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Which regions in Germany have the best (and worst) weather?

Whether you’re a sun worshipper or a fan of cooler days, Germany has a surprisingly diverse range of climates to suit every taste. We break them down for you.

Day trippers enjoy the view of the turquoise water on the shore of Lake Forggensee in Füssen, Bavaria.
Day trippers enjoy the view of the turquoise water on the shore of Lake Forggensee in Füssen, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Overall, Germany has a fairly typical central European climate. But there are factors such as the proximity to the mountains and the sea, which make considerable regional differences in weather.

Here are some of the best and worst regions for weather in Germany – depending on your personal preference.

READ ALSO: How climate change is threatening Germany’s forests

The subtropical southwest

Far from the sea and nearby the Vosges Mountains in eastern France, southwestern Germany enjoys a humid, subtropical climate, with mild weather all year round.

The finest weather can be found in the Upper Rhine region, which crosses northeastern Baden-Württemberg, southeastern Rhineland Pfalz and southern Hessen. 

A map showing the Upper Rhine region from the government of Freiburg website 

The highest average annual temperatures in Germany are usually found in this region which is due, in part, to its location on the Upper Rhine trench and the so-called Burgundy Gate, which is a flat area of land between the Vosges and Jura Mountains through which warm Mediterranean air can flow.

READ ALSO: Holiday like a local: Five of the best camping regions in Germany

The Breisgau area of this region is often referred to as the gateway to spring and summer because the apple blossom starts here first and continues further north during the spring. 

Sheep graze under flowering cherry trees on a tree meadow near Ebringen in the Markgräflerland region of southern Baden.

Sheep graze under flowering cherry trees on a tree meadow near Ebringen in the Markgräflerland region of southern Baden. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Rolf Haid

Sunny paradise on the Baltic Sea Islands 

Though it hardly ever gets extremely hot or humid at the Baltic Sea, the islands in this stretch of water enjoy a lot of sunshine.

With just under 900 hours of sunshine from June to August, the island of Rügen leads the way, closely followed by Usedom.

 Tourists and visitors enjoy the sunny weather on the Baltic Sea beach of Zinnowitz on the island of Usedom.

Tourists and visitors enjoy the sunny weather on the Baltic Sea beach of Zinnowitz on the island of Usedom. Photo: Stefan Sauer/dpa-central image/dpa

In the summer months of June, July and August, the air usually warms up to 22C and rarely climbs above 25C, due to a constant sea breeze which keeps temperatures relatively cool. But the abundance of sunshine maintains a warm feeling for holidaymakers.

The sea temperature here is not quite Mediterranean, and in July you can expect an average temperature of 17-18C which drops below the 15C mark again from mid-September.

Rainy regions around the Alps and the Black Forest

The area around the Alps typically sees the highest level of rainfall in Germany, especially during the summer. This region covers southern Bavaria and the Black Forest in southwestern Baden-Wüttemburg.

A rowing boat lies on the rainy Hopfensee lake near Hopferau (Bavaria) in front of the cloud-covered Alps in August 2016.

A rowing boat lies on the rainy Hopfensee lake near Hopferau (Bavaria) in front of the cloud-covered Alps in August 2016. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

The state of Baden-Württemberg regularly tops the highest annual rainfall charts and, in 2021, had the highest average rainfall level for the year with 980.9mm. By way of comparison, the smallest amount of rainfall in the country for 2021 was in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, which totalled 582.4mm.

Bavaria’s capital, Munich, is also regularly hit by strong summer thunderstorms, but the area also sees a lot of sunshine.

READ ALSO: Eight beautiful Bavarian day trips you can’t miss

Surprising sub-zero temperatures in Saxony

As you might expect, one of the coldest places in Germany is also the highest.

At 2962 m above sea level, the so-called Zugspitze (literally meaning train peak) is Germany’s tallest mountain peak and is located in the southwestern Garmisch-Partenkirchen region in Bavaria. The peak regularly drops down to temperatures below -10C. The coldest temperature to be recorded on the mountain was −35.6C in February 1940.

But you may be surprised to learn that one of Germany’s regularly record-breaking coldest spots is the village of Kühnhaide in Saxony.

The church and houses of Kühnhaide in February 2021.

The church and houses of Kühnhaide in February 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

Due to its location in a sunken area of land surrounded by higher forests, cold air can accumulate on clear, windless nights and temperatures in winter often exceed the -20C mark.

In the winter of 2011 to 2012, the village recorded a spine-tingling temperature of -34.4C and in February 2021, it was the coldest region in Germany when it reached a temperature of -28.2C.

READ ALSO: Five ways to make the most of Germany in winter

Balmy Berlin

With an average annual temperature of around 13C, Germany’s capital is one of the warmest cities in the country.

The heavily built-up areas of the city influence the climate and create inner-city heat islands, which makes Berlin noticeably warmer and usually drier than the surrounding regions of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The sun shining next to the TV Tower in Berlin's Alexanderplatz.

The sun shining next to the TV Tower in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

You’re most likely to experience good weather in the capital from May to September when the average temperatures fall between 20 and 25 degrees.

What about the weather in other major cities?

Hamburg, in the north of Germany, is typically mild and temperate, with a pleasant breeze even in midsummer. Precipitation in Hamburg is high, however, with an average of 133 rainy days a year.

In Frankfurt am Main, summers are usually pleasant, while winters are very cold and windy, and it tends to be cloudy all year round. Throughout the year, the temperature usually ranges between -1C and 25C and rarely dips below -8C or above 31C.

Cologne and nearby Düsseldorf have a so-called “oceanic climate”, meaning they are two of Germany’s warmest cities, with relatively mild winters and hot summers. In both cities, the average temperature for July is 24C and only 6C in February. 

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Why sunny weather in Germany can switch off solar panels

The more the sun shines in the southern German town of Aurach, the more likely it is that Jens Husemann's solar panels will be disconnected from the grid -- an exasperating paradox at a time when Germany is navigating an energy supply crisis.

Why sunny weather in Germany can switch off solar panels

“It’s being switched off every day,” Husemann told AFP during a recent sunny spell, saying there had been more than 120 days of forced shutdowns so far this year.

Husemann, who runs an energy conversion business near Munich, also owns a sprawling solar power system on the flat roof of a transport company in Aurach, Bavaria.

The energy generated flows into power lines run by grid operator N-Ergie, which then distributes it on the network.

But in sunny weather, the power lines are becoming overloaded — leading the grid operator to cut off supply from the solar panels.

“It’s a betrayal of the population,” said Husemann, pointing to soaring electricity prices and a continued push to install more solar panels across Germany.

Europe’s biggest economy is eyeing an ambitious switch to renewables making up 80 percent of its electricity from 2030 in a bid to go carbon neutral.

N-ergie thermal power station

The thermal power station of energy supplier N-Ergie in Nuremberg, southern Germany. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put a spanner in the works.

Moscow has cut gas supplies to Germany by 80 percent, in what is believed to be a bid to weaken the European powerhouse’s resolve in backing Ukraine.

READ ALSO: OPINION: How many massacres will it take for Germany to turn off Russian gas?

As a result, Berlin has been scrambling for alternative sources across the world to replace the shortfall.

This makes it all the more frustrating for Husemann, whose solar panels normally generate enough electricity for 50 households. With the repeated shutdowns, he suspects they will only supply half of their capacity by the end
of the year.

Grid bottlenecks

Grid operator N-Ergie, which is responsible for harvesting electricity from Husemann’s panels, admits the situation is less than ideal.

There were 257 days last year when it had to cut off supply from solar panels on parts of the grid.

“We are currently witnessing — and this is a good thing — an unprecedented boom in photovoltaic parks,” Rainer Kleedoerfer, head of N-Ergie’s development department, told AFP.

An employee of energy supplier N-ERGIE working at the company's network control centre in Nuremberg, southern Germany. 

An employee of energy supplier N-Ergie working at the company’s network control centre in Nuremberg, southern Germany.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But while it takes just a couple of years to commission a solar power plant, updating the necessary infrastructure takes between five and 10 years, he said.

“The number of interventions and the amount of curtailed energy have increased continuously in recent years” as a result, according to N-Ergie spokesman Michael Enderlein.

“The likelihood is that grid bottlenecks will actually increase in the coming years,” while resolving them will take several more years, Enderlein said.

According to Carsten Koenig, managing director of the German Solar Industry Association, the problem is not unique to solar power and also affects wind energy.

READ ALSO: Reader question – Should I modernise my heating system in Germany?

Solar bottlenecks tend to be regional and temporary, he said. “Occasionally, however, we hear that especially in rural areas in Bavaria, the shutdowns are more frequent.”

2.4 million households

Koenig agrees the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.

“This will be especially true if political measures aimed at sufficiently expanding the power grid in Germany… drag on for too long,” he said.

Some 6.1 terawatt hours of electricity from renewables had to be curtailed in 2020, according to the most recent figures available.

With an average consumption of around 2,500 kilowatt hours per year in a two-person household, this would have been enough to power around 2.4 million households.

A spokesman for Germany’s Federal Network Agency said it did not share the belief that “it will not be possible to expand the network in line with demand in the coming years”.

Only some aspects of the expansion are seeing delays, the spokesman said — mainly due to slow approval procedures and a lack of specialist companies to do the work.

According to Husemann there have also been delays to the payments he is supposed to receive in return for the solar power he supplies — or cannot supply.

He said he is already owed around 35,000 euros ($35,600) for electricity produced so far this year that has never found its way into a socket.