Berlin in Summer

How to Have a Fantastic Summer in the City

Traveling to Berlin in summer? Lucky you!

Summer is Berlin's best season. Outdoor cafes, parks, pools, beach bars, and lake fronts are all packed. Berliners even seem to be a bit happier and friendlier when the sun comes out.

Don’t get me wrong – Berlin in winter is enchanting (with no less than 60 Christmas markets), but it’s the summer that transforms the city and brings out the best in the German capital. Here’s how to have a fantastic summer in the city.

01 of 09

Berlin's Badeschiff

Badeschiff Berlin
Arena Berlin

This is one of the most unique swimming pools in all of Germany: Badeschiff, a floating pool, was created from a huge cargo container and is now moored in Berlin's River Spree. An open-air pool, it gets packed with hip Berliners who sun in the sand all day then party at the surrounding nightclubs til the early morn. 

02 of 09

Visit Berlin's Oldest Beer Garden

Prater Biergarten in Berlin

What better place to spend a balmy evening than in one of Berlin’s bustling beer gardens. The oldest one, dating back to 1837, is the Prater Beer Garden on Kastanienalle. Shaded by giant chestnut trees, guests sit on wooden benches and enjoy fresh-grilled wurst, potatoes salad, and pickled cucumber with home-brewed Prater beer.

03 of 09

Berlin's Beaches

Berlin beach on the Spree
GettyImages / Carsten Koall

Berlin isn't anywhere near the ocean, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to do without a beach. Berliners get their tan on in the many man-made urban beaches along the banks of the river spree, which runs through Berlin’s city center. There is even imported sand and plenty of sun chairs.

The booze also flows as most of these are open-air bars. If you prefer to be more active in your sunning, look for one of the many beach volleyball courts.

04 of 09

Berlin's Best Swimming Lakes

Liepnitzsee in Berlin.jpg
Erin Porter

If you want to actually get in the water, try Berlin's best swimming beaches. Forget the urban chaos with the many lakes that dot the city and the land beyond. 

For example, don't miss easily reachable Schlachtensee where you can swim beneath the shady trees in the calm, cool water, or popular Wannsee with its massive sandy shores, or crystal-clear Liepnitzsee with its island, or sprawling Müggelsee, the largest lake in the German capital.

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05 of 09

Open-Air Movie Theaters

Berlin open air cinema.jpg
Erin Porter

Don’t spend a long summer night in a stuffy movie theater – watch the latest movies in a Freiluftkino under the stars.

Between May and September, Berlin’s popular open-air cinemas open up in parks or in front of museums or outside of popular clubs. One of the best is in Volkspark Friedrichshain which presents everything from schlocky thrillers to smart independent films. You can sit on benches or reline on the lawn and most movies are presented in original language.

06 of 09

Berlin by Houseboat

Birge Amondson

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family outing, travel by houseboat offers a unique sightseeing adventure. A trip on one of the rental houseboats, Wasserkutsche, is an unforgettable way to see Berlin from a different perspective.

The colorful houseboats run with an environmentally friendly electric motor and don’t go faster then 6 miles per hour – no license or boating experience required. 

07 of 09

Berlin's Biggest Park

View of Tiergarten, Berlin
steffenz/Creative Commons

Berlin's Tiergarten used to be the hunting grounds for the Prussian kings, before it was transformed into the city's largest park in the 18th century. Today, the green heart of Berlin is bordered by the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, and Berlin's Zoo. On more than 600 acres, you can enjoy leafy paths, small creeks, open-air cafes, and lawns (some of them permit nude sunbathing).

A wonderful place to kick back is Cafe am Neuen See, a beer garden on the edge of a small lake, from where you can also rent paddle boats.

08 of 09

Berlin by Bike

maennertag beer bike.JPG
Erin Porter

One of the best ways to get around Berlin is by bike. The city has around 400 miles of bike paths, and it’s such a fun and safe way to explore Berlin on two wheels.There are many bike rental stations in Berlin, but one of the most recommended ones is Fahrradstation with 6 locations throughout Berlin.

If you want to take a guided bike tour, check out Fat Tire Bike Tours, which offers everything from general sightseeing tours to historic tours by bike.

You can even get weird with it with 3 unusual Berlin bike tours, like the Bachelor party favorite, the Beer Bike.

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09 of 09

Berlin Summer Festivals

A woman plays the trombone in the Berlin Christopher Day Pride Parade
Carsten Koall / Getty Images

There are countless events during the summer months in Berlin. The summer season starts with the colorful Carnival of Cultures, which celebrates the multicultural spirit of Germany’s capital. The highlight of the four-day open-air festival is the street parade with 4,500 performers in authentic costumes, elaborately decorated floats, and musicians from over 70 different countries dance through the streets of Berlin.

After that, there is Fete de la Musique, Christopher Street Day (Pride), Berlin International Beer Festival...and more.