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What you need to know about travelling within Germany right now

Feeling confused by the ever-changing travel restrictions in Germany? We've put together the latest rules for all states.

What you need to know about travelling within Germany right now
Passengers waiting for a train in Essen. Photo: DPA

It's the autumn break in many states and you might be planning to travel. But can you do that within Germany right now? This is a tricky question. You can, but some states may not allow you to stay overnight in accommodation like hotels or holiday homes.

That's due to a ban on accommodation for people coming from regions where there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days, which was introduced earlier this month in the majority of German states in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-10.

However, many states have already overturned the ban after court rulings or because authorities didn't think it was beneficial. Not surprisingly, the ban has caused a lot of confusion. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state leaders said last week they would look at this ban in more detail after the Herbstferien (autumn holidays) in all states ends on November 8th.

Meanwhile, Merkel has urged people in Germany not to travel to and from risk areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days.

Currently there are more than 100 regions in Germany with more than 50 infections per 100,000 residents in seven days.In these zones, there will likely be tougher measures such as curfews or extended face mask rules.

The situation keeps changing so if you're thinking of travelling, keep an eye on your local government website. We've listed the websites below.

There are also travel restrictions across Europe and the world so be careful if you are thinking of going abroad at the moment.


With that in mind here are the latest internal travel rules in the 16 federal states:

BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG: In this south-western state there are no entry bans or quarantine obligations for travellers from risk areas within Germany. The ban on accommodation, which was also controversial in the state government, was overruled by the Administrative Court. There are several places in the state with high Covid-19 numbers including Stuttgart.

BAVARIA: The controversial ban on accommodation for travellers from coronavirus hotspots no longer applies in Bavaria. Many parts of the state do have rising coronavirus figures, including the capital Munich. And a lockdown is in place in the district of Berchtesgadener Land so you cannot go to this Alpine beauty spot.

BERLIN: There are no restrictions on entry. to the capital. The Senate has not yet passed any ban on overnight accommodation. However, the city-state is classed as a hotspot.

BRANDENBURG: The ban on overnight accommodation was challenged in court last Friday, and it was lifted from Tuesday onwards, meaning people from risk zones can stay overnight in the state. The state has no coronavirus hotspots right now.

BREMEN: In Bremen there is no entry ban and no quarantine obligation or an accommodation ban for travellers from inner-German risk areas. The city is classed as a risk zone.

HAMBURG: There is no entry ban for people from domestic risk areas. Overnight guests must confirm in writing that they have not stayed in a risk area in the previous 14 days. If they have, they can stay overnight with a negative coronavirus test result, which must not be older than 48 hours. The city-state is not a hotspot currently.

READ ALSO: 'We weren't allowed to check in': Travellers in Germany report confusion over internal travel restrictions

HESSE: The ban on overnight accommodation for travellers from risk areas within Germany, which has been in force since summer, is no longer in force in Hesse so people from internal risk zones can stay in hotels there.

MECKLENBURG-WESTERN POMERANIA: From Wednesday (October 21st) onwards, an up-to-date coronavirus test will be enough for holiday trips to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania by people from German risk areas.

Previously, people visiting the state from risk zones had to go into a 14-day quarantine on arrival. Day trips from coronavirus hotspots to the northeast state are still not permitted.

A high speed train travelling in Thuringia. Photo: DPA

LOWER SAXONY: Entry into this state is not restricted and day tourism is possible. There are no quarantine regulations for people from German risk areas. The ban on accommodation for travellers from German coronavirus hotspots was declared illegal and suspended by the Higher Administrative Court of Lower Saxony during summary proceedings.

There are some badly affected areas in Lower Saxony, including Delmenhorst which has an incidence rate of over 200.

NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA: In NRW, the country's most populous state, there are no entry restrictions and for the time being no ban on accommodation for holidaymakers from national risk areas. However, the state has plenty of coronavirus hotspots, including Cologne, Düsseldorf and Dortmund.

RHINELAND-PALATINATE: Officials originally planned for an accommodation ban from October 13th, but this was then stopped. So there are currently no travel restrictions. There are hotspots in this state including Mainz.

SAARLAND: Germany's smallest state has overturned the ban on accommodation for travellers from inner-German corona risk areas, which has been in force since the end of June. Risk zones in this state include St Wendel.

SAXONY: Since Saturday there are no longer any restrictions for travellers from inner-German risk areas. There are currently two hotspots including Erzgebirgskreis and Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge.

SAXONY-ANHALT: Entry is permitted into this state. But overnight accommodation for people from risk areas for tourist purposes is prohibited unless the guest can present a certificate stating that there is no evidence of Covid-19. There are no coronavirus hotspots in this state currently.

SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN: People in Germany can visit this state (for example for day trips). However, people from risk zones can only stay overnight in commercial accommodation if they present a negative coronavirus test that's no older than 48 hours.

This rule doesn't apply to second home owners, people travelling for business purposes or those staying with family or friends (ie not a hotel or holiday home, etc).

There are no coronavirus risk zones here currently.

THURINGIA: There are no entry restrictions or a ban on accommodation for people from German risk areas. This state has two risk areas: Eichsfeld and Sömmderda.

Helpful websites for planning:

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”