Is Germany Safe? Everything Travelers Need to Know

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time. To understand how this may impact cover under your policy, please go to our FAQs and select your country of residence.

For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.

Just how real is the threat of terrorism to travelers? Find out how to avoid crime, protests and other dangers while traveling in Germany.

Shares

Munich, capital city of Germany's Free State of Bavaria, with The Alps visible in the background Photo © iStock/bkindler

Here are a few things you should know about safety in Germany, plus some simple tips to help you avoid risky situations and have a safe trip.

Do travelers have anything to worry about in Germany?

In the 2020 Global Peace Index, Germany is ranked 16 out of 163 countries when it comes to safety and peace in the country. In Europe, Germany is ranked 11 out of 36 countries.

Travelers should take usual precautions to avoid being a victim of theft, bag snatching or pickpocketing in Germany, like you would anywhere else. Never leave your valuables unattended, keep your bags locked up safely at the hostel, and valuables in a secure location, such as the hotel safe if you have access to one.

If you are a victim of theft, get to the nearest police station at your earliest convenience to lodge a police report.

Find out about common travel scams to avoid while traveling in Germany, from fake train inspectors to pesky beggars who will do anything to get your money.

You should exercise extra caution at airports, railway stations and in crowded public spaces. Not just in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, but also to be aware of any suspicious activity.

Terrorist attacks appear to be a common theme in news surrounding Germany, but it certainly isn't a reason to avoid traveling there. Increased security has been put in place as a precaution, and there are so many safe places to go and things to do in less crowded areas of Germany.

LGBTQ+ travelers may face discrimination in Germany, however an increase in the number of incidents reported may be due to a rise in the number of victims who are willing to speak out about these events, according to Jan Noll, editor-in-chief of Siegessäule, in an interview with DW. Overall, LGBTQ+ travelers are widely accepted by most Germans.

Terrorism in Germany

Germany has unfortunately been linked to terrorist attacks beyond it's borders (the leaders of the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001 were students based in Germany), and has seen a number of horrific incidents in recent years. But, just how worried should you be as a traveler?

In July 2006, home-made bombs were found on trains heading out of Cologne. In September 2007, the Sauerland terrorist cell was busted just as radical Islamists were planning a series of car bombings in Germany. In November 2010, bomb scares and evacuations led to an increase in police presence and closures of major buildings.

In 2016, Germany saw two terror related incidents; a shooting rampage in a Munich shopping center killing nine people and injuring a dozen, and the Berlin Christmas Market attack, where a truck ploughed into marketgoers killing 12 people and injuring more than 50 others.

There is also a rise in the number of right-wing extremists in Germany. As a result of these incidents and others not mentioned, security has increased across the country, and alerts are released by government travel advisories whenever threats emerge.

Increased security in Germany

You will notice the presence of police, whether that be at a major transport hub, where police with sniffer dogs patrol, or while visiting popular attrations.

Many major tourist attractions across Germany, such as Berlin's Television Tower, will have security and bag checks in place. Museums will ask visitors to check large bags and coats in to their cloak room. If you want to avoid waiting in more queues, pack light.

If you are visiting the Reichstag, expect very tight security. Many visitors wait for up to two hours in queues, and undergo extensive airport security style checks. Consider booking a tour in advance, or make an effort to wake up early and get there first to avoid the long lines.

Anyone over the age of 16 must carry ID at all times. If you are unable to show your identity card or passport when requested by police, they may escort you to where your passport is being kept – or you could be subject to a fine. If you feel uneasy carrying your passport on you, simply take a photocopy of your passport wherever you go.

Traveling safely around Germany

Germany has a very efficient public transport system, which is easy to use for first-time visitors. Delays are rare, prices are fair, and for anyone worried about traveling long train journeys alone, security guards sometimes patrol trains at night.

If you're planning a road trip across Germany, find out how to stay safe while driving the famous Autobahn.

Demonstrations and protests in Germany

Protests against COVID-19 lockdown regulations have erupted in various countries across the world, including the US, France, Poland, and also in Germany.

But, the most infamous protests in Germany are the annual May Day protests, which take place each year on 1 May. Traditionally marked by union rallies in many European countries, these protests are about issues ranging from pension reforms to living standards.

Since 1987 when the Labour Day holiday protests began, police have learnt to brace themselves for car burning, and projectile hurling, as anti-capitalists and members from far right parties, labour unions and leftists march.

Hamburg and Berlin are common hot-spots for riots on May Day. Steer clear of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain in Berlin, where things more often than not turn ugly. 

Never deliberately put yourself in harm's way. Avoid crowds, angry mobs and busy public spaces during periods of civil unrest as best you can.

Smaller riots, warm-up protests, can occur throughout Spring in the lead-up to May Day, with posters blanketing major cities. So it's hard to get caught by surprise by the big demonstrations.

If you do find trouble, the emergency number in Germany for the police is 110.

Always keep up to date with news and travel warnings. The German government keep people informed about possible threats, which was evident back in November 2010, when the government admitted for the first time there was a 'concrete' threat of an attack.

Read the latest travel alerts to find out how COVID-19 restrictions may affect your trip to Germany.

Get a travel insurance quote for Germany

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Related articles

12 Comments

  • Jet said

    I'm a American and I don't understand why they would be worried about terrorist attack when the people don't have guns. Our politicians says that if we give our guns to the government then we will have peace. Explain to me how France and Germany with strict gun control have crime. I wonder why the bad people always have guns? Perhaps Europe needs more Muslims to show them love and peace.

    Reply

  • sara said

    I am also travelling
    to germany this year with my family
    mainly in frankfurt
    But should i be worried
    or not? what areas should i avoid
    please im really worried and thank you

    Reply

  • Becky said

    My husband are in Nuremberg travelled by train from Frankfurt. My husband is here for business( Siemens )also. We have felt very safe ( I wander around solo while he's at work) save once. Yesterday we crossed a platz and there was an Anti American/ Israeli protest going on. It was small and we just kept walking- no one looked at us or threatened us. If you pay attention to your surroundings you will be fine. Our hotel is next too the red light district and we've had no issues coming and going- we don't tend to stay out late any way- but in general customers who frequent those place and the girls/ guys who work there tend to be low key. It's not like it's Bourbon St in NOLA- you can't pay me 1 million dollars to walk down that street in broad daylight these days let alone after sunset

    Reply

  • Erik said

    The EU wants terror and chaos, why else would they, despite repeated warnings that ISIS wants to infiltrate europe, let in hundreds of thousands of military-aged aggressive arrogant men from ISIS-infested countries, claiming that they have "lost their passports"? Clearly the most effective way possible to ensure domestic terror.

    Reply

  • Pola said

    In about a month i'm traveling from Poland to Frankfurt, Germany by plane and then Frankfurt to JFK. Very nervous about it, I hope they really have increased their security procedures.

    Reply

  • Hakimi bin Abdul Jabar said

    The Similarities Between International Islamist Terrorist Groups such as ISIS (IS, ISIL, Daesh etc.) and Riyadhus Salihin Terrorist Group of the Beslan Tragic Massacre :

    (1) They Rape & Kill Children
    (2) They Commit Massacre of Innocent Lives
    (3) They Take Hostages
    (4) Etc.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/raped-forced-to-eat-flowers--1601732#nav-panel
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/159751/freed-isis-sex-slave-says-sick-jihadis-regularly-rape-nine-year-olds-as-she-relives-family-being-massacred/

    Reply

  • Paul said

    Yes, tell us why rules only apply to some people? Merkel is a traitor of her country. Let her walk outside on her own.

    Reply

  • hello kitty said

    This site helped me a lot for/because I needed it for my project gave me a lot of information

    Reply

  • Gershom said

    It is complex, this really is not so much a religion issue as it is a cultural issue. I'll explain: Plenty of Muslims in Turkey, Russia, Albania and other quiet nations remain quiet. Why? Because they are modern and secularized. Now Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia is a different story entirely, those nations are almost 100% Arab and the Arab culture even PRIOR TO Islam was an aggressive and warlike culture where raiders and warriors are glamorous and the peacemakers are seen as "weak" and therefore useless. The Arabs simply mixed elements of their culture into Islam and turned Islam into a sword of conquest and when that was in decline an Imam in Arabia in the 1700's, Imam Wahab began a "reform movement" that transformed Sunni Islam into the sharp sword that it once was. We fight his version of Islam today.

    Reply

  • Tobias Ploeger said

    I reside in Germany (Hamburg) and I can tell you that travelling to Germany is as safe as visiting NYC, Chicago, Madrid, London, even the coast of France. Germany is a democracy with high security standards.
    Of course, terroristic attacs by stupid suicide bombers have happened. But far less than in any part od the world, except - maybe - Vietnam and Singapore. Security in Germany is tight. So... no fear. If you fear travelling to Germany atm, you should stay at home and hide in the closet ;-)

    Reply

  • utahred said

    I have toured Europe and I want to give my perspective. The terrorist situation in Europe is far worse than in America. Sure we had our 9/11 in 2001 but we are not experiencing the rapes, beatings, bombing and murders that Europe has yet. There is is media black out on exactly what is happening in Europe because they don't want to shed bad light on Islam. They also don't want to see tourism drop because that is a big money maker. I'm not saying don't travel to Europe, I'm saying use caution. Try to skip Paris, Belgium, Berlin, Greece (French and Belgians don't like Americans anyway). Stay away from large events and crowds. Do your sight seeing in the morning and during the day. If you see a suspicious person, move away from them. Check government websites for warnings and alerts. I suggest using a tour company - they know the safe places and can advise you.

    Reply

  • Jean said

    Germany, Belgium, France, italy, the UK, Spain, they are all still subject to terrorism.
    Attacks or other terrorist related incidents happen almost every other week. Since the conventional war with Daesh stopped, major and frequent incidents in Europe have subsided. But as many of the Daesh foreign fighters are now going underground it is feared many are returning to Europe. An increase of terrorist activity in next year (2019-2020) on the european west is likely.

    We have observed high profile attacks like the Paris attack or the Brussels bombing have decreased and been replaced by homegrown lone wolve attacks of a lower profile using ‘household’ weapons rather then explosives or firearms.
    Apart from changing circumstances in Daesh hometurf, european countries have made big efforts in terror crackdown. Clandestine activity has become harder for terrorists.

    There are ways to prepare.
    Use online sources like the app liveUAmap to get real-time alerts on incidents.
    Check the sites you want to visit, find out which ones may be a high profile target. When going there, make sure you have studied the map of the area, define safehavens where to go if chaos should erupt. Make sure you know where the hospital is or the nearest police office.
    Always carry emergency kit like water and some food. Keep your phone charged and make sure you can charge it at any time. Add a flashlight and first aid.
    Before going in, study the emergency exits.
    Always have a plan, know what you will do and how when the need arises.
    Use practical clothing, avoid standing out with bright colors. Do not draw attention to your nationality.
    Position yourself tactically; always keep close to your escape routes, stay close to cover from fire, maintain oversight, pay close attention to people around you.

    Stay informed by following different news sources.

    There is absolutely no advantage by avoiding high profile places like tourist locations. If you are a tourist, after all, you are here to see the sights. You will not be amused going in the backstreets of the workingclass people of european cities.
    Chances of an actual attack remain relative small.

    Reply

Add a Comment