When visiting Berlin in the summer months, it’s easy to spend all your time outside, be that picnicking in the city’s surprising number of parks, lounging beside the surrounding lakes or drinking a cold beer canalside. But that doesn’t mean winter is a bad time to visit. In fact, you’ll be much more drawn to Berlin’s rich cultural landscape, from the Museum Island mainstays to the annual Berlinale film festival, the local markets and museums. And if it’s dark half the day anyways, there’s nothing wrong with staying at Berghain, the city’s best club, well into the next day. Maybe just book two trips? You may need to once you’ve read through our list of all the best things to do in Berlin.
This neo-Baroque edifice housing the German Bundestag (Parliament) survived wars, Nazis, fire, bombing and the country’s division, only to return as a symbol of a new era in German politics. A trip to the top of this open, playful and defiantly democratic space, designed by Sir Norman Foster, is a must, but note that you can’t just rock up any more: following a series of terrorist threats in 2010, you must now book in advance by filling in an online form at visite.bundestag.de, including three possible time-slots you can make, at least three working days in advance.
Make like a Berliner and stretch your legs with a stroll, jog or cycle through the city’s most famous park, which comes into its own during spring and summer particularly. Whether you’re hunting famous monuments, a beer and a sausage, or a spot to sunbathe naked, you’ll find what you’re looking for. This 5km (three-mile) circuit will return you to your starting point ready for your next adventure within an hour or so. Don’t worry if you get lost, the park is full of maps with ‘you are here’ markers.
Famous for its Nazi and Cold War history, Tempelhof Airport ceased operation in 2008. Now you can stroll down the runways where World War II Stuka dive-bombers took off and where, during the Berlin Airlift of 1948 when the Soviets blockaded West Berlin, the Western Powers landed supplies for the city’s 2.5 million residents in one of the greatest feats in aviation history. Today, the 368-hectare open space of runways and grasslands is much enjoyed by walkers, kite-surfers, cyclists, runners, skaters and goshawks. There are designated sections for dogs to run free, basketball courts, a baseball field, beer gardens and even small allotments where Berliners can grow their own