How to have a barbecue in a public space in Germany

As soon as the first rays of sunshine appear, you know the ones that already create a little bit of warmth, people in Germany fire their barbecues, and in Germany barbecue is called “grillen.” How to barbecue is completely up to each individual. You decide what to best throw on the barbecue. You decide whether you would like to do that on a portable luxurious grill. You decide whether you like to use charcoal that harms the environment. So, to decide about the usual stuff is up to you. As in every other country on earth, there are a few regulations when it comes to cooking in public spaces. 

Public stonewalled barbecue with ash on the lower level and a cast-iron form on the tray on top.

How to have a barbecue in a public space in Germany

In Germany, you’ll often find public barbecues in parks where it is perfectly all right to cook, but you can also go and make yourself at home in the many appropriate public green spaces. As long as the well being of people and the environment stays intact, literally, everything goes. You are on the safe side if you set up your camp at a distance of at least 100 meters to trees, residential areas and the woods.

Use a portable barbecue that way the lawn stays how it is; disposable ones are bad for it. An open campfire and fluids to light the barbecue aren't great either. Supervise the barbecue at all times and extinguish the fire completely after you finished cooking. All wastes, yes, that also includes the ashes, must be disposed of. And please take food scraps (and all other organic matter) with you and put it in your rubbish bin at home.

Public playgrounds and lawns, dog-spaces, public gardens and football grounds and wooded parkland are solely, you might already guess it, for children, dogs, grandparents, runners, soccer players and so on and on. All publicly designated barbecue areas can be found on the respective websites of the city administration, please note that in some places, registration is necessary.

It is also pretty straight forward if you live in a tenancy and want to cook on your balcony or terrace. According to the German tenants association cooking on the balcony is okay as long as it is not otherwise stated in the lease or in the house rules. Behave considerately and you are good to start cooking (you wouldn't want to sit in thick barbecue smoke for hours). As a rule of thumb cook five to 12 times in the months from May to September, before 10pm and after 7am.

Websites with barbecue spots in Germany

And finally, if you cause a fire, as in a bush fire or if you set fire to a property due to your own laziness (silliness) you will get fined between EUR 35 and EUR 750.

Have a happy summer. Happy grillen in Germany.

From Berlin with love