While much of Europe’s mid-year action concentrates on the continent’s Mediterranean edge, that’s no reason to leave Germany out of your summer holiday plans. In fact, it makes sense to go somewhere where they’re not all blasé about summer. The weather can be unpredictable but you will definitely be getting the sun screen out at some point; the best chances for sunshine are in the south-west corner, around the Black Forest.
This concentrated time-span gives summer in Germany a real celebratory edge. There’s an exhausting schedule of festivals throughout summer, such as Rhine in Flames, when the Rhine explodes in fireworks, music events from Rock am Ring festival in the west, to the Bach festival in Leipzig, jazz in Hamburg or the alternative Fusion festival in Mecklenburg.
In Germany’s big cities, whole neighborhoods turn inside out: restaurants put their tables outdoors, open-air cinemas spring up and the beer gardens are full. Menus have a strong seasonal emphasis throughout the year, and in summer you can expect delicious chanterelle mushrooms and berries for dessert.
With forests at their greenest, summer is a great time for hiking in Germany. Scenic spots include the Black Forest, the Harz Mountains, and the hilly region in the country’s east known as “Saxon Switzerland”. For cooling off, there are picturesque fresh-water lakes in or near most major cities, such as Berlin’s Schlachtensee or Starnberger south of Munich. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in Germany’s north-east corner, is riddled with beautiful, secluded watering holes. And if you need some sea water, head for the bracing waves and old-style resort towns of the Baltic coast or try the upscale North Sea island of Sylt.