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Which German holiday hotspots are opening up for Pentecost?

Various German states have plans to open back up their tourists sectors over the coming Pentecost holiday, also known as Whitsun. Here's a look at what is possible where.

Which German holiday hotspots are opening up for Pentecost?
Seeg in the Bavarian Alps. credit: dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

The coming weekend includes an extra day off on Monday thanks to the Christian holiday of Pentecost. Many people will be hoping for a break after months cooped up at home.

With the rate of infection now much lower than a month ago many districts and cities have already ended the tight ’emergency brake’ restrictions that included curfews (although they are still in place in some parts of the country).

So although some areas in Germany are beginning to open up, keep in mind that – somewhat confusingly – the federal government continues to urge people to “avoid all non-essential professional and private travel, especially tourist travel at home and abroad”.

For an idea of how things are developing, here is a run down of the current picture in states that are most popular among holidaymakers.

Note that there could be special restrictions depending on the region. So if you’re planning a trip somewhere else, check the local rules and ask the hotel or holiday home company you’re visiting if there’s anything else you should know.

READ ALSO: Explained – Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules for travel 


The southern state, famous for its Alpine walks, is set to open much of its tourist sector this weekend.

Starting on Friday, vacation homes, youth hostels and campsites in districts with a 7-day incidence below 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants will be allowed to open back up again.

“We want to make tourism possible in hotels, vacation homes and apartments over Pentecost,” Bavarian leader Markus Söder has confirmed.

At the weekend cable cars will start taking people back up into the mountains, while boat trips will start up again on the state’s scenic lakes. City tours will all be possible on the proviso that guests can provide a negative Covid test.

SEE ALSO: What does UK’s new travel advice for Europe’s ‘amber’ countries mean?


Hotels in the southwestern state can open in districts that have lifted the emergency brake, i.e. have had an incidence under 100 on five consecutive days.

Outdoor cinemas, theatres and converts can also start offering events in districts with incidences below 100.


The tighter emergency brake measures, including the curfew, are lifted in Berlin on May 19th as the capital has managed to keep cases below 100 infections per 100,000 residents for five days in a row.

Outdoor dining at restaurants in Berlin opens from May 21st with restrictions, including providing a negative Covid test result (or proof of being fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19). Outdoor swimming pools, cinemas and cultural venues are also allowed to open on Friday with restrictions.

Berlin is also set to reopen hotels and guest houses again on June 4th if the 7-day incidence continues to stay below 100.


Going on holiday in the rural state that surrounds Berlin is only possible if the district has had an incidence under 100 for the past five days. While the whole state has breached the 100 mark, not all districts have done it in time for Pentecost.

It is possible to stay in holiday homes or at camp sites, but camping is only possible if you have your own toilet i.e. you have a big fancy mobile home.

Up to two households can eat together in the outdoor areas of restaurants but only if they can provide a negative rapid Covid test or show that they have been fully vaccinated or have tested positive for a SARS-Cov-2 infection in the past 6 months. 

Lower Saxony

Holiday lets and hotels have already been allowed to open in the rural northern state, which has a popular North Sea coastline. Originally this was just allowed for state residents, but a regional court on Tuesday ruled that tourism could again reopen for everyone, under strict testing requirements and caps on the number of guests. 

North Rhine-Westphalia

In the populous western state, hotels and guest houses are allowed to open at 60 percent of their capacity in districts with a 7-day incidence below 100. If the incidence drops below 50 then they can go back to normal capacity.

Likewise restaurants are allowed to open for outdoor dining under an incidence of 100 and to open fully at an incidence below 50.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

The island of Rügen in Mecklenburg. credit: dpa | Stefan Sauer

The northeastern state is being more cautious than other popular tourist destinations.

Restaurants will be allowed to open starting on Sunday May 23rd, but holiday lets will open on June 7th and then only for residents of the state. A week later, on June 14th, other Germans will be allowed to holiday in the northeast.

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


The eastern state is allowing people to stay in holiday homes and at campgrounds below a 7-day incidence of 100 and for hotels to accept guests blow an incidence of 50. Outdoor dining also reopened on Wednesday to guests with a negative test.


The northern state with coast lines on the North and Baltic Seas has gone furthest in opening up for tourists from the whole country, something that started on Monday.

The state has the lowest infection rate in the country and restaurants – including indoor areas – and holiday lets are both now allowed to open.

People arriving from outside the state have to be able to provide a negative test and then test themselves every three days once they have entered.

READ MORE: First German state opens completely for tourism 

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Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.