Best Time to Visit Germany
Best Time to Visit Germany: The best time to visit Germany is when the weather is pleasantly warm, typically from May through September. This is when the temperatures are typically in the low to mid-20s. It’s also the time, especially during the peak of summer, when tourist crowds are thick, and both accommodation and airfare are at the highest prices of the year.
Best Time for Sightseeing: The best time for sightseeing in Germany is when the weather is decent but there aren’t so many tourists that lines are horrifically long, or views are interrupted. That usually means April and May or October, after the big crowds of Oktoberfest events have departed.
Best Time to Visit for Good Weather: The best time to visit Germany for good weather is from May through September, but if you’re hoping to avoid the rain, plan on visiting during the drier months of July and September, a time when you’ll see plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures with afternoon highs typically between 20°C and 25°C.
Best Time to Visit for Festivals: While the German calendar is filled with festivals throughout the year, there is none bigger than Oktoberfest which typically takes place primarily in September. It runs for 16 days starting around the first day of autumn, bringing over six million people to Munich who consume around seven million liters of beer each year. If you hope to attend this bucket-list event, you’ll need to be here during the second half of September or early October.
Best Time to Visit for the Vineyards: The best time to visit Germany’s vineyards is from late April into early summer or immediately after the late autumn harvest. There are likely to be a long list of open-air wine festivals that bring opportunities for sampling the wine and all sorts of entertainment.
Best Time to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle: Many come to Germany hoping to visit some of its magnificent castles, but there may be none finer than Neuschwanstein, the most popular in the country, located in Bavaria. People come from across the globe to see it, often in July and August which bring long lines and big crowds. If you come during this time, be sure to arrive an hour before opening to purchase your tickets for the first tour of the day, when the castle will be much quieter, and you won’t have to stand in what may feel like an endless line.
High Season: (mid-June through August, Oktoberfest and the Christmas holidays) Summer is peak tourist season, but Oktoberfest in late September and early October, and mid-December through early January are also considered high season. This is when you can expect the popular attractions throughout Germany to have long lines, while both airfare and accommodation will be at their highest prices of the year.
Shoulder Season: (April through mid-June, the first half of September and mid- to late-October) The shoulder season is a good compromise between the high and low seasons. Spring weather can be unpredictable, sunny and warm or rain, hail and possibly snow, sometimes all in the same day, although the crowds won’t have arrived, and you might find some discounted rates too. The first half of September is characterized by warm weather and diminishing crowds, while the second half of October usually offers decent if wetter weather along with brilliant autumn colors and better deals on rooms and airfare.
Low Season: (November through March, except mid-December through early January) While the calendar may say otherwise, winter in Germany usually begins in November, bringing dark, dreary cold days, frequently with freezing rain and snow in some places, especially in the south and east. This is the quietest time of year in the country, and the time you’re most likely to score good deals that make it much less expensive to visit.
Germany Weather by Month
Germany Weather in January: While the climate in Germany varies somewhat depending on location, January is generally the coldest, darkest month of the year with the average high temperature ranging around 3°C to 5°C and the low right around freezing. That means in most places snow is a possibility, although with the northern part of the country along the Baltic and North seas, in cities like Bremen and Hamburg, rain is more likely due to the milder climate. In the south on the other hand, around Munich, snowfall may be frequent – and in the east, around Berlin, it’s usually colder too. No matter where you plan to visit, if you go to Germany in January, be sure to bring warm clothing that can be layered, including thermal underwear, wool socks, gloves, scarves and a hat. Be sure to plan itineraries around shorter days too, with less than 8 hours of daylight on January 1st. (Average Max Temperature: 3°C. Average Precipitation: 42mm.)
Germany Weather in February: February is much like January in Germany though the average high temperature increases a couple degrees and there may be a few more sunny days for taking in the sights. Many areas are likely to see snow, especially in the south and east with the average low temperature still right around freezing. Pack accordingly for chilly, potentially wet weather, but you can look forward to longer days – by late February sunrise is just before 7 a.m. and the sun doesn’t set until around 5:45 p.m. (Average Max Temperature: 5°C. Average Precipitation: 34mm.)
Germany Weather in March: Spring is a great time to visit Germany, although early March is likely to still feel like winter, the later in the month you arrive the warmer it’s likely to be. The average high temperature increases significantly to around 8°C to 10°C, and even in the areas that typically get lots of snow, it’s likely to begin to melt or disappear all together now. On average, there’s just 37mm of precipitation over 13 days in March, and with mornings and evenings rather chilly, you’ll still need that cold weather gear, including a warm coat and items that can be layered for easy removal in high indoor heat and sunny afternoons. (Average Max Temperature: 9°C. Average Precipitation: 37mm.)
Germany Weather in April: Things are really warming up now with spring officially here, and days are longer for enjoying the sights and attractions too, with about 13 hours on the 1st and nearly 15 hours by late April. The mercury climbs to around 14°C in the afternoon and rainfall isn’t significant with 41mm of precipitation over 13 days this month. The sun is likely to be out more often to warm things up too. Although you’ll need to bring a mix of clothing for cooler mornings and evenings, a winter coat is unnecessary now. Bring both long- and short-sleeve shirts, and perhaps a sweater, sweatshirt or jacket to stay comfortable. (Average Max Temperature: 14°C. Average Precipitation: 41mm.)
Germany Weather in May: May is one of the best times to travel to Germany with temperatures often idyllic and cherry blossoms in bloom. Now you can expect pleasant temperatures in the upper teens and occasionally the lower 20s. There is a greater possibility of rain this month, however, with about 55mm on average now. Look forward to plenty of sunshine and long days for outdoor activities and sightseeing. While you will need a sweater or jacket occasionally, there’s certainly no need for a heavy jacket now – sunglasses, however, will be. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average Precipitation: 55mm.)
Germany Weather in June: Summer has arrived, so if you plan to visit Germany now, expect long days and warm but not too hot temperatures. The average high is now 22°C but depending on where you are it can occasionally reach 25°C or a bit higher. Summers in the south tend to be hotter, while the north gets the cooling effect from the North and Baltic sea winds. Rain is a possibility no matter where you plan to be, so you might want to bring a light rain jacket along with summer attire like shorts, short-sleeve shirts, dresses and the like. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 71mm.)
Germany Weather in July: It’s the peak of summer in Germany now, the time of year when you can expect the biggest crowds and hot temperatures after in the mid- to upper-20s depending on where you are. In the north, the winds will have a pleasant cooling effect, but you can expect hotter temperatures inland along with high humidity. Brief rain showers will likely be welcomed to cool things off, which happen occasionally with around 53mm of precipitation in July on average. Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 53mm.)
Germany Weather in August: While the average high dips a degree this month it’s likely to feel just as hot as July if not hotter due to the humidity, and it’s one of the rainier months of the year as well, with an average of 62mm of precipitation over 13 days. Bring that lightweight summer clothing along with a light waterproof jacket now, as well as those sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen for bright, sunny days. (Average Max Temperature: 24°C. Average Precipitation: 62mm.)
Germany Weather in September: Early September will still be quite warm, but with autumn around the corner, there’s a change in the air with the average high dipping down to 20°C this month. If you plan your trip around the latter half, mornings and evenings can be rather cool so you may need a sweatshirt, sweater or light jacket along with a mix of clothing, including shorts and pants and both long- and short-sleeve shirts. While it’s not as rainy as June or August, you may want to toss in a portable umbrella too. (Average Max Temperature: 20°C Average Precipitation: 45mm.)
Germany Weather in October: With fall in full swing, temperatures cool quite a bit. The afternoon high plunges all the way to 13°C, although it can be a wonderful time to be in Germany. There are usually lots of crisp, sunny days with little rain, an average of 36mm over 12 days now. Plan to dress in layers for both cooler and warmer days as well as cold mornings and nights, with the low temperature a chilly 6°C. With that chill in the air comes the time change later in the month which means shorter days to plan your itinerary around. By October 31, the sun rises at 7 a.m. and sets at at 4:39 p.m. (Average Max Temperature:13°C. Average Precipitation: 36mm.)
Germany Weather in November: If you plan to visit Germany in November, you’ll need to prepare for cold and the possibility of snow, especially in the southern and eastern regions. Visit in November and it will feel like winter has arrived, especially later in the month. The average low temperature is just above freezing at only 2°C, and depending on your location afternoons may not get much warmer, generally ranging around 5°C to 7°C. It’s time to bring out that winter gear, including a warm coat, boots, wool socks, gloves and a hat. Now is the time to pack more of that winter attire, including a heavy coat, gloves, hat and scarves. Dress in layers so that items can be easily removed when entering heated indoor attractions. (Average Max Temperature: 6°C. Average Precipitation: 48mm.)
Germany Weather in December: December is another one of the coldest months in Germany with chances for snow relatively good as the low temperature is below freezing now at -1°C combined with 51mm of precipitation on average over 16 days now. If you bring appropriate clothing for staying dry and warm, it can be a great time to be here with all the Christmas markets, holiday lights and hot cider. Keep in mind that days are especially short now, with the sun setting before 4 p.m. on December 21st, Winter Solstice. (Average Max Temperature: 3°C. Average Precipitation: 51mm.)
Germany Events and Festivals
Germany in January
New Year’s Day – January 1 is a national holiday in Germany. Many businesses will be closed, and locals often spend the day with family and/or recovering from the celebration the night before. Some start the new year in a different way, with Berlin hosting its New Year’s Run that starts at the iconic Brandenburg Gate and travelers for 4 kilometers, passing many of the city’s most famous sights.
Bavarian Sledding Championships – For three days over the first weekend in January, visitors can watch thrilling sled races in the snow in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Semi-pro teams of four whizz down the mountain in traditional wood horn sleds in a race to the finish.
Three Kings Day – January 6, known as Three Kings Day or Epiphany, is a national holiday in Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt and Baden-Wuerttemberg. This is when you might see children going door-to-door dressed as the Three Kings, caroling and collecting money for charity. Festivities begin the day before, with friends and family gathering to welcome the new year with bockbier and many attend church services that often include a Christmas story play with manger scenes.
Cologne Music Week – For a week in mid-January at four different locations in Cologne, more than 50 musical acts will be hosted.
International Green Week – Covering much of the second half of January, January 19 through January 28 in 2020, Berlin claims its International Green Week to be the largest exhibition for sustainable food and agriculture in the world. Attendees can enjoy all sorts of fresh foods and drink, including beer and wine, sausage and fresh produce, along with a variety of talks and presentations.
Germany in February
Semper Opera Ball – In Dresden, this ball held in early February includes live performances and dancing, with an opening act that presents 100 debutantes from across the country. You can join the thousands of guests who don their finest gowns and tuxedos for waltzing under the stars at the open-air ball on the historic square just outside the Opera building.
Valentine’s Day – February 14th is a day of romance in Germany, celebrating Valentine’s day with many restaurants across the country offering special dinners, and as they do in the U.S. and other places around the world, cards are often exchanged while flowers, chocolates and other small gifts are given between romantic partners.
Berlin International Film Festival – For 10 days in February each year, February 20 through March 1 in 2020, theaters throughout Berlin will be rolling out the red carpet for over 20,000 film industry professionals. There will be more than 400 films and lots of big-name stars.
Carnival – Carnival usually falls in February although it can take place in late January, March or even early April depending on the year. There are festivities throughout the country, but the some of the most elaborate are in Cologne, including Crazy Days which will be held February 20 through February 25 in 2020. The whole city participates with 300,000 flowers and 700,000 chocolates handed out during the Rose Monday parade (February 24, 2020).
Germany in March
Kurt Weill Music Festival – This festival in Dessau, the birthplace of composer Kurt Weill, known for his “Three Penny Opera” celebrates his music with this festival that runs for over two weeks over the first half of March at the Anhaltisches Theater.
St. Patrick’s Day – The Irish national holiday, officially March 17 although festivities may take place over the weekend closest to it, is celebrated in many countries around the world. There will be parties, live concerts and other events in Irish pubs in many cities throughout Germany, although Berlin and Munich tend to have the biggest. These cities also throw large parades, with Berlin’s including thousands of people that march through the streets in green playing bagpipes and other instruments.
Starkbierfest – Also known as the Strong Beer Festival, this three-week event in Munich takes place in early spring, typically over the second half of March and into early April. There will be plenty of tasty brews, drinking songs, dancing on tables, amusement rides, culinary delights and plenty of lederhosen, celebrating Bavarian culture.
Cologne Literature Festival – This international literature festival brings renowned authors from around the world in every genre to Cologne, with as many as 175 events and a separate children’s program hosted at multiple venues. It’s famous for its unusual locations, like a ship where you can listen to poetry or the police headquarters where you can hear crime stories. It takes place for about two weeks starting in mid-March.
Germany in April
Frankfurt Spring Fair – Dating back to the 14th-century, this fair began as a medieval market for selling pottery known as “dibbes,” which is why it’s sometimes referred to as Dippemess. One of the Rhine region’s largest folk festivals, today it features all sorts of rides, including roller coasters, delicious food and drink, and fireworks. Held over three weeks, in 2019 it will run from April 12 through May 5.
Art Cologne – Running for over a half-century, Art Cologne is the oldest art festival in the world, started back in 1967. For three days in mid-April, April 12-14, 2019, it showcases 200 galleries from across the globe, including contemporary and modern art in all mediums, from sculpture and photography to paintings.
Easter Weekend – Easter Weekend is sandwiched between two national German holidays, Good Friday and Easter Monday, taking place from April 19 to April 22 in 2019. There will be Easter markets, festivals, live entertainment and more across the country. In almost any town there will be traditional Easter trees known as ostereierbaum, spring flowers and hand-blown eggs on display.
Walpurgis Night – Throughout Germany, Walpurgis Night, April 30, is the time for witches, as German folklore says. It’s the night when they fly to the Harz Mountains for a spring celebration. Although today, it’s generally just a good excuse to party, with nighttime parades, dancing, music and bonfires.
Germany in May
May Day – May 1 is May Day, a public holiday which also celebrates Labor Day or Tag der Arbeit. It’s celebrated throughout the country in various ways with families often enjoying the day off for picnics in the park. In Bavaria, entire villages may be seen combing together to raise the traditional maypole with carved figures and colorful ribbons. In big cities like Hamburg and Berlin, there may be protests.
Hamburg Hafengeburtstag – Hamburg celebrates its anniversary with a huge three-day festival in mid-May, May 10 through May 12, 2019 at the Hamburg harbor. There will be dragon boat races, a tugboat ballet and a parade with historic ships.
Formula E Race Berlin ePrix – Berlin will host the Formula E Race for the fifth consecutive year on May 25, 2019. The all-electric Formula E Championship takes place at Tempelhofer Fedl, which is the former Tempelhof Airport.
Germany in June
Berlin Culture Festival and Carnival – For four days around the Christian holiday of Pentecost, June 7 through 10 in 2019, Berlin hosts one of its biggest events of the year. The Berlin Culture Festival and Carnival features a four-hour+ parade, a huge street festival with over 900 artists, and plenty of music and dancing.
Bergkirchweih – Similar to Oktoberfest but hosted in early June every year in the Bavarian town of Erlangen, this festival brings around a million attendees from around the world. In 2019, it will be hosted from June 6 to June 17, with some 100 stalls and all sorts of rides. Cold brews are enjoyed underneath the old chestnut and magnificent oak trees that are decorated with paper lanterns. There will be a wide range of foods, including international and Franconian fare like pretzels and sausage too.
Kiel Week – This sea festival is the world’s most popular sailing event, attended by millions over nine days in June, June 22 to June 30 in 2019. Held since 1882, it hosts more than 200 events, including a parade with thousands of boats, yachts, ships and other types of watercraft that sail down the Kiel Fjord. There will be music concerts and a parade of vintage cars too.
Germany in July
Schutzenfest Hannover – The world’s biggest celebration for beer and marksman is hosted annually in July, sometimes starting in late June. In 2019, it will take place from June 28 through July 7, bringing some 5,000 marksmen, with the best featured in the Marksmen’s parade. The 7.5-mile-long procession is Europe’s largest, including more than 10,000 participants from Germany and all corners of the globe. It not only includes top marksmen but elaborately decorated floats, more than 100 bands, over 60 wagons, carriages and more. There will be five huge beer tents, carnival rides and a 200-foot-high Steiger Ferris wheel holding up to 420 passengers.
Freiburg Wine Festival – For a week in early July, this festival brings more than 400 wines that can be sampled on the Cathedral Square in Baden-Wurttemberg.
German American Folk Festival – This three-week festival kicks off on July 19, 2019 in Berlin as a celebration of the friendship between Germany and America. A unique event, the focus is on the American way of life, with American food favorites like corn on the cob, steaks, burgers and hot dogs. There will be live bands, displays of vintage cars, “chill out” zones with sandy beaches, and countless rides, including roller coasters and carousels.
Lesbian and Gay City Festival – Berlin hosts the largest street party of its kind in Europe, the Lesbian and Gay City Festival which takes place around Nollendorfplatz drawing around 400,000. Attendees enjoy live music, performances, exhibitions, market stalls and a variety of culinary delights. In 2019, it will be hosted on July 20 and 21.
Hamburg DOM – The largest public festival in northern Germany takes places in Hamburg three times a year, with the last starting in late July running for a month. In 2019, it will be hosted from July 26 to August 25, brining beer tents, multicourse meals, traditional sweets and snacks and a magnificent firework display on Friday nights.
Germany in August
International Beer Festival – Berlin gives Munich’s Oktoberfest a run for its money, closing Karl-Marx-Alley between Strausberger Platz to Frankfurter Tor, opening it op to 340 brewers that come from nearly 90 different nations, bringing around 80,000 attendees for the three-day event. In 2019 it will be hosted from August 2 through August 4.
Gauboden Folk Festival – This mid-August festival will be hosted from August 9 through August 19 in 2019, bringing some 2,400 beer specialties to celebrate the national drink. First held in 1812, it’s become Bavaria’s second largest traditional festival. It takes place in Straubing and not only includes lots of beers from the Straubing-Bogen district, but a Bavarian parade, horse-drawn carriage rides and even carnival rides like roller coasters. Around 1.4 million attend, many donning traditional Bavarian attire.
Apple Wine Festival – This Frankfurt festival celebrates apple wine for 10 days in mid-August, August 9-18, 2019. Not only will there be plenty of the beverage, there will be live music and other performances along with items for sale like the traditional Bembel earthenware that apple wine is usually served in.
Germany in September
IFA Berlin – Europe’s largest technology fair takes place at the Messe exhibition grounds in Berlin over about a week in early September, September 6 to September 11 in 2019. More than 1800 exhibitors showcase the latest and greatest in technology, including consumer electronics and appliances, allowing attendees a sneak peek before they hit store shelves.
Rhine in Flames – This summer long event along the Rhine comes to an end in St. Goar and St. Goarshausen on September 20 and 21. There will be a flotilla of boats gliding across the river while local bands play live music.
Oktoberfest – Munich is the birthplace of Oktoberfest, which begins in late September. In 2019, the 16-day festival will begin on September 21, running through October 6. It draws around six million attendees from around the world who consume an average of seven million liters of beer, every year. There will also be plenty of Germany fare, live music, dancing and singing.
Stuttgart Beer Festival – Officially known as Cannstatter Volksfest, Stuttgart hosts its own form of Oktoberfest over 17 days starting in late September. The country’s second largest beer festival, it attracts more than four million beer lovers with endless beer-filled steins, a parade and fair rides like a roller coaster, swing carousel and Ferris wheel.
Germany in October
Day of German Unity Celebrations – October 3 is a national holiday that commemorates the German reunification in 1990. The most important national holiday in Germany, while nearly every city holds an official celebration, there is none like the one in Berlin where the effects of the wall were the most significant. There will be a huge city-wide festival that includes a parade marching through downtown, open-air concerts at Brandenburg Gate, art and history exhibits that can be viewed along the remains of the Berlin Wall, along with plenty of food and drink.
Deutsches Weinlesefest – The second largest wine festival in the world takes place in Neustadt over 10 days in October, October 3 through 19 in 2019. There will be lots of Pinot Noir tasting of fine wines from all corners of the globe.
Freeimarkt – The country’s oldest fair takes place over the latter half of October and into early November in Bremen, October 18 through November 3 in 2019. Running since 1035 AD, some four million come to experience it every year, enjoying over 320 attractions, a massive street party, rides and a colorful parade. There will be stalls selling all sorts of items, including licorice sweets, roasted almonds and fried pastries.
Halloween – October 31, Halloween, has only been celebrated in Germany since the 1990s, and here it’s a holiday more for the adults with nightclubs and bars hosting costume parties. There are lots of pumpkin festivals hosted throughout the country celebrating both Halloween and the arrival of fall.
Germany in November
Jazz Fest Berlin – One of the world’s premier jazz events, Jazz Fest Berlin showcases big bands, international jazz stars and large-format ensembles to the city, hosted at various locations. It takes place over four days, usually in early November. In 2019 it will be hosted from October 31 through November 3.
All Saints and All Souls Day – The first two days of November are significant on the Christian calendar, with November 1 All Saints Day and November 2 All Souls Day. November 1 is an official holiday only in states with a significant Catholic population like Baden-Wurrtemberg, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Saarland, where public offices, banks and stores will be closed. In those areas many people take the day off to visit cemeteries, decorating the gravesites of deceased loved ones with wreaths or flowers and lighting candles. In the rest of Germany, it’s a regular workday.
Leonhardifahrt – This traditional event has been taking place in the Bavarian town of Bad Tolz for more than 160 years now. It honors Saint Leonhard with a religious procession that includes horse-drawn carriages and the ringing of church bells on November 6.
Christmas Markets – The Christmas markets in Germany open on the last weekend of November every year, running through Christmas Day. Nearly every city has one, and Berlin alone hosts 60 different markets for the holidays.
Germany in December
Christmas Markets – The Christmas markets continue through December and are the main focus of the month’s events.
Saint Nikolaus Day – December 6 is Sankt Nikolaus (Santa Claus) Day in Germany. The night before, he visits children’s houses, leaving little gifts like oranges, nuts and chocolates.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day – Christmas is a three-day national holiday in Germany that includes December 24, 25 and 26; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day respectively. Many attractions and businesses will be closed or have limited hours. Public transport will be running on a limited holiday schedule. In most places, there will be restaurants and bars open.
New Year’s Eve – There will be New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country on December 31, with many cities ringing in the new year with fireworks. But there is no bigger party than what you’ll find in Berlin. The city’s “Party Mile” attracts more than a million attendees who enjoy live music while dining on all sorts of food and drink, including mulled wine, beer and local German specialties. A dazzling fireworks display takes place at the strike of midnight followed by more parties in the dance clubs.