The best time to visit Munich – December?

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MUNICH - DECEMBER?

When is the best time to visit Munich? Whenever you go to a destination abroad where you’ve never been before, you will ask yourself: When should I go there? Are there “good” or “bad” months? Of course every city looks far better on a nice sunny day than in heavy rain. There are only a few places in the world where it doesn’t matter when to go, as the weather conditions are always perfect. Unfortunately, Munich is not such a place. Also hotel prices vary throughout the seasons. Here I will tell you about the best months of the year when you should visit Munich, and of course when you should avoid visiting Munich. This time I will tell you about the things you can expect throughout December in Munich.

Munich during December

December in Munich can be a magical month. The whole city is decorated for Christmas and the city’s Christmas markets open for visitors. The weather in December can get a bit fall-like again. Snow will usually be missed and also a true cold weather will not arrive until the year’ s end. The whole city is getting ready for Christmas. Christmas is celebrated on December 24 according to the Catholic faith, which leads to the fact that the whole city will focus on this date.
If you like the Christmas spirit, I can really recommend December. But don’t expect a winter wonderland with snow and ice. Rather, be prepared for cool temperatures, rain, or even a blast of warmth that feels more like October than December. The Christmas markets and the proximity to the Alps as well as to other famous Christmas market locations (Salzburg, Nuremberg) make Munich the ideal base for your trip. However, it gets quite crowded, because in addition to the tourists who come for the Christmas feeling, of course a huge amount of locals want to buy their gifts and also have a mulled wine and a bratwurst at the Christmas market.

Average sunshine hours:
2 hours
Hours of daylight:
ca. 8 hours
Temperature:
rather cold
Outdoor activities (walking, hiking, cycling, beergardening, etc.):
limited possibility
Tourist Density (tourists in the city):
rather high
Stress factor:
medium-high
Hotel prices:
medium-high

National Holidays and festivities during December in Munich

Learn about the National Holidays during this month as well as other festivities you will encounter when travelling to Munich in December.

Advent is the contemplative time in the Christian religion during the four weeks before Christmas. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation. The four sundays before Christmas are called "Adventsonntage" in Germany (Advent-Sundays). It is common tradition for people to make an Advent wreath. The Advent wreath is usually an evergreen wreath with four candles representing one week of Advent. Every Advent-Sunday a new candle is lit. It is quite common to see Advent wreaths in public, for example in shop windows, or as motives.

The feast of St. Barbara is a religious feast to honor Saint Barbara, the patron of those who face the danger of violent death at work, such as miners and geoscientists as well as gunsmiths, artillerymen, etc..

As it is a religuous feast it means Barbaratag is a regular workingday (except it is a sunday).

There is a tradition, especially in Bavaria called "Barbarazweig" (Barbara-sprig). Families take a sprig of a (fruit) tree (e.g. Apple, Cherry, Hazelnut, Birch, Elderflower) and put it into a vase filled with water. The sprig is kept indoor and it should bloom by Christmas because of the indoor warmth.

If the sprig blooms by Christmas, it is considered as a sign of luck for the next year.

Saint Nicholas is pretty much the same figure as Santa Claus. But in contrast to other parts in the world, Saint Nicholas is not the one who brings Christmas gifts to the children. In Central Europe this is done by the "Christkind" (Jesus Child) on Christmas Eve. Saint Nicholas has his own day where he brings small gifts and usually candy to the (good) children. In Munich and Bavaria this happens on Dec. 6th.. In more traditional catholic regions, St. Nicholas is dressed very much like a catholic bishop (white and gold), while in more urban regions he is more dressed like the well known Santa Claus (red/white). In Bavaria, Saint Nicholas is often accompanied by a helper called "Krampus". Krampus is a frightening demonic creature. He will punish naughty children by putting them into his sack and carry them away.

When you're in Munich on Dec. 6th, usually St. Nicholas visits the Christmas Markets in and around Munich and hands out presents (traditionally walnuts, oranges, apples and gingerbread).

Christmas Eve is the biggest festivity in Christianity. In Germany and especially Bavaria, Christmas Eve is the day of celebration. This means, families and friends meet for lunch and dinner and wait for the "Chrtistkind" (Jesus Child) to bring presents. Traditionally, this happens after dark in the early evening. Then, Munich gets very quiet as everyone is at home. Christmas Eve is usually celebrated within the family. It is not that common to go out. Of course restaurants and bars are open and often serve a special menu. Be aware that supermarkets, shops and pharmacies close at 2pm!

On Christmas Day, which is a public holiday, most people rest and digest the previous day's generous meal or prepare to visit grandparents, friends, siblings or other family members. This day is also usually a family day and there is quite a lot of traffic, because people visit relatives and acquaintances and bring them gifts. And, of course, there are again copious culinary delights.

Christmas Day is a holiday, so supermarkets, shops and pharmacies are closed. Restaurants and bars are open as well as take-away services.

On the second Christmay Day actually pretty much the same happens as on Christmas Day.

The Second Christmas Day is also a holiday, so supermarkets, shops and pharmacies are closed. Restaurants and bars are open as well as take-away services.

The last day of the year is called "Silvester" in Germany. This comes from the Christian beliefs, because it is the Nameday of St. Silvester.
As in many parts of the Western world, lavish parties are held on New Year's Eve, culminating in fireworks at midnight.

New Year's Eve is not a public holiday (unless it is a Sunday). Accordingly, stores are open. However, they may decide for themselves when to close. Often the stores and supermarkets close at 2pm or at 4pm. Only a few stores are actually open until 8pm.

Would I recommend  travelling to Munich in December?

The Christmas markets and the resulting increase in the number of tourists from all over the world naturally cause prices for hotels and accommodation to rise, although not as much as, for example, during the Oktoberfest. Those who would like to save money should consider not staying too centrally in the city center and thus near the main Christmas markets. Those who are not afraid to travel a bit by subway bus and streetcar can find a bargain in December.

December is also often used by locals to take a short trip to the Alps before Christmas to relax in a wellness hotel.
December and especially the so-called Advent Saturdays are used by locals to shop and prepare gifts for Christmas. Especially on these days or weekends it can get really crowded in the city center. If you want it a little more quiet, you should rather visit the city center and the Christmas markets during the week as a tourist.

Nevertheless, I recommend everyone to enjoy the pre-Christmas period in Munich. There is so much to discover. There are Christmas markets, decorated churches, good food, Christmas delicacies and a great spirit.

Also the weather seems not too bad as Munich usually gets a boost of warm air around Christmas.

Bavarian State Chancellery Munich in winter

Detailed weather during December in Munich

When I travel to new destinations, I always check the weather conditions and I also look for the best time to travel to that specific destination. And often I find statistics saying this or that month will be quite good or rather rainy. But I always wanted a more detailed view, because a month is actually a quite long period of time. The conditions in the beginning of a month can be completely different to the last week of the same month. Therefore I researched the weather data for Munich for the last 10 years. So you can have a more detailed look at the different days. Of course you have to know this is a statistic, which means you don’t have a guarantee the weather will be exactly like this in the upcoming year. But it will give you a better feel how weather conditions are in Munich throughout the year. You can then use this knowledge to plan your trip accordingly.

How warm or cold will December in Munich be?

You can see here that Munich is not a winter wonderland during December. Usually the month starts with rather cold temperatures but gets warmer with a boost of warm air around Christmas. temperatures can then go up to 15°C (59°F). After Christmas it is likely to have a temperature drop.

Will there be rain in Munich in December?

Also December is quite a dry month in Munich. It’s possible to have some rain around Christmas, but there is no significant pattern. Sometimes there will be days with lot’s of rain (above 10 litres per square meter), but only one or two days in the whole month. Numbers from 0 – 5 are usually short rainshowers or a light drizzle.

Will the sun come out during December in Munich?

Here you can see that December in Munich is not that grey and rainy as you might think. After Christmas temperatures drop, but often the skies clear up and you can enjoy a bit of sun. The week before Christmas is statistically very grey and the sun can’t be seen too often. But at least it’s not too rainy (see table above).

Will there be snow in Munich in December?

I’m sorry to burst your dream bubble of a winter wonderland where light snwow falls on your head while enjoying a mulled wine on a Christmas Market in Munich. Actually Munich is quite warm during December and therefore snowfall is rare. But sometimes you can expect slushy rain. Since 2015, Munich had more or less no snow during December. 2010 was an exception where we had a massive snowfall on St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6th). This snow lasted for two weeks. But don’t expect a white Christmas in Munich. As you can see here, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are usually dry and without snow.

Things to do during December in Munich

What to pack for  Munich in December

As a tourist you will often ask yourself “Sould I pack warm clothes? a scarf? or is it ok to just take a softshell jacket with me?”. Here is my ultimate packing list for things you should not forget on your trip to Munich during December:

Where to stay in Munich in December

Munich has lots of hotel options to stay. Especially the inner city can get quite full during December as many people go shopping for Christmas presents or head for venues like the Eiszauber ice-skating rink. And of course there are many Christmas Markets throughout the city. Hotel prices may be above average. Here you can find my handpicked recommendations for all hotel types and budgets.

Enjoy a cosy hotel room in Munich