Berlin is seriously heating up this summer, with temperatures soaring into the 30s and not a cloud in the sky! Being such a huge, built-up, metropolitan city, you might be surprised at how much there is to do in Berlin on a hot day that doesn’t just involve escaping into a museum for a break from the sun. Grab a beer in one of the best beer gardens in Berlin, go for a swim in a lake or spend the evening watching a film in an open air cinema. Here are the best things to do in Berlin when it’s sunny and you need a little cooling off…
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SWIM IN THE LAKES
After a quick solution for cooling off in Berlin? Jump into a lake. Do summer like a local and head to one of the city’s many open lakes for a dip when it’s feeling a little too hot. In Berlin, you’ve got plenty of options, but of course some lakes are more popular than others and you could find yourself fighting for a space on the edge. Lake Wannsee is one of these lakes, with the perfect sandy edge to sunbathe on between dips in the water, you’ll have to be an early bird to nab one of the best spots.
Schlachtensee Lake is just a 40 minute direct line from Oranienburger St Station, with fresh, clean water you won’t be able to resist jumping into and plenty of shady patches to escape the burning sunshine. Krumme Lanke has lots of secluded little areas to set up camp in, and Lake Muggelsee is the biggest in Berlin (and the sunsets are epic). If you want a summer’s day in Berlin like the locals do it, a dip in a lake is a real must.
OR COOL OFF IN A LIDO
If ‘wild swimming’ isn’t really your style, Berlin has plenty of outdoor swimming pools you can cool off in instead. Badeschiff is a public pool on top of the River Spree with space for sun lounging on the sand nearby. While it does get busy on hotter days, if you manage to bag a spot on the edge, it’s a real winner. Prinzenbad is another of our favourite public pools in Berlin. It’s €5,50 for entry, but you can bring your own food and beers from a spati nearby, and there’s space to laze around on the grass, too. Plus the pool has a slide, so what’s better than that? Haubentaucher is the place for those who may want a swim with a more party vibe as you’ll find a bar, sun beds, a sundeck and, of course, a large, blue swimming pool.
CHILL IN THE PARKS
When it comes to the best parks to chill in on a hot day in Berlin, the city isn’t short of grassy patches. People flock to Berlin’s parks with a picnic blanket in one hand and a crate of beer in the other to set up camp for a day on soaking up the summer sun. Monbijou Park is a city centre park in Mitte that sits on the edge of the canal with views of Berlin Cathedral in the midst of Museum Island. Tiergarten is a must-see in itself whether you’re there to chill or explore. There are multiple memorials, lakes and cycle paths making it a park for anyone to enjoy.
Fancy a game of beach volleyball? Beach Mitte is another city centre spot you can’t miss during summer in Berlin. With a beer garden, barbecue and a high ropes course, there’s loads to see and do here in this park it could easily be a whole day’s activity.
LIGHT UP A BARBECUE
Nothing beats a good barbecue with a few cold beers on a hot day in Berlin, but not all of the city’s parks allow you to get cooking wherever you fancy. Monbijou lets you BBQ as you wish, and Tempelhof Feld even has designated barbecue areas - just get there early to bag one. Stadtpark Lichtenberg, Görlitzer Park, Volkspark Friedrichshain, Mauerpark… The list does go on but just make sure you check online before you get a grilling from local community officers for grilling your sausages.
It’s not a summertime trip to the German capital until you’ve had a beer in one of the many famous biergartens in Berlin. A couple of our favourites are the ones you’ll find in Tiergarten: Schleusenkrug and Cafe am Neuen See . Prater Garden is another great beer garden and one that’s really popular amongst the city’s younger crowd. Otherwise Holzmarkt Pampa is another we seriously recommend - head there for sunset for stunning river views, cheap beer and an atmosphere so good you won’t want to get on the plane back home!
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PARTY AT BERLIN’S OPEN-AIR CLUBS AND BARS
TOP PICKS: ELSE, Klunkerkranich, Sisyphos, IPSE, Yaam
Berlin’s all about the open-air activities in the summer, with beach clubs popping up and clubs lifting their roofs to give that fresh summer feeling. You’ll find loads in Berlin, all with a buzzing summer atmosphere, flowing drinks and music to anyone’s taste. The second the high season hits, head to ELSE which sits right on the river Spree - that’s where everyone else will be going so you know the atmosphere - while pretty quirky - is gonna be insane. Party under the hanging disco balls in the summer sun to some of the best DJs in the city. Klunkerkranich is another winner amongst Berlin’s party-goers with room to lounge, drink and dance on the rooftop of a shopping mall (5th floor of Neukölln Arcaden) with sunset views over Berlin to die for. Sisyphos and IPSE are a couple more of our top picks, with Yaam being a great spot to chill to live reggae from a hammock in the sun.
SUP ON THE SPREE
Bet you thought we’d finished with Berlin’s water activities, but there’s no stopping at swimming in the lakes and lidos. SUP or paddleboarding on the river Spree is one of the best ways to spend a summer’s afternoon in Berlin. From about €14 each you can rent a SUP board with your friends and paddle between Oberbaum Bridge, the Molecule Man statue, Media Spree and the Treptower Park. Is there any better way to see the sites? With Stand Up Club Berlin, they’ll provide you with changing facilities, showers and even free sun loungers to dry off (because if you’ve not fallen in, you’ve not done it right) AND access to a pool in the middle of the river.
OPEN AIR CINEMA
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to open air cinemas in Berlin, with more than just a few set up around the city for your al fresco film fix. Freiluftkino Friedrichshain is one of the more popular ones with 1500 seats in front of the giant screen which is set up on the lawns of Volkspark. Then there’s the Kreuzberg open air cinema which shows a variety of original films for you to kick back on the grass and enjoy, and the Potsdamer Platz open air cinema where you’ll get a lit up view of Berlin as the backdrop to your film.
HOP ON A BIKE
Cycling in Berlin is an essential summer activity. The streets are made for cycling with about 620km of bike paths running throughout the city! Ride through the parks and stop for a picnic, cycle out to the lakes to cool off from your journey or tag onto a bike tour of Berlin for a little summer breeze between sites. There’s plenty of reasons to hop on a bike in Berlin, and even more places to hire them. We recommend the Donkey Bike app where you can pay using your phone and pick up a bicycle from anywhere around the city. When it’s a scorching hot day, nothing beats the wind in your hair a good cycle gets you!