Hitchhiking in Germany: Guide to a Quick and Safe Hitchhiking Trip

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hitchhiking in germany

Hitchhiking in Germany is great fun. Germany is the most hitchhiked country in western Europe.

When it comes to hitchhiking no one can ignore Germany. Germany has a very special place in the heart of many hitchhikers.

As a hitchhiker, you will find many interesting things to explore in Germany like its medieval history, architecture, and beautiful countryside.

It is one of those countries that have a long-standing culture of hitchhiking. Even today many organizations are working in Germany to revive the culture of hitchhiking. It is no wonder why Germany is such a great place for hitchhikers.

So, if you are looking forward to hitchhiking in Germany, follow us along as we will explore the do’s, don’ts, and other things you must know while hitchhiking in Germany.

Here’s your guide to Hitchhiking in Germany

How its like to Hitchhike in Germany?

Germany motorways
Motorways are the best way to hitchhike in Germany

Germany is a very hitchhiking-friendly country. Hitchhiking in Germany is quite common and one of the fastest and cheapest ways to explore the country.

Due to the fast and super-efficient Autobahn road network, hitching longer distances has become fast and safer than before. This is one of the reasons why Germany ranks higher among hitchhikers when it comes to choosing the safest countries to hitchhike even for solo traveling.

Although, while hitchhiking, you have to choose the spot very carefully as cars move very fast in Germany. So to ensure your safety, standing at gas stations or highway entry points is a great option to hitch a ride where cars can slow down and pull over.

Like France, Motorways are a great option to hitch a ride in Germany.

But, like other western European countries, hitchhiking is illegal on motorways but you can stand at highway exits or entry points where the cars usually slow down.

So, be careful about it and keep away from the motorways. Always stick to the gas stations or on-ramps of these motorways while hitchhiking.

How to hitchhike in Germany?

hitchhiking

Hitchhiking in Germany is quite easy if you do it the right way. Try to stick to the service stations on the motorways because motorways are the fastest and the easiest way to hitchhike in Germany.

Hitchhiking is illegal on motorways but as I mentioned you can easily hitch a ride at entry points (blue signboards) to the Autobahn highway.

In fact, Hitchhiking from the service station to the service station of these motorways is the most effective and fastest way to hitchhike in Germany.

Service stations on these motorways are private properties and owners of that service stations decide whether to tolerate hitchhikers or not.

Generally, owners of these service stations don’t mind hitchhikers as it is a common practice in Germany.

Before you hitchhike from a service station to a service station, you must first have information about all the service stations between your location and your desired destination.

You must know how many service stations there are between your location and your destination. Also, you must know how far is the next service station.

So, the first thing you need to do is to carry a good map of the motorways with you that includes the information of the all service stations on these motorways.

With this map, you will get all the necessary information about the service stations between you and your destination.

Study this map and plan your hitchhiking journey according to it. For detailed information about the service stations, you can check out this link.

Take your map and go to the nearest service station on the motorway. Once you reach any service station only thing you have to do is to ask German drivers for a ride (who are fueling their cars) up to the next service station.

In this way, you can cover longer distances in a short time by hitchhiking from the service station to the service station to eventually reach your desired destination.

But before entering the car double-check with the driver that he would drop you off at the next service station.

Because if he drops you before the next service station then you will get stranded between two gas stations and then it would be quite difficult for you to get the next ride as cars run too fast on motorways or you would be caught by police as hitchhiking is illegal on the motorways.

Above all always keep a positive attitude and a smile on your face and dress for the occasion (don’t look like a hobo) and don’t forget to thank the driver for his kindness.

Is Hitchhiking illegal in Germany?

Is hitchhiking illegal in Germany

Hitchhiking is not illegal in Germany. Hitchhiking is illegal only on motorways for safety purposes (as in other countries of western Europe).

So, if you are hitchhiking on the motorways then always stick to the tollbooths or the service stations of the motorways.

Germany has a well-established culture of hitchhiking and it is the most hitchhiked country in western Europe.

Many organizations are working in Germany to motivate young people to hitchhike and to change the perception of common people about hitchhikers.

Is Hitchhiking Safe in Germany?

germany hiking
German Countryside

Hitchhiking in Germany is quite safe. Hitchhikers are common in Germany but still, violent crimes against hitchhikers are very rare. Even female hitchhikers are common in Germany.

According to the global peace index, Germany ranked at 16 out of 170 countries for peace and safety.

Politically Germany is quite stable. That’s why incidents like violent protests and terrorist attacks are very rare.

However, pickpockets are common in major cities and tourists are the most vulnerable targets for them. So, avoid major tourist attractions during rush hours.

Things you should know before Hitchhiking in Germany

Germany Travel
Berlin Cathedral

Language Barrier

In France, you will hardly find anyone who can speak and understand English.

But in Germany, almost 56% of people can understand English. But still, there are 44% of people who can’t speak or understand the language.

So, to make your communication with German drivers easier you could learn some basic German words.

Basic German Phrases for Hitchhikers

These are some phrases that you may need while hitchhiking in Germany

  1. My name is….. – Mein Name ist…..
  2. I am a hitchhiker – Ich bin ein Anhalter
  3. Could I get a lift to…….- Könnten Sie mich bis …… mitnehmen?
  4. Could you give me a ride to the next gas station? – Könnten Sie mich zur  nächsten Tankstelle mitnehmen?
  5. Excuse me….- entschuldigen Sie mich
  6. Thank you – Danke
  7. I don’t understand German – Ich verstehe kein Deutsch
  8. Can you speak English – Sprechen Sie Englisch
  9. Its ok. No problem – Es ist in Ordnung. Kein Problem
  10. Where are you going to drop me? – Wo wirst du mich fallen lassen?

Hitchhiking at a Service Station

I already mentioned that jumping from service station to service station is the most effective way to hitchhike in Germany.

But keep in mind that service stations are private property. Generally, owners are ok with hitchhikers.

But on rare occasions, they may don’t allow the hitchhikers. If such a condition arises then respect the decision of the owner and move to a nearby parking space and start hitchhiking from there.

Can you sleep at the Service Station?

sleeping while hitchhiking Hitchhiking in Germany: Guide to a Quick and Safe Hitchhiking Trip

Generally, service station owners don’t allow hitchhikers to sleep in a service station. It is possible to spend the night in a tent or sleeping bag in service stations in France. But in Germany it is difficult.

My experience

Beautiful German Countryside
Beautiful German Countryside

Germany is a great place for hitchhiking.

In Germany, the average car speed on the motorways is somewhere between 150km/h to 190 km/h. So, hitchhiking is quite fast in Germany.

In the holiday season, I saw many German people standing on the side of the road for hitchhiking. This shows that Hitchhiking is common and safe here.

German people are very kind and are really want to help you out.

I mostly hitchhiked from the service stations. Initially, I was confused but luckily I found two German hitchhikers at the start of my journey. They helped to get my first ride.

Germany shares a border with nine other European countries. So, as a hitchhiker, Germany is a great place to start your Europe trip since you would have nine options for your next journey.

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I hope this post helps you to have your own safe and an amazing hitchhiking trip in Germany. If you think I should add something or have your own hitchhiking experiences to share, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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About the author
Chetan Patil
Hello there, wanderlust. I've been traveling around the world with my friend Aditya for the last three years since finally quitting my job, and life has been a thrilling roller coaster ride so far. Traveling is a spiritual experience for me, not just something I do for fun. Traveling has taught me that "the only certain thing about life is uncertainty." So, embrace uncertainty and make the most out of every moment.

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