Few things in life are as satisfying as sitting in a shady Biergarten on a sunny day, a warm pretzel in one hand and a cold pilsner in the other. While summer in Germany has the most obvious charms, though, the rest of the year holds plenty of opportunities for adventurers, sightseers and foodies. Think cozy taverns, fascinating museums, historical sites and fairy-tale Christmas markets. With a generally temperate climate and a plethora of events to keep you entertained, there’s no real wrong time to go. Just remember the German saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather—only bad clothing.”
Weather in Germany
(All temperatures quoted are in Fahrenheit.)
Weather in March and April can be highly unpredictable, ranging from Siberian wind gusts to torrential rain to T-shirt–friendly warmth. By May, you can expect green parks, blossoming trees and abundant sun. Highs are in the mid-50s to mid-60s, and lows are in the high 30s.
From June to August, the weather’s warm but almost never sweltering, making it perfect for hiking, biking, boating and swimming. It does get humid, though, and surprise thunderstorms (or entire weeks of rain) aren’t out of the question. Highs are in the 70s to 80s; lows are in the mid-50s to mid-60s.
September and October can bring wind and rain, but they can also be quite lovely, with highs of 70-plus and brilliantly colorful foliage. (Locals call it the “Golden Fall.”) By November, gray skies outnumber blue, and the highs dip down to the 50s, with lows in the 30s.
Winters are generally cold, dark and wet, with occasional snow. Temperatures rarely dip far below freezing, but the damp chill makes it unpleasant to be outside for long. Consider this season your chance to check out Germany’s many great museums, cafés and pubs.
Backroads Pro Tip
While the climate in Germany doesn’t vary too wildly from place to place, there are a few regional differences. Rhineland, in the west, tends to be warmer than the rest of the country thanks to its low altitude; coastal cities, such as Hamburg, are rainier and foggier; the Bavarian Alps are snowy in winter and prone to warm, gusty Mediterranean winds. Read up on weather in your chosen destination before you pack.
Cherry Blossoms (April–May)
Germany lacks the floral equivalent of Austria’s edelweiss or Holland’s tulips, but cities like Bonn, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich have a surprising number of streets, parks and paths lined with cherry trees that burst into pink-and-white bloom in spring. If you’re visiting around that time, check out Bonn’s Heerstraße or Berlin’s eastern botanical garden, Gärten der Welt, for some photogenic petals.
Asparagus Season (April–June)
Don’t laugh. Germans really, really have a thing for asparagus. They chiefly prefer the white kind—the thicker the better—served with ham and hollandaise sauce. Between mid-April and late June (aka Spargelzeit), nearly every restaurant in the country has the vegetable on its menu. The most prized stalks come from the northern city of Beelitz, which even has a yearly Spargel festival.
Germany’s known for working hard, but it plays hard too. If you don’t mind crowds (or having the odd beer spilled on you), think about timing your visit around one of these celebrations:
Germany’s version of Mardi Gras is celebrated in the west of the country, and its ground central is the fun-loving city of Cologne. Expect parades, raucous crowds, flamboyant costumes, horrendously cheesy pop songs and free-flowing Kölsch beer.
When it comes to quality indie movies and celebrity guests, Berlin’s annual film festival is right up there with Venice and Cannes, but Germany’s version is way more accessible to the public. You don’t need a pass to attend screenings—just a quick trigger finger for the refresh button when online tickets go on sale.
Tag der Arbeit (May 1)
Germany’s version of Labor Day is an excuse for parties, picnics and protests throughout the country, but the most exuberant celebrations take place in Berlin. From open-air raves to cocktail stands in the street to tire-slashing anti-fascist demonstrators, the capital’s notorious anything-goes attitude gets taken to the extreme on this day. Enjoy, but don’t get caught in Kreuzberg after sundown.
Oktoberfest (Late September)
Giant beer tents, oompah music and, yes, lederhosen. These staples of Oktoberfest are what most Americans imagine when they think of Germany, even though the items are exclusively Bavarian. For two weeks each fall, this brew-centric festival takes over Munich, attracting more than six million visitors a year for libations, carnival rides and many a drunken sing-along.
Christmas Markets (December)
If you come to Germany in the four weeks before Christmas, you’re bound to encounter a Christmas market. The best known are in Nuremberg and Dresden, but nearly every town sets up a collection of wooden huts and heated tents offering food, drinks and handicrafts. Don’t miss the most beloved Christmas treats: Glühwein (mulled wine) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread).
Summer is peak tourist season in Germany, but the cities are spread out enough that the crowds never get as noticeable as in, say, France or Italy. Still, expect lines at museums and other attractions during the summer, and know you might get cramped and sweaty on public transit. (Rent a bike instead!) To escape the fray, try a hiking or biking trip out of town, or visit a lesser-known village. No matter your location, you’ll find the fewest fellow visitors in the post-holiday lull between January and March.
Backroads Pro Tip
The winter tourist slump can make for great bargains on hotels—as long as you’re willing to put up with the cold. Do as the Germans do, and invest in a quality overcoat, thermal underwear and fleece-lined boots. Also, don’t worry too much about looking fashionable. Nobody here cares!
Germany has thousands of miles of bike paths, most of them flat and well maintained, and there are plenty of quaint villages and inns to stop at along the way. Go between late spring and early fall, and don’t forget to bring water, comfortable clothes and a kit to fix flats. You could also leave the planning to us. Backroads offers bike tours from Berlin to Dresden or Bavaria to Austria, and each trip features stunning scenery and delicious food!
Hiking and Walking
Whether in the Black Forest, the cliffs of Saxonian Switzerland or the hills of Thuringia, you can tackle Germany’s picturesque hiking trails at any time of year. Summer and fall are definitely the most enjoyable seasons to do so, though. Strike out on your own, or check out castles, lakes and storybook villages on Backroads’s guided trek from Salzburg to Munich.
With crystal-clear lakes and rushing rivers, Germany has plenty to offer canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Try paddling your way through the canals of the Spreewald nature reserve or around the Müritz National Park’s lake chain. You’ll want to do it in summer, though, when the water’s warm enough to take a dip afterward.
Germany’s not as popular a ski destination as its neighbors Austria and Switzerland, which just means more space on the slopes for you! Head to Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps or Feldberg in the Black Forest for cheap lift tickets and reasonably priced accommodation. The season runs from mid-December to late March.
Travel to Germany with Backroads
Backroads offers numerous ways to experience the very best of Germany on our award-winning active travel adventures. Explore this country in the best and most genuine way possible—away from the crowds, buses and tourist hot spots. We hope you'll join us! Check out our full list of Germany adventures here.
Want to learn more about Germany, including its history, travel tips, highlights and insider info?
Check out our full Germany Travel Guide!