4 things to expect when Germans go on summer break

Koenigstrasse, Stuttgart, July 2017. Photo by Holly DeCarlo-White

Holly DeCarlo-White
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

School in Stuttgart concludes and the summer holiday begins for German students on July 28. Additionally, the whole of Europe also goes on vacation typically the entire month of August. U.S. personnel arriving during the summer, living at the hotel and getting settled should know a few things about the area during this time.

1. Traffic during German holidays is nowhere near comparable to the normal traffic you can expect during the rest of the year. The roadways, aside from any construction, are clear making for a happy and fast commute. If you are arriving during the summer break and plan on house hunting, do the drive to and from work (rent a car or have someone drive you) during rush hour times, then tack on 20-30 minutes to give you an idea of what your true commute time could be in “Stau-gart” (stau means traffic is stopped).

2. All businesses will not be open, to include some private doctors, boutiques and family-run restaurants, from August to mid-Sept. Some will have websites, or an answering machine message (in German), while others will simply place a hand-written note on the door stating their return.

3. The weather fluctuates. August in the States is usually consistently warm to hot, however, in Stuttgart, expect highs and lows, rainy and dry days. When PCS’ing in, it is good to bring layers, an umbrella, and other walking shoes besides sandals for the wet days.

4. The sun sets much later meaning more activities open up outdoors. The average sunset time during the summer is around 10 p.m. In addition to longer daylight, one of the best things about the warmer days in Stuttgart from late spring into fall is the re-opening of outdoor beer gardens, restaurants, “beaches” and pools. There are countless summer festivals in downtown Stuttgart offering free music performances and food. Visit the Culture Events calendar, or tune-in to the Culture Corner show on AFN Stuttgart radio for off-post event information in English.

Stuttgart makes for an excellent jumping off point for travel within Europe not only in the summer, but year-round. Remember to plan ahead and register your trips with your command’s security office, as well as online at the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, STEP.  

Additional travel resources:

For assistance finding resources or services in Stuttgart, all ID cardholders can contact Army Community Service by phone, email or in-person in Building 2915 on Panzer Kaserne. Visit https://stuttgart.armymwr.com/programs/army-community-service.