Humans are creatures of habit – this also seems to apply to Germans booking their summer holidays. The most popular international destinations for German travellers for the summer of 2024 come as no surprise: whether it’s a beach vacation or a city trip, Germans are predominantly drawn to the Mediterranean. And they seem to have a preference for sustainable travel.

A recent analysis of search queries on between 22 and 29 April 2024 for accommodation for stays between 1 June and 1 September 2024 has revealed the top summer travel destinations for Germans. The top international destination for Germans in the summer of 2024 is, of course, Spain. Surprisingly Palma de Mallorca is insecond place, while Barcelona is first. Third in line in Antalya in Turkey, followed by Paris, Italy’s Bibione, Istanbul, Vienna, Rimini, London and, last but not least, Amsterdam.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Photo: Sylt Marketing, Monica Gumm

Solo travellers, on the other hand, favour Alicante as their top travel destination this year, followed by Barcelona, Paris, Vienna, London, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon, Istanbul, New York and Rome. For those seeking a trip within the borders of Germany, travellers love city trips this summer, while others seek a relaxing beach break in the north of the country. Their favourite summer destination is Berlin, followed by Hamburg, Munich, Binz, Cologne, the island of Norderney, Dresden, Timmendorfer Strand, Kühlungsborn, and Warnemünde.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Photo: Sylt Marketing, Christian Kerber

Emphasis on sustainable travel

Another survey, also conducted by, has revealed the current attitudes, priorities and influences regarding sustainable travel. The annual survey shows a continued desire and awareness for greater sustainability – eight out of ten (80%) of German travellers confirm that sustainable travel is important to them. But new evidence reveals that a sense of fatigue may be emerging around the world as travellers face ongoing challenges in making more sustainable choices.

The current survey shows that more than half (59%) of German respondents think more sustainable travel is important, but it is not the main criterion for them when planning or booking trips. Around a third (34%) of Germans even report that they are tired of constantly hearing about climate change. Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever to take action together to ensure progress towards a more sustainable travel industry remains a priority.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Photo: Tourismusverband Werfenweng/Schartner

Positive intentions meet new challenges

60% of German travellers say they want to travel more sustainably in the next 12 months. This may be because respondents believe they are doing the right thing (36%) or because travellers feel guilty when they make a less sustainable decision (38%). However, a sense of disillusionment with more sustainable travel choices could work against these intentions. This year, the sustainability study is examining new areas for the first time. The survey shows that some travellers do not recognize the importance of being more aware of their impact: more than a quarter (27%) of German respondents believe that the damage already occurring is irreversible and that their travel decisions are influenced by it won’t change anything. In fact, 27% of German respondents also do not believe that climate change is as serious as it is portrayed – a dismissal of the problem that may well have an impact on travel plans.

Additionally, some believe their travel time is too valuable to make sustainability a priority when making decisions (28%). Seeing that sustainability is not being implemented also contributes to the feeling of powerlessness: more than a quarter (27%) of travellers feel it is pointless to behave more sustainably in a destination that does not implement sustainability measures itself.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Photo: Sabine Braun, Sylt Marketing

Despite the emerging frustrations, travellers who make more mindful choices are also finding that more sustainable travel experiences actually bring them value. New themes in this year’s report found that almost half (49%) of German travellers are the best version of themselves when they travel sustainably and they take that positivity home with them. 50% are inspired by sustainable measures on the go to act more sustainably in everyday life. Of those who practised sustainable behaviour during their travels, 91% found it enriching, taking part in tours or activities to have authentic, local and cultural experiences. This was equally rewarding for 89% who shopped in small, independent stores and 86% who planned their trips so they could get around on foot, by bike or by public transport.

“With many travellers retaining some optimism and desire for more positive impact, the industry has a huge opportunity to accelerate its deployment and make these decisions easier for everyone,” said Danielle D’Silva, Head of Sustainability at “It’s important that we continue to ensure more sustainable options are available – but also that they are easy to understand and trustworthy. We believe that continuing education, clear and consistent standards, and credible third-party certifications of recognized sustainability measures can help travel experiences. And while signs of some frustration on the part of travellers should be cause for concern, they also remind us to remain focused on the important work that makes a difference not only for travelers, but also for communities around the world.”

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Photo: Laura Müller, Sylt Marketing

Sustainable summer destination

A sustainable German destination which also ranked in the top 10 of German travellers seeking a local getaway is Norderney, located in the North Sea, which belongs to the Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage. Norderney enchants its visitors with an eclectic mix of majestic nature, inspiring vastness, modern lifestyle, cultural diversity, creative concepts for health, fitness and balance, and last but not least, an overall relaxed atmosphere. With its various beaches and excellent water quality, it is easy to imagine why the island is Germany’s oldest North Sea spa resort. For two hundred years this was the spot for emperors to unwind. Today, Norderney places great importance on nature conservation with approximately 80 per cent of terrestrial area and 100 per cent of the marine area being protected. Renewable energy is promoted on the entire island and 99 per cent of its public buildings and services use green energy and CO2-neutral gas.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Werfenweng. Photo: Tourismusverband Werfenweng/Schartner

The Queen of the North Sea

Located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea, Germany’s North Sea islands have it all. Sylt, often referred to as the ‘Queen of the North Sea’, has a burgeoning reputation as a top summer tourist destination due to the fact it has something for everyone. If its great nightlife and water sports are not for you, the island’s west coast boasts 40 kilometres of picture-perfect beaches accompanied by its famous ‘Rotes Kliff’ (Red Cliff) where you could easily lose a week with a good book and a few bottles of red.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Photo: Sylt Marketing, Andreas Hub

Nature and environmental protection have long been a top priority here, more than half of the island is under a special protectorate. The Wadden Sea off Sylt is even part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage and is therefore officially one of the most important natural monuments in the world. The climate is not stingy with its charms either: in the breezes that the North Sea wind blows on land, the minerals and trace elements of the seawater, finely atomized by the surf, float. Almost forty kilometers of sandy beach border the western coast. Plenty of opportunity for a long hike or for a bold jump into the refreshing surf.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Norderney. Photo: Klaus Dinkla / Staatsbad Norderney GmbH

Cities for the win

But it is not only nature lovers that can enjoy sustainable destinations – far from it. This year, Hamburg, for example, has been named the seventh most sustainable city on the planet by the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index. Overall, European cities dominate the top of the Index. Notably all four German cities included in the index – Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin – claim spots in the top 10, buoyed by achievements in water sanitation and waste management, and low greenhouse gas emissions.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024

Photo: Sylt Marketing

In the future, double-checking our holiday destination’s impact on its environment will most certainly increase to becoming a major part of choosing where to go. In order to still be able to breathe crisp air in the Alps, to enjoy a bath in healthy lakes, or to have a fresh bite of a ripe apple right from the tree, we need to do our bit to protect our planet.

Typically German: The Country’s Top Summer Destinations 2024


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