Germany has a lot of places that couldn’t be more different from each other. From the traditional South that is famous for its Octoberfest to the North with its beautiful beaches, there are plenty of spots to visit. If you are planning a trip, then make sure that you are aware of the few rules that are different from the UK.
Here is an overview of five German habits that are good to know.
The Bike Line
One of the great things in Germany is that you can cycle on the pavements – making it less dangerous for you to go by bike. Of course, you will still need to be careful when crossing the roads. However, you are more protected from cars when there is a bike lane.
The pavements are usually separated into two parts. The left half is often in a different colour and is only for cyclists. And yes, only for cyclists. Make sure that you walk on the right side as you don’t want to hear an aggressive bell or shouting behind you. The same goes for you as a cyclist. Don’t even think of driving on the pedestrian part of the pavement. Especially when it comes to pedestrian zones, you will need to hop off your bike. Otherwise, you will face a fine or comments from other Germans.
Tip At Least 10%
When you eat out in a restaurant, you don’t necessarily have to tip, but it’s rude if you don’t. The waiter might be generous if you are a student. Otherwise, it’s better if you just add 10% to the total price of your meal. That way, you make sure that you can come back to the same restaurant without feeling awkward when seeing the same waiter again.
Don’t Ask for Tap Water In A Restaurant
While it’s pretty normal to order tap water for free in the UK, it’s an affront in Germany to ask for it. Yes, there is a good chance that the water you will be served is from the tap, but in Germany, every owner can set the prices themselves. And they will charge you for water, regardless where it’s from. It may sound unfair, but these are the rules.
Also, make sure that you specify that you don’t want sparkling water. Germans love carbonated water, and unless you don’t ask for a “Stilles Wasser”, you will probably get a sparkling one.
Sundays Are Holy
The last day of the week is to relax and to take a rest from work. This is even protected by law in Germany. This essentially means that all shops are closed on a Sunday apart from restaurants or bars. So, when you go on a trip to Germany, you will need to make sure that you’ve done all the shopping you need before Sunday.
If you forgot to shop for groceries, then you can go to the train station as there is usually a supermarket that is open on a Sunday. However, you don’t really want to go there as it will be crowded, and you might be half an hour in line at the cashier. Also, don’t do any loud work in your flat or start a party on a Sunday. For example, cutting grass on a Sunday is not permitted as it is too loud. That might give you an idea of how serious Germans are with their rest day.
Return Your Bottles – And Earn Some Cashback
Here comes a handy hint that will save you some money on your visit to Germany. On most of the bottles you buy, you will get some cashback when you return them to the supermarket. You can get up to 25 cents back, which can add up to quite a high sum. If you don’t have the time to return your bottles, then you can put them next to a bin – homeless people will appreciate that as they can then earn the “Pfand”.
The number of rules in Germany might seem a bit intimidating at first. Yes, there are quite a few, and the police is a lot stricter about them than in the UK. Jaywalking is a total no-go in Germany, and you can identify German tourists by not crossing a red light even if there is no car in sight. If you respect their rules, then you can make sure that your trip is not disturbed by some awkward moments. Enjoy the beautiful countryside, architecture and have a good pint of wheat beer while exchanging the most interesting differences to the UK.