Germany is a great country for hitchhiking. Just make sure you get on the Autobahn (motorway)! There it is best to get to a Raststätte (service area) where drivers can legally stop and get from one to another. You will often find maps with the motorways and the service areas along them.
In Germany there are no speed limits on many highways. So you might first want to try to get a ride with fast cars before asking truck drivers! Trucks are great during nighttime, but like in France, there are restrictions to when they might drive. In Germany, trucks aren't allowed to drive on weekends from Saturday 10 PM to Sunday 10 PM or on public holidays.
In Germany license plates start with an abbreviation of the region where the car is registered. So look out for number plates starting with B if you're hitching to Berlin!
- See German car number plates and List of abbreviations used (in German) on Wikipedia for more information.
Germany implemented the Schengen Agreement. This means, that the border to other Schengen countries are open. At the borders to non-Schengen countries (Poland, Czech Republic and Switzerland) there are still checkpoints and German custom officers or sometimes police might control your luggage. These border crossings are usually among the best places in Europe to find a long distance ride. If you hitchhike on the border stand well behind the border pass on or close to the edge of the border control area and additional services (shops and parkings) and the beginning of the motorway or national road. It is best to leave the car 100-200 meter (in stead of 10 meter) after the border; in that case border guardians rarely bother about hitchhikers.
Try to avoid eating on service stations on the motorways. They are very expensive (you even have to pay for the toilets) and the food is usually very bad. At some service stations you get a 1€ bill for the toilet. You can buy thinks for 1€ with it at the petrol station shop and at the restaurant. You can drink water from the tap nearly everywhere in Germany.
Keep in mind that most shops (including supermarkets) are not allowed to open on Sundays. Also most supermarkets close at 20:00 or even earlier. There are no 24h-shops, but gas stations often offer a limited food section. In bigger cities you can usually get the cheapest fast-food at the various Turkish and Italian Restaurants.
Nordrhein-Westfalen (North-Rhine Westphalia)
- Hitchhiking spots in Germany, in German, on a GFDL wiki
- www.hitch-hiking.org - Information all about hitchhiking (English and German language)
- Worldmap with good places to hitch
- Database with good places in Germany and other countries
- Overview of highways in Germany
- Highway restaurants in German
- Service stations on highways in Germany