However, there is an exception to this autumn slow down. The biggest festival of the year, Oktoberfest, takes place in Munich for about two weeks every fall. During the fest, airfares, transport, and hotel rates all skyrocket back up. Don't let that deter you - especially if you are a beer lover. Oktoberfest is worth going to as it is the largest folk festival in the world and a mandatory cultural event in Germany.
Here’s what to expect from fall (September, October, and November) in Germany, from weather, what to pack, and what to see in Germany.
Urgent Seasonal Information for Autumn in Germany
While you generally don't need to worry about extreme weather in Germany, Oktoberfest is a force in of itself .If you are planning to visit Munich during this period be mindful that accommodations are much more expensive and book up months in advance. Attractions and transport will also be more crowded than in the weeks before or after this mega-event. Plan accordingly.
Autumn Weather in Germany
Average Autumn Temperatures in Germany
- September: Average low 49° F, average high 67° F
- October: Average low 40° F, average high 58°F
- November: Average low 34° F, average high 47° F
The climate of most of Germany is moderate with four distinct seasons. Some areas, such as the northern coastline, feature a maritime influence. The Alps of Bavaria in the south accumulate the most snow. But overall the climate in Germany is fairly standard.
In September and October, the weather in Germany is still pleasant with golden days ablaze in colorful fall foliage. Germans call these last warm days of the year altweibersommer (Indian summer) and revel in the last, long, light-filled days. Germany's relatively high placement on the globe (51.1657° N, 10.4515° E) means the warm months have especially long days where the sun sets surprisingly late in the evening.
Nevertheless, German weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for cold and rainy spells and observe the colorful leaves before they are blown away. As fall nears its end in November, the days shorten considerably and can be quite cold and grey. It is not unheard of for snow to make an early appearance, although winds and ice are more common in this precursor to winter.
What to Pack for Germany in Autumn
Here is an example list of what to pack:
- Good walking shoes - While that seems to translate to sneakers for most Americans, note that most Europeans prefer real shoes and boots. For those that wear heels, note that the country's many cobblestone streets make that shoewear a challenge - especially once the weather turns icy.
- Long pants/Jeans
- Rain jacket or umbrella
- Layers of thin long-sleeved shirts, warm sweaters, etc.
- Scarf - Men and women wear scarfs throughout the year.
- Sun glasses
- Bathing suit
What to Pack for Oktoberfest in Munich
Another thing to consider is if you are attending Oktoberfest. While tracht (traditional dress) is not required, plenty of visitors dress for the event. There are plenty of places that sell the proper gear in town at all price points. You can spend as little as 100 euro and look enough the part for a one-day visit, or you can invest in quality long-lasting attire.
For men, this means lederhosen. This actually only refers to the traditional leather pants, but the whole outfit can include a white or colorful checked shirt with wood or horn buttons, knee-high cable-knit socks, and haferlshuhe (shoes) which tie up the side and even a jacket and hat.
For women, dirndls are the usual outfit. This includes a skirt (rock) and bodice (mieder), apron (schürze) and blouse (bluse). Colors range from black to gray to blue to soft pink with charming edelweiß (alpine flower)-like decoration.
Autumn Events in Germany
Despite Oktoberfest's overwhelming reputation for what to do in autumn, wine is also on the menu this time of year. Autumn is the season of German wine with seasonal specialties like federweisser (young fall wine).
- Oktoberfest - This is the highlight of the season, and - for many visitors - the whole trip. Every fall from late September to early Octoberfest over 6 million visitors from all over the world come to Munich to drink beer, eat sausage, and join together in song. The festival is a colorful celebration of Bavarian culture and cuisine, and a unique way to experience the best in German tradition.
- Day of German Unity - Held every year on October 3rd, this is a national holiday commemorating reunification of the east and the west.
- Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival - While Halloween doesn't really have a place in German culture, pumpkins have their own festival in the fall with dramatic chainsaw sculpting and pumpkin boat races at a palace.
- St. Martin's Day - Held on November 11, this quaint festival is celebrated mainly by school children in torchlight parades after dark.
- Christmas markets - This festive markets begin to open in late November.
Travel Tips for Germany in Autumn
- Note that everything will be closed on the national holiday of October 3rd from banks to grocery stores. Many restaurants, however, remain open. If this takes place on a Tuesday or Thursday, there is often a "bridge day" on that Monday or Friday where people will take holiday. Also, if Oktoberfest is set to end shortly before this date, it may extend to include the holiday.
- This is the perfect time to explore the German Wine Road in the southwest of the country. The largest of the many wine festivals is the Wurstmarkt ("sausage market") in Bad Duerkheim. This culinary event has been celebrated every September for almost 600 years.
- With cooler temperatures, airfares and hotel rates are starting to drop at the end of September. If you wait one or two more months more and travel to Germany in October or November, prices will be even lower. The only exception: If you visit during Oktoberfest be prepared for higher prices: Germany’s most popular beer festival draws millions of visitors from all over the world, so make your Oktoberfest travel arrangements as early as possible.
To learn more about visiting Germany in autumn, check out our guide on the best time to visit.