Climate: Generally temperate throughout the country with warm summers and cold winters, though prolonged periods of frost or snow are rare. Rain falls throughout the year, with much of Germany experiencing its maximum rainfall during the high summer months. Average January daytime temperature is 3°C and in July is 22°C.
Time Zone: CET – Central European Time
International phone code: 49
Transportation: Frankfurt is Germany's main hub – one of Europe's four major hubs – and the destination of most intercontinental flights. Munich is a growing secondary hub. Domestic flights are mainly used for business, with the train being a simpler and often (but not always) cheaper alternative for other travel. Budget airlines and increased competition have made some flight prices competitive with trains to some major cities. The railway system is fast and affordable, reaching many parts of the country. Most major car rental companies operate from the airports with most cars being equipped with standard transmissions. Drivers with licences restricted to driving vehicles with automatic transmission will not be allowed to rent a manual-transmission car.
Germany has some of Europe's most progressive legislation regarding homosexuality. Same-sex couples have the right to adopt, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited by law. Germany was also the first country in the world to include "gender identity" in anti-discrimination laws.
Not surprisingly, the most vibrant queer scenes are found in the larger cities. Berlin alone is home to an estimated 300,000 gays and lesbians, and roughly 150 gay bars.
The scene in Frankfurt, while smaller, is notably multicultural. Most pubs are found in the area north of Konstablerwache, known as the 'Bermuda Triangle'.
In Hamburg, as in many western cities, the area previously written off as a hot-bed of criminal activity – the St Georg District – has received a gentrifying, queer makeover and is now home to a multitude of bars and cafés.
In Munich, the gay Rose Monday Ball in the Oberanger Theatre and Gay Sunday at the Oktoberfest are just two in a long list of annual events. During the festive season, queers, singles, couples, and families gather together for the Pink Christmas in the Glockenbachviertel district.
Several prominent German politicians are openly gay, including Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit, who outed himself with the famous words "Ich bin schwul – und das ist auch gut so!" Translation: "I'm gay – and that's a good thing!"