There will be few things more memorable to you than a Berlin summer. The city becomes a playground and the light takes on a life affirming quality, as it soaks the city with its glorious radiance, painting the elegant townhouses golden at the end of each day.
In the water
Berlin is paradise for lake lovers with dozens to choose from and many just a short train ride away. Schlachtensee is one of the most easily accessible, with the lake immediately visible as the train pulls into S-Bahn Schlachtensee station – you’ll be in the crystal-clear water amongst the trees in less than 5 minutes. It’s at the southern edge of the magnificent Grünewald forest and there are numerous other lakes here to enjoy including Teufelsee with views of the old Teufelsberg spy station and the historic Strandbad Wannsee – Europe’s largest inland bathing spot.
On the water
The Badeschiff is one of Berlin’s most photographed locations. Located at the Arena Berlin complex, this former barge turned swimming pool appears to float in the Spree river and you can take in the great views of the Oberbaumbrücke and the TV Tower as you swim. There’s an urban beach with a bar, as well as plenty of seating, shade and of course toilets and lockers. It’s also a popular spot for many of the Berlin open air events and there are often live DJ sets and various sporting and themed events.
If the queue for the Badeschiff is too long, you can always rent a stand-Up paddle board and roam the Spree at your leisure. Alternatively, nearby just across the canal you can rent boats from Freischwimmer by the hour and pedal or paddle your afternoon away as you please.
South east of the city is the wonderful Treptower Park, bordered by the Spree on one side and Plänterwald forest on the other. It includes a lake, an abandoned theme park area that will soon become a cultural park, a busy promenade with delicious German food, lots of cycling and walking paths and the spectacular Soviet Memorial. You can also easily access Berlin’s rivers, lakes and canals from here with boat tours departing regularly and paddle boats for rent.
Berlin’s green heart is the enormous Tiergarten, established in the 1500s as the king’s hunting ground and covering 850 hectares of prime city real estate. You can enter at the Brandenburg Gate, or there are bike rental stations at the Reichstag entrance. Pack a picnic and enjoy a tranquil day rowing on the Neuer See – the lake in the middle of the Tiergarten. In the summer, enjoy a beer in the great outdoors at the Cafe am Neuen See Biergarten by the lake or Schleusenkrug by the canal and the zoo.
Drinks in the sky
Berliners are a thirsty bunch and one of the most popular Berlin activities by far is meeting friends for drinks. There are plenty of rooftop bars and terraces to explore such as Deck 5 in Prenzlauer Berg and Hotel Amano in Mitte. The most decadent choice would be the Hotel de Rome, in the heart of the Royal quarter with great views over Berlin’s most famous attractions. For a more unique experience, head to the quirky Klunkerkranich rooftop garden and bar on top of the Neukölln Arcaden in the city’s south. This thriving community project offers spectacular views over the rooftops of Neukölln and Kreuzberg and is by far the best place in town to enjoy Berlin’s glorious sunsets.
Sometimes it’s not enough to just lie around snoozing, swimming and relaxing right! If you need a little more stimulation then try out some unique Berlin activities that will get you in the perfect summer mood.
You need to eat so take yourself off to lunch to Preußenpark for the worst kept secret in town – Thai Park. This unofficial market pops up every Sunday with delicious Thai food, cocktails and plenty of activity, all laid out on blankets and made fresh by Berlin’s friendly Thai community. After lunch take yourself to the famous Mauerpark flea market for some shopping and delight in unique GDR treasures. Grab a bratwurst and a cold beer then follow the noise to the Bearpit karaoke for jaw dropping performances from everyday people from all over the world.
One of Berlin’s most unmissable activities is to take in a show at Friedrichstadt-Palast. The venue is as evocative as the shows themselves with its majestic colourful façade and rich theatrical history. However, it’s the shows themselves that will impress the most. This is entertainment done on a grand scale with European class and style evident in every detail – from the costumes to the acoustics, the lighting to the performers. No less than the star designer Jean Paul GAULTIER was commissioned to develop the stunning costumes for THE ONE Grand Show. The glamour and grace will leave you breathless and cap off your truly unforgettable summer in Berlin. Despite all that glamour, ticket prices start at just €19.80!
Berlin am Wasser | Photo: Flickr / blner37
Cafe am Neuen See| Photo: Flickr / Oh-Berlin.com (CC BY 2.0)
Klunkerkranich| Photo: Julian Nelken