For members


REVEALED: How much it costs to enjoy summer activities in Germany in 2022

The cost of living is higher than ever - and sadly even the carefree summer months may leave people out of pocket. From grabbing an ice-cream to heading to the pool, here's what it costs to enjoy summer in different parts of Germany.

Ice cream in North Rhine Westphalia
A woman eats a huge ice-cream in Zons, North-Rhine Westphalia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jonas Güttler

With many households feeling the sting of high inflation, some have decided to eschew a trip abroad this year in favour of a staycation in Germany.

There are loads of great reasons to do so: the €9 ticket deal is still running, and Germany has many beautiful locations to visit, from the Bavarian alps to the beaches of Sylt. 

Unfortunately, Germany has been far from immune to price hikes in recent months – so you may find a day out at a beer-garden or a trip to the pool with friends a little pricier than last year.

Here’s a rundown of some popular summer activities and what they currently cost around the country.

Getting an ice-cream

There are few nicer things in life than a lovely scoop of ice-cream on a warm summer’s day, but don’t be surprised if your Eiskugel (ice cream scoop) sets you back a bit more than it did in 2021.

According to research conducted by Coupons magazine, the average cost of a single scoop ice-cream in Germany is currently €1.46. In the cheapest parlours, customers pay a pretty reasonable €1 per scoop – but in the most expensive areas, they can expect to pay double. 

In the survey of 75 ice-cream parlours, Wuppertal emerged as the most affordable place to enjoy the sweet treat, with scoops of ice-cream costing an average of €1.20 in the North-Rhine Westphalian town. Nearby Bielefeld and Erfurt in Thuringia were also among the cheapest destinations for ice-cream. 

READ ALSO: How does the cost of food in Germany compare to other countries?

On the other side of the scale entirely were Munich and Stuttgart, where a single scoop costs a whooping €1.73 on average – and in some cases as much as €2. That means that families of four will have to spend the best part of €20 in the Bavarian capital if they want to buy a round of ice-creams on a hot day.

The recent price hikes are largely due to the rising cost of both milk and sugar – the two main ingredients in ice-cream. 

Going to the pool

When the temperatures are soaring, cooling off in an outdoor swimming pool is the best way to spend an afternoon. But are the prices of tickets in 2022 enough to make you break a sweat?

Digital property manager Objego set out to discover just that with a survey of 300 outdoor pools (or Freibäder) in Germany. According to Objego’s research, children and teenagers pay an average of €2.37 for a dip in the pool, while adults pay around €4.57 on average for their tickets. 

Hamburg outdoor swimming pool

A teenage boy jumps into the pool in a Hamburg Freibad. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Weber

Oddly enough, the usual East-West dynamic is completely reversed when it comes to outdoor pools.

In the city-state of Bremen, children and teenagers can swim for just €1 – which we think is an absolute bargain. 

However in Cottbus – which is normally one of the cheapest parts of Germany – adults have to pay an average of €6 to cool off in the water. In the most expensive Freibad, adult tickets cost an eye-watering €9.25. At those prices, they’d better have some pretty awesome waterslides.

Sitting in a beer garden 

Summer in Germany and beer gardens go together like Sauerkraut and Wurst, but it’s also nice if the hangover doesn’t extend to your wallet as well.

Luckily, Bild has checked out the prices of the most popular 10 beer gardens in Germany. These were selected by Falstaff, a community of beer and wine drinkers.

According to their research, the cheapest place to have cold one is Bräustüberl at Bavaria’s Tegernsee, where a half-litre of Helles costs just €3.10. Also on the affordable side were Skopis Elbgarten in Coswig, Saxony, and Bräustüberl Maxlrain in Bavaria’s Tuntenhausen. At both beer gardens, a half-litre of beer costs a mere €3.60.

In contrast, a house beer from the Berlin BRLO beer garden will set you back €5.50, and a beer at Liebevoll in der Auermühle, a beer garden in Ratingen, comes with a dizzying €5.80 price-tag.

Booking holiday accommodation

Finding a place to stay can be one of the biggest outlays of any holiday, and this year the prices are soaring due to high demand.

“Holidays in Germany are in demand as hardly ever before,” travel expert Heike Müller told Bild. “Thus, with the great demand for holidays in Germany, the occupancy figures of holiday flats and holiday homes are also high. At the start of the summer holidays in Saxony, about 90 percent of the accommodation in Saxon Switzerland is already fully booked.”

READ ALSO: Why is flying in Germany so expensive and chaotic right now?

Bild commissioned a review of the cost of an overnight stay in holiday accommodation from holiday home search portal Holidu. These were the results:

The most expensive places to stay overnight

1. Sylt: €187 

2. Tegernsee: €185 

3. Garmisch-Partenkirchen: €183 

4. North Sea Islands: €175

5. North-Frisian Islands: €138

6. Rügen: €132

7. Baltic Sea Islands: €131 

8. Baltic Sea Coast: €131

9. Bodensee: €131 

10. Oberallgäu: €131

Westerland Sylt

People walk along the beach in Westerland, Sylt. Sylt is the most expensive place to book a holiday home. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Bockwoldt

The least expensive places to stay overnight

1. Bavarian Forest: €78 

2. Ore Mountains: €79 

3. Westerwald: €79

4. Hunsrück: €80 

5. Rhön: €81 

6. Saarland: €84 

7. Oberfranken: €85 

8. Altmark: €85 

9. Thuringian Rhön: €86

10. Franconian Switzerland: €86

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For members


Who benefits most under Germany’s tax relief plans?

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner says he wants to give taxpayers relief worth €10 billion in the face of rising inflation. But there is already pushback, with some saying high earners will benefit the most.

Who benefits most under Germany's tax relief plans?

What’s happening?

As Germany battles rising inflation, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has revealed a plan to give residents tax relief worth more than €10 billion in total. 

“Employees and low-income earners, pensioners and self-employed, students with taxable part-time jobs and, above all, families will benefit,” the FDP politician wrote in a guest article for German daily FAZ on Wednesday.

As well as an adjustment of the benchmarks in the income tax scale, child benefit and child allowance are also to be increased.

READ ALSO: How the German Finance Minister wants to ease inflation with tax relief measures

According to sources in the Finance Ministry, the so-called ‘Inflation Compensation Act’ provides for child benefits to be increased in two stages and also to be standardised. Under the plans, the first, second and third child will each receive €227 per month next year. From the fourth child onwards, €250 will be added. In 2024, the rates for the first to third child are to be raised again – to €233.

At the same time, Lindner’s draft provides for an increase in the basic tax-free amount, i.e. the income up to which no tax has to be paid. The Finance Minister wants to raise this limit from the current €10,347 to €10,632 in the coming year and €10,932 in 2024.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner speaks at a press conference in Berlin.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner speaks at a press conference in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

READ ALSO: Germany pledges inflation relief tax package worth €10 billion

Other key values of the tax scale will also be shifted to compensate for the effect of so-called ‘cold progression’. This is the term used to describe a kind of creeping tax rise when salary increases are eaten up by inflation but still lead to higher taxation. People are then hit with higher taxes, although purchasing power does not increase at all in real terms.

“A tax system that also imposes higher taxes on people who are already suffering from high prices is not fair,” Lindner wrote in FAZ. Eliminating this is “not a patronising act, but is called for in several respects”. Lindner says his plans would benefit 48 million taxpayers.

Who would benefit most?

In order to mitigate the effect, the top tax rate, which currently starts at an income of €58,597, will only apply at a level of €61,972 in 2023, and €63,521 one year later.

However, the tax threshold for very high incomes will remain in place. The income limit of €277,826, on which the so-called wealth tax rate of 45 percent is charged, will not be changed.

But there is already widespread criticism of the plans because in absolute terms, top earners would benefit more from Lindner’s tax cuts than low earners.

The FDP’s coalition partners – the Greens – said they considered the plans to be socially unbalanced.

“High and highest income groups would receive more than three times as much as people with low incomes, who actually need the relief most urgently,” said Greens parliamentary group vice-president Andreas Audretsch. Furthermore, people with very low incomes would not get any relief at all because they pay no income tax below the basic tax-free amount.

Katharina Beck, the Greens’ spokesperson for financial policy, expressed similar views. “The other way round would be right: strong shoulders should bear more than low-income shoulders and not be disproportionately relieved,” she told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) on Wednesday.

Lindner’s plans have a greater impact on low incomes in percentage terms, but in absolute terms people with high incomes benefit more.

For example, a taxpayer with a taxable income of €20,000 is to be relieved by around €115 per year under the current plans. With an income of €60,000, the relief amounts to €471, according to figures from the Ministry of Finance. 

What’s the reaction elsewhere?

Vice-chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Achim Post, said the relief doesn’t go far enough.

“The proposed increases in the basic tax-free allowance and child benefit are a step in the right direction, but they are not enough,” he said. 

He suggested direct payments as an alternative, which could provide targeted relief to people with small and medium incomes. 

A woman holds cash in her hand.

A woman holds cash in her hand. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

‘Falls short’

Meanwhile, the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) rejected the proposals. Lindner’s tax plan “falls far too short”, said DGB Executive Board member Stefan Körzell.

For the relief for people with small and medium incomes, the basic tax-free amount would have to rise to €12,800, said Körzell, adding: “Instead, top earners and the rich benefit, although they have far fewer problems coping with the current price increases.”

Körzell said that “top earners and the wealthy must contribute more to tax revenue”.

He said the FDP politician’s plans would cause “serious revenue shortfalls” for the treasury.

FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai rejected the criticism as baseless. The adjustment is aimed at smaller and medium incomes and reduces “the tax burden of the hard-working middle”, he said.

For top earners, the relief amount is capped, he said. “The relief is fair and necessary so that people benefit from a wage or salary increase despite the high inflation and do not have to pay on top through a higher tax burden,” Djir-Sarai said.