Traveling to Germany with Food Allergies Guide

With the beauty of the Black Forest, countryside castles by the Rhine, and cities filled with culture and history, Germany is a fascinating place to explore, including for those traveling with food allergies.

My experiences traveling to Germany with food allergies have varied over the years. On my recent trip I was happily surprised and impressed with more food allergy awareness than in the past. This guide for traveling with food allergies to Germany focuses on recent travel to Berlin and Frankfurt. It also includes some photo highlights from Munich and Berlin in the summer months on past trips to Germany.

General Germany Info & Traveling with Food Allergies

Germany is located in Western Europe between the Baltic and North Sea and the Alps and shares borders with Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland.

German is the official language although you will find many also speak English, especially in cities and touristic areas.

Make sure to bring a German chef card on this trip.

Euro (EUR)

112 (ambulance and fire), 110 (police)

German Cuisine and Food Allergies

German cuisine shares many similarities with Swiss and Austrian cuisine. Main food staples in German cuisine include meat, fish and vegetables. Sausage is particularly popular and each region has its own “Wurst” specialty. Common side dishes in Germany include noodles made of egg and wheat flour or variations of potatoes.

Some Specific German Dishes:

  • Wurst – Sausages are often made with spices. Always ask what it in the sausage and it is important to note that mustard is a common condiment for sausage.
  • Knödel – Dumplings that are similar to gnocchi and are basically potato noodles.
  • Berliner, Kreppel or Krapfen – Doughnuts are made with yeast and jam filling
  • Apfelpfannkuchen – Apple pancakes that are often a main dish
  • Breads – There are many different types of breads in Germany. Seeds are often used, including sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin.

Chef Cards for Germany

Using a chef card is the best tool for safely communicating your food allergies. Make sure to make or purchase a translated chef card in German for dining out prior to your trip. Although many people in Germany, especially in the tourism industry, do speak English, it is still important to have your allergens translated.

Food Allergen Labeling Laws in Germany

Germany follows the EU food allergen regulations and guidelines. This means that they label for the top 14 allergens. On packaged food you will notice that these allergens are labeled in bold type, italics or in capital letter and are required to be clearly labeled and easily identified. The use of advisory labeling and precautionary statements, such as “may contain…” are not required and are voluntary for manufacturers, similar to the U.S.

Top 14 Allergens:

  • Cereals/grains containing gluten
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustaceans
  • Soybean
  • Tree nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut, and macadamia nut) *notice pine nut is not included
  • Sesame
  • Celery
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Sulfites
  • Lupin
  • Mollusks

Foods that may also contain top allergens: There are some foods that may not be expected to have top allergens but that actually often do. These include foods like bakery products, sausages, spice blends, and already prepared foods.

Getting to Germany

When flying to Germany with food allergies, keep in mind that one of the popular airlines that flies from the U.S. to Germany is Lufthansa. Be aware that they do serve warmed tree nuts in first and business class. I used to fly them for years because it was the only airline to get to the city I lived in Italy, but it is not the friendliest for food allergies. To read more on how I handle flying with food allergies go here.

Transportation around Germany

The transportation system in Germany is comprehensive. There are buses, trams, subway and trains that run frequently. There is the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn, depending on where you need to go. Ticket machines are in multiple languages, which make it easy to purchase at the stations.

Berlin Central Train Station and most other main train stations in each city are equipped with grocery stores, making it a convenient place to purchase snacks. The offerings onboard the train are limited, which is why I highly recommend preparing ahead with safe food options from the grocery store.

Where To Stay in Berlin, Germany

NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse

In Berlin, I stayed at the NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse where I was able to safely enjoy breakfast and stay in a guest room without carpet and other environmental allergens.

NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse Hotel has a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere. I arrived in the evening to a calm lobby but the bar across from it buzzed with cheerful activity. 

I chose this hotel for a few important reasons. NH Collection Hotels have the reputation of outstanding service, an eclectic, elegant aesthetic, and hotel teams that will go above and beyond to make you feel welcome. Guests can even select their pillow type, which is perfect for my environmental allergies. I also heard about their impressive breakfasts and I was curious to learn about their food allergy awareness when it came to dining. For all of these reasons, I knew NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse would be the perfect hotel stay for my visit to Berlin.

The Hotel Room

I stayed in a beautiful family suite. The bed was full of cozy, feather-free comfort and a window that could open in case I needed fresh air. There was also a room partially separated by a wall leading into the living space with a couch that can turn into a bed and is perfect for a small family with kids. I utilized the desk and sitting area for work, reading and relaxing. The room also had a mini fridge which was the perfect room amenity for storing my allergy-friendly food/snacks. In the bathroom, the soap dispensers could spin to read the ingredients on each bottle. This was especially helpful as I was at the end of my five weeks of travel and running low on my own soap and shampoo. Since I could read the label, I was able to see that the ingredients were safe for me to use.

Due to my environmental allergies, I always look for hotels without carpeting. The rooms at this hotel have wooden floors and I requested feather-free blankets and pillows before my arrival. It was perfect for my allergy needs and I slept very well.

Meeting the Chef

I met with Chef Andreas Wenta, Executive Chef at NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse, who has overseen the kitchen for well over a decade. I wanted to ask him about how the hotel can accommodate guests with food allergies. Chef Andreas said that when he knows ahead of time that a guest is coming to the hotel with food allergies or other dietary requirements, he can prepare and plan ahead. Every day there are guests staying at the hotel with food allergies and Chef Andreas says he’s always happy to make it a safe experience.

It is a good reminder that as someone with food allergies, it is both to our benefit and the hotel’s to let them know ahead about our food allergies. This way everyone can have the best possible experience.

The Breakfast

Breakfast at NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse consists of a large buffet and omelette station. They have a sign with the top 14 allergens and some of the foods around the buffet are labeled with allergen symbols showing they contain that top allergen. They also have an entire section of gluten free packaged foods and products that are separate from the other foods. Chef Andreas even said that if a guest feels more comfortable having food come from the kitchen, he has the same foods back there and a way to safely toast bread to avoid cross contact. His food allergy awareness and knowledge of cross contact is impressive. 

For breakfast, I enjoyed some fresh fruit, cheese, and packaged crackers with ingredients. I also ordered an omelette and enjoyed that safely. Chef Andreas told me that they only use oil (usually olive or sunflower) now instead of butter because of the frequency of guests who are vegan and vegetarian.

Overall, dining at the hotel for breakfast was actually very manageable. I chose whole foods that I knew were safe and packages that I could read. I also felt completely comfortable with the omelette station. I didn’t see any of my allergens in that area and double checked on the oil. If I wanted any food from the kitchen, I could ask and the cross contact seemed very limited, especially because there were so many options and whole food choices.

Other Hotel Amenities

The concierge desk can help with whatever you need during your stay. NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse is in an easy location to get around the city. There are even hotel bikes to use if you prefer that over walking or taking public transportation.


Where To Eat in Berlin, Germany

When I dined outside of the hotel, I did find that restaurants were willing to accommodate my food allergies. The restaurants I’ve listed below were able to work with my multiple food allergies with the help of my German chef card.


  • Italo Fritzen – This restaurant is less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel. It has a fun atmosphere and I safely enjoyed a margherita pizza.
  • Herr Rossi Restaurant – I went to this restaurant with my friend for the second time (previously in 2017). The owner has some allergies and is very knowledgeable about cross contact and making sure the ingredients are safe. Everything we eat here is always delicious and usually consists of pasta. 


  •  Five elephant – I went here with a friend for a latte and tea. Both were delicious (but expensive, fyi) and they do not use any nut milks.
  •  Oslo Kaffebar – Another coffee spot my friend and I ventured to. They do not use any nut milks here either.

What To See & Do in Berlin, Germany

There are countless sites and activities in Berlin. It is known for art museums, the music scene and so much more. Since this was a brief visit, I only had time for a few activities, so these are the highlights.

Museums & Acitivities

  •  Berlin from Below guided tours (Tour M – Under the Berlin Wall) – We did an underground tour of the tunnels between East and West Berlin. Our guide shared stories of the people trying to cross and took us below the metro station to see tunnels they built. It was fascinating and I would definitely plan to look into another one of their underground tours the next time I visit.


  •  KaDeWe –  Visit a famous department store in Berlin. Fun fact: It is the second largest department store taking after Harrods in London, England. American sweets can be found there for a significant cost!

Where To Stay in Frankfurt, Germany

Avani Frankfurt City Hotel

After a few lovely days in Berlin, I took a 4-hour train ride to Frankfurt. I was delighted to be back in a city I hadn’t visited since 2010. I decided to check out the Avani Frankfurt City Hotel for my stay in Frankfurt. This hotel was previously the NH Collection Frankfurt City Center but as of January 2024, it is now the first Avani Hotel property in Germany. 

The Avani Frankfurt City Hotel’s beautifully upbeat, fun yet sophisticated aesthetic makes it feel like a chic party. The bright colors and patterns, lights and music, all play into Frankfurt’s techno history. Avani Hotels and Resorts are known for their storytelling and Instagram-able moments, and this hotel lives up to the hype!

Hotel Room

In my reservation, I noted my environmental and food allergies. I knew the rooms had carpet-free floors and I was hopeful that there would be no feather bedding.

When I first entered my guest room, there were a few standout special allergy-aware touches that I noticed. First of all, there was a small basket of fruit instead of chocolate or some unsafe sweet. It was such a thoughtful gesture. 

I also spotted that the entire mini-fridge was cleaned and emptied, which is ideal for storing allergy-safe food. The room was clean and stylish, it also had no down or feather bedding and I could easily get ventilation by opening a window. For environmental allergies, these small details are important.

In the bathroom, there were cozy robes and slippers, which were perfect for the hotel sauna that I visited later that evening. I also noted that the soap and shampoo bottles spun in their holders so that I could easily check the ingredients. 

The Hotel Breakfast

Avani Frankfurt City Hotel has a similar buffet set up to the NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse and I found comparable food options here. Although the set up is a breakfast buffet, there is still the opportunity to ask the kitchen to prepare something safe, especially when giving them prior notice.

With many more guests following vegetarian and vegan diets, along with those who are gluten free, there is a lot more general awareness in Germany of dietary needs than I remember from past visits. At Avani Frankfurt City Hotel I was yet again impressed that there was an entire section dedicated to gluten free options. Although nut allergies are still not common, it is significant to notice the general allergy awareness and signage in the dining area.

Allergy Guests at Avani Frankfurt City Hotel

During my stay, I had the opportunity to meet with Executive Chef Dennis and the hotel’s General Manager, Mark Lindenberg. I was curious to learn more about the hotel and their experience with allergy guests.

There are a few important takeaways from our conversation that I think are essential to share. Besides the fact that they are both big American sports fans, I learned that they want to continue to see improvement with food allergy conversations. They want their staff asking guests if they have any food allergies and also having guests confidently speaking up about their food allergies to their server.

It is easy to feel like a burden and Mark shared that often guests don’t disclose their food allergies ahead of their stay. He said that any information, especially prior to their visit is very helpful. Guests should feel comfortable to speak up if they have allergy needs, Mark emphasized to me. 

Chef Dennis also commented that he is happy to prepare something special when he has advanced notice. He said not many let them know ahead. I found our conversation enlightening. It seems to me that there also needs to be greater awareness to speak up for those of us with food allergies. I appreciated this perspective and it had me reflecting on how I prepare and speak up when traveling.

The Hotel Dinner

The dance party vibes continue in the dining area at dinner time, making it an especially enjoyable experience, even when dining alone.
Because I was at the Avani Frankfurt City Hotel right after it re-opened, they were still working to update their menu. On the new restaurant menu they plan to add a food allergen key, labeling which dishes contain top allergens.
Staying true to the theme, the food menu includes their “Techno Burger” which is their new signature dish. While I was there, I had a hot panini style sandwich and a burrata salad. To order, I communicated my food allergies, gave them my chef card and together we went through the dishes. Both meals were made safely for me and tasted delicious.

Other Hotel Amenities

Besides enjoying the hotel atmosphere, there are a few other amenities I want to mention. The Avani Frankfurt City Hotel has Avani Fit, with a gym, steam room and sauna. I love a good sauna and utilized it a few times during my stay. The Pantry is a shop in the lobby full of drinks and snacks to purchase with a self check out. There were a few potentially allergy safe snack options which were good to know about in case I needed a snack.
The Avani Frankfurt City Hotel definitely has the cool vibes and lifestyle piece well established, while also being an allergy-friendly hotel accommodation in Frankfurt.

Where To Eat in Frankfurt, Germany

In Frankfurt, I had hoped to see a friend for dinners outside of the hotel, but instead we both had head colds and I completely lost my voice, so I ate at the hotel for both breakfast and dinner on this trip while in Frankfurt. I did get a coffee next to the hotel and I am sharing a pizza recommendation below.


  •  NAP – Neapolitan Authentic Pizza – I did not have a chance to dine at this restaurant but it was recommended to me by a friend with severe food allergies who safely dined there.


  •  Coffeosi – Located right next door to the hotel. I had a delicious latte from here and they don’t use any nut milks.

What To See & Do in Frankfurt, Germany


  •  MOMEM (Museum of Modern Electronic Music) – I was recommended this museum by the hotel. It is a short walk away and was interesting to learn about the history of electronic music. I knew it was popular in Berlin, but I hadn’t realized the history also extended to Frankfurt among other areas of the world.


  • There are tons of clothing stores and shops right in the neighborhood near the hotel along with a large mall. I was also able to find multiple grocery stores within a short 5 minute walk, which was perfect for lunch snacking!

Thank you to NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse and Avani Frankfurt City Hotel for hosting me during my visit to Berlin. As always, my thoughts and opinions shared here are entirely my own.


  1. Miss Allergic Reactor

    Glad you found it helpful! There is a lot to see in Germany and I think you would definitely find safe options.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I am allergic to sesame, peanuts, and most tree nuts, and I am highly considering Germany for my next European trip.

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