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German travel law :

compensation for holiday disappointment

As temperatures rise, the holiday season is getting into full swing. But what happens if you are not satisfied with you holiday? Are you entitled to compensation? A ruling in Germany, gives a small example of when civil action could be brought for holiday disappointment (Az. 244 C 15777/12).

German travel law: compensation for holiday disappointment ©-Thomas-Jansa-Fotolia
German travel law: compensation for holiday disappointment ©-Thomas-Jansa-Fotolia

Compensation for holiday disappointment

The case concerned a mother who in 2010 booked an apartment in Corfu. She had planned to go on holiday with her two children and to self-cater. She therefore requested that the apartment have direct access to the beach and be located near a supermarket.

When the family arrived at the location, they were told that the original apartment was full and were given a replacement apartment situated 250 metres away from the beach. There were no amenities nearby except for a mini-market.

The mother complained immediately, but after receiving no assistance, moved into the apartment. During the holiday she felt it necessary to eat out several times.

After returning from her holiday, the mother demanded compensation for the financial loss of having to eat out and reimbursement of part of the price to compensate for the apartment not being directly on the beach.

The travel agency refused to pay compensation, claiming that 250 metres was still near to the beach and that the mini-market provided sufficient opportunity to self-cater.


The county court ruled that where a holiday maker makes their specific requirements for shopping facilities known, together with their desire to self-cater, those wishes must be fulfilled.

In this case a mini-market located 800 metres away from the apartment, and which did not stock sufficient produce to reasonably support a family for 14 days, was insufficient.

If a holiday maker is forced to eat in restaurants as they unable to fully cater for themselves, they are entitled to claim damages to recoup their financial loss.

Direct access to beach

The fact that the apartment did not have direct access, even though it had been promised, also entitles a holiday maker to compensation in the form of a reduction in the holiday price, the court stated.

The court held that only direct access to a beach would have enabled the mother to spontaneously go swimming; whereas with the location being 250 metres away from the beach additional effort was required.


The county court seems to have reached a sound decision. It is right that holiday makers receive compensation for the diminution in the value of their holidays.