Germany - Getting there & away, getting around
Germany - Getting there & away
The main arrival/departure points for flights in Germany are Frankfurt-am-Main, Munich and Düsseldorf. Frankfurt is Europe's busiest airport after Heathrow. An airport departure tax of around US$5 is included in ticket prices. If you're already in Europe, it's generally cheaper to get to and from Germany by train or bus. While train travel is often more expensive than catching a bus, it's generally faster, more comfortable (particularly for overnight travel) and more efficient. Germany is served by an excellent highway system connected to the rest of Western Europe. Roads from Eastern Europe are being upgraded but some border crossings are a little slow, especially from Poland. To enter Germany with a car or motorbike, you must have third-party insurance. Ferries run between Germany's northern coast and Scandinavia and the UK.
Getting around Germany
Getting around Germany is easy. Domestic air travel is extensive but unless you're in an awful hurry, you might as well save your money - the German train network is wonderful. The eastern and western train systems have now been fully merged, although fares in the east are still cheaper. Numerous fares and ticket passes are available. There is usually a surcharge for the InterCity Express (ICE) trains but it's worth it to travel 250km/h (155mph) through the German countryside. Forget about buses until you're in train-unfriendly terrain.
German roads are excellent, and motorised transport can be a great way to tour the country, although most towns have problems with car-parking. The national and (in)famous motorway network known as autobahnen can be wonderful and can be a nightmare: speed-of-light Porsches and BMWs looming monster-size and impatient in your rear-view mirror are one factor, soul-destroying traffic jams are another. Technically there is no general speed limit on the autobahnen, but, in an effort to increase safety and curb noise pollution, many segments have speed limits ranging from 100km/hr (62mph) to 130km/hr (80mph). On other parts of the autobahn system, high performance sports cars will pass you in excess of 250 kmh (155mph). Be careful!
Bicycle touring in Germany is very popular. There are often separate cycling routes in the cities, towns and in the countryside, but cycling on the autobahnen is strictly verboten