Germany is well known throughout the world as a country of cars. But you can easily travel by plane, bus, train or bicycle as well, thanks to our well-developed network of airports, roads, railways and bike paths. The next section explains how to travel in Germany and abroad using your preferred means of transport.
Is your driving licence valid in Germany?
Citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland: Hop in and go, it’s that simple. Your driving licence is valid in Germany, just as it is in your home country. There is no need to have it converted to a German licence.
Citizens of other countries: You can drive for six months with your existing driving licence, starting with the day you register your residence in Germany. At the end of that period, you will need a German licence. Whether or not you will have to take a test depends on the country where you obtained your driving licence.
Registering and testing your car
All cars in Germany need to be registered, and you can do this at the nearest car registration office. You will need your vehicle title (proof that the car belongs to you) and your motor vehicle insurance policy.
If you are bringing a car with you from another country, find out from the car registration office what additional documents are required.</>
After they are registered, all cars in Germany need to pass a general inspection. This means that a mechanic must confirm that your car is safe and
meets the official emission standards. A vehicle inspection sticker will then be affixed to your car’s number plate. The general inspection can be performed by an authorised workshop near you, for example. Inspections need to be repeated at regular intervals. There is a charge for both the general inspection and for registering your vehicle
Driving in Germany
Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road in Germany. The speed limit in cities is generally 50 kilometres per hour, 30 in some areas. The limit is usually 100 kilometres per hour on country roads. Unless signalled otherwise, there is no general speed limit on motorways, but a limit of 130 kilometres per hour is recommended. However, there are special limits on certain portions of the motorways, particularly on dangerous or heavily travelled sections.
You must always have your driving licence and vehicle registration with you while driving, since you may need to show them to the police if you are stopped.
Riding a bicycle
Germany has a dense network of bike paths. Remember that you are subject to the same rules and penalties when biking as when driving a car. It is therefore important to make sure that your bicycle is in proper condition (especially its lights) and to comply with the rules of the road when riding your bike.
Travelling by bus or train
Public transport is a convenient option for travel in and between cities. The public system includes buses, trams and the underground, as well as the trains run by German Railways and its competitors. Buses, trams and the underground: Within easy reach of your home, you will find a stop where a bus, tram or underground departs several times an hour during the day, in large cities every few minutes. Tickets can be purchased from a machine at the stop, from the driver or at a sales outlet of the transport association that operates the buses or trams. If you use public transport regularly, it is a good idea to purchase a weekly, monthly or annual ticket. The longer the ticket’s validity, the lower the price for each trip.
Prices are lower for children. Certain groups, such as students or the disabled, receive a discount upon showing their identification. Many transport associations have special offers for senior citizens. Travelling by train: Trains are a good option when travelling to other cities in Germany or abroad. German Railways, formerly a state-owned enterprise, is the primary provider. It owns all of Germany’s rail network and leases certain routes to regional competitors. Train tickets can be purchased at a ticket counter, from a German Railways machine at the train station or on the German Railways website. Trains are a comfortable and rapid means of transport in Germany; on some segments long-distance trains reach speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour.
International bus lines: Buses are another good option for travel from Germany to other parts of Europe. International bus lines stops in every large city, at least at the main train station.
Another possibility is air travel
If you need to travel quickly from one part of Germany to another, or to another country, a plane is a good alternative to a train or car. Depending on the distance, national and international flights may be available for less than 100 euros if you book far enough in advance.