What To Do In Berlin In Winter

Visiting Berlin in winter?

Many European cities are magical in winter, and Berlin is no exception. It may be freezing at this time of the year, but Germany’s capital oozes winter awe, especially around Christmas.

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From iconic festive activities to endless museums to wander around, you’ll undoubtedly have an unforgettable experience, even if there is no snow!

So, if you’re planning to visit Germany’s capital during this time, read on to discover what to do in Berlin in winter.

panoramic of berlin during snowfall

Visiting Berlin In Winter

Winter in Berlin is cold, but you can still have a great adventure visiting during this season. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect in November, December, January, and February.

Berlin In November

In Berlin, November is a transitional month when the temperature drops into single figures.

For example, at the start of the month, you could have daytime highs of 14 C (57 F), but by the end of November, it will be unlikely to reach more than 6 C (42 F). Then, of course, nighttime and early morning will be much colder.

Late November is an excellent time to visit Berlin as the festivities begin and the Christmas markets open up, yet it is still relatively quiet.

Berlin In December

December in Berlin is very cold and dark, with reduced sunlight hours and temperatures almost dropping below freezing.

However, this month’s atmosphere is electric as festivities are in full swing, and the entire city is lit up by Christmas lights. For this reason, if you’re planning to visit Berlin in winter, this is an excellent month.

The downside of Berlin in December is that it is the busiest winter month. Not only will the attractions be more crowded, but flights and hotel prices tend to go up a lot around the Christmas and New Year periods.

Berlin In January

January is Berlin’s coldest month of the year, with average temperatures between 3 C (37 F) and -2 C (28 F). Snowfall is also pretty likely, so if you’re hoping for a winter wonderland getaway, you may be in luck.

January is much quieter than the previous month as the festivities have ended and everyone returns to everyday life. So while it may not be the most exciting time to be in the city, you’ll have a good chance of getting great deals on flights and hotels in January.

Berlin In February

The weather in February is almost the same as in January, with little to no noticeable temperature increase. Like January, it’s a cheap month to visit and an ideal time for film lovers as this is when the Berlin International Film Festival is one.

Things To Do In Berlin In Winter

Although the winter months in Berlin are freezing, there are still many fun and exciting things to do. So if you’re wondering what to do in Berlin in winter, here are our top picks.

Visit The Christmas Markets

You’ll find Christmas markets in many European cities, but Berlin is renowned for its festive spirit. There are around 60 Christmas markets spread throughout the city, so if you’re in Berlin in December, you’ll probably come across several without trying.

However, a few Christmas markets in Berlin stand out, such as the one at Charlottenburg Palace. The vast market has over 250 vendors offering festive foods, drinks, decorations, and unique gifts.

The market boasts a backdrop of the magnificently illuminated palace, and there are plenty of heated tents to stay warm. It runs from November 21 to December 26 each year.

Another famous and beautiful Berlin Christmas market is WeihnachtsZauber at Gendarmenmarkt, one of the oldest and busiest squares in the city.

You’ll find numerous heated tents with gourmet cuisine, fine handicrafts, music and events, and an ice skating rink. It runs from November 21 to December 31.

Berlin Christmas Market

See The Christmas Garden At The Botanical Garden

Another fabulous festive event that Berlin hosts each year is the Christmas Garden. Each year, from November 19 to January 9, the city’s botanical garden gets adorned in Christmas lights, giving a magnificent light show when it’s dark.

It’s open until 10 pm each night, so it’s a great place to take a walk after a hearty dinner in town.

However, note that you need to reserve tickets in advance. Moreover, as it gets hectic on weekends, you must also book a specific time slot.

Thankfully, they sell mulled wine at the gardens to keep you warm. And, if it has recently snowed, you’ll have the added benefit of witnessing a magnificent winter wonderland.

poinsettia in Christmas garden



Check Out The Museums

Berlin boasts around 170 museums, giving visitors plenty to do no matter the weather. Berlin even has a museum island, which features five of the biggest venues.

There are also a few that are free to enter if you’re trying to keep costs low.

The Pergamon is probably the most famous museum in Berlin. It is famed for its life-size reconstructions and houses several treasures, such as the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate.

The Pergamon is located on museum island, close to many other incredible venues. DDR Museum is one of these, with cool interactive exhibits showcasing life in pre-unified Germany.

Also, make time for the Museum of Natural History, which has dinosaur fossils, meteorites, and preserved animals, and the National Gallery, full of European and American 20th-century masterpieces.

Stroll Around The Futurium

One unique Berlin museum that deserves a separate mention is The Futurium, also known as the House of The Futures. It features thought-provoking interactive exhibits on vital issues about the future, like climate change, housing, food & technology.

The concept of The Futurium is to think about “how do I want to live?”.

So whether you’re interested in how you can help shape a better future or intrigued about how the world will change, this one-of-a-kind museum will blow your socks off.

Watch The Iconic ARISE Grand Show

The ARISE Grand Show is an unmissable indoor evening activity in Berlin in winter. ARISE is a famous show about a photographer traveling the world with his muse, featuring over 100 artists.

What’s so great about it is that it’s dialog free, so visitors from all countries can enjoy it without a language barrier.

You can watch ARISE at Friedrichstadt-Palast, one of the world’s biggest theatre stages. There are showings most evenings year-round and additional weekend afternoon shows.

Have A Unique Spa Experience

In the summer, the Badeschiff is a floating swimming pool on the river Spree. Then, each year when the temperature drops, it transforms into a futuristic-looking spa and sauna.

It’s a fun and unique way to warm up, get some pampering and enjoy fabulous city views on your winter trip.

Aside from the Badeschiff, Berlin has some other fab spas, such as Liquidrom. This super cool spa features multiple pools, saunas, and underwater music in a building that resembles a circus tent.

Or, if you want to take it a step further and feel like you are in Berlin in the summer, hop on the train and head to Tropical Islands, 70 km (43 mi) south of Berlin. Tropical Islands is a heated indoor venue with lush rainforest and a Balinese lagoon.

There are water slides for all ages and white-sand beaches to make you forget that it is freezing cold outside!

Badeschiff pool on river spree

Cozy Up In A Book-Filled Cafe

An unusual but incredibly satisfying winter activity in Berlin is spending the afternoon in the warm, getting lost in a book.

The part-bookstore, part-cafe Shakespeare and Sons in Friedrichshain, is the ideal place to do just that.

Shakespeare and Sons is a cozy English-language bookstore with an onsite cafe serving a mouthwatering range of bagels and sweet treats like cakes and cookies.

So if you’re a bookworm looking to escape the freezing winter temperatures for a few hours, you’ll surely have a delightful afternoon here.

dimly lit bookstore

Warm Up With Hot Chocolate At The World’s Largest Chocolate House

Hot chocolate is one of the best winter drinks, and you’ll find plenty of it at Rausch, the biggest chocolatier worldwide! It has one of the most extensive chocolate collections, including over 250 pralines.

You’ll also find substantial handmade chocolate masterpieces representing Berlin’s most famous landmarks.

Upstairs is the cozy cafe where you can taste Rausch’s heavenly drinking chocolate paired with freshly made pastries or chocolate cakes.

In the winter, they also have a waffle bar! However, if you want to dine in, you may have to reserve a table during busy periods like Christmas.

Final Thoughts On Visiting Berlin In Winter

Germany’s capital city offers many incredible indoor activities, allowing you to experience Berlin’s unique vibe while staying warm.

However, if you venture outside, you’ll also enjoy unforgettable events like Christmas markets and colorful garden light shows.

Visiting Berlin soon? Read our guide to learn how to buy a German SIM card.

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