I'm planning a trip for 2013 and was thinking of going in July (1st 2 weeks) but a friend who's been a few times recommended September instead. We couldn't go until mid-September. Advantages or disadvantages of each time?
September hands down.
I love September. The days are still nice and nights are cool. Perfect for travel, at least for me. Since it's shoulder season, flights and lodging are usually a little cheaper. And crowds are lighter. September is also harvest season.
Patricia, the biggest advantage of going in July is that the days are much longer. The disadvantage is that it's the height of the tourist season and also, that some German states will have their kids out for summer vacation. The states stagger their vacation times, which are considerably shorter than ours, maybe six weeks in the summer. That means more German tourists. In September, there will be considerably fewer daylight hours, and not quite as many tourists, ergo, smaller crowds. The weather could be anything from very hot in July and nice and warm in September to miserably chilly in both months, sometimes in the same week.
My vote is for September also. October isn't bad either although you might need a rain jacket in some areas.
September is Festival Time! From wine festivals in the Mosel to beer festivals in the South, almost every small town (and large) has something going on. Harvest festivals, Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart and the Munich Oktoberfest.
I don't think it matters much. Weather-wise, it could just as easily be unseasonably cool in July as unseasonably warm in September. To borrow a phrase from another tourist destination, Germany only has a handful of "E-ticket" attractions where you really feel the crush of tourists, like Neuschwanstein or the Reichstag dome. So, there might physically be more visitors in July, but it will rarely feel like a crowded day in, say, London, Paris or Rome. Of course, Munich has this large party in late September that you may have heard of... Oh wait, now that I think about it, I can think of one big difference- traffic on the autobahn, which is annoying even on a good day, can get intolerably congested in the summer. It seems that half of the population of the Netherlands rents a RV and drives through Germany to the Alps.
Hi Patricia, Another "vote" for September. While we've only had one trip to Germany/Austria in late Sept., we've done many in early to late October. October is our favorite month to travel in Germany (Bavaria) and Austria, but Sept. was fine also. We had warm days and cool nights. Perfect weather. Paul
Thanks for all of the great responses! Seems like September is the way to go. I guess I'll need to find somewhere else to go during the summer :-)
Hi, July or September...it's a trade off. As pointed out above there are definite pluses and minuses for both months. True, more crowds can be expected in July, if that bothers you, but then the hotel prices are increased if you're going to a Messestadt, city hosting a trade fair, aside from room availability. I prefer July.
September. Both years I've been in Germany in July the weather has been rainy rainy rainy. September by comparison was warm and sunny. Plus: FESTS!
Going in mid September myself!! Can't wait. See you there.
My vote is for September. When we went the weather was beautiful. But get your reservations in place before too long if you are going to be in Munich during Octoberfest. When we went to Munich for Octoerberfest, we booked nine months ahead.
Paul, saying "Germany rarely gets hot" is not kind to those of us who are up late because it's too sweltering to sleep. But it's true, Germany's can have a few days of heat anytime in summer but we don't generally seem to get prolonged hot spells until August. Again, my advice against July is not that it's hot, but the opposite. It rained nearly every day here in July this year and last year wasn't much different.
From my years in Germany I seem to remember the gray leaden skies back nearly in full force in September. But either way you will have a fine time.
Patricia, Re: the weather factor...If your trip in July of 2013 includes going to Berlin, Potsdam, and the east, the chances are that it will be hot, that famous Berliner Luft, ca. 25-30C, much more of a chance than in western Germany.
I'm not good in hot weather so September will be better.