Monthly Archives: May 2022

Best day trip ideas in Germany

A Day Trip in Germany: 5 Top Ideas

As we transition from the cold and moody weather to the sunny and lovely summer, we all start to get excited about the upcoming holiday season. If you’re tired of always hanging out with your friends in the same old boring places and are looking for alternative plans, we’re here to help. There are a lot of beautiful hidden jewels worth visiting on a day trip in Germany, so let’s dive right into them!

Zugspitze – a nature’s gem

 

Being the highest mountain in Germany, it goes without saying that this beautiful location will blow your mind away. The Zugspitze is situated on the Austrian border –in the southern part of a town called Garmisch-Partenkirchen– and is fairly easy to reach by public transport, especially by train.

For those of us who wish to escape the everyday stress of vibrant cities, this spot in the Bavarian Alps is the definition of paradise. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or a nature lover, a breath-taking view of more than 400 summits in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy awaits you on the top of the mountain. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional athlete to climb the Zugspitze – there are easier routes that lead to its peak and it is also possible to hop on a cable car!

The best time of the year to visit this magnificent scenery is the month of August, since the risk of avalanche is lower during the summer. Biking, hiking, strolling around with your friends or simply tasting some traditional Bavarian dishes – we are sure that this day trip in Germany won’t disappoint you!

Starnberger See – the best getaway

If you want to take a break from the crowd in Munich and enjoy some quality time while you breath fresh air, Starnberger See is the place to go. Less than one hour and a half away from the capital by S-Bahn train, the second largest lake of the Bavarian state offers an endless range of options to choose from.

 

From a cultural point of view, Starnberger See holds a significant historical value, since the king Ludwig II drowned there in 1886. However, despite being a popular touristic destination, you may as well find the peaceful moments you’re searching for.

Several paths along the shore will allow you to have relaxing walks and find nice cafes, restaurants and even Biergartens with an impressive view of the Alps in the background. Besides having picnics and going for a swim with your friends, it is also possible to take a boat tour from spring to autumn and explore the villages and properties around the lake. Trust us, it will be worth it!

Heidelberg – a picturesque old town

Located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Heidelberg is one of those cities that you cannot miss as a day trip in Germany. Once you set foot in this town, you will feel like you stepped into the pages of a fairy-tale. If you don’t trust us, a quick Google search will be more than enough to get a glimpse of what we’re talking about.

This quaint city surrounded by forests becomes even more captivating in the spring, when flowers start blooming and the sun shines bright. With a medieval castle and a charming market square, there is almost nothing that this town cannot offer. Its main streets are bustling with visitors who enjoy wandering around the city and dining in good restaurants, while a stroll around the Neckar River will help you connect with nature. What’s more, we forgot to mention that Heidelberg is a famous university town, and therefore its nightlife will not disappoint you!

Bodensee – an exciting adventure

Bodensee, also known as Lake Constance, is a wonderful summer retreat during the hottest months of the year. Many cities have direct connections to the lake by train, including Karlsruhe, Munich, and Stuttgart, which makes it the perfect day trip in Germany to plan with your friends!

 

Not only will you be able to go on a boat ride and visit the idyllic Mainau Island, but also you will have the chance to test your adventurous skills. Action and water sports are the most popular activities at Bodensee. If you are ready for an adrenaline shot, there are several options for you: you can try windsurfing, stand up paddling, canoe trips, diving, sailing and so much more.

In case you prefer to have a calm sunbathing day, you can always choose to stay on the shore. However, you should keep in mind that the water temperature below the surface is really cold (since it is fed by the Alps), so be ready to soak the full experience in!

Neuschwanstein – the Disney fantasy

For Instagram lovers, taking the best pictures will be the highlight of the trip. We highly recommend you to walk up to the recently restored Marienbrücke, which bridges the Pollät Gorge waterfall and provides a spectacular panoramic view of Neuschwanstein and the nature around it.

Even though it is possible to reach the castle by public transport, there are no direct connections and it can take quite some time, which is why it might be better to book a one day trip from Munich that will take you directly to the castle and includes a guided tour to visit its interior.

If you’re still a bit skeptical about these trips due to their expenses, we have good news for you: as fuel prices continue to rise, the German government will offer a 9-euro ticket for unlimited trains, buses and trams from the 1st of June with the aim of encouraging citizens to take public transport. If you want to get more information about this ticket, check out their webpage. This means that you can spend a weekend in Berlin with your friends and head back home for only nine euros! How does it sound?

ENT Doctor HNO

Everything You Need to Know about an ENT doctor (HNO)

You will find out all about an ENT Doctor: Everything You Need To Know right here! We know that deciding whether we need to pay a visit to a general practitioner or another specialist can be quite difficult, especially if you are an expat who recently moved to Germany and is still not used to the national healthcare system. If this is the case, don’t worry – we are here to help you.

What is an ENT doctor?

Our partner Prof. Dr. med. Markus Hambek, ENT in Frankfurt, explains that the acronym ENT stands for “ear, nose and throat”. Therefore, an ENT doctor specializes in every disease that is related to those parts of the body and are also referred to as otolaryngologists. Yes, we know that this term can sound quite difficult, but it actually comes from Ancient Greek and it makes total sense: ὠτός otos, meaning “ear”; ῥίς rhis, meaning “nose”; λάρυγξ larynx, meaning “larynx” and λογία logia, meaning “study”. In German, ENT doctor is translated into HNO-Arzt, which stands for “Hals, Nasen and Ohrenheilkunde”.

When should you visit an ENT doctor?

In general, if you have problems with your ears, nose, throat or neck, you should look for an appointment with an ENT doctor. It is true that a general practitioner could provide a general examination of moderate diseases. Nevertheless, there are many occasions in which you should seek a specialist. Since the ear is a very complex organ and its connection to the throat, nose and neck is very delicate, an ENT doctor can always give more thorough advice than a GP could.

What are the most common conditions?

Severe ear pain, sudden hearing loss, swallowing and speech problems, sinusitis or swollen lymph nodes are some of the most common reasons to visit an ENT doctor. We are very familiar with some of these problems: for instance, ear infection or nose bleeding are very common among children. However, not everyone is conscious of the importance to visit an ENT doctor and there is a considerable lack of information about how we should treat these organs.

Have you ever wondered how often we should clean our ears? There is a widespread myth that we should be doing it every day. However, ENT doctors recommend not to clean them daily with cotton swabs, since the ear canal has a self-cleaning mechanism. The cerumen prevents the dehydration of the ear canal, so removing it with our own fingers should be enough.

Additionally, some HNO doctors are also allergologists. If you have symptoms like recurrent sneezing or long-lasting cough, they will be able to help you with a treatment for your allergy.

How should an ENT doctor help you?

The doctor and the patient always make the decision for a medical procedure together. The good indication given by the doctor represents his real and intellectual achievement. It is also the doctor’s responsibility to enable the patient to be participle in the decision making doctor by providing comprehensive advice and information.

In other cases, ache or discomfort in the ear-nose-throat-neck area can also be caused by diseases sprouting from other disciplines. It is important to bear this in mind in order to take the necessary steps accordingly. In such circumstances, the ENT doctor will get in touch with renowned colleagues in the respective departments of specialization. The competence in the particular case is decisive.

We hope that you found this article useful and that it helped you better understand when you should visit an ENT doctor. If you wish to find out more information about Prof. Dr. med. Hambek, check out his contact details here. And remember: an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

German Superstitions

8 German Superstitions – Common “Aberglaube” in Germany

Here’s a guide to the top 8 German superstitions! No matter where you come from, we are sure you are familiar with some strange superstitions. As irrational as they might be, we all have an overly superstitious friend – sometimes, we are even that friend!

Every country has its own odd beliefs and Germany is not an exception to the rule. Whether you consider yourself to be a superstitious person or not, if you recently moved to Germany and want to avoid some awkward situations, it might be useful to get to know some of the most common beliefs across the country.

Friday 13th

Every time the 13th day of the month happens to fall on a Friday, it is traditionally considered to bring bad luck in many countries around the world, especially in Western cultures. In Germany, this day is also thought to be an unlucky day. For instance, some Germans prefer not to take a plane on Friday 13th just in case something bad happens.

German superstitions-friday 13th
knock on wood

Knock on wood

We all know that knocking on wood three times is an international sign of superstition. In Germany, it is common to touch a piece of wood right after you mention something that you might find scary or that you don’t want to happen. As a curious fact, the material Italians touch is iron.

Prost

If you go out for drinks with your German friends and they suggest making a toast, be careful about where you are looking at. While raising their glasses and saying Prost, they will always make eye contact. Not looking into the eyes of your friends is not only considered to be rude, but it can also bring you seven years of bad luck in your sex life, so make sure you remember this rule!

German Superstitions- prost
dankeschön

Toi toi toi

Coming from abroad, the meaning behind this one might surprise you most out of all German superstitions. The phrase “toi, toi, toi” traces its origins back to the old tradition of spitting over your shoulder three times in order to keep the devil or other bad spirits away.

Of course, spitting on someone is not the nicest thing to do! That’s why Germans thought that imitating this sound would be a kinder way to wish someone good luck – dankeschön for the consideration, I guess!

 

Never an early birthday

Even though in other parts of the world we might think it is nice to wish our friends a happy birthday in advance if we throw a surprise birthday party for them, this is something most Germans will freak about. However, there is a reasonable explanation to this belief.

German Superstitions- Early birthday

In German, there are two ways to send well-wishes for someone’s birthday: Zum Geburtstag viel Glück and Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, meaning “good luck on your birthday” and “all the best for your birthday”, respectively. Therefore, they think that this good luck should only come on their day of birth; receiving it before will only have the opposite effect and bring them bad luck!

bread and salt house warming gift

Forbidden gifts

When looking for a gift for your loved ones, make sure you never make the mistake of buying the two cursed gifts in Germany: knives and shoes.

If your friend recently moved to a new apartment, you could come up with the idea of getting him or her a present for their home. Keep this in mind: never a knife! According to old German beliefs, knives are likely to cut the ties of a relationship or cause serious injuries when gifted.

On the other hand, you should know that the best housewarming presents in Germany are bread (Brot) and salt (Salz), since the belief is that bread provides your household with enough food and salt represents wealth and prosperity.

Last but not least, cross shoes off your gifts list unless you want your partner to run away in them – it would be your own fault!

Creepy ladders

Walking under a ladder supposedly brings bad luck worldwide, including Germany, but have you ever wondered why? This superstition goes back to ancient Egypt times. When a ladder leans against a wall, it forms a triangle shape, which Egyptians considered to be sacred. In their culture, triangles symbolised the trinity of gods and passing through them would mean dishonouring the deities.

German Superstitions Ladder
Broken Plate

Better broken than apart

Breaking a plate as a child would make your parents upset for the rest of the week. However, there is a special occasion in Germany in which you can make someone very happy with it.

Yes, as weird as it may sound, breaking a plate or any kind of old ceramic pottery the evening before a wedding is another one of those old German superstitions and a tradition known as Polterabend.

It is believed to bring good luck (especially if the bride and groom-to-be work together to pick up the broken dishes) since the thunderous sound of ceramic breaking is thought to ward off the evil. So, if you want your marriage to last, get ready to invest some money on new crockery!

Regardless of whether you believe in these 8 German superstitions or not, we hope that this article helped you understand some local beliefs better and bring you the best of lucks. After all, we all prefer not to risk it for the biscuit! Check out more on German Stereotypes and see if you an relate!

Working in Germany

7 Questions Answered: Working in Germany

Check out our 7 Questions Answered: Working in Germany. For expatriates coming to Germany, it can be a difficult task to locate employment. Furthermore, the process of attempting to find work here (applying for jobs, multiple rejections and so forth) can be quite stressful.

Luckily, we are here to provide you with any and all resources that will assist you in your job search and working in Germany, ensuring your success. Don’t lose faith – it’s not as hard as it seems.

1. What are the requirements to work in Germany as an expat?

The regulations regarding the employment of foreign citizens in Germany will depend on the individual’s country of origin; typically, this is divided into those that come from EU and non-EU nations.

Expats move to Germany

No visa or work permit is required for an individual from the EU/EEA countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland to be employed in Germany; only a valid ID card or passport is necessary to register upon one’s arrival.

Residents from the United States, Japan, Australia, Israel, Canada, South Korea or New Zealand must acquire a residence permit to enter Germany. However, a work permit is not mandatory to be able to take up employment in the nation.

For all citizens from countries other than Germany, a work visa is essential before entering the country. Basically, to be granted this visa, there must already be an accepted job offer or contract in place.

2. Can I find a job in Germany without speaking German?

Yes, it is possible to find English-speaking jobs in Germany. According to the German Federal Employment Agency, foreign workers made up 12% of Germany’s workforce in 2018. Having a basic knowledge of German could help expats speed up the job search process, as openings are available in various sectors.

3. How can I find a job in Germany as an expat?

In today’s digital world, the best way to look for a job in Germany is to utilize online job sites. Stepstone, Indeed and LinkedIn are some of the most widely used platforms in the country.

For those not familiar with the German language, we have compiled a list of top English-speaking job websites that will be useful during your search:

It is highly recommended that you have a well-constructed LinkedIn profile. There are an increasing number of businesses publicizing job openings on the platform, enabling applicants to apply directly. To make the job search more straightforward, use the keyword “English” when searching for offers.

Besides these platforms, the Federal Government of Germany published an up-to-date list with figures of the current available job occupations across the country depending on the sector that you might also find useful.

It is worth taking a look at the job postings, even though the majority of job titles are written in German. Several positions only necessitate English fluency and many of the job descriptions are provided in English.

4. Which jobs are in demand in Germany? 

Job openings in Germany that require engineering, software development and digital communications skills are in high demand, according to recent statistics. In addition, there is a high demand for IT specialists, physicians, nurses, scientists, analysts and sales managers, among others.

Highly Demanded Jobs in Germany

Don’t lose hope if your qualifications don’t line up with the positions available; there are plenty of job opportunities in Germany. In fact, Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe (3.1%) so you have a good chance at finding a great job.

 

5. What is the minimum wage in Germany?

In 2022, the minimum wage in Germany experienced an increase on two occasions. This resulted in a per hour rate of 9.82 euros, which amounts to 1,571 euros if one holds a full-time job of 40 hours per week. 

Consequently, already among the highest in the world, German salaries were further bolstered by this change. From July 1st, this amount went up again to 10,45 euros per hour (1,672 €).

Additionally, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) increased minimum wage to 12 euros per hour in October 2022.

If you wish to know more about what your average salary in Germany would look like given your qualifications, check out the salary tool offered by StepStone here.

6. What is a normal working day in Germany?

Just in like most countries, working in Germany offers the possibility to work in full-time or part-time positions. In general, the typical working week for full-time positions is between 36 and 40 hours. On average, people work seven or eight hours per day, five days per week.

The German Labour and Employment law states that working hours must not exceed 48 hours in a given week if someone has multiple jobs. Additionally workers are legally allowed 24 days of annual leave yearly; however, many businesses provide their personnel with 30 days of paid holiday time.

7. Is insurance a requirement for employment in Germany?

Yes, health insurance is mandatory for everyone who wishes to work in Germany, without any exceptions. However, exploring the possibility of working as an expat can seem daunting. There are various sources providing help and guidance.

If you need any more information regarding health insurance or the type of insurance that you need, do not hesitate to contact our partners from MW Expat, they will advise you on what is the best option for you depending on your personal situation and find the best solution.

Working in Germany – How to Find a Job in Germany

We hope that you found this guide about working in Germany useful for your job search. We wish you all the good luck in the world!

Vienna City Guide

City Guide for Expats in Vibrant Vienna | Wien, Wien, nur du allein

Whether you’ve lived here for years or have just started thinking about moving here, expats in Vienna love the city for many aspects. Read our City Guide for Expats in Vibrant Vienna and learn everything there is to know.

 

Facts about Vienna

 

Vienna is both the capital and an independent province of Austria. About 1.9 min. people live here, which means a good fifth of the total population of Austria.

Since Vienna already played an important role in international diplomacy at the Congress of Vienna, it is still an important meeting place of more than 30 international organizations, such as OPEC, the IAEA and the OSCE. The so-called Viennese Schmäh, i.e. Viennese charm, also characterizes the city and makes it something special, attracting about 7.5 million tourists every year. Classicism, art and clichés are attributes to reckon with when you move here.

Expat Vienna City Guide

Vienna’s cityscape is characterized by coffeehouses, historic buildings and many green spaces. Its artistic and intellectual heritage was shaped by residents such as Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. Moreover, you cannot get past the most famous Viennese: Sissi, the well-known empress of Austria who lived in the 19th century, shapes the city and you continuously walk past buildings and places that are connected with her.

What are some highlights of Vienna?

Vienna has so much to offer in terms of culture, cuisine and modern city life that it is really difficult to make a selection that does justice to everything. However, we want to introduce you to the most important highlights:

  • Of course, you have to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It is considered the landmark of Vienna, and is also called the national shrine.
  • Schönbrunn Palace, built in its present form in the 18th century as a summer residence for Archduchess Maria Theresa, has been located in Vienna’s 13th district, Hietzing, since 1892.
  • The Hofburg zu Wien was the residence of the Habsburgs in Vienna from the 13th century until 1918. Since the end of 1946 it has been the official residence of the Austrian Federal President. and houses most of the Austrian National Library as well as various museums and the Federal Monuments Office.
  • The Vienna Prater is an extensive, about 6 km², largely public area in the 2nd district of Vienna.
  • The Museums Quartier Wien (MQ) is one of the largest cultural areas in the world. A flair that matches the urban lifestyle of the visitors: Preserve the old, experience the new and enjoy it all together. On the edge of old Vienna, it combines culture, cafes and restaurants.
  • The Leopold Museum is a unique treasure trove of Viennese Modernism, the Wiener Werkstätte and Expressionism.

What other places or activities should not be missed?

  • Vienna’s Naschmarkt is not only the city’s largest market, but also the most exotic. Vendors offer a wide range of products from Indian curry to fresh pasta and live carp to sushi. Meanwhile, many of the classic market stalls have been transformed into small restaurants.
  • Another Viennese tradition, although not quite cheap, is a ride on a Fiaker. Fiaker are historical horse-drawn carriages that drive the guest through the city and give you a tour of the sights.
Vienna view of a city square and a horse-drawn carriage

There are, of course, numerous other highlights that make Vienna unique. Usually it is best to get get a feel for the city yourself, because after all, everyone sets their own priorities when it comes to deciding which city to live in. However we are confident that expats in Vienna will definitely enjoy this cosmopolitan, attractive city that has a lot to offer.

What is living in Vienna like?

The average rent in Vienna ranges from 14.25 € to 21.23 € per square meter.

The 17th district is the most popular residential district for the Viennese. The burgeoning area with many new construction projects is in demand. The 15th district has become an absolute trendy neighbourhood in recent years with new pubs, good public transport connections and many new apartments.

Especially for young people, Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus is exciting. In the Sonnwendviertel, you can find start-up companies right next to modern apartment buildings. Expats in Vienna also like Floridsdorf, a large and diverse district particularly popular with families: it is both urban and rural.

Vienna City Public Transport

How is the public transport system in Vienna?

Vienna’s subway network consists of five lines, while the S-Bahn has ten lines available for transportation. In addition, there are about a hundred bus lines that make daily life easier. Vienna Airport is a hub for flights, especially to Eastern Europe and the Middle East. From there, 77 airlines fly to 68 countries worldwide with 217 destinations. So in terms of connectivity, Vienna is well equipped, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to reach a destination.

What are some traditional dishes in Vienna?

What makes Vienna so special? Viennese cuisine, of course, unsurpassed in its diversity and with its influences from the former countries of the Habsburg monarchy. Traditional dishes are manyfold from Wiener Schnitzel to goulash, along with a really good – let’s call it that – “everyday gastronomy”: the Viennese Beisl. 

A Beisl is a typical Viennese eatery. Down-to-earth, cozy and homey, it holds its own in a booming restaurant scene and offers genuine Viennese cuisine. The term Beisl probably comes from Yiddish – from “bajiss” (house). The classic Viennese Beisl has a spacious bar, where wine is chilled and beer is tapped. The Beisl is definitely worth a visit if you want to try the following dishes:

  • Wiener Schnitzel
  • Sachertorte
  • Viennese apple strudel
  • Kaiserschmarrn
  • Pancakes
  • beef soups
  • Classic Tafelspitz
  • Butterschnitzel

These are all dishes of traditional Viennese cuisine that you should definitely try.

Those who prefer international cuisine will of course also find what they are looking for in Vienna. Virtually every district of the city has both a Beisl and restaurants with international cuisine. Ask the locals for tips!

Vienna is a city with world flair. Expats in Vienna will not only find good professional conditions, but also a metropolis that combines modernity with history and tradition. The only thing you have to get used to is the Viennese “Schmäh”! Have fun exploring!

Looking for an English-speaking service in Vienna? Browse through our categories or contact us through our Concierge Services! We are here to help you simplify your life as an expat in Vienna.