Though Germany's cities grab most visitor's attention, the country's natural attractions can be equally showstopping. Avenues of Japanese kirschbaum (cherry trees) burst into pink blossoms in the spring to welcome the country back from the dull greys of winter.
For 10 days to three weeks in April to May (depending on the weather) rows of glorious cherry blossoms become an attraction for walkers, photographers, and picnic-ers. An accurate prediction of exactly when the blooms will hit their zenith is impossible, but the bluetenbarometer can help you guesstimate.
An exported Japanese tradition, the Sakura Campaign brought the blossoming trees to Germany after reunification. Japanese channel TV Asahi collected over 140 million yen (around €1 million) to gift the trees to their friends in Germany as well as locations as far off as Washington D.C. and Macon, Georgia.
An embodiment of spring, the delicate blossoms are eagerly anticipated and as soon as they appear people are quick to fawn over them. Here are the best places to enjoy the phenomenon of cherry blossoms in Germany.
01 of 05
Not necessarily known for the most beautiful anything, photographers put Bonn and its dreamy pink blossoms on the map.
Earning a place on "Top 10 Most Beautiful Tree Tunnels In The World", Bonn's Heerstrasse in the Nordstadt neighborhood is also known as "Cherry Blossom Avenue". The long limbs of the trees are weighed down with blooms, creating a tunnel-like canopy.
The street's popularity can make it quite crowded with more people than flowers. Try visiting in the early evening to avoid the crowds and enjoy the pink shaded lamplight.
The city's Kirschblütenfest takes place in the altstadt (old town) hopefully at the height of the blooms.
Address: Dorotheenstrasse 101, 53111 Bonn
02 of 05
Like so many things, the blossoms in Berlin are not only beautiful but have a story to tell. Largely part of the Sakura Campaign, 9,000 trees were planted around Berlin and Brandenburg starting in November 1990 - shortly after reunification and in the wake of the Berlin Wall.
Where to Go
There are over 50 locations from parks to graveyards. Many replaced the desolate stretches that used to line the Berlin Wall. Where the totestreifen (death strip) once stood, pink blossoms now flourish. These extend throughout Brandenburg along the innerdeutsche Grenze (inner German border).
Locations in Berlin:
- One of the first sites was surrounding Glienicker Brücke (Glienicke Bridge), better known as the Bridge of Spies.
- Bornholmer Straße is located in the north of the city beneath the bridge of the same name. Along with 215 Japanese Cherry trees, there is a memorial to the Sakura campaign. Before admiring the trees along the Mauerweg (Wall Way), check out the Fall of the Wall memorial at the top of the bridge.
- Lichterfelde Süd station's trees can be found by walking down Holtheimer Weg.
- Lohmühlenbrücke at the border of Alt-Treptow and Neukölln has 45 cherry blossom trees and another memorial to the Sakura-campaign.
- Just northeast of Wollankstraße S-Bahn, trees border the track on a former death strip.
- Gärten der Welt's (Gardens of the World) beautifully landscaped lawns are adorned with eighty trees and blossoms at this time of year. Note this park charges admission. This is the site of the annual Kirschblütenfest (more info below).
Locations in Brandenburg:
- Frankfurt (Oder)/Słubice is on the Eastern border with Poland and sports 750 cherry trees planted in 2003 for the city´s 750th-anniversary celebration in.
- Potsdam Studentendorf Babelsberg
- Kleinmachnow, Karl-Marx-Straße
There are two Kirschblütenfest (cherry blossom festival) held in Berlin.
- Japanisches Kirschblütenfest in Teltow / Berlin-Lichterfelde: Now in its 15th year, the blossoms are joined by market stalls of food, handcrafts, and fruit wine. In additional to the usual festival findings there will be Japanese products and food.
- Kirschblütenfest at Gärten der Welt: Along with the blooms this festival centers on Japanese culture. Cosplayers arrive in their favorite anime wear and delicate Japanese performances take place on stage.
In addition, there is Baumbluetenfest in Werder just outside of the city in early May.
03 of 05
Stray trees can be spotted throughout the city and even in apartment Hofs (courtyards). But the best place is in Munich's premier park, the English Garden. If you haven't spotted one, try the hill in Olympiapark, home of the 1972 Olympics.
04 of 05
Hamburg's trees also turn pink in April through May. The Sakura were offered as a gift from the emerging Japanese community and the yearly cherry blossom celebration honors the special relationship between the two communities.
Alsterpark is the best place to find long lines of blossoming trees. Look for the flowers at Alsterkrugchaussee, Kennedy Bridge and at the Altonaer Balkon.
This spring festival has been taking place since 1968 and honors the Japanese community as well as the blossoms. Sister city with Osaka, there are Japanese performances, a cherry queen and a spectacular fireworks display over the Alster around 22:30.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Dortmund just started celebrating Kirschblütenfest, but its many cheery trees across Botanical Garden Rombergpark provide the perfect backdrop for a festival.
The garden once held many of these blossoming trees and is reinvesting in new stock to keep the spirit of the cherry blossom alive. The annual festival includes Japanese performers and is held at Romberg Park.