Germany in December: Weather, Tips & Christmas Market

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December is one of the most exciting months to visit Germany. It is the festival season. Colorful decorations and Christmas markets line the streets. While the chilly weather and shorter days may limit outdoor adventure options, you will still find more than enough things to do and places to visit in Germany in December. There is no better time to visit the stunning ski resorts in the Bavarian Alps, which are in their most welcoming state.

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Germany Weather in December

Two little children having fun on Christmas market during the snowfall.
If you plan to travel to Germany toward the end of December, be prepared for snowfall.

Like most other European countries, the weather in Germany in December is typically chilly, with average temperatures hovering between 0°C and 5°C. Rainy days are also more frequent, and the daylight is limited to eight hours. Expect snowfall if you plan to visit the country towards the end of December. It is the time when the ski fields and resorts in the southern alps start opening for visitors.

Why Visit Germany in December

Couple walking with snowshoes in the winter mountain landscapes in Alps.
Snowshoeing in December is an excellent opportunity to explore the countryside and enjoy the winter beauty.
Fireworks celebrations of New Year's at Berlin Brandenburg Gate, Germany.
Enjoy the tremendous celebrations of New Year's at Berlin Brandenburg Gate in Germany.

There are many tempting reasons why you should visit Germany in December, regardless of the cold weather, shorter daylight hours, and limited outdoor exploration options. Here are some of our top picks:

  • Christmas markets: Christmas is a hugely popular festival in Germany. It is the time of year when festival spirit pervades the air, and you will find Christmas decorations and markets everywhere you go. Visitors can revel in the festive atmosphere and all the bells and whistles that come with Christmas.
  • Hanukkah: Germany’s sizeable Jewish community holds special events to celebrate Hanukkah around the country. The main highlight is the 32-foot menorah, which is believed to be the largest in Europe, that lights up annually in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
  • New year's eve: The last day of the year in Germany is met with massive celebrations across the country. There will be festivals and parties across all major cities, but the food and fireworks at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate take the cake.
  • Winter sports: The ski resorts in the Bavarian Alps typically open in December, and tourists can enjoy exciting winter activities, including but not limited to skiing and snowshoeing.

Where to Go and What to Do

The Brandenburg gate of Berlin in late afternoon
The Brandenburg gate of Berlin in late afternoon

Christmas markets are, no doubt, the highlight of Germany in December. From Leipzig to Berlin to Treier to Dresdner, festival markets open everywhere in the country. Join the merrymakers to buy gifts and enjoy traditional culinary specialties, drinks, and energetic market square acts. But, of course, there is much more to Germany in December than the Christmas markets. Winter sports enthusiasts will find a home in the Bavarian Alps as the snow begins to fall. The magnificent ski resorts in this region offer various outdoor activities, such as cross-country trails, snowshoeing, ski jumping, and downhill ski runs. You can also take a gondola ride to enjoy the pleasant views at the summit of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest point.

Berlin’s regular tourist areas would be busy during the holidays, but they are more than worth your time if you do not mind the crowd. Visit the Berlin Wall to learn about Germany’s turbulent past and dive deeper into history with a trip to Museum Islands. Other sites like Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie are not missed.

Take a trip to Hamburg which is another fast-growing tourist city in Germany. Here, you will enjoy a casual stroll along the city streets while taking Insta-worthy pictures along the canals and bridges. Art lovers would love to lap up the wholesome serving of Renaissance art at the Hamburger Kunsthalle before heading to the Elbphilharmonie to see the awe-inspiring concert performances.

What to bring

A girl enjoying beautiful panorama of Freiburg in Breisgau in Germany.
To endure the near-freezing conditions typical in December in Germany, you will need a decent winter jacket.

You will need a proper winter jacket to survive the near-freezing temperatures you will likely experience in December in Germany. You will also rest easier if your winter jacket can double as a raincoat, as there may be more than a few rainy days. If you plan to visit Bavaria, pack some quality hiking boots.

Germany in December is as exciting as it gets. Although the crowds and fares could make traditional tourist destinations less appealing, the ubiquitous Christmas markets and decorations could add an exciting vibe to your trip. People looking to enjoy winter sports will have a field day in the Bavarian Alps. Despite the cold weather and limited daylight hours, Germany has more than enough activities and places to keep you occupied throughout your stay.

Other related articles:
Germany in January
Germany in November

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on March 27, 2023

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