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

For books printed before January 2016, the following may apply:

  • 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.
  • 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 advise 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.)

Berlin & nearby

For books printed before December 2018, the following may apply:

  • Passports are now required for entry to the Reichstag, and must be presented with the confirmation letter received after making the required online reservation.
  • The Pergamon Museum has a new €19 combo-ticket that covers the new "Pergamon. Das Panorama" exhibit with museum admission; visitors with Museum Island Pass or Museum Pass Berlin pay €6. The exhibit — a wraparound panorama painting of the city of Pergamon in AD 129 — will be in a pavilion across from Museum Island while the Pergamon Altar is undergoing restoration.
  • The Museum Pass Berlin now includes the German History Museum.
  • Buying tickets online in advance is now recommended to avoid lines at the DDR Museum.
  • Several local guides have updated their contact information: 
  • The Jewish Museum Berlin is no longer staying open late on Mondays. The museum's permanent exhibit is under construction through late 2019. You can still visit the Memorial spaces: Axis of Exile; Axis of Holocaust; Axis of Continuity; Memory Void; garden and tower.
  • The Deutsche Kinemathek Film and TV Museum is now open on Mondays and closed on Tuesdays.
  • The Silent Heroes Memorial Center has moved from the Hackescher Markt to the German Resistance Memorial location.
  • Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hackescher Markt has a new website.
  • NH Berlin Mitte Leipziger Strasse hotel is now called NH Collection Berlin Mitte Am Checkpoint Charlie and has a new email address: nhcollectionberlinmitte@nh-hotels.com.
  • The famous Fassbender & Rausch chocolate shop on Gendarmenmarkt has dropped "Fassbender" – it's just the Rausch chocolate shop now.
  • The following restaurants have closed: Die Zwölf Apostel (both the one near Museum Island and the one on Bleibtreustrasse), La Bodeguita del Medio (Lychener Strasse 6), Imbiss 204 (in the Kollwitzkiez area), and Café Sibylle (in eastern Berlin).
  • The Fat Tire Bikes location at Zoologischer Garten has closed.
  • In Potsdam, the #603 bus only leaves from the main train station on summer weekends. On summer weekdays and off-season, you can catch the #603 at Platz der Einheit, a 15-minute walk past the Alter Markt (reachable by multiple bus or tram lines from the station).

For books printed before September 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Pergamon Museum hall containing the Pergamon Altar will remain closed until at least 2025 (the south wing of the museum, with the Ishtar Gate, the Market Gate of Miletus, and the Museum of Islamic Art, remains open for now). A nearby pavilion (on Am Kupfergraben, directly across from Museum Island), now houses a temporary exhibit about the altar. While a new riverside entrance pavilion is being built, the entrances to the Pergamon, Neues Museum, and Old National Gallery may shift around, but visitors can expect these reroutings to be well-signed.
  • The Berlin Story bookstore on Unter den Linden has closed.
  • There is no longer an overnight train option between Berlin and Budapest.

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Hotel Jurine doesn't have air-conditioning in any of its rooms (including the top floor).
  • The Hekticket booth on Alexanderplatz is temporarily located at Alexanderstrasse 1, across from Hotel Park Inn (it'll move back to its normal spot once construction has wrapped up in the square).

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • 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, 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 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.

Black Forest

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

Cologne

  • It's now possible to book tickets in advance for the Chocolate Museum, which often has long lines in high season.

Dresden

For books printed before January 2018, the following may apply:

  • Dani's Waschsalon launderette on Mosczinskystrasse has closed.

Erfurt

For books printed before January 2017, the following may apply:

  • Pension Rad-Hof has closed.

Frankfurt

Füssen & nearby

  • At the King's Castles, it's now recommended that visitors pick up their tickets 1.5 hours before their tour (the ticket center now opens a half-hour earlier, at 7:30 in high season and 8:30 from mid-Oct-March). Buying tickets online in advance is recommended. However, a percentage of tickets for the King's Castles are set aside for in-person purchase, so if reservations for a chosen day are sold out online, tickets can still be purchased by arriving early in the day (arrive by 11:00 to beat the crowds). In August, tickets can run out by noon. Those wanting to hike up to Mary's Bridge prior to their tour should also allow extra time as there's often a line to get onto the bridge. 
  • The grotto at Linderhof Castle is closed through 2021 while it undergoes restoration work.
  • Local guide Silvia Skelac in Füssen has a new email address: info@crossroads-services.com.
  • Restaurant Kelari in Füssen has closed.
  • Via Bar in Füssen is closed for renovations.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Pöllat Gorge is currently closed to hikers.
  • The Bayern-Ticket for regional train travel is now called the "Regional Day Ticket for Bavaria."
  • If you're in Füssen and want to take a bus tour of Bavaria's highlights, consider European Castles Tours. They offer various one-day tours, as well as multi-day tours, out of Füssen and Munich. Their Bavarian Highlights Tour, which covers the Wieskirche, Oberammergau, and Linderhof Castle, fills a niche for travelers without wheels. Check their tour schedule and plan ahead; tours generally don't run daily. (Keep in mind that you can visit Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria's biggest sight, on your own without a bus tour.)

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Reservations for Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles can no longer be made by phone or email; book online at least two days in advance. Reservations cost €1.80 per person per castle.
  • The shuttle bus to Neuschwanstein Castle now departs about every 20 minutes from the parking lot just below Hohenschwangau Castle, and drops off near Mary's Bridge.
  • Mary's Bridge, above Neuschwanstein Castle, and the nearby Pöllat Gorge may close in winter during inclement weather.
  • Ski Sport Luggi bike rental in Füssen has moved to Luitpoldstrasse 11.
  • In Oberammergau, Pension Zwink has been renovated with nine rooms and has reopened as Mammhofer Suite & Breakfast.

Hamburg

Leipzig

  • The Contemporary History Forum is closed in 2018 for renovation.

Mosel Valley

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Any rail pass that covers Germany gives travelers a 20 percent discount on the Köln-Düsseldorfer (K-D) Line boats without starting a counted travel day of a flexipass.

Munich

  • The Glyptothek is closed for a years-long renovation.
  • The Neue Pinakothek is be closed for renovations through at least 2019. During construction, highlights from the collection will be displayed at the Alte Pinakothek

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Café Tambosi has closed.
  • The Bayern-Ticket for regional train travel is now called the "Regional Day Ticket for Bavaria."

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • At the Dachau Memorial, some areas of the camp may begin to close before 17:00 — plan to wrap up your visit by 16:40 to allow time to exit by 17:00.

Nürnberg

For books printed before April 2018, the following may also apply:

  • To get to the Nazi Documentation Center and the former Nazi Rally Grounds, catch tram #8 (not #9) in the direction of Doku-Zentrum.

Rhine Valley

  • During its multiyear restoration, parts of the Rheinfels Castle grounds, including the tunnels, can only be seen with a guided tour. Tours are run in both German and English but determined on the day by who shows up; to arrange an English tour for a group, call 1–2 days in advance (tel. +40 (0)6741/7753; in winter +40 (0)6741/383). If you plan to take a tour, you must bring a flashlight for the dark tunnels.
  • In Bacharach, Hotel Kranenturm has a new email address: hotel.kranenturm@gmail.com.
  • In Bacharach, Hotel Hillen has closed.
  • In Bacharach, the Posthof restaurant has closed.
  • In St. Goar, Hotel am Markt has a new website and email address: dashotel@t-online.de.
  • In St. Goar, Hotel an der Fähre has a new email address: info@hotel-stgoar.de.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Any rail pass that covers Germany gives travelers a 20 percent discount on the Köln-Düsseldorfer (K-D) Line boats without starting a counted travel day of a flexipass.

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Pension Lettie in Bacharach has closed.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

For books printed before August 2018, the following may apply:

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

Salzburg & Berchtesgaden

  • Rick Steves readers get discounts for concerts at the Mirabell Palace (Schlosskonzerte). Use code "RICK10" when booking online.
  • At Hohensalzburg Fortress, admission is no longer discounted when visiting later in the day.
  • In Berchtesgaden, it's now possible to book advance tickets online for the salt mines to avoid long lines.
  • To take the bus to Augustiner Bräustübl from Hanuschplatz, take bus #4 rather than #8 (buses #7, #21, #24, #27, or #28 still work).
  • At the Obersalzberg Documentation Center and Bunker in Berchtesgaden, the bunkers are closed until at least September 2018 for urgent restoration.
  • Stein Terrace, the seventh-floor rooftop terrace café at Hotel Stein, has reopened as Seven Senses restaurant (daily 7:00–late, tel. + 43 (0)662/877-277).
  • Segway Tours no longer operates its one-hour city tour (but still runs its 1.5-hour and two-hour tours). Its operating schedule has also changed: 3/day, daily June–Aug, Wed–Sun March–May and Sept–Oct, and no tours Nov–Feb.
  • The International Youth Hostel in Salzburg has a new email address: yoho@yoho.at.
  • Saran Essbar restaurant has closed.
  • Bar Club Café Republic has closed.

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The ticketing system has changed at Hohensalzburg Fortress: The "basic" ticket includes most castle sights plus some museums; the more expensive "standard" ticket adds the recently restored Regency Rooms. (As before, it's a few euros more to ride the funicular up than to walk.)
  • The Franciscan Church is no longer part of the tour through the DomQuartier museums.

For books printed before January 2016, the following may also apply:

  • 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).
  • The Mozart Dinner Concerts now 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).

Trier

Wittenberg

For books printed before January 2018, the following may also apply:

For books printed before January 2017, the following may also apply: