10 of the best summer activities you can still enjoy under Covid rules in Germany

Even if you're not planning on travelling far afield this summer, there's still a lot you can do throughout the Bundesrepublik, with ample outdoor and day trip possibilities. We list some of our favourites.

10 of the best summer activities you can still enjoy under Covid rules in Germany
Kitesurfers at Bodensee on May 4th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Kästle

With the vaccine rollout accelerating across the country and recent emergency measures helping to bring cases down in most areas, it is likely there will be more freedom to travel around the country in the coming months. 

READ ALSO: How freely will people be able to travel to and from Germany this summer?

Here we have put together a collection of the best activities across Germany you can still enjoy this summer, despite some restrictions still being in place.

Escape the capital at Weißer See

On a sunny day in Germany’s capital, the people of Berlin will often flock to the surrounding lakes to enjoy the sun and a dip in the chilly waters. One such destination is the Weißer See. 

Just northeast of the city, you will find this expansive lake, complete with walking trails, boat rentals and a swimming area.

You can relax on the beach at Strandbad Weißensee, where there is a chance to venture out into the calm water to cool off from the sun. 

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Info on the lake’s facilities

Beach opening hours and pricing

Explore the oldest town in the country

Located on the Moselle river, not far from the border with Luxembourg, Trier is one of the country’s most significant sites. The small city, which has a population of just over one hundred thousand, is a treasure trove of Roman ruins.

Trier once served as the key city of the Roman northern territories, but was first founded by the Celts in the fourth century BCE. It was then conquered by the Romans around three hundred years later. 

As the city centre is quite small, most of the sites are within walking distance from each other, so the city is a great destination for a weekend break without a car. There is also a mini train called the Römer Express which takes visitors on a 35 minute tour of the old town. 

The Porta Nigra is the only remaining original city gate and climbing to the top provides an impressive view over the city, particularly on a clear day. Trierer Dom, the oldest cathedral in Germany, is also well worth a visit, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Trier is the birthplace of Karl Marx and there is plenty of opportunity to explore his influence on the city. The Karl Marx House, where he was born, is now open to the public and has become an education centre. 

Tourist office

Karl Marx House

Surf on the Eisbach in Munich

You may not associate the landlocked city of Munich with the surfing scene, but if you haven’t watched the surfers catching the waves on the Eisbach – or even tried it yourself – you’ve been missing out. 

Located just at the entrance to the English Gardens, right in the centre of the city, you will find the best city centre location for river surfing. 

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The man-made river emerges from underground next to the Haus der Kunst modern art museum. The stone step at the outlet creates a consistent wave about a metre and a half high, making the Eisbach a favourite spot for surfers for the last forty years.

In the summer months, you can take a dip in the water after a surf and be carried through the gardens by the natural gentle rapids of the river. 

Sail on Germany’s largest lake

Bodensee, often called Lake Constance in English, is the largest lake in Germany, and Europe’s third largest freshwater lake. The waters straddle the border between Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The lake is fed by the Rhine and sits at the foot of the Alps, providing some beautiful scenery. It is one of Germany’s most popular holiday destinations, particularly because of the range of activities on and around the lake. 

You can explore the mountainous surroundings of the lake by hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing and there are plenty of small villages around the lake to stay for a night or two, as well as larger cities such as Konstanz. If you are looking to get even closer to nature, there are many sites to pitch a tent close to the waterside. 

Sailing at Bodensee


Walk the length of the Elbe tunnel 

Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, is definitely worth a visit as there is plenty to do even with social distancing measures in place. One such activity is walking the length of the old Elbe tunnel.

The original tunnel, built in 1911, was installed to more easily connect dock workers with the banks of the Elbe. It was extremely innovative at the time of its construction and first became a tourist attraction in the 70s, when a new tunnel was built.

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It is now fully open to the public and pedestrians and cyclists wishing to cross below the river can use the free lift to drop down into the tunnel, which is 24 metres below the ground.

The tunnel has been preserved as a historic site since 2003, so is beautifully kept. Well below the ground, you can appreciate its art-deco style as well as the artwork that now lines the walls. 

Transport and opening times

Explore the university city of Heidelberg

Known for its beauty and gothic architecture, the university town of Heidelberg is not to be passed over. Nestled on the river Neckar in Baden-Württemberg, the city is about eighty kilometers south of Frankfurt. 

The university, founded in 1386, is the oldest in Germany and one of the most reputable educational institutions in Europe. It is particularly known as a hub of scientific excellence. 

READ ALSO: Weekend Wanderlist: Strolling through the hills of Heidelberg

Heidelberg is a great city for romantics, with a beautiful cityscape including the Heidelberg Castle and the Baroque old town. Indulge your inner poet by walking the Philosopher’s way, a path along the edge of a mountain with views across the whole city – it is said to have inspired a number of philosophers and writers of the romantic period.  

Philosopher’s walk

Heidelberg Castle

Visit the Ostsee

Though you may not associate Germany with beach holidays, the Ostsee is home to some of the most beautiful coastal scenery you can find. The German Baltic coast is three hundred and fifty kilometers long and boasts almost endless sandy beaches.

There are also more rugged rocky beaches, as well as areas set out for kitesurfing and other water sports. For those brave enough to engage with Germany’s love of nudity, there are also a number of FKK beaches along the coast. 

READ ALSO: The dos and don’ts of public nudity in Germany

This area of Germany is popular for holidaymakers and the beaches may be quite busy at peak times of the season. One of the key features of the beaches are the famous wicker deck chairs (Strandkörbe) – make sure you visit at a less busy time to make the most of these!

The islands off the Baltic coast are also well worth a trip. Rügen is Germany’s largest island and is known for its long sandy beaches, nature reserves and white chalk cliffs. 

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Visit Rügen


Go deep into the Harz mountains 

The Harz mountains stretch from the southeast corner of Lower Saxony into Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. This is a great destination for nature lovers, ramblers and history buffs alike.

As well as protected nature areas, the highland area is home to medieval towns, castles and fortresses that look like they were plucked straight from a fairy tale. 

There are plenty of places to stay in and around the area’s medieval towns, as well as campsites throughout the mountain range. 

The mountains boast some of Germany’s most unusual wildlife – look out for wild boar and lynxes as you explore the National Park. Harz’s highest mountain, Mount Brocken, is engulfed by mist for around 300 days of the year. If you brave the climb to the top, you can experience the strange sensation of seeing your shadow projected onto the fog. 

A guide to the Harz mountains

Live out a fairy tale in the Black forest

You have probably heard of the Black Forest, or at least its namesake cake the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateau), but you might not have it pegged as a travel destination. 

The Black Forest is perhaps best known as the setting for many of the most famous Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel. The huge forest really does have a sense of magic within it and offers a sprawling woodland dotted with market towns, spas and lakes.

Located in the southwest of Germany, near to the French border, the forest has an area of over six thousand square kilometers. It is worth planning your visit carefully, as you definitely will not be able to explore the whole forest!

READ ALSO: Weekend Wanderlust: Chasing a hoax across the Black Forest

The small town of Triberg is a popular destination within the forest, known particularly for the Erste Weltgrößte Kuckucksuhr giant cuckoo clock. It is also home to the museum of Black Forest culture and the Triberg Falls, the highest waterfall in Germany. 

Triberg Falls

The best Black Forest Gateau

Explore Saxony’s historical capital

Dresden, close to the Czech border, is the capital of Saxony and sits on the river Elbe. The skyline of the city is particularly beautiful, and can be seen reflected in the water on bright days.

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As you walk through the city, you will be surrounded by intricate baroque architecture, as Dresden was once the royal residence for the kings of Saxony. It was once known as the architectural and cultural hub of the empire and known colloquially as the Jewel Box. 

Eighty five percent of the city centre was destroyed in the bombings of World War Two, but this should not put you off visiting. The old town was painstakingly restored across the second half of the twentieth century. 

Although the city is large, most sights are walkable from each other. The domed Frauenkirche church rises above the city, and is just a short walk from the banks of the river. The Zwinger area, a palatial complex that houses a wealth of galleries and museums, gardens and courtyards will keep you occupied all day.

Visiting Zwinger

Travel from Berlin to Dresden

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REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.