Sundays in Germany: Boring or Restful?


Sunday remains a rest day for shoppers in Germany. Unless you’re heading to the Central Main Station (Hauptbahnhof), airport or petrol stations in Frankfurt, you won’t be getting any shopping done.

For four decades, German consumers were restricted by a law passed in the 1950s that allowed shops to remain open till 6.30pm on weekdays and 2pm on Saturdays. It wasn’t until 1996 that the law was relaxed in favour of consumers. Today, shops are open till around 8pm from Mondays to Saturdays. Supermarkets have longer retail hours as they usually close at 10pm in Frankfurt.

One thing that remained unchanged is that Sundays are generally still no-shopping-days. In Frankfurt, the local authority has defined 4 Sundays in 2014 in which shops are allowed to open. The operating hours are between 1pm and 7pm.

Here are the dates:

9. February 2014
30. March 2014
31. August 2014
12. October 2014

I was put off by this whole “everything is shut” nonsense when I first got to Germany. I knew about it, but I simply wasn’t prepared. I’m Singaporean, I love my malls even if it’s just window shopping. I love convenience stores like 7-11 which are open 24/7. How boring it must be for the Germans, I thought to myself.

However, it wasn’t long before I started to appreciate Sundays in Germany. It’s really THE day to enjoy, relax and NOT run any errands. Sundays are better spent over a cup of coffee & cake with friends, visiting a nearby town/village/city, hiking, chilling out in the sauna, hanging out in a park or just spending quality family time together.

I won’t deny that running out of toilet rolls or milk on a Sunday isn’t a pain, but that’s the sort of lifestyle habit that one can change (always be prepared!) to make life easier. Given that many have hectic schedules during the week, surely a 100% errand-free day would help restore some energy. I used to join the crowd at malls in Singapore on Sundays and in the UK, I would be running errands at the supermarkets. At the end of those Sundays, I think to myself “Gosh! Where did the time go?”

Now, Sundays are days I will do absolutely nothing.

What activities are you usually up to on Sundays? Reckon you’ll enjoy a German Sunday?


6 thoughts on “Sundays in Germany: Boring or Restful?

  1. I can (now) deal with Sundays here in Germany. However, that´s partially due to the fact that I don´t work, and can get errands done during the week. I don´t understand how people who work full time, and have a commute, can do it!
    We are also close to open bakeries, the Bahnhof and a few gas stations should we need milk or butter or whatever. That said, I planned to make banana nut bread this morning, and just realized I forgot walnuts! ARGH!
    So, I guess I´m mixed on it. 🙂
    What I REALLY can´t stand are the Stille Tags. The silence creeps me out!

  2. I definitely favour “keeping Sunday special”! It used to be like that in UK but it changed in the 90s? I agree that Sunday should be spent with family and chilling out with a pile of newspapers. Can you imagine spending Sunday on Oxford Street huffing & puffing with bags of shopping? It is hell… Let’s stay away. 😉

  3. I tried going out a few times this year on sundays – to cafes, restaurants, even for a facial. BIG MISTAKE. singapore is really too too crowded these days to enjoy anything on the weekends. you must q for a cafe, q to get into ikea to buy dishtowels, q on the roads.. nowadays i chill at home with my dog, with my kindle, and now i do t25 on sundays followed by zumba. then have dinner at home. i will not go out and torture myself again. and lets not mention the public transport crowd….

  4. foodessen

    I really like that things are closed on Sundays but we do take advantage of the occasional Sunday Open shopping. This Sunday Aschaffenburg is an option for us since it’s not too far! If there’s a festival going on we might do something like that too but mainly we just take it easy on Sundays 🙂 and in the summer do quite a bit of grilling, weather permitting!

    1. Me too! I missed the Sunday openings in FFM so far but to be honest, I’m not missing out a lot. Festivals are more fun to attend to grab finger food, watch live bands etc. outdoor grilling sounds perfect! I hope we’ll get an awesome summer so you’ll get to do that! 🙂

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