Without a doubt, a little goes a long way when visiting or permanently moving to a new city.  Particularly when it comes to language and cultural ‘cues’.  Not only does it endear you to the locals when you need help (well, sometimes), but it may help you avoid being accosted for Jaywalking, because it is very much frowned upon!   In short, Frankfurt 101 is our attempt to give you a quick cheat sheet for navigating Frankfurt or, indeed, Germany as a whole.  So, without further ado, Willkommen in Frankfurt! (Welcome to Frankfurt!)

Frankfurt 101:  Basic German Phrases

Greetings and Politeness:
  1. Hello – Hallo
  2. Good morning – Guten Morgen
  3. Good evening – Guten Abend
  4. Goodbye – Auf Wiedersehen
  5. Please – Bitte
  6. Thank you – Danke
  7. Excuse me – Entschuldigung
Navigating the City:
  1. Where is…? – Wo ist…?
  2. How much is this? – Wie viel kostet das?
  3. I would like… – Ich hätte gerne…
  4. Can you help me? – Können Sie mir helfen?
Dining Out:
  1. Water – Wasser
  2. Menu – Speisekarte
  3. Delicious – Lecker
  4. Bill, please – Die Rechnung, bitte
Frankfurt recycling and waste separation
frankfurt 101
frankfurt 101

Cultural Norms


Germans value punctuality. In other words, arrive on time for appointments and events to show respect for others’ time.  When running late for social or work events, let the host know.

Cash is King:

While credit cards are widely accepted, having some cash on hand is advisable, especially in smaller shops and cafes.

Recycling Matters:

Germany is known for its commitment to recycling. Familiarise yourself with the recycling bins for plastics, paper, and glass.

Quiet Sundays:

Sundays are generally quiet in Germany. Many shops and businesses are closed, and there are restrictions on noisy activities.  For example, mowing your lawn or doing loud DIY.

Personal Space:

Germans appreciate personal space. Maintain a comfortable distance during conversations and respect queues in public spaces.

Etiquette Tips

Formal Greetings:

Initial greetings tend to be formal. Use titles such as Herr (Mr.) or Frau (Mrs.) unless invited to use first names.

“Popping Round”:

It may go without saying, but it is not common practice to drop in on someone in Germany.  Absolutely call beforehand.

Tipping Customs:

Tipping is common in restaurants. Typically, rounding up the bill or leaving 10-15% is customary.  Also, be sure to give it to your waiter or waitress don’t leave it on the table.

No JayWalking:

Jaywalking is frowned upon particularly if you are with children. Cross streets only at designated pedestrian crossings, even if the streets seem empty.

Visiting a German Home:

Definitely bring flowers if you’re invited to a German home for a social occasion. Also, if the flowers are wrapped in paper, remember to take off the wrapping just before you enter the home.  Additionally, a bottle of wine or “Sekt” (German Sparkling wine) is acceptable.

Taking Photographs:

Ask a German’s permission before taking a picture or video of them.

Of course, this Frankfurt 101 Language and Cultural Guide is but scratching the surface.  However, by embracing these language phrases and cultural insights, you’ll hopefully have a start at navigating Frankfurt and Germany. Enjoy your time in this vibrant and culturally rich city!