Travelling to Germany and Berlin: Your 10-minute travel guide

Travel Guide to Germany and Berlin

 Reading time: 11 minutes

Guten tag aus Deutschland! The big country right in the middle of Europe: east meets west, north meets south, history meets progress, philosophy meets technology, ideas meet science, and (crucially) wine meets beer!

Modern Germany was formed in 1871 and throughout the next 120 years, the country lurched through a series of man-made disasters. It was a literally divisive time. Over the past few decades, though, it has grown into one of the world’s strongest, fairest, wealthiest and most progressive democracies.

With more than 80 million people, Germany is the most populous country wholly in Europe. Unsurprisingly, this also means there are large regional differences within the country. It all starts in the capital, Berlin, where bohemian culture and the relics of the past coexist in a vibrant balance.

Travel east to the port and university city of Hamburg and you’ll come across elegant canals and crazy nightlife. To the south, the sunny vineyards and dark forests around Stuttgart are spotlessly picturesque. Bavaria, meanwhile, stands alone. Almost a country within a country, Germany’s south-easternmost state is the home of Oktoberfest, fairytale castles, brass bands and lederhosen.

Dealing with the Airports in Germany

Getting from FRA or MUC airports to the cities

Safety in Germany

Getting around Berlin

What to wear in Germany

Getting along with Germans

Some phrases you’ll actually use

Eating out in Germany

Travelling around Germany

Dealing with the Airports in Germany

Curiously when you grab an international flight into Germany, you probably won’t be going to Berlin. Far and away Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Munich Airport (MUC), each over 400km from the capital, are the big two of German air arrivals.

Frankfurt Airport tips:

  • There are a lot of business travellers here, they’re going to be in a rush.
  • It processes an extraordinary passenger volume, so the staff have to put efficiency before friendliness – and they are very efficient.
  • It always seems to be under renovation, there will be construction going on somewhere.
  • There’s a good chance you will disembark the plane onto the tarmac.

Munich Airport tips:

  • Has a really cool gallery, its own brewery and an outdoor Visitor’s Park if you have a long layover.
  • Some travellers complain that there are not enough toilets.
  • Unusually efficient up to a certain point of busyness, after which it seems to be unusually prone to delays.

Getting from FRA or MUC airports to the cities

Frankfurt Airport is well connected to Frankfurt city. The best bet is one of the S-Bahn trains. They take about 15 minutes and costs less than €5.

From Munich, the S-Bahn is still the best way, but as the airport is further away from the city, the trip can take nearly an hour and costs just over €10.

Safety in Germany

Germany has quite distinct regional differences but, in general, it is an uncommonly orderly and rule-abiding country. Especially the south. The issues it does have tend to come from drug and alcohol-related harassment.

It is not uncommon to encounter large groups of addicts in poor areas casually asking for money and, as alcohol consumption is totally legal in most public places, drunks can pop up almost anywhere.

Germans are also a politically active people. If demonstrators come marching your way, just go the other. Rioting on May Day has become something of a sport. The fracas has a festive atmosphere but is still best avoided – 99.99% of Germans do so.

All that said, German police are very serious and very professional. While they are always trustworthy and helpful, they also don’t give anyone leeway. Playing the ‘duh, I’m foreign’ card – say, when caught skipping train fare –  does not work.

Note: In autumn, Berlin just about drowns in pretty yellow leaves, but do not kick through them. They often conceal broken bottles, dog poo and the solid iron railings that surround most sidewalk trees.

Getting around Berlin

Berlin is big and, unlike most European cities, the interesting bits are fairly far apart. Luckily, everything is well connected by safe, easy-to-use public transport.

Bicycle travel also makes a lot of sense: the temperatures are generally pleasant, there are virtually no hills, helmets aren’t mandatory and there are hundreds of kilometres of dedicated bike paths.

Lastly, one adventurous way to get your Berlin bearings is in a mini hot-rod. You’ll often see convoys of these tiny one-seat convertibles tearing about the city. The instant you see them zipping past you’ll know whether it’s something you want to do. There are several providers, just ask your hotel or go to Google.

What to wear in Germany

Germans don’t really dress for flair; they go for practicality. Man or woman, boy or girl, jeans, jumpers and t-shirts will take you most places. Look neat, tidy and clean. Lederhosen and dirndls are festival costumes only.

A word on nudity: in Germany many spas, saunas and group showers (such as in gym locker rooms) are governed by hygiene laws mandating total nudity. This law also applies in mixed gender facilities.

Getting along with Germans

There are a lot of misconceptions about Germans. It all comes down to one fact: they apply themselves wholly to whatever they are doing. If it is time for work, they work hard. If it is time for fun, they really know how to have a good time. Respect this, and you’ll find Germans are actually great company.

You should already know the language basics, but here they are again:

Some phrases you’ll actually use

Most phrasebooks cover all sorts of bizarre things, however the bulk of your conversations will be around accessing services or requests for information. Here’s a few good phrases:

In German: Entschuldigung, kann ich unterbrechen

Say: En-shooldy-gung kun ik oonta-brekken

In English: Excuse me, can I interrupt?

Note: Use this before asking for directions as asking for directions in the street usually involves stopping someone or interrupting a conversation.


In German: ein Milchkaffee bitte

Say: ine milsh-kaff-ay bitt-eh

In English: Coffee with milk, please

Note: Germans love coffee and tea, and they have their own distinct take. Drip coffee predominates. Ordering the above will get you a short cup of drip coffee topped with milk (no foam). You can also try a German-style ‘latte macchiato’ – it will be a tall, milky coffee with a LOT of foam.


In German:  Ich schaue mich nur ein wenig um.

Say: ik shower mih noor ine vay-nig oom.

In English: I am just looking for now.

Note: Say this in the shop when you are approached by a staff member but not ready to buy.


In German: Mein deutsch ist noch nicht sehr gut

Say: Mine doysh ist nock nickt ser goot

In English: My German is not very good yet.


In German: Wo ist die Toilette, bitte

Say: Vo ist dee toi-letter bitt-eh

In English: Where are the bathrooms?

Note: Public restrooms vary greatly in quality in Germany. Good ones tend to have an attendant who will ask a for a few coins.


In German: Kannst du mir den Weg sagen nach

Say: Kunst doo mere den veg sar-gen nahh

In English:  Can you tell me the way to …


In German: Was kostet das?

Say:  Vuss cost-ett duss?

In English: What does this cost?

Eating out in Germany

BreakfastFrühstück: The classic ‘continental’ breakfast. Coffee, fruit juice and bread figure prominently. Time: until about 9am.

Lunch Mittagessen: A hearty meal often based on meat (especially sausages), vegetables and potatoes. Beer is a traditional accompaniment. Time: midday until 2pm.

AfternoonsKaffee und Kuchen: Coffee and cake has a special place in German cuisine. While German coffee is mediocre, German baking is phenomenal. Time: traditionally bang on 4pm.

DinnerAbendbrot: A light meal, often of hot soup with cold meats, pickles and more bread. Beer and wine are common. Time: 7:30 to 9pm.

Berlin recommendation:

Huhnerhaus 36

Yes, it is chicken and chips fast food, but there is something special about Huhnerhaus 36. Both its locations deep in the edgy Kreuzberg district usually have lines out the door. The standard order is quarter of a large chicken, lots of heavily seasoned chips and four sauces.

Price: $

Hours: 10am-3am

Address: Skalitzer Str. 95A, 10997 Berlin, Germany

Web: None, but it is easy to find details on Google.

Stuttgart recommendation:

Weinstube Schellenturm

A ‘traditional’ German restaurant in a gorgeous 500-year-old belltower. It offers a selection of set menus of hearty, filling ‘comfort’ food. A dignified way to get absolutely stuffed on superb meat and potato based dishes. Wash it down with lots of the local wine.

Price: $$.

Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm to midnight;  closed Sundays

Address: Weberstrasse 72, 70182 Stuttgart


Munich recommendation:

Brenner Grill

As Bavaria is the source of most of the German cliches, it’s also the place that reinterprets them the most. Brenner is one example. It takes the cliches of German cooking and reimagines them in amazing ways. Grilled fish is a specialty. Book ahead.

Price: $$

Hours: 8:30am to after midnight, 7 days

Address:  Maximilianstrasse 15, 80539 München


Hamburg recommendation:

Burger Heroes Kiez

Of course we have to recommend hamburgers in Hamburg! Open until 6am and right in the centre of the wild nightlife district, Burger Heroes Kiez offers pure party fuel. Because, forget Vegas, New York and London, a good night out in Hamburg in on another level.

Price: $

Hours: Sun-Thu, midday to 4am; Fri-Sat midday to 6am

Address: Reeperbahn 99, 20359 Hamburg,


Travelling around Germany

Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe and was forged from a bewildering array of tiny kingdoms in the late 19th Century. This means there are a lot of regional differences. Very generally, things get wealthier as you move south and more traditional as you go east. Thus, the best in 24-hour techno is the north-west and the best in brass bands and beer is towards the opposite side of the compass.

Getting around Germany is best done by bus as the trains, while brilliant, are notoriously overpriced. Long-distance carpooling is a great option too. Many highways have no speed limit, so a good driver will get you across the country faster and cheaper than flying (door to door). Expect to see the speedo swing past 200km/h.


Top attractions map
Northern Germany tourist map
Bavaria tourist map
Southern Germany map
Berlin city tourist map


When planning your trip to Germany check out our German SIM card and learn how to make the most of your pre-paid phone card. We hope you will enjoy your stay in Germany!

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How to: Check the data balance on a data SIM card for a tablet, Pad or Hotspot?

how to check the data balance SIM Card

Checking the balance on your data SIM card for an iPad, tablet or hotspot device is very simple.

Here’s how in 4 steps:

  1. Switch off Wi-Fi on your device. (For a hotspot, connect it to your laptop at this step.)
  2. Go to
  3. Find and click on “Check your data allowance”
  4. Your data balance will be shown in MB (1000MB equals 1GB).

That all there is to it.

If you are out or nearly out of data, you’ll need a top up voucher.

Top up options:

A: £10 for 1GB (valid for 30 days)

B: £15 for 3GB (valid for 30 days)

C: £25 for 7GB (valid for 30 days).

To get a data top-up voucher:


  • Buy a Three UK top-up voucher from any Three Store


  • Buy a voucher from anywhere in the UK where you see the green Top-Up logo.

Top-up vouchers are only available in the UK.



The five best alternative London attractions

London 5 alternative attractions - Wallace Collection

Big Ben, the Tower of LondonBuckingham Palace and so many more are the “must see” attractions in London. To be sure, you really must visit these on your London vacation. But do you want to also see some of the less famous attractions which perhaps have fewer crowds, but which are also very interesting? Keep reading to learn more!

Number 1: The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection is home to some of Europe’s finest collection of art, paintings, furniture and armour. It’s located just a stone’s throw from the Bond Street underground station (PS:  Read our blog about navigating the London public transport system). The Wallace Collection has more than 20 galleries, and entry is free.

The Wallace Collection, Londn

And the on-site restaurant is really good too for a pleasant lunch or afternoon tea.

The Wallace Collection, afternoon tea London

Number 2: The Emirates Air Line

No, not the fancy flash Middle Eastern Airline with its on-board shower, we’re talking about the Emirates Air Line which is a cable car link across the River Thames, opened in 2012. It connects North Greenwich (near the O2 Olympic Stadium) to Royal Victoria. Fares are just £3.50 each way for an adult and £1.70 for a child (and you can “tap on” using your Oyster card or contactless credit card). Whilst you’re there, pay a visit to the historic Royal Observatory to stand on the historic Prime Meridian.

The Emirates Air Line, London

Number 3: Lord’s Cricket Ground

You might not know much about the sport of cricket, but you should still visit the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground. This represents a truly esteemed British tradition, and the grounds have one of the oldest sports museums in the world. Just don’t go comparing cricket to baseball or you’re sure to offend the locals!

London Lord’s Cricket Ground

Number 4: Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club and Museum

If you love tennis, you’ve surely watched the players slog it out on center court at Wimbledon. Outside of the tournament weeks, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club is open to the public. It’s open daily from 10am to 5pm. Take a guide tour and see the center court where so many hard fought victories and champions have been made. Then stroll through the museum and see some amazing memorabilia.

London Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club and Museum

Number 5: London’s Roman Amphitheatre

The city of London was under Roman rule for a fifth of its history. In 43AD the Romans established the city of Londinum and around 75AD they built a wooden amphitheatre, with the remains visible under Guildhall Galleries. And best of all, admission is free!

London’s Roman Amphitheatre

When planning your trip to London, check out our UK Sim Card and learn how to make the most of your pre-paid phone card.

Comment below and share with us your favourite London attraction!


Weekend in Manchester, UK: Things To Do

A weekend in Manchester is a great way to explore a bit more of the United Kingdom, outside of London. It’s easily accessible by train from central London, has many great hotels and restaurants, pubs and entertainment, and really is just a lovely city.

About Manchester

Manchester is a major city in the north west England. Once a textile powerhouse, and the birthplace of the modern computer, Manchester today keeps its traditional heritage, fused with modern architecture, a great restaurant scene and many attractions. The city was founded in 79AD and today has a population of over 500,000. It is home to the world famous Manchester United soccer/football club.

Manchester UK

Getting to Manchester

Virgin Trains operates regular express high speed train services from London Euston Station to Manchester. You’ll leave from the center of London and arrive in the center of Manchester at the grand Manchester Piccadilly station in a little over 2 hours. Round trip tickets can be purchased in advance for around £50.

London Manchester Virgin Train

Where to stay

There is an abundance of hotel options, from hostels, to apartments to luxurious 5-start hotels. The beautiful Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel offers luxurious accommodation in the center of the city. Rooms start from around £200/night. A handy hint is to pay a little extra to get a “business class” room – you’ll get complimentary buffet breakfast, and £15/day to spend in the hotel (at the restaurant, bar or for a spa treatment).

Manchester Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel

Manchester Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel

Getting around

Manchester is easy to walk and this lets you explore the hidden parts of the city. You can also get an Uber, jump in a black cab, or use the public bus network system.

Where to eat

There is no shortage of food options in Manchester, from fast food (McDonalds, Subway etc), through to family friendly restaurants to top of the range 5 star eateries. A hidden gem is the Carlo Chicchetti Italian Restaurant located inside the House of Fraser department store. Offering authentic and delicious Italian cuisine and wine, it is one of the best restaurants in town. And what’s more is it’s great value. A glass of wine, starter, entree, desert and tea/coffee will set you back no more than £30. The Papparadelle Porcini is a delicious pasta with fresh porcini mushrooms. And the panacotta for desert with fresh berries was to die for! You can do a walk in without a reservation in less busy times, otherwise book ahead using the Opentable Appon your phone (for this you’ll need data on your phone so pick up a prepaid UK SIM Card with 4G LTE data before you leave Australia).

Weekend in Machester - Carlo Chicchetti Italian Restaurant

Weekend in Machester - Carlo Chicchetti Italian Restaurant

Weekend in Machester - Carlo Chicchetti Italian Restaurant

Weekend in Machester - Carlo Chicchetti Italian Restaurant

What to do at night

Being England, there’s no shortage of pubs to get a quiet (or noisy!) ale. But for something different head to the Comedy Store for a night of laughs and see some of the best stand up comedians in the country. Shows run on Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night, usually with five acts, with an interval after the third. The comedy store has a bar and restaurant on-site too selling delicious wood fired pizzas. We recommend buying tickets online and collecting them at the will-call window on arrival. If you choose to sit in the front row, be prepared for some of the acts to include you in their routine!

Manchester weekend - Comedy Store

How to Use Paris Metro And Important Tips When Traveling to Paris

If you’re a first time visitor to Paris, you might find things a little daunting. Being in a foreign city and not knowing the language can be stressful for some.

In this article we’re not going to tell you which museums to visit, the best galleries to attend, or the most lavish restaurants to dine at – we’re sure you’ve already done the research for that and if not you can read all about it in our Travel Guide to France. Instead, we’re going to give you some basic information that you might have overlooked: buying tickets for, and navigating, the Paris Metro train system and where you can store your luggage at the end of your trip.

Using the Paris Metro system

Many visitors to Paris will arrive at the Gare du Nord train station in central Paris, on the ultra fast Eurostar train from London. Others might arrive by plane at Charles de Gaulle airport. Either way, you’ll soon find yourself using the highly efficient and fast Paris Metro system (the ‘Métro de Paris’) to see all the sights and venues.

The Paris Metro is one of the most densest train systems in the world, with 245 stations within the 34 square miles of the city of Paris. Other than walking, it really is the only way to get around Paris. Forget taxis or driving because Paris traffic can be absolutely brutal!

Buying tickets for the Paris Metro might appear daunting, with ticket machines in French, not English, let alone then knowing which type of ticket or pass to buy. But it’s really very simple: don’t go buying a weekly or multi day pass, instead just buy a book of 10 tickets (called a ‘carnet’ in French). This is the easiest and most cost effective way. We’ve set out below exactly what you need to do to the book of tickets.

Step 1:

Go to one of the self service ticket machines at the Gare du Nord train station or any other Metro station, and select “Langues” to change the language to English.

Step 2:

Once everything’s in English it’s now time to select your tickets. Just select “Purchase Tickets”

Step 3:

As you’ll be making lots of trips on the Paris Metro, by the far the most cost effective way is to buy a book of 10 tickets (called a ‘carnet’). This gives you 10 individual tickets that you can use yourself, or share with friends and family. The tickets can be used anytime during your stay in Paris (they don’t have to all get used on the same day). Think of it like a weekly pass but instead you get 10 tickets to use across your visit to Paris.

Each ticket gives you one ride on the Paris Metro (and this includes changing trains/lines to get to your final destination). A book of 10 tickets costs just €14.50 ($16.50) so that works out at just €1.45 ($1.65) per trip.

Step 4:

Once you’ve selected the book of tickets, proceed to payment using your credit card.

Step 5:

The machine will then spit out 10 individual tickets for you in the dispenser below. The picture below shows what the tickets look like:

They’re about two inches long and about half an inch wide, so they easily fit in your wallet or purse. Then when you enter a Metro station, just insert the ticket into the gate and collect it when it pops back out.

Citymapper: the best Smartphone app for navigating the Paris Metro

By far the easiest and smartest app for your cell phone is the Citymapper app. With GPS positioning, all you need do is enter an address or Metro station, and the app gives you step by step instructions including walking directions to the nearest Metro station, which platform and train, and even which carriage to use to ensure that you’re closest to the exit when you reach your destination.

You’ll obviously need data on your cell phone to use the Citymapper app, and you can pick up a prepaid France SIM Card here in Australia before you leave from UK SIM Card. It comes with lots of high speed data, minutes and texts, and it also works seamlessly in the UK and across most of Europe.

Luggage storage

If you’ve checked out of your hotel or Airbnb and need somewhere to store your luggage before your departure by train or plane, there are secure storage lockers at Gare Du Nord (the main central Paris train station).

These are large lockers that fit big suitcases and bags. The cost is €9.50 ($11) for up to 24 hours.

You’ll find them at the Gare Du Nord train station, on the lower ground floor, underneath platform 3. Just look for the “Left luggage” sign near platform 3, and go down the escalator to the lower ground floor.

How to Register for Free Wifi on the London Tube?

Free wifi on London Tube

Did you know you can’t get mobile signal – that’s voice or data – in most of the London Underground? Unlike other big cities such as Paris or Berlin, London’s famous Tube still doesn’t offer full coverage. But it does offer something else. Free WiFi!

And your UK Pre-Paid SIM Card lets you access this free London Underground WiFi. Good news, as you can now travel point to point across this huge (and sometimes confusing) city without dropping off the grid. There are, however, a few steps required to access it.

Here’s how to set it up:

Step 1: Register your Three UK phone number

  1. Arrive in the UK and activate your UK Pre-Paid SIM Card post-arrival.
  2. Keep the large outer part of your SIM card handy.
  3. Go to
  4. Click on Register at the top.
  5. Input the number for your UK mobile service.
  6. Finish the registration process. You’ll need the 6-digit number on large outer part of your SIM.
  7. Log in to your new account.
  8. Choose the Phone & plan option.
  9. Look in the left menu for Free WiFi on London Underground.
  10. Follow the registration instructions. (You will need to set a password for WiFi access).

How to Register for Free Wifi on the London Tube?

Step 2: Activate free Wifi while on the London Underground

  1. Enter a Tube station.
  2. Activate WiFi on your phone.
  3. Search for Virgin Media WiFi and connect.
  4. Open your phone’s browser. The Virgin Media page should open automatically.
  5. On that page, go to Other providers and choose Three.
  6. Enter your Three phone number and the password you chose above.
  7. Tap Register.
  8. You’re all done.

Your phone or tablet will log your details, so you’ll automatically connect next time you’re at a participating Underground station. And now you’re set to the ride the rails underneath London without being disconnected.

Visiting Paris and France: Your 10-minute Travel Guide

travel guide to paris france

Reading time: 9 minutes 38 seconds

Welcome to France! The world’s number one travel destination. There is a reason you are among the 80-odd million people who choose to visit the country each year – it’s a fantastic place. There’s amazing culture, amazing food, amazing wine, amazing beaches and amazing skiing. The amazing centre of it all is Paris. For all its wonders though, France is not a theme park: it is a large, diverse country that presents travellers with all manner of opportunities, inconveniences, adventures and challenges. This guide gives you insider information from French citizens on the what, where and how-to of having as great Gallic vacation. Continue reading “Visiting Paris and France: Your 10-minute Travel Guide”

Travelling to Europe this summer? Here are some great tips

Travelling to Europe?

A summer in Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday for many people. The continent drips with history, culture and natural beauty – plus summer is harvest time and the excellent food is never better or fresher. Whether you have already booked your ticket or you’re simply dreaming of your next holiday, here are some great tips to get the most for your European summer. Continue reading “Travelling to Europe this summer? Here are some great tips”

Get the most from your travel data SIM card

Get the most from your data sim in europe

Accessing the web, downloading files, sending email, making a video call, sharing photos, updating social media, streaming video from the web or via an app, viewing and following directions via an online map – it all takes data.
When you are travelling, the temptation to use data is high. Hover, the consequence of running out are higher. You don’t want to miss a flight because you couldn’t access the shuttle-bus booking service.
This article goes into detail about how you can avoid the worst and have enough data to enjoy the best moments of your European holiday. Continue reading “Get the most from your travel data SIM card”