Umbrellas in Aachen. Photo by Jim Linwood.

Bring an Umbrella: Germany’s Climate

Don’t visit Germany for the weather. The country has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons: warm, occasionally damp summers, brisk and brief falls, chilly, sporadically white winters, and anything goes springs, when the weather can be soggy and chilly one day and warm and sunny the next. With an annual average temperature of 9°C (48°F) and unpredictable, sudden changes in weather conditions year-round, the weather will be difficult to predict for your stay. There are between 7 and 15 wet days each month; winter and spring are the dampest and most humid, while fall and summer are the driest. Your best chance for warm, sunny weather falls between mid-May and mid-October. But there is still no guarantee that the sun will shine—even in July, when the average temperature is only 20°C (68°F). Indeed, some summers come and go without a single 30°C day, which is a scorching hot temperature for Germans.

Your chance of fine weather increases in the sunny southwest (between the Rhineland Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg)—on average, the region is five degrees warmer and almost always sunnier than the rest of the country. Freiburg and Ludwigslust (in that order) are Germany’s warmest, sunniest cities, and the Rhine and Moselle river valleys have the grapevines, lemon trees, and fig trees to prove their gentler climes. In contrast, Berlin, Brandenburg, and Saxony, huddled in Germany’s northeast corner, tend to be chillier, foggier, and overcast. If you ascend the Alps, expect the temperatures to drop with the rise in altitude. Even in the dead heat of summer, it is brisk at the top of the Zugspitze. Don’t visit Hamburg, Lübeck, and other coastal cities without an umbrella and a rain jacket. Rain is so common that residents don’t bat an eyelash when it starts to drizzle—or pour. Winters in northern, coastal areas are warmer on average than in the south, where it snows earliest and heaviest. If you’re visiting a Christmas market and want to have a winter wonderland backdrop, head to the mountains: The Alps and Erzgebirge usually deliver wintertime snow.

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