10 places Germans like to hang out in the summer

Lifestyle

At their small garden plots

Known as a Schrebergarten, many urban-dwellers have a small garden plot outside the city where they can grow vegetables, relax, BBQ and enjoy the greenery. Germany's nearly 1 million garden plots - which began in the early 19th century to feed the poor - are strictly regulated. You may build a small house on your less than 400-square-meter plot but you can't move in and a portion must be planted.

Lifestyle

At the local Italian ice cream parlor

There are well over 5,000 ice cream parlors in Germany and many are family-run by Italian immigrants. During the summer, you often have to wait for a table on the terrace. Besides just scooping popular flavors like vanilla, stracciatella and hazelnut, many parlors offer specialty dishes including "spaghetti ice cream." The sweet stuff is pressed into noodle form and topped with strawberry sauce.

Lifestyle

In the public outdoor pool

There are some 7,000 public swimming pools in Germany and over half of them are so-called "free pools" - Freibäder. No, they're not free of charge; they're dubbed "free" because they located outdoors rather than in a hall (Hallenbad). While indoor pools are open all year, the Freibad is particularly popular during the summer months.

Lifestyle

At the lake

Though it's landlocked on three sides, Germany is home to countless lakes and many of them are suitable for swimming and boating. The Chiemsee lake in Germany's southeastern-most corner has good water quality and stretches of sandy beaches, which makes it particularly popular among summer swimmers and sunbathers. It's also Germany's third-largest lake - so it's never too overcrowded on peak days.

Lifestyle

At a music festival

Summer is the season for music lovers in Germany. There's a festival practically every weekend - from rap to reggae. The photo is from Splash!, the country's largest hip hop festival, which takes place at an outdoor industrial museum. Wacken Open Air, the world's biggest heavy metal festival, and Hurricane, featuring alternative to mainstream sounds, are also highlights.

Lifestyle

Exploring Berlin

Over 12 million people visited Berlin last year, with nearly 40 percent coming from abroad. That means quite a few Germans journey to the capital as well. During the summer months, during school break, it's an opportunity to show young people from less urban regions where the government works - and do some serious shopping, of course. While Berlin winters are harsh, its summers tend to be sunny.

Lifestyle

In the Biergarten

In 1812, Bavaria's King Maximilian I ruled that beer gardens could be set up in Munich for the first time, and the garden near the Augustinerkeller is considered the oldest. But since then, the outdoor pubs have become common all over the country and are a popular summer pastime after work and on weekends. With 8,000 seats, the Hirschgarten Biergarten in Munich (pictured) is the country's largest.

Lifestyle

At the movies

Visits to German cinemas have risen from 127.3 million in 2005 to 139.2 million in 2015 - largely due to new technology like 3D films. On particularly hot days, movie theaters are a needed refuge from the heat, and are a way to kill time on days off. Blockbusters like "The Legend of Tarzan," "Independence Day 2" and "Ghostbusters" have all opened in Germany this summer.

Lifestyle

On their bikes

Germany is strewn with an extensive network of cycling paths that get extra use during the summer. They lead bikers into woods (like the Bavarian Forest), urban jungles (like the cycling "Autobahn" across the Ruhr region), and through agricultural delights, like the Ahr Valley path pictured here. The region is known for its hillside vineyards and red wine.

Lifestyle

On the beach in Germany's '17th state'

The Spanish island of Mallorca is often referred to as Germany's 17th state. Indeed, for millions of German vacationers - who lovingly refer to the sunny, sandy isle as "Malle" - it's practically a second home. For over 30,000 Germans, it is their home. That means visitors are bound to find all the comforts of home - from German-speaking staff to their favorite wurst - without the dreary weather.

School's out and work is slow. If they're not off traveling the world, here's where you'll find many Germans during the mild mid-year months.

In the summer, everything slows down noticeably in Germany. Offices are calmer with co-workers on vacation, the roads are less crowded, and people smile a bit more often (when they're not licking the ice cream cone in their hand).

So when there's a little bit less work to be done in June, July and August, what do Germans do when they're not fulfilling their reputation as travel "Weltmeister"? We've compiled a list of places where Germans tend to spend their extra time in the summer.

For quirky German expressions that are useful during the warmer season, click through the gallery below. For more about German culture, language and lifestyle, visit dw.com/meetthegermans.

Culture

Urlaubsreif

After months of hard work, you're more than ready for a vacation. In German, you would literally be "vacation ripe." Quick, get that bikini on before you start feeling like a plump tomato. And if you really need a break from the office, then it's probably best to leave that laptop at home.

Culture

Fernweh / Heimweh

Do you suffer from "distance pain"? That means you want to travel to a far-off land so badly it hurts. Germans are known for being world travel champs (though the Chinese surpassed them in 2012), but what happens when you're abroad and miss your mom's homemade sauerkraut? Then you have Heimweh: "home pain," or homesickness.

Culture

All-In Urlaub

Vacation time is relaxing when you don't have to cook - and don't even have to go to the trouble of looking for a restaurant. When all your meals (and often drinks) are included in your one-price resort stay, it's called an All-In Urlaub, or all-inclusive vacation. While Germans otherwise love long words, they often shorten English terms. The German term Pauschalurlaub is also commonly used here.

Culture

Reiserücktrittsversicherung

In many ways, Germans like to play things safe and be prepared. If you want to book a vacation early, but there's a chance something might come up - like an illness or a political crisis in your destination country — it's a good idea to buy insurance that will guarantee a refund if you cancel. The German word for that is a real tongue twister that literally means "travel withdrawal insurance."

Culture

Stau

Germany's 16 states stagger their schools' six-week summer breaks so that the entire country isn't traveling all at once during the summer months. But traffic jams — Stau — still tend to break out on the first and last weekend of each state's school break. It's a good idea to travel mid-week. Since fewer people commute to work in the summer, the city roads are noticeably clearer then.

Culture

Sommerfrische

Meaning "summer freshness," Sommerfrische is a more or less outdated term from the 19th century. In their German dictionary, the Brothers Grimm defined it as the desire of urban dwellers to flee to the countryside for a refreshing break during the summer months. That was a common practice among the nobility of the time. Back then, sewage systems were lacking, making cities less fresh in the heat.

Culture

Affenhitze

It's so hot outside that you're sweating like a pig. In that situation, Germans would put another animal into the mix: an ape. This Borneo orangutan in Indonesia seems to be dealing with the Affenhitze ("ape heat") quite well by finding a shady spot in the treetops.

Culture

Sonnenstich

If you can't find shelter in a tree like an ape, then you'd better find another shady spot. Otherwise you risk getting a "sun sting," or a Sonnenstich. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, dehydration and the inability to think straight. These chairs, which are typical for Germany's northern beaches, are intended to block the wind — but on particularly warm days, they'll also prevent a sunstroke.

Culture

Freibad

There are some 7,000 public swimming pools in Germany and over half of them are so-called "free pool" — Freibäder. No, they're not free of charge; they're dubbed "free" because they located outdoors rather than in a hall (Hallenbad). While indoor pools are open all year, the Freibad is particularly popular during the summer months.

Culture

Sauregurkenzeit

Summer is "pickle time" — or Sauregurkenzeit in Germany. No, people here don't eat more pickles this time of year. Instead, the term dates back to the 18th century when it referred to times when food was scarce and pickles were all that was left. Later it was adapted to refer to times with little work. With parliament out of session, journalists in particular often call summer Sauregurkenzeit.

Culture

Altweibersommer

Wouldn't it be wonderful if summer lasted forever? Some years early fall brings a stretch of sunny days, too. What we'd call Indian summer in English is Altweibersommer in German. At first glance, the term literally seems to mean "old hag summer," but "weiber" is more likely derived from the word for weave, refering to the spider webs that become more prevalent as summer merges into autumn.

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