Germany

Oktoberfest is a popular attraction for tourists
Oktoberfest is a popular attraction for tourists

From breathtaking buildings such as the Brandenburg Gate and Neuschwanstein Castle to the tourist delights of Oktoberfest, Germany is one of the most important countries in the world, with its popularity continually strong as a holiday destination.

Roughly two million British nationals visit Germany each year, which can be accessed from the United Kingdom either by airplane or a lengthy journey by train or car.

Getting to Germany

A train journey from London to Berlin, Germany’s capital city, can last 13 hours minimum if you are travelling from St Pancras International station. The duration of the same trip by car could take anywhere between 12 and 13 hours.

For those who are flying to Germany, an expected journey length of just under two hours can be expected if you are travelling from London. 

Time zone

Travellers must account for the time difference in Germany, which is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

If you are unsure as to how best to adaptyour medication schedule then it is best to discuss a plan with your diabetes specialist.

Familiar climate

The average climate across Germany is very similar to that of the UK, so travellers with diabetes should have no problems adapting to the weather.

Diabetes associations

There are two diabetic associations is Germany, it is important to note these before entering Germany or any other countries that you may be travelling to. The addresses are:

  • Reinhardtstrasse 31,
    10117 Berlin,
    Germany
    Tel: +49-30-20167710
    Email: info@diabetesde.org
  • Deutsche Diabetes – Union EV,
    DDU,
    German Diabetes Union,
    Staffelseestr.6,
    81477 München,
    Germany
    Tel: +49-89-51399283
    Email: info@diabetes-union.de

It is important to note the diabetes associations in the country you are travelling to in case of an emergency.

Currency

Germany’s currency is the Euro, although many restaurants, hotels and shops will accept credit and debit cards, while money can be exchanged within hotels and money exchange services.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccinations required to enter Germany, however rabies is present in bats in Germany, so it is advised for those planning activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites to receive a rabies vaccine.

If you believe you may require this vaccine then it is advised to consult your doctor eight weeks before travelling which should allow enough time for you to receive it.

Otherwise, the opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.

Insulin

You should note which syringes are available in Germany, with U-100 and U-40 syringes the most commonly used.

The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you need to take a different strength of insulin, say in an emergency, it’s important that you use the correct device and syringes for that insulin.

For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.

Have you got a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

Germany is amongst the European countries that allow you to receive state healthcare either at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for medical treatment until you return to the UK.

It is best to apply for an EHIC card directly through the NHS. Your card will usually arrive within seven days if you have applied through the NHS, but it is best to apply two weeks in advance to allow for any delays.

Access to medication

Diabetic medication is available in Germany, but payment is required from a pharmacy, for which the German translation is “Apotheke

However, possessing an EHIC card allows you to receive treatment at a lesser cost and this money can be recouped when you get back into the UK.

Pharmacy opening hours are usually 0900-1830 on weekdays, while the opening times on Saturdays are reduced to 0900-1300. On occasion, some pharmacies may stay open on a Saturday until 1600, while in emergencies, there is always at least one pharmacy opening day and night in every area.

The emergency services number to be called in Germany is 112.

Questions

  • How is blood glucose measured in Germany? Blood glucose levels are measured in mg/dl
  • What language is spoken in Germany? German, although many locals will have a grasp of English, especially those that work in a customer service environment.
  • Will I need an international driving license when driving in Germany? No
  • If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
  • What sugar free drinks are available in Germany? German, although many locals will have a grasp of English, especially those that work in a customer service environment.
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