Where Germans Go for Holidays

Vacation! Winter Edition

USA, Montana, Whitefish, Family of skiers on ski lift seen from below
A classic vacation is going skying. Tetra Images/Noah Clayton-Brand X Pictures@gettyimages.de

It's no secret that the Germans love to travel. According to the UNWTO Tourism Barometer, there's no European country that produces more tourists and spends more money on seeing the world. Family holidays during the summer can last up to five or six weeks. And it's not uncommon for people to squeeze in another short trip over the winter holidays. 

There is no need to worry about Germans missing out on their work duties. The average German employee benefits from 29 Urlaubstage (annual leave days) per year, which puts them into the oberes Mittelfeld (upper mid-field) of Europe's leave allowances. School holidays are staggered throughout the Länder to avoid traffic chaos so that even German downtime is as efficiently planned as it can be. Since 1 January marks the day that many employees lose their outstanding allowance, it's high time for them to use up that Resturlaub (remaining leave).

Let's have a look at the most popular holiday destinations for German people escaping the house in winter.

1. Germany

Germany's number 1 travel destination is Germany! As a country where all winter lovers can get their share of snow, forest and mountains, ski trips is high on every winter lover's wish list. Families love that it only takes a few hours by train or car until they can let the kids roam free and slip into their mountainwear. Family trips to the Alps are popular with families from all around the country. They indulge in winter sports and healthy walks, warming up by a fire in the chalet by night. It's a tradition so popular that many songs have been sung about it

But in fact, Germany can boast snowy mountain peaks far North of the usual suspects with Gebirge (mountain regions) like the Hunsrück and Harz. In this country, you're never far from winter fun.

Essential Skiurlaub vocabulary:

  • Ski fahren - skiing
  • Langlauf - cross-country skiing
  • Rodeln - sledging
  • Schneewandern - hiking in the snow
  • der Kamin - chimney

2. The Mediterranean (Spain, Egypt, Tunisia)

Summer in Italy, winter in Egypt. Germans love chasing the sun and the beach, and many believe that a comfortable 24 degrees C is preferable to Christmas trees and freezing in February. It's the perfect answer to a dreaded new disease the Germans are scared of: Die Winterdepression.

3. Dubai

For those who are seriously sun-deprived, sunny long-haul destinations like Thailand offer exactly what they have been dreaming of. It's a true escape from Weihnachtsstress, especially when there are the added delights of insane attractions (ironic indoor skiing) and cut-price shopping.

Essential Strandurlaub vocabulary:

  • der Strand - beach
  • sich sonnen - to sunbathe
  • die Sonnencreme - suncream
  • der Badeanzug/die Badehose - swimming costume/swimming shorts
  • das Meer - the sea

4. New York and Other Cities

New York is the leading destination for travelers who love nothing more than Städteurlaub (city trips). When there is only a tiny supply of Resturlaub left, even a long weekend in Hamburg, Köln or München is more attractive than staying at home. Braving cold temperatures, the German tourists wrap up warm and still get their supplies of culture and escapism. After all, who wants to experience the same Alltagstrott (daily grind) all the time?

Essential Städteurlaub vocabulary:

  • die Anfahrt - journey to the destination
  • die Erkundung - discovery
  • spazieren gehen - going for a relaxed walk
  • die Theaterkarte - theatre ticket
  • die Rundfahrt - city tour
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Your Citation
Schmitz, Michael. "Where Germans Go for Holidays." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/where-do-germans-go-on-holidays-1444276. Schmitz, Michael. (2020, August 25). Where Germans Go for Holidays. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/where-do-germans-go-on-holidays-1444276 Schmitz, Michael. "Where Germans Go for Holidays." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/where-do-germans-go-on-holidays-1444276 (accessed May 29, 2023).