Can’t take that dream vacation to Germany just now? Why not bring a bit of German culture to you. Stock the fridge with Weissbier and Wurst and follow these simple tips on how to be German…

Two young Bavarians dressed in traditional dress drink beer at Oktoberfest.
Juice! War schoen!”

A little Deutsch goes a long way

It’s easy to get by with English in Germany (Berlin in particular), but the locals appreciate it if you learn a few simple words of German. Here are some easy ones: Say “Hallo” for “Hello” and “Tschüss” (pronounced “juice” but with a “ch” at the beginning) for “Bye”. “Please” is “Bitte” and “Thank you” is “Danke”. Downloading a language app or even streaming shows in German is a great way to brush up at home.

Two young Germans cheer on their team at a football game wearing face paint.
Locals at soccer matches are easy to spot

Dialect will win over the locals

Our tip? Level up your language by learning some of the local dialects. If you’re planning on hiking in the Bavarian alps, switch out “Hallo” for “Grüss Gott!”. If you’d prefer to browse the stalls at the Hamburg Fischmarkt, try a friendly “Moin moin!” instead.

Eat the German way…

Photo of Bavarian pretzels with salt hanging on a wooden stand.
Best served warm with cream cheese. And yes… that’s salt!

If you love snacking, then you’ll love the Bavarian concept of Brotzeit, which translates to bread time. At Brotzeit, Germans in this region sit down to a platter of pretzels, pickles, flavoured soft cheese, sliced meats, and more. Why not bring Brotzeit to you? Slice some bread and clean out the fridge — the more pickles and condiments, the better! Arrange artfully on a wooden board, then enjoy. 

…and drink the German way!

Traditional German cooking, while delicious, is not exactly light. Think: dumplings, pork knuckle, and roast duck. It’s traditional to finish your hearty meal with a shot of Schnaps — that’s a delicious fruit-, herb-, or grain-infused brandy, supposed to aid your digestion. Give it a try at home. You’re not clearing out the liquor cupboard, you’re simply being German!

Photo of a cooked pork knuckle with a beer at a beer festival.
The food matches the weather, really.

Don’t forget cake

It’s a time-honored German tradition. As soon as the clock strikes 4pm, Germans stop work and break for Kaffee und Kuchen, or coffee and cake… and a little light gossip. Recreate the ritual at home with a Filterkaffee or a milky coffee (Germans are experts when it comes to dairy!) and a slice of Mohnkuchen. FaceTime your chattiest friend for a truly authentic experience.

From traditional biergartens…

Two Bavarian men wearing Lederhosen drink traditional beers outside in a biergarten.
Beers served by the liter, because Germans take quenching thirst seriously.

Want a taste of traditional Germany? There’s nothing more German than a Biergarten. From Heidelberg to Hanover, on sunny days, you’ll find Germans drinking beer in shady beer gardens at long shared tables. For your at-home Biergarten, find the largest drinking vessels you have and fill them with frothy beer. Then download a playlist of traditional drinking songs, for sing-along, drink-along fun.

…to thumping techno beats

There’s more to German culture than tradition. In fact, the capital Berlin is known as a nightlife mecca, especially for techno-heads. World-famous clubs like Berghain and Tresor stay open for days at a time… so you better get into techno-training now! We suggest reps of fist-pumping, head-nodding, and marching on the spot. And, one more thing: some of those Berlin clubs have notoriously picky door policies. It’s never too soon to start planning your perfect all-black outfit.

Immerse yourself in German culture

Young Bavarian woman wears the traditional Dirndl dress in Munich.
Bonus points if you don a dirndl whilst reading. Goethe would approve.

Germany has a rich cultural heritage and Germans are justifiably proud of their poets, like Goethe and Schiller, and their philosophers, like Nietzche and Hegel. But contemporary German culture has a lot to offer, too. Want to ride shotgun on a laugh-out-loud roadtrip across Germany? Dip into Wolfgang Herrndorf’s bestselling novel, Why We Took the Car. Or, for a bird’s-eye perspective on Berlin, try Wim Wender’s evocative movie, The Wings of Desire.

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