A graphic stating: Packing list for Germany in summer: What to pack? This is a guide for first time visitors to Germany. There is a picture of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the background

Are you looking for a packing list for Germany in summer?

You probably want to be prepared for everything, but you also don’t want to lug around unnecessary items, right? We understand this challenge all too well, and we’re here to help! 

As natives who grew up in Germany, we know exactly what German summers are like. Whether it’s unpredictable weather or local customs, we’ve got you covered with insider tips to ensure you pack just what you need for a fantastic trip to Germany!

So, relax and read on for our ultimate summer packing list for Germany!

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Packing list for Germany in summer

Alright, let’s begin!

Clothing and Accessories

When it comes to packing for a German summer, the key is to keep your luggage light and versatile.

Weather conditions during summer can vary significantly in Germany, so it’s essential to select clothing that can adapt to everything from sunny days to cooler evenings.

We recommend packing enough clothes for half of your trip, focusing on items that can be easily mixed and matched. Opting for a minimalist approach not only simplifies packing but also makes traveling around Germany more comfortable. 

Should you need to wash some items, you can hand-wash them, search for a laundromat (look up “Waschsalon” on Google Maps), or choose accommodations with a washing machine by filtering for “Waschmaschine” on Airbnb.

Make sure to include essentials like jeans, a dress, shorts, tops, underwear, and socks. Here are some additional summer clothing items for Germany:

Typical layer look for German summer: Jeans a blouse and a jacket

Quick-dry shirts

Quick-dry shirts are ideal as they can be easily washed in the hotel sink and dried overnight, ensuring you always have something fresh to wear. Their lightweight and breathable material also makes them comfortable for day-long excursions in variable temperatures.

Waterproof shoes and good walking shoes*

Waterproof shoes* are essential in Germany, where summer showers can occur unexpectedly. Good walking shoes are necessary for navigating cobblestone streets in places like Rothenburg ob der Tauber or the city center of Berlin. For years, we have traveled with OnCloud shoes*; they are simply the best for navigating through foreign cities. However, please note that the waterproof version tends to run a bit smaller than usual, so it’s advisable to order one size larger than normal.

Rainjacket or lightweight rain poncho*

A rain jacket or lightweight poncho* is indispensable for dealing with sudden downpours, ensuring you stay dry and comfortable while exploring.

Hat or cap

A hat or cap is crucial for protecting your face and head from the strong summer sun during outdoor activities like hiking or city tours. They also help prevent heatstroke and sunburn during peak sun hours.

Light scarf

A light scarf is a versatile accessory that not only adds a touch of style but also provides warmth during cooler summer evenings. It’s also useful for covering shoulders or neck when visiting churches in Germany.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are should be one of the most essential items on your summer packing list for Germany to shield your eyes from the intense summer sun.

Birkenstock*

Birkenstocks are a favored choice of footwear in Germany. Their open design ensures that your feet remain cool and dry, while the robust sole provides superior traction across a range of surfaces. Although Birkenstock is a German brand, they are not necessarily more affordable in Germany unless they are on sale. We recommend bringing a pair with you.

Swimwear

Swimwear is essential if you plan to visit Germany’s numerous lakes – there are a lot near Berlin and in Bavaria!

Travel Essentials for Germany

Multi-plug travel adapter*

A multi-plug adapter* is incredibly useful when you have several devices that need charging simultaneously. It’s particularly handy in hotel rooms or Airbnbs that may have a limited number of outlets, allowing you to charge your phone, camera, and other gadgets without the need to rotate them out. This can save time and hassle, especially when preparing for the next day’s adventures or if you’re traveling with others who also need to charge their devices.

Tip: Bring also a car charger with USB* in case you are traveling with a rental car, so you can charge your phone while driving.

Reusable Water Bottle*

A reusable water bottle, such as a Hydro Flask*, is economical and eco-friendly. Plus: The water stays cool for many many hours!

Tap water is safe to drink in Germany. Carrying your own bottle means you can easily stay hydrated without the need to constantly purchase bottled water, which can add up in cost and contribute to plastic waste. 

You can conveniently fill up your bottle with tap water at your hotel or Airbnb. There’s no need to search for a fountain; any tap water in Germany is potable and of high quality.

Tipp: When dining out, you can ask for „Leitungswasser“ to receive tap water at no cost. In contrast, requesting „stilles Wasser“ will often result in being served expensive bottled water, and it’s worth noting that it’s uncommon to receive ice in your water in Germany. 

Reusable silverware/utensils*

Bringing your own reusable silverware is practical for eating on the go, especially when purchasing food from grocery stores like REWE, where plastic utensils are no longer provided anywhere in Germany due to environmental regulations. Having your own set ensures you’re prepared for any meal, and it’s a more sustainable option than single-use wooden forks that might be available.

Mini-fan and battery-operated fan

A portable mini-fan* or battery-operated fan* is a lifesaver during the warm summer months, as many establishments, including historical buildings and hotels, may not have air conditioning. This portable cooling device can provide immediate relief from the heat, making your experience more comfortable as you travel.

First aid kit and medications*

A first aid kit* and medications such as Ibuprofen (it is more expensive in Germany!) and Imodium is crucial for addressing minor injuries or sudden ailments.

Portable phone charger*

A portable phone charger* is indispensable for keeping your devices charged while on the go, ensuring you can use maps for navigation, look up information, and take all the photos of e.g. Neuschwanstein castle as you want.

Fast drying towel*

A fast-drying towel* is essential for summer travel in Germany due to its versatility and convenience. Whether you’re visiting a lake, public pool, or just need a quick towel after a shower, these towels dry much faster than traditional ones, reducing the chance of mildew and making them easy to pack soon after use. They are also lightweight, which is an advantage when you need to carry them around during your travels.

Toiletries

Travel-sized toiletries (3oz bottles)*

Complying with flight regulations, these containers* allow you to bring essential personal care products on board an airplane. They are also refillable, making them a sustainable choice for travelers. We recommend to fill them with shampoo, conditioner and body wash. The fourth container can be filled with detergent to wash your clothes.

Please be aware that toiletries are super cheap in Germany. Also: There are many “Zero Waste stores” (Bulk stores) in the bigger cities nowadays, so you could refill your small containers with shampoo there as well.

Washcloth

Washcloths are often (this means 99,9% of the time) not provided in hotels in Germany, so bringing your own ensures you have everything you need for your personal hygiene routine.

Laundry Supplies

Travel packets of Tide*

Travel packets of Tide* are perfect for on-the-go laundry need. They’re convenient for quick hand-washing in a hotel sink or when you have access to laundry facilities but don’t want to buy a full-sized detergent.

Travel clothesline*

A travel clothesline* is an essential item for drying laundry in places where you may not have access to a dryer. It’s compact, easy to set up, and can be used indoors or outdoors, providing a convenient way to air-dry clothes while saving on laundry costs. 

Health and Comfort

Allergy medication

Allergy medication is crucial for those with sensitivities to pollen. But don’t worry: You can also get allergy medication in the pharmacy (=Apotheke) in case you have forgotten to bring it to Germany during summer time.

Insect Bite Healer*

An insect bite healer* can be a lifesaver for those who suffer from itchy mosquito bites, offering quick relief and preventing the discomfort that can come from scratching. However, individuals with sensitive skin should exercise caution and test the product on a small area first, as some bite treatments may cause irritation, but for many, it is the most effective solution to alleviate itching and discomfort from bites.

Hand sanitizer in travel size*

Hand sanitizer* is a must-have for maintaining hygiene, especially when soap and water are not readily available. It’s particularly handy after using public transportation such as the Deutsche Bahn.

Travel Convenience

Foldable umbrella*

A foldable umbrella* is easy to carry and provides quick protection from unexpected downpours, ensuring you stay dry while exploring.

Daypack

A daypack is a versatile accessory that comfortably fits items such as a camera, guidebook, and water bottle, keeping your hands free as you travel.

Reusable grocery bags

Reusable grocery bags* are not only environmentally friendly but also a practical choice since the stores in Germany charge for plastic bags. While you can purchase reusable bags at any supermarket in Germany and choose one that suits your style, we recommend bringing compact ones that can easily fit in your purse for spontaneous shopping needs.

Financial and Documents

The next two items are not only indispensable during the summer months  but should also be on your packing list for winter. 

Credit card with no foreign transaction fees

A credit card with no foreign transaction fees, such as Visa or Mastercard, is valuable for its wide acceptance and savings on charges; however, it’s important to also have the ability to withdraw cash, as numerous establishments in Germany, including may not accept credit cards or charge additional fees.

Trip insurance papers and photocopies of important documents

Having trip insurance papers and photocopies of important documents like your passport, visa, and ID is crucial throughout the year. Keeping these copies separate from the originals provides a safety net in case of loss or theft, ensuring you have the necessary information to get assistance.

Extras

Books, E-reader or tablet*

Books, an E-reader such a Kindle Fire*, or a tablet provide a convenient form of leisure and entertainment for both long journeys and relaxed days. They are perfect for unwinding after a day of sightseeing in Nuremberg or Bamberg and can be filled with a variety of content to suit any mood or interest.

Fire Stick*

A Fire Stick* can be a lifesaver for keeping kids entertained with familiar shows and movies, especially when German TV programming may not be understandable to them. It’s also ideal for those unexpected rainy summer days.

Travel journal*

A travel journal* is a wonderful companion for any trip, allowing you to document your travels and preserve your memories in a tangible form.

What not to bring to Germany in summer

Sunscreen

There’s no need to pack sunscreen from home; you can purchase it locally at drugstores like DM, Rossmann, Müller or at any supermarket in Germany, often at lower prices than you might find elsewhere. Plus, you’ll have the chance to try European brands that you might not find at home—just look for „Sonnencreme“ on the shelves.

Mosquito repellent

While it’s essential to have mosquito repellent when visiting Germany during summer time, consider buying it once you arrive to save space in your luggage for other essentials. German stores carry a variety of effective repellents that are suitable for the local insect population. Our favorite brand of mosquito repellent is “Autan”, it is a yellow bottle with a red cap and it works great for us in Germany. It costs around 7 Euro/bottle.

Vitamins

Unless you’re attached to a specific brand, you can leave your vitamins at home and pick them up at any German drugstore if needed. 

Hair tools

Hair tools like hairdryers and straighteners can be bulky and may not be compatible with European voltage, so it’s best to leave them behind. Most hotels and accommodations provide hairdryers, and if you need a specific tool, consider purchasing a travel-sized, dual-voltage version before your trip or look for one upon arrival in Germany.

Faq: Packing list for German summer Vacation

What to pack in Germany for summer?

Pack lightweight clothing, comfortable walking shoes, a rain jacket, sunglasses, a hat, a daypack, a reusable water bottle, a power adapter, and compact reusable grocery bags to avoid plastic bag charges in German supermarkets.

How to dress when visiting Germany?

When visiting Germany, dress in layers for variable weather, with comfortable walking shoes, a waterproof jacket for rain, and versatile pieces like scarves or cardigans that can adapt to changing temperatures throughout the day.

Is it OK to wear shorts in Germany?

Yes, it is OK to wear shorts in Germany, especially during the summer months when the weather is warm. Opt for casual, comfortable styles that are suitable for sightseeing and blending in with locals.

Final Thoughts: Packing list for Germany for summer

In conclusion, preparing for a summer trip to Germany involves packing versatile clothing and accessories to handle the fluctuating weather, including quick-dry shirts, waterproof shoes, and a rain jacket, along with essentials like a hat, light scarf, and sunglasses. 

Don’t forget travel necessities such as a power adapter, reusable water bottle, and a portable charger. 

It’s also wise to bring health and comfort items like allergy medication and an insect bite healer, especially if you’re prone to bites. 

For convenience, pack a daypack, foldable umbrella, and reusable grocery bags. Keep important documents and financial items secure, and for leisure, consider bringing an E-reader or tablet, and perhaps a travel journal to record your experiences. 

Lastly, save luggage space by purchasing items like sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and vitamins locally in Germany, and avoid packing hair tools that may not be compatible with European voltage. 

With this comprehensive packing list, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy the diverse offerings of a German summer, from city explorations to lakeside relaxation.

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