Six signs autumn has arrived in Germany

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected]
Six signs autumn has arrived in Germany
A pumpkin figure in the Botanic Garden in Frankfurt am Main. Photo: DPA

The weather is unpredictable, you’re seeing lots of kites and you’re eating pumpkin soup. Yes, Herbst is here.


Those long sweaty hot days full of ice cream and half (or fully) naked people in parks may feel like a distant memory.

But don’t despair, because autumn, or fall as it’s known in American English, is still a captivating time in Germany. Here are a few signs that autumn is underway. 

Get your scarves out

Germans really like to embrace the in-between seasons and will make the most of the light during autumn days by getting out and about and taking long walks. But they will only do so on one condition: if they are warm and protected from all forms of weather.

Yes, at this point of the year, you will begin to see Germans bundled up in large scarves. Germans will do everything they can to protect themselves against the weather as if a blast of wind guarantees illness. That's why you'll also find them wearing hats and big coats even if it doesn't actually seem that cold.

Stay cosy. Photo: Depositphotos/Kirill_grekov

Another trick that Germans love is layering. On milder days, you can peel off the layers like an onion but you're still significantly covered when the temperature suddenly drops come 6pm. 

To be fair, that is very practical and we should probably all follow these tips. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Die Übergangsjacke

Blankets galore

Cafes and restaurants are still trying to make the most of their outdoor seating areas. To lure Germans to come and eat Kuchen or drink Bier outside, they will provide generous blankets so guests can wrap their legs or upper body in to make sitting outside more pleasant. 

Similarly, Germans will flock to the bars and cafes which have Heizpilzen (literally heat mushrooms, meaning heaters) so they can be in the outdoors but still enjoy an atmosphere of Gemütlichkeit (cosiness).

The heating in your building goes on

Hooray, you don’t have to freeze in your apartment anymore. 

That’s because the Heizperiode (heating period) has arrived in Germany. This time usually runs from October 1st to April 30th. It means the heating in your whole building is turned on so you can turn your radiator on.

The landlord must set the heating so that the minimum temperature in the flat reaches between 20-22C during the day and around 18C at night (11pm to 6am), according to the Deutsche Mieterbund (DMB).

Photo: DPA

Note that if it is cold in the summer months for several days in a row then the landlord must go against the general rules and turn on the heating. That’s why your heating could be turned on in September or even earlier if it’s a particularly nippy time. 

Look up. There are kites everywhere!

Germans love flying kites and the months where there's a good bit of wind is the best time to do it.

Families will flock to hills or wide open spaces to launch their Drachen (kite, or literally dragon) in the air. It's also a time for kite festivals so look out for events happening across the country by checking these listings.

In Berlin, one of the best places to fly your kite is the Drachenberg am Teufelsberg (kite mountain or dragon mountain).

The Drachenberg, like the neighbouring US listening station Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain), was built from the ruins of World War II. It's an amazing spot to watch your kite come alive in the wind.

It can take a bit of an effort to get there and then climb the 99 metre hill but it has breathtaking views of the city and almost always guarantees the breeze needed to fly your kite. 

You’re eating onions and pumpkins

One of the loveliest things about living in Germany is the defined seasons. We can really feel - and taste - the changes during the year. In autumn, onions, pumpkins and chestnuts really come into their own. 

This month the Weimar Onion Festival is happening from October 11th-13th and guarantees delicious food, including Zwiebelkuchen (onion cake), a savoury snack that might not be the best option if you're on a date but will certainly keep your tummy and tastebuds happy. 

You've probably also noticed a lot of pumpkin on the menu, most likely in the form of Kürbissuppe.

There's also a whole festival dedicated to the pumpkin - Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival,( Kürbisausstellung) which is ongoing and runs until November 3rd.

It's the largest festival of its kind in the whole world and shows just how much Germany loves pumpkins. It also includes the German Pumpkin Championships.

Photo: DPA

This year Michael Asam from Bavaria won with a pumpkin weighing in at 687.5kg, (see the above picture for proof of the giant in all its glory).

So why does Germany love this traditional North American food so much? We think they just love the fact that it can be turned into a warm comfort food, which Germans crave at this time of year. 

READ ALSO: The rise and rise of the pumpkin in Germany

Storm season hits 

We're not talking about the torrential rain that's followed by blazing sunshine. No. We're talking about gale force winds, flying trees and rain that makes you want to hibernate until spring. 

A recent storm in Hanover. Photo: DPA

Autumn in Germany is unforgiving when it comes to the weather. The good news is that these kinds of storms don't happen every day; in fact sometimes there's pleasant sunshine.

However, we'd advise making like the Germans and buying appropriate waterproof clothes, ponchos and footwear especially if you're planning on cycling in bad weather. 


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