Advice levelsWhat does this mean?
Exercise a high degree of caution in Germany.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Germany due to the threat of terrorism.
- Terrorism is a threat worldwide. Terrorists have staged attacks and threatened more. They may target transport hubs and places visited by foreigners, including Christmas markets. Be alert in public places and report suspicious activity to the police.
- Violent crime isn't common but does happen. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and theft from cars and trains, occurs occasionally. Take care of your belongings.
- Racial harassment occurs. Take care in cities, particularly in the former East Germany.
- Watch out for drink spiking. It can lead to sexual assault. Stick with people you trust in bars.
Full travel advice: Safety
- COVID-19 remains a risk in Germany.
- Up-to-date information is available from Information regarding COVID-19 in Germany.
- Take care in forests, particularly in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Tick-borne encephalitis is a risk. Ticks are active from spring to autumn. Check your body for ticks and remove them as soon as possible.
- Medical care and facilities are of a high standard.
- If you don't have insurance, hospitals may ask for up-front payment. Costs are higher than in Australia.
Full travel advice: Health
- Nazi symbols, salutes, songs or material, such as flags or memorabilia, are all illegal.
- Always carry a photo ID.
Full travel advice: Local laws
- Ongoing strikes across several industries, including medical services, public transport and airports are expected in Germany. This will cause major disruptions to travel within Germany. Check the websites of major airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin and national train services for the latest service updates.
- Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Germany for the latest details.
- Germany is a part of the Schengen area. This means you can enter Germany without a visa in some cases. In other situations, you'll need a visa.
- You can travel to Germany from Australia for all purposes, including tourism. There are no COVID-19 related entry requirements to Germany.
- Check the German National Tourist Board website to find out if there are COVID-19 measures in place in the locations you plan to visit.
- It's mandatory to wear an FFP2 or KN95 face mask in medical facilities, hospitals, and retirement homes.
Full travel advice: Travel
- The Consular Services Charter details what we can and can't do to help you overseas.
- For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in Berlin or Consulate-General in Frankfurt.
- To stay up to date with local information, follow the embassy’s social media accounts.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Terrorist attacks can occur at any time.
The German Government has security measures in place, including at airports and major train stations.
Authorities continue to arrest and charge suspected terrorists.
Recent attacks include:
- December 2020 – a knife attack in a shopping mall in Hamburg injured 3 people
- December 2020 – a vehicle attack in a pedestrian zone in Trier killed 5 people and injured 24 others
- October 2020 – a stabbing attack in the street in Dresden killed one person and injured another
- August 2020 – an extremist deliberately drove a car into several others on a Berlin city motorway injuring several people
- February 2020 – an extremist opened fire on 2 shisha bars in Hanau near Frankfurt, causing several deaths and injuries
Terrorists may plan more attacks that could happen anywhere at any time.
Recent attacks in European cities have targeted:
- planes and airports
- public transport and transport hubs
- places of worship
- sporting venues
- major events that attract large crowds
Christmas markets and New Year's celebrations are also potential targets for attacks.
To protect yourself from terrorism:
- be alert to possible threats
- be cautious around known targets, including in crowds and public places
- report suspicious activity or items to the police
- monitor the media for new threats
- take official warnings seriously
- follow the advice of local authorities
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
If you visit Christmas markets, avoid busy times. Have an exit plan if there's a security incident.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Violent criminal attacks, unrelated to terrorism, can occur:
- January 2023 – a knife attack on a train towards Hamburg, killing 2 and injuring five others
- June 2022 - a man drove a car into pedestrians in Charlottenburg Berlin, killing one and injuring 14 people
- January 2022 – a shooting at a university in Heidelberg killed one student and injured 3
- June 2021 – a knife attack in the city centre of Wurzburg killed 3 people
- February 2020 – a man drove his car into a crowd at the Rose Monday Parade in Volkmarsen, injuring more than 60 people
Despite these incidents, violent crime isn't common.
Monitor the media for news on crime.
Street crime, such as pickpocketing and theft from unattended vehicles, can occur. Bags and personal items are sometimes stolen on trains.
To protect yourself from petty crime:
- pay attention to your personal security, particularly at night
- secure your valuables when visiting the central districts and larger-city train stations
Extremist youth groups have harassed or attacked people for racial reasons or because they seem foreign. This occurs more often in urban areas and in the former East Germany.
Drink spiking can occur at popular nightclubs and markets, often leading to sexual assault.
To protect yourself from drink spiking:
- don't accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks alone
- stick with people you trust in bars and nightclubs
Civil unrest and political tension
Demonstrations and protests
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Climate and natural disasters
Severe weather can affect your travel overseas. Monitor local media for updates.
If you're visiting an area affected by severe weather:
- follow the advice of local authorities
- confirm your plans with your tour operator or travel provider
- check the condition of infrastructure and facilities with local tour operators and hotels
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
- what activities and care your policy covers
- that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
- have a basic health check-up
- ask if your travel plans may affect your health
- plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
- General health advice
- Healthy holiday tips (Healthdirect Australia)
- COVID-19 (Department of Health and Aged Care)
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Germany. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
- what the medication is
- how much you'll take
- that it's for personal use
COVID-19 remains a risk in Germany. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you can find up-to-date information from the Germany Federal Ministry for Health.
For information on Germany's COVID−19 vaccination program, refer to the ordinance from the Ministry of Health. You should consult your local health professional for advice on vaccine options, including assistance that may be available locally. The Australian Government cannot provide advice on the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines that have been approved for use outside of Australia's regulatory process.
- Information regarding COVID-19 in Germany (The German Federal Ministry of Health in English)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Department of Health and Aged Care)
Tick-borne encephalitis is a risk in forested areas, particularly in the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Ticks are common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.
To protect yourself from disease:
- make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
- always use insect repellent
- wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
During and after visiting forested areas:
- check your body for ticks
- remove whole ticks as soon as you can
- monitor the tick site for any signs of infection
The standard of medical facilities and care is high.
Australia doesn't have a reciprocal health care agreement with Germany. Medical bills can be very expensive.
Hospitals will need you to confirm you have either:
- appropriate insurance, or
- enough money to pay for treatment
Medical practitioners will ask for up-front payment. Medical costs are higher than in Australia.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug possession, use or trafficking, even small amounts, include heavy fines and prison sentences.
It's illegal to use or display Nazi symbols, salutes, songs or material such as flags or memorabilia.
You don't have to carry your passport, but local authorities can ask to see it. You may need to produce it on request. Always carry a photo ID.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Germany recognises dual nationality.
Visas and border measures
Germany is a part of the Schengen area. This means you can enter Germany without a visa in some cases.
In other situations, you'll need a visa.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest German embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Entry into Germany
You can travel from Australia to Germany for all purposes, including tourism. More information can be found on the Ministry of the Interior and Community website.
Some airlines and travel providers may require proof of vaccination or a negative test to travel with them. Please check with your airline or travel provider for their requirements.
Departure from Germany
If your onward travel isn't back to Australia, we recommend you check Smartraveller for COVID-19 entry requirements at your next destination.
While face mask wearing is no longer mandatory at the airport, you should check with your airline for any COVID-19 measures on the aircraft.
Many countries within Europe have introduced additional border checks to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Entry restrictions can vary within the Schengen Area. Refer to the European Commission Re-open EU for country-specific information for each EU Member State, including on entry restrictions.
Make sure you:
- carry your passport when crossing borders, including within the Schengen area
- monitor border conditions by checking local sources and asking transport providers directly.
Pressure on border controls in Europe has increased due to the mass movement of asylum seekers.
Always carry your passport when near the border or when you enter or exit Germany, even when travelling within the Schengen area.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. It can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. You may receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Lost or stolen passport
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
- In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service.
- If you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
The currency in Germany is the Euro (EUR).
If you're travelling between Germany and non-EU countries, declare amounts over 10,000 euros or equivalent. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
If you don't declare it or give incorrect information on entry or exit, you'll be fined.
You don't need to declare it if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
COVID-19 protective measures are in place in Germany.
You must wear an FFP2 or KN95 face mask in hospitals, medical facilities and retirement homes.
During Oktoberfest, there'll be an increased demand for accommodation and transport facilities. Expect delays and plan your travel accordingly.
You must be at least 18 years old to drive in Germany.
Always have your driver's licence, insurance and vehicle documents in the vehicle while you're driving.
You can only use your Australian driver's licence in some cases. Check the Embassy of Germany.
If you plan to drive, get an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you travel.
Road conditions are similar to those in Australia, but some basic rules differ.
Parts of the autobahn (highway) network don't have set speed limits. Be prepared for very fast traffic.
Bicycles have the right of way over vehicles turning into side streets.
Vehicles must be fitted with specific tyres (mud and snow) if there's snow, ice or frost on the road.
You'll usually need winter tyres between October and Easter. However, there's no set period, and it varies regionally.
Check for appropriate tyres before accepting a rental vehicle. If the wrong tyres are fitted, you could get a fine, and your insurance company may reject any claim.
Get to know the local road rules before you drive or ride a vehicle.
Pedestrians and bicycles:
- bicycles are common
- many roads have bicycle pathways, usually coloured red, between the pedestrian footpath and the roadway, as well as bicycle traffic lights
- don't walk on these pathways. Cyclists travel fast and have the right of way
- accidents and injuries resulting from collisions between cyclists and pedestrians are common
E-Scooters are common in larger cities:
- You don't need a driver's licence to ride them, but you must be over 14 years of age.
- They must be insured and not be driven on pedestrian footpaths
- You can't take passengers on E-Scooters
Make sure your travel insurance covers you when riding a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Taxi drivers who look for business in public places such as the airport may charge you more.
Metered taxis are available from official taxi ranks.
Rideshare services are legal.
Germany has a well-developed bus and rail transport system. However, petty crime still happens.
Take care of your personal belongings, particularly on trains and in major transport hubs. Don't leave bags unattended on trains, even briefly.
Some international cruise lines stopover in Germany. There are also cruises on major rivers.
If you're returning to Australia from Germany, you may face disruptions to travel due to entry restrictions imposed by the country you are transiting. Please check the travel advice of the country you are transiting through.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Germany's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
- family and friends
- travel agent
- insurance provider
Fire and rescue services
For non-urgent criminal issues, contact the local police.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate-General in Frankfurt.
Australian Embassy, Berlin
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: (+49 30) 880088 0
Fax: (+49 30) 880088 238
Consular Facebook Group: Australians in Germany – Embassy Consular and Passport Advice
Australian Consulate-General, Frankfurt
Main Tower-28th floor
Neue Mainzer Str. 52/58
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: (+49 69) 90558 0
Fax: (+49 69) 90558 119
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
24-hour Consular Emergency Centre
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia