Munich weather

A guide to the Munich weather - the city through the seasons

Coming from Australia I was blissfully unaware of places which actually had four distinct seasons but after living here for a few years, I grew to appreciate every single phase of the year.
There are two calendars which determine when each starts - the meteorological and the astronomical. The astronomical says spring starts March 21, summer on June 21, autumn (fall) on September 21 and winter on December 21.

The meteorological method is a bit more straightforward and says the seasons are in line with the start of the months. So without further ado, let’s take a jaunt through the Munich year!

Summer splendour - June 1 to August 31

Munich springs to life in the summer (Sommer) and the street cafes cram with visitors and office workers. Count on spending more time outdoors if you’re visiting then.
As the days draw longer (it doesn’t get dark until about 10pm in early July) people stay outside later. The Isar River banks and the Englischer Garten are favourite after-hours hang-out zones.
Summer’s solid festival program includes Tollwood, the film and opera festivals and the Olympiapark Summer Festival.

munich-weather-summerSPLENDOR: Enjoying the Munich weather with a summertime picnic by the banks of the Isar River. Pic: Christian Kasper

Munich’s warmest months are June and July with average daily high of 22C or 73F.
But it often reaches 30 or 35C (95F) and the humidity can make it feel like a sauna.
Keep in mind these are also the wettest months, with an average rainfall of 12cm (5 inches) a day, often delivered in thunderstorm form.
Best not forget the umbrella!

Autumn flair - September 1 to November 30

The days draw shorter in Autumn (Herbst).
A cool breezes starts to blow and people start going home straight from work rather than hanging about outdoors.
Foliage explodes into dazzling hues of yellow, orange and red before finally shedding it all onto the footpaths to be dutifully swept away by anonymous little men and six o’clock in the morning.
November seems to be the least-loved month as it’s usually cold and grey with nothing interesting going on.
December brings the chance of snow and the guarantee of being able to huddle at an outdoor Christmas market with a hot cup of hot, spicy wine (Glühwein).

Winter freeze - December 1 to February 28

englischer-garten-munich-winterLET IT SNOW: Munich's Englischer Garten in winter.

An Italian friend once told me that you have to take up skiing if you live in Bavaria, otherwise there’s just nothing to look forward to in the winter (Winter).

Bavarians mostly agree and head a couple of hours south to the Alps.
MORE: Does it snow in Munich?
January is usually the coldest month, with an average daily high of just 2Cor 36F, sometimes dropping as low as -20C (-4F).
You can usually rely on at least a few weeks of snow from January to March.

Count on spending most of your time indoors if you visit Munich in winter, at museums, pubs and restaurants.
That said there are other outdoor options besides heading for the hills.
Check out the canal in front of Nymphenburg Palace, it freezes over and becomes a very cool ice skating stretch. Fashing (Carnival), 40 days of chilly partying in February/March, is a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

Springtime joy - March 1 to May 31

munich-weather-festivalCRAZY MUNICH WEATHER: Revellers
rug up for Munich's Fashing (Carnival) at the end
of winter.Pic: © Nagy / Presseamt München.

Oktoberfest aside, the best time to be in Munich is spring (Frühling).
The once-essential scarfs and gloves of winter are put aside, back into the drawers for another year.
Barren trees and bushes reassert themselves with flowers and foliage.
The streets aren't yet full of high-season tourists but the beer gardens slowly start to fill up with locals, usually relieved that the "freezer" has been switched off for another six months. A popular springtime delicacy is white asparagus (Spargel).

The Föhn

This is what they call dry wind that blows north over the Alps, particularly in winter and early spring. It can boost the temperature through the roof (up to 25C in March!) and melts the snow into rivers and streams.
The Föhn also brings exceptionally clear views of the Alps, so it’s a top time to head up to one of Munich’s lookout spots like the Olympic Tower or the Alte Peter church tower.
The wind is often blamed for causing headaches and boosting overall levels of crankiness. Though it’s not clear why a study by Munich’s LMU (university) claims the Föhn increases accidents and even suicides by up to 10 per cent.

Oktoberfest weather

oktoberfest-boySUNNY: The weather can be so
nice at the Oktoberfest
it's much nicer to be outdoors
than in one of the tents.

Falling as it does at the end of summer, you can’t really depend on anything weatherwise for the fest.
I’ve been at Oktoberfests when there was nothing better to sit at the outdoor tables, enjoying a beer in shorts and a T-shirt.
Other times when I’ve been stuck outside it’s rained so hard people were building those tables into little forts for shelter and I froze despite gloves and three layers of clothing. Just to be on the safe side pack an umbrella, a range of clothes and check the forecast on the day.

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