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A post office in Germany (Postamt) is recognizable by the postal symbol, a black bugle on a yellow background. In some villages you will find one in the local supermarket. Stamps (Briefmarken) can also be bought at some news agencies and souvenir shops. Post offices are generally open weekdays from 9 to 6 or 7, Saturdays 9–1 or 2 pm.

Airmail letters and postcards to international destinations such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe cost €0.80. Letters within Germany are €0.62. These rates apply to standard-size envelopes. Letters take approximately 3–4 days to reach the United Kingdom, 5–7 days to the United States, and 7–10 days to Australia and New Zealand.

You can arrange to have mail (letters only) sent to you in care of any German post office; have the envelope marked "Postlagernd." This service is free, and the mail will be held for seven days. Or you can have mail sent to any American Express office in Germany. There's no charge to cardholders, holders of American Express traveler's checks, or anyone who has booked a vacation with American Express.

Shipping Packages

Most major stores that cater to tourists will also ship your purchases home. You should check your insurance for coverage of possible damage.

The Deutsche Post has an express international service (DHL) that will deliver your letter or package the next day to countries within the EU, within one to two days to the United States, and slightly longer to Australia. A letter or package to the United States weighing less than 200 grams costs €48.57. You can drop off your mail at any post office, or it can be picked up for an extra fee. Deutsche Post works in cooperation with DHL. International carriers tend to be slightly cheaper (€35–€45 for the same letter) and provide more services.

Express Services

Deutsche Post. 0228/1820; www.deutschepost.de.

DHL. 0800/225–5345; www.dhl.de.

FedEx. 0800/123–0800; www.fedex.com.

UPS. 0800/882–6630; www.ups.com.