A Beginner's Guide to Surviving Winter in Germany
Whether you enjoy winter or not, no one likes to freeze their limbs off when cold weather hits. Germany is known to have some of the coldest winters in Europe, but that doesn't mean you should trap yourself indoors the whole time.
When is winter in Germany and how cold does it get?
Winter runs from December to February in Germany. During these months, you can expect freezing temperatures, snowfall - or both depending on your region. The mountainous areas are much colder than the southern flatlands, so pack accordingly if you're moving or traveling for the first time.
Tips for surviving winter in Germany
This article will explore all the essential tips to survive the cold winter weather while keeping yourself healthy (and sane).
Dress in layers
When the temperature gets below 0°C, it is best to opt for clothing that keeps you warm from head to toe. It is always better to be too dressed up than underdressed when heading outside in the winter.
Thick socks, jeans, and a jumper are highly recommended. Instead of opting for full-length jeans, go for jeggings instead. They have the same effect but will keep you warmer in colder temperatures. Button up your shirt or wear a woolen sweater to prevent cold exposure through gaps between buttons or zips.
Enjoy warm beverages and food
When you are out and about during the winter months, it's always best to have a hot drink in hand. Preferably something non-alcoholic so you don't have to worry about any adverse effects from the cold weather. Drink hot beverages such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or any other soothing drink. Germany is also known for its mulled wines during Christmas. Limit yourself to a few cups of mulled wine and don't go overboard as it can get pretty addictive.
A hot meal is also a great way to stay warm during winter. Eating something that contains both protein and carbohydrates will stick around longer than just carbs alone. Hot meals such as soups, stews, or casseroles are perfect for winter months as they will stay with you longer and keep your stomach warm.
Stay active during the winter
By now, you probably understand why eating a hot meal and drinking something to take the chill off is helpful. But wouldn't it be better if we could lose those extra pounds that come from eating and drinking too much during the winter?
When it gets too cold to go out and socialize, and with most people spending their time indoors, exercise is the best thing to do. Hit the treadmill, ride your bike or jog around the block – anything that makes you sweat will keep that body naturally warm.
If you don't want to sweat, go out for long walks and visit some of Germany's attractions during winter. Especially in November and December, visit various Christmas markets in Germany or go ice skating in the city.
Work with natural heat
Winter can be dark and gloomy. When the sun is out, try and be outside as much as possible. Be it grocery shopping or catching up with friends, enjoying the warmth of sunlight is both natural and healthy for the skin.
Optimize home appliances for extra heat
Using the oven for cooking in winter is always a good idea. Why? The oven's residual heat after cooking will keep you warm (at least in the kitchen) while you enjoy your meal.
Use a humidifier
Humid air is generally warmer than dry air. And during the winter, running the heat can dehumidify your indoor air. To compensate, consider using a humidifier. Look for models that allow you to select between warm and cold air; they may cost more but are well worth it for the heating capacity.
Moisturize skin regularly
Dry air can suck the moisture out of your skin, leaving it itchy, irritated, and flaky. To get rid of dry skin during the winter months, use a moisturizing lotion on your hands and feet before going to bed. In the morning, you will have soft and smooth skin!
What to avoid during winter in Germany
Many of us are not prepared for the arrival of winter, but it is something we all must face. If you're ready for the perils of winter, you'll be less likely to feel down when temperatures start to drop.
Even in the coldest of temperatures, hydration is important. Not only will it help with the little annoyances that winter brings with dry skin and chapped lips, but it can also help prevent you from catching a cold or flu during this time of year.
Make sure to keep your body hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. If you're having difficulty keeping hydrated, try out some naturally hydrating drinks such as tea and fruit juice.
Excessive caffeine intake
Caffeine is a diuretic that will make your body release more water than it takes in. This means that the more coffee or caffeinated beverages you drink, the more dehydrated you will become.
Not only should you limit your daily intake of caffeinated beverages to prevent dehydration, but try and steer clear from caffeine altogether during winter months as it can exacerbate any respiratory problems that are already there. Excessive coughing or wheezing should be brought to a doctor's attention.
Sitting in overheated rooms
Many people turn up the heat as soon as winter is in full swing. This can be bad as overheating can dehydrate you and cause dry skin.
Instead of turning up the heat, ensure that your home is adequately insulated to keep warmth inside and cold temperatures out. Also, taking a hot shower before bed can help keep your body warm-up overnight.
Wearing wet clothes
Having wet socks, feet, or continuously wearing damp clothing can lead to discomfort and health problems. The best way to dry wet clothes is naturally by using a clothesline outdoors or indoor drying racks if you live in an apartment building with no outside space.
How to escape winter in Germany
Don't want to deal with Germany's winter weather? Go for short weekend breaks in these nearby but warmer destinations instead.
You'll love visiting Malaga in the winter months because of its beautiful sunny weather during the day. It has an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) during the day in winter, with virtually unlimited sunshine. This Spanish city has a lot to offer, from its historic old town to loads of beaches along the Mediterranean coast that are perfect for exploring.
The average temperature in Cyprus during the winter months is 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit), just perfect for a comfortable weekend getaway. Traveling to Cyprus in winter also means that you'll spend less money because hotel prices and flights are lower than in the summer months.
Madeira is one of the best winter destinations because of its mild temperatures between 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) to 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit). It's known as a hiking destination surrounded by greens all year round. It's the perfect spot for a weekend getaway and to escape Germany's winter.
Sicily is exceptionally crowded in the summer. Visiting in winter is great because it's less expensive, traffic is easier to deal with, and the weather will be perfect for exploring. Sicily has an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) during winter with limited rainfall. If you prefer almost zero tourists and want the island to yourself, you can't go wrong with visiting Sicily in winter.
The best time to visit Malta in winter is from November to March when it's a tad warmer with a daily average of 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit). Malta has an impressive mix of culture and natural beauty, which you'll be glad to explore when the weather isn't as hot. If you like exploring without worrying about unexpected weather, Malta is the perfect winter escape with over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year.