By Andrew Thompson
Berlin, Germany is a city that experiences clearly defined seasons. Because of this, choosing the best time to visit Berlin according to what you want to do there is important. If you’re visiting Berlin for the first time, you’ll likely want the warmest possible weather, so you can explore the city’s vibrant outdoor life. Many residents and return visitors have strong opinions on the best season to visit Berlin, and these vary according to what matters most to you - warm temperatures, events, crowds, and costs. If you’re trying to pick the best time to visit Berlin, weather guides will point out that winters are cold - temperatures usually hover around the freezing mark, and it’s common for the city to experience snow. As the city moves into spring the temperatures warm up, by the time summer arrives the city experiences mild weather that usually peaks in the mid-20s. There are several other factors to consider, though, so read on if you’re trying to figure out when to visit Berlin.
For many, summer is the best season to visit Berlin. The months of June, July and August are usually warm and pleasant. You can expect the average high to be around 22° in June, and when summer is in full swing in July and August this picks up to 24°. This is technically the rainy season, although wet weather is possible throughout the year, but with a bit of planning it’s possible to experience the best of Berlin in summer without getting too wet. It’s also important to remember that although it’s summer in Berlin, the evenings can get a little cool, so if you’re planning on exploring some of the city’s hidden gems, many of which are best experienced after dark, be sure to pack a warm layer or two.
Beer gardens, picnics and open-air concerts
Summer is the best time to visit Berlin if you’re a fan of outdoor activities. The city’s residents know how to shake off the cold winter months in style, and as such there are a host of events and things to do in Berlin that make the most of the warm weather. There are few better ways to enjoy summer weather than with a beer outdoors, and fortunately there are several beer gardens that spring up over summer. If you’re looking for the oldest and most popular in the city, head to Prater. If you prefer your outdoor dining to be a bit more tranquil, then it’s also a great time to pack your own picnic and head to a quieter pocket of one of the city’s famous parks. Although there are many throughout the city, Stadtpark Lichtenberg and Tempelhofer Feld are among the most popular picnicking and barbecuing spots. There are also several organised events that take place in the open air - including concerts and movie screenings.
By the time September rolls around in Berlin there’s a noticeable drop in the temperature. The average high drops to 19° Celsius, and it’s possible that it’ll be cloudy and rainy for much of your stay. As Berlin heads deeper into autumn, the temperatures start to drop significantly, with the average highs falling to 13° in October, and just 7° in November - by which time it’s possible to experience sleet and snow. At this time of year it’s important to pack on a few layers of warmth and to come prepared for colder weather. Even so, this is no reason to avoid the city. There are several reasons to visit the German capital in autumn, and it’s a particularly good time to plan a trip if you’re a fan of bargains - the drop in tourist numbers, and some good weather days, means it’s often the cheapest time to visit Berlin without visiting in the dead of winter.
Autumn colours, light shows and exhibitions
As autumn hits Berlin the temperatures start to drop steadily, but not all hope is lost! It’s a beautiful time to experience the city if you’re a fan of fall colours. The trees in most of the city’s parks start to turn all shades of red and orange, and it’s a perfect time to embark on a day tour of the city. There’s also no shortage of events over this time, the most popular of which may be the light shows. There are two notable light shows that take place in September and October, called Berlin Leuchtet and Festival of Lights respectively. These serve as the perfect prelude for a night on the town experiencing the best of Berlin nightlife. For a more tranquil activity, Berlin Art Week also falls over this time, and it’s a fantastic way to experience the best of German and international art in one destination.
Winter in Berlin is cold, and locals will likely tell you it’s not the best season to visit Berlin. That’s because the temperatures in December, January and February seldom reach higher than 4°. Over this time, it’s also possible to experience several back to back days of cloud, and the city experiences several days of snowfall a year. Although it may not be best time to visit Berlin, weather guides are a bit misleading, because there are several things to do around this time that’ll make for an enjoyable visit.
Christmas markets, opera, and famous artworks
Winter is the best season to visit Berlin if you’re a fan of Christmas festivities. There are few cities in the world that can rival Berlin for its winter Christmas markets, and with these popping up across the capital from the first signs of cold there’s plenty of festive spirit to go around. There are also lots of other activities to keep you warm over winter in Berlin. Dinner with a local can help you plan the rest of your trip, and you can follow this up with visits to the opera or the city’s celebrated art museums. There are also several off the wall museums to add to your list as well when the weather is cold, including the DDR Museum, Currywurst Museum, and even Computerspielemuseum, which is dedicated to computer and video games.
Spring may be the best season to visit Berlin. Although the weather in March is still cold, with an average high of just 8°, there are fewer visitors and thus lower prices. The odd cold snap at this time of year can cause the temperatures to drop back down to freezing, though, so if you’re sensitive to cold it may be best to delay your trip for the latter weeks of spring. As the weather warms up in April and May, so the city comes to life. The temperatures climb steadily to around the 19° degree mark, and as it does the streets get busier, the events increase, and there’s a palpable energy in Berlin after the long winter hiatus.
Boats, bicycles and day trips
Berlin weather in early spring is unpredictable, and it’s still possible to have a few cold, rainy days well into the season. Still, for many, spring is the best season to visit Berlin. That’s because there’s a new sense of energy as the cold weather starts to disappear, and more people take to the streets. When the weather does turn the corner, there’s no better way to celebrate spring than by taking to the streets on a bicycle, or hop aboard a bot for a water-based tour of the city. It’s also a perfect time to hop on a train and take a day trip to Potsdam, a fairytale town filled with UNESCO World Heritage Site landmarks. Good spring weather will allow you to explore the town at leisure, and round off your trip with a beer in an authentic beer garden.
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