How many things can you do in Berlin in winter? A lot! Berlin is a winter wonderland city in Europe, the perfect place to visit when cold is approaching. The major city of Germany will cuddle you with hot drinks, Christmas markets, mulled wine, incredible winter activities and crazy experiences.
It is not a secret that we fell in love with Berlin at first sight, since our expected travel conference was cancelled due, the pandemic situation of 2020.
Even if a bit empty and cold, Berlin took part in our soul and dragged us in the loop to experience a bit more of the city one day, why not as locals? Before this post goes on the verge of diverting the conversation elsewhere, we will give 22 reasons why you should spend winter in Berlin.
Somewhere this post is arguable that the activities could be held also in other periods of the year. In Fact, Berlin is awesome in any season, and all of them have peculiarities.
Berlin in Winter
Best tips to enjoy Berlin in winter
If the introduction to this unique list of things to do in Berlin in winter is not enough to get you in the mood, we will push you down below. Those are the best tips on how to enjoy winter in Berlin, be organized for this hard period of the year. We also placed some great inspirational recommendations regarding accommodations, places to eat. The following tips are compiled to help you get your Berlin trip in winter organised. I hope that you will find plenty of useful ideas with the following places and attractions. At the end of the article, I will also share with you some recommended accommodation options.
- Christmas Markets in Berlin
- The most incredible Christmas Markets in Berlin
- Berlin Christmas Garden | Berlin Botanical Garden
- Tour of Reichstag
- How to reserve a timeslot to visit the Reichstag in Berlin
- Visit the Museum Island
- The Museum Island in One Day
- Go on a free walking tour of Berlin
- All free tour in Berlin
- The Berlin Wall at the East-side Gallery
- Sip hot chocolate at Rausch Chocolate House
- Cuddle yourself at House of Small Wonder
- Enjoy the Coffee Scene of Berlin
- Go for a Berlin craft beers tour
- Incredible view of Berlin from the top of TV Tower
- Snap a photo on the riverside at the Oberbaumbrücke
- Take a winter day trip from Berlin
- Enjoy Berlin’s light on the River City Cruise
- Spot the hidden backyards of Berlin
- Suggestive view from the World air Balloon
- Learn more about the Street Art scene in Berlin
- Enjoy the local food at a market in Berlin
- Cycle in Berlin
- Ice Skating at Winter World in Potsdamer Platz
- Other Ice skating locations in Berlin
- Drive a Trabi Car
- See a show at the Friedrichstadtplast
- Winter shopping at Kaufhaus des Westens
- Attend the Berlin Film Festival in February
- Berlin in December
- January in Berlin
- Visit Berlin in February
20+ Best Things to do in Berlin in winter
20+ Incredible experiences to do in winter in Berlin
Christmas Markets in Berlin
We might place it as the first on our list of things to do in Berlin in winter for a reason. This city completely changed its skin in this traditional part of the year. Christmas Markets are a traditional European concept to live this particular part of the year. The Christmas Season in Berlin helps the city to shine more than ever.
All around the city stalls and decorations are starting to pop out since mid-October. Berlin became a huge Christmas market with over 60 locations designed. Yes, you understand well. The major city of Germany hosts more than sixty seasonal Christmas Markets, full of local and traditional food, flooding mulled wine, glamping gifts and Christmas trees.
If there is only one place in Europe where you should spend the Christmas period it is Berlin. December is obviously the month to cross on your calendar and book a flight to Berlin.
The most incredible Christmas Markets in Berlin
- Charlottenburg castle
- Winter world at Potsdamer Platz
- Christmas market in Spandau old town
- Christmas market at Holzmarkt25
- Historical Christmas market at RAW-Gelände
- Christmas market at Grunewald hunting lodge
- Asian Christmas market at Birgit & Bier
Berlin Christmas Garden | Berlin Botanical Garden
Still on the Christmas topic, why not explore the craft beer tradition of Berlin? From mid-November until early January you can enjoy the Botanical Garden of Berlin decked completely in glamping Christmas lights.
This space is only open in the evening from 4.30 PM until 10 PM. The Botanical Garden offers not only great craft beers but also tasty traditional dishes from the typical German Food Cuisine. You can have a stroll around the huge area enjoying the light shows, the ice skating rink and many other attractions.
The Berlin Christmas Garden is definitely a thing to do in winter in Berlin to include in your itinerary.
Tour of Reichstag
This was really interesting during our visit. The German Parliament was completely destroyed during WW2. Bombs dropped by the allied forces razed the city to the ground.
Some of the buildings were reconstructed afterwards, with it the Reichstag, the Berlin Parliament. On top of it was built a glass dome, which gives you a 360 view over the German Capital. This is today called the Tiergarten.
We were amazed by the impressive structure, and consider it a must-do activity to do in Berlin. The visit to the Reichstag Dome is completely free, which is an add on motivation to visit this place. We recommend booking your visit in advance, the slots go quickly and you should plan your visit in advance of 2 weeks at least.
How to reserve a timeslot to visit the Reichstag in Berlin
As said before the visit to the Reichstag with access to the glass dome and the terrace is free, but needs to be approved in advance. The procedure is straight-forward, but bear in mind that if you don’t receive the confirmation, it means that you are not guaranteed access to the top.
Taking the tour audio guide is also free of charge, and you will be offered that once step out from the elevator. If you don’t make it in time, unfortunately, you will not be allowed to access. Instead, you can try to book in person for the day after at the ticket office located a few meters away from the entrance stage.
Visit the Museum Island
If you are willing to go on a Cultural itinerary of Berlin, you should take time to visit The Museum Island. This unique space in the hearth of Berlin is impressive, will leave you breathless by the magnificent buildings and the concentrate of culture in such a small portion.
The Museum Island of Berlin is a unique ensemble of five museum on Spree Island. The Area is included in the incredible district of Mitte in Berlin. The complex has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The Museum Island in One Day
We have to be clear, the Museum Island of Berlin will take you away one entire day. The entire complex was already known with this name by the late 1870s, but all the buildings were just completed in 1930, before the WW2 started.
Despite being designed by five of the most eminent architects of that time, Museum Island blends all in a harmoniously overall picture.
You can visit the Museums from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. On Thursday all the museums are open until 8 pm for a late visit.
The admission ticket costs 12 euros it includes entrance to the Pergamon Museum and Neues Museum. The ticket for the Old National Gallery, Altes Museum and Bode Museum is costing 10 euros.
Go on a free walking tour of Berlin
This would be not a great idea in winter, but still, it is FREE. Why don’t you plan to book a free walking tour of Berlin?
There are many free walking tours in Berlin, which are all incredible. You can take part on a history-based tour about the Berlin Wall. Go to the East Side gallery and learn more about the line which divided Berlin into two cities and countries for a long time during the cold war.
Another great free tour in Berlin you can go for is the Mysteries and legends of Berlin, which sounds quite intriguing right? If you like to ride a bike instead, you will be pleased that there is a free tour for you as well. Just follow the link to book your spot.
All free tour in Berlin
The Berlin Wall at the East-side Gallery
We couldn’t miss on our list of best places to visit in Berlin in winter, the East-side Gallery. This awesome space made by the remains of the old Berlin Wall is today one of the most appreciated open-air street art galleries in the World.
Despite the fact that you can still see pieces of the old wall which divided Berlin into two blocks during the Cold War, the East Side Gallery is the best place to see the new use of it. A kilometre-longer or so of concrete, repainted with messages of pace to open the eyes to the world.
Visit the East Side Gallery is free, and you can walk along, take a break on the riverside and enjoy the Elsen Bridge. The water of the surrounding area tends to become frozen in the winter months, creating an incredible scenario.
Sip hot chocolate at Rausch Chocolate House
This was partially planned, and partially a surprise. Hot chocolate in Berlin can be a life-saving moment. The cold weather of the city, freezing wind cutting your face can play a big role while visiting Berlin in winter.
Take a break from sightseeing and sip a hot chocolate in a fine Chocolate House in the city centre. This incredible Chocolate Shop is a huge wonderland for cocoa addicts. Not only tasting dark gold but also incredible sculptures of chocolate figuring the most beautiful sightseeing of the city. This is the perfect place to grab some souvenirs of Berlin on the go.
The Rausch Schokoladenhaus is just a few steps away from Checkpoint Charlie and has an incredible view over the Neue Kirche and Deutscher Dom. Sip and hot chocolate with a view.
LOCATION | Charlottenstraße 60, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Cuddle yourself at House of Small Wonder
The power of a cool hot drink during winter is enormous. Berlin can be really hazardously cold in winter, that’s why you should plan peaceful moments in cosy cafes. Treatwell yourself with a coffee at the cosy House of Small Wonder. This was for us one of the most instagrammable places in Berlin, the perfect atmosphere with a nice coffee tasty was warming up a bit to continue our Berlin visit.
We will talk about the Coffee scene of Berlin later in this post, now the attention is all for the details of this amazing place. This innovative cafe is in the heart of the vibrant Mitte district. The concept is to create a greenhouse which meets a comfort menu with a Japanese twist. This is a blast.
Enjoy the Coffee Scene of Berlin
As you understood in the above paragraph, Berlin is bursting its coffee scene, like many other cities in Germany. We have discovered that also in Hamburg, thanks to its seaport is a coffee addict city, with flavours coming from everywhere.
The coffee scene of Berlin is booming, with coffee shops opening at every corner of the streets, offering prime quality. Those cafes are also offering a desk to many Digital Nomads and Remote Workers, attracted by the cheap accommodations and the great vivacity of the city.
Those are some of the best Cafe in Berlin to visit in Winter:
Go for a Berlin craft beers tour
Everyone knows that Germany is meaning good beer production, so in our guide on things to do in Berlin in winter, we couldn’t miss some tips. While one of our favourite things to do in a new place is to get lost and live like a local, discovering some hidden beer gardens was our favourite activity in Berlin.
Being a city with just a few warm months, Berlin relies on spaces warmed up even in winter.
Incredible view of Berlin from the top of TV Tower
Berlin’s TV Tower is the undisputed most famous landmark of the city. It is known as the Berliner Fernsehturm or Fernsehturm Berlin, is close to Alexandre Platz and overlooks the entire city. Berlin’s TV Tower is the tallest building in the city and hosts an incredible restaurant on the top, with a gorgeous 360 view over the Germany Capital.
There are two options to enjoy the view of Berlin’s TV tower, the Cheapest is to book a guided tour with the skip the line ticket. The second option is to book a table, with a window seat to enjoy the Panorama and have dinner or lunch. While visiting Berlin at Christmas we suggest the second option. From the very top of the TV Tower of Berlin, you can enjoy the glimpse sparkling lights of the Christmas Markets.
Snap a photo on the riverside at the Oberbaumbrücke
The Oberbaumbrücke has always been an incredible landmark in the shadows of the East Side Gallery. This place was for us an incredible discovery and a proper photogenic place in Berlin.
Located right next to the East Side Gallery, the Oberbaumbrücke view from the riverside is awesome. You can see an incredible difference between the visitors of the Berlin Wall Street Art and the Oberbaumbrücke.
For photographers, this is the best place to get incredible photos of Berlin.
Take a winter day trip from Berlin
If all those activities we have included in the list of things to do in Berlin in winter doesn’t convince you enough, we have sorted a few day trips from Berlin.
Surrounding Berlin there are many cities which are worth visiting. If you are willing to discover more of the surrounding area you can go for organized tours. Some of them include wine tasting around the valleys, Castles excursions, or even day trips to the beautiful Christmas Markets.
We suggest you check Dresden, which has got one of the most incredible Christmas Markets in Germany. Another amazing day trip from Berlin in winter will be to visit the beautiful Palace of Potsdam, which is often covered by snow in winter. This incredible Royal Palace is defined as the “Versailles of Berlin”.
Those are a few suggestions for a winter day trip from Berlin:
Enjoy Berlin’s light on the River City Cruise
Another amazing way to enjoy the twinkle lights of Berlin in winter is to go on a River city Cruise. This activity will show you the city from another point of view. Taking a river cruise will also give you the chance to see many Berlin attractions at one time.
For about €20 per person, you can take a river cruise of 1.5 hours or more around Berlin. Below we have listed a few River City Cruises you might be interested in.
The Classic River City Cruise will show you the Reichstag, the Mühlendammschleuse, Nikolaiviertel, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, and House of World Cultures. You will have an audio guide and free cancellation, which is indispensable in the current time.
Spot the hidden backyards of Berlin
Something we have appreciated a lot in Berlin is the easy way to lose sight, and end up in incredible backyards. This city blows our mind, it’s incredible, it’s free, it’s quirky and always surprising. You never know which incredible world is behind that corner.
There are many hidden backyards worth visiting in Berlin. If you visit Gerichstrasse you can feel the atmosphere of the old Berlin. In particular, Mietskaserne is an incredible backyard with a lot of history. This can be dated back to 1900, and still showing signs of that time with renovating street style.
Heckmann Höfe instead is a charming courtyard connecting the Oranienburger Strasse with the Auguststrasse. This part of Berlin seems still back on time, with fascinating charm. Check here the hidden gems backyards tour!
Suggestive view from the World air Balloon
Nearby the popular sight of Checkpoint Charlie, you can see the World Air Ballon. This is a common hot air balloon which will take you over 30 mt above. The view from the top is incredible and overlooks the city centre. Getting the chance to see Berlin from above, you might spot the sight of the city and get a clear idea of how huge this city is.
Learn more about the Street Art scene in Berlin
Same as per the incredible hidden backyard, the street art scene of Berlin is something you have to experience in winter. Roaming around the reticulate of the city centre you can lose sight and spot incredible street artwork.
If you are lucky enough you might find some artist performing in front of you. An incredible spot to see the scene, over than the typical East Side Gallery, is the Anne Frank Courtyard. Go and spot it, follow this coordinate.
As said the Berlin Street Art Scene is incredible, check out some tours to enjoy the best curiosity. With a local guide taking you to the most hidden places, you can spot your favourite artist.
Enjoy the local food at a market in Berlin
If the Art scene is insane in Berlin, what makes this city in our list of favourite spots in winter in Europe is the food. If you follow us, you will know that we are always looking for foodie spots and new dishes to try. Berlin has got everything, from fine delicious restaurants to street food and local vendors.
We couldn’t resist the temptation to opt-in some local food markets, and start to try the stalls and the huge selection of local products. Berlin, like London or other metropolitan cities in Europe, has got a lot of cooking influence from around the world. We suggest visiting the food market to find local choices, nearby the more international dishes. Sometimes the food markets are hosted in a popup courtyard, which makes your visit to Berlin even more incredible.
If you are visiting Berlin in winter is good to know that there are a few that are also indoor. The temperatures in the cold months can drop a lot. Check out the Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg is our suggestion. This space opens the door at 5 pm. Lesser-known Arminiusmarkthalle in Moabit, it’s not the proper market suggested by Berliners but is worth a visit. Bear in your mind that the Arminiusmarkthalle is closed on Sunday.
22 Fun things to do in Berlin in winter
Cycle in Berlin
Who said that a cultural visit could not be fun. Cycling in Berlin and sightseeing could be a perfect mismatch. It’s true that in winter it is likely raining or even snowing in Berlin, but cycling across the strasse (street) of the city is fun.
There are many tours that are taking place in Berlin, and you can do almost all the guided paths on a bike. The particular tour of Berlin exploring the key locations of Cold War history is fun. You can learn something while riding, exploring the Berlin-s hippest neighbourhoods and enjoy the narration of a local.
Ice Skating at Winter World in Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Platz is the undoubted most famous square in Berlin, located in the heart of the Germany Capital, it hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.
During the Christmas Period in this square, you can find everything to have fun. An incredible ice skating rink games attractions and pops up bars. The fun part of this rink is that it’s free to skate. Also, if you are visiting Berlin in winter with your family, your children, you can go for an ice skating lesson for free on Saturday and Sunday.
During the weekend the Ice Rink is changing its skin and becoming even more gorgeous. The atmosphere becomes incredible with live music and festive lights in the mood of a proper winter party.
DETAILS | The market open by the end of October until the 3rd of January
OPENING HOURS | Every day from 10 am to 10 pm – Christmas Eve opens until 2 pm.
PRICE | Free access to the Christmas Market and Ice Rink – 1.5€ for the Toboggan Run
Other Ice skating locations in Berlin
Christmas Garden | With enchanting Christmas light installations. Magical! Click for the location.
Eisstrand in Friedrichshagen | 600sqm ice rink made using frozen water from nearby Lake Müggelsee opened until March, depending on the weather conditions
Drive a Trabi Car
If the list of quirky things to do in Berlin wasn’t enough, place in your itinerary to drive a Trabi Car through the streets of the Capital.
The Trabi Car was a classic vehicle produced during the Communist Era and used a lot in former East Germany. The Trabi Car is the classic car we can admire in the movies about the Cold war, and it’s the icon of that era.
Today you can drive this unique manual transmission car through the streets of Berlin while sightseeing in style. You can take a 75 minutes Tour with up to 3 friends, and enjoy a different way to explore Berlin in winter. The tours typically include passing by Potsdamer Platz, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral, the TV tower, East Side Gallery (where the Berlin Wall is), and numerous other locations.
See a show at the Friedrichstadtplast
While producing an exhaustive guide of Berlin in winter, we have to include as many indoor activities as possible. Friedrichstaftplast hosts the world’s biggest theatre stage. This place stages some of the best shows in the whole country. You can enjoy the show even if you don’t understand German, which is incredible and makes it tourist-friendly.
This is a proper touch to your guide of Berlin in wintertime, and an activity to place in your list.
Do you have only 2 days in Berlin in winter? Check our detailed itinerary!
Winter shopping at Kaufhaus des Westens
This list will be not the best if not included some of the shopping centres for addicts. Kaufhaus des Westens is an expensive Super department store. It is the biggest in Germany. It is true that it is super expensive, but is a pin on the map in Berlin, the same as per Harrods in London. Its 8 floors will take you half days to explore all the stands and popular brands.
If your pocket doesn’t allow high-end shops, look for the most popular fashion brands at the Berlin Mall. This is a shopping gallery in the heart of the city, Alexanderplatz where you can find everything from H&M to Tiger. Take this as a tip, take a short trip inside those shopping malls, while recovering from the cold weather.
Attend the Berlin Film Festival in February
Every cold month is worth visiting Berlin, even in February, when the temperatures drop a lot. In February you can enjoy the atmosphere of the Berlin International Film Festival. Well known also as the Berlinale, has been established in West Berlin since 1951. During this period in Berlin you can spot international celebrities and why not see the premiere of the best newest movies.
How to plan a trip to Berlin in winter
Prepare yourself to polar temperatures, get covered with a warm and nice coat, scarf and gloves, you will need in Berlin. You will never be prepared to visit Berlin in winter, especially if you are coming from Southern or West Europe. Berlin is one of the coldest capitals of Europe, the blizzard is hard to sustain if not used to.
Apart from that, Berlin in winter will be a blast. You will never experience places like that in winter, the Christmas Market, the vibes of the hidden clubs of the nightlife Berlinese scene.
If you are planning a trip to Berlin in December or January, be ready to experience some snow. For us coming from Naples, seeing snow in a city is something unusual and unexpected. Berlin becomes so gorgeous with the snow and is easy to get around because locals know how to drive and continue their normal life even in hard situations.
What to pack for Berlin in winter
There are many things we can suggest you pack for Berlin in winter. Take it as the survival kit for winter addicts.
Warm Jacket | This is the first thing to plan, hope you still have that warm amazing jacket in your wardrobe. You will need the best one, because the temperatures can drop below the 0, especially at night. It will be perfect if you have a raincoat as well!
Ear Muffs | Must-have in winter in Berlin for every destination. I have to force Alessia to wear it during our winter escapes, but once she has it, she will thank me for all the trip. She looks even super cute when she wears them! This is a good way to keep your ears warm when it is cold, and also looks nice in the photos.
Winter hat | I know that a man with ear muffs will be ridiculous, so the alternative is a warm winter hat. I suggest you always have 2 colours: a white and black one, in this way you can mix and match. Sometimes instead of bringing it with me, I prefer to buy it on the spot, so I will have a nice souvenir back home.
Gloves and Scarf | As per the winter hat, also gloves and scarfs can be bought on the spot. This is a must-have in your luggage in winter for Berlin. Warm and elegant gloves and scarfs can save your neck and hands from freezing. The last thing you want is to come back home with the flu.
Comfortable boots | This is necessary, while walking a lot and in difficult weather conditions. Once you arrive in Berlin you will understand why this is a necessary consideration. You can get a lot of snow in Berlin and a good pair of shoes can also keep your feets dry.
Weather in Berlin in winter
You understood well, Berlin in winter will mean cold, freezing. The temperatures are going below the zero easily. The good news is that it isn’t likely to rain, but we will understand better the weather in Berlin in winter below. The sky will always be grey, but it is enjoyable anyway, especially if you go for a hot chocolate every couple of blocks. The days are going quick, with the sunset from about 4-4.30 pm.
Berlin in December
Generally, December is a cold month, but you will be warmed up by the Christmas celebrations, the infinite markets with any kind of goods. The temperatures in December are around -1ºC and 4ºC. Isn’t it likely to snow, but by the end of the month, it can happen. So be ready to experience some Christmas markets under snowfalls. Despite what we say, don’t forget to pack an umbrella, especially during the first part of the month.
January in Berlin
If December is still enjoyable, January is freezing. The atmosphere is not anymore as December, but you can still warm up in the local markets indoors. The temperatures in Berlin in January are about -2ºC to 3º. January is the month where it is most likely to experience snow in Berlin.
Visit Berlin in February
February with its temperatures over 5 degrees below zero is the king winter month in Berlin. Prepare yourself and your luggage with something heavy to warm you up. This is for the locals the coldest month in Berlin and it could also be quite windy. Make sure that in your bag there is also a wind-proof jacket and you wear layers to add on in the case. If you are willing to visit Berlin in February, you will experience fewer tourists around, but still very cold. We suggest you postpone your trip to March when the temperatures start to warm up a bit.
Where to stay in winter in Berlin
Berlin is cosy and gorgeous. We have loved this city so much, thinking sometimes what could be our life living there. Many of our friends, recently, have relocated their job and daily activities in Berlin. The spaces are renovating and the vibes are the same we were experiencing five years ago in London.
But talking about places to stay in Berlin you will have a spoiled choice. You can go for a cheap and fun hostel, right in the city centre and close to the main attractions. We suggest you locations close to public transport, and not over 20-minutes away from the tour’s starting points. The cold of Berlin can make you desire to stay indoors, and a location close can give you a few stops back and further from your accommodation.
For first-time visitors to Berlin, we will suggest staying in Mitte. This is the central neighbourhood of the city, rich in nightlife and cosy apartments. The transportation is well served and even walking within 15 minutes you are in the centre of the popular attractions.
Berlin Welcome Card
If you wish to visit Berlin hassle-free, we suggest reserving your Berlin Welcome Card in advance. This will not only be a smart way to enjoy the popular attractions of Berlin for free, but it also includes public transport, which could be expensive and annoying.
We didn’t find any problem to take public transport tickets, but what was hard was to take a single journey ticket every time. With the Card of Berlin, you will have free access, with a skip-the-line ticket to the attractions and hop-in and hop-off from the metro, bus and tram in the city, all time.
Q&A Berlin in Winter
How cold does it get in Berlin?
Very Cold. Berlin is one of the coldest cities in Europe we have been, and we are used to the cold of London in winter. The average temperatures in Berlin are close to the freezing point, if not on it. You can find everything from -5° C to 5° C.
Does it snow in Berlin in December?
It can be! Snowfalls in Berlin in December are most likely to happen. People are waiting for it during Christmas time, that will make the atmosphere even more enchanting. Lately in the past few years, has always happened.
Is Berlin nice at Christmas?
Yes. Christmas is one of the best periods to visit Berlin. The city becomes magical and unmatched. The period when the Germans celebrate the passage of Santa Claus is the most magical one. The locals wait for this time to go for winter activities and someday trips from Berlin too.
Is Berlin worth visiting in winter?
Absolutely yes. As we said before it is good to plan a trip to Berlin in December. This period is the best one in our opinion and you should consider it. We will take off to visit Berlin in January or February, and postpone this for March at least. Consider also to visit Berlin in November to see the start of winter, with the reminiscence of the foliage in Berlin.