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. On most on ramps you will get also reasonably fast a ride. Just make sure not to end up on a "Schnellstrasse" (leading to the on ramp), where cars go fast and cannot stop.
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, most trucks aren't allowed to drive on Sundays or public holidays until 22:00.
(English names of cities in brackets)
- Aachen, Augsburg
- Berlin, Bielefeld, Bonn, Bremen
- Darmstadt, Dortmund, Dresden, Düsseldorf
- Frankfurt am Main, Freiburg im Breisgau
- Gießen, Göttingen
- Hamburg, Hannover
- Karlsruhe, Kassel, Kehl, Köln (Cologne), Konstanz
- Magdeburg, Mönchengladbach, München (Munich), Münster
- Potsdam, Puttgarden
- Ravensburg, Reutlingen, Rostock
- Sigmaringen, Stuttgart
- Weingarten, Wuppertal, Würzburg
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.
If you're not staying very long in Germany you can make it with any map of Germany showing you the gas stations on the highway. Go to any gas station along the highways and ask for a "Autobahn-Guide". This "Autobahn-Guide" is for free! You'll get a map with an overview of all gas stations along the highways. More Information you can find here: tank.rast.de. You can also find more detailed maps there for ~5 Euro.
Very good maps for hitchhiking are Michelin Regional, the orange ones with the numbers 541-546. There are six of them, each covering a different part of Germany.
They are very detailed, on the motorway they show every single gas station, hotel, restaurant, or parking place and they also have town maps for any bigger town within the covered area.
Ratio is 1:350000. You can usually get them in local bookstores for about EUR 8.
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 with a Sanifair system you get a EUR 0,50 bill for the toilet. You can buy things for EUR 0,50 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. There are no 24h-shops, but gas stations often offer a limited food section. In bigger cities you can usually get the cheapest food at the various Turkish and Italian Restaurants.
Mitfahrgelegenheit is a website that people use to find rides or passengers. Often passengers are supposed to pay. And often you will find yourself being asked to pay for a ride. Refuse to pay if it's asked when you're getting out, and consider it when it's asked before you get in the car ("blah blah, because it would not be fair to the passengers who pay"). Guaka is not sure how to deal with it, and accepted to pay only once, for a 250 km ride when it was already 18:00 or so. It might be possible to explain the bunch of people that people hitchhike to not pay, and that it can be considered a choice to use the website, and that picking up hitchhikers can be done irregardless of whether other people pay for rides or not.
(English names of regions in brackets)
- Bayern (Bavaria)
- Hessen (Hassia)
- Nordrhein-Westfalen (North-Rhine Westphalia)
- Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate)
- Sachsen (Saxony)
- Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony)