Bundle up if you travel to Germany in January – temperatures can be freezing. While there is less on than other months after the mad rush of Christmas Markets, you will be rewarded with low rates, small crowds, and some great German events and festivals.
Note that January 1st (New Year's Day) is an official holiday with closures of businesses and offices across the country, while January 6 (Epiphany) is only a holiday in a few states.
Here is what’s happening in Germany in the month of January.
If your New Year’s resolution is to work out more, you can start with an a light Berliner Neujahrslauf (New Years Run).
It is 2.5 miles (4 km) long and starts at the iconic Brandenburg Gate and leads you past many of the most famous Berlin sights. No reservations required, kids are welcome, and donations are appreciated. Start your new year right!
When: January 1
Where: Pariser Platz / Brandenburg Gate and through the center of Berlin
It's time to dance during Tanztage (Days of Dance. This contemporary dance festival in Berlin showcases both choreographers and dancers is an inventive mix of visual arts with commentary on current events and pop culture.
When: January 9 - 19, 2019
Where: Sophiensaele in Berlin-Mitte
In the winter wonderland of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the adults take to the sleds. Semi-professional teams of four race down the mountainside on traditional wooden horn sleds at speeds up to 100 km/h in the Hornschlittenrennen (annual horn sled race). Some of the sleds used are practically antique at over 60 years old.
On another mountaintop? Gunzesried also holds sledding championship, as does Ostrachtal (but that is in February).
When: January 4 - 6, 2019
Where: Olympic Ski Stadium car park (Karl-Martin-Neuner-Platz) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Three Kings Day
For a more traditional Epiphany or Dreikönigsfest, head to the German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, and Saxony-Anhalt where it is a public holiday. The traditional celebration is children dressed as the Three Kings and sternsinger (star singers) going door-to-door caroling and collecting money for charity. Homes and stables are cleansed by burning frankincense. They leave the mark of a blessed house with a chalk “C+M+B” (Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) with the date written on either side (for example in 2019: 20*C+M+B*19).
Celebration actually begins on January 5 when friends and family gather to prost (cheers) to a new year over a strong bockbier. The holiday also centers on church service with a prominent krippe (crib) display. Children act out the Christmas story with crib scenes in the home as well.
When: January 5 - 6
Where: Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, and Saxony-Anhalt
When: January 15 - 20, 2019
Where: Various locations
Berlin Fashion Week happens twice a year with collections from German and international designers. The shows are on the cutting-edge of the fashion world with plenty of theatrics and avant garde design. Sustainable fashion has been a focus in recent years with Greenshowroom und Ethical Fashion Show dedicated exclusively to this trend.
They are followed by important trade fairs and legendary after-parties.
When: January 15 - 17, 2019
Berlin's International Green Week (IGW) touts itself as the world's largest exhibition for sustainable food and agriculture. The BioMarkt presents fresh goods from produce to sausages to beer and wines. There are also presentations and talks concerning ethical forestry, renewable resources, and breeding of livestock.
When: January 18 - 27, 2019
Where: Messe (Fair Grounds), Berlin
Thousands of foodies flock to the German island of Sylt in the North Sea to indulge in this 4-day long Gourmet Festival. Top chefs and sommeliers from around the world prepare their feasts in the best restaurants on Sylt, offering everything from fresh-caught lobster and fine French wines to Spanish Tapas.
When: January 16 - 19, 2019
Where: Island of Sylt
Motorcycle Fair & Trade Show
If you love motor sports, speed to one of the largest motorcycle fairs in Germany. Leipzig's Motorrad Messe draws motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world to drool over the latest bikes, trikes, quads, and gear.
Of course it wouldn't be a show if there wasn't some action. Catch the live performances and watch the two-wheeled stars.
When: January 18 - 20, 2019
Where: Leipzig Exhibition Center (Seehausener Allee 1, 04356 Leipzig)
For your best chance of reserving a table, try making reservations during January and February with confirmations sent out around March.
This is the best time to make an ideal hotel reservation in Munich.