Between the charming, timbered villages and the majestic mountains and lakes, Germany is a tantalizing country full of natural wonder. Although it’s easy to be drawn in by the medieval cities and stunning landscapes, you still may have a few concerns about Germany safety. And you probably want to know – is Germany safe for travelers?
Over the past few decades, Germany has transformed into one of the most powerful countries in the world. But despite it’s economic and political standing, it’s also seen it’s fair share of crime.
However, Germany remains a desirable and popular destination. From its historic landmarks to its magnificent countryside, Germany still attracts over 120 million visitors each year.
To make the most of your trip, you should familiarize yourself with potential safety issues you might run into.
Many people travel or backpack through Germany with nothing but positive experiences. But just like in most countries, accidents and serious incidents can happen in Germany too.
For this reason, your safety in Germany will significantly depend on where you go and how you plan to spend your time. Whether you’re skiing down the Alps or partying your way through Berlin’s club scene, you should always take precaution when visiting the different cities in Germany.
Despite Germany’s compact size, different regions will have various degrees of safety. For instance, walking through an urban city is much different than relaxing in the tranquil countryside.
You should review the local laws and customs before traveling to Germany. Although Germany is a developed, western country, there are stark cultural differences you should be aware of. Not only will these keep you safe, but they’ll also give you a deeper appreciation for German culture.
Is Germany Safe to Visit Right Now?
As a country, Germany has been recovering from its tumultuous reputation and history during World War II. It’s safe to say that during this time, Germany was not a safe place to live. But in just 60 years, the country has transformed into one of the strongest and most desirable destinations in Europe.
Nowadays, Germany is much safer than it has been in the past. In fact, crime in Germany is the lowest it has been in the last 30 years.
Over the last few decades, Germany has grown to become the largest economic power in Europe. Some of the world’s most successful companies started in Germany, including Volkswagen, BMW, Allianz SE, and Seimens. This economic growth has led to a 3.1% unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the world.
The low unemployment rate directly equates to lower homeless and crime rates.
In Germany, violent crime is extremely rare. On the other hand, petty crime is still present, especially in major cities. Tourists should be aware of their surroundings when traveling through Germany by train, or through busy tourist sites.
There’s also speculation that migrants and refugees have increased the crime rates in Germany. This outcry has caused significant political debates and protests among German citizens. It’s unclear how migrants have impacted safety, but Germany’s crime rate has been steadily dropping in the past few years.
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter any serious problems during your trip to Germany, it’s still recommended to purchase travel insurance. That way, you’ll have medical and travel protection in case something happens during your vacation.
Travel Insurance in Germany
When traveling through Germany, the most important safety tip I can give you is to protect yourself with travel insurance. In fact, you should purchase travel insurance no matter where you travel to in the world. Is travel insurance worth it? Absolutely.
It’s crucial to invest in a comprehensive travel insurance policy no matter where you travel, Germany included. A policy will protect you in medical and other travel-related scenarios. You just need to figure out the best backpacker travel insurance for you.
For example, if you were to get into a car accident on the autobahn, travel insurance would cover your medical and hospital bills. Or, if a pickpocket steals your camera while you’re chugging a beer at Oktoberfest, then travel insurance will reimburse those costs too.
Besides medical and personal belonging coverage, travel insurance can also protect you against other travel mishaps. If you need to cancel your trip or leave Germany early, you’ll have travel insurance to cover the non-refundable expenses. Don’t get over-confident. Here are 7 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance in Germany.
For these reasons, it’s vital to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Personally, I recommend World Nomads, one of the leading travel insurance companies for travelers and backpackers. Read my full World Nomads travel insurance review, or fill out the form below to instantly get a quote for your Germany trip.
Germany Safety Travel Tips by City
Germany is a small country, and it’s easy to reach most cities by train or car in just a few hours. That means you’ll have the chance to explore many different places in just a few days or weeks. While safety issues will vary from city to city, there are certain things to keep in mind when considering Germany safety.
Safety in Munich
When you think of traditional German culture, you probably think of images of jolly oompah music, lively beer gardens, and festive lederhosen and dirndls. However, this is predominately only found in Bavaria, the southernmost region of the country. And as Bavaria’s capital, Munich is a must-see city on your Germany itinerary.
When it comes to Germany safety, Munich is, by far, the safest city in the country. Violent crimes against locals and tourists are extremely rare. While petty crimes like theft still occur in busy touristy areas, it’s far less common than other cities in Germany.
But when traveling to Germany’s beer-loving capital, you should exercise extreme caution when drinking or going out. German beers are refreshing and easy to drink, especially in the warm summer months. This makes it a little too easy to get drunk and lose track of your belongings.
If you’re visiting Munich during Oktoberfest, remember that the alcohol content of beer at the festival is much higher than in restaurants. During the festival, leave your valuables at the hotel. And, make sure you know how to get back using the public transportation system or by taking a taxi.
But in general, you probably won’t encounter any serious problems in Munich. Your biggest concern will be dealing with that hangover the next morning!
Safety in Berlin
As the political and historical center of Germany, Berlin is one of the most eclectic cities in the world. Whether you’re visiting the remarkable Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie or hitting up famous underground nightclubs, Berlin has something for every interest.
Pickpocketing is probably the biggest issue you’ll run into in Berlin. Petty crime has increased over the years, especially near Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg and the RAW Gelände in Friedrichshain. For this reason, you should be aware of your surroundings and leave any expensive valuables in your hotel.
You should also be careful when drinking and partying in Berlin. Pickpockets tend to target drunk party-goers as they walk to and from the clubs. To stay safe, don’t venture down dark alleys, and try to stay with a friend or someone you trust when walking alone at night.
Illegal drugs and substances are also prominent in Berlin club culture. It’s important to remember that taking or possessing drugs is a severe offense in Germany, and can be punishable by hefty fines and imprisonment.
Not only are there legal issues with taking drugs in Germany, but there are also several health concerns. There have been reported cases of people getting sick from drugs made or laced with dangerous substances.
Besides the nightclubs, drug dealers are also present in many of Berlin’s public parks. In fact, some parks even have designated dealer zones, to avoid territory fights with gangs. To stay safe, don’t walk through Berlin’s parks at night and avoid talking to anyone that offers you illegal substances.
Safety in Frankfurt
Frankfurt is a unique city that’s scenically different than most places in Germany. That’s because this financial hub is one of the only places with a modern, metropolitan skyline. From towering skyscrapers to urban high rises, Frankfurt’s central location makes it one of the first stops on most travelers’ trips.
For Germany, Frankfurt has the highest level of crime and violence. However, many people still consider Frankfurt to be a safe place to visit, especially compared to other countries like the US and UK.
Most crime is concentrated in just a few seedy areas, like Elbestrasse and Taunusstrasse. These streets are centered around Frankfurt’s red-light district, which is comprised of sex shows, strip clubs, casinos, and sometimes a few bad characters.
It’s also recommended to stay away from the eastern side of Frankfurt’s central train station, or Hauptbahnhof. This area is one of the biggest hangouts for drug dealers and smugglers in Frankfurt.
And this should go without saying, but try to avoid purchasing or buying illegal substances from these dealers. Being in possession of drugs is a major offense in Germany, and if you’re caught, you may be deported or sentenced up to five years in prison.
Safety in Hamburg
Germany’s second most popular city is filled with historic architecture, trendy neighborhoods, and friendly locals. It’s also one of the country’s most musical cities and boasts a culturally diverse music scene. This charming harbor town is not just beautiful, but it’s also a safe place for tourists to visit.
However, there are certain neighborhoods in Hamburg where you should take extra precaution. With late-night clubs, live sex shows, and live entertainment—Reeperbahn is Hamburg’s bustling red-light district. While there are plenty of tourists out and about, Repperbahn also tends to attract shifty drug dealers and pickpockets.
Safety in Germany can also be a concern near Hamburg’s main station. If you’re arriving or leaving by train, keep a close eye on your suitcases and personal belongings. Petty theft is more common near the train station but can happen anywhere in one of Hamburg’s major tourist areas.
Hamburg is also one of Germany’s biggest cycling cities. Most streets have designated bike lanes; however, cyclists may still ride on the sidewalks and streets. If you aren’t looking where you’re going, you may get into an accident with a speeding cyclist.
Safety in Leipzig
Considered by many to be the next Berlin, Leipzig is a quaint town that was once the home of both Johann Sebastian Bach and Richard Wagner. Its historic renaissance city center is lined with colorful houses, sprawling plazas, and traditional restaurants and shops.
Crime level in Leipzig is also low, and most travelers should feel safe during their visit.
As home to one of the oldest Universities in Europe, Leipzig is teeming with students and international visitors. Many students travel by bike, making Leipzig the third most bicycle-friendly city in Germany.
Unfortunately, the vast number of bikes results in extremely high theft rates. Even if the bike is locked, it’s not uncommon for advanced thieves to take off one wheel or steal other parts of the bike.
If you’re driving in Leipzig, you should be extra cautious of cyclists. Although bikes have their own lane, many cyclists speed through lights or don’t pay attention to others on the road. In addition, pedestrians should stick to the sidewalk and avoid walking in the bike lanes.
Safety in Cologne
From the ornate Cologne Cathedral to the charming cobblestone allies in the Altstadt, Cologne attracts visitors from around the world. This riverside city was heavily bombed during the war but has since transformed into a bustling metropolis in the middle of Germany’s Rhineland.
Cologne has seen an increase in crime over the last few years, but it’s not considered a dangerous city. The main station is centrally located right next to the Cologne Cathedral, one of the biggest attractions not just in Cologne, but in all of Germany. For this reason, you’ll find tons of locals and tourists out at all hours of the night.
Each year, Cologne hosts the largest Carnival festival in Germany. During this time, the city is flooded with visitors dressed in strange, hilarious, and sometimes downright bizarre costumes. Unfortunately, the large groups of tourists make Carnival a prime target for scammers and pickpockets.
To stay safe during Carnival, make sure not to carry any expensive personal items like jewelry or large amounts of cash. And while drinking is part of the fun, stay extra cautious as thieves tend to target drunk party-goers.
If you’re renting a bike yourself, then you should also make sure to lock it up against a post or tree. Bike theft is common in Cologne, and the last thing you want is to pay the renting office for an entire bike!
Safety in Dresden
Dresden is one of Germany’s secret gems. This historic city is filled with impressive architecture and funky neighborhoods. The government invested time and energy into making Dresden the beautiful city that stands today after it was destroyed during WW2.
But despite Dresden’s fast transformation, many people still have concerns when traveling to Eastern Germany.
The truth is, Dresden remains a socially and politically conservative city. Although there have been reports of racial tensions and anti-immigration protests in the past, this hasn’t been limited to Eastern Germany.
Millions of tourists visit Dresden each year, and it’s very common to see the city flooded with visitors of every nationality and race. Dresden is no different than other cities in Germany, or in the United States for that matter.
Therefore, you should feel comfortable visiting the city center and tourist destinations in Dresden. You should avoid any political demonstrations or rallies taking place in the city. And if you feel threatened or targeted, notify the local authorities or police station as soon as possible.
Is Germany Safe to Travel Alone?
As one of the biggest backpacking destinations in Europe, Germany has attracted travelers from all over the world. But when it comes to safety in Germany, you may have concerns when traveling through the country alone.
Fortunately, Germany is a relatively safe country for solo travelers. In fact, Germany’s infrastructure and transportation system actually make it easy for solo travelers to get around. Even if you don’t speak a lick of German, you can get from point A to point B by subway, bus, tram or taxi.
But like with any other country, there are several precautions you should take before venturing around Germany by yourself. First and foremost, you should keep your family and friends informed about your whereabouts. Give them your travel itinerary, and check-in with them from time to time during your trip.
While traveling, you’ll have the opportunity to stay at one of the many clean and trendy hostels Germany is known for. Although staying in a hostel is a great way to make friends, you should also keep a close eye on your personal belongings. Bring a padlock, and keep your backpack and other items locked up during the day when you’re touring the city.
Many hostels in Germany also organize free pub crawls and walking tours, which is great for when you’re traveling alone. You’ll meet new people and get the chance to learn a thing or two about Germany.
Travelers shouldn’t worry about traveling to Germany on their own. As long as you exercise the same cautions in Germany as you would in other countries, you’ll have a pleasant experience.
Is It Safe for Americans in Germany?
Germany’s turbulent relationship with America has drastically changed over the last few decades, especially since World War II and the Cold War. The US is still one of Germany’s biggest allies. Even today, the two countries maintain a strong partnership.
For this reason, it’s perfectly fine for Americans to travel to Germany. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings just like when going to any other part of the world.
The US State Department has given Germany safety a level 2 travel advisory due to increased terrorist activity. Although there have only been a handful of terrorist attacks in Germany, it’s still advised to exercise caution when in big cities and public places.
If something does happen during your trip, locate the nearest US embassy or consulate in Germany. The main embassy is in Berlin while the other US consulates are located in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Munich.
It’s also important to note that Americans do not need to obtain a visa to enter Germany as a tourist. Germany is part of the Schengen agreement, which allows border-free movement between many European countries. That means you can visit Germany, or any other Schengen country, for up to 90 days without a visa.
Is Germany Safe for Solo Females?
Before I moved to Munich in 2018, I spent several weeks venturing through Germany on my own. My friends were concerned for my safety when I told them about my Eurotrip. After all, it’s hard to know about safety in Germany unless you’ve spent time in the country.
As a female traveler, I can personally say that I’ve never once felt unsafe or at risk in Germany.
During my trip, I traveled by myself on long-distance trains to big cities and small villages alike. I wandered through the city centers at night and met many new friends in cafes, bars, and even Couchsurfing meetups.
Germany is one of the safest destinations for solo females. However, the country still struggles with social equality, especially in the workplace. On average, women in Germany earn 21% less than their male colleagues. This is mainly attributed to personal differences in career choices.
Despite the high wage gap, Germany takes a progressive stance on women’s rights. Women were allowed to vote earlier than in the United States, the Netherlands, and most of Asia. And if a woman as a baby, her job is protected by law for up to three years.
But just like in your home country or anywhere else in the world, solo female travel requires certain precautions when traveling through Germany. For example, watch your surroundings, don’t leave your drinks unattended, and keep a close eye on your personal belongings.
Is the Water Safe to Drink in Germany?
Generally speaking, water in Germany is safe for drinking. In fact, I always drink water straight from the kitchen faucet in my Munich apartment.
However, the water in Germany can be hard and taste like chlorine in some places. It’s also a good idea to avoid drinking from bathroom faucets. The piping is often old and filled with some not-so-tasty particles.
If you have worries about the quality of water when traveling, consider purchasing a Lifestraw Go water bottle. It filters out harmful bacteria and neutralizes taste while also cutting down on the number of plastic bottles you use.
And when traveling through Germany, don’t expect tap water to be served in restaurants or cafes. If you want a glass, you’ll need to pay for bottled water. And while still water is available, many Germans love to drink sparkling water with their meals.
Is the Food Safe to Eat in Germany?
From juicy sausages and pretzels to crispy pork knuckles and cheese spätzle, Germany is a surprisingly culinary country. And just like with most developed, western countries in Europe, the food quality in Germany is relatively high.
However, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind when eating your way through gastronomic Germany.
First and foremost, Germany is a meat-eating country. Of course, you’ll find all types of cuisine in big cities, including international, organic, and even vegan dishes. But if you’re not used to a heavy diet, then it’s a good idea to ease your way into it, especially when dining in a traditional German eatery.
As another rule of thumb, don’t eat in a restaurant that doesn’t look clean. While hygiene isn’t a big concern in Germany, use your best judgment and avoid restaurants that look dirty or grimy.
You should also feel comfortable eating street food in Germany. Kebab stands, sausage stalls, and take-away delis are cheap, delicious, and safe. And, there’s something authentically German about downing a döner kebab or currywurst on the side of the road after a night of drinking!
Finally, don’t be afraid to try something new. Besides classic German restaurants, Germany is teeming with an international variety of eateries. So if it looks safe and tasty, try it!
Are the Taxis in Germany Safe?
So, we know that the public transportation system is efficient, but is it safe to travel to Germany with a taxi?
Whether you’re coming home bar hopping or running last minute to the airport, you can rely on taxis to get you where you’re going. Taxis are heavily regulated in Germany and are considered one of the safest, albeit most expensive, ways to travel.
All official taxis in Germany are light cream-colored. You can find them sitting in taxi ranks outside train stations, airports, and hotels. Or, you can simply flag one down from the street.
Another option is to order a taxi through Uber or FreeNow (formally MyTaxi). You can enter your destination through the app (without having to speak German to the driver), and pay using cash or credit card.
You should also feel safe knowing that in Germany, taxis drivers must legally accept all passengers and rides. That means they cannot refuse you, no matter how far you’re going or how many bags you’re carrying.
And although it’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll be scammed during your ride, make sure the driver is using the meter. If something doesn’t seem right, you can always take down the driver’s license number and file a complaint with the taxi company.
Is Germany Safe to Live?
Now that you know about Germany safety as a tourist, you may be wondering is Germany safe to live as an expat?
With over 200,000 expats throughout the country, Germany is a desirable destination for foreigners. Many international companies have set up offices in Germany. And, there are also plenty of employment opportunities with big-name German businesses like BMW, Audi, Bosch, and Siemens.
It’s also good to know that English is widely spoken in major cities like Berlin and Frankfurt. But if you’re planning to move to a small village or outskirts of the city, you may need to brush up on your German language skills.
I moved to Germany a little over a year ago, and I can confidently say that Germany is a very safe place to live. Although it was difficult to move from America, Germany’s fascinating culture and high quality of life made the transition a lot easier.
So if you’re planning on living in Germany, you can rest assured knowing you’re moving to a reasonably safe country. Just keep in mind that if you want to move to Europe permanently, you have several options for doing so!
So, Is It Dangerous in Germany?
Everyone will have a different experience when traveling through Germany. For this reason, it’s hard to say point-blank if Germany is a dangerous country or not. The answer to “is Germany safe?” will vary greatly depending on where you go.
Generally, in Germany, safety is not an issue. But petty theft and scams can be major issues in Germany. If you’re traveling cross-country by train or visiting a popular tourist attraction, make sure to be aware of your surroundings.
Fortunately, severe and violent crimes in Germany are very rare. While terrorism and migrant conflicts remain topical issues, you should still feel comfortable traveling to Germany.
However, accidents can always happen, just like anywhere else in the world (no matter how many travel safety tips you read!). As a result, the best way to protect yourself is by purchasing travel insurance. You can’t predict if something bad will happen, but you can make sure you’re prepared to tackle whatever is thrown your way.
So go ahead and enjoy all the famous attractions Germany has to offer. Hike up the mountains, explore the countryside, and make sure to get your fill of pretzels and sausages. You’re going to love every second in beautiful Germany!