HERE’S WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED ON SUNDAYS IN GERMANY
“Let’s get a new *insertitemthatjustbroke* tomorrow.”
– “Think about it.”
This is probably the most frequent conversation I’ve had with my husband on Saturdays over the past seven years while living in Germany.
If you’re not in the country yet, I hate to break it to you, but German stores are closed on Sundays. To make your weekly shopping trip even more convenient, they also don’t stay open late at night during the week.
Granted, this mainly applies to southern Germany – rules are a little less strict in the north, but still, be prepared for it, because sooner or later there will be a time where you go “Shit, we’re out of toilet paper!” on a Sunday. Read on to learn what to do then. Spoiler: It’s not panic! You do have some options.
BUT I JUST ARRIVED IN GERMANY ON SATURDAY NIGHT AND NOW I’M STARVING
Want the answer my German mom or Oma would give me if I were saying that? Lump it – people don’t starve that promptly.
If you’re that much of a worrywart and insist on eating after only several days of traveling, luckily there are still a few options:
The supermarkets in train stations and airports will be open, and many gas stations have pretty decent stores – but you can usually get your essentials at any filling station.
In addition, Germany is peppered with little farm shops, which often have food vending machines out front. They sell eggs, meat, milk, and other farm products – as long as you bring cash!
Many people assume that restaurants are closed too, but – glad tidings – that’s false! Eateries, along with some bakeries, stay open on Sundays. In fact, it’s usually their most bustling day.
On occasions, malls or shopping streets will host Verkaufsoffener Sonntag / shopping Sunday. As much as Germans are against opening their stores on Sundays, they will go crazy when this happens, with everybody and their uncle’s pet goldfish cascading through the stores, grappling over the last pair of socks that’s on sale. There will be live music, activities for kids (like bouncy castles), special deals, street food, and heaps of balloons.
WHAT IF I NEED A PHARMACY?
Pharmacies take turns staying open on Sundays, on holidays, and at night. Click here to rout out the one closest to you.
Once there, you might have to ring the doorbell for the pharmacist to come out and help you. Note that they will charge a higher fee for anything you buy while they’re on emergency duty.
WHAT ABOUT DOCTORS?
Click here or call 116117 to find a standby doctor near you. This number also works on holidays and after hours.
OTHER THAN EATING AND BEING SICK, WHAT CAN I DO ON SUNDAYS?
Contrary to popular belief, many places do stay open that day, including gyms, pools, bowling alleys, (miniature) golf courses, museums, movie theaters, and amusement parks.
So, no excuses – get on that treadmill or learn about oinkers at the world’s biggest pig museum, before making that early morning gym visit worthwhile by jumping, teeth first, into a big plate of Schnitzel.