Parking in Germany
This page contains following topics:
- Parking Signs in Germany
- Parking Management Zone
- Parking on Sidewalk
- Parking Signs with Directions
- Parking Disc in Germany
- Difference between parking and stopping
- No Stopping & No Parking Signs
- Parking Restriction Zone
- General No-Stop / No Parking Areas
- Temporary No Parking Signs
- Parking in a One-Way Street
- Penalties for Wrong Parking
1. Parking Signs in Germany
Like in other European countries, most people in Germany park their vehicles on roadsides. Since parking on the roadside is the most common and cheaper option. There are also some other facilities available, like open parking ground (Parkplatz), underground parking facility (Tiefgarage), and covered parking facility (Parkhaus).
Parking along the roadside is only allowed in the direction of traffic on that side. On one-way streets, parking is allowed on both the right and left sides, because both sides have the same, unidirectional traffic flow.
A parking area is indicated by sign 314.
This sign marks the area where parking is permitted and is also used to give directions to a parking area. This sign is normally accompanied by additional signs, indicating additional parking conditions, for example, the duration of parking allowed, who is allowed to park here, or additional parking requirements like parking discs, etc.
Below are some examples of parking signs with additional parking information.
Parking is allowed only within marked parking areas
Parking is allowed only in marked areas
Parking is allowed only with the purchase of a parking voucher (mit Parkschein = with Parking voucher)
Parking is allowed only to indicated vehicle class. In this example, only passenger cars are allowed to park here.
This sign marks a parking area where caravans may be parked longer than 14 days.
This sign marks a parking area where over 14 days of parking for trailers is allowed.
Parking for vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes, including their trailers but excluding passenger cars and buses.
Parking only for people with handicap permit
Resident with parking permit number ....
Perpendicular parking to the road
Parking inclined to the road
Public parking garage. A supplementary sign shows the direction to the parking garage.
Parking area for hikers
2. Parking Management Zone
Parking Management Zones are marked with sign 314.1. Parking in these zones is permitted on all streets with a parking disc or voucher as indicated by the attached supplementary sign.
Sign 314.2 marks the end of the parking management zone.
Start of a parking management zone
End of a parking management zone
3. Parking on Sidewalks
In old towns and cities of Germany, most of the roads are too narrow to park a vehicle. Hence vehicles are allowed to take some space from pedestrian walking areas like footpaths/sidewalks, but parking on bicycle lanes is strictly forbidden.
Parking on a sidewalk can have the following conditions:
Important to note that all the following conditions are applicable on vehicles having a weight category equal to or less than 2.8 tons. Heavier vehicles than this category are not allowed to park on sidewalks.
Parking on sidewalks half left in the driving direction
Parking on sidewalks half right in the driving direction
Parking on sidewalks completely left in the driving direction
Parking on sidewalks completely right in the driving direction
Perpendicular parking half on the sidewalk and half in the street on the left side of the road
Perpendicular parking half on the sidewalk and half in the street on the right side of the road
Perpendicular parking completely on the sidewalk on the left side of the road
Perpendicular parking completely on the sidewalk on the right side of the road
4. Parking Signs with Directions
Start of a parking area. If the arrowhead is directing to the road, it indicates the start of a parking area.
End of a parking area. If the arrowhead is directing away from the road, it marks the end of a parking area.
Two arrows indicating in opposite directions mark the middle of a parking area. Parking is allowed in both directions from this sign.
While traveling on highways outside of the city limits, the following sign indicates an extra-wide shoulder for Emergency and breakdown stops.
An emergency stop or breakdown bay is a short lane on the right side of the road. Its usage is only allowed in an emergency. Often these can be found on tunnel ends, on heavily traveled roads without side stripes, in the area of motorway construction sites, or on mountain passes.
5. Parking Disc in Germany
Parking disc in Germany
Parking discs are used in parking places to show the arrival time (Ankunftszeit) of a vehicle. Parking signs showing parking disc and maximum allowed parking time are installed in parking places where disc are required.
Parking is allowed only with a parking disc. Here in this example, it’s 2 hrs. "Std" means "hrs".
Parking is allowed only with a parking disc in marked areas and for 2 hrs.
Arrowhead pointing towards the street indicates the start of a parking area.
Maxium 2 hours parking is allowed, half right on the sidewalk.
Arrowhead pointing away from the street indicates the end of a parking area.
5.1 How to use Parking Disc in Germany?
In Germany, lines on a parking disc are divided into half hours (30 minutes). Drivers are allowed to round up to the next half hour, i.e. the next line to the arrival time. For example, if the arrival time is 5:45 PM, the disc can be set at 6:00 PM, as shown in the above parking disc picture.
So, the maximum exceeded time that can be set on a parking disc is 29 minutes, i.e. if the arrival time is 5:31 PM, the next half hour line is at 6:00 PM.
6. Difference between Parking and Stopping
According to German road traffic regulations (Straßenverkehrsordnung) section 12:
- Stopping is a deliberate break in the journey that is not caused by a traffic situation or an order.
- A vehicle is considered parked when the driver leaves the vehicle or it is stopped for longer than 3 minutes.
So, parking always means stopping, but stopping is not automatically parking.
If a vehicle is undergoing a parking maneuver, the vehicle on the road must give it time to park and allow passengers to get on and off.
7. No Stopping & No Parking Signs
7.1 No Stopping Signs in Germany
No Stopping or No Standing sign
Absolute No parking and No stopping
Here, neither parking nor short stopping is allowed.
Following are different variations of the No Parking Sign. For explanations of white arrows, please see the next heading (7.3).
7.2 No Parking Signs in Germany
No Parking sign
Restricted No Parking / No Stopping longer than 3 minutes
Following are different variations of the No Parking Sign. For explanations of white arrows, please see the next heading (7.3).
Apart from the above mentioned No Parking signs, taxi stand signs, and bus/streetcar stop signs are also No Parking signs for general traffic.
Taxi Parking Only. Indicates an area reserved for taxis. Other vehicles are not allowed to park here. This sign can also have arrows as shown in previous NO PARKING and NO STOPPING signs.
This sign is installed at an official bus and streetcar stop. This sign specifies (with a picture) whether the particular stop is for buses or streetcars. Parking or stopping within 15 meters of this sign is prohibited.
Bus lane or Bus-only lane. Other vehicles are not allowed to use this lane. Parking is also not allowed in this lane.
Bicycle lane. Indicates paths restricted to and mandatory for bicycles. Parking is not allowed on this lane..
7.3 Explanation of NO STOPPING / NO PARKING Signs with Arrows
First of all: All NO STOP or NO PARKING signs (all signs in category 283, 286, all bus stop and taxi stop signs) are only applicable on the side of the street on which they are installed till the next junction or crossing. A crossing or a junction automatically cancels any previously installed NO STOP or NO PARKING sign.
The white arrows on NO STOPPING signs and NO PARKING signs always indicate the beginning, end, or continuation (midpoint) of the NO STOP/NO PARKING
NO STOPPING signs and NO PARKING signs are normally installed in such a way that they are facing the road. To understand the meanings of arrows on these signs, turn these signs clockwise in your mind.
No standing at any time signs facing the road
The basic rule is, if the arrowhead is pointing towards the road then it is the beginning of a NO PARKING or NO stopping area. On normal roads with two-way traffic, the start of the NO PARKING or NO STOPPING sign has the white arrow above the cross.
If the white arrow is pointing away from the road, it marks an end of a NO PARKING or NO STOPPING area. On two-way streets, the end of NO STOPPING signs has the white arrow below the cross.
As already mentioned above, an intersection or a junction automatically cancels any NO PARKING or NO STOPPING signs, so in that case, there would be no need to place the end of a NO PARKING or NO STOPPING sign.
Explanation of white arrows at the start, middle, and end of a No Standing area
In one-way streets, NO PARKING & NO STOPPING signs are installed in a different way. However, the rule remains the same i.e.
- If the arrowhead is pointing towards the road, it marks the start of a NO PARKING & NO STOPPING area.
- If the arrowhead is pointing away from the road, then it’s the end of a NO PARKING & NO STOPPING area.
- If two arrows are pointing in opposite directions, you are in the middle of a NO PARKING & NO STOPPING area.
Explanation of No Parking/No Standing signs in a one-way street
8. Parking Restriction Zone
Parking Restriction Zone signs are installed at entrances to a neighborhood or area where parking is prohibited on all streets in the area until the "End of parking restriction zone" sign is reached.
This sign marks the start of a Parking restriction zone.
This sign indicates the end of the Parking restriction zone.
Please visit the All Road Signs page to see the full list of NO STOP signs in German traffic signs.
9. General No-Stop / No Parking Areas
Besides above mentioned NO PARKING / NO STOP signs, basic no-stop zones are also always as follows:
In tight spaces, parking is prohibited.
If the central road dividing line is the solid white line (non-broken line), or there is any other type of solid central median (metallic, concrete), as in the case of one-way-street, the parked vehicle must leave at least 3 meters of space for traffic flow. Please see the below illustration.
Illustration showing the minimum distance of the parked vehicle from the central solid line
- Parking is prohibited in the range of sharp curves and at blind street locations. Leave at least 5 meters distance to the corner. Please see the following illustration.
Illustration showing the minimum distance of no parking area from the corner. The same rule applies to the simple L-shaped turns and T-shaped intersections. If the intersection or turn has traffic lights, a stop sign
- No parking on threading and threading strips
On railway crossings, no-parking within 5 meters of the St. Andrew's cross
No parking within 15 meters of a bus stop sign (also streetcar stop sign). Please see the following illustration.
Illustration showing no parking within 15 meters of a bus stop sign
No parking before and in officially marked fire department access routes.
There is no specific official sign for the fire brigade access route but look for the wording "Feuerwehrzufahrt". Which means "fire brigade access". Two example signs are shown below.
Illustrations showing the fire department access route
- No parking within 5 meters of an unmarked junction
No parking in front of the driveway to a property or a house. There would a sign in the German language indicating,
Ausfahrt Freihalten(Exit, Keep it clear) or Einfahrt Freihalten. (Entrance, keep it clear). Please see the following example sign.
Keep driveway clear sign
- If the road is too narrow then also the opposite side of the exit/entrance is a No-Parking area. German sign for such a condition is: Ausfahrt Freihalten auch gegenüber.
- No parking on a bicycle lane
- No parking adjacent to a traffic island
- No parking on the priority road (Vorfahrtstrasse) with sign
- Double parking is not allowed (parking of two adjust vehicles)
- No stop (NO STANDING AT ANY TIME) within 5 meters distance from the pedestrian's crosswalk (zebra crossing).
10. Temporary No Parking Signs
On certain occasions, such as house moving, filming, any event or construction work, temporary no-stopping signs can be applied from the respective road traffic authority (Straßenverkehrsbehörde).
All road users must comply with these temporary no stopping restrictions. These signs must be set up four days before the event. Any vehicle not considering these temporary signs can be towed away, especially if there is a traffic obstruction by the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle would pay the towing cost and NO STOP or No Parking fine, whatever the violation may be.
11. Parking in a One-Way Street
In the one-way street, vehicles may be parked on both sides, if there is enough space and no other vehicle/emergency vehicle is obstructed. Parking in opposite to the direction of travel is forbidden.
If no parking sign is installed in a one-way street, then parking on the opposite side of the street is allowed (No parking is only applicable on the side on which no parking sign is installed). No parking sign doesn't remain applicable after a junction or crossing. All other parking rules are similar to a two-way street.
12. Penalties for Wrong Parking
A parking offender commits an administrative offense in Germany. Verwarnungsgeld (on the spot warning fine) can be up to 30 Euros. In the absence of the driver, a wrongly parked vehicle is towed away through a private firm, which can be very costly.
If the vehicle is parked in way of fire department vehicles, there can be a penalty of 60 Euros and one point on the driving license. Please pay special attention to the German word Feuerwehrzufahrt (emergency access road for the fire department) along with sign 283.