Germany has a mainly temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters. The western and northern parts near the sea exhibit an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb). The central and east fall into the temperate continental type (Köppen variants of Dfb, Dfc). The southern mountainous portion of the Alps experiences alpine climates (Köppen ET) at high elevations. Germany lies in west-central Europe and shares land boundaries with nine countries. The North Sea and the Baltic Sea form maritime boundaries in the northwest and northeast. The temperate latitudes, exposure to polar air masses, proximity to large water bodies, and ocean currents influence the climate.
Germany has a diverse topography, with an elevation that ranges from 3.5 meters below sea level in the northern lowlands to a high of 2962 meters in the Alps. The topography consists of lowlands in the north to forested uplands in the center, and mountains in the south. The mountains act as a barrier to the warm Mediterranean air masses that flow from the south. The North Atlantic Drift keeps the regions near the North Sea warmer than those near the Baltic Sea. Major rivers such as Rhine, Elbe, and Danube traverse the country. The weather is frequently unsteady due to clashes between Siberian cold and Atlantic mild air masses. Cold, heat, rain, snow, and other conditions rapidly bring change in the weather. Fog is frequent in the winter but occasionally occurs even in the summer. Zugspitze, in the Bavarian Alps, is the highest peak with a height of 2962 meters.
Summers are warm and humid in Germany, with a moderate amount of rainfall. The German summer is not very sunny and often sees wet and chilly days. The sunniest region is in the south, in the mountains, where also the sunshine hardly lasts for more than 8 hours a day. The peak of the summer in July sees average temperatures at a maximum of 26.1°C (79°F) in the warmest regions. Nights are often cold in the highlands, while they are cozy near the northern coasts. The climatic divide is more on the lines of west-east than north-south. Winters are colder in the east than the west, with occasional freezing days. Humid westerly winds keep the winters mild in the north and northwest. Cold waves from Siberia often push down the temperatures to -20.6°C (-5.1°F) in the winter. High-pressure systems in nearby Scandinavia bring freezing temperatures even in the day in the winter. Spring and autumn are mild to cold and often receive rain and snow in the early and late portions of the season, respectively. The temperatures rise gradually by the second half of March but are still cold enough to give a feeling of winter. Warm Fohn winds blow in the south in the spring and autumn to moderate the cold.
The average annual rainfall in Germany is 787.4mm (31") and occurs evenly throughout the year. The coastal regions and high mountains receive ample rainfall. The sea temperatures are cold to mild in Germany, and the warmest period registers average high temperatures of 17.8°C (64°F) in August. The humidity is often high in the summer, and the skies remain cloudy for extended intervals. The sunshine varies from 1265 hours annually in Trier in central Germany to a high of 1846 hours in Zugspitze in the south. Snowfall is heavy and frequent in the highlands and high mountains and occurs even in the summer. Blizzards and avalanches occur during the peak of winter. Germany is susceptible to cold winds from Siberia as well as the northern polar region.
The highest recorded temperature in Germany is 42.6°C (108.7°F), set in July 2019, in Lingen, Lower Saxony. The lowest temperature on record is -45.9°C (-50.6°F), set on December 24, 2001, in Funtensee, Bavaria.
The best time to visit Germany
The best time to visit Germany is from late spring to early autumn. The temperatures are pleasant between mid-May and September, but there is no guarantee that the weather will remain stable for extended periods. May temperatures are often in the range of 12.8°C (55°F) to 21.1°C (70°F) in much of Germany. Moderate precipitation occurs in the lowlands, while the mountains receive heavy rain. The nights remain cozy in the summer, and it is an excellent time to visit the central and eastern portions that remain cold much of the year. The southern mountains often see clouds and fog in the summer. September is an excellent time to explore the fall foliage and is less prone to thunderstorms.
The worst time to visit Germany
The worst time to visit Germany is in the cold winter season from December to February. The night temperatures are well below freezing, and even the days are dark and occasionally below freezing. Extreme temperatures are rare, but the mercury column may drop below -20.6°C (-5.1°F) in some places. Cold air masses have an affinity to settle in the valleys of Bavaria, which makes the conditions challenging. The high mountains tend to rise above the clouds and fog. Snowfall is substantial in the Alps, which makes winter a favorite season for adventure lovers. February is perfect for skiing and winter sports, with plenty of snow in the mountains and the longest days of the winter.
Germany is prone to weather hazards such as thunderstorms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and snowstorms. The high slopes of the mountains in the south receive as much as 2540mm (100") of snow annually. Thunderstorms frequently occur in the summer, and avalanches are common in the winter in the mountains. Late spring and summer are prone to thunderstorms, with lightning strikes. Floods occasionally occur in the lowlands during spring due to the melting of snow and heavy rainfall. Droughts are not rare, even though major rivers traverse a significant portion of the landscape of the country. Moderate intensity earthquakes occasionally occur in the hilly regions. The northern wind blows at high speeds during the autumn in Germany.
Weather in January
January is the coldest and snowiest month of the year in Germany, with little sunshine or warmth. The mercury column displays astonishingly low temperatures as cold winds blow with all their might. Moisture-heavy cold air clings to the soil as snow and ice cover the ground. Hamburg, halfway between the two northern coasts, registers average temperatures in the cold -1.1°C (30°F) to 3.9°C (39°F) range, as the sunshine rarely lasts for more than 2 hours. Berlin, the capital in the northern region, is wet, cloudy, with freezing temperatures in the -2.2°C (28°F) to 2.8°C (37°F) zone. The Harz Mountains receive plenty of snow, and the summit is typically foggy. The Bavarian Alps receive more than 508mm (20") of snowfall. The mystical Black Forest with snow-covered pine trees becomes a magical realm in the winter. Keep several pairs of warm socks in the luggage if outdoor trips are part of the plan. Thermal innerwear and heavy winter coats are highly useful in the winter. Most of the visitors in January in Germany are snow lovers.
Weather in February
February is typically cold and wet in Germany, but the daily sunshine hours are the best of the winter. Garmisch, on Zugspitze, registers freezing temperatures in the range of -5°C (23°F) to 3.9°C (39°F), but the snowy slopes see 3 to 4 hours of daily sunlight. Frankfurt and the Rhine Valley in the southwest see average temperatures in the cold -1.1°C (30°F) to 6.1°C (43°F) range, but less rain than the northwest. The Baltic Sea Coast, near Rostock, is very cold, with average sea temperatures rarely above 2.2°C (36°F). Ski-lovers find February to their liking, and the increase in footfall is mainly due to adventure sport lovers. There are plenty of ice-skating rinks as well as opportunities for snowshoeing, snowboarding, snow hiking, and even paragliding. Fairy tale castles look magical under the coating of snow in the winter. Wine fests are highly welcome when the mercury column is in the doldrums. Expect cold and wet conditions to prevail in much of Germany in February.
Weather in March
March is an extension of the winter season in Germany, which signals the arrival of the spring season with green shoots on the landscape by the end of the month. The daily high temperatures are between 7.2°C (45°F) to 10°C (50°F) in much of the country, and nights occasionally remain below freezing. Snowfall is heavy in the southern mountains, and even the lowlands remain in the clutches of ice and frost. Many regions receive daily sunshine north of 4 hours. The port city of Hamburg attracts water lovers, with its numerous ships, boats, and waterfront lined with restaurants and shops. The spring days tend to be mild in Hamburg compared to the cold in the central regions. Expect the weather to be unpredictable in most places, and keep a sweater and rain jacket at hand. Cold air masses regularly blow in early spring. March is perfect for budget travelers to visit Germany, who wish to take advantage of cheap vacations and do not mind a little cold.
Weather in April
April welcomes the spring season to Germany with an increase in sunshine and the melting of snow in the lowlands. The average temperatures in Kiel, near the North Sea region, are in the mild range of 3.9°C (39°F) to 11.7°C (53.1°F). The seawater is cold for swimming, but the wind provides plenty of energy to the sailing crafts. Leipzig in the central region has similar conditions, with temperatures in the 3.9°C (39°F) to 12.8°C (55°F) range. April brings 50.8mm (2") to 76.2mm (3") of precipitation in much of Germany, and it is prudent to wear a light jacket during outdoor visits. Frankfurt and the wet, generally see an increase in temperatures and nights above freezing. Lichtenstein Castle, with forest cover turning green, is a great spring destination in the Echaz Valley. The spring is beautiful in Munster, which has a large lake in its vicinity that offers swimming and sailing options. The number of tourists is fewer than the summer, and consequently, hotel accommodations are cheaper. April finally ends the winter in Germany.
Weather in May
May revives warmth in hearts and hearths in Germany as the sun smiles on the landscape. Westerly winds turn snowfall into the rain. The northern shores are warm due to the influence of the winds as well as the water. The sweet aroma of the wet soil and blooming flowers fill the landscape. Hibernating animals are wide awake and scourge the land for food. The average temperatures in Bremen and Hamburg in the north are in the mild range of 7.2°C (45°F) to 18.3°C (64.9°F). Stuttgart and Munich in the south are not much different, with temperatures in the 7.2°C (45°F) to 17.8°C (64°F) zone. The south is rainier than the north, with 139.7mm (5.5") in Oberstdorf and 172.7mm (6.8") in Zugspitze. Hiking trails are clear by May, with the melting of snow and ice. Thunderstorms occasionally occur in the interior and the south-central hilly regions in the afternoons. A Rhine River Cruise on a sunny spring day is a top drawer item on a German vacation. May offers plenty of clear weather periods to explore Germany.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the warm and humid summer season in Germany. The average temperatures register in the beautiful 10°C (50°F) to 21.1°C (70°F) zone, with 6 to 7 hours of daily sunshine. The precipitation is in the range of 50.8mm (2") to 101.6mm (4"), with moderate showers that are rarely a nuisance. Afternoon showers occur regularly in many places, especially in the hilly uplands in the center and southern mountains. Germany is a land of castles, and there is no period more apt to explore them than the warm summer season. Medieval walls, turrets, and clock towers shine in the bright sunlight, while intermittent cloudiness and showers add to the mysticism of the citadels. The Bavarian Alps receive snowfall even at the height of summer. Dense, evergreen forests multiply the effect of natural scenery in the long summer days. Expect the temperatures to rise further with the advance of the hot season. Expect crowds everywhere in Germany in June, and plan vacations well in advance.
Weather in July
July is the hottest month of the year in Germany, but the average high temperatures rarely go over 26.7°C (80.1°F). The peak summer often has clear skies in the morning followed by hot afternoons with thunderstorms. The average temperatures in Frankfurt and Gorlitz in the central region are in the warm 12.2°C (54°F) to 25°C (77°F), with a brilliant 225 hours of monthly sunshine. The sea temperatures are cool, and a coastal breeze often blows even in the summer. Kiel is the best place for sailing and surfing in Germany. The beautiful surroundings and clear waters of alpine lakes, such as the Konigssee in Bavaria, attract thousands of enthusiasts, explorers, and tourists alike. The Moselle Valley is an ideal destination for tourists who want to taste exquisite wines in the lap of the lazy, beautiful nature. Expect moderate showers in the summer, and always carry a light rain jacket or umbrella during outdoor explorations. July is the peak of the tourist season in Germany that sees millions of visitors.
Weather in August
August is a warm summer month in Germany, with long days and cozy nights. The average temperatures in the North Rhine-Westphalia region are in the warm zone of 13.9°C (57°F) to 23.9°C (75°F). The mountains of Bavaria witness beautiful sunshine for more than 6 hours a day. Heatwaves occasionally occur during the summer but rarely last more than three days. A brewery and beer garden visit is compulsory while on a visit to Munich on a sunny day in August. Food festivals frequently happen in many towns and cities. Romantic river cruises during the extended daylight hours of summer attract the attention of many couples. The nights are cozy and perfect for a musical sojourn in the beautiful towns of Germany. Bring light summer clothes for the day along with a sweater and umbrella as a backup for sudden weather changes. Expect crowds and long lines everywhere during sight-seeing tours. An August vacation in Germany is on the bucket list of many visitors.
Weather in September
September brings the lovely time autumn season to Germany, with beautiful colors and warm temperatures. The fall foliage spreads colorful hues over the landscape that attains a fairy tale proposition. Berlin has comfortable conditions, with average temperatures in the mild range of 10.6°C (51.1°F) to 18.9°C (66°F). Cologne, in the central region, is between 9.4°C (48.9°F) to 19.4°C (66.9°F). The rainfall sees a slight decrease from the summer and registers in the 25.4mm (1") to 76.2mm (3") range. September sees adequate sunshine for a daily 6 hours, with 12-hour of daylight until the autumn equinox. The fall season is the perfect time for road trips in the country, visits to castles, exploring waterfalls, and relaxing in the lap of nature. Hiking in the national parks is a popular activity, but the crowds are fewer by the end of the month. Wear a light jacket in the evening for protection from wind and cold. September is one of the best times to visit Germany before the country begins to experience cold weather.
Weather in October
October is a wet and cloudy month in the autumn season of Germany. The mild autumn season sees the mercury column in the average range of 5.6°C (42.1°F) to 13.9°C (57°F) zone. The fall foliage is at its peak by the middle of October. The hues display brilliantly among the lines of maples, birches, redwoods, tulips, and other trees. The evenings are unmistakably cold and windy in the fall season. Oktoberfest in Munich is an event that no tourist misses in vacation plans. There are many sunny days, with the daylight long enough to explore the numerous attractions that lie in the clasp of the cities and towns in Germany. Nights occasionally tend to be chilly but become cozy in the warm hearths of inns and hotels. Morning walks are particularly enjoyable in the colorful season. Expect moderate rainfall during the day and strong breezes in the evening. Carry a sweater or jacket for comfort. Expect temperatures to drop gradually with each passing day in October in Germany.
Weather in November
November is late autumn in Germany, with chilly conditions and the trees devoid of leaves. The average temperatures are in the cold zone of 1.7°C (35.1°F) to 7.2°C (45°F), with many freezing nights in the month. Zugspitze is severely cold, with temperatures in the range of -9.4°C (15.1°F) to -4.4°C (24.1°F). The days become progressively short, and the daily sunshine is less than 2 hours. Mornings are often foggy as cold air masses descend on cities and towns. Visitor numbers drop drastically in Germany with the invasion of the icy winds from the north. A few of the tourists move to the highlands in search of early snow and adventure activities. Winter jackets become a necessity in much of the country by late autumn. Significant precipitation is in the form of snow and ice that turns the landscape into a combination of brown and white. Frost feathers regularly stick from buildings and homes. Late November signals the arrival of the severely cold winter season in Germany.
Weather in December
December begins the cold and dark winter in Germany, with the sun generally on leave for long hours. The daily sunshine lasts between 1 and 2 hours in the entire country, with 50.8mm (2") to 76.2mm (3") of precipitation. Snowfall is substantial in the mountains and occasionally on the plains, especially in the forested areas of the central region. The average temperatures in Kiel, in the north, are in the chilly range of 0.6°C (33.1°F) to 5°C (41°F), with many nights below freezing. Constance, in the south, remains cold in the -1.1°C (30°F) to 3.3°C (37.9°F) zone. Festive Christmas markets add light to the towns of Germany as the season of joy arrives in a blanket of ice. Dress in layers and avoid freezing noses, hands, and feet. Boots, gloves, and scarves are the right accessories to keep the cold at bay. A heavy winter jacket is useful for snowy areas. Christmas is white in much of Germany, as snow covers the ground in December.