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Wondering what to wear in Germany? Local Kerstin Lühe gives us the breakdown on the best things to pack for a trip to her home country throughout the year.
What to Wear in Germany
Written By: Kerstin Lühe
Germany is a large country and the weather varies depending on where you visit. Follow these tips as guidelines but always research the weather at your specific destination in order to get the most accurate information.
People say you can wear whatever you want in Germany, although like many other European countries, local women prefer to wear clothing that has a chic look. You can’t go wrong with that no matter where in the world you travel.
Generally speaking, day-to-day European style is more dressy than American style. This DOES NOT mean business clothing. Think dressy top (or the type of top you’d wear to work) plus nice jeans (dark colors are always a good choice).
Slim or skinny fit jeans are the preferred denim option. If that’s not your thing, having tailored denim always makes for a smart appearance no matter what the pant style.
For example, hemming the leg length so there’s not an excess fabric at the bottom. Tip: ankle jeans are an easier way to get this look without a trip to the tailor.
Like anywhere, pack for the environment. Are you spending your time café crawling in the cities or getting lost in the wilderness?
If you’re heading to Germany and Cologne, read this!
What to Wear in Germany: Spring
Spring weather in Germany can be strange. It might be cold the first few weeks, then warm up, and rain the following weeks. You can sometimes end up feeling like summer has arrived too early!
Read these tips on what to wear on a rainy day when traveling!
In March and beginning of April, it can still be chilly, so pack for cooler weather. Towards end of May and June it’s mostly sunny and warm. Check the weather forecast before you travel to Germany so you know what to take with you.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for spring travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer a Summer Dress for Spring
- How to Pack for Europe in Spring
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Germany Packing List: Spring
An umbrella or a raincoat is a must in spring, as you never know when it might rain! It’s best to pack a lightweight and small umbrella or a thin and lightweight raincoat, so it doesn’t take too much space up in your bag. Don’t forget a hooded jacket or parka to keep you warm if it gets chilly.
I recommend a large and thin scarf for those chilly days. On warm days you can easily take it off and pack it in your purse.
Take a look at the most popular rain jackets for women!
I’m also a fan of layers. They come in handy in spring, as you never know how the weather will change during the day. An ideal outfit would consist of a pair of skinny jeans or your favorite lightweight pants and sneakers, ankle boots, or long boots.
Keep the colors neutral so you can wear any color you like when choosing a sweater, jacket, and scarf.
I recommend bringing flat shoes with you or shoes with a slight heel. In some places, the streets aren’t perfectly flat and it can be uncomfortable with high heels. But if you go out in the evenings, go ahead and wear your high heels!
Find out why leather boots are some of the best travel shoes to Europe!
During the day, you can also wear a long sleeve shirt, a sweater, and a jacket on top. The jacket you pack depends on the weather; on some days a blazer, cardigan, or leather jacket is fine, while on colder days you may need a winter coat.
But as I said, it will get warmer towards summer, so be sure to check the weather forecast. You may even be fine with just skinny jeans, sneakers, a short sleeve shirt, and a couple of cardigans and blazers. Also popular are 3-in-1 jackets.
Find out why fashion sneakers make cute and comfortable shoes for travel!
What to Wear in Germany: Summer
The weather in summer is hot. Hot and humid. There are occasional rain showers, but they usually only last for a few minutes.
On especially hot days, try to do your sightseeing in the morning hours or later afternoon. During the hottest part of the day – around noon – people like to find places where they can duck into the shade, like in the park, shopping mall, or public pools.
It can sometimes feel too hot to walk around unless you’re accustomed to a hot climate, but Germans still love to spend time outside in the summer!
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer
- Top Summer Dresses Perfect for Europe
- Lightweight Jackets for Easy Layers
- Best Walking Shoes for Europe’s Cobblestone Streets
Germany Packing List: Summer
Two summer musts are sunglasses and sunscreen. Don’t leave your hotel without them, even on slightly cloudy days. Put on sunscreen before you leave the hotel. Especially when you’re shopping or sightseeing, it’s easy to get lost in time and you might end up with sunburn!
Another must are your favorite summer sandals! And unless you’re at the Baltic or North Sea, you may visit a public pool, so you’ll need a bikini or swimsuit. No particular style os needed, so just bring your favorite suit from home.
Here are the best one piece swimsuits of the season!
As summers are hot and humid, pack your coolest and lightweight clothing. Wear your jean shorts, a skirt, a shirt or tank top, a summer dress, your favorite sandals, and you’re good to go!
Summer evenings in Germany are the best. When you’re going into a club, people prefer wearing something classy, like a little black dress and some dressy shoes. In fact, sometimes the outfit decides on whether you get it or not. So do your research on the club you want to visit online.
But if you just want to spend the evening outside, in a café, with friends, or in a restaurant, wear the same types of things you’d wear at home in the U.S. I recommend bringing a thin scarf or lightweight jacket in case it gets chilly.
Take a look at the latest trends with these cute summer dresses for women!
What to Wear in Germany: Fall
I love the weather in fall! The late warm days of summer are still here and people take long walks in the park. Then fall takes over and brings windy and sometimes even stormy days and a lot of rain.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for autumn travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer Clothes
- Use a Summer Dress to Pack Light in Fall
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Germany Packing List: Fall
Basically you will need the same essentials as in spring – an umbrella or raincoat for the rainy days. And bring a scarf! Some days it’s warm so you won’t need it, but a few hours later you’ll be glad you have it with you!
In a way I love fall weather, because I get to wear my favorite tall boots and my favorite jackets.
Take a look at these stylish and Insta-friendly travel raincoats for women!
So yes, bring jeans with you, they can be skinny or any other style you like. I recommend a neutral color so you can wear any jacket or scarf with them.
In the first days of fall, you’re good to go with a cardigan or blazer, but later on choose a jacket that keeps you warm. For those days, wearing a sweater underneath will work well.
Learn how to choose neutral color clothing!
What to Wear in Germany: Winter
Winter days are just plain cold in Germany! Some days you’ll have sun, but it’s still cold. On other days you’ll have an icy wind or snow. But it’s cold! Layers are important in winter as you will be going in and out of buildings and you’ll want to remove warm layers.
Find out why thermals are a must for traveling light (and staying warm) in winter!
Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
Germany Packing List: Winter
Essentials include a warm coat, preferably one with a hood so you can protect your head from a cold wind or from the snow. Don’t forget gloves and a warm hat.
Choose your winter coat in a neutral color so it matches your shoes and you can wear any color you like underneath. I also recommend choosing a long coat that will keep your thighs warm. Be sure your shoes or boots are water resistant.
Down jackets (known as puffer jackets) are also the best way to stay warm when traveling in winter!
Some days it will be muddy due to melted snow, and you don’t want to walk around in wet feet after five minutes! On snowy days, choose winter/snow boots.
On the other days, you can easily go with tall boots. Underneath, you’ll be fine with a skinny jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and a sweater on top.
These are the best waterproof leather boots recommended by our readers!
Germany Travel Tips
One of our biggest travel tips for any destination is to buy either a print or digital guidebook. They help you plan your itinerary, give you insight on where to stay, and even give you facts about the historical sites, too.
These are a few popular Germany guidebooks:
- Lonely Planet Germany Guide
- Lonely Planet Munich, Bavaria, and Black Forest
- Rick Steves Germany 2017
Learn more about why I still use travel guides!
ACCOMMODATION IN GERMANY
I prefer to to book “the entire home” instead of opting for shared accommodation on Airbnb. Aside from safety, I also like to feel like I’m living in the destination. It’s a small taste of local life plus you get more amenities than you would at a hotel such as a kitchen and washing machine.
Read these Airbnb tips for more info!
To maximize your vacation time, fly into the city where you’re starting your trip and out of the city where your trip ends. Many times it’s the same price and saves you from having to spend extra time and money to go back to where you started your trip.
For hostels, we recommend Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere. Not sure about staying at a hostel? Read this.
Dining: In the US it’s common to eat everyday meals with a fork. In Europe, however, it’s generally customary to use a knife and fork even if you’re eating in a casual restaurant. This small tip might help you blend in a little more than your clothing.
MONEY AND SAFETY
ATMs tend to offer you the best exchange rate, so pull out cash as you go. Just be cautious about where you stash your cash! Spain is especially known for muggings and pickpockets.
These are articles with other suggested anti-theft products:
- Money Belts and Anti-theft Accessories
- Best Anti-theft Bags for Women
- 6 Tools to Protect Your From Pickpockets in Europe
Remember, the safest place for your passport is locked in your accommodation. Carry a photocopy or other ID when you’re sightseeing or are out at night.
Read these tips on how to keep your passport safe when you travel!
What are your tips on what to wear in Germany? Please share in the comments!
Please note: Most of Europe’s budget airlines have this carryon bag allowance: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airline’s individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
For more tips, please read these Europe packing lists:
Suggested travel resources:
- Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring
- Lonely Planet Germany (Country Guide)
- Travel Shoes for Europe
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish outfits and travel tips for 9 countries!
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Author Bio: Kerstin is a freelance copywriter and dive instructor from Germany and has spent the last three years chasing the sun in Asia, North America, and South America. She loves diving, has a sweet tooth, and is currently working on her copywriting business.