July and August are the wettest and warmest months when temperatures can reach the 30 degrees Celsius. September and October is the most pleasant time of year, highlighted by the fall foliage. The cold and damp winter is from November to March and is marked with overcast skies and temperatures that often drop below freezing. December to February are the coldest months. In May and June the trees are in bloom and the outdoor café season starts.
When to fly to Berlin
Berlin is interesting to visit any time of year and with a little planning, cheap flights to Berlin can be found. Major holidays and events pack the city, such as Easter, Christmas, New Year's, Green Week (January), the radio-TV fair (August and September of odd-numbered years) and the Love Parade (July). Throughout the year Berlin also hosts trade shows which can fill the hotels. If you're travelling to Berlin for a festival, book Berlin flights and hotel rooms far in advance for the best prices and availability.
March to May and October to early November have pleasant weather and fewer tourists. The fewest visitors are here November to March; lines are shorter, and you can focus on cultural events.
Getting around Berlin
Berlin may be a large city, but you won’t have trouble finding a way to get around. Berlin has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe. From early morning to past midnight you can ride a bus, tram, underground (U-Bahn) or elevated (S-Bahn) train. Some services are offered all night. Many historic sites are located close together and best explored on foot. It’s very safe during the day, even in large parks, but be aware of your surroundings at night. Heavy traffic can make biking seem scary, but there are bike lanes almost everywhere and it’s an especially good way to explore parks and forests. You can even take a bike on the U-Bahn and S-Bahn during certain hours for an additional fee. If you want a taxi, it’s cheaper to hail one from the street than call one ahead of time. There’s no need to rent a car, especially with Berlin’s abundance of reckless drivers and ongoing construction. Parking is difficult to find as well.
Berlin insider information
- The Fernsehturm, or TV Tower, soars above Berlin’s skyline. At 368 metres, it’s the third-largest structure in Europe. The visitor platform and rotating restaurant at 204 metres both offer stunning views of the city – on a clear day you can see for 40 kilometres. Incredibly fast lifts speed you up for a cost of €8.50. As with most major tourist attractions, however, be prepared for a long wait. Arrive early in the morning for the shortest queues, or bring a good book to read.
- If you’re in the city in the run up to Christmas, you can’t avoid the Christmas markets. Springing up in the December the weekends, the Wiehnachtsmarkts take place in the squares and streets of Berlin (as in much of Germany) and are a wonderful place to buy presents, eat from the open air stalls, drink some gluhwein and generally enjoy the atmosphere. One of the best is in the Spandua region, a suburb in Western Berlin. The market here has been running for more than 30 years and is guaranteed to get anyone in the Christmas mood.
- Festivals and events take place throughout the year in this cultural city. One of the most popular of recent years is the summer Love Parade. Originating in Berlin in 1989 (just four months before the wall came down) the festival has now spread worldwide, though Berliners believe theirs is still the biggest and best. If you’re planning on visiting the city at this time, make sure you have a hotel booked well in advance. It’s a hugely popular event and the entire city can become booked up.
- Beer and sausages are the staple food and drink throughout Germany. Berlin specialities are the currywurst (curry sausage) and the Berliner Weisse (white beer). Pick them up in most restaurants, bars or from street vendors.
- Berlin is home to two city zoos. The older is the Zoologischer Garten Berlin (zoological garden of Berlin) which has been open since 1844 and is the oldest zoo in Germany. Opened with a donation of animals from Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, today the zoo has more species of animals than any other, including giant pandas and polar bears.