Best Things to Do in Berlin in Winter
By Emma White
During the winter in Berlin temperatures plummet and remain low throughout the season, making many people wish they’d booked their winter holiday to a tropical Caribbean island instead! But fear not, with a few thick layers and a warm spirit you’ll discover that there are so many great things to do in Berlin in winter. Winter in Berlin is characterised by the festive buzz of Christmas markets, the unmistakable scents of sweet mulled wine and grilling sausages intermingling in the air and the soft glistening snow covering the city’s landmarks. To make the most of your winter trip to Germany, follow this guide to the best things to do in Berlin in winter.
Explore the Christmas markets
First on the list has to be Berlin’s Christmas markets. Winter is a wonderful time to visit Berlin and other parts of Germany and many people often go just to visit Christmas markets. The city has over 100 different Christmas markets across the city that vary in size, popularity and types of food, drink and goods available to buy. Wrap up warm and rub shoulders with the locals as you browse the illuminated wooden artisan stalls, sip your sweet cup of glühwein and tuck in to your salty and spicy plate of currywurst mit pommes – there’s simply nothing more festive at this time of year. A couple of great markets to check out are Gedächtniskirche in Charlottenburg, Berliner Weinachtszeit just behind Alexanderplatz, and WeinachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt.
Run away with the circus
Relive your childhood memories at a Christmas themed circus! With mesmerising performances by talented entertainers, jaw-dropping stunt acts, beautiful animal displays and a whole lot of festive fun, this is a winter show that you don’t want to miss! The Roncalli Weihnachtscircus (Christmas circus) at the Tempodrom near Anhalter Bahnhof opens its doors this season from Friday 21st December until the 1st of January with tickets starting at just €20. Alternatively, the Original Berliner Weihnachtscircus will have its first show on Friday 14th December and will continue through the holiday season up until Sunday 6th January with tickets starting at €28.
Get lost in Berlin’s Christmas Garden
Let yourself be enchanted by Berlin’s Christmas Garden this winter. Located within the Botanical Gardens from 15th November until 6th January, the Christmas Garden is one of the most popular winter activities amongst both locals and tourists. When twilight falls, the magic begins! Join families, friends and romantics here and spend an evening discovering this captivating winter wonderland. This year the two-kilometre long trail will be lit up with over 25 dazzling light displays with interactive points along the way for all to enjoy. You’ll also find a 300 square metre ice rink open to all visitors where you can rent a pair of skates for just €3.
Curling at Café am Neuen See
This cosy café is tucked away amongst the woodland in Berlin’s Tiergarten. Although also popular in the summer, Café am Neuen See is transformed in the winter months into what resembles a mountain chalet lit by flickering candles and a crackling log fire. It’s the perfect place to have an afternoon pit stop with a warm cup of coffee and a nice slice of cake. But the best thing about this café are the winter games – from early November until January they open several curling tracks for guests to enjoy a match with a mulled wine and some traditional German food. Whether you’re a curling connoisseur or you’ve never played, give it a go during your winter trip to Berlin!
Escape the cold in a Berlin museum
It’s no secret that Berlin winter weather is not the best for sightseeing, but not all of Berlin’s top attractions are found outdoors. When you lose the feeling in your toes and you can’t stand the winter chill any longer, escape the cold and head to one of Berlin’s world-class museums. If you’re interested in the city’s infamous troubled past and want to find out more, check out the Topography of Terror museum. This interesting museum is located on the former Gestapo and SS headquarters which were destroyed by Allied bombings in World War Two. You’ll see exhibitions and documentation which focus on the role of the SS and the Gestapo before and during the war and the crimes perpetrated by these institutions. The museum also has an outdoor section where you can see the longest surviving section of the inner Berlin wall and excavations of the underground cell rooms where Gestapo officers tortured prisoners.
Go sledging at Viktoriapark
If you’ve planned to visit in the new year and you’re looking for things do in January and February in Berlin when the winter markets have been packed away and the city is covered in a white blanket of fresh snow, consider visiting Viktoriapark. Join the crowds of eager Berliners who race to this Kreuzberg park on chilly weekends to have fun in the snow. Wrap up warm and take a stroll through glistening snow-covered trees until you reach the hilltop where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views over the dazzling city below. And if you pass a shop selling sledges on your way to the park, grab a couple for a fun descent!
A night at the Opera
For an alternative indoor night time activity in winter, why not book tickets to the Opera? Berlin is well-known for its rich variety of fabulous opera houses attracting curious crowds from far and wide. Berlin’s Komische Oper has a long tradition of staging opera, operettas and musicals with a broad appeal while the Deutsche Oper Berlin building’s modernist backdrop allows for a unique experience. With a number of shows available all through the season you’ll be spoilt for choice!
NYE Techno style
If you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Berlin, you’re in luck! The techno capital of the world, Berlin is renowned for its boundary-pushing nightlife, and the winter time is no exception. Enjoy a New Year’s Eve like no other in one of Berlin’s world-class never-ending night clubs. Dance all night at Funkhaus Berlin’s 24 hour HYTE-party featuring some of the best techno DJ’s or head to Watergate for a winning combo of great music and beautiful views. Welcome the New Year techno style!
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