I'm planning a trip to Germany next fall. I was there in August previously but due to timing issues will need to go later. When does Oktoberfest start and do rates for hotels,etc. go up drastically? I would rather not be there then but am not sure exactly what the time frame is. Also, if I wait until November, how cold will it be?
The big question- where in Germany will you be? Oktoberfest starts in the last week of September and ends in early October. I'm not certain how much the celebration affects travel country-wide, but at least in Munich, hotels bookings can fill up almost a year in advanced... and of course, rates are quite high. But of course, Munich is only one small corner of Germany.
As for the temperature, it won't be warm anywhere, but for such a large country, we couldn't quote meaningful temperature averages without knowing where you plan to visit.
Check the dates online. Only Munich will have high rates during Oktoberfest. November is also trade fair time in many cities, so depending on where you are going, you might want to check the rates for Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, etc. November can be quite chilly, windy and rainy, but this again is always subject to change. It also depends on where you are going. Germany is quite large and the weather on the North Sea is not the same as in Cologne or down in Bavaria, where you will might have snow. If you get a bit more specific, you will get better answers to you questions.
Octoberfest will start around September 20 and go through around October 5 (I don't have a calendar to look at so those are only rough dates). The second half of September is a great time to travel the region. It's cooler and rains a little more but the prices are good and the crowds (except for specific thing like Octoberfest) have dwindled.
I've traveled in Germany in both September and October. I've had both great weather and rainy weather in September and had some good weather and some very (I think unseasonably) cold weather in mid to late October.
First, Oktoberfest runs for 16 days, (3 weekends) ending the first first full weekend (?) in October.
Average weather conditions for various places in Germany (including Munich) can be found in the back of Rick's Germany guidebook.
I was there the first two weeks of last October. It never rained and, although it was 0°c one morning in Nördlingen, afternoon temperatures were too warm for my down ski parka.
We've travelled to Bavaria 5 times in Oct. (mid to late) and have experienced very nice weather. We were there the last week of Oct./ first week of Nov. last year also. Temps in the 60's to low 70's and chilly at night and early am. Octoberfest ends the first weekend of October.
You still have not said where you want to visit.
Munich has an average high in the 40's in November; but, as this is a transition season, there can be a lot of variation in the weather from sunny and mild, to rainy and cool to snowy (less likely).
We lived in Germany and liked November travel as we could easily dress for the variations. The countryside is "worsted gray" which does not appeal to everyone. There is not much difference in the cities except that you might have to add a warmth layer to your clothes.
I would use hrs.com to check for hotel prices in various time frames. It will be apparent when trade fairs, etc. are driving prices up.
If you go late November, there will be some Christmas markets open. You have to check city by city.
I travled Germany the last week of September and the first 2 weeks of October just like Lee did and I agree that it did not rain at all. We may have had a misting but we were very fortunate. I would say the average temp was in the mid 70's and probably mid 50's at night. It was great sweatshirt and pants weather. Especially if you plan on hiking at all to the castles or walking around the city, you should be plenty warm but who knows with the weather. Check out weather.com now to see what it is like in Germany and judge on that. Dont forget you can always buy a hat and jacket there if needed.. They have stores too!! Have fun and plan for the best case scenario and enjoy getting out of jams.
Thanks for all the advice. I know this seems vague butthis is in the very early planning stages. I'm taking a couple of friends and am determining their interests now to decide what they will enjoy most. Since I have to work around family events, vacation days, etc. for 3 different people as well as ticket prices, I'm trying to get general info to help narrow things a little and weigh the advantages of traveling in Sept. vs Oct. vs Nov. The approximate date of Oktoberfest is very much appreciated since I definitely want to avoid Munich while this is going on. I also appreciate the weather info. A friend took his family in July a few years ago and nearly froze. I went 3 weeks later and roasted. Again, thanks. I'll have more specific questions when I decide on exactly when and where.
I wouldn't avoid Munich just because of Oktoberfest. It is a lot of fun. I was there during the 2008 fest and other than the grounds of the fest which were very crowded, I didn't notice too many other areas of the town that were crowded. The biggest drawback would be the cost of rooms. If you can stay in Munich during the week instead of the weekends and you will pay half price.
Oktoberfest 2009, 19 Sept. - 4 Oct.
Not everyone enjoys being around tons of drunken people, which is why they don't want to go to Oktoberfest. Some people prefer seeing Munich without the fest going on. The thought of sitting around with bunches of people getting drunk, swaying back and forth on benches to German folk music with overpriced food and drinks, I don't know, it sure wouldn't be my idea of a swell time. I understand it is fun for a lot of people, just not for all of us.
The biggest issue with Munich during Oktoberfest are hotel rates. They do go up significantly. Besides that you can visit and not exp the craziness of it if that is what you want. Ditto to the person that said it is like a state fair during the daytime. Weather is mild and very nice Sept/Oct but be prepared for some rain. I would say it is an ideal time to visit esp the other towns as they are actually lower in cost because outside of Munich it is low season. Oh and there is a book fair in Frankfurt that eats up every hotel to be had in Oct so watch out for that. We just needed a hotel for one night and there was none to be had. Slept in the airport that night.
The Frankfurt Book fair this year is from 15 - 19 Oct. and the room rates might be higher 1 - 2 days beforehand along with those 4 days. So, this is just 5 days out of the whole month. This is why I recommend that people check for trade fairs in each city they are going to, along with school vacations and public holidays. Trade fairs take place all over Europe in many different cities, just some are larger than others.
Teena, I have been to Germany twice in November, once over Thanksgiving. It was rainy and sometimes cold, but there were also no crowds or tourists. Since I am from the northwest, rainy weather never stops us, museums and things do tend to close early but I have great memories of being in museums that were basically empty and hotels were cheaper etc. I think it is a great time to travel. have fun! Also if you can wait and go in late Nov, 1st week of December the Christmas markets will start. Now that is the best time of all to go!
Chere, are hotels more expensive around this time? What did you think were the best markets? I'm from the south but I don't mind cold and rainy if it means less crowded!
"Chere, are hotels more expensive around this time? What did you think were the best markets?"
We lived in Nürnberg over a couple Christmases. It has one of the largest and most famous markets; but, the hotel prices do increase.
We have visited other markets (Augsburg, Salzburg & Rothenburg). There is a certain sameness to these markets. Looking at the Christmas stuff for a couple hours in different towns was enough for us.
We are in Germany the first week of December this year. We included towns that we wanted to visit for other reasons and considered Christmas markets a bonus. We are going to Regensburg which has a few markets and a great medieval pedestrian zone. Bamberg also has a great historical district and a nativity scene walk to go with its market. Hotels are up in Regensburg and rooms are filling in Bamberg. We are visiting Würzburg because it is a favorite and has a small market.
Research a couple towns to find one or more that you would like and it is likely to have a decent market. Check hrs.com to see how rooms are doing, even if you reserve direct.
Some markets begin in November.