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Summer in the city

Summer in Berlin: The ultimate guide

Summer in Berlin can be truly special, but are our favourite things to do? We round up the best museums, lakes, bars and hidden tips.

Photo: IMAGO / Rolf Zöllner

Summer-Berlin and winter-Berlin can feel like two entirely different cities. In the warmer months, there aren’t just more people in the streets, it feels like there is more time and space as the days get longer and the memory of that dark, heavy winter disappears like a dream.

So what are the best things to do during summer in Berlin? We’ve walked the parks, chilled out by the canals, swum in the lakes, feasted at street food pop-ups and sat at the open-air cinemas to compile this list. This is the ultimate guide to summer.

Explore the city

Sit (or float) along the Landwehrkanal

Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

There’s almost nothing to reminiscent of Berlin summers than the Landwehrkanal . When the sun’s out, everyone flocks to the to the canal in their own way: chill with a Spӓtibier from your favourite shop, float down on a rubber dinghy, sit down on Admiralbrücke or go and play Pétanque on Paul-Linke-Ufer.

Ping pong

Photo: Dan Zell

Want to play table tennis in Berlin? You’re in luck, because there are spots for it all around the city. We spoke to Toucan founder and table tennis expert Dan Zell to bring you some insider tips for the best places to get your ping pong on in Berlin.

Urban exploration

Photo: Martin Boemer

Get to know Berlin’s hidden underbelly with some dubiously-legal excursions to the city’s abandoned areas. You can see where to find defunct facilities from residential buildings to barracks that date back to the DDR on the Abandoned Berlin website, but if you want to earn real street cred with Berlin’s urbex community, you’ll have to go off the grid and explore on your own. But hey, if the cops catch you, you didn’t hear it from us. 

Peacock Island

Photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

If you’re in the mood for a day trip, Peacock Island (‘Pfaueninsel’) is the perfect destination for enjoying beautiful natural landscapes – and some equally beautiful wildlife wandering the forest paths. Designed under King Friedrich Wilhelm II, the island is now protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Peacock Island, Nikolskoer Weg, Berlin, details.

Gӓrten der Welt 

Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

Explore beautifully landscaped gardens inspired by cultures from around the globe without ever having to leave Berlin. From Chinese pavilions to flowing water features, Gärten der Welt gives guests the opportunity to step into another world.

  •  Gärten der Welt, Blumberger Damm 44, Marzahn, details

Pop-up yoga

Photo: yogaonthemove

Relax your mind and stretch your body with an outdoor group yoga session. Yoga on the Move, as its name would imply, offers classes at different times and places depending on the day, with varying prices based on the duration of the session. Whether concrete rooftops or green parks, there’s bound to be a class available in an environment you feel most comfortable in. 

  • Yoga on the Move, various locations, details

Teufelsberg

Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

The Teufelsberg (or ‘Devil’s Mountain’) may sound intimidating, but it’s actually a top spot for encountering Berlin art and history. Built from the rubble of all buildings destroyed in World War 2, this artifical hill in Grunewaldwas the site of an NSA listening station and other government facilities during the Cold War. It also features one of the largest street art galleries in the world. 

  • Teufelsberg, Teufelsseechaussee 10, Grunewald, details

Globe Berlin Open Air season

Photo: Norbert Lienig

Every summer, Berlin’s Globe celebrates the season with a series of open-air performances. Sharing its name with the famous Globe Theatre in London, you can expect to see the works of Shakespeare and German playwrights, as well as some live musical performances on the stage. Whatever you’re there to see, you’re in for a midsummer night’s dream. 

  • Globe Berlin Open-O-Bühne, Sömmeringstr. 15, Charlottenburg, details

Take a walk in the park

At first glance, the city may seem like an urban jungle. But beyond the graffiti-covered concrete and bustling streets, Berlin is actually pretty green, with plenty of beautiful places that are perfect for laying out a picnic blanket or taking a stroll. 

Volkspark Friedrichshain

Photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

Berlin’s oldest park is also one of its prettiest. Volkspark Friedrichshain opened in 1848 in the heart of the district and is brimming with monuments, lakes, and scenic little nooks to explore. The highlight? Definitely the Märchenbrunnen (‘fairy tale fountain’), framed by statues representing the Brothers Grimm’s most beloved fairy tales. 

Viktoriapark

Photo: IMAGO / H. Tschanz-Hofmann

Once upon a time, the slopes of this beautiful park in Kreuzberg were used as a vineyard. Now, all that’s left of them is the sublime view of Berlin you get from the top – not too shabby, if you ask us. And that’s not to mention the idyllic waterfall flowing from the Prussian monument at the peak all the way down to street level, perfect for splashing around on a hot summer day. 

Humboldthain Rose Garden

Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

Named after German explorer Alexander von Humboldt, this park was initially built in 1876, but didn’t complete development until after the Second World War. Now, it’s home to a petal-filled paradise: The Rose Garden offers an idyllic escape from the breakneck pace of city life. Whether you come here with that special someone or for some me-time, it’s the perfect place to stop and smell the roses – literally. 

Recreational Park Lübars 

Spend a day out on Reinickendorf’s highest mountain at Recreational Park Lübars. The wide open spaces make it perfect for kite flying, hiking, horseback riding, or just enjoying the fresh air and unforgettable view. 

  • Freizeitpark Lübars, Quickborner Str., Reinickendorf, details.

Stop off at a flea market

Berlin prides itself on its enthusiasm for secondhand and vintage products, from clothes through furniture to DDR knick knacks. So, here are some of the best places to explore the wonderfully mixed bag of typical flea market fare we all love to spend a day sifting through, whether it’s genuinely cool collections or borderline garbage.

Mauerpark fleamarket

Photo: IMAGO / Pond5

Tourists and locals alike flock to Mauerpark every Sunday not just for a chance to bag a bargain, but also for the rows of tasty food, coffee, and juice stalls set up around the marketplace. Hundreds of  sellers from pros with established businesses during the week to average joes with too much stuff on their hands set up booths here, so you’re bound to find something good.

  • Mauerpark, Bernauer Str. 63-64, Prenzlauer Berg, open Sundays. 

Trabrennbahn Karlshorst fleamarket

Photo: IMAGO / Hohlfeld

Berlin’s largest antique market is open on the first weekend of every month, with over 700 sellers presenting wares from vintage postcards through FDJ shirts to retro furniture cool enough that annoying everyone around you by transporting it back to your place via U-Bahn seems worth it. 

  • Trabrennbahn Karlshorst, Treskowallee, Karlshorst, open the first weekend of every month. 

RAW Gelände fleamarket

Photo: IMAGO / CHROMORANGE

If you’re looking to expand your summer wardrobe in a sustainable way, the RAW Gelände flea market is the perfect place to do it. Offering choice finds from mint condition silk kimonos to secondhand lingerie, you’re bound to find something cool in your price range. There are also plenty of food options around if you need a break from fighting strangers for the last leather jacket. 

  • RAW Gelände, Revaler Str. 99, Friedrichshain, details

Take a swim

Who doesn’t love spending a day at the lake? Berliners certainly do, and there are plenty of them to choose from, whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun or want to test the waters of German FKK (or Freikörperkultur) via nude bathing. Here are some of our favourites…

Krumme Lanke

Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Located in Zehlendorf, this lake is a popular summer swimming spot. It has both quiet corners where you can doze off in the shade and livelier spots where you can really make a splash. The North end of the lake is nice and shallow, making it ideal for families with small children, and the path along the water is perfect for relaxing walks. 

  • Getting there: Take the U3 or the 622 bus to U-Bahn Krumme Lanke, then it’s a 20-minute walk.

Schlachtensee

Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

In 2020, CNN named the Schlachtensee as one of the most beautiful swimming spots – not just in Berlin or even in Germany, but in the whole world. And for good reason: Located on the edge of Grunewald, it’s surrounded by a scenic natural landscape. It’s also perfect for boating and stand-up-paddle-boarding. 

  • Getting there: Take the S-Bahn 1 to Schlachtensee.

Müggelsee 

Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

This is Berlin’s biggest lake, and it has a lot to offer. With plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, taking a swim, playing a sport, and renting boats, it’s well-beloved among Berliners. If you want to treat yourself, you can relax at Strandbad Friedrichshagen for a fee. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also a popular nudist area. 

  • Getting there: Take the 60/N61 bus to Bruno-Wille-Str. or Josef-Nawrocki-Str.

FKK: Nude bathing spots 

Photo: Natasha Klimenko

Not familiar with Freikörperkultur? Now’s your chance. FKK means nude bathing and there are plenty of dedicated places for it in Berlin. Come as you are at these FKK bathing spots. Don’t be shy!

Familien Sport Verein Adolf Koch

Founded in 1951 by prominent FKK advocate Adolf Koch, this facility offers not only the chance to swim nude, but to participate in all kinds of other sports without clothes on, too. You can also join the Verein on one of their excursions, from sauna visits to hikes. 

  • Familien Sport-Verein Adolf Koch Mehringdamm 114, Kreuzberg, details

Teufelssee

The Teufelssee has been an infamous nude bathing spot for decades now. Drawing a lively mix of party people and families, the only real rule at this lake in terms of attire is ‘to each their own.’ So whether you show up in swimwear or completely naked, you’ll be in good company. 

  • Getting there: Take the S7 to Grunewald, then take a 10 minute scenic cycle.

Halensee

Another favourite for FKK, the Halensee is popular among Berlin’s nudists for its calm atmosphere and peaceful sunbathing lawn. Nestled in the greenery of Wilmersdorf, it’s far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.

  • Getting there: Take the S-Bahn to Halensee, then take a 3 minute walk. 

Outdoor pools

If you can’t make it to a lake, though, you might still have time to take a quick dip at one of Berlin’s outdoor pools. Some are kid-friendly, some are athletes-only, and some are just meant for sipping poolside cocktails: Whatever kind of outdoor pools you’re looking for, Berlin has you covered. 

Prinzenbad

Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

From kids competing to see who can make the biggest splash to grannies paddling around in their bathing caps, Kreuzberg’s Prinzenbad is packed every summer. It offers two pools (one heated, one unheated), a shallow pool with a water fountain for kids to play in, and a cafeteria that serves just about everything from salads to cakes. But if you want to swim undisturbed, it’s best to get ahead of the crowds and go in the early morning. 

  • Prinzenbad, Prinzenstr. 113-119, Kreuzberg, details.

Sommerbad Pankow

Photo: Imago/Olaf Wagner

Berlin’s largest outdoor pool, Sommerbad Pankow spans over 100,000m² and includes several slides, a high-speed chute, a wave pool, lawns for sports as well as sunbathing, and a separate nudist area. Basically, it’s got everything you could ask for in a swimming facility. 

  • Sommerbad Pankow, Wolfshagener Str. 91-93, Pankow, details.

Haubentaucher

Photo: Haubentaucher

An oasis in the middle of the RAW Gelände, the highlight of Haubentaucher is its 240m² heated pool, perfect for a sunset swim. But if sipping is more your style, you can grab a cool drink at the bar and relax in the shade of the palm trees out on the deck. 

  • Haubentaucher, Revaler Str. 99, Friedrichshain, details.

Row your boat

Photo: Kanuliebe

Row, row, row your boat, merrily down the stream. Life is but a dream when you’re paddling through Berlin. So if you’re looking for some fun on the water, here are some places you can rent boats at, from kayaks to motorised rafts. 

Kanuliebe Berlin

Located on Insel der Jugend (or ‘island of youth’) in Treptow, Kanuliebe has all manner of fun things for you to choose from. Single, double, and triple pedal boats, kayaks, stand-up paddling boards, and two-or-three-man canoes are all available to rent. You can book some of them on site, but only a small number, so we recommend booking via their website. 

  • Kanuliebe, Berlin Insel der Jugend, Treptow, details.

Floß & Los

Explore the lakes and rivers of Berlin and Brandenburg on a city raft or float, no licence required! You can rent them at stations on Müggelsee, Rummelsburger See, and at Oberbaumbrücke. Offering rafts with varying capacities (between five and 20), Floß & Los is great for gatherings both big and small.

  • Floß & Los, Müggelsee, Rummelsburger See, and Oberbaumbrücke details.

Ahoi Ostkreuz

Ahoi Ostkreuz offers kayaks, SUP boards, and pedal boats for rent for a minimum of four hours of fun on the Rummelsburger See. These are more suited for smaller groups, with pedal boats and kayaks having a maximum capacity of two people – though some four-person pedal boats are available as well. 

  • Ahoi Ostkreuz, Lichtenberg, details.

Grab some summer snacks

Wanna do some summer snacking? Treat yourself to a tasty tour of Berlin’s vibrant food culture, from restaurants with outdoor seating through street food pop-ups to full-blown festivals and beyond. Dig in!

Bite Club

Photo: Bite Club

Berlin’s favourite street food party has been going strong for a decade now, providing delicious cuisine from around the world, a lively festival atmosphere complete with DJ sets, and a great excuse to stay out and watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. 

  • Bite Club, final event 11.08, details

Thai Park

Photo: IMAGO / tagesspiegel

This weekend food fest is a must-visit for all foodies. What began in the 90s with members of the city’s East Asian communities meeting in Preußenpark to cook, drink, and be merry is now a widely beloved weekend haunt full of food stalls. You won’t find Asian cooking this good anywhere else in Berlin.

  • Thai Park,Preußenpark, Brandenburgische Str., Wilmersdorf (Saturdays & Sundays), Jules Biergarten & Café, Gleisdreieck, Luckenwalder Str. 6b, Kreuzberg (Fridays), details

Strawberry picking

Photo: IMAGO / CTK Photo

Summer is strawberry season. But rather than just buying some from your local grocery store, why not go out and pick some yourself? There are a few different places around Berlin where you can do just that. Summer never tasted so sweet!

BBQ spots 

Germans love to barbecue, so it makes sense that the nation’s capital is full of great spots to grill up some bratwurst. Here are some of our favourites.

Tempelhofer Feld

Photo: IMAGO / Andreas Prost

This old West Berlin airport is the largest open space in the city, and on sunny days it’s full of people roller skating, sunbathing, and all around enjoying chill summer vibes. It also has a designated barbecue area at the various entrances to the park. Just keep in mind that that using gas is prohibited, so be sure to stick to coal. 

  • Tempelhofer Feld, entrances at Tempelhofer Damm, Oderstr., Columbiadamm, Tempelhof/Neukölln.

Görlitzer Park

While this park isn’t always the cleanest, it’s hard to pass up a barbecue smack in the middle of Kreuzberg. Good vibes and good music are pretty much guaranteed – just remember to leave your grill spot in the same condition you found it.

  • Görlitzer Park by Cuvrystr. and on the corner of Sorauer Str., Kreuzberg. 

Mauerpark

This park is always busy, even during the week, but that just goes to show what a cool spot it is for outdoor fun. That includes barbecuing, though you can only do it in the park meadow opposite the amphitheatre. From June to August, grilling is allowed until 9pm.

  • Mauerpark, Gleimstr. 55, Prenzlauer Berg. 

Get refreshed at a beer garden

There’s no better way to spend a summer evening than cracking open a cold one as the sun goes down. Enjoy cold beer and a chill atmosphere at some of Berlin’s best beer gardens.

Café am Neuen See

Berlin Cafe am neuen See Tiergarten Berlin Cafe am neuen See Tiergarten Berlin Cafe at New Lake Tiergarten Berlin Cafe at New Lake Tiergarten

This is a favourite among Berliners for the views and the vibes: This lakeside café is nestled in the greenery of Tiergarten, making it an idyllic summer spot. Enjoy classic Bavarian wheat beers and bites from Weißwurst to Leberkäse and beyond.

  • Café am Neuen See, Lichtensteinallee 2, Tiergarten, details.

Prater Garten

Photo: Prater Biergarten

At almost 170 years old, this beer garden is legendary in Berlin. They even have their own signature Prater Pils, made by a brewery in Frankfurt/Oder. Try it out with their freshly-grilled food in the shade of the surrounding chestnut trees. 

  • Prater Garten Kastanienallee 7-9, Prenzlauer Berg, details.

Berliner Berg Brauerei

Photo: Marcel Wogram/Berliner Berg

Both traditional German brews and international craft beers are available at this top-quality brewery. And along with its impressive beer selection, Berliner Berg Brauerei also offers a laid back atmosphere. Plus, a food truck is usually parked nearby for when you need something a little more substantial.

  • Berliner Berg Brauerei Treptower Str. 39, Treptow, details.

Berliner Beerengärten Schönfließ

One of six Berliner Beerengӓrten run by DAH Group, a leading company in the field of sustainable agriculture, energy, and ecology, the Schönfließ site allows you to pick your own strawberries. They also have a cute little cafe that specialises in desserts made with berries. 

  • Berliner Beerengärten Schönfließ, Bergfelder Chaussee, 16567 Mühlenbecker Land, details.

Klunkerkranich

Photo: Photo: IMAGO / POP-EYE

A self-described “cultural roof garden,” Klunkerkranich always has something going on, from poetry slams through markets to regular DJ sets. And between the beer garden, the two large bars and the indoor area and dancefloor, the variety of offers doesn’t stop at the programme. The only drawback is that you may have to wait in line to get in. 

  • Klunkerkranich Karl-Marx-Str. 66, Neukölln, details.

Deck 5

With sandy beds, palm trees, and a definite risk of sunburn, Deck 5 in Prenzlauer Berg is almost as good as actually spending a day at the beach. Sip on their cocktails of the week and fill up with some delicious soul food as you watch the sun set over Schönhauser Allee. 

  • Deck 5 Schönhauser Allee 79, Prenzlauer Berg, details.

Enjoy an ice cream

It’s not summer without ice cream, so here’s the inside scoop on where to get Berlin’s best. Just try not to give yourself brain freeze.

Vanille & Marille

The ice cream at this popular parlour is 100% natural – and just as delicious. They’ve mastered the art of frozen treats, from tried and true favourites like Madagascar vanilla to unique flavours like caipirinha cocktail. And because they already know you won’t be able to stop at just one scoop, you can buy entire tubs of their ice cream at any of their six locations across Berlin.

  • Vanille & Marille Reichenberger Str. 118 & Hagelberger Str. 1, Kreuzberg; Friedrich-Wilhelm-Str. 22, Tempelhof; Belziger Str. 24 & Motzstr. 17, Schöneberg; Leydenallee 92, Steglitz, details.

Scoopy Doo

Photo: Scoopy Doo

With ever-changing flavours, plenty of vegan-friendly options, huge serving sizes, and an adorable name, Scoopy Doo has a special place in the hearts of many Berliners. And like the cartoon it’s named for, it’s not without an element of mystery: The eponymous ScoobyDoo flavour is made with their signature secret fruit mix.

  • Scoopy Doo Georg-Wilhelm-Str. 4, Charlottenburg, details.

Hokey Pokey

Photo: Hokey pokey

Artisanal and made with only the finest ingredients, the ice cream at this Prenzlauer Berg chain regularly draws in quite the queue – and may set you back a bit more than you were expecting. But there’s a reason it’s so popular: It’s just that good. 

  • Hokey Pokey, Stargarder Str. 72+73 & Oderberger Str. 38, Prenzlauer Berg; Torstr. 141, Mitte; Berliner Str. 49, Pankow, details.

Dive into culture

Berlin is brimming with cultural institutions, from art museums to historical archives and beyond. And although many operate indoors, many are also best experienced when the sun’s out. Here are some good ways to experience art, history, and culture in Berlin during the summer.

Museum Island

Photo: IMAGO / Rolf Zöllner

One of the city’s most important landmarks, Museum Island is a paradise for anyone interested in history and culture. The island encompasses eight museums and institutions, as well as beautiful lawns and gardens that are nothing short of idyllic on a sunny day. All in all, it’s a must-visit, whether you’re just passing through Berlin or plan on staying for a while.

Day trip to Potsdam

Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

Just Southwest of Berlin lies Potsdam, a historic city known for its impressive architectural relics, such as the old marketplace, Nauener Tor, and of course Sanssouci Palace and park. They’re well worth seeing at any time of year, but Sanssouci really comes to life during Potsdamer Schlӧssernacht. This annual summer fest includes food, music, and art installations for a party befitting a palace. 

  • Sanssouci Palace Maulbeerallee, Potsdam, details

HKW terrace

Photo: Studio Bowie / HKW

The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is one of Berlin’s most iconic cultural institutions – as well as one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. And during summer there is nowhere better to hang out than the terrace upstairs. Have a drink, catch a concert, head inside to see an exhibition or just read your book while gazing out at Spree or the Tiergarten. 

  • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin, details

E-Werk Luckenwalde

Photo: IMAGO / Eberhard Thonfeld

This is another one that will require a bit of getting to, but don’t be discouraged because this is an extraordinary spot. As well as being a cool art space just south of Berlin perfect for a summer day trip, E-Werk Luckenwalde continues to be an operational power plant. In fact, if you live in Germany, you can switch your energy supplier to Kunststrom or “art power”, and join a network of local energy communities across Germany. 

  • E-Werk Luckenwalde, Rudolf-Breitscheid-Straße 73, 14943 Luckenwalde, details.

Funkhaus

Photo: Funkhaus Berlin

Like the HKW, this is also a beautiful Berlin cultural venue on the Spree – though this time it’s in the East. Built in 1951 as the radio broadcasting complex for the DDR, Funkhaus has transformed itself into a renowned events venue with bars, restaurants, music studios and a university all within its grounds. Check out what’s playing, book in a guided tour or simply head over and hang out by the water. 

  • Funkhaus, Nalepastraße 18, 12459 Berlin, details.

Check out a festival

If you’re new here, you may not realise it, but Berlin actually has a thriving party scene. It’s shocking, we know. We’re shocked. 

Tanz im August

Photo: Agnes Leclaire

Throughout the month of August, both international and Berlin-based theatre companies take to stages across the city for this celebration of contemporary dance. Shining a spotlight on experimental performances, it rounds off the summer with some welcome excitement.

  • Tanz im August various locations, 9-26 August, details.

Berlin Atonal

Photo: Pedro Kuster

This experimental and monumental music festival is packed with days of premier performances, artistic interventions, and legendary afterparties – all under the roof of Kraftwerk Berlin, a former industrial power plant. Join in to end the summer with an explosion of creative experimentation! 

  • Kraftwerk Berlin Köpenicker Str. 59–73, Mitte, 7-17 September details

Catch a movie at an open air cinema

Photo: W. Gladow

Known in German as Freiluftkinos, these venues are only open during the summer months – and that’s part of what makes them so special. 

Playing everything from new releases to cult classics and beyond, catching a flick at a Freiluftkino is the perfect way to spend a summer evening outdoors without having to tear your eyes away from a screen. And Berlin has plenty to choose from

Freiluftkino Kreuzberg

This one’s a personal favourite of ours. Nestled in the courtyard of atelier and culture centre Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Freiluftkino Kreuzberg is one of the city’s oldest open-air cinemas. They show films in their original languages with German subtitles, making this the perfect spot if you don’t feel like enduring a German dub. So grab a lounge chair, a snack from the concession stand, and enjoy some chill summer vibes.  

  • Freiluftkino Kreuzberg Mariannenplatz, Kreuzberg, details.

Open Air Kino Mitte

Tucked away on Rosenthaler Straße, the Open Air Kino Mitte fits right in with this neighbourhood’s creative scene, screening mostly arthouse films, classics, and the occasional premiere. If you plan on stopping by, though, it’s best to get tickets in advance: Seats fill up fast, and there aren’t many of them. 

  • Open Air Kino Mitte Rosenthaler Str. 39, Mitte, details.

Sommerkino auf dem Kulturforum

Photo: Imago/Future Image

Along with your scheduled programming, you can enjoy a view of the Potsdamer Platz skyline at Sommerkino auf dem Kulturforum. Not only are some of the best new films shown here, but beloved classics in their original languages are, too – sometimes even with actors in attendance. 

  • Sommerkino Kulturforum am Potsdamer Platz Matthäikirchplatz 4/6, Tiergarten, details.