Berlin in December is a captivating experience, where the city transforms into a winter wonderland filled with festive cheer and cultural delights. As the temperature drops, Berlin’s charm only grows, offering visitors a unique blend of history, cuisine, and seasonal celebrations. Let’s delve into what makes Berlin special during the winter season and how to make the most of a two-day visit to this vibrant city.
What makes Berlin special during the winter season
Berlin’s allure in winter lies in its ability to blend rich history with contemporary culture seamlessly. The city’s iconic landmarks take on a magical quality against the backdrop of snow-dusted streets, offering a unique perspective for visitors. Additionally, Berlin’s culinary scene comes alive with seasonal delights, from hearty German dishes to festive street food. For families with kids who get easily cold, there is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the tropical subclimate without traveling too far from Berlin – Tropical Islands Water and Theme Park is an easy day trip from central Berlin. Whether you’re exploring historic sites or indulging in holiday festivities, Berlin in December promises an unforgettable experience.
Is it cold in Berlin in December?
Yes, Berlin in December is typically cold, with temperatures ranging from chilly to cold throughout the month. The winter season in Berlin starts in December, and temperatures often drop below freezing, especially during the night. Daytime temperatures usually range from around 0°C to 5°C (32°F to 41°F), while nighttime temperatures can drop to -5°C to -2°C (23°F to 28°F) or even lower on colder days.
Additionally, Berlin experiences relatively short daylight hours in December, with sunrise occurring later in the morning and sunset happening earlier in the evening compared to other times of the year. This, combined with the cold temperatures, means that visitors should dress warmly and be prepared for winter weather conditions when exploring the city.
We came unprepared and had to pop in different shops and malls while exploring the city. Luckily, we found some inexpensive thermal underwear in Decathlon at Alexanderplatz, which saved the day!
Where to stay in Berlin in December?
When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay in Berlin in December, the city offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget. Whether you’re seeking luxury hotels, boutique guesthouses, or budget-friendly hostels, Berlin has something for everyone.
As the central district of Berlin, Mitte is an ideal location for visitors looking to be in the heart of the action. Here, you’ll find a mix of upscale hotels, trendy boutique accommodations, and well-known chain hotels. During my last visit, I stayed at Safestay Berlin Kurfurstendamm and found this hotel a perfect base for exploring the nearby attractions. The hotel is close to the subway and major train station Zoologischer Garten which has a direct connection to Berlin Brandenburg International Airport.
Things to see in Berlin in December: Iconic Landmarks
Begin your day by visiting the Brandenburg Gate, an enduring symbol of unity and peace in Berlin. Next, delve into German politics with a tour of the Reichstag Building, where you can marvel at its stunning architecture and panoramic views of the city. Please remember to book your visit beforehand, as only registered visitors are allowed to enter!
To pay homage to the city’s tumultuous history, take a somber yet enlightening stroll through the Holocaust Memorial, reflecting on the events that shaped Berlin’s past.
Lunch: Savoring Local Flavors
For lunch, treat yourself to traditional German cuisine at a cozy restaurant, where you can sample hearty dishes like schnitzel and sauerkraut. Alternatively, explore Berlin’s diverse culinary scene with vegan and vegetarian options available at many eateries. Relax and recharge at a local cafe, sipping on hot cocoa and savoring freshly baked pastries. I enjoyed the Einstein cafe chain.
Afternoon: Historic Immersion
After lunch, immerse yourself in Berlin’s rich cultural heritage by exploring Friedrichstrasse. Dive into the city’s divided past at the Berlin Wall Museum, where remnants of history stand as a poignant reminder of Germany’s reunification. Continue your journey through Cold War history at Checkpoint Charlie, a historic border crossing that once divided East and West Berlin. For a nice visual representation, I recommend visiting The Wall Panorama by famous Berlin artist Yadegar Asisi.
Evening: Embracing Berlin’s Nightlife
As the sun sets, experience Berlin’s vibrant nightlife with dinner at a trendy restaurant followed by drinks at a cozy bar or pub. Alternatively, embark on a night tour to witness the city’s illuminated beauty, including iconic landmarks bathed in a golden glow.
Berlin’s Christmas markets are renowned worldwide for their festive atmosphere, traditional crafts, delicious food, and mulled wine. Each December, the city comes alive with an array of enchanting markets, offering visitors the chance to experience the magic of the holiday season.
Located in the stunning Gendarmenmarkt squareGendarmenmarkt Christmas Market is one of Berlin’s most beautiful and popular. Adorned with twinkling lights and surrounded by neoclassical architecture, the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market features over 150 stalls selling handmade crafts, seasonal decorations, and culinary delights. Visitors can also enjoy live music performances and sip on mulled wine while soaking in the festive atmosphere.
Berlin in December – Day 2: Explore Eastern Berlin
Eastern Berlin is rich in history and culture, with a wealth of landmarks that offer insights into the city’s tumultuous past and vibrant present. From remnants of the Cold War era to vibrant neighborhoods teeming with creativity, Eastern Berlin is a fascinating area to explore.
Located along a remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery is the longest open-air gallery in the world. Adorned with colorful murals painted by artists from around the globe, the gallery serves as a powerful symbol of freedom and unity. Visitors can stroll along the wall and admire the striking artwork, which reflects themes of peace, hope, and social change.
Spanning the River Spree, the Oberbaum Bridge is one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks. With its distinctive red-brick towers and Gothic-inspired architecture, the bridge offers panoramic views of the city skyline. Originally a border crossing between East and West Berlin, the Oberbaum Bridge now serves as a symbol of reconciliation and connection between the city’s two halves.
Formerly known as Stalinallee, Karl-Marx-Allee is a grand boulevard lined with imposing socialist architecture. Built in the 1950s as a showcase of East German power and ideology, the avenue features monumental buildings adorned with intricate facades and socialist realist sculptures. Today, Karl-Marx-Allee is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a testament to the city’s socialist past.
Interesting fact: Despite everything that happening in the World today, there is a restaurant called „Moscow“ still present at the Karl-Marx-Allee (it is not operating though).
Located in Treptower Park, the Soviet War Memorial commemorates the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Berlin during World War II. The memorial features a striking bronze statue of a Soviet soldier holding a child, surrounded by a landscaped park and ceremonial grounds. It serves as a poignant reminder of the city’s wartime history and the sacrifices made by its inhabitants.
Time for lunch
For lunch, indulge in Berlin’s street food scene, starting with the iconic currywurst, a beloved local snack. Explore the city’s bustling street food markets, where you can sample a variety of international cuisines in a casual setting. Opt for grab-and-go options to fuel your afternoon adventures as you continue to explore Berlin’s hidden gems.
Alexanderplatz is a bustling public square and transportation hub located in the heart of Berlin, Germany. Steeped in history and pulsating with energy, Alexanderplatz serves as a focal point for both locals and visitors alike. Alexanderplatz has a storied past dating back to the Middle Ages when it served as a cattle market. Over the centuries, it evolved into a commercial and cultural center, witnessing significant historical events such as political demonstrations and the construction of the Berlin Wall.
The square is characterized by its striking architecture, with notable landmarks such as the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), Berlin’s tallest structure, and a symbol of the city. Other architectural highlights include the historic Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall), the imposing Park Inn Hotel, and the modern Alexanderhaus and Berolinahaus buildings.
Situated in the heart of Berlin, the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market is one of the city’s largest and liveliest markets. With its iconic Ferris wheel and towering Christmas tree, this market offers a magical backdrop for festive celebrations. Visitors can browse a wide selection of gifts and souvenirs, sample traditional German treats like roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, and enjoy carnival rides and entertainment for all ages.
As your two-day journey in Berlin comes to a close, bid farewell to the city with fond memories and a sense of awe for all that you’ve experienced. Whether you’ve delved into Berlin’s rich history, savored its culinary delights, or embraced its festive spirit, one thing is certain – you’ll leave with a newfound appreciation for this dynamic and captivating city. As you plan your next visit to Berlin, rest assured that there will always be more to discover and explore in this vibrant metropolis.