July is prime Sommer season with brilliant sunshine and extensive daylight hours for joining locals and spending as much time outside. Case in point: the sun rises before 5:30 am and sets after 9 pm this month.
Temperatures usually hit their peak around mid-July, making this and August the warmest months of the year, especially in the south, where humidity contributes to the heat. Temperatures in Berlin, the nation's capital, have an average daily high of 75°F (24°C) and a low of 59°F (15°C). Frankfurt is generally the warmest city in Germany, with an average daily high of 79°F (26°C) and an average low of 61°F (16°C). Towns in the Bavarian Alps will feel slightly cooler due to their higher altitude, especially near Germany's highest peak, Zugspitze, while the coastal areas in Northern Germany will benefit from cooling breezes.
Pack plenty of breathable summer clothing with a layer or two for early mornings and late evenings and sunscreen for sightseeing and outdoor adventures. It wouldn't hurt to pack a light rain jacket or umbrella, as brief rain showers are common in July, often followed by sunshine.
Crowds & Costs
Given the enjoyable weather—and the time off school and work many people in the northern hemisphere have during the summer months—it's no surprise this is one of the busiest and most expensive months to plan a trip to Germany. Like the temperatures, airfares and accommodations climb to their highest rates in July, and you can also expect more people lining up at major attractions. It is essential to make travel bookings early to secure availability, especially if taking part in activities with limited supply. Reservations are recommended if you have your heart set on any notable hotels and restaurants.
Where to Go
Germany's famously strong infrastructure provides great roads and train routes, making traveling around the country a cinch. A good option is to begin in the north; this is the best month to explore the coastline on either side south of the border with Denmark. Perhaps start your trip with a few days in the vibrant harbor city of Hamburg and then rent a car and explore long stretches of sand and nearby islands, like Rügen Island, where Albert Einstein used to spend his vacations, or car-free Hiddensee Island.
Given the peak summer crowds, July is a lively month to explore Berlin's famous landmarks and museums. For those who love urban energy, this is the place to be. You can take the train to the UNESCO-listed city of Potsdam with the 'Versailles of Germany,' Sanssouci Palace, or the city of Dresden, with manicured gardens surrounded by magnificent Baroque architecture. Rent a car for a few days and head to Saxon Switzerland National Park on the border of the Czech Republic (less than three hours by car from Berlin) with dramatic sandstone towers and plenty of hiking and rock climbing opportunities.
Bavaria's capital of Munich is an excellent base for a range of historical day trips to small cities like Nuremberg and Stuttgart, which are accessible by train. Renting a car will get you to lesser-visited gems, especially the lakes in the region often surrounded by mountains. A few popular lakes include Ammersee, less than an hour's drive from Munich, and Eibsee, located at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain.
If you find yourself in Frankfurt, you can plan an excursion through the Black Forest for enchanting landscapes that inspired fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm. A good base is the medieval city of Freiburg, where there are nearby hiking trails, lakes, and even a wine tasting event this month.
What to Do
Peace and relaxation are often at the top of the agenda for those heading to the northern beaches, but coastal hikes, beach walks, bike paths, and horseback riding trails are available, depending on which beach you choose. If freshwater lakes are more your speed, the pristine alpine lakes sprinkled around southern Bavaria offer more activities like sailing, windsurfing, fishing, and speedboat rentals. Many lakes in Bavaria have access to hiking and mountain biking trails. You can start your day with alpine adventures surrounded by flora and fauna and then head to the nearest lake for a refreshing dip.
One particularly great path is the walking trail around the crystal-clear lake of Alpsee, situated between Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles, with several viewpoints. There are thousands of castles all over Germany, so you can easily plan a visit depending on where you travel.
Then there are Germany's rivers that offer boat cruises and excursions and canoe and kayak rentals. If you travel near the Rhine and Mosel rivers, you can visit wineries in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer wine region for world-class whites. A good base is the town of Bernkastel-Kues which offers access to terraced vineyards on either side of the Mosel River and a wine museum where you can taste and purchase different wines from the region. Of course, don't miss the charming biergärten found all over Germany this time of year, with large communal tables in an open-air setting.
Events in July
Freiburg Wine Tasting, Freiburg. Taking place in late July, this annual gathering in Freiburg celebrates wines from the Black Forest vineyards.
Munich Opera Festival, Munich. Dating back to the 19th century, the capital of Bavaria offers live opera, choral, and ballet performances at some of the city's best venues through July. If you don't have tickets, look for the free live feeds shown at the large square called Max-Joseph-Platz.
Classic Open-Air Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin. The capital hosts its own music series with opera, classical, and modern performances in an open-air setting at the historic square of Gendarmenmarkt.
Klassic Open Air, Nuremberg. If that's not enough music, enjoy free classical music concerts held in Nuremberg's beautiful Luitpoldhain (Luitpold Grove) park in July and August.
CSD, Berlin. Colorful gay pride celebrations and parades in Germany are usually held in late July. The largest takes place in Berlin (dubbed Christopher Street Day) and the city of Cologne.
Kinderzechem, Dinkelsbühl. This family-friendly festival in mid-July celebrates the town of Dinkelsbühl's history in the Thirty Years' War with traditional dancing and pageants. This is a great stop for those driving the Romantic Road.