British in Germany

Living in Germany

Planning your Route


Personally I have a TomTom navigation system. It gets me to where I want to go every time and is well worth a giggle when you listen to it pronounce the place names.

There are free internet route planners out there too. The vehicle recovery companies and a number of other travel information companies provide them. The most powerful will not only give you the fastest route from A to B (or Aberdeen to Berlin), they can suggest alternative routes (fastest, shortest, toll free, and even scenic), give details of hotels and restaurants on route, suggest interesting stops on the way, tell you how long the journey will take, and can even calculate it's cost.

Some of the best internet route planners are:

UK and European route planner - the RAC's free 'Plan Route' service is simple and easy to use. It offers great directions for destinations in both the UK and mainland Europe. You can choose the 'fastest' or 'shortest' routes, add up to three places you need to travel via (very handy if you want to travel from the UK to Europe via a port or the tunnel) and pick 'short' or 'long' driving directions.

UK route planner - the AA route planner is the best of the bunch for the UK, but only okay for Europe. It provides clear maps and excellent directions, including landmarks such as pubs or service areas. Unfortunately it gives the choice of 'in Great Britain' or 'in Continental Europe' and so it struggled when we asked for a route from Ashford to Paris - you need to get one route for the UK leg of your journey and one for the European leg

European route planner - the Via Michelin provided by the people who bring you the Michelin hotel and restaurant guides (and tyres). This is the best route planner we have found for mainland Europe but not so good for the UK. It will calculate the cost and journey times of up to five route types - from 'recommended' to 'shortest' or even 'scenic' (France only). This may sound unnecessary, but it's great when deciding whether the time saved by travelling via toll roads is worth the extra cost. You can pick summary or detailed instructions, the maps are very clear and, as you would expect, the guides for hotels and restaurants you will pass on the journey are excellent. It also has a handy 'traffic and weather' section.

Google's route planner - Another free service, this time from Google Maps. It will plan a route to and from your destination.


By Air

Air TravelFlying to Germany from the UK is easy. The national airline is Lufthansa (LH). Many other airlines serve the country, including an increasing number of low-cost no frills airlines (such as Easyjet and Ryanair) operating from smaller airports in the UK.


Direct Flights from London Airports

London City Airport (LCY)

London Gatwick Airport (LGW)

London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

London Stansted Airport (STN)

Direct Flights from other UK Airports

Birmingham Airport (BHX)

Bournemouth Airport (BOH)

Bristol Airport (BRS)

Edinburgh Airport (EDI)

Manchester Airport (MAN)

Shannon Airport (SNN)


International Airports in Germany

Berlin-Tegel (TXL) - 8km (5 miles) northwest of Berlin

Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) - 20km (12 miles) southeast of Berlin

Berlin-Tempelhof (THF) - 6km (4 miles) southeast of Berlin

Bremen (BRE) - 3.5km (2 miles) from Bremen

Cologne (Köln/Bonn) (CGN) - 14km (9 miles) southeast of Cologne, and 21km (13 miles) northeast of Bonn

Dresden (DRS) - 9km (6 miles) northeast of Dresden

Düsseldorf (DUS) - 8km (5 miles) north of Düsseldorf

Frankfurt Hahn - Cheapy flights - nowhere near Frankfurt though!

Hamburg (HAM) - 9km (5 miles) north of Hamburg

Hannover (HAJ) - 11km (7 miles) north of Hannover

Munich (MUC) - 28.5km (18 miles) northeast of the city

Münster-Osnabrück (FMO) - 25km (16 miles) from Münster

Nuremberg (NUE) - 7km (4 miles) north of Nuremberg

Saarbrücken (SCN) - 16km (10 miles) from Saarbrücken


By Car/Sea

CarSince the opening of the channel tunnel in 1994, with competition between the Eurotunnel and the Eurostar, ferries have steamed ahead with the restult that you can get some really good deals.


Via France

Dover to Calais (France). Contact P&O Ferries on 08705 20 20 20.

Dover to Calais (France). Contact Hoverspeed on 0870 240 8070.

Dover to Calais (France). Contact SeaFrance on 08705 711 711.

Dover to Dunkerque (France). Contact Norfolkline on 0870 8701020


By Car/Tunnel

TunnelThe Channel Tunnel: Eurotunnel operates trains 24 hours per day through the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone in Kent (with direct access from the M20) and Calais in France. All vehicles, from motorcycles to campers, can be accommodated. Eurotunnel operates three to four passenger trains per hour at peak times. The journey takes approximately 35 minutes. For further information, contact Eurotunnel Reservations from the UK tel: (08705) 353 535.


By Coach

CoachFor regular coach services from the UK to Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt/M, Dortmund, Hannover, Munich and other destinations in the Federal Republic of Germany, contact: Eurolines from the UK tel: (08705) 143 219.


Agents in the UK:-

National Express - from the UK tel: (08705) 808 080 or (08701) 595 959

Transline - from the UK tel: (01375) 390 039; fax: (01375) 394 488


By Rail

TrainTrain/ferry routes from London are from London Victoria via Dover and Ostend, or London Liverpool Street to Hook of Holland via Harwich. Travel time to Cologne/Bonn is around 10 hours.

Train/channel tunnel route from the UK is through the channel tunnel with Eurostar who operate direct high-speed trains through the channel tunnel from London (Waterloo International) to Paris (Gare du Nord) and to Brussels (Midi/Zuid). From London to Paris, travel time is 3 hours; from London to Brussels, travel time is 2 hours 40 minutes. From there you have to get a train to your destination in Germany.

Travelling by rail in Germany is a real treat. They do have trains that arrive late, and they do have trains that are a bit mucky sometimes, but generally they are punctual, comfortable and clean.

To plan your journey through Germany Deutsche Bahn have an excellent route planner - in English - hurrah!



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