Germany is part of the Schengen Agreement and EU citizens can enter with only an ID card. North American visitors don’t need a visa for stays for up to 90 days. Those travelling from outside the EU or non-Schengen Agreement countries need to check visa requirements prior to entering Germany.
Health and Safety
There are no specific vaccinations required for travel into Germany. For those that like to hike or spend time in the forest, rabies is a minor threat. Visitors should never approach or touch wild animals for potential diseases or unpredictable behavior. Dogs and pets are generally highly regulated, but visitors should avoid petting or touching strays.
When hiking or mountaineering, check the weather forecast before departing. Always have a map or GPS system handy and carry basic amenities, such as bottled water, food, a first-aid kit, and wet weather gear. The weather in the mountains can quickly turn from clear to rainy in the blink of an eye, so being prepared is important. Be aware of what to do in case of an emergency. Some mountain areas may not have mobile phone connections, so do not rely on your cell signal during emergencies. Many forests have huts and overnight stations for hikers; ask a local to point these out on a map before you leave. Guides are readily available in most mountain regions.
Generally, German villages are safe and the cities attract only petty criminals. Take the normal precautions, such as using the hotel’s safety deposit box, not walking alone at night, and not leaving valuables inside vehicles. German police are trustworthy and reliable, so do not hesitate to seek their help if you are lost or in trouble. Polizei (pronounced poli-tsai) is the German word for police. Generally, train stations and the areas surrounding them are considered high risk areas, especially at night, so always stay vigilant and use caution when walking alone.