Different cities have different styles, but if you’re looking for what to wear in Germany, this post will get you started so you’re prepared for our variable spring weather, and don’t immediately stand out as a tourist.
Spring is a tough season to pack for when you’re heading on a multi-city trip through Germany. I find it hard to dress for and I live here! Go for layering and be realistic about your planned activities. Above all, be ready to walk.
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Don’t wear yoga pants
Gym clothes are for the gym – you won’t find people wearing yoga trousers unless they have literally just finished a class, and even then, they will change before going out on the street. This goes triply so for sweatpants. Try a relaxed pair of flowy trousers or more structured yet stretchy ponte if you’re looking for comfort. A dark pair of slim or skinny jeans, a nice top and a cardigan, with a scarf thrown over the top, will do well in any German city. I have joked with my husband there is a German Dad uniform on the weekends: chinos in a dark colour, t-shirt or collared shirt, and a v-neck jumper on top. Seriously, I saw every single dad dressed like this in a Frankfurt museum the other day.
Spring is a changeable season everywhere, and if you’re planning on visiting Berlin or Munich, be ready for wind. A good trench coat, ideally with a water resistant or waterproof coating, will be your best friend, and it works well layered with a sweater or cardigan. It looks equally nice on top of jeans as a nice dress when you’re heading out for dinner. This is where I find more technical rain coats fall down – you want to go to a nice restaurant, but Gortex just doesn’t fit the bill. Unless you’re planning a serious hiking holiday (in which case you’ll need other clothes anyway), bring a trench or another nice wind and rain resistant jacket.
A few good scarfs, from silk to lightweight knit, will fill in the gaps when the weathers takes you by surprise. They take up practically no space in your luggage (I like to shove mine into my shoes) and it makes any outfit that bit more sophisticated. Wear it in your hair, pull it around your shoulders when you’re on an open-top bus tour, tie it to your bag for a pop of colour, sleep under it on a long train journey – I love a good scarf or three when traveling. You will see everyone in Germany wearing scarves in all weathers – men and women.
You will be walking everywhere, so bring sensible shoes, everyone says. Yes well, sensible doesn’t have to mean ginormous gym shoes. You’re in luck, because The Thing over here for several seasons has been crisp white trainers with anything. I personally love my Italian Supergra hightops, but any low-profile white trainer will do the trick. The second most ubiquitous shoe choice are sleek ankle boots, and these are also easy to find in seriously comfortable options. I love my Blundstones, and wear them everywhere… they are fully waterproof, slip on easily, and with a little polish look good as new no matter what I throw at them.
I am a dress and cardigan woman through and through, but I truly believe it’s one of the easiest travel outfits ever. Even in spring. From March to June, spring in Europe can be variable, so be pack for cooler temperatures and a few warm days too. Bring several pairs of leggings to wear underneath and you’ll be fine. I personally prefer leggings to tights for daytime wear, as I find them more breathable and forgiving over a long day. I just tuck a pair of black socks on under black leggings, and with ankle boots, honestly no one notices. A good midi dress with a cardigan, leggings, ankle boots, trench coat, and scarf can take you pretty much anywhere looking put together and feeling super comfortable. It turns hot in the afternoon? Whip off those leggings or the cardigan. The wind picks up? Do up your cardigan and coat, wrap the scarf around your shoulders for an extra layer.
I am not a fan of daypacks. I know they are practical, but they look huge, and when you’re going in and out of museums, squeezing onto busy public transport, and walking down small streets, they are a pain to you and to everyone else around you. Stick with a practical crossbody bag or messenger bag. It’s easier to keep it in eyesight in case of pick-pockets, and easier to access. Honestly, a small water bottle you can refill, your camera, your phone, your wallet, tissues, a snack bar, a lipstick, keys, plasters – there’s not much else you need for a day out. Take advantage of my search for stylish camera bags right here.
One-week Spring Germany packing list
- One shirtdress
- One super easy jersey dress
- One sweater dress
- One midi skirt
- One pair of stretchy skinny jeans
- Two cardigans
- One turtleneck sweater
- Two t-shirts (I like H&M for these basics)
- Two pairs of leggings
- Trench coat
- Three scarves
- Two pairs of earrings
- Two necklaces
- Cotton underwear
- Camera bag/cross-body bag
- One pair ankle boots
- One pair trainers
Cosmetics and toiletries
I keep my cosmetics pretty streamlined in general, so when I travel there’s nothing really different than my usual routine. I do often opt for make-up remover wipes, and throw a bunch of cotton pads in a zip-top bag with my favourite exfoliator squirted all over them. But that’s it! It’s worth noting that in Germany, most women go for a fresh-faced look with minimal eye makeup and neutral lip colour.
- Make up (foundation, concealer, mascara, eyeliner, brow pencil)
- Make-up remover wipes like these
- Ziptop bag with cotton pads soaked in Pixi Glow Tonic
This is our family name for all the cables, chargers, and whatnot required to keep everything plugged in and charged while we’re away. Mine is a bit different as I have to bring my CPAP machine with me when I travel, so I bring a surge-protected power bar with built-in USB ports for plugging in my devices. But my husband brings just a plug-in USB charging block, that has the brightest light on it ever, so it functions as a nightlight as well. We’re also adding a couple of universal plug adapters to our infrastructure as well.
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This post was originally published in January 2019, updated in March 2021