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30 ways to avoid boredom on a Sunday in Germany

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30 ways to avoid boredom on a Sunday in Germany
Photo: DPA
09:18 CET+01:00
Germany's strict opening hours mean it can be difficult to think of stimulating activities to do on a Sunday. So for those of you who are often restless on the day of rest, here's a big list of ways you can keep yourself busy, no matter where you are in the country.

1. Take a walk in the park

Englischer Garten Munich. Photo: DPA

If the sun is out, why not take a stroll in the park? Many parks around Germany are incredibly impressive, with water fountains, botanical gardens, play equipment and cycle paths. Also, whether it's your local park or the 1,400-acre Englischer Garten in Munich, they are almost always free to enter.

2. Go for brunch

What better way to start a lazy day than with brunch? Even in the quietest of towns, you can expect somewhere to be open with brunch options on a Sunday morning. Most cafes in Germany serve breakfast between 10:00am and 12:30pm, which means you have a chance to squeeze in a bit of a lie in beforehand.

In a recent article comparing German and British food, The Local chose Germany as the champion of breakfast, so expect a dizzying array of cheeses, breads and cold cuts, as well as warm options like eggs and bacon. For the best value, or for those of you who can never decide what to order, look out for places serving a breakfast buffet. 

3. Go to the market

If you can't survive a day without your shopping fix, head down to a nearby market. Many town squares host Sunday morning markets with groceries, flowers and food trucks or weekly flea markets where you can rummage through endless boxes of antiques, furniture and clothes.

Depending on the season, there are also special events such as flower markets, farmers' markets, and of course one of Germany's best traditions, Christmas Markets.

4. Visit a museum

Natural History Museum Berlin. Photo: DPA

A visit to a museum is a perfect way to spend a cold and rainy day. From a museum dedicated to the Romans and another one celebrating David Hasselhoff, Germany has an incredible range of museums for people of all tastes.

You don't necessarily have to be a history buff to enjoy a museum trip, as many places are highly interactive, such as science museums, sports museums and even some more off-the-wall ones such as video game museums and spy museums.

Top tip - as well as a student discount, which pretty much every museum has, some places also offer under-25 discounts and family discounts. Others even have a universal reduced entry price on Sundays.

5. Hit the pool

Most towns in Germany have a Freibad or Hallenbad. Sadly Freibad does not mean free pool, but rather open air, and Hallenbad means indoor pool. Open air pools tend to only be open in the summer months but often host pool parties on weekends and are generally a great place to spend a hot day.

Indoor pools are of course open all year round and most have both an adult and a kiddie pool and many are also well equipped with diving boards, small slides and even relaxation areas with bubbles and massage jets.

For those looking for a bit more excitement, Germany also has several great water parks, including some which are indoors, such as Tropical Islands near Berlin and Badeparadies Schwarzwald.

6. Relax in the spa

Germany has a longstanding spa and wellness tradition and the day of rest is the perfect time to enjoy it. There are a huge number of spa towns around the country which are renowned for their mineral springs and thermal spas that are said to boost circulation and help with ailments such as muscle pain, arthritis and rheumatism.

You can take a dip in a thermal pool, relax in a sauna or steam room and enjoy a range of massage and beauty treatments. Some spas are reserved for people who prefer to go nude and for adults only, but some spas also have swimming areas which are family friendly. Alongside the spa towns and rural retreats, many luxury city hotels also have spas of their own which provide an urban oasis of calm.

7. Visit a Schloss

Schloss Marienburg, Niedersachsen. Photo: DPA

In the land of fairytale castles, a beautiful Schloss is never too far away. Many are open to the public on Sundays and either in a tour or on your own, visitors can wander through the decadent rooms and gardens, usually for a small fee. Take a look at our list of Germany's top 10 most iconic fairytale castles.

8. Enjoy some Kaffee und Kuchen

If brunch wasn't enough for you, or if you couldn't bring yourself to get up for it, then head to a cafe mid-afternoon for some Kaffee and Kuchen. German baked goods are undeniably amazing so it would be a shame not to indulge in something fruity, creamy, chocolatey or a combination of all three on a Sunday afternoon.

9. See a concert

Good news for music fans as Sundays are by no means off-limits for concerts and gigs. Whether it's a symphony orchestra or the Foo Fighters, concerts happen almost every night of the week across Germany.

10. Take a hike

Malerweg Sächsische Schweiz. Photo: DPA

The German people have a fondness for sensible boots, and seem to wear them all year round in all kinds of locations. If you've followed in the locals' footsteps and bought yourself a nice pair of walking boots, why not put them to good use by getting in touch with nature and exploring the incredible range of scenery the country has to offer? Check out our gallery of 7 breathtaking national parks to visit across the country.

11. Do some sport

Although spending the day of rest sitting down is totally acceptable, some prefer to be a little more active. A lot of sports clubs are open on a Sunday and it's a great day to be active without having to fit it in around a long working day - so maybe join a local football team or running club, enjoy a round of golf, or simply go for a leisurely (or not so leisurely) cycle ride. 

12. Visit an art gallery

Just like museums, art galleries are open on Sundays. Viewing art is a great way to learn about history and society and Germany is home to many incredible galleries which house world-famous pieces from all over the world. Here's our list of 10 critically acclaimed art galleries to visit while living in Germany.

13. Explore some caves and caverns

Dechenhöhle in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

If exploring the world above ground is too mainstream for you, then try a trip below the surface. Throughout the country, Germany has a range of incredible natural caves and old mines. The larger caves can be easily wandered through in large groups with a guide and feature colourful lighting, stalactites and stalagmites, and even underground lakes and streams. Meanwhile the smaller caves and mine shafts often require helmets, head torches and even sometimes harnesses and can be explored with the help of a trained caving instructor. 

14. Take a trip to a lake

A European ranking released in May 2015 showed that Germany had one of the highest numbers of 'excellent' lakes and rivers for swimming. But if a cold dip isn't your thing you can always just take a walk or bike ride around the edge, find somewhere to sit with a great view or let your dog do the swimming. 

15. Go shopping in Holland

A trip to the shops is just a car ride away for anyone lucky enough to live near the border to the Netherlands. It's handy for anyone who has forgotten to stock up on food before the German supermarkets shut or who just wants to browse the high streets and designer outlets of the nearby Dutch cities such as Roermond, Venlo, Nijmegen and Emmen.

READ ALSO: Why are shops in Germany closed on Sundays?

16. Brave a high ropes course 

Photo: DPA

Kids and adults alike can enjoy climbing through the treetops of Germany's forests. It's as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge, especially if you're scared of heights. But the best part is always the zip line. Berlin even has an urban high ropes course called Mount Mitte, complete with suspended cars to climb through. 

17. Blow off steam in an indoor playground

If your kids tend to get bored at home on a Sunday, a great way to keep them entertained is to take them to one of Germany's excellent indoor play areas. With jungle gyms, slides, small rides, trampolines, and bouncy castles they'll (hopefully) be nice and tired out by the time you get home. 

18. Get your skates on

With indoor rinks open all year round, a slide around on the ice is always good fun. You can rent skates there and if you've never skated before, you won't be alone in shuffling around the edge while the show-offs glide around in the centre. In the winter, especially around Christmas Markets, outdoor rinks are often open - and are especially pretty at night with all the lights and hopefully a little snow.

19. Get your heart racing at a theme park

Heide Park Colossos wooden rollercoaster. Photo: DPA

Thrills seekers can get their adrenaline fix at one of the country's many theme parks. Germany has the tallest wooden roller coaster in the world in Heide Park and the 7th tallest at Europa-park, the country also has the 3rd, 4th and 9th tallest steel roller coasters in Europe in Europa-park, Hansa Park and Holiday Park, respectively. 

20. Hit the bar

Just as most restaurants are open on Sundays in Germany, many bars are too. In towns and smaller cities, bars may close a little earlier than usual on Sundays, but you can still fit in a couple of drinks with friends at the end of the day.

If you're a party animal who happens to live in a big city, you're in luck as it's likely that a few clubs will be open even on a Sunday. This means you can have a couple of drinks, as long as you're willing to risk a hangover on Monday morning.  

21. Watch a movie

No, this does not mean watch six hours of Netflix in bed. Cinemas are open all Sunday in Germany and it's a nice treat to watch a new movie on a big screen with surround sound and fresh popcorn. A lot of foreign films in Germany are dubbed rather than subtitled, though; look out for ones marked 'OV', meaning original version, if you'd prefer to watch the film in its original language.

22. See a show

The Phantom of the Opera Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Theatres around the world tend to be closed on Mondays rather than Sundays, and Germany is no exception. Whether it's drama, comedy, ballet, musical theatre or anything else in between, there's something about watching a live performance that's just a little more magical than seeing it on a screen.

23. Take a guided walking tour

It's very easy to settle into a routine and to forget to make the most of the area you live in. If you, like many, have moved to the country but never actually done the whole 'tourist thing', then why not take a tour around a nearby city and learn a bit about your new (or not so new) home. Many tours are even 'free' which means you can tip the guide however much you can afford or feel the tour was worth at the end.

24. Wander around somewhere new

Rather than visiting somewhere simply for the shopping possibilities, a great way to learn more about the country is to go somewhere you've never been simply to wander around and take in the atmosphere and architecture.

Aside from grand structures such as churches, museums and town halls, many German towns and cities have an Altstadt, meaning old town, with pretty timber-framed buildings. Some places also have a Glockenspiel, usually on the town hall, which is a clockwork mechanism with moving figures that plays a melody at certain times of the day.

If you'd rather explore somewhere a little off the beaten track, here are 10 beautiful and secluded German villages to visit.

25. Go to the zoo

Osnabrück Zoo. Photo: DPA

German zoos, aquariums and safari parks feature on lists as some of the best in the world. Modern zoos have come a long way from the tiny cages of the 19th century and nowadays have a focus on education and conservation with enclosures as close to the animals' natural habitat as possible. What's more, you don't just have to be or have kids to enjoy a trip to the zoo. Visiting a zoo is a great day out for adults too.

26. Take part in a go-kart race

Why sit at home watching Formula 1 when you can be out living it? Lots of go-kart tracks in Germany are indoors so there's no need to worry about the weather and, depending on what size group you turn up in, you'll either be racing just between yourselves or also against a few strangers. Go-karting is great fun for adults and kids, usually from age eight and up, and all you need to bring is a competitive streak. 

27. Go rock climbing

Many cities also have rock climbing centres where you can unleash your inner Spiderman, with walls for a range of abilities. If you find out you really fancy it, you could even join a rock climbing club or society. These groups often meet at indoor centres but take trips on weekends to test out members' skills on real terrain. 

28. Go to a festival

Alongside many weekend music festivals throughout the summer, there are countless cultural festivals all year round in Germany. They range from the traditional, such as Oktoberfest and medieval festivals, to contemporary ones such as film festivals and vegan festivals. Make sure to keep an eye on local papers for events.

29. Take a boat trip

If you're lucky enough to own a boat, or know someone who does, you probably don't need reminding how much fun it is to head out onto the waters for a day. For less experienced sailors, many sailing clubs have open days where you can try out what it's like to sail with the help of instructors. But if that seems like a little too much work, you could simply enjoy a scenic river cruise or maybe hire a paddleboat or rowboat at a nearby lake. 

30. Visit a concentration camp

Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

Germany has done a great deal to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and visiting a concentration camp is an educational and very moving experience. Most of the concentration camps from the war have been preserved as memorials which are open to the public almost every day of the year including Sundays and most public holidays. 

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