What's on in Germany in the month of November? Sure, it gets cold, but warm up with a glass of Glühwein as the Christmas markets open, watch parades of children walk by lantern light, and take to the slopes on some of the finest mountains in Europe.
November can be a quiet time to visit Germany, lighter on crowds and less expensive for accommodations and attractions. But this is also the time that smaller places go into sleep mode with closures and shorter hours.
The weather is also not a highlight at this time of year with plenty of dreary, rainy days and even some early snow. But that doesn't mean the sun can't poke through from time to time. Pack for all weather with a heavy coat and scarf at the ready.
Allerheiligen & Allerheiligen
While many Westerners welcome the spirits for Halloween on October 31st, in Germany it is November 1 that is All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen) and November 2 for All Souls Day (Allerseelen). Visits to the graveyard are common, as well as In gifting children Allerheiligenstriezel (braided yeast pastry).
Allerheiligen is an official holiday in some states in the south and west, but celebrations are largely absent in other places. That, however, is changing with the increasing popularity of Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos). Even in places like Berlin, you might catch some skeletons out dancing.
Founded in 1964, the Berlin Jazz Fest is one of the world's premier jazz events. Big bands and large-format ensembles, international jazz stars, and the German Film orchestra Babelsberg perform during the four-day event in storied festivals around the city.
The Jüdische Kulturtage (Jewish Culture Days) are dedicated to Jewish history, art, and tradition. The celebration moves to a different city each year with the Jewish Association arranging for concert series, theater, film, panel discussions, book readings, and exhibitions.
Of particular importance is November 9, the Night of Broken Glass Remembrance Day. This refers to the 1938 Kristallnacht events where the Nazis burned down synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses across Germany.
For over 160 years, Leonhardifahrt has been a traditional event in the small Bavarian town of Bad Tölz. Held in honor of Saint Leonhard, this religious procession takes place to the tune of church bells in horse-drawn carriages.
St. Martin's Day is recognized in many places throughout German-speaking Europe as Martinstag. It celebrates a saint and shares some similarities to Halloween in that it is primarily for children and involves nocturnal activities. School aged children decorate their own lanterns and parade through the night singing traditional songs to drums.
There is a summer festival and a winter festival that celebrate social and environmental issues through art. There are theater events, music, cabaret, and many live performances. The event takes place on the first Sunday of Advent and exults in Christmas tradition with its own Christmas market and program.
Christmas markets in Germany are a wonderful part of the holiday tradition and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Almost every German city celebrates the season with the least one Christmas market (Berlin is home to 60 different Christmas markets). German Christmas fairs start on the last weekend of November and usually last until Christmas Day.
Ice skating season is truly on when the Christmas markets open. Open-air arenas offer skate rental and festive atmosphere in magical environments. Glide around an underwater king, below a castle, or on top of a former mine in our favorite ice rinks.
While some people are dreaming of ice, others are looking to the sky for snow. The shoulder season in November is often quiet and the skiing can be quite good. Pick locations in the Alps like Garmisch-Partenkirchen or base yourself in cities like Munich where you can sample a variety of ski resorts.