SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL NEWS

‘Troublesome but possible’: How Brits in Germany feel about going home after quarantine rules eased

Many people breathed a sigh of relief this week when the UK government finally gave the green light to allow people coming from most amber countries in the EU to skip quarantine. But not all Brits in Germany are rushing to book a flight.

'Troublesome but possible': How Brits in Germany feel about going home after quarantine rules eased
Travellers in Stuttgart get ready to fly. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

The UK government said on Wednesday that people who were fully vaccinated in the EU and the US will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England, Scotland and Wales from an amber list country like Germany (excluding France as it is an ‘amber plus’ country) from Monday August 2nd. 

The move potentially opens up travel to thousands of British people in Germany who’ve felt unable to visit home up to this point due to restrictions like having to quarantine for 10 days. 

READ ALSO: What are the new rules for travel between Germany and the UK?

But it’s still no easy ride. There are strict testing rules dictating that travellers must take either an antigen or PCR test before departing for the UK and a PCR test on or before the second day after they arrive. 

There’s also the fear that rules could change in a split second, meaning people feel uneasy about making travel plans. 

The Local asked readers to share their thoughts in quick survey on Thursday, and we also did a shout out on Twitter. 

Summing up the general feeling, Peter J Callow, 59, in Hamburg, said a trip to the UK was now “troublesome but at least possible”.

‘It’s been too long’

Some people are elated. Mark Oiver, 57, in Dreieich has booked his flights back already. “It means I can now meet my family for the first time in nearly a year,” he said. 

Phil Shaw, 67, based in Weimar, is planning to book a trip. “Much more feasible without quarantine at both ends,” he said, although he raised concerns about the cost of PCR tests in the UK and possible pricey airline ticket prices. 

Fred Bergklo, 29, in Berlin said he had booked a trip home. “I had my second jab 2 days ago, and now I know this will let me avoid quarantine.”

Pete Michaels said the change in rules was welcome.

‘Restrictive and expensive’

Lots of people flagged up the enormous costs involved with testing in the UK, even if there will be less testing under the new rules. 

Previously, people had to pay for day two and day eight mandatory tests, and a test for day five in England if they were opting for early release from quarantine. These test packages can cost anywhere from 150-200 pounds. 

READ ALSO: What are the Covid-19 testing requirements for entering Germany?

Some people – including children over six – also have to take a test in the UK to get back into Germany if they are not vaccinated. 

Charlotte Kulow, 46, in Leipzig, said the rule change affects her family “only slightly”.

“We are vaccinated but it still costs 88 pounds to get a check (PCR test) on day two in Scotland. Plus none of my kids are vaccinated so they are required to quarantine on there return to Germany plus a PCR test for early release, so it’s still very restrictive and expensive for anyone with a family.”

Stuart Picton, 33, in Berlin, said: “Tests are still too expensive. Do not understand why a vaccinated person cannot just do a lateral flow/quick test. I do not understand how going on a plane wearing a face mask is considered a risk that requires PCR, whereas going to bars, nightclubs etc are considered ok with a rapid test (especially in the UK).    

“Also politicians in all countries need to stop thinking that everyone is travelling just to go on holiday and therefore the trips are unnecessary. Some of us are trying to travel for our living and to see family and friends that we have not seen in months.”

‘Barriers’

Many readers said they are not planning to book a trip back to the UK just yet. 

Mark Murphy, 61, in Achern, Baden-Württemberg, said: “Yes, I am double-jabbed but still required to take two tests when the UK’s infection rate is much higher than Germany’s – ridiculous!”

Fraser Duthie said on Twitter: “I’m not going back yet, mostly due to a pregnant girlfriend in Köln. But my parents are going to try and come across in September.”
 
Jon Morris said on Twitter: “The rule change is welcome but there are still barriers. I have no faith in the logic of how decisions are being made and no confidence in not suddenly being stuck or blocked entry.”
Others said they were worried about several factors including the more transmissible Delta variant of Covid, which is fuelling cases in Germany and caused a recent wave in the UK.

Thomas Boon, 25, in Frankfurt, who is planning to book a trip back to the UK, said: “I have a fear of NHS test and trace calling and telling me to isolate for 10 days because of somebody on the plane. Especially because I plan to travel for fewer than 10 days, so such a call would strand me.”

Some people remain undecided – especially as no one knows how the autumn will develop. 

***

Thanks to everyone who shared their experience with us. Although we weren’t able to include all the submissions, we read each of them and they help inform our reporting.

If you have any feedback, please feel free to get in touch.

Member comments

  1. Mike Moseley because of a family funeral I had to go back to the UK a few days before the rules changed. Requiring me to self isolate for 10 days and pay £155 for three COVID at home tests. Disappointing that I had to wait two days to get my day 5 result. Still it looks simpler now which will help my sisters return to the UK later in August after she comes to stay with me in Germany for a couple of weeks after my brother in-laws death. I can’t see me going back to my previous work patten of 3-4 days in UK and 3-4 days in Germany.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

DISCOVERY GERMANY

Nine of the best day trips from Frankfurt with the €9 ticket

If you want to explore the area around Frankfurt this summer, there are plenty of destinations you can reach in under two hours. 

Nine of the best day trips from Frankfurt with the €9 ticket

Germany’s €9 monthly ticket, which launched in June, is also available throughout the whole of July and August. It can be used on all local transport across the country, as well as on regional trains. 

If you’re based in Frankfurt, or heading there on holiday, these destinations can all be reached on regional transport in under two hours, making them an ideal day or weekend getaway. 

READ ALSO: €9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany’s cheap travel deal

1. Heidelberg

People sit in front of the Old Bridge at the Neckar river in Heidelberg.

People sit in front of the Old Bridge at the Neckar river in Heidelberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach

With its arched Old Bridge and castle on the hill, it’s no wonder Heidelberg is known as one of Germany’s most romantic destinations. The castle, which dates back to the 13th century, was even immortalised by English romantic painter William Turner in a famous painting from the mid-19th century. 

Stroll the winding gothic streets, pay a visit to Germany’s oldest university and visit have a coffee in the historic centre which still bears witness to the medieval layout of the city.

To get to Heidelberg, take the RB68 direct from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

READ ALSO: Is Frankfurt a good place for foreigners to live?

2. Hessenpark

Historic half-timbered houses and an old fountain in the market square of Hessenpark, a popular excursion destination in the Taunus region.

Historic half-timbered houses and an old fountain in the market square of Hessenpark, a popular excursion destination in the Taunus region. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Arne Dedert

Take a step back in time in this fascinating open-air museum. With over 100 reconstructed historic buildings across 160 acres, the park gives visitors a close-up look at 400 years of rural life in Hesse. 

Amongst the highlights are the market place which boasts buildings from the whole state of Hesse; a 15th-century church and an austere school room from the turn of the 20th century.

With lively demonstrations of crafts and agriculture, exhibitions, colourful markets, the museum theatre and themed tours, a trip to Hessenpark makes a great day out for all of the family. 

To get there, take the RB15 from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Wehrheim Bahnhof and from there, hop on the 63 bus to Neu-Anspach-Anspach Hessenpark. In total it should take you 1 hour and 15 minutes.

3. Darmstadt

A man walks through the Mathildenhöhe UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A man walks through the Mathildenhöhe UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

A day trip to Darmstadt is a must for art and architecture lovers, as Hessen’s fourth-biggest metropolis is home to some particularly interesting cultural sights. 

The former artists’ colony on Mathildenhöhe, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the most important Art Nouveau sights in Germany and the Wedding Tower and the wacky ‘Waldspirale’ (forest spiral) are well worth a visit.

Also on Mathildenhöhe is the richly decorated Russian Chapel where one of the sisters of Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig married Nicholas II, the last Russian Tsar. 

You need only half an hour to reach Darmstadt, with a direct ride on the S3 from Frankfurt (Main) South station.

READ ALSO: Less traffic, more ticket sales: How the €9 ticket is impacting Germany 

4. Königstein (Taunus)

The Königstein castle ruins are a landmark of the Hochtaunus town and are among the largest castle ruins in Germany.

The Königstein castle ruins are a landmark. They are among the largest castle ruins in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Andreas Arnold

At an altitude of around 300 metres on the wooded slopes of the Taunus lies the health spa town of Königstein. 

Königstein has been a climatic health resort since 1935, thanks to the purity of the air in the region and is home to various health clinics. 

Daytrippers can soak up the tranquillity in the parks or in the picturesque city centre.

The ruins of Königstein Castle, which date back to the first half of the 12th century, are also well worth a visit. 

There are several routes to get you to Königstein from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof in under 50 minutes, the fastest being the S5 to Oberursel, followed by the X26 bus to Königstein.

5. Wiesbaden

The Kurpark in Wiesbaden.

The gorgeous Kurpark in Wiesbaden. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hannes P Albert

​​Nestled in a beautiful valley between the Rhine and the mountains of the Taunus lies Hesse’s capital Wiesbaden. 

There are plenty of things to see on a day trip to the city, including the English-style landscaped garden of the Kurpark, the neo-Gothic Market Church on Schlossplatz and the Hessian State Museum.

Those who fancy trying their luck should pay a visit to the Casino Wiesbaden – one of Germany’s oldest casinos in the former wine salon of the Kurhaus. 

Wiesbaden is also known for its thermal baths and no trip is complete without a hot tub and sauna visit. 

READ ALSO: Weekend Wanderlust – Getting my feet wet in. Wiesbaden

You only need around 50 minutes to reach Wiesbaden from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof with the S1 or S9 to Wiesbaden central station.

6. Felsenmeer

Hundreds of visitors climb over the rocks of the Felsenmeer , which is a popular attraction in the Odenwald.

Hundreds of visitors climb over the rocks of the Felsenmeer , which is a popular attraction in the Odenwald. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

Around 60 kilometres south of Frankfurt is a true natural wonder that will delight nature lovers of all ages. 

The Felsenmeer, which literally translates as ‘rock sea’ is a mass of boulders across Felsberg in Oldenwald. The rocks are hundreds of millions of years old, and at the information centre at the foot of the hill, you’ll find all the geological, historical and practical information you need to make the most of a hike through the sea of rocks. 

At the top of the hill, you can reward your exertions with a tasty snack at the kiosk on the summit. 

A trip to the Felsenmeer will take you around an hour and 40 minutes with the RB82 from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Reinheim Bahnhof, followed by the M02 bus to Reichenbach, Felsenmeer.

7. Limburg (Lahn)

A view of the Lahn river and the cathedral in Limburg.

A view of the Lahn river and the cathedral in Limburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Frey

A visit to Limburg in the west of Hesse, is a bit like travelling back in time to the Middle Ages. There are dreamy castles, palaces, charming half-timbered houses and ancient legends swirling around the city’s cobbled streets.

A particularly visit-worthy ancient relic is the imposing St. Lubentius Basilica. Perched on an outcrop of limestone rocks on the west bank of the Lahn river, it was the region’s most important church until the 13th century.

You can reach Limburg in just over an hour with the RE20 from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof.

8. Mainz

A glass of wine stands on a table near the cathedral in Mainz during the Johannisnacht festival in 2019 held in honour of Johannes Gutenberg.

A glass of wine stands on a table near the cathedral in Mainz during the Johannisnacht festival in 2019 held in honour of Johannes Gutenberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Andreas Arnold

A short train ride away from Frankfurt, you’ll find the city of Mainz on the Rhine River. Known as Germany’s wine capital, there’s plenty to explore in the cobblestone streets of the Altstadt. Mainz has a steep history after being founded by the Romans.

For more than 1,000 years, the city’s skyline has been dominated by the cathedral.

We’d also recommend checking out the the Gutenberg Museum – one of the oldest museums of printing in the world. And of course, make sure to visit a little wine bar – known as a Weinstube.

Get to Mainz by taking the RE4 from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof.  It takes just over 30 minutes. 

READ ALSO: Nine of the best day trips from Munich with the €9 ticket

9. Walldorfer See

People enjoy a dip in the Badesee Walldorf.

People enjoy a dip in the Badesee Walldorf. Photo: picture alliance / Daniel Reinhardt/dpa

What better way to cool off this summer than to head to a lake? The beautiful Walldorfer See, south of Frankfurt, is known for being a little less busy and calmer than the nearby Langener See, which is the biggest lake in the region. 

On the southern shore at the entrance is the large sandy beach which has a snack bar, toilets, plus a beach volleyball and barbecue area. You can also explore the forest around. 

Keep in mind that the lake is near the airport so you will also see some planes overhead (which might be fun, especially if you have kids with you!). 

Get there on the S7 or RE70 from Frankfurt Haubtbahnof, and then jump off at Walldorf (Hess), and get the the 67 or 68 bus in the direction of Frankfurt airport to Mörfelden-Walldorf-Egerländer Straße. It’s then an 18 minute walk to the Badestelle Walldorfer See.

With reporting by Rachel Loxton

SHOW COMMENTS