We welcome this upcoming cold season as our third Berlin winter and, as Brazilians, this is kind of an issue for us since what we call winter in Brazil can be described as a cold summer day here in Germany. But we still love it. Why? It is different from what we had before and it is always great to be able to have proper seasons. Simple, right?
We almost feel like veterans with this third winter coming ahead but we know this is not true. We have never been through a real winter in Berlin. Everybody says to us that the last two seasons (2012 and 2013) were relatively mild and, this year, feels kind of different. Until now, there is no snow and it is really cold.
Cold enough to know that everything that we have is not going to be enough and we won’t leave the house anymore. We will leave in a diet of hot chocolate while laying on our bed. Darkness will be our all you can see and the good life we have in Berlin will be over.
All of the points above can happen. But, we have hope. We hope that this winter will be not that bad and we will be able to have a good season. Thinking about that, we decided to create this list with 7 reasons to experience the Berlin Winter.
JUST BECAUSE IT’S COLD, DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO STAY INSIDE!
There are a lot of things that you can do if you layer up and have the courage to go outside. Especially if it is snowing outside.
Personally, I know that if I ever try to ice skate, I will break my neck and die in a few minutes after putting the skates on. I have no sense of balance and I know this will happen. But, if you have more balance than me, you should try the Alte Eisbahn Lankwitz. But you don’t need to go all the way to Lankwitz to ice skate. Berlin has several skating rinks around the city. Neukölln, Wedding, Charlottenburg, and Lichtenberg have these rinks and you can see a full list of it here.
If ice skating is not your thing but you want to try to enjoy something outside, you should try the hills Berlin has to offer. Some of the most popular Rodelbahnen can be found on Viktoria Park, Hasenheide, Mauerpark and Volkspark Friedrichshain. There is a huge list of everywhere you can sled down some hills. You can even try to go down Teufelsberg or the Freizeitpark Lübars.
But, if you want something different, you can bet Berlin will provide you with something else. That is why we are inviting everybody we know to join us at the Schneeballrschlacht that will happen on January 25 at Görlitzerpark. Joins us there if you are looking forward to having your body covered in white snow and filled with glühwein and bratwurst. We will be there and you should too.
CULTURAL TOUR OF BERLIN WINTER
Remember all the museums you always wanted to go but never had the time to go there? Winter in Berlin is the perfect time to do some cultural tours of this city and just enjoy all the things you pretend to do when your family asks you what you are doing in Berlin.
There are some obvious museums that everybody needs to go here in Berlin. Our favorite ones are the Deutsches Historisches Museum, the Neues Museum, the German-Russian Museum and Pergamonmuseum. But there are more museums in this city.
Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie, Gemäldegalerie, DDR Museum, Jewish Museum. These are a few of the ones we are looking forward to visiting for the first time. But there are lots of lesser-known museums that are really worth exploring. From the Ramones Museum to the Buchstaben Museum. From the Bauhaus Archive to German-Russian Museum in Karlshorst. Berlin has something for everyone.
If you are into photography as much as we are, you should visit Camera Work, with works from Diane Arbus and Irving Penn and more, on Kantstrasse. And, if you get there early, you can enjoy the fact that C/O Berlin is close by and visit there as well.
A Walk over the Frozen Landwehr Canal
One of the best things to do in the winter in Berlin is to check if you can take a walk over the canal. The Landwehr canal is located in the city of Berlin and connects neighborhoods like Charlottenburg and Neukölln. It is not very common to freeze so much that people can walk, dance, ride a bike and even play some music. But when it does, everybody goes down to have a great time in a not so commonplace for hangout in Berlin.
You can check it out on the video below and see how many times we got close to falling on ice!
WINTER IN BERLIN IS FESTIVAL SEASON
Another event that happens during winter in Berlin is the world-famous Berlinale. From february 5 to the 15, Berlin will become the world capital of cinema. We never been there but you can bet we will be there this year.
But if you are looking for something different, you will love the Transmediale. I worked in the 2013 edition and I can easily say it is a wonderful event for those who have a sense of the tiny things of our society.
Transmediale is an interdisciplinary festival of art, culture and technology that always puts our modern times in a critical perspective. It has been going on for almost 30 years and we remember hearing about it from Brazil, so you can go there without any doubt that it will be great. The 28th edition of transmediale takes place from 28 January to 1 February 2015 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt and aims to investigate the quantification of life, work and play and its limits.
Parallel to Transmediale, there is a musical festival happening for all of you fans of experimental electronic music. CTM Festival is the name of it and this is not our thing but we have to say we have lots of friends that really love this festival. We are looking forward to see Electric Wizard and Alec Empire play there.
EAT AND DRINK EVERYTHING DURING THIS BERLIN WINTER!
Winter is the time of the year where if you have nothing to do you will end up gathering a lot of winter fat. This is cool for bear but not for humans. Too bad since we are all going to do it either way.
One of the best places to gather this winter fat is to try some South American meat at our favorite restaurant in Berlin: Sudaka. They have the best steaks we have ever eaten in Europe. You should definitely try it out.
If you are looking for something cheaper, you have to try the burgers at BBI. Since it will be cold, most people try to avoid an open burger place like Berlin Burger International so this is the best time of the year to go there and avoid the long queues. Since you are already close to it, you should try the best Japanese-French coffee place of Berlin. Two and Two has a great chocolate cake and, if you eat it together with some warm chocolate, you will be in heaven for hours. Try it out!
Another thing that we love to do is to just leave some beers outside and wait for the cold climate to take care of everything. As a couple of Brazilians that don’t have a proper winter, we love to do this everytime is cold enough.
New Year’s in Berlin
Something else that happens here in Berlin during winter is the New Years Eve or, how Germany likes to call it, Silvester. Personally, we call it the Yearly Battle of Berlin since Germans have this weird tradition of creating a neighborhood firework riot that will scare the shit out of everyone. We read somewhere the New Years Eve in Berlin is something beautiful and all we can say is that those people are crazy. Just watch the video below and think about it.
If you have cats or dogs, be careful with them. The noise from the fireworks will drive them crazy.
THE COLD AND THE SNOW MAKES EVERYTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL SO WALK AROUND
After we were in Umeå facing -20º degrees for some hours outside, we have to say that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Since Berlin doesn’t get that cold, we hope, you can try to leave your house and see how beautiful Berlin can be during the winter.
A great tip for the winter times in Berlin is to try to see the famous tourist spots of the city. The Brandenburg Gate looks beautiful on a cold night without the mass of tourist that gather there every day.
Layer yourself and try to see what Berlin has to offer. We love to walk around the Landwehr Canal, especially, if it is completely frozen. Just the thought of how different it will look in a few months is enough for our daily dose of daydreaming.
The options are limitless and depend mostly on where do you live and where do you want to take a walk. The worst thing that might happen to you is that you have to jump into the U-Bahn or go inside one of the many cafes this city has to offer. But we would try to go to the Schwerbelastungskörper since it must have a great view of the surrounding Schöneberg.
We are big advocates of walking and you should try it as well. Just don’t go crazy and walk to Poland like I did. This is something to do during warmer months.
KEEP YOURSELF WARM
Like we said before: there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. With this in mind, you have to think about how well prepared you are to survive the winter in Berlin. Our cats don’t ever leave the heater but you can do it.
Get a warm coat that, maybe, looks good. Don’t forget to buy good winter boots. Don’t forget to keep your head and feet warm. Get some winter socks and a cool looking hood. If it is still cold, try to layer up everything or just wear everything you have. You can even start a new hipster trend!