The hot and often discussed topic of opening hours in Germany. It is regulated in the Shop Closing Act (LadSchlG) of the individual federal states.

My video on the subject:


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Until 2005, uniform rules applied nationwide to the opening hours of individual retail stores. Since 2006, each federal state has regulated this independently. However, the deviations are only minor and you probably won’t even notice them as a tourist.

Probably the biggest annoyance in Germany are holidays and Sundays. Here, the Sunday holiday applies in general and you will be faced with closed doors in front of almost every retail store in Germany.

Here, really only very specific businesses are allowed to open. These are, for example, gas stations, pharmacies and bakers.

So why are stores closed on Sunday in Germany?

Background of the strict Sunday rest are on the one hand that it is a Christian holiday on which working is prohibited. On the other hand, the strict German labor protection law applies here, which is usually intended to guarantee employees in normal professions a work-free Sunday.

😠 My opinion:

For me is on the verge of an imposition that on Sundays everything is closed and you can get certain things, but really only basics, of daily needs only at gas stations or snack bars for twice the price. And we are really only talking about basics here.

If you tinker on Sunday morning in your garage and you are missing a screw, glue, paint or something else special, then you might have a good neighbor who helps you out. Otherwise bad luck and you can tinker on the next weekend if this Sunday does not fall on one of the 4 open Sundays as in Bavaria, or one of the 8 open Sundays as for example in Berlin.

Your wife cooks the roast of the century and she notices at 11 o’clock that she no longer has the special spice in the house. Here, too, the nice neighbor can help out – otherwise it looks really bad with the success of the roast and the associated domestic peace … 😜

I can continue the list endlessly, but I think everyone understands what is meant.

And of course I am for a liberalization of this law, so that please each entrepreneur himself and decides whether he wants to open his store or but rather traditionally closed. For large companies such as supermarket chains and, for example, DIY stores with many employees, it can not be so difficult to find a special arrangement (eg 100% Sunday surcharge, or only 10 – 14 clock).

On the other hand, I have to say that people are so used to this that I hardly think about it anymore.

But one thing is and remains a fact: I myself and certainly the majority of the German population buys much more on Friday or Saturday than you actually need. This results in a higher spoilage of only short-lived foods such as fruit, vegetables and meat and a certain part of it ends up in the garbage can on Tuesday or Wednesday, because you have no time from Monday or at the end of work to prepare them. And that really does not have to be!

In the following table I show you clearly for which stores you can plan a visit on which day until when. I chose the most different German states for the store opening hours – Berlin and Bavaria.

Table of opening hours in Berlin and Bavaria from Monday – Saturday

Supermarket, hardware store, specialty stores, butchers00:00 – 24:0006:00 – 20:00
Baker00:00 – 24:0006:00 – 20:00
Pharmacies, gas stations, stores in train stations/airports00:00 – 24:0000:00 – 24:00

Please note that the indicated times are the times when the stores may be open! From when to when a store actually opens, the owner decides himself, there are big differences.

Table of opening hours in Berlin and Bavaria Sunday and holiday

Supermarket, hardware store, specialty stores, butchers
Bakervery differentvery different
Pharmacies, gas stations, stores in train stations/airports00:00 – 24:0000:00 – 24:00
Number of Sundays open8(13:00 – 18:00)4(13:00 – 18:00)

Special case Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Specialty stores are only open until 14:00. For gas stations and stores in train stations, of course, the holiday rules apply, so may also open longer.