Germany travel advice: Am I allowed to visit, what rules are in place and do I need a Covid test?

Everything you need to know about travelling to Germany during the pandemic

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 20 October 2020 10:11 BST
View over Neckar River
View over Neckar River (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

As one of the few European countries that’s managed to successfully keep coronavirus rates down (so far), Germany is becoming an increasingly attractive holiday prospective.

From the wild beauty of the Black Forest to the effortless cool of Berlin, there’s plenty of choice for tourists.

But with quarantine measures across Europe changing quicker than the British weather, are we still allowed to go? And what will happen when we return?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Germany from the UK?

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued a blanket warning against all non-essential international travel in March, but this was lifted for various destinations on 4 July. The list of “low-risk” destinations has constantly evolved since then.

BA urges government to scrap quarantine for international arrivals

Germany was put on the FCDO’s safe list, meaning it’s exempt from the advisory and travellers can go there without invalidating their travel insurance.

How can I get there?

Flights are operating between the UK and Germany.

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are all offering flights between London and Berlin; British Airways and Lufthansa offer flights to Munich; Eurowings and Ryanair fly to Cologne; and BA, Eurowings, Ryanair and easyJet fly to Hamburg.

Alternatively, it’s fairly easy to get to Germany by train by getting the Eurostar and changing in Paris – although you will have to quarantine on return if you do.

Will they let me in when I arrive?

Yes – border restrictions have been lifted for UK citizens. However, whether or not you need to produce a negative Covid test result, get tested on arrival or quarantine is dependent on where you’re travelling from – Germany has different rules in place for regions designated “high risk”.  

Will I have to take a Covid-19 PCR test?

If you’re travelling from much of the UK (and haven’t been somewhere high risk in the previous two weeks), you don’t need to get tested for Covid-19 before travelling to Germany.

But if you’re travelling from Northern Ireland, Scotland, North East England, North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber, the Midlands or Wales, all designated high-risk areas, you’re required to show evidence of a negative Covid test result from less than 48 hours prior to arrival; otherwise, you must proceed directly to your accommodation and quarantine for 14 days.

“Those who can provide evidence of a negative test taken in a European Union member state or a state with comparable quality standards less than 48 hours prior to arrival may be exempted from the requirement to quarantine,” says the FCDO. “Individual federal states are responsible for the implementation of quarantine regulations and local rules may vary.”  

Travellers are warned not to use the free NHS testing service to get a test – “You should arrange to take a private test,” reads the advice.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?

Possibly. You don’t have to quarantine if travelling from a destination that hasn’t been deemed high risk. But if entering Germany from Northern Ireland, Scotland, North East England, North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber, the Midlands or Wales, you’re required to self-isolate for 14 days or until you can provide evidence of a negative coronavirus test result. It’s likely that a negative test will avoid the need for quarantine, but it’s not a guarantee, as federal states have their own policies in place.  

Will I have to quarantine when I come home?

No. Germany currently remains one of the few countries that is still on the Department for Transport’s travel corridors list, from where travellers are exempt from the blanket two-week quarantine imposed on nearly all arrivals.

Can I travel within Germany?

Technically yes, but there are rules in place regarding travelling from places with higher rates of coronavirus to elsewhere in the country.

An “accommodation ban” has been introduced, requiring those hailing from high-risk areas, including Berlin and Frankfurt, to provide a recently taken negative Covid test in order to stay overnight in other regions.  

Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, a state in Eastern Germany, demands that arrivals from Covid hotspots quarantine until they have had two negative test results. Find the latest rules from the region you’re visiting here.

Are hotels open?

Yes – accommodation facilities, such as hotels, holiday homes, guest houses and campsites have been able to reopen since May.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

Shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, museums and nearly all other attractions have all reopened with coronavirus measures in place.

Clubs, theatres, concert halls and opera houses remain closed.

Restrictions on opening hours vary between states; Berlin currently states that shops, bars and restaurants must close by 11pm and remain shut until 6am the following day.

What rules are in place?

You are required to wear a face covering while using public transport, in shops, at airports and in office buildings (employees are exempt while working at their desks). Failure to do so can result in a fine of €50 or more in nearly all of Germany’s 16 states (Saxony-Anhalt is the exception).  

People are also advised to stay a minimum of 1.5 metres (roughly 5 feet) away from those who are not in the same household.

Other measures vary from region to region; check here for individual states’ rules.

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