Germany

Major airlines and airports
By plane

The most important airports are Frankfurt IATA: FRA, Munich IATA: MUC and Düsseldorf IATA: DUS.

Also sizeable one´s are Berlin-Tegel IATA: TXL, Cologne IATA: CGN, Hamburg IATA: HAM and Stuttgart IATA: STR they serve some international flights as well.

Frankfurt is Germany's main hub - one of Europe's four major hubs - and the destination of most intercontinental flights. Munich is a growing secondary hub. Travellers can easily fly in from most places of the world and then connect with Germany's biggest and most respected airline Lufthansa, which is a member of the Star Alliance. Germany's second largest airline is Air Berlin, a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which also serves lots of destinations throughout Germany and Europe and some worldwide from several airports.

The airports of Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Köln/Bonn are connected to the InterCityExpress high speed rail lines. The others all feature either a commuter rail station or some sort of connection to the nearest rail station as well as public transport to the central station of the respective cities. Lufthansa's passengers travelling from Frankfurt Airport have the option to check-in their luggage in Cologne, Düsseldorf or Stuttgart train stations and connect to the airport by ICE AIRrailservice. If doing so, be sure to book the train journey like a Lufthansa connecting flight ie in advance together with the flight, otherwise you will be responsible for a missed connection.

Budget travel and minor airlines
By plane

Flying can be the cheapest way to get to Germany and from there to other European countries, especially if the flights are booked well in advance. Before booking a budget flight, compare carefully as their destinations are often a bit off the track and after adding all the baggage fees, taxes, additional bus tickets to get to their airports, you might end up at even higher prices than you would pay for a discounted Lufthansa or Air Berlin ticket.

The major airports for budget travel are Berlin-Schönefeld IATA: SXF, Frankfurt-Hahn IATA: HHN 130 km to Frankfurt and Weeze IATA: NRN 85 km to Düsseldorf as well as smaller airports with fewer choice of destinations like Lübeck IATA: LBC 70 km to Hamburg or Memmingen IATA: FMM 110 km to Munich.

There are budget flights to almost every city in Europe from Germany. The major budget airlines in Germany are easyJet, Ryanair, germanwings for flights within Germany, too and Wizz Air for flights to Eastern Europe which all offer several connections to many countries throughout Europe. The main hubs are Berlin-Schönefeld and Dortmund for easyJet, Frankfurt-Hahn and Weeze for Ryanair, Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart for germanwings - all of these airlines serve other airports within Germany as well, but with a smaller choice of destinations.

For budget flights to European holiday destinations, for example round the Mediterranean, Germany's major carriers besides Air Berlin are Condor Thomas Cook also for main tourist destinations throughout the world and TUIfly.

Germania, InterSky and OLT have also a limited number of international destinations.

By train
By train

Regular train services connect Germany with all neighbouring countries - most operated by Deutsche Bahn DB. Almost all neighbouring countries especially Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Austria and even some non-neighbouring countries eg: Italy are quite well connected with "EuroCity" EC} trains. They are a little bit slower and slightly less comfortable than the European high speed trains but nevertheless reach up to 200 km/h. They are a worthwhile way to travel - not only for budget travellers (although budget airlines might be cheaper or landscape viewers especially the Rhine valley lines from Cologne to Mainz via Koblenz.

There are also several European high speed trains to cross into or get out of Germany:

The ICE brings you at 300km/h top speed from Frankfurt 3.3h, Cologne 2.5h or Düsseldorf 2.3h to Amsterdam. The train journey from Frankfurt to Paris 320km/h using the ICE will take about four hours; going from Hamburg to Paris can take eight and a half hours.

The Thalys brings you from Cologne Köln to Paris in approximately 4h and to Brussels in about 2 hr.

The TGV brings you from Marseille, Lyon and Strasbourg to Frankfurt and from Paris to Stuttgart and Munich.

Standard rail fares are quite high, but there are a number of special fares and discounts available - see the "Get Around" section for more information. In particular, the Bahncard reduction applies for the whole journey as long as it starts or ends in Germany.

Entry Requirements

Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country or you may have to clear immigration but not customs travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country.

Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are.Recognised refugees and stateless persons in possession of a valid travel document issued by the government of any one of the above countries/territories eg, Canada are exempt from obtaining a visa for Germany but not for any other Schengen country, except Hungary and, for refugees, Slovakia for a maximum stay of 90 days in a 180 day period).

Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States of America are eligible to obtain a residence permit, or Aufenthaltstitel authorising a stay of more than 90 days and permission to work, after arrival in Germany not at the border post, but at the local inland office responsible for immigration control, but before the end of the initial 90 day period of visa-free entry. Before obtaining such title, they are not allowed to work, with the exception some specific occupations like artists, etc.. Honduran, Monegasque and Sanmarinese nationals can also obtain such a permit, but only if they will not work on the residence permit. Other nationals will need to obtain a visa before if they intend to stay in Germany for longer than the 90 days period, even if they are visa-free for that period for a stay in the Schengen area, or if they intend to work.

Authorized members of the US military need to possess only a copy of their duty orders NATO Travel Order and their ID card to be authorized entry into Germany EU citizens, this including soldiers, are allowed to enter the country in any case. The passport requirement, though, applies to spouses and dependants of military personnel, and they must obtain a stamp in their passports to show that they are sponsored by a person in Germany under the Status of Forces Agreement.

There are no land border controls, making travel between Germany and other Schengen states easier with the accession of Switzerland to the Schengen area in 2008. However, the German federal and state police is known to have plain-clothes officers asking travellers for their ID especially on the border between Bavaria and Austria and and Bavaria and the Czech Republic. Ethnic profiling is prohibited to those officers, but they are well allowed to pick persons they check on other circumstances general apperance, age, mode and route of travel, type of baggage. Once you are legal, and cooperate, you normally would not expect more than a check of your personal data against a database, polite thanks, and some wish for a pleasant stay. If you feel discriminated, you have the possibility to report the incident to the federal anti-discrimination agency.

There are a number of ways to get into Germany. From neighbouring European countries, a drive with the car or a train ride are feasible; visitors from further away will probably be using air travel.

By bus
By bus

Depending on the country your are leaving from towards Germany, different companies offer tickets. Eurolines, a cooperation of European bus compaanies, sells tickets to and from almost any other European country. The German partner is called Touring. All other companies can be found on the German search engines for long distance bus tickets busliniensuche.de.

Due to the large number of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, every major bus company from those countries serves routes to mostly Southern Germany. From Bosnia and Herzegovina these include Salinea, Prosic and Globtour; from Croatia you can come with Čazmatrans and from Serbia you can choose Panonijabus, Niš-ekspres and others. See also bus travel in the former Yugoslavia.

By ship
By ship

International ferry services exist, notably to Scandinavia. Some of the most popular connections are listed below:

Lübeck and Sassnitz are connected to Russia's Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg. Sassnitz is also connected to Rønne Denmark, Riga Latvia and Trelleborg Sweden.

Kiel has connections to Gothenburg Sweden, Klaipeda Lithuania, and Oslo Norway.

Rostock has connections to Helsinki Finland, Trelleborg Sweden, Liepaja Latvia, and Gedser Denmark.

Travemuende has connections to Helsinki Finland, Malmo Sweden and Trelleborg Sweden.

Puttgarden is connected to Rødby Denmark.