where you can also cash in your traveller's cheques. Currency exchanges, once a common sight, have all but disappeared since the introduction of the euro. Again, international airports and train stations are an exception to this rule. Swiss Franc can sometimes be accepted near the Swiss border.

While German domestic debit cards - called EC-Karte or girocard - and, to a lesser extent, PIN-based Maestro cards enjoy almost universal acceptance, this is not true for credit cards VISA, MasterCard, American Express or foreign debit cards VISA Debit/Electron etc., which are not as widely accepted as in other European countries or the United States but will be accepted in several major retail stores and some fastfood restaurants.

Don't be fooled by seeing card terminals in shops or other people paying with cards - these machines may not necessarily be programmed to accept foreign cards, so it is best to inquire or look out for acceptance decals before shopping or fuelling your car.

Hotels, larger retailers, chain gas stations and nationwide companies accept credit cards; supermarkets, discount stores or small independent shops tend not to with exceptions. Some places impose a minimum purchase amount typically 10 euros for card payments. Most ATMs will allow you to withdraw money with your credit card or foreign debit card, but you'll need to know your card's PIN for that.