Index


Introduction



In most of Germany, the climate is moderately continental, characterized by cold winters, with average daily temperatures around 0 °C (32 °F) or slightly above, and warm summers, with maximum temperatures around 22/24 °C (72/75 °F) in July and August.
The northernmost area (see Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Rostock, Kiel) is slightly milder, but it's also rainier and windier because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The massifs of south-central Germany and the small portion of the Alps in the far south have a mountainous climate, which becomes of course colder as altitude increases.
Being that Germany is exposed to both mild air masses from the Atlantic Ocean and cold air masses from Russia or the North Pole, the weather is often unstable, with remarkable changes and different meteorological situations, such as cold, heat, wind, fog, snow, and thunderstorms.
During winter, snowfalls are quite frequent though generally not abundant (except in Bavaria and in the mountains, and sometimes in the north-eastern plain). Snow is more common across the eastern belt, from Bavaria to the plains of the former GDR and up to the Baltic coast, while it is rarer in the western part, from the Rhine corridor to north-west exposed to the North Sea.

Snow in Berlin

During cold waves from Siberia, temperatures can plunge to -15/-20 °C (-4/5 °F) in much of Germany, but these periods usually last for a few days in the north and central part, while they tend to last longer in Bavaria, where cold air stagnates with more ease. Snowfalls often occur after a cold wave, when the winds from the Atlantic begin to blow again. Later, with the persistence of the westerlies, the temperature rises further and the snow turns into rain.
When the westerly winds blow more intensely, they can bring fairly mild weather even in winter, with highs around 10/12 °C (50/54 °F) in much of the country (except in mountainous areas).
In spring, the temperature rises slowly in March, which is usually still a cold month, with average lows around freezing, while highs are around 8 °C (46 °F) in Hamburg, 9 °C (48 °F) in Berlin and Munich, and 11 °C (52 °F) in Frankfurt and the western areas. In April, daytime temperatures range from 12/13 °C (54/55 °F) in Hamburg and Berlin to 15 °C (59 °F) in Frankfurt. While Frankfurt and the western regions can more easily experience the first mild days, at other times, late cold spells typical of spring can occur, which come directly from the north and pass quickly over the plains of Germany, and are felt especially in Bavaria, where they cause snow showers with a higher frequency. In early April, short snowfalls with night frost are still possible, especially in Munich and in Bavaria.
In spring and autumn, in the Alps and in the valleys of Bavaria, the Föhn, a southern warm wind that descends from the mountains and brings sudden increases in temperature, may blow, causing the rapid melting of snow, if present. This phenomenon is rarer in winter, when the wind usually doesn't blow from the south.
By the second half of April, the weather becomes a bit milder, and in May, when the average maximum temperature is around 18/20 °C (64/68 °F), the first warm days occur, which in Germany are characterized by possible thunderstorms in the afternoon, especially in inland areas.
The German summer, although it often brings pleasant temperatures, is not very sunny. In fact, in this season there are cool and rainy days, when Atlantic disturbances move over the country, alternating with periods when a high pressure system affects the country. In the latter situations, the days begin with clear skies and can even be hot around mid-day, while thunderstorms often form in the afternoon. These thunderstorms are less frequent in the northernmost region, which, however, is cooler and may experience more frequent rains due to disturbances coming from the Atlantic Ocean. Anyway, on warmer days, in Berlin and other cities that are not located near the coast, the temperature can reach 30/32 °C (86/90 °F) or even more.
In autumn, September is usually a pleasant month, but later the weather becomes progressively colder and rainy, with the first mists as well. In addition, the wind can be strong, especially in the northern areas. In November, the sun rarely shines; by mid-November, it is practically winter, and the first snowfalls are possible.

The coast



The northernmost part of Germany overlooks the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Here, the weather is often cold, humid, cloudy, and rainy. In addition, this area is subject to strong winds and sea storms, especially the west coast, overlooking the North Sea. Even if the temperatures are not very low, the wind increases the feeling of cold. However, in winter, when a high pressure system is formed on nearby Scandinavia, there may be very cold periods, when the temperature can remain below freezing even during the day. On the Baltic coast, the climate is similar to that of the North Sea coast, but the wind blows less frequently and less intensely, while in summer it rains a bit more rarely.
Owing to the wind, Kiel, in Schleswig-Holstein, the Land south of Denmark, is considered as the German capital of sailing and kitesurfing.

Hamburg

In Hamburg, which is not exactly on the coast, but halfway between the two coasts, the average temperature in January is around 1 °C (34 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Hamburg - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-1-113711131310620
Max (°C)4481218202222181385
Min (°F)303034374552555550433632
Max (°F)393946546468727264554641

In Hamburg, 775 millimeters (30.5 inches) of rain or snow fall per year, well distributed over the seasons, although there is a relative minimum in spring and a maximum in summer and autumn. Here is the average precipitation.
Hamburg - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)654065455575757570657080775
Prec.(in)2.61.62.61.82.23332.82.62.83.130.5
Days1291191011111011111212129

Hamburg does not get a lot of sun, especially from November to February, when the sun rarely shines. It goes a bit better from May to August, when the weather is variable, and between one disturbance and another, the sun can come out. There are on average 6.5/7 hours of sunshine per day from May to August (but in this period, in northern Germany the days are very long).
Hamburg - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours224677775321

Beach in Rostock

The sea in Germany is very cool even in summer; the water temperature reaches at most 18 °C (64 °F) in August. In winter, the North Sea is a bit warmer than the Baltic Sea, while in summer, the two seas have the same temperature. Along the coasts, a moderate breeze often blows from the north, that's why there are special beach chairs equipped with roof and back protection.
Here are the sea temperatures near Rostock, on the Baltic Sea Coast.
Rostock - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)222510141718151284
Temp (°F)363636415057636459544639

The west



The western part of Germany is the one having the mildest climate overall.

North Rhine-Westphalia

In the north-west, the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, which borders the Netherlands and Belgium, has a climate influenced by the ocean, so in winter it is the mildest area, but it is also humid and sometimes windy, while in summer it is quite cool (although sometimes there may be short heat waves lasting 2-3 days). Here we find cities such as Essen, Dortmund, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Mönchengladbach, Duisburg, Bonn.
Here are the average temperatures of Dusseldorf.
Dusseldorf - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)0035912141411841
Max (°C)671115192224242015106
Min (°F)323237414854575752463934
Max (°F)434552596672757568595043

In the south-west, still in the Rhine Valley but further to the south (see Frankfurt, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart), the climate is not as windy in winter and it's a little warmer in summer. Because of the proximity to France, this area is exposed to air masses of Atlantic origin as well, which at these latitudes can also be warm, when they are brought by the Azores Anticiclone.

Frankfurt

Here are the average temperatures in Frankfurt, which in summer it is the warmest city in Germany.
Frankfurt - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-1-125912141411730
Max (°C)46111520232625201585
Min (°F)303036414854575752453732
Max (°F)394352596873797768594641

Because of the greater distance from the sea, Frankfurt is not as rainy as Hamburg and the northwestern cities, in fact, 630 mm (25 in) of rain or snow fall per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Frankfurt - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)453550456060655550555055620
Prec.(in)1.81.421.82.42.42.62.222.222.224.4
Days10799101098891010109

The north-east



In the northeastern plain, in the former East Germany, the climate is slightly more continental, and in cities such as Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden, the average January temperature is around freezing. Because of the greater distance from the Atlantic Ocean, precipitation is not abundant, but sometimes, in winter, there can be quite heavy snowfalls due to cold air masses from the Baltic Sea.

Berlin

Here are the average temperatures in Berlin, the capital.
Berlin - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-2-214912141411620
Max (°C)3491319222424191374
Min (°F)282834394854575752433632
Max (°F)373948556672757566554539

In Berlin, precipitation amounts to 570 mm (22.5 in) per year, so it's not particularly abundant, but it's well distributed over the seasons. Here is the average precipitation.
Berlin - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)403540355570556045354555570
Prec.(in)1.61.41.61.42.22.82.22.41.81.41.82.222.4
Days1089891088881011106

Bavaria



Bavaria, the southernmost region, experiences the coldest and longer winter, both because of the distance from the sea and of the altitude that rises above sea level.

Munich

In Munich, at 500 meters (1,600 feet) above sea level, the average temperature in January is 0 °C (32 °F), and there are around 100 days per year with temperatures below freezing, at least at night. Here are the average temperatures.
Munich - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-3-3148111313951-2
Max (°C)3491419222424191474
Min (°F)272734394652555548413428
Max (°F)373948576672757566574539

In Munich, almost 1,000 mm (40 in) of rain or snow fall per year. Here, the proximity to the Alps enhances the chances of summer thunderstorms, so there's an evident peak in the summer rainfall. In contrast, in winter and spring, when the north wind collides with the mountains, snowfall easily occurs. Here is the average precipitation.
Munich - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)504560709513013011085657060965
Prec.(in)21.82.42.83.75.15.14.33.32.62.82.438
Days1091111121412111091111129

Mountains


Alps

In southern Germany, we find a narrow strip occupied by the Alps. Here, winter gets colder with increasing altitude. In summer, the temperature varies greatly depending on weather conditions, and it can be even hot on sunny days (which tend to become overcast during the afternoon, with possible thunderstorms), at least at intermediate altitudes, while it decreases abruptly when Atlantic cold fronts, which as mentioned can affect Germany even in summer, arrive in the area. At the highest altitudes, snow can fall even in mid-summer.
In Garmisch, a ski resort situated at 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level, the average temperature ranges from -2 °C (28 °F) in January to 15.5 °C (60 °F) in July and August. Here are the average temperatures.
Garmisch - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-6-5-2158101073-1-5
Max (°C)2481217192121181372
Min (°F)212328344146505045373023
Max (°F)363946546366707064554536

Near Garmisch, on Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany with its 2,962 meters (9,718 feet), it's cold even in summer. The average temperature is around -10.5 °C (13 °F) in winter and around 2 °C (35.5 °F) in summer. Here are the average temperatures.
Zugspitze - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-13-13-12-10-5-200-2-5-10-12
Max (°C)-8-8-7-402442-1-5-7
Min (°F)9910142328323228231410
Max (°F)181819253236393936302319

Zugspitze is also the sunniest place in Germany, at least in winter, in fact, it is often above the layer of clouds or mists that affects plains and valleys in this season. In contrast, clouds or fogs often form in summer, especially from noon onwards. Here are the average sunshine hours.
Zugspitze - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours455665666644

Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Zugspitze

Harz

In addition to the Alps in the south, we find the Harz Mountains, which are isolated in the center-north of the country, and whose highest point is Brocken, 1,141 meters (3,743 feet) high. Here, the temperature at equal altitude is lower than in the Alps because of the higher latitude. On average, 1,800 mm (70 in) of rain or snow fall per year, with a relative minimum in spring and a maximum in winter, when there are heavy snowfalls. Also, the summit is often foggy.
Here are the average temperatures.
Brocken - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-6-6-4-1468962-3-4
Max (°C)-1-114912141410720
Min (°F)212125303943464843362725
Max (°F)303034394854575750453632

Further south, at the highest points of the Thuringian Forest (Großer Beerberg and Großer Inselsberg), at almost 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level, the temperatures are similar, just barely higher in summer.

Best Time



Although there is no season that might guarantee stable weather conditions, the best period to visit Germany goes from mid-May to September, since the temperatures are generally pleasant. Sometimes there can be cool and rainy days, with highs around 15 °C (59 °F) or slightly higher, while in other periods, even hot days may occur, with highs around 30 °C (86 °F) or above, although nights remain pleasantly cool.
September is usually appreciated because of the lower chance of thunderstorms and because of the fall foliage that can be admired in this month, however, the days begin to shorten (on September 23, the day of the autumn equinox, both day and night last 12 hours). In contrast, in June, the days are very long, especially in the north.
Summer is a good time for hiking in the mountains, though thunderstorms can break out in the afternoon. If you want to go on a ski holiday, it is worthwhile to recall that in February, the days are longer than in December and January, so you can take advantage of more daylight hours.

What to pack



In winter: bring warm clothes, such as a sweater, a down jacket, a hat, gloves and a scarf, a raincoat or umbrella.

In summer: bring light clothes, but also some clothes for spring and autumn, a jacket, a sweater or sweatshirt; a raincoat or umbrella.

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