Summer in Germany: 6 best activities to while away the balmy months
When summer arrives in Germany, it comes all at once and nature beckons. The sticky months are the best time to get to know some of the things Germans love best, the outdoors and taking a swim in your birthday suit.
Summer weather in Germany
Summer in Germany can stretch from late May to mid-September. The season is long and so are the days, with the longest falling in late June on which you can expect no fewer than around 17 hours of daylight.
Across the country, the average summer temperature is 16,4 degrees. June and July are normally the warmest months in Germany, but due to the climate crisis “hot days” or “heat days” - days where the temperature is 30 degrees or hotter - are now occurring earlier in the year and becoming more regular.
Summer activities to do in Germany
Of all the European destinations, Germany is certainly underrated when it comes to how beautiful and peaceful summer can be. As the summer months kick off, here are some ways to while away the days ahead.
Have a houseboat sleepover
Only 2,34 percent of Germany's borders face the sea, so it makes sense that the federal republic is a country of lake-loving bathers. Some people in Germany love lakes so much that when they finally feel that summer sweat slip away as they dive in, they decide to stay by the banks all summer long.
This is what houseboats were invented for. Think not so much yacht or catamaran of the Cote d’Azur and more garden shed with a chimney and some floats hanging around the sides. Hausboote are usually kitted out with a little kitchen, living and or sleeping area, plus a spacious terrace from which you can escape the heat and dive into the refreshing azures.
This activity is definitely on the pricey side. If you’re just looking for a day trip on a body of water in or near one of the German cities, renting a houseboat could set you back a few hundred euros, though this could be an outing for a group of eight or so friends, meaning sharing the cost could make it worth it for a long day out at See.
Being a little more committed to the Hausboot affair could actually mean a cheaper deal. In more rural parts of Germany, it is also possible to rent a night in a Hausboot for two for as little as 100 euros. Combine that with a 49-euro ticket train trip to your destination and you’ve got a pretty swanky holiday that won’t break the bank. Forget the ills of the world and float away into your dreams.
Sunbathe with the Spießer
If the yachts and catamarans of the Cote d’Azur are indeed more of your persuasion, the closest you’ll get to seeing how the other half holiday in Germany is by making an excursion to one of the Baltic Sea’s windswept beaches.
Sylt of course, is the big name. The island was named one of TIME’s Greatest Places in 2023, known for blue skies, pale sandy shorelines with rolling beach grass knolls, stripey Strandkörbe (beach chairs), and being a great place to spot some Promis (celebrities) who you think you might have heard of before. Rügen, Wangerooge and Usedom are also a little fancy and offer the same kind of Ostsee summer experience that is so dear to the German psyche.
Dabble in FKK
People in Germany love to sun their bums, it is part of their history and culture. If you hope to get a German passport one day, it is best to learn how to sun your bum ASAP before the date of your naturalisation test rolls around and you’re asked what FKK stands for and why it's so important.
It stands for Freikorperkultur (free body culture). In Germany, FKK is everywhere from the spa to the beach to the local park, and it’s definitely not about being sexy. FKK grew out of the mid-19th century Lebensreform movement and is based on similar principles to nudism or naturism, that being naked in the natural environment fosters creativity, as well as physical and psychological balance.
Naturists believe that wearing your birthday suit is the most fitting way to feel a human return to nature. Wherever you are in Germany an FKK area won’t be far, and there’s no time like the present to strip down to your Evakostüm and enjoy the sunshine. Remember the sun cream though.
Get high on the German suspension bridge supply
Before cannabis is legalised, people in Germany must obey the law and find other ways to get high. The country’s abundance of forest-surrounded suspension bridges offer a great legal alternative for catching a green thrill and chilling out.
The Geierlay Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Germany. The walkway hangs across the Mörsdorfer Bachtal River in Rhineland-Palatinate and connects the villages of Mörsdorf and Sosberg. This activity is not for those afraid of heights or even the faint of heart, as the walkway swings 100 metres above the valley - according to the mayor of the nearby Mörsdorf village, Marcus Kirchhoff, of the thousands of visitors to the bridge, 20 percent don’t muster up the courage to cross.
While Geierlay is the longest suspension bridge in Germany and costs nothing to cross, the Titan RT in Lower Saxony claims to be the “longest suspension bridge of its kind in the world” and will set you back six euros. The surroundings of this bridge provide a view of both natural and human-made feats like the Harz mountains’ Bode Gorge and the 348-foot high Rappbodetalsperre dam.
If you’re wanting some shade afterwards, the Titan RT bridge is also just an hour's walk from the Baumannshöhle caves of the Harz national park, which house beautiful turquoise pools.
Image credit: Peer Marlow / Shutterstock.com
Freiluftkinos: Watch a film without feeling bad for staying inside
Germany has over 550 outdoor cinemas, or Freiluftkinos. In the summer months, hopping on your bike after work and riding through the Feierabend atmosphere to pop your behind on a deck chair and stare up at the faces of the actors for a few hours, beer in hand, isn’t a half-bad way to spend the evening.
Going to the Freiluftkino is the best way to tick an old classic off the bucket list or see the newest flick while still enjoying the fresh air. A trip will usually cost you less than 12 euros and many summer Kinos are even free!
Image credit: Freiluftkino Friedrichshain / (C) Piffl Medien / CC-BY-4
Work for your summer berry medley
In Germany, no seasonal crop has such a special place in Germans’ hearts as “edible ivory”, AKA “white gold”, AKA asparagus. But by the time June 24 rolls around, when your blood has been replaced by pints of Hollandaise sauce and Spargelzeit officially draws to a close, something a little sweeter feels long overdue.
Some saccharine summer relief comes in the form of German strawberries, but not without some elbow grease first. Why on earth would anyone go to the shop and spend money on a punnet of juicy strawbs when you could sweat it out in a field on a Hitzetag and then spend money on a punnet of juicy strawbs you just picked before enjoying the literal fruits of your unpaid labour? For fun of course!
Across every federal state in Germany, a strawberry-picking field is never too far away. Pick and eat your way through the fields, which often also have an abundance of blueberries, raspberries and plums to pop into your basket. Weigh in at the end, pay up and go home with your harvest.
How do you spend your summer in Germany?
Some say “summer afternoon” are the two most beautiful words in the English language. How do you like to spend yours in Germany?
Thumb image credit: xsmirnovx / Shutterstock.com