In many cases, non-EU nationals are required to obtain the entry permission (Schengen Visa) for Germany. Please consult the advices of the German Federal Foreign Office for further information regarding your country and visa requirements.
Due to an unique and favourable geographic location (Rhine valley, surrounded by low mountain ranges of Westerwald, Eifel, and Hunsrueck), Koblenz is known for very good weather conditions all over the year. The average air temperature in August/September is rather moderate with ca. 17-18°C, but the last summer 2010 also had very hot weeks over 30°C. For detailed information, check timeanddate.com
Germany is located in the CET/CEST time zone (UTC+1/+2). This means UTC/GMT +2 hours during the summer DST and UTC/GMT +1 hour in the winter time. For more information, look at timeanddate.com.
The German currency is Euro (EUR). Currency exchange desks can be found at all international airports. Lokal bank offices offer currency exchange as well (for safety reasons, they reluctantly exchange big amounts of cash). ATM machines offer cash withdawal by credit cards and Maestro (in almost the cases this service is not free of charge, you should ask your bank about cash withdrawal fees). To estimate exchange rates, play around with Yahoo! currency converter. A full-featured ATM service can be found in a small "Sparkasse"-house at the main Campus entry.
Larger shops and restaurants accept all major credit cards and Maestro as well. Common supermarkets (Aldi, Lidl, Rewe, Norma, Plus) accept Maestro but NOT credit cards. Small shops and pubs may have no electronic payment facilities on site. Tip is accepted but not mandatory, 10% is the common value. Travel cheques are not really common and not widely accepted. Visitors from non-EC countries can benefit from Tax-Free Shopping in Germany.
Koblenz Touristik provides a very detailed and well structured Web portal for Koblenz visitors. Highly recommended!
German mains power system offers 230 V 50 Hz AC, common outlets (i.e. plugs and sockets) are SchuKo (symmetrical plug with side grounding contacts), sometimes also the simpler Europlug (2-pin plug without grounding contacts). Travel stores at all airports and local electronics stores in Koblenz (e.g. MediaMarkt, Saturn, Expert, ProMarkt) offer a broad range of adaptors at reasonable prices. Devices designed for lower voltage levels (e.g. 110V hairdryers) also require a suitable upstream transformer!
Major telecommunication providers in Germany are German Telekom and Vodafone (900 MHz) as well as O2 and E-Plus (1800 MHz). It is recommended to check in advance the roaming conditions for in/out mobile calls. Possible alternatives are Skype/VoIP and callback services (e.g. Bellshare, flat2flat, Flexsys, Sparruf, to name a few). In parallel, the network of public telephone stations is shrinking - at the moment, there is no public telephone box on the Campus.
Mobile internet via UMTS (WWAN aka 3G) has already reasonably good support in Koblenz, Vodafone D2 seems to have the best coverage. Stable HSDPA is available in the city center, EDGE almost everywhere. It is recommended to check in advance your data roaming conditions, many providers do not support roaming at high HSDPA speeds, and volume prices are also quite different.
The Campus offers dedicated W-Lan access vor visitors, which is available for our visitors on request, free of charge. As an alternative, you also can authenticate your W-Lan access via Eduroam, which is fully supported in our University. The bakery and coffee shop "Hoefer" in front of the Campus offers its own W-Lan access for free (!). Wired internet will be available in lecture halls.
There is no public post office and no letter box on the campus. However, there is a full-service Retail Outlet in the REWE shop nearby.
The supermarkets REWE, Norma, Edeka and Aldi are located next to the Campus. A big shopping mall "Löhr Centre" can be found in the city center, it is co-located with main bus interchange.
A huge (one of the largest in Germany) shopping areal with numerous outlets and stores is located in Mülheim-Kärlich near Koblenz. To get there, take the regional Bus #357 from one of the central bus stops in the city (consult VRM Web site for bus stops, timetables and fares). In this case, don't miss also a nice public swimming pool Tauris nearby (Bus #354).
Koblenz Touristik provides further shopping ideas in and around Koblenz.
ESSIR offers full access for disabled attendees on the entire campus: elevators in all buildings, stairs-free pathways and ramps, dedicated restroom facilities. On request, people with disabilities can access the Campus by car and use dedicated parking lots directly in front of particular buildings. Koblenz operates only low-floor buses with improved disabled access, dedicated places for wheelchairs, and call buttons for boarding assistance. Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) offers systematic and comprehensive support for passengers with disabilities.
- A MUST: Rhine boat trip to the magnificent Rhine valley at the Loreley - Unesco World Heritage with wineyards, numerous medieval castles, and Rhine of course. Very recommended: take the old paddle steamer RMS GOETHE of Köln-Düsseldorfer shipping lines, the oldest ship on the Rhine. Recommended segment of Rhine: between Bingen and Boppard (return by train is possible). Koblenz Touristik provides nice tour recommendations and a detailed overview of shipping lines.
- Castle of Marksburg near Koblenz, the most famous medieval castle of the Rhine valley which has never been destroyed (unlike many others).
- Wine: Rhine and Moselle are famous for excellent wines, especially white Riesling. Small villages and towns along the river valleys offer numerous opportunities for wine tasting. Avoid central, large restaurants (full of Japanese tourists) and have a lookout for a besom on the wall of a small wine-grower shop - it shows that his small wine pub is open! It is often called "Besenwirtschaft" or "Straussenwirtschaft".
- Hiking and bike tours: Rhineland has the best infrastructure in Germany! Many ideas and tour suggestions for the surroundings of Koblenz can be found at portals Traumpfade and Radwanderland. These sites are mostly in German, so do not hesitate to ask us if you are interested and need some help! Koblenz Touristik provides addresses of local bike rental shops and some tour recommendations.
- The world-largest cold geyser in Andernach near Koblenz. Trip includes the visit to the interactive geyser museum, a short boat trip on the Rhine to the near nature reserve where the geyser is situated, and of course a geyser eruption (50- 60m high !!!).
- Volcano museum "Lava-Dome" in Mendig near Koblenz. We are situated in the area of high volcanic activity (hotspot area) which results in numerous volcanoes, volcanic seas, lava streams and hills surrounding Koblenz. The trip includes a visit to the interactive museum, guided tour with descent into lava mine, and explanations of old stonemason handicraft in Mendig.
- During panoramic flights you can enjoy the valleys of Rhine and Moselle in a very special and unique manner.
- Further interesting options include: medieval castles of Rhine and Moselle, waterski, climbing, aerobatic flights and gliding, slate mines, chamber concerts, etc. etc. - do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested!
In Germany, smoking is not permitted in public rooms (including all Campus facilities, city shops, restaurants and pubs, with quite few exceptions). Smoking is also quite expensive: one cigarette packet costs 4.50 EUR and taxes are expected to grow further in near future. Cigarette vending machines can be found in front of the campus entrance (age verification by Maestro chipcard of by driver license), you may also buy cigarettes in kiosks, petrol stations and some shops around, but NOT on the Campus.