Editor’s Note: Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on October 6.
If you’re planning to travel to Germany, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Germany’s border policies have been changing swiftly as the country regularly updates its lists of high and moderate risk destinations. However, on March 3 the high risk list was wiped, meaning there are no destinations now classified as high risk – anywhere.
In June, the vaccination entry requirements were relaxed. This was meant to be a temporary measure for the high season, but has remained. This means anyone can currently enter the country.
What’s on offer
Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt have long been cultural big hitters. But there’s more to Germany than its superb cities – from hiking in Bavaria to wild forests on the French border and a hugely underrated coastline in the north. Throw in excellent public transport and road links and this is a country ripe for those keen on a long, free-form vacation.
Who can go
Effectively, everyone. Since June all entry restrictions have been dropped. Anyone can come into the country other than those destinations designated to have a “variant of concern” – although the listing of those countries is also on hiatus (see below).
What are the restrictions?
There are currently no restrictions, other than for arrivals coming from an area of a variant of concern.
If you have been in an “area of variant of concern,” there is a ban on entering via rail, ship, plane or bus. Essentially, you must drive, and then quarantine for 14 days. You must also provide a negative test. Children under 12 are exempt. However, there are currently no areas of a variant of concern.
The Robert Koch Institute keeps track of country classification.
What’s the Covid situation?
Infection rates have dropped from their March peak, when a record 300,000 new infections were reported in one day. A record rate of 1,651 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days was reported on March 17. In comparison, when the Omicron variant arrived in November 2021, infections were at 312 per 100,000. Before that, the previous all-time record had been 197.6 in December 2020.
As of October 6, there have been 33.6 million cases and over 150,000 deaths. Nearly 78% of the population is now fully vaccinated, according to John Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker.
What can visitors expect
Despite rising infection rates, nearly all Covid-19 restrictions were dropped on March 20 on a national level. However, individual regions and states can still impose their own restrictions, including further mask mandates.
The national rules are as follows: Masks are no longer required on airplanes, but are required on long-distance trains. Adults must wear FFP2-grade masks, while children under 14 can wear surgical masks. Those under six years old do not need to mask. Masks must also be worn in any healthcare settings.
You no longer need to show proof of vaccination to enter shops, hotels, bars and restaurants.
Otherwise, restrictions across the country vary between the 16 states. You can find links to each state’s regulations on this government page.
Our latest coverage
Germany does a huge amount of things better than most countries, including beer, castles and trains. It’s also a beautiful place, one that’s often overlooked for supposedly flashier destinations in southern Europe. And its food, far from being stodgy, is first rate too.
Its Christmas markets are high on our list of the world’s best.