Springtime in the capital: out of hibernation
As the icy cold slowly starts to melt away, every year even the most beautiful winter has to leave us sooner or later. With the thaw often comes the last winter gloom, but there is one certainty which should provide comfort: spring is coming - and with it high spirits and good humour. When the trees lining the streets and flooding the parks exchange their late winter grey with green leaves and colourful flowers, the birds begin chirping and the flowers bloom, how can you fail to stroll through the streets with a smile on your lips? We show you how to make the most of this very special time in Berlin.
Liven up the year
Spring officially begins on March 20, but it often takes a few weeks before the icy grip of winter is shaken off. But there's no denying the days are longer and brighter, and as temperatures rise, so do spirits. Many Berliners embrace the change of season by exercising outside. Finally you can move your sporting activities back outdoors, be it morning yoga on your own balcony, running through the nearby park or chin-ups on the climbing frame next door. In Berlin there are hardly any limits. So maybe something will come of the New Year's resolutions after all, because let's be honest: your daily workout is much more fun in the fresh air.
Explore the city in bloom
In Berlin you are surrounded by nature almost everywhere. Even from the train station, shopping centre, or office tower, the next park is not far away. That's one thing that makes the capital so special: the city is covered in beautiful green parks in every direction. There are few things more inspiring and motivating than watching the plants awaken from their lengthy hibernation and draw new life. It's a great way to recharge your batteries for day-to-day life, and renew your personal goals for the still young year. For a special display of the best blooms, check out Britzer Gardens in Britz, where an award-winning display of the most beautiful and colourful flowers grace the beloved park and draw in visitors from all over the world.
Bring a little green into the gloom
If you've always wanted to help out a little yourself, and to try your hand at gardening, why not give it a go? The time is perfect to loosen up the soil, sow seeds and plant bulbs - regardless of whether you're trying it in the garden, on the balcony, or in a flowerpot in the kitchen. If you'd rather participate in communal agricultural projects, many community gardens such as Prinzessinnengarten in Kreuzberg or Himmelbeet in Wedding will open their doors again in spring. Alternatively, if you are looking for a bigger plot of your own land to tend, look into renting a summer garden plot in Berlin. All around the city are large areas sanctioned off for city dwellers to have their own little piece of land. Most of these plots have small summer houses already on site for you to enjoy the weekend in the warm weather.
Visit the little ones
It is not only in the plant kingdom that new life awakens in spring. Many animals expect their offspring between March and June. This practically screams for a family trip to the Berlin Zoo or the Tierpark. But you can also marvel at the baby animals at the Domäne Dahlem, a farm within Berlin. And let's be honest, baby animals are always cute, whether they're piglets, foals or lion cubs.
Enjoy ice cream in the sun
Once the temperatures climb above 15 degrees Celsius, Berliners take one thing very seriously: ice cream. The capital is in no shortage of ice cream parlors, called Eisdiele in German. From JONES Ice Cream in Schöneberg to Hokey Pokey in Prenzlauer Berg (be sure to try the vanilla ice cream with homemade honeycomb toffee), to a handful of vegan creameries throughout the city, there are options for every ice cream lover. Be prepared to wait in long lines though!
An important part of German culture - barbecuing
Grilling is just as serious an affair as ice cream in Berlin. And when spring comes around, the smell of burning charcoal will once more fill the air. Finally it is time to meet again outside, light the coals and throw sausages, halloumi, or baked potatoes on the grill. No worries if you're not allowed to fire up the grill on your balcony: most of Berlin's parks have designated barbecuing areas with grills for anyone to use. You can also buy disposable grills to use outside. And even if it's only the beginning of a long season, barbecuing is something very special. Like no other event, it signals that social life is now shifting away from the pubs, cafés and restaurants and back under the open sky again.
Soak up the cultural diversity
Springtime brings plenty of popular events to Berlin every year, including countless tree blossom festivals, trade fairs, and food festivals. The Berlin Half Marathon is usually held in April. Anyone who wants to register and take part should be quick (and not only on your feet), as the starting places are often fully-booked by the end of the previous year. May traditionally starts with the Myfest in Kreuzberg, which offers tens of thousands of visitors a wide range of cultural and culinary delights. It first took place in 2003 and was intended to prevent the riots caused by the demonstrations for Labour Day. The Whitsun, or Pentecost, weekend in June is also worth marking on your calendar. At the Carnival of Cultures (Karneval der Kulturen) and Bergmannstrassenfest people from all over the world and present food, clothing or dances from their homeland, culminating in a huge street parade on Bergmannstrasse.
With the long winter behind us, the whole of Berlin celebrates the warmer weather and longer days as much as possible outdoors. No worries when the spring showers inevitably rain on our parade, however: the capital's countless museums, art galleries, clubs, and cafes keep tourists and locals busy until the fair weather returns. Come summer, though, things really heat up in Berlin: find out the best activities to do in the city from June to September here.