Germany Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Germany
How safe is Germany?
Threat level: Low-Medium
There is high risk of terrorist activity in Germany and recent attacks have proved devastating for the country. It is believed that Western nationals are most at risk to terrorist attacks in general and this risk can be extended to well-known British and US companies operating in Germany. Vigilance is to be taken at public gatherings, events and public buildings.
Germany is welcoming to all tourists, despite the recent increase of the terror threat. Crime rates are relatively low and visits are usually without trouble, when the correct security measures are taken.
For travel advice specifically for Berlin, see: Berlin Travel Advice
In mid-June 2018, a terrorist attack was foiled after the arrest in Cologne of a Tunisian man, Sief Allah H., suspected of manufacturing a biological weapon using a deadly substance called ricin.
On the 7th of April 2018, two people were killed and 30 injured as van ploughed into crowded open-air restaurant terrace, in the western city of Münster. The driver who was a German citizen, killed himself at scene. He had no Islamic extremist ties, but did have a history of mental illness.
On the 11th of April 2017, several small but viable explosive devices detonated around the Borussia Dortmund football team bus. The team were on their way to a match against Monaco, when the incident happened. One player was injured and police are investigating possible Islamic links. Whilst the devices were small, they were triggered by using a cell phone; a method that is seen as quite advanced.
In December 2016, a lorry drove into crowds of people at Berlin's Christmas market, killing twelve people and injuring many others. The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for this attack. The driver of the lorry was shot dead, days later in Italy. A polish citizen was also found murdered in the passenger seat of the lorry, he had attempted to stop the terrorist.
On the 24th July 2016, after being refused entry to a music festival in the town of Ansbach, near Nuremberg; a suicide bomber killed himself and injured 12 others outside a packed wine bar. It is understood that the attacker was a Syrian man, who was denied asylum in Germany and was due to be deported to Bulgaria. He had apparently been in contact with someone from the Middle East, moments before the attack; raising concerns that the attack was terror-related.
In Munich on the 22nd of July 2016, at a local shopping centre, a gunman shot and killed at least eight people, a further 16 were injured. It is understood that the motives were not terror-related and that the attacker acted alone.
On the 18th July 2016, a teenage Afghan refugee carried out a violent attack on a train, near the city of Wurzburg - 70 miles north of Nuremberg in southern Germany. 19 people were injured in the attack and the attacker was shot dead after he fled the scene. Police have found some ISIS-related paraphernalia at the teen's accommodation; they do believe the attacker was quickly radicalised and worked alone.
On the 30th of March 2016, Al Farat (ISIS publication) has published threats towards Germany. Depicting German facilities in a picture published, followers were encouraged to carry out further attacks in light of the Brussels attacks. Mostly concerned are the German energy and nuclear structures. There have been over 11 thwarted attacks against Germany since 2001. One such being a planned New Year's Eve 2015 attack. French and British Intelligence agencies had informed Germany that suicide bombers were said to have been planning a co-ordinated attack on train stations in the area at midnight. An extra 550 Police officers were deployed to the central districts, and no attack occurred.
However, on the same night, large scale co-ordinated attacks on women had taken place in Cologne, a third being sexually-motivated. It was said that approximately 500 men were believed to be behind the attacks.
All visitors are advised to remain on high alert at all times and be aware of their surroundings. You should report any suspicious behaviour and avoid large gatherings with lots of people, if at all possible.
The general level of crime in Germany is comparable with the UK and the rest of Europe. German police have a reputation for being tough when dealing with public order issues, such as football hooliganism. There have in the past been issues with far right and left extremist groups within Germany. Discrimination based on racial, religious and sexual grounds is still a widespread issue. Take care to avoid large gatherings, as it may be subject to demonstrations that could turn violent.
Islamic extremism has become more of an issue in recent years; although Germany did not take part in the 2003 Iraq war, views towards Germany as a Western superpower has made it as likely a terrorist target as with the rest of Europe.
Visitors to cities and large towns should take care at night. As with other countries, muggings and bag-snatching can be an issue.
Germany's International Relations
The current mood has shifted in Germany and it is still facing challenges with regards to its immigration influx and neighbouring countries.
As a member of the EU, Germany holds strong relations with other neighbouring countries of the EU and is seen as a major power in European and global affairs.
Travelling around Germany
Police can demand papers as proof of identity at any time, it is advised these are carried and kept safe. Germany is known for some of the best road and transport networks anywhere in the world. The only issue in Germany being the high death rate on the roads; twice that of the UK, mostly due to issues such as speed, where there is no speed limits in parts of the autobahns.
If you are hiring a car, this can be done either with an EU Member State driving licence or with an International Driving Permit. Your licence and insurance documents should be kept with you at all times when driving.
Emergency services in Germany
Police emergency: 110 or 112
Fire emergency: 112
Medical emergency: 112
Air Ambulance: 0711 707 070
Time now in Berlin:
Consular information for Germany
U.S. Embassy Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 8305 1200
Telephone: +49 30 8305 0 (Emergency only)
Telephone: +49 21 1788 8927 (Düsseldorf)
Telephone: +49 69 7535 0 (Frankfurt)
Telephone: +49 40 4117 1100 (Hamburg)
Telephone: +49 40 4117 1300 (Hamburg - Emergency only)
British Embassy Berlin
Telephone: +49 (0) 89 211090
Telephone: +49 (0) 211 94480 (Düsseldorf)
Visa requirements for Germany
Visitors to Germany from the UK, EU and US can enter Germany visa-free. Further advice can be found here: Visa advice Germany
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Germany are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
The medical health care and facilities in Germany are of a good standard. Make sure to take out essential medical and health insurance in order to cover the necessary costs abroad as medical treatments are quite expensive. If visiting from the UK, be sure to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you.