Geography & Climate
In the north, Germany has access to the North and Baltic Seas. In the south it borders on the Alps. At 2,962 metres the Zugspitze in Bavaria is its highest peak. At 3.54 metres below sea level the lowest point on land is near Neuendorf-Sachsenbande in Schleswig-Holstein. Measuring 357,340 square kilometres, Germany is the fourth largest country in the European Union (EU) after France, Spain, and Sweden. Forests cover almost a third of its total surface area. Lakes, rivers, and other inland waters account for more than two percent. The Rhine is the longest river. In the southwest it marks the border between Germany and France, further north Bonn, Cologne, and Düsseldorf all lie on its banks. The Elbe, the second longest river, links Dresden, Magdeburg, and Hamburg and flows into the North Sea.
Germany enjoys a moderate climate. In July, the mean temperature is 16.9 degrees Celsius, and in January -0.5 degrees. The most recent winters in Germany were particularly mild, and the summers particularly hot. With a mean temperature of 10.5 degrees, 2018 was the warmest year in Germany since records began back in 1881. 2019 placed alongside 2014 as the second warmest. The highest temperature since records began was recorded on 25 July, 2019 in Lingen in Lower Saxony, namely 42.6 degrees Celsius.