With summer fast approaching, we asked our German tutor (and native Berliner), Vivien, for her top tips on how to enjoy the hot weather in Germany’s vibrant capital!
Berlin is an amazing place to be in the summer. You can genuinely feel the excitement on the streets when summer is on the way. We even have a word for this feeling in German - "Frühlingsgefühle". I’ve never experienced another city that transforms quite like it! Perhaps because our winters are pretty bleak, we really make sure we enjoy the warmer weather! And of course we take having fun very seriously here. When the evenings grow long, they take on a magical, endless quality.
If you ever spend some time working in Berlin, you will notice that your colleagues will wish you a “schönen Feierabend” when you finish work for the day. This basically means “enjoy your evening”, though the word “Feierabend” is more like evening party or celebration - so basically, we want you to enjoy your partying! It is hard for me to choose my five favourite things to do in this city in the summer, as there is so much choice! But if I really could only go to five places, here they are:
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The Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg is the place to be on a sunny Sunday. Crowds gather for the Flohmarkt (flea market) on the West side, but I usually like to chill out on the hill in the park itself. From the hill you can look over the city skyline, with the Fernsehturm - TV Tower - looming over at nearby Alexanderplatz. You are also treated to all sorts of live music, as buskers come and show off their talents. Certainly there are lots of amazing artists and bands - but I also come for the more bizarre acts. Karaoke sessions for example, which take place at the ampitheatre every Sunday in the summer, are unmissable!
Every year, on the 21st June, the Fȇte de la Musique comes to Berlin, and it’s always a great opportunity to see some top-quality live music. It is completely free and the variety of acts is astonishing - truly there is something for everyone, from classical, to folk, to techno. I usually end up staying late into the night as this is one of the longest days of the year.
Open Airs are a true Berlin institution. Why party inside a dark, hot club when you could dance in the sunshine instead? They happen all over the city on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer, but my favourite location is at Köpenick Friedrichshafen, a short train ride to the South East of Berlin. The Open Air music happens in the middle of a forest, so you feel totally cut off from the rest of the city. You dance to amazing music surrounded by trees and the blue sky above. It’s truly a magical experience!
Have you heard much about Berlin’s lakes? Perhaps not… we like to keep them as our little secret. But between us, Berlin’s lakes are second to none. While there are numerous great spots around the outskirts of the city, Müggelsee is my favourite. It is one of the larger lakes, so the best way to enjoy the views is to cycle around it. You’d be amazed how peaceful it is, though it’s not so far from the city! And of course, when you get too hot, the water is perfect for swimming.
The Landwehr canal that runs all the way through Kreuzberg is a wonderful spot for a quiet drink with friends. Go there any evening in the midsummer and you will see half of the city chilling on its shore. Some people even have inflatable dingies to float on! There are plenty of nice cafes and beer gardens to choose from, but personally I prefer to pick up some beer from a Späti and sit right on the bank with my friends, chatting until the sun sets. For some reason the sunset always looks most beautiful when framed by the canal!
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