Tips to stay safe while travelling in Germany

One of the bigger risks of visiting Germany is an upset tummy from too much chocolate and delicious pastry treats.

There is little in the way of red flags when it comes to safety — it’s a wealthy, cosmopolitan country that’s renowned for running efficiently and productively. If you stay aware of your surroundings, brush up on local knowledge and be street smart, you’ll likely have a smooth-running holiday.

Germany is quite a low risk for serious crime. The local police are thorough and tourists who walk the streets in central areas are unlikely to suffer assaults or muggings. However, take the usual sensible steps to protect your belongings as pickpocketing, bag snatching and vehicle break-ins are common in urban areas. Take care especially in Berlin, in the popular boroughs of Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.
Germany is committed to ensuring that the events around World War II do not happen again. Key to this is remembrance, and there are many museums and memorials around the country. Tourists need to be aware, however, that outside of a historical context it is illegal to display or do anything that is linked to the Nazi regime. The authorities take this very seriously — one traveller found this out the hard way when he had the poor taste to give a Nazi salute while standing outside the parliament building. He was arrested and later fined after spending time in custody.
The Canadian Government warns that there is a significant threat of terrorist activities in Europe,  including Germany.  The German police force has neutralised a number of threats made against public facilities like government buildings, places of workship, transportation hubs and public areas such as tourist attractions, markets, and restaurants. Heightened security measures are in place — particularly in big cities — and as a traveller you may be stopped and questioned by authorities. Stay alert in public places and report any suspicious activities to the local police.

Germany has a very high standard of medical care, and it is generally expensive. Hospitals and private doctors are easy to find in urban areas, but if you are adventuring in the Alpine or forested areas then you may require expensive emergency medical transport to a hospital if something goes wrong.

German hospitals do not generally issue the detailed breakdown of expenses that is usually required by Canadian insurance companies, but you may request a detailed bill from the hospital or doctor.

As a tourist, you will probably be required to pay for treatment upfront or at least provide a garantee from your travel insurer.

Compared to Canada, Germany has quite relaxed laws around alcohol. Beer and wine can legally be purchased by 16 year olds, while the legal age for spirits is 18.

Drinking in public is generally legal, although some cities may have zones where this is restricted during certain times, as well as on public transport. However, Germans are extremely well-behaved when it comes to alcohol and being visibly intoxicated is frowned upon. Local police may fine you or lock you up overnight for being excessively drunk and causing a nuisance.

Injuries or accidents caused by intoxication may not be covered by your travel insurance.
Germany’s legendary Autobahn (the national highway system) attracts visitors in its own right, as well as travellers journeying between destinations. There is no speed limit on the Autobahn, although the recommended speed is 130 kilometres per hour. Keep in mind that German drivers are highly skilled and can come across as aggressive, particularly if you are seen to be in their way. Keep in mind that the left lane is the ‘fast lane’ and some drivers may be going significantly faster than you. If you forget this rule don’t be surprised if the car behind you flashes their car’s high beams at you briefly. Also, The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device.
You can use your valid Canadian driver's licence in Germany for up to six months, if it is accompanied by a certified translation or an international driver's licence.

NOTICE: While the Information is considered to be true and accurate at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. We strongly recommend verifying the travel advisory of your destination prior to departure.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as at the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

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