Why (and where) Germans are choosing to go on vacation by car this year


After months of containment measures, the Germans clearly have the travel bug. But with air travel often with a higher risk of catching Covid – plus additional restrictions – many people in Germany are choosing to travel to their vacation spots by car.

That’s why hotels and vacation homes in some of the most popular destinations for Germans – Austria and Italy – are already posting their bookings.

So if you are planning a trip to any of these countries you might find that the roads are very busy because a lot of other people have the same idea.

But it’s not just foreign spots that catch people’s attention – vacations in Germany are also popular.

Although the Baltic Sea and the North Sea are at the top of many people’s lists, the German Association of Hotels and Restaurants says other parts of the German countryside will also see an increase in tourism this year.

READ ALSO: How a rental car shortage across Europe could derail vacation plans

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Ingrid Hartges, head of this association, said: “The beautiful weather we saw throughout the month of June had a really positive influence on people who decide to go on holiday to Germany.

Recently, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg and Berlin all started their summer vacation period, with the rest of the German federal states to follow in the coming weeks.

A significant increase can be seen in the number of people traveling by car for their summer vacation in 2021. According to TUI, Europe’s largest travel agency, the most common destinations are Germany, Austria, South Tyrol in Italy and Istria, where most of the coveted family rooms in hotels and guesthouses have already been purchased. There will also be a large influx of campers and people with vacation homes in these areas.

READ ALSO: Where (and Why) Demand for Holiday Homes in Germany Is Soaring

So, are the roads going to be overcrowded?

Some people worry that the increase in car trips could cause major traffic jams this summer, but transport experts assure travelers that it will not. Vacationers should expect a fair amount of traffic on highways and common vacation routes, but the roads are unlikely to be completely congested.

Traffic on the A3 south of Cologne on July 3. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Henning kaiser

From mid-July it looks like car journeys will only get longer, especially on weekends, and especially for those traveling south. Most people traveling to Italy or Austria will leave by mid-August.

In the summer of 2019, 594 traffic jams stretching over 10 kilometers were reported across Germany. On the first weekend of August, there were 63 of these “mega” traffic jams in Bavaria alone, with a total length of 786 kilometers.

The worst of them happened on the road between Munich and Salzberg. The main holiday destinations that summer were Austria, Italy and Croatia, as well as the Alps. The North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Netherlands and France were also popular among drivers.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has proven to be a challenge for travelers this summer. In many German states, hotels have had to place a limit on the number of guests they can accommodate, and regular testing or proof of vaccination / recovery is still required to eat indoors at many restaurants. Any further lifting of restrictions is highly dependent on how quickly the vaccine is rolled out.

Also, some people are not so keen on traveling hundreds of miles for their vacation and still choose to fly. Now that more of the population has been vaccinated against Covid-19, and cases remain low in Germany, it is becoming easier to go abroad. The main destinations for Germans traveling by air are Mallorca, Crete, Antalya, the Canary Islands and Greece.

READ ALSO: What are the rules for traveling to some of Germany’s favorite vacation destinations?

What are the Covid rules for entering Germany by car?

Germany changed its travel rules on July 1 due to the current low infection rate, which means it is becoming much easier to travel to Europe and return to Germany.

READ ALSO: How the latest German rules on international travel affect you

In general, if you are traveling by land (for example by train or car) from a basic risk area (not a high incidence or viral variant area), you can show proof of your Covid test. -19 negative, proof of recovery or proof of vaccination on Einreiseanmeldung.de portal within 48 hours of crossing the border with Germany.

If this is submitted, travelers will not are required to self-quarantine upon their return to Germany.

None of Germany’s neighboring countries are currently listed by the government as a “high risk” or “viral variant” area in terms of coronavirus and its variants.

If they come from a high incidence area, those vaccinated and people who have recovered from Covid-19 do not have to quarantine – but unvaccinated people will need to do a 10-day quarantine which can be shortened if they test negative on the fifth day.

In fact, the neighboring countries of Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland, for example, are currently classified as “risk-free” countries, which means that it is now possible to travel. more easily in these countries – you don’t even need to register online when coming from risk-free countries.

Of course, the classification of different countries is changing all the time as new variants spread and infection rates rise and fall, so it’s best to keep an eye on the Robert Koch Institute. list of designated risk areas before planning your trip.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED – How to get your digital Covid vaccine pass in Germany to travel to the EU

People traveling from “areas of concern for viral variants” – such as Portugal, the United Kingdom and Russia – are generally banned from entering Germany.

Only German nationals and holders of a residence permit are currently allowed to travel from countries with variant viruses, and it is currently required both to show a negative Covid-19 test result on entry and to complete a 14-day quarantine – even if they are vaccinated.

If you are coming from a high incidence or variant car virus area, please note that you must register online before arriving in Germany.


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