Cultural Etiquette Tips For Your Trip to Germany

Getting Around By Christine Wardlaw January 15, 2017

If you’re planning a trip to Germany soon, you’ll be in for a treat. Germany is known for its rich culture, gorgeous countryside, amazing castles, relaxing health and wellness spas, and wonderful cuisine. With one-of-a-kind landmarks located at every corner, you will surely never forget this trip, but there are some things you should learn about before leaving.

As a tourist, you want to make sure that you follow local customs as much as possible so that you have the most enjoyable visit. Below are cultural etiquette tips for your trip to Germany to help you fit in with the country’s residents and feel right at home.

Greetings & Handshakes

When entering or leaving a shop, office, or waiting room, it’s common to greet everyone with a “Guten Tag” (Good Day) or “Auf Wiedersehen” (Goodbye/’Til We Meet Again). Handshakes are common both upon arriving and departing, and a person who’s joining a group usually shakes hands with every person.


It’s also common for close friends to kiss both the right and left cheeks when greeting, except for in a business setting, where it would be considered inappropriate.


Germans are known to be on time for appointments, so try not to be late if possible. Arriving early for important gatherings and meetings is a smart idea, and it’s expected that you’ll call in advance if you can’t make it on time. Germans also like their privacy so if you arrive to a closed door, you can still certainly enter – just politely knock first.



In true European fashion, it’s common to share tables with strangers in busy restaurants. Before taking a seat, ask if the chair is free and wish your new dining companions “Guten Appetit.” You can feel free to converse with them if you like, but let it happen naturally, it isn’t expected. Upon leaving, be sure to say “Auf Wiedersehen.”

This will also be the perfect time to taste some of the finest cuisine Germany has to offer. German sausage, called bauernwurst, and schnitzel, meat coated in breadcrumbs, are just two of the must-have entrees that will help you truly experience the culture of this beautiful country. Germany is also known for its sweets including pretzels and apfelstrudel, or apple strudel, which is a pastry made with apples, cinnamon and raisins!

You’ll surely be wowed by the beautiful sights in Germany, and if you follow the above etiquette tips, you’ll have a great time meeting new people and making friends as well. Have you traveled to Germany? Share your travel adventures in the comments!