December in Germany is that special time of year when charming outdoor markets, or Christkindelsmarkt, pop up across the country. You won't have to travel far to find gingerbread and Glühwein from Hamburg down to the Austrian border in the shadow of the mighty Zugspitze (Germany's tallest peak). While you're in the Bavarian Alps, head to the lively ski resorts, which open this month just in time for the holidays.
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To say that Germany has a historical legacy is an understatement—this is a European nation with more than 2,000 years of upheaval under its belt, from the Saxon Dynasty through the global wars of the 20th century. In the past few decades, Germany has reemerged as a progressive, industrious nation and cultural powerhouse, with one of the best-loved capital cities in the world.
When is the best time to visit?
Like most nations in Europe, Germany’s high season is in the summer. Beat the crowds in spring when the weather is pleasant and the cherry blossoms are at their prettiest (the blooms are best seen in the city of Bonn). Throughout Germany, spring is also the time to enjoy music, dance, and beer festivals—in Hamburg, there's even a celebration of the aforementioned cherry blossoms each May.
Late September and early October coincide with Germany’s world-famous Oktoberfest beer fest in Munich and throughout Bavaria. And if you visit during the snowy holiday months, you'll enjoy the quintessential Christmas markets of Hamburg, Dresden, Cologne, and Berlin.
Where should you go?
Start your trip in Berlin, and stay for a while—it's a city filled with culture and history. This is where you'll find great restaurants, incredible nightlife in the Kreuzberg district, sites of interest like the Reichstag building and Brandenburg Gate, and important memorials and museums related to the Holocaust. For museums and medieval history, visit the historic Old Town districts of Cologne, Munich, and Hamburg. Outside the capital, travelers can encounter WWII-era history in Nuremberg, the Eagle’s Nest (Hitler’s bunker complex in the Bavarian Alps), and at the concentration camp at the town of Dachau.
How many days do you need?
You can see the major sites of Berlin in a day or two, though you can spend much more time getting to know its many distinct neighborhoods and attractions. If you have at least a week, you can pair the capital with another major city: eat and drink your way through Munich, see the tony Elbe River port town of Hamburg, or visit the cathedrals and bridges of charming Cologne. Spend two weeks and add some time in the Rhine Valley, or road trip through the forests of Bavaria.
November is a quieter, colder time in Germany, but that doesn't deter intrepid visitors who put on an extra layer to explore uncrowded cities and historic sights on foot. By the end of the month, things start picking up again when Christmas markets open all over the country (especially Berlin) for warm mugs of Glühwein.
Fall in Germany quiets down after Oktoberfest—a great time for scenic road trips that prioritize leaf-peeping and outdoor activities that may combine hiking and wine tasting. The cities, for their part, have plenty going on, from Berlin's festival of lights to an international book fair in Frankfurt. Read on for more on what to expect in Germany in October.
There's more to early autumn in Germany than liters of beer and oompah bands. September is a lovely time to explore the country's quieter natural environs once the summer crowds have dissipated, with meandering drives in the Black Forest and 13 wine regions and activities in the Alps before the snow arrives.
In July, summer is in full force in Germany, beckoning visitors with warm sunshine and fun activities. This is a great time to plan a city break, while those looking to skip the crowds can head for smaller towns and lesser-known destinations—especially those near beaches and lakes (and there are plenty of both).
June is a spectacular time to visit Germany, with great weather and the longest days of the year—which means more time for exploring city attractions and scenery in the form of mountains, rivers, forests, and lakes. Summer tourists begin to trickle in this month, but you're still ahead of the peak crowds, especially in the first half of the month.
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Excellent Service from Kim Kim
Sep 8 - Sep 17, 2022
We were very pleased with the service we received from Tomasz and others. You arranged for hotels and guides that fit our requests, and we had a wonderful trip. One minor matter was that on our rental car return to Sixt in Munich, we were given the address of the office for Sizt and it should have been their rental return in a nearby (but hard to get to) location. The local manager made the problem go away for us. read more
Nice trip. Had wonderful time.
Aug 26 - Sep 6, 2022
Private walking tour guides
May 27 - Jun 9, 2022
Our guides were outstanding. Lucy in Prauge provided a detailed history of her country. We learned so much from her . Bernie in Salzburg was very informative as well and recommended many things to see and do as well as places to avoid. Our guide in Vienna was very excellent too. She spent extensive time with us and made sure we were comfortable with the transportation in the city. She was super smart on all of the history of Vienna. Our guide Alice in Budapest was very kind and took lots of time with us . All of them were so very good!!!