Guidebook Updates for Germany

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our guidebooks on Germany, we post them here. (We’ve also thrown in updates for Salzburg and Reutte, Austria, as they’re included in Rick Steves Germany.) Of course, it’s still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally. Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you’re set for a great trip!

Across Germany

  • The Deutsche Bahn's information line is now +49 (0)180-699-6633. This is a toll number, for which callers are charged a flat fee of 20 cents (€0.20) if calling from a landline, or 60 cents (€0.60) from a mobile phone.
  • City2City long-distance buses are no longer in business.
  • Lately, many restaurants — especially those in well-touristed areas — have added a "Tip is not included" line, in English, to the bottom of the bill. This is misleading, as the prices on any menu in Germany do include service. We don't advice tipping any more at all at a restaurant that includes this note on the bill. (Many Germans, incensed at this trend, are rebelling by tipping far less generously at eateries using this approach.)

Baden-Baden

  • Hotel Rathausglöckel’s restaurant has closed.

Berlin

  • Hotel Askanischer Hof has closed.
  • The tourist information office that had been in western Berlin's Neues Kranzler Eck building has moved to a spot on the ground floor of the Europa Center shopping mall (open Mon-Sat 10:00–20:00, closed Sun). A nearby "info box" kiosk on Rankestrasse, across the street from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, is open Sundays (as well as the rest of the week) 10:00–18:00.
  • The Hauptbahnhof (main train station) no longer has a left-luggage service — the Gepäckcenter under track 14 is now filled with lockers.
  • The Stasi Museum on Zimmerstrasse has closed. A second Stasi museum, this one in Friedrichshain, remains open.
  • The New Synagogue now closes a little earlier in the evenings. New hours: April–Oct Mon–Fri 10:00–18:00, Sun 10:00–19:00; Oct–March exhibit only (not dome) Sun–Thu 10:00–18:00, Fri 10:00–15:00; closed Sat year-round. Admission is now €5 for the main exhibit, and €3 for the dome (or €6 for a combo-ticket covering both).
  • The Berlin Story Museum has relocated from Unter den Linden to the Anhalter bunker. (The Berlin Story bookstore remains on Unter den Linden.) The Story of Berlin museum, a completely different sight, remains on Ku'damm.
  • The Berlin Wall Memorial's documentation center and visitor center now close at 18:00 year-round. The recently overhauled exhibit at the documentation center is geared to a new generation of Berliners who can hardly imagine their hometown split so brutally in two. The ground floor details the logistics of the city’s division, and its effects on Berliners. The next floor up gives the historical and political context behind the Wall’s construction and eventual destruction.
  • The Luigi Zuckerman deli, between Hachesher Markt and Rosenthaler Platz, is now called "My Smart Break," but still serves delicious and freshly made sandwiches and snacks.
  • The Erotic Museum near the Bahnhof Zoo has closed.
  • The Old Palace (Altes Schloss) section of Charlottenburg Palace will close in 2016 for extensive renovations that are expected to last the entire year. During that time the New Wing (Neue Flügel) remains open.

For books printed before December 2014, the following may apply:

  • At the Pergamon Museum, the Pergamon Altar, and about two thirds of the museum’s collection, is currently off-limits to viewing, and will remain so until 2020 as the museum undergoes a massive renovation. Museumpasses and Museum Island Passes no longer let you skip the ticket-buying line at the Pergamon; if you’ll be there before the altar closes, it’s smart to book an entry time online.
  • Finding Berlin has suspended its tour program, at least through 2014.
  • Insider Tour Berlin no longer offers bike tours.
  • EurAide’s desk at the Hauptbahnhof has moved to the first upper floor.
  • Hotel Bogota has closed.
  • Hotel Astoria has closed.
  • Bier’s Curry und Spiesse has closed its location at the Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn station.
  • The new Willy Brandt Brandenburg Airport is unlikely to open before 2016.

For books printed before December 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Recommended local guide Lee Evans was inadvertently omitted from some printings; he can be reached at mobile 0177-423-5307 and lee.evans@berlin.de.
  • Bus #129 no longer runs between the Jewish Museum and the Kreuzberg neighborhood.
  • Advance tickets are no longer required to enter the Pergamon and Neues museums.

Cologne

Dresden

  • The Old Masters Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister) is closing completely between Sept 14 and Oct 29, 2015 while its staff scoots all the paintings out of the west half of the gallery and into the recently renovated eastern half. On Oct 30, the gallery will re-open to visitors. (Renovation of the west half is expected to wrap up in 2018.)
  • We no longer recommend AHA Hotel.
  • The launderette on Reitbahnstrasse (Dani’s Waschsalon) has closed, but Dani’s branch near the station at Mosczinskystrasse 10 is still open (Mon–Sat 6:00–23:00, closed Sun).

For books printed before December 2014, the following may also apply:

Erfurt

For books printed before December 2014, the following may apply:

  • The Evangelisches Augustinerkloster is no longer accepting hotel guests.

Frankfurt

For books printed before December 2014, the following may apply:

Mosel Valley

For books printed before December 2014, the following may apply:

  • Eurail-branded rail passes (Select Pass, Global Pass, all two-country passes) do indeed still cover the entire fare on KD Line Mosel boats, as do single-country German Rail Pass (this uses up a travel day, so if you’re taking only a short boat ride, it may be smarter to pay out of pocket for your ticket in order to use your pass’ travel days on a more expensive train trip).

Munich

For books printed before December 2014, the following may apply:

  • In some books, the description of the EurAide office in the main train station is accompanied by a photo of the office’s former location; its current location is accurately described in the text.
  • Munich Walk no longer rents bikes.
  • Contrary to what’s suggested in our guidebooks, biking isn’t allowed within the grounds of Nymphenburg Palace.
  • The Deutsche Bahn–operated Munich–Prague express bus now departs from Munich’s Central Bus station (ZOB) at Hackerbrücke 4, rather than from the train station.
  • The prices listed for Hotel Belle Blue do not include breakfast.

Nürnberg

  • City Hostel has closed (just like the City Hotel mentioned below — but they are, or rather were, different places).

For books printed before December 2014, the following may also apply:

  • City Hotel has closed.

Potsdam

  • Tickets to the Neue Palais aren't available inside the palace itself but rather at the new visitors center just south of the palace's entry, near the gates (facing the front of the palace, the visitors center is to the right). This visitors center also has a handy WC (no WC inside the palace). While several parts of the palace, such as the famed Marble Hall, are off-limits to visitors during renovations, most of the palace remains open to visitors. (The nearby Orangerie, however, is completely closed until 2018.)
  • Rental bikes, a particularly smart option for getting around Potsdam, are available in Potsdam's main train station through Pedales.

Reutte

For books printed before November 2014, the following may apply:

  • STM Shuttle Services has gone out of business; there is currently no Reutte-based taxi service to or from the castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.

Rhine Valley

Bacharach

For books printed before December 2014, the following may also apply:

  • The Loreley Visitors Center may close in late 2014 or early 2015; call ahead or check online before you visit (tel. 06771/599-093).

For books printed before August 2014, the following may apply:

  • Eurail-branded rail passes (Select Pass, Global Pass, all two-country passes) do indeed still cover the entire fare on KD Line Rhine boats, as do single-country German Rail Pass (this uses up a travel day, so if you’re taking only a short boat ride, it may be smarter to pay out of pocket for your ticket in order to use your pass’ travel days on a more expensive train trip).
  • KD Line no longer runs an 11:00 cruise out of Koblenz.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

  • There is no longer any free weekday (or weekend) parking in any of Rothenburg's municipal parking lots.

For books printed before December 2014, the following may also apply:

For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Bürgerkeller restaurant has closed.

Salzburg

  • The DomQuartier museums are closed Tuesdays (not Mondays), except in July and August (Sept–June they're open Wed–Mon 10:00–17:00, and open daily in July–Aug).
  • Mozart's Birthplace is now open 8:30–19:00 daily in July and August (but still daily 9:00–17:30 the rest of the year).
  • Starting in 2016, the Mozart Dinner Concerts will start at 19:30 year-round.
  • Vietnam Pho 18 is now called "Wokman" (same great food and same friendly owners; now open Mon–Sat 11:30–15:00 & 17:00–21:00, often open later in July but closes earlier in Jan–Feb, closed Sun).

For books printed before November 2014, the following may apply:

  • The “Five O’Clock Concerts” (5-Uhr-Konzerte) mostly held in the Michael-Haydn-Museum have been canceled.
  • The Old Residenz palace is closed Mondays, except in July and August.
  • To get the Rick Steves discount for the Mozart Dinner Concert held at the Stiftskeller St. Peter restaurant, reserve by phone at +43 0662/828-695, or email office@skg.co.at.
  • To reach Hangar-7, take bus #10 not (#8) from Hanuschplatz to the Pressezentrum/Kuglhof stop (don’t get off at the airport terminal). Bus #10 runs Mon–Sat 4/hour, Sun 2/hour.
  • The Internet café near the Mönchsberg elevator has closed. Fortunately, the city has free Wi-Fi hotspots in the Mirabell Gardens, on Mozartplatz, and on Kapitelplatz (choose “Salzburg surft!” and click “Agree”).

For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Drivers must purchase an Austrian toll-road pass — called a Vignette — if they are using any toll road in Austria, even if they are just going from the German border into Salzburg.

Trier

For books printed before December 2014, the following may apply:

  • Krim restaurant has closed.
  • The basilica is closed for renovation until December 2014.

Wittenberg

For books printed before December 2014, the following may apply:

  • Castle Church is closed to visitors until early 2017, when its extensive renovations are complete (while tours inside the church run daily at 10:30 and 13:30, plus 16:30 on Sat–Sun, they’re only offered in German, and show you very little of the church’s interior).
  • The Town Church of St. Mary is currently closed to visitors while its extensive restoration is carried out (only its foyer, with photos of its most important pieces, is visitable). The church expects to fully reopen to visitors by February of 2015.

Würzburg

  • Hotel St. Josef is currently closed; it reopens after renovation and under new management as "City Hotel Würzburg" in January 2016 (prices due to go up, but not drastically).
  • While the Alter Kranen Brauerei-Gasthof's main restaurant is alive and well, its Biergarten is no more.