As the world opens itself up once more to international travel, Berlin accommodates activities and sights for everyone from intrepid trailblazers to first-time explorers.
Located at the heart of the North German Plain, this prominent stage of world history straddles the banks of the Spree providing nature lovers a city composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers, canals, and lakes. What’s more, summer in Berlin entices both Berliners and visitors to take to the outdoors and discover the sophisticated interaction of the different ecosystems.
Like many epic stories, the best Berlin journey has an express beginning and ending. The Airport Express (FEX), to be exact. Hop on right at BER Airport Terminal 1 or 2 and arrive at the station closest to your hotel quickly without the need to stress over traffic and parking. Once the adventure comes to an end, the Airport Express (FEX) transports you right back to catch your return flight.
Where to stay
From hostels to 5-star hotels (and everything in between), finding lodging in Berlin is as easy as one, two, three. Looking for a hotel in the most central point of the city? Check out Hotel Neuer Fritz. This tranquil boutique hotel boasts unique and lavish rooms including luxury suites with breathtaking views of the Spree, Museum Island, and the TV Tower. On the ground floor grab lunch or dinner at the iconic Italofritzen restaurant, and a drink at the cozy cocktail bar. Its true point of pride is being “the spirit of middle” as you can reach any quintessential location of the city within 10 minutes, whether by foot or by train. Boutique Hotel Neuer Fritz puts a spin on the traditional hotel and is the perfect choice for a business, family or city trip.
How to explore
There are many different ways to explore the city of freedom.
If your sea legs are itching to get back on the water, the one-hour historical tour by Stern & Kreis Schifffahrten welcomes you aboard. Sit back on the sun deck or inside seats and discover famous sights and highlights, from the government district to the House of World Cultures and Bellevue Castle. This awe-inspiring tour includes the Victory Column, the Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, Nikolai Quarter, and Humboldt forum, all the while comfortably floating along the Spree River.
Berlin is diverse and full of life and touring classic sites is only one way to marvel at everything the city has to offer. For those seeking to unearth the hidden corners, the quieter green and creative spaces off the beaten path, Oasis of Berlin offers visitors a unique, personal, and authentic bike tour with one of the specially trained guides, each of whom has created their own version of an oasis. Hop on your rented wheels and delve into Berlin’s numerous parks, cruise along the waterways, through some rather surprising and surreal cityscapes that have their own little havens. Go beyond the history books, further than the tourist attractions, and into the natural pieces of paradise found in this beautiful location.
Things to do
In addition to walking, boating, and biking tours, museums, historical sites, restaurants, bars, luxury and flea market shopping, Berlin has special activities for all types of travelers.
Gardens of the World (Gärten der Welt) takes you around the globe in 22 gardens. Just 45 minutes from the city center on the underground train, find garden installations designed by international architects, flowers and plants from different countries, art exhibits and even playgrounds. Spend the day calmly delving into the wondrous vegetation and architecture or catch the cable car and view the gardens from above. Gärten der Welt also embodies the spirit of Summer by hosting different concerts, festivals, and other special happenings.
Summer in Berlin is colored with other events and things to do as most Berliners and travelers take to the outdoors. Cool down at one of the ice cream cafés, beer gardens, or beach bars. Enjoy a lazy picnic at one of the parks, lakes, or rivers. Make a day of it and hit the clubs, enjoy a delicious meal on a restaurant roof terrace during the evening or catch a movie at the legendary open-air cinema.
Or, live a true culinary experience by visiting 12 Seasons. Opened in 2019, the team behind the curtain decided to embrace the changing flow of nature. Guests can choose between eight, six or four courses, but can always expect pure passion in every plate and course. The natural harvest determines the menu for each month, but the kitchen team, led by Kamel Haddad, boldly combines different flavors, ingredients, and culinary methods. The beginning of each “season” is celebrated with a kick-off party to introduce the new menu, wines, and drinks to be offered. The true star of the show is the open kitchen. The restaurant strives to make eating out an experience beyond just eating. The layout allows all the guests to share in the joy and pleasure of the interaction and groove out when the music inevitably starts to play.
One of the top events this season was SEAPHONY – The Symphony of Life on Planet Ocean, the spatial sound & light art installation. Chris Watson, Tony Myatt and Theresa Baumgartner, the creatives behind the event, curated the site-specific immersive installation to enable guests to experience the richest world of sounds, hidden in the depths of the oceans. The spatial sound and light artwork ran at Oceans21 from May 6th to June 8th. But, if you miss it, there are still plenty of Berlin Summer festivals to immerse yourself in the culture and urban vibe of the city.
After riding your bike around the city and taking in the natural beauty, eco travelers and green tourists can participate in the fourth annual GREENTECH Festival. A two-day event with 20 participating countries and 150 exhibitors nestled within Berlin TXL. Attendants can discuss sustainability and green technologies, products, and services presented. Notable highlights of the event include a conference, a climate-neutral concert and the GREEN Awards.
Culture connoisseurs cannot miss the Kultursommer (Cultural Summer) Festival. Enjoy 90 days, 90 locations, and 90 events, all free and outdoors. Discover not only how diverse this city is but also the unusual sites chosen to house everything from literary exhibitions to theatrical, musical, and dance performances.
Art lovers have the pick of the litter with two different festivals. Established in 1997, Long Night of Museums allows visitors to spend the night touring 75 museums, with shuttle buses included, and over 700 events, including exhibitions, installations, talks, culinary delights, and no Berlin festival would be complete without music. The 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art focuses mainly on colonialism and its present-day impact. Curated by Kader Attia, the event will run until September in five venues filled with historical, political and social symbolism.
To visit Berlin is to enter a world both old and new, delicious and international, natural and historical, laid-back and quick-paced, never static but ever-changing to fit the traveler.
For more things to do in Berlin and hidden gems, head to Visit Berlin.