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Germany, Switzerland, and Austria Pilgrimage

Erding Christmas Market

Christianity arrived in Germany with the first Germanic tribes in the 4th century and flourished through the reign of Charlemagne. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther began the reformation in Germany and today more than 50% of the population identify as Christian. As you might imagine, the breadth of Christian history in the region has much to offer the modern pilgrim; including many idyllic castles, abbeys, and catherdrals.

Read More About Traveling to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria

What Should I Know Before I Go to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria?

Communications

Like most places in the world today, cellular communication is available throughout much of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Please be sure to check with your provider to understand the fees and options available for your phone. Calls can also be made from phone kiosks, located near Metro and train stations, tourist attractions, and in downtown areas, with pre-paid, locally purchased phone cards. Free WiFi is readily available at restaurants, hotels, and some town squares.

 
Electricity

The electrical current in is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take plugs with two round prongs.

Consider making a small investment in a universal adapter, which has several types of plugs in one lightweight, compact unit. Most laptops and mobile phone chargers are dual voltage (i.e., they operate equally well on 110 and 220 volts), so require only an adapter. These days the same is true of small appliances such as hair dryers. Always check labels and manufacturer instructions to be sure. Don’t use 110-volt outlets marked “for shavers only” for high-wattage appliances such as hair-dryers.

Money

Germany and Austria have adopted the Euro, while Switzerland’s currency is the Swiss Franc. All three countries are very modern and most shops will accept (and even prefer) credit cards for purchases. However, it is always wise to have a few Euro bills on-hand for smaller vendors and a few Euro coins to pay for the use of restrooms throughout the country. 

 
Passports and Visas

Travelers from the US, Canada, Australia and the EU must bring a passport valid for at least four months after their departure date from Germany. Those planning to stay more than three months need a visa before leaving for Germany. Make a few copies of your travel documents, and leave a copy at home. Visitors can easily withdraw cash using a major debit or credit card at any of Germany’s ATMs, especially in large cities. Or, exchange cash at Reisebank offices at train stations or airports. Although Germany is generally safe, travelers should carry valuables in a money belt, especially when squeezing through crowded train stations or tourist sites.

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