In Germany, most businesses, including shops, are closed on Sundays and on all major public holidays. However, despite the common belief, not everything is closed on these days. There are still plenty of places you can go to and plenty of things to do.
As a rule, gas stations, pharmacies, or stores in train stations and airports are allowed to open for part of the day. Moreover, most entertainment and cultural activities are also available on Sundays. These include museums, cinemas, swimming pools, spas, thermal resorts, amusement parks, and even gyms.
That said, if you need to accomplish some task, like sending a parcel via the post office, opening a bank account, or doing grocery shopping for a week, you better pick another day of the week. Besides, supermarkets are closed, so you can’t do your grocery shopping on Sundays. Also, all stores and retailers are closed, so no shopping for clothes and shoes on Sundays.
Also read this guide on top things to do on Sundays in Germany.
Things that are open on Sundays in Germany
If you live in or visit a big city in Germany, you will find more shopping options on Sundays. Each city will have at least one grocery store and pharmacy open. Keep in mind that their working hours might be short; some places tend to close around 3 pm.
The German federal states have different opening hours, with the shortest being in Bavaria. All stores have to be closed by 8 pm. This rule doesn’t apply to Sundays when stores across all states in Germany aren’t allowed to operate. But there are always websites you can go to to buy what you may need: like furniture.
Since October 2019, bakeries can stay open on Sundays all day, instead of only a few hours. But to operate a full day, a bakery must have a sit-down cafe attached. Regular takeout bakeries can work only for a certain number of hours. They are usually open until noon.
Large airports have most stores and restaurants open on Sundays. If you want to do some shopping, it can be an option. Yet, the majority of them are situated after the check-in area.
For instance, in Munich, you can shop groceries and some other items at the main train stations like Ostbahnhof and Hauptbahnhof.
Some gas stations offer a wide of products, almost like small supermarkets. So you can find there much more beyond energy drinks and chips.
Why is everything closed?
In most of Europe, including Germany, Sundays and public holidays are non-working days. Operation hours of business on Sundays are dictated by German law. The law on non-working Sundays was implemented in 1900.
Thus, opening hours for most businesses are limited. The majority of them aren’t allowed to operate. However, exceptions apply to pharmacies, bakeries, gas stations, and others.
Moreover, some activities aren’t allowed on Sundays. So you can’t make any disturbing and loud noise.
Regarding noise, it’s called quiet time. In Germany, it’s between 8 pm and 7 am (20:00-7:00) Monday-Saturday and all day on Sundays and holidays.
Shopping on Sundays
Supermarkets that are open on Sundays in Germany
Generally, you can buy groceries on Sundays at the central train station in each city and town.
Therefore, many supermarkets at main transportation points like train stations and airports are open on Sundays. These include brands like:
- Denn’s Biomarkt
- Spar Express
- Rewe to Go
1. Stores and shopping malls
Generally, stores and shopping malls are closed. On Sundays, you can not buy clothing, shoes, or other non-essential items. For beauty, cosmetics, household items, and drugs, the following drogerie stores might be open but only at train stations:
2. Restaurants, cafes and bars
In Germany, most restaurants are open on Sundays. You can also order food at home; delivery services are working. There are plenty of takeout (imbiss) shops where you can buy a quick and cheap bite on Sunday.
In fact, restaurants and cafes are well-visited on Sundays. Especially if they are located somewhere out in nature or in an old town. Many Germans spend Sunday afternoons having cake and coffee. Of course, Sunday lunch is also popular.
Regular bakeries open on Sunday mornings; they might work until noon. If it’s a combined bakery and coffee house, they often open all day long.
4. Gas station
Gas stations are open throughout the country 24/7. Moreover, you can find some necessities at most gas stations too. This might be a cup of coffee with a sandwich or even frozen ready-to-eat dishes.
Some gas stations even have a small supermarket, which might include a decent variety of produce, like yogurts, ham, bread, etc.
In Germany, you will encounter many small kiosks that are open on Sundays. They don’t have much to offer, but you can always get a fresh newspaper or cigarettes.
6. Flower stores
This might be surprising, but flower shops are open on Sundays in Germany.
Gyms are open on Sundays in Germany; you will also find plenty of group classes on this day.
8. Pools and water activities
Pools, spas, terms, and all related to water in combination with enjoying and relaxing are opened.
Many museums open on Sundays but are typically closed on Mondays. This makes a Sunday a perfect day for a museum hop.
Sunday is a great day for a cinema. Usually, it’s also one of the busiest days with slightly higher prices. The cheapest tickets are usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
11. Flea markets
While regular shopping isn’t allowed on Sundays, you can always find some interesting items at one of the Germans flea markets. Sunday is a typical day for a flea market. Each major city will have at least one flea market operating on Sunday or Saturday.
Flea markets can have a particular theme, like bicycles, books, pets, etc., or they are general where every possible item is offered for sale.
12. Tourist attractions
As you might guess, most tourist attractions stay open on Sundays. It’s one of the popular days for explorations among locals and tourists. Hence, you can visit castles, palaces, churches, towers, parks, zoos, gardens, markets, monuments, and everything Germany has to offer.
You can also go to nature for skiing, hiking, or biking and use the facilities to relax and enjoy.
Usually, there are only a few pharmacies open on Sundays. They are typically located at train stations or in the city, but the latter is in exceptional cases.
The following pharmacies are open on Sundays in Germany:
14. Public transportation
The frequency of public transportation is reduced on Sundays. Subway, busses, trams, intercity trains – they all also operate on Sundays. The frequency depends on the city. In smaller towns and villages it can be one in a few hours, whereas you won’t have a problem transporting in a larger city.
Taxi companies are also working 7/24. You will find plenty of cars near train stations, but you can also order one by calling a number.
Sundays when shopping is allowed
In addition to all items mentioned above, some exceptions are made where shopping is generally allowed on Sundays. On these dates, stores open their door for a full day. These special days usually relate to some occasions, like city festivals, trade fairs, or markets.
Currently, federal law permits only four shopping Sundays per year. Yet, shopping is possible for a limited time, usually up to five hours.
In some states, other regulations apply. For instance, in Berlin, Brandenburg, and North Rhine-Westphalia, up to ten shopping Sundays per year are allowed.
You can see when exactly this open Sunday is in each German state on this website.