Tips and tricks for foreign guests

What should you pay attention to when you've come to Germany for the first time? What specialties are there in the region? What can you do to avoid blunders? Our service site will help you get yourself properly oriented in the Trier Region and in Germany in general.

1. Tipping:
Tipping in Germany is an absolutely voluntary additional payment; it is not mandatory. Round off to the next higher euro amount, but give at least 50 euro cents. In higher-priced restaurants, you should tip correspondingly more.

2. Parking garages:
Before you retrieve your car, you must pay the parking fee for the parking garage at the automatic pay station (normally at the entrance to the garage). After paying, you have about 15 minutes to get your car and leave the garage.

3. Shopping:
When you shop at a supermarket, you must pack your purchases yourself. As a rule, plastic bags cost extra. Large closed-in shopping malls are not typical for this region. Instead, you can find great specialty shops and, of course, department stores in the pedestrian zones of towns. Here are the opening hours of the businesses.

4. Elevators/lifts:
In Germany, after the ground floor ("E" button) comes the 1st floor (1), then the 2nd floor (2), etc.. Basement floors are designated with "U" or "K". The elevator doors close automatically.

5. Restaurants: 

  • Normally in a restaurant, you can pick out your own seat, except in higher-priced restaurants.
  • When all the tables are full, you can ask anyone seated whether you may sit down at that table. 
  • You pay at the table except in fast-food restaurants.
  • According to current law in Rhineland-Palatinate, smoking is not permitted in restaurants and other eating establishments, except in separate rooms identified as smoking rooms or in very small restaurants/taverns where the owner does the serving. 


6. Credit cards:
Credit cards are widespread - especially MasterCard and VISA. As a rule, filling stations always accept credit cards, but supermarkets often accept only the Maestro card (German bank cards). Traveler's checks can normally be cashed only in banks. It is no problem to pay large amounts in cash.

7. Language:
English is frequently understood and spoken, especially by young people. Signs are bi-lingual at important points of interest for tourists.

8. Climate:
The climate in Trier and the region is quite pleasant; even the winters are often relatively mild. The best time to travel here is also the high season in the Trier region: between April and October. But the other months are also very nice for travel here. 

9. Passport checks:
No passport checks exist among the countries of Germany, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, as all these countries belong to the Schengen Treaty. However, please observe the entry and customs regulations. Occasionally mobile checks are conducted by the federal police and customs to ensure observance.

10. People:
The people in the Trier region are very hospitable. People will be glad to help you.

11. Driving:
In Germany, cars drive on the right: you may turn right at a red light only when a green arrow is indicated. A police siren behind you in your car does not mean that you must stop. The police car only wishes to pass you. If you are to stop, a police officer signals you with a round paddle or a lighted sign. There is no speed limit on German autobahns/motorways unless otherwise posted. The speed limit on national highways (yellow signs) is 100 km (60 mi) per hour, within city limits 50 km (30 mi) per hour if no other speed is posted. Cars may pass only on the left. 

12. Filling your gas/petrol tank:
All filling stations are self-service. Paying directly at the pump is seldom possible. Pump your own gas/petrol and pay afterwards in the filling station building.

13. Rental cars:
Almost all rental cars have manual shift (non-automatic); only high-priced rental cars have automatic shift (if necessary, reserve a car with automatic shift well in advance).

14. Clothing:
In general, you can dress as you like in Germany. In houses of worship, men remove their head covering, and everyone should wear shoes. Please do not go into a house of worship without appropriate covering of your upper body. Jogging suits are customary only at sports training or at home.

15. Telephoning:
Because practically everyone in Germany has a mobile phone, there are hardly any telephone booths anymore. You must also dial long-distance calls yourself; there are no operators. If your mobile phone server has a roaming contract with a German mobile network, you can use your mobile phone without any problems. The network coverage is normally very good! By the way, a mobile phone is called a "Handy" in German.

This information does not claim to be complete or accurate.

We supplement and update this information regularly.