The first time Jack and I planned a winter trip to Berlin, our friends and family thought we were crazy. Despite the freezing temperatures, the holiday season in Germany’s capital is magical – it’s why Jack and I have gone back to Berlin each December for the last 3 years.
Now to answer the question, why Berlin in the winter: Bratwurst and Gluhwein! Actually there is so much to this city. To be prepared we packed our parkas, hats, scarves, gloves and winter boots and set off to Berlin for a quick trip.
One of the things that draws us back to Berlin year after year are the Christmas markets. Every Platz has another Christmas market, filled with food stands, crafts, beer and mulled wine (Gluhwein). What we find is that the local community go to these markets to visit with friends over a meal, a drink, and to buy unique gifts such as handmade hats, olive oil wood products, and so much more. As I write this I can still smell the bratwurst on the open grill with the peppers and onions being placed on a roll.
Berlin is a city filled with food but also rich with history and culture. We were ready to walk off some of the bratwurst so we strolled down the lovely Unter der Linden. If you need a quick break from the cold — and feel like you need a bit of American comforts — there’s a Dunkin Donuts along the way.
Filled with caffeine from Dunkin Donuts and still full from bratwurst, we made our way to the Museum Island on the Spree River — which always seems to look closer on the map than it really is!
Museum Island, an island in the middle of Berlin where you can explore five different museums. At this UNESCO World Heritage Site you can see a bust of the Egyptian queen Neferiti, the spectacular Pergamon Altar, and the breathtaking Ishtar Gate.
After spending some time on Museum Island we we headed to the Reichstag, Germany’s Parliament building. I highly recommend your purchase your ticket in advance, which will save you time waiting in line out in the cold. Prior to climbing to the top up a ramp, grab the audio guide as it will tell you what you are looking at on the way up and then back down. The building is magnificent and a quick trip. I’d recommend 30 minutes and you will be off to the next site.
From the Reichstag, we took a 10-minute taxi ride to see the Schloss Charlottenburg Palace. The palace is beautiful with many original furniture pieces. Similar to the Reichstag, be sure to grab the audio guide as it explains the family tree and what each room was used for during a particular time period.
I can’t recommend Berlin enough. It’s a charming city filled with cultural influences from across the globe. The food and the history alone are enough to keep us coming back year after year.