Summer in Germany. There really is no other place like it on Earth. The sun has beaten back the clouds and the rain, spring has come and gone leaving the country covered in green. Leafy trees provide breezy canopies for the many beer gardens.
Grassy alpine meadows high up in the mountains are perfect for hiking, biking, or even gliding over in a paraglider. Cities and towns are alive with music, children playing, and fine food and drink. This is, perhaps, the best time of year for visiting Germany.
With that in mind we’ve put together a collection of some of our travel blogger friends’ best German Summer experiences. Check them out and start making plans today!
by Becky of Becky the Traveller
Spreewald is a beautiful place to visit. A huge natural UNESCO biosphere reserve only an hour’s train ride from Berlin, so a perfect place to escape the city and enjoy a summer in nature.
I visited Lubbenau on my recent trip to Germany as a day trip from Berlin. As soon as you walk up from the train station there are brightly painted murals and tree trunks have been carved into wonderful art. Walking into the town centre is a beautiful square with cafes and benches, perfect for relaxing in the sunshine. Plus a whole family of quirky metal art pieces.
But what makes this an ideal summer location is the wonderful waterways. There are so many options for exploring this natural area. On a hot sunny day take a punting trip down the waterways, stopping off at nearby Lehde for some refreshments or visit the amazing open-air museum which has recreated a traditional German village.
The punting trip also stops off at local refreshment stops on the way too where you can try the famous Spreewald pickles, they even have pickle beer, which is lovely and refreshing on a summer’s day.
For those who love a more active holiday, you can hire stand-up paddleboards or canoes for the day. I hired a canoe, perfect to explore at your own leisure. I had my own dry bag to keep my camera dry, but you could hire these too.
The waterways are a haven for nature and wildlife, look out for kingfishers, beavers and even snakes. I saw a couple of beavers, in the distance they looked like floating logs but I quickly realised that they were two very friendly beavers.
Spreewald is beautiful any time of year but exploring the waterways in the summer would be magical with lush green all around you.
by Ali of Ali Adventures
Freiburg is a laid back university town in the southwest corner of Germany. This city is a great destination year round, but it is especially wonderful in the summer due to the nice weather. It’s known as the sunniest city in Germany. I think it makes a great base for travelers who want to see the Black Forest but also want the things a small city offers.
Since Freiburg is located in the Black Forest, you can easily go hiking during the day and have a nice dinner afterwards. Take a train to small villages like Titisee and enjoy the forest and the lake and really get a feel for this region’s stunning nature.
Another option is to visit Schauinsland on the outskirts of town. There you’ll find the longest loop cable car in Germany, and once you get to the top, the views are outstanding. On a clear day you can see all the way to Switzerland.
In Freiburg’s old town, wander through the cobbled streets – but watch out for the Bächle! These little water channels running along the sides of the streets are unique to Freiburg. In the summer, you’ll often see people sticking their bare feet in them and little kids will pull boats attached to string through them.
Freiburg still has a few of its old medieval gates, so be sure to check out Schwabentor and Martinstor. In the center of town, a market runs on the square surrounding the cathedral every day but Sunday, which makes for a pleasant stroll on a sunny day.
Take a climb up the cathedral tower for views of the city. And after a day of hiking or sightseeing, stop at Feierling, a local beer garden and brewery, and enjoy a beer.
Don’t forget to pin Germany in Summer for all your future planning!
by Alex of Swedish Nomad
Schwarzwald, also known as the Black Forest, is a region in Southern Germany famed for mountains, forests, cuckoo clocks, hiking and picturesque villages. It’s popular among both local and international tourists, and even though the summer is the busiest time of the year, it’s still worth to come here if you like to spend time in nature and discover cute little towns.
Hiking, rodelbahn,spa outdoor sports are popular activities during summer. Some notable towns and places you should consider are Calw, Baden-Baden, Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Schiltach, Triberg, Bad Wildbad, Balersbronn, Feldberg, Badische Weinstrasse, and Titisee Lake.
There are hiking paths almost everywhere, and a lot of them are also suitable for mountain bikes. My favorite activity here is to wander the dense forests and imagine that you’re in one of the Grimm brother’s fairytales. There’s something mystic about the Black Forest!
But remember, the Black forest stretches more than 6000 square kilometers, and it’s not something you can cover in just a few days. However, you can base yourself somewhere like Triberg or Freiburg, and from there easily get around either by rental car or public transportation. From Triberg it’s easy to go by foot or bicycle out in the woods and other charming towns nearby as well as the largest cuckoo clock in the world!
Don’t forget to check out Alex’s website.
North Rhine Westphalia
by Roxanna of Gypsy with a Day Job
Some of the most stunning castles in the world are found in Germany, with the most famous hilltop castles being in the south. However in the north, in North Rhine Westphalia, there are equally fabulous water castles.
Water castles are surrounded by moats which were originally built as a part of a castle defenses. These moats now add an element of romance and grandeur, reflecting the castle and the gardens around them.
Summer is the perfect time to do a castle tour, and experience these beauties. The high ceiling rooms stay cool inside, and the gardens are in their full glory. Many water castles that are open for tours also have outdoor cafes, where cool refreshments can be taken.
A day trip is enough to explore two or three different castles, but there are so many worthwhile, that a tour route of several days could be planned. We recommend Münster as a starting point, with several castles barely outside the city limits.
Some are close enough that the route can even be made on bicycle. Burg Hülshoff, Burg Vischering, and Schloss Nordkirchen, were among our favorites in the Münster area, but Burg Varlar and Burg Kakesbeck are also lovely.
From this area, traveling west, there are dozens of castles interspersed along almost any route chosen. True castle lovers may even want to room in one of these water castles along the way, and there are at least 6 choices between Münster and the Rhine. Schlosshotel Lembeck was our favorite, and a perfect rest point for a water castle tour.
by Kathryn of Travel with Kat
When I visited the charming German town of Bamberg last July, while it was busy it was in no way overcrowded, unlike the better-known towns and cities of Europe at that time of year.
Its milder summer weather is another bonus if your main aim is to be out and about sightseeing. I remember thinking while I was there that it’s the perfect place to visit in the height of the summer.
And I’m sure you’ll fall in love with Bamberg it just like I did. It is such a pretty Medieval town and well suited to exploring on foot with more than 2,000 buildings with UNESCO World Heritage Status including the delightful town hall built on an island and the picturesque half-timbered houses of Little Venice.
If you need some refreshment after all that walking, try a pint of the famous local smoked beer, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. The brewery is over 600 years old and the best place to try their beer is in the original Schlenkerla brewery tavern, along Dominikanerstraße. It’s the only place in town serving this beer in the traditional manner tapped directly from wooden barrels. I loved the beer as much as the town itself.
by Jessica of Independent Travel Cats
Summer is a perfect time to visit the Mosel Valley area of Germany which stretches from Trier in the west to Koblenz in the east along the Mosel River. There is plenty to do in this region for a few days and one of my favorite villages along the river is the little town of Beilstein. Although there are no major attraction highlights here, there are still enough things to do in Beilstein to occupy a leisurely afternoon of exploring.
The two main highlights are a Carmelite monastery and a ruined castle which is a short hike up a hill from the town. There are bike paths along the river and you can also do a river cruise in the summer.
The town is a lovely place to spend the night as it gives you plenty of time to wander around its vineyards, cobbled streets, and walk alongside the river. It tends to get a lot of day visitors in the summer months but is pretty quiet in the mornings and evenings.
by Alice from TeaCake Travels
Passau in Germany is a little gem. Famously known as the ‘City of Three Rivers’, this Bavarian town is where the Danube meets the river Inn and the river Ilz – making for a lovely unique photo opportunity!
Passau is a quaint and delightful place to wander around and get lost in: through the winding lanes and over the charming bridges above its magical waterways. It’s full of Italian Baroque architecture goodies and the large squares are a great place to grab coffee in the sun.
To really make the most of the weather, make sure to hop on a boat and take an excursion on the Danube. You’ll pass the Veste Oberhaus castle and the pilgrimage monestary Mariahilf this way.
There are also some lovely walks from here. Along the Ilz, you can hike to the former shire Hals, with a castle ruin. Along the river Inn, you can hike to the Neuburger Forest, Neuburg and Vornbach.
Or maybe you just want to stay where you are and enjoying a picnic along the rivers, soaking up the sun as the boats glide by.
For last minute emergencies, if for some reason the weather is bad, Passau has the largest cathedral organ in the world that’s worth a look! Enjoy!
Check out Alice’s website.
by Roman of Roman Roams and Visit Belarus
The city of Leipzig definitely should be in your bucket list. Despite being in the historically less developed Eastern Part of Germany, it was recently announced as the best city to live in Germany with the high level of innovation, decreasing level of unemployment and the top-level University of Leipzig, which was founded almost 600 years ago.
Speaking of attractions, it has both typical German museums, beautiful churches, cathedral and a Town hall, as well as hipster areas like Karl-Liebknecht Street and Kolonnaden Street, full of young international crowd with various events and festivals organized almost every weekend.
The city has some abandoned buildings inhabited by young people, a large variety of unusual bars and restaurants with probably all cuisines of the world, and a very high tolerance to LGBT community that it is proud of.
Despite being a hipster hub, Leipzig is also great for families both to visit and to live with large park areas, several lakes and rivers.
If you visit it, you shouldn’t miss my favorite attraction of Leipzig, Monument to the Battle of the Nations built to honor the victims of the Battle of Leipzig that occurred in 1813, being the largest battle in history before the First World War with about 600000 soldiers involved.
Some modern attractions of the city you should visit are the Leipzig Panometer with 360-degree panoramas of various places, and the Augusteum, one of the buildings of the University of Leipzig and the Pauliner Church mixing the old renaissance, gothic and baroque style with the modern glass parts. These are just some of the reasons to visit Leipzig.
by Nicole of Travel Gal
Potsdam is the capital of Brandenburg and about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Berlin. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its castles, gardens and lakes. There are many historic buildings that are over 1000 years old.
I spent a day exploring Potsdam as it was an easy 45 minute S-Bahn train trip to get there. The entire city is very picturesque and you could easily spend a day wandering around or cycle around the city. Summer is my favorite time to visit as the gardens are in full bloom.
My favorite place to visit in Potsdam is the Sanssouci. Sanssouci was the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, and is an example of Rococo design. Sanssouci is a French phrase meaning without concerns and you can see why. It is more of a chateau and I went to the park to see the terraced gardens and ruins. The views from the gardens
Since the city of Potsdam itself is a world heritage site, I recommend spending the day walking around and visiting the castles, gardens, and gates. A few to note would be the Babelsberg Castle, Museum Barberini, Nauen Gate, or even the Historic Windmill.
Check out Nicole’s website.
by Clemens of Travellers Archive
When thinking about Germany, most people have the South in mind. With filling dishes, women in traditional dresses and, well, funny music to dance to. But there is actually more that you can explore in Germany. Head to the very North and find out what German islands look like.
The country’s second biggest island in the Baltic Sea is called Usedom. An island which, at some points, seems to be stuck in time. With fishermen taking their boats out, with people being so calm you’ll get addicted to it and with sunsets that will blow your mind. Jump into the refreshing sea and simply enjoy the awesome air that will make you feel better from one second to the other.
Also, Usedom is perfect for a weekend getaway or a quick daytrip from Berlin as it’s only 2,5 hours away or maybe even for longer holidays at the seaside. Come here and enjoy freshly caught fish, served in warm buns. If you can spare some time away from the beach, you may also get lost in the plentiful woods.
Not convinced yet? Well, how about taking the boat to one of the other two islands that are located just off the coast at Usedom? One is home to a bird’s center, the other one is completely empty. And if you’re a history lover, you may want to check out the submarine at Peenemünde on Usedom.
Check out Clemens’ website, Travellers Archive.
by Lorelei of California Globetrotter
Just an hour north of Munich and the temperature can suddenly feel like you’re in the Italian countryside. Warmer than many parts of Bavaria, Regensburg, a historic medieval town with winding cobble-stoned alleys lined with colorful buildings is often nicknamed “the Northern Most Italian City”.
Not just for our beautiful weather and vibrant buildings, but for the plethora of ice cream shops and Italian restaurants scattered throughout the city. Grab one to go and enjoy the impressive cathedral which dominates the skyline or hang out at Bismarktplatz, the coolest place to chill in the summer and where large crowds gather to enjoy a drink.
But Regensburg is more than just gelato and spaghetti. There are many things to do Regensburg in the summer. Biergartens around the city are overflowing with those seeking Gemütlichkeit beneath chestnut trees with a cool breeze and a beer in hand.
Many flock down to sit along the banks of the Danube River to enjoy a case of beer, gather round a hookah bong or simply have a BBQ on the Jahninsel with friends. Don’t have a portable BBQ with you? Then simply head over to the Alte Linde or the Spital biergartens, both of which offer lovely views of Regensburg.
The UNESCO World Heritage Town of Regensburg though is lucky enough to still possess that small town charm and is still very much a hidden charm in Bavaria when compared to its larger neighbors like Munich or Nuremberg.
And if it is still too much city for you, take a bike ride along the Danube or meander over the Stone Bridge to Stadtamhof – a part of Regensburg with a completely different vibe than the Old Town as it wasn’t incorporated into the city of Regensburg until 1924!
by Marco of Life is a Trip
Saxon Switzerland is a hilly national park south-east of Dresden. Together with Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic it forms the photogenic Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Not only is this area extraordinarily beautiful, it is also the perfect spot for your summer hike! Even on hot days the forest stays rather cool. There are stunning clearings here and there for those who desperately want to catch some sun.
On your hike, don’t miss the famous Bastei bridge, a unique rock formation towering 194 meters above the valley of the Elbe river! And once you make your way all the way down, make sure to plan in a relaxing walk along the wide and beautiful river.
There are cozy little villages and small food stands sprinkled along the way. Stop in a random place and have some hearty and tasty food as well as a locally distilled Schnaps and you’ll be one exhausted, but happy person in the evening.
If you stay in the rustic Castle Hohnstein, you get a beautiful view of the sunset and the feeling of living in the Middle Ages included in the price! There are also a lot of other things to see and do near Saxon Switzerland, making this area well-worth a visit.
by Megan of Megan C. Starr
Frankfurt is an ideal summer destination in Germany because it offers more festivals than I can even wrap my head around! Every weekend, without fail, a major festival takes place. I tend to be a bit scared of crowds, but I love the energy that Frankfurt exudes this time of year… it is almost like the city sleeps until the sun and warm temperatures come out and then it parties!
My perfect summer day consists of grabbing a morning coffee at one of the brilliant cafes in the city, have a terrace lunch somewhere with my partner and dog, and then finding a festival in the city and spending the rest of the day there.
My favorite one takes place in Rebstockpark and is the African festival. It is highly underrated, but definitely, packs a punch and makes Frankfurt a place worth visiting during the summer months.
by Laurence of Finding the Universe
Cologne is a wonderful city to visit in summer. There’s plenty to see and do here, and with the love of beer that this city has, you’re going to be able to have a lot of warm outdoor fun in the sun as well.
Let’s talk about the outdoors. Over a quarter of the city of Cologne is made up of green spaces, in the form of gardens, parks and small green areas that you’ll find dotted all over the city. Hanging out and relaxing in these green spaces is a hugely popular pastime with locals and visitors alike, and usually is best enjoyed with a picnic and perhaps a bottle of the local beer, known as Kolsch.
If it gets a bit warm for you, you might want to go for a dip. Swimming in the summer time in one of the cities bathing lakes is a wonderful way to cool off, and in the summer you’ll even find beaches throughout the city, many of them along the banks of the Rhine river.
Speaking of the Rhine, a must-do on your trip to Cologne is to take a boat trip on the Rhine, so don’t skip that. And of course, no visit to Cologne at any time of year would be complete without a visit to the spectacular twin spired Cologne Cathedral – a world heritage site, and the most visited attraction in Germany. Enjoy!
by Elisa of World in Paris
Kassel, located right in the center of Germany, won’t win any prize for its beauty but it is worth a short stop if you are around, especially in the summertime. The city was Hessen’s former capital, and its many palaces spread around the city are still silent witnesses of this glorious past.
Kassel has also beautiful parks which are the perfect place for a picnic or a stroll when the city gets too warm. Perhaps the most popular one is the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe (on the picture, view from the park’s ruins), a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its summer fountain show (the Wasserspiele).
The city is crossed by Fulda river which offers locals and visitors varied leisure opportunities like swimming, river cruising, kayaking or biking along the river banks. In the evening, it is always a good idea to visit one of the beer-gardens around for good drinks with friends and great river views.
If you are interested in culture, Kassel is also the place to go. The city was Grimm Brothers’ home for many years and it was in Kassel where they wrote most of their fairy tales. Today you can learn about their work (and secrets) in a new museum dedicated to them, with an incredible view over the south part of the city from its roof terrace.
Finally, Kassel is also known for Documenta, the world’s biggest exhibition of contemporary art that takes place every 5 years during the summer. At the end of the festival, the most popular artworks are bought by the city council and left in the city which makes “art hunting” another cool activity to add to your Kassel bucket list.
Check out Elisa’s website.
by Jonathan of Journey Maxx
Heidelberg on the River Neckar has enchanted visitors for centuries. Home of Germany’s oldest university, its student population and scene is certainly a big part of the city’s heartbeat. But stick around in the summertime for another perspective of Heidelberg.
Throughout the summer months the city’s landmark castle is the location for the Heidelberg Summer Festival – an unmissable program of open air theatre events and shows in and around this famous backdrop. With the students having mostly returned home for the summer, the place may feel a bit different.
This is also the best time of year for hikers. The Philosophen Weg on the other side of the Neckar or to the Königstuhl above the castle, the views over the river and towards the lush green forests are limitless.
“Ich hab’ mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren” (I lost my heart in Heidelberg) was the title of an old song. And when you visit Heidelberg, whatever time of year, you will understand why Heidelberg wins your heart.
Check out Jonathan’s website.
by Patrick of German Backpacker
Munich is always worth a visit (since it’s one of Germany’s most beautiful cities!), but it’s particularly nice to visit in summer. The Bavarian capital is full of parks and rivers, perfect to go for a stroll or to lie down to relax on a nice summer day.
Watch the surfers on the “Eisbach Welle” in the “Englische Garten” – Munich’s most famous park where you’ll also find several beer gardens – and explore the beautiful and traditional city center with its churches, cobblestone streets and nice cafés.
If you’ve got more time, leave the city for a day and explore the beautiful nature around, such as the picturesque “Starnberger See”. In less than one hour, you can even reach the Alps close to the Austrian border!
Munich has a great atmosphere in the summer, since everyone enjoys being outside and suddenly every restaurant and café seems to open an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy the sun.
There are numerous events and outdoor festivals happening, but the city still feels not as crowded and overrun by tourists compared to fall, when the infamous Oktoberfest takes place and visitors from all over the world arrive. Therefore, summer might be the perfect time to visit Munich!
While you’re here, check out Patrick’s Website.
by Sam of Alternative Travelers
While Berlin is a treat to visit year round, summer is when the German capital truly comes alive. As soon as the long winter ends, Berliners are all too ready to get outside and enjoy their city, and you can feel it in the air.
Visiting Berlin in the summer is a completely different experience than visiting in the depths of winter! In the summer months, there are many outdoor events and festivals for every taste and interest, like food festivals along the water, open air concerts, art installations, and more. In every park and green area, you’ll find Berliners and visitors alike enjoying the weather with a cold beer in hand.
As the city is so spread out and flat, one of the best ways to explore Berlin in the summer is via bike, and daily bike rentals are very affordable. Pop over to Tempelhof Field, a former airfield in the middle of the city turned summer hangout spot. People come here to fly kites, roller skate, barbecue, or just hang out.
Further afield, summer is the perfect time to take advantage of Berlin’s nearby forested areas. The city itself is already covered in trees and large parks, but a short train ride will take you to the massive Grunewald Forest, where you can walk around the many tranquil lakes and even visit an old “Listening Station” built and used by the U.S. during the Cold War.
by Gloria of Nomadic Chica
Karlsruhe might not be the most visited city in Germany, but it’s a very interesting destination to add to the Germany list.
Located in the area of the Black Forest and with a young community of students, the activities in summer in Karlsruhe involve nature, outdoor, and of course great beer and food!
In July, the Palace turns into an open-air screen for the Schlosslichtspiele (Palace Light Show) where international artists project impressive mapping animations on the Baroque facade of Karlsruhe Palace. If music is your favorite a not to miss event is the massive DAS Fest Music Festival, featuring German and international artists like Mando Diao and Simple Minds.
One of my favorite places to do longer walks and hikes in Germany are the mountains near this city where you can enjoy the beautiful nature, castle ruins, and lovely villages, making your summer days active and unforgettable.
The Karlsruher Grat you walk on the rocks and it’s a very fun day trip from the city. Is the only via ferrata in the Northern Black Forest with a 400 meters length ridge and with 2.7 kilometers total. This is the most difficult rock climbing trail in the area, but for the more inexperienced there is an alternative path in the woods to circle the rocks.
by Varsha of Varsha’s Travel 360
Situated in the Southern part of Germany, Koenigssee is a scenic destination. The area is known as Berchtesgaden and this entire region is the best nature paradise for all types of travelers. The Koenigssee is a large natural lake, surrounded by Berchtesgadener National park.
There are various hiking trails where one can admire the nature and the lake from various places. One can opt for a guided ferry tour which will take you to a small island in the lake. There are a St. Bartholoma church and more scenic points for photography. The information provided by the guide is an interesting one.
Apart from this lake, there are more attractions like Eagle’s nest, Salt Mines. The Eagle’s nest offers breathtaking views of German Alps and the Berchtesgaden area. Salt mines is another popular destination in this area. The guided tour through these mines is a fun experience for kids as well as elderly people.
The Koenigssee area is a popular destination all year. In summer, there are various outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, mountaineering, rafting etc. Different local festivals are held during the summer season and these are the best ways to mingle with locals and to know their culture.
For nature lovers and adventurous travelers, Koenigssee is a perfect place in Germany for summer time.
by Veronika of Veronika’s Adventure
Dresden can never disappoint: there is something magical of the city. I have been coming back here few times over the past five years. The Saxon capital offers the perfect mix of old and new. Summer is one of the best times to pay a visit: when the sky is blue everything looks even prettier.
The Old Town is quite compact and easy to explore on foot. Walking around soaking up all the history and adoring the buildings is definitely one of my favorite things to do in Dresden.
You can start your tour at Zwinger, a spectacular rococo palace that features a huge garden. Then you can continue towards the Elbe river and adore the historic buildings of Brühl’s Terrace nicknamed “The Balcony of Europe”.
The best place to get overview of Dresden is a viewing platform above at dome of Frauenkirche, is a Lutheran church which is one of the most important landmarks of the town. Make sure to check out the Opera house, and spend a night out in Neustadt, Dresden’s coolest district. If you get one extra day, you can make half day trip to Meissen, too.
We really think our friends have found the best places to experience German summer, but we’d love to hear our reader’s suggestions, as well. What would you say are some summer Germany highlights?
Summer in Germany is part of our series covering all four seasons for travel to Germany. Visiting Germany in Spring? Head on over to The Best Cities to Visit in Germany in the Spring. If you’re going to Germany in Winter, be sure to read our post The Best Places To Go, Winter In Germany. If you are visiting in fall, check out Germany in Fall, Best Places to Visit!
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.