When is the best time to visit Germany?
Generally speaking, Germany has a temperate climate without too many extremes. Long periods of frigid weather are relatively rare in winter, while the summers are pleasant, with an occasional heatwave kicking in. Germany has four distinct seasons, each of which has its own charms for the traveling crowds. We will provide you with a travel guide, based on some attractive places to go to in this Western European country.
Best time for city trips
The Brandenburger Tor and Berlin Wall are legendary landmarks of Germany’s capital Berlin, but cities like Cologne and Munich also have intriguing architecture, museums, and festivals. Germany is an exciting destination for city trippers, and May and September may be the most favorable months to pack your suitcase. The streets are not nearly as jam-packed as they are in summer, but the weather is usually comfortably warm, and accommodations are often not fully booked.
Best time for skiing and snowboarding
Germany does cater to wintersports fanatics, thanks to an extensive network of lifts and slopes in the south. The Black Forest and especially the Bavarian Alps are sublime skiing and snowboarding locations. It’s best to pack your boards and ski poles from December to March when snow is guaranteed on the higher altitude slopes in southern Germany.
Best time to avoid the crowds
Unless you’re aspiring to stay in a renowned resort with well-curated slopes and raging apres-ski parties, the winter is the low season in Germany. Particularly during city escapes or nature-focused trips, you won’t encounter many other tourists. This applies to November, January, February, March, and April. December is an exception when cozy Christmas markets pop up anywhere.
Best time for hiking
Perhaps Germany isn’t framed as a hiking destination like Italy or Switzerland are, but this nation does have some sublime regions for trekking. The volcanic Eifel region, the Harz with its forests and lakes, and Saxon Switzerland with its rock formations present explorers with fantastic hiking opportunities. The best time to put on your hiking shoes is May to September when the sun is usually out, and the temperatures are high enough to comfortably walk in your t-shirt.
Best time for sunbathing
With a coastline of almost 2500 kilometers in the north, Germany has a wide selection of beaches and relaxing areas for catching some needed vitamin D. June, July, and August have the most hours of sun and the most potent sun power.
Check out our Essential Summer Read: 5 Dangerous Sunscreen Mistakes.
Best time for birdwatching
Germany has a range of habitats for fowls, from the tidal flats in the Wadden Sea to the expansive woodlands in the south. Westhavelland is a reserve with numerous rare waterbirds and raptors and is a prime birding destination throughout the year. The lakes of Müritz National Park host flocks of cranes, black storks, and a number of birds of prey, including the astonishing white-tailed eagle. The latter is mainly present in winter, while kites and ospreys can be found here in summer. The Black Forest is a haven for smaller species, including woodpeckers and the colorful bee-eaters. Spring and Summer are ideal times to visit when the forests are teeming with life.
Best time to book your accommodation
Book your accommodations at least two months ahead and even longer for the summer holidays. European travel agents tend to give discounts to early birds.
Best Time to Visit Germany: Travel Seasons
High season (June to September)
For family vacations and city trips, the height of summer is the peak season in Germany. And for good reasons, because the summer is a splendid time to go hiking, mountain biking in the forests, or sit on the terrace of your holiday home to get tanned.
Low season (October, November, March, April, May)
The lack of events, snow, or very warm weather cause these months to be quiet periods tourist-wise. This is actually a prime time to pack for a city trip, as accommodations are affordable.
Shoulder season (December to February)
Many travelers head for Germany in winter to stroll over the Christmas markets or enjoy skiing and snowboarding. After December, cities and lower areas will go quiet, and you won’t likely have to wait in line at theme parks or tourist shops.
Best Time to Germany: Weather by Region
Germany is one of Europe’s largest countries, with a land area of 358,000 square kilometers and a 1000-kilometer drive from the northernmost to the southernmost tip. Here’s an overview of the weather by region.
Northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
Coastal Germany has a climate influenced by the sea, resulting in warm summers and less cold winters than in other German regions. Bathing towns at the coast draw a large (domestic) crowd in summer when the temperatures are quite constant, often exceeding 20 degrees Celsius. The contrasts in weather aren’t huge in the north, as the average temperature in winter doesn’t drop below zero.
West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Saarland)
In general, West Germany experiences cooler and less sunny summers compared to the northern parts. This shouldn’t affect your holiday experience, as western Germany primarily features cities like Cologne and Frankfurt rather than beaches. With the airstreams mainly coming from the North Sea, West Germany has the mildest of German climates on an annual basis. West Germany doesn’t have any mountains, so late spring and summer (May to September) make for the best travel period when temperatures range between 15 and 25 degrees.
East Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Thuringia)
Germany’s eastern area boasts exciting cities like Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden, plus nature parks and an abundance of wildlife. Most of the eastern states deal with a continental climate with chilly winters and relatively balmy summers. There’s no real peak in precipitation, so you won’t have to avoid any season because of abundant rainfall. Temperatures in winter tend to drop below zero repeatedly, while spring is actually quite pleasant, with temperatures often higher than 15 degrees in May.
Southern Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria)
The south is home to lively Munich, favored ski resorts, mountain peaks, and untouched nature reserves. Higher parts of the south have a continental mountain climate, defined by sunny skies in the summers and cold winters with regular snowfall. On the slopes in December and January, prepare for temperatures dropping to -10 degrees. On the other hand, the lower parts of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg normally don’t get quite as cold in the wintertime. Summer is the optimum time to follow some alpine hiking trails, visit one of the breathtaking castles, or discover historic cities like Augsburg and Bamberg.
Best Time to Visit Germany: Events and Festivals
Germany has many rich traditions and long-established cultural habits, best displayed in the country’s one-of-a-kind festivals. To help you decide when is your preferred time to travel to this country, we have listed some of the coolest and most family-friendly events in Germany throughout the year.
Carnival Cologne (February)
The winter cold never stops Cologne’s citizens from throwing a celebration that’s about as old as the city itself. The highlight is the stellar parade, with floats in all shapes and sizes, people dressed up as fantasy figures, plus music and dance performances.
Berlin’s own film festival has the prestige of the Cannes Festival or the Golden Globes, but it’s much more accessible for common folks rather than just for invited VIPs. You can choose from nearly 400 movies, buy tickets to see the premiering films with the family, and experience Hollywood vibes in Germany’s capital.
Burgenfest Manderscheid (August)
Travel back to the medieval times in West Germany at the Burgenfest Manderscheid. You’ll encounter craftsmen making traditional attire and jewelry, a market, and a variety of performances. The kids will also appreciate seeing jugglers, musicians, and fire-eaters within the walls of Manderscheid’s amazing castles.
Unity Day in Berlin (October 3)
This national day of celebrating commemorates West Germany and East Germany’s unification signed on October 3, 1990. Although every city celebrates this joyful day, the way Berliners proclaim unity is unrivaled. Epicenters of this event are the Reichstag parliament building and the Brandenburger Tor, where the Berlin Wall was first crossed in 1989. Unity Day in Berlin means cheerful parades, poetry slams, concerts, and theater.
Christmas Market Trier (November / December)
Although most major German cities host marvelous Christmas fairs, the one in Trier is something else. The inner city is incredibly picturesque and provides the perfect background for a large Christmas market with nearly 100 stalls. Taste some mulled wine (a German specialty), shake hands with Santa himself, and take the kids to some of the fun rides on the central square.