What to do in summer in Berlin
Summer in the capital can be tough. 28°C in a crowded train can quickly feel like an unwanted visit to the sauna. Every year during the summer months, millions of German city dwellers flee to rivers, lakes, or the sea to find some relief from the heat. In Berlin, however, enterprise is not hindered by sweaty temperatures. It could even be argued that the captial comes to life during the summer months, and the near endless possible activities will make you wish that summer would never end. Here is our selection of the most popular warm-weather activities which make summer in Berlin more than bearable.
Escape to the parks
Hardly any other city is as stunningly green as Berlin. During the summer, the greenery becomes a lush oasis away from the unforgiving heat. Many parks are so big that you quickly lose sight of the houses on the horizon while strolling through the trees. Here you can bathe in the sun away from the hustle and bustle of city life, combine sports and games, or simply enjoy the shade under the trees. The woodland in Grunewald is perfect for long walks in the shade, and if you prefer the sun, head to Temphelhofer Feld for park that is so big, you feel as though you've completely left the city behind. Enjoy the atmosphere of people playing frisbee, music, flying kites, and picnicing in the sunshine. There are plenty of ideal spots to dust off your grill and savour a relaxing barbecue at sunset.
If the sudden quiet of nature is too drastic a change for your big-city sensibilities, take a stroll around town and listen to the street musicians or shop through the weekly flea market stalls, like on Sundays at Mauerpark. Karoake competitions, street performers, and food stalls will keep you busy all day. If this sounds like your scene, then you can't miss the summer festivals in Berlin--of which there are plenty. Karneval der Kulturen and Bergmannstrassenfest take place every summer on Bergmannstrasse, and Maifest is held throughout the city every year on May 1 (watch out for occasional rioting during the evening of May 1, however). There's nothing quite like a spontaneous street party in the long summer nights of Berlin.
Cool off lakeside
If only jumping into the water can relieve scorching temperatures, Berlin won’t let you down with its numerous swimmable lakes. Whether central or on the outskirts, north or south - no matter where you are, the nearest beach might not be as far away as you think. The Berlin State Office for Health and Social Affairs provides weekly information on water quality so you can jump in without hesitation. For this reason, the Spree lakes are some of the most popular swimming spots in Berlin. The largest bathing lake is the Große Müggelsee in eastern Berlin, with over 760 hectares. This is a particularly hot spot for watersport enthusiasts, as not only can you swim, but also sail, surf, or paddleboard. If you like it even more action-packed, be sure to check out the Pichelssee, where you can find one of the only wakeboard facilities in the city. If you prefer a calmer atmosphere, the Krummelanke lake and Schlachtensee lake offer beautiful still waters surrounded by woodland, as well as sandy beaches to soak up the sun. For even more of a beach-like vibe, check out Wannsee beach. You might have to pay a small entry fee, but the sand is soft and the water is sparkling. Rent a kayak and take a tour--you might completely forget you're in a big city!
Golden after-work evenings
As evenings grow longer and brighter in the summer, countless Berlin beer gardens will open their doors to guests. Some beer gardens are idyllically situated on or in parks, others draw their charm from their urban surroundings, and many like to brew their own beer. Whether you prefer a more traditional German beer garden or you like to listen to techno and party outside while the afternoon sun turns to dusk, Berlin certainly has a variety of beer gardens to suit anyone. For a list of our favourite beer gardens in the capital, check out this blog. Between lime trees or rustic walls, whether home-brewed or a proven brand: beer undeniably tastes best in the summer evening sun.
Dancing in the open air
Berlin is known for its party scene and in summer the clubs like to move their festivities outside. Dance your feet sore in an open-air right next to the river Spree and enjoy a wonderful sunrise with a view of the TV tower. Check out Klunkerkranich in Neukölln if you want to enjoy a view over the whole city, or Ipse in Kreuzberg to dance by the water. Kater Blau in Friedrichshain is always a popular spot, but be prepared to wait in long lines to get in. Alternatively, Yaam is a chilled-out beachside bar on the river Spree, perfect for more laid-back individuals. If that's not your thing, don’t fret. Events such as Karneval der Kulturen or the Fête de la Musique attract thousands of people of all ages to the streets every year, where they celebrate the diversity of their city together.
Exploring the countryside
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city in summer, take a drive to the surrounding area of Berlin. Brandenburg has many natural and cultural highlights to offer, which are definitely worth a day trip. Away from the crowds, an extended bicycle tour or a city walk in the much smaller Potsdam is an excellent way to relieve stress. Beautiful castles on the side of the lakes maek a perfect background for an afternoon picnic. A camping trip to the Spreewald is even more effective at ditching big-city-blues. There you can enjoy the tranquillity of the green surroundings between countless rivers and canals. Be sure to rent a kayak and take a tour through the removed woodland canals--you're sure to spot some wildlife between the quaint cabins and rural countryside.
However you end up spending your summer in Berlin, it's sure to be memorable. No two days are the same, whether you're partying the night away on a beach-side bar by the Spree, or kayaking through the unspoiled nature of forest rivers--there are endless possibilities. Sooner or later the summer will come to an end, and while we are all sad to see it go, autumn in Berlin can be just as eventful.
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