How to enjoy a socially distanced city break to Berlin

Plan a trip to the German capital this year

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  • 23 June 2020
  • • 7 min read

Want to plan a city break to Berlin after lockdown? Now that the city has eased some of its restrictions, there will be plenty to do for backpackers who want to get out of their hometown and satisfy their travel itch. However, while the German capital is one of the safest places you can visit right now, people must adhere to social distancing guidelines because Coronavirus is still about  (it’s not completely gone). This means that your trip to the historic capital may be a little different to how you know it. We’ve created the ultimate guide on how to enjoy Berlin safely while social distancing with the best tips and recommendations for enjoying the hipster city. Just make sure you don’t travel if you have any of the Covid-19 symptoms or have any underlying health conditions...

Things to know before you go

  • People entering Berlin from most countries outside the European Union (including Sweden) will have to self-quarantine for 14 days.

  • You must keep a minimum of 1.5 meters from anyone you don’t live with when out in public

  • Masks are to be worn in train stations, on Berlin’s public transport and in airports

  • Hostels are allowed to reopen in Berlin including St Christopher’s Inns. Check out the changes we are making in our hostels to keep in-line with government guidelines and social distancing rules

  • You may meet up to 5 people in public with social distancing in place

  • Clubs, theatres and concert halls remain closed until further notice

  • Spas and saunas also remain closed

  • Avoid any big crowds


*As we’re sure you're aware, the situation in Berlin is fluid with things changing and improving every day, however we must make it clear that our content is correct at the time of posting and has been built on the latest government advice and information we do have. We are doing our best to provide the most up-to-date information and clearest recommendations for you that may conflict with updated guidelines and we will therefore monitor and adjust when necessary. Our goal is to create a safe and useful guide for our guests, so that you can really enjoy your stay with us creating incredible moments and memories during your trip.

1. Enjoy Berlin’s diverse food scene at the restaurants and cafes

The food scene in Berlin is one of the coolest in Europe, particularly when it comes to Asian cuisine , a healthy brunch or authentic Turkish doner kebabs. The city’s restaurants, cafes and snack kiosks (for currywurst) are allowed to serve customers again as long as social distancing rules are in place. People from two separate households can now share a table as long as they keep 1.5 metres distance from each other - and all waiters are required to wear face coverings. Many of Berlin’s restaurants offer outdoor seating which is great for some alfresco brunch, and food markets like Markthalle Neun have opened to the public where you can enjoy street food and fresh drinks in an open, airy space. Double check if a restaurant is open before you book because some places have decided to remain closed for now. Diners are also recommended to wear masks.

2. Have a socially distanced drink at the bars, pubs and beer gardens

On the 2nd June, Berlin’s bars, pubs and beer gardens opened their doors again, so enjoy a cold one while hanging out with a couple of friends. The current rules mean that you may not stand at the bar. Instead everyone must sit at tables which will be spaced 1.5 metres apart from each other. The good news is, there are no restrictions on opening and closing times. Just pack some hand sanitiser just in case the bar doesn’t provide some. We recommend sticking to the pubs which have beer gardens or outside space, and book ahead because there will be limited capacity in many of these establishments. Hit up Belushi’s for a cocktail or beer while sitting outside in the beer garden, or visit Hops & Barley for a pilsner or their homemade cider.

Berlin’s outdoor beer gardens and open-air rooftops are a great place to hangout on a chilled out afternoon. Prater, Zollpackhof and Cafe Am Neuen See are just a few of the best biergartens in the city where you’ll be guaranteed a good atmosphere (while staying 1.5 metres apart). 

3. Enjoy a picnic in the city’s parks and green spaces

One of the popular hang out spots in Berlin right now are the city’s beautiful parks. Pack a picnic and a few beers, find a shady spot under a tree and enjoy the sunshine while catching up with friends. Some of Berlin’s best city parks include Tiergarten, Viktoriapark, Volkspark Treptower Park and Körnerpark. If the weather is set to be a scorcher, make a day of it and head to Grunewald Forest, the city’s largest green space. Located on the edge of the city, this lush open space is perfect for a long afternoon of hiking, sunbathing, cycling and chilling by Krumme Lake. While you’re enjoying the city’s parks remember to stay socially distanced.

4. Cycle to new neighbourhoods 

Avoid public transport and hire a bike instead! Cycling around Berlin is probably the best way of getting around the city during the pandemic - and pretty fast too! Breathe in the fresh air as you cycle to new neighbourhoods and explore more of the capital than just the city centre (Mitte). Don’t know much about Berlin’s other districts? There are 12 of them in total, but to start with we recommend checking out Mitte, Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg and Neukölln.

If you want to rent a bike in Berlin, there are plenty of places to do so (that won’t cost a lot). Hire a bike from a Call a Bike stand or a Flat Tire Bike. Or download the Ofo App, where you can rent a bike for 50p per half hour. Don’t forget to wear a helmet!

5. Go for a dip

Fancy a swim? If you’re lucky enough to be in Berlin during the hot weather, some of the city’s urban beaches and pool clubs have been approved by the government to reopen, as long as you use them safely. Badeschiff is one of the outdoor pools in the city that boasts panoramic views of the River Spree from the water. You must book your time slot in advance if you’d like to swim here. Badeschiff relies on the “high degree of personal responsibility and consideration of everyone” to remain open and it states that “the general distance and hygiene rules of the pandemic must be observed - also in water.” There’s also a bathing area that surrounds the pool where you can sunbathe. Just bring your own drinks!  

6. Hit the museums and main sights and attractions

Berlin is the culture capital of Europe with a rich history and some of the world’s most interesting museums. Lucky for you, the museums have reopened and many of the main attractions are outdoors so you can go sightseeing safely. The list of sights and museums are endless from the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, the Topography of Terror, Museum Island, the German Reichstag, the Jewish Museum and the Bradenburg Gate which are all perfectly safe to explore if you socially distance. The busiest sight to see is the East Side Gallery (part of the Berlin Wall) which attracts many tourists at all hours of the day; the quietest time to check out the East Side Gallery is probably morning or early evening - we recommend wearing a mask. 

7. Coffee!

The German capital is bursting with cool, hipster cafes that have become go-to spots for those looking for good quality coffee in Berlin. These roasters serve up some of the best quality caffeine in the city, perfect for a little pick-me-up between seeing the sites which are available to takeaway too...

Need a bed in Berlin? We have two centrally-located hostels, available to book now.

Read about the 21 changes we're making in our hostels amidst Coronavirus so you can book with us, knowing we're doing everything we can to make your stay as safe as possible.

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