So close, but so complicated….
Germany’s a must-visit destination but if you’ve never been before you’ve probably got some questions. In this guide, we’ll cover how you can travel to Germany from the UK in 2023, travel requirements, and the best times to visit.
This is your ultimate travel guide to exploring Germany, from the route you choose to budget hacks and Brexit conundrums.
Why travel to Germany?
Germany’s capital is a mix of counterculture art spaces, craft beer breweries, and underground music venues, as well as sobering history like the graffitied remnants of the Berlin Wall and the much-visited Holocaust Memorial.
Yet there’s more to Germany than its capital. Visitors head to Hamburg for twisting canals, Cologne for a magnificent Cathedral, and Berchtesgaden for alpine trails, salt mines, and Eagle’s Nest hikes.
With cosmopolitan cities to explore, ski slopes to speed down, and thick forests that lead to mirror-shine lakes, it’s no surprise that travel to Germany from the UK is more popular than ever.
Rules for travelling to Germany from the UK
COVID-19 was a fraught and complicated time for travel. The laundry list of confusing requirements differed from country to country and meant lots of pre-planning, costly testing, and evidential paperwork.
The good news is that as of the 11th of June 2022 Germany no longer required travellers from the UK to provide proof of vaccination, any testing, or recovery paperwork. In short, travel to Germany from the UK is allowed for all tourists. That isn’t to say there aren’t any rules in place, there’s still Brexit to consider…
Prior to Brexit coming into effect, visitors to Germany were permitted to stay for extended periods of time without additional paperwork. Now, however, the rules are slightly different.
Germany is in the Schengen Area which does mean that travel here is relatively straightforward but there are time restrictions to stick to. Anyone visiting Germany, and travelling from the UK, can stay for 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa.
Visas come into play for those who wish to stay longer than this period. Reasons for an extended stay could include studying, working, or looking for more permanent residence. In this case, anyone travelling to Germany from the UK will require a National (D) Visa.
The process for getting and filling in this form is straightforward, but make sure you allow at least 15 working days, if not longer, for your visa application to be processed.
How to enter Germany from the UK
The cheapest and most popular way to travel to Germany from the UK is via plane. It’s a well-travelled route with plenty of flights running to various German cities. Choose from the likes of Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Berlin as your arrival airport.
Passengers can expect to get from London to Berlin Brandenburg airport in just under two hours. This is the ideal option for anyone on a budget who is limited in time and simply wants the most direct, easiest route.
For those who aren’t strapped for time or money, and would like to make their journey part of the trip – there are some other options too. Whilst the route by train is costly and involves a few transfers, it’s a good way to squeeze in a trip to Belgium en route.
Pick up the train from St Pancras International to Bruxelles-Midi. From here you’ll transfer to a train taking you to Köln. Then change again for the Berlin train. In total, this journey will take around 10 hours, longer with stop-offs.
You can also travel to Germany from the UK via France. For this option, you’ll need to drive to Folkestone and take the ferry to Calais. Once there you’ll complete the last leg of the journey, a nine-hour drive to Berlin. The benefits of this option are that you’ll have increased flexibility. You can choose which stop-offs you make and for how long.
Shipping to Germany
Whichever option you choose, flying, driving, or taking the train, you won’t want the hassle of shipping to Germany. All three options come with space restrictions and the chance of lost or damaged goods.
To make your travel to Germany from the UK as streamlined as it can be, ship your items ahead of time with Sherpr and have them waiting at your end destination at a time and place of your choosing.
The process is simple, just pack your items securely in suitcases or boxes (Sherpr can help with any customs paperwork), and they’ll then be picked up and transported to your end destination. You can even track your things in transit for added peace of mind.
Best times to visit Germany
For those on a budget:
For budget travellers you’ll want to avoid peak season, in Germany that covers June and July when temperatures are at their highest. In general January through March are the cheapest months to book flights.
It’s also worth noting that the cost of living in Germany is generally cheaper than in the UK, so your money should stretch further. There’s a particularly good selection of hostels and cheaper, budget accommodation on offer too.
Unlike some other parts of the world, Germany doesn’t have a rainy season as such. Travellers from the UK should expect a similar climate to what they’re used to at home with warm, balmy days in summer and scattered showers throughout spring and winter. June through to August is best if you’re hoping for temperatures to top 20°, although that isn’t guaranteed.
Whether you’re heading to the lake at Königssee for boating or the Bavarian Alps for hikes at altitude, you’ll want to avoid a trip in winter. Winter is great for Christmas enthusiasts as craft stalls and street food hawkers pop up in cities around the country, but for outdoor lovers, it’s best to stick to the lighter months.
Much like the UK, during the winter months, sunset is around 4 pm. This makes hiking a time-sensitive and precarious activity for visitors. Plus there are the cold conditions to consider, particularly in mountainous areas or the thick woodland of the Black Forest. In general, stick to spring and summer for outdoor pursuits.
In general, there’s no bad time to visit Germany. Winter brings skiing and cosy Christmas markets where spiced sausages and beers are sold along with homemade crafts. October is known for the iconic Oktoberfest which sees cities transform into indoor and outdoor beer halls.
Summer is ideal for exploring the expansive countryside, ticking off castles and mountain peaks. But even shoulder season has its merits, like the Berlin Festival of Lights and the Carnival of Cultures.
Conclusion: travelling from UK to Germany is relatively painless
Germany’s an easy option for travel from the UK, from easy to navigate visa applications, to affordable shipping options, and limited entry requirements. Thanks to the close proximity between countries, there’s also a number of routes to choose from. Pick from eco-conscious train travel through the Brussels countryside and short, cheap flights to city centres.