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Six great reasons to spend your Christmas Holidays in Berlin

It is fast approaching that most magical time of the year and maybe you’re thinking about getting away for the Christmas holidays. Wondering where to go? Wonder no more! Here’s six reasons to spend your Christmas holidays in Berlin.

The German capital has a lot to offer in the holiday season, whether you want to do some last-minute shopping, take a walk along millions of dazzling fairy lights, enjoy mulled wine and traditional snacks at a Christmas market, or wander through a snow-covered historic capital, you are in the right place. Below are some great ideas for things to do at Christmas in Berlin.

 

Fairy lights all over the city – Unter den Linden and Kurfürstendamm


Berlin will certainly not disappoint you when it comes to Christmas decoration, especially twinkling lights. Throughout December, the German capital is adorned in sparkling fairy lights so if you like to stroll beneath shimmering lines of trees, don’t miss Unter den Linden and Kurfürstendamm.

More than two hundred trees along Unter den Linden Boulevard are spectacularly lit up every December and we promise you, you don’t want to miss it.  The Boulevard stretches from Humboldt University to the Brandenburg Gate, in front of which you’ll find the spectacular Christmas tree.

 

trees Illuminated with Christmas lights lining unterdenlinden in berlin, germany

 

If you haven’t had enough sparkle, you should hop over Kurfürstendamm. Kurfürstendamm and its surroundings are (arguably) over-illuminated with what seems like millions of lights. You will find more than six hundred lit up trees on the avenue as well as the man himself, Santa Claus, his reindeers, a snowman, and many ornamented Christmas trees and more. Ku’damm, as it is called locally, might be one of the most magical-looking places in Berlin during the Christmas season.

 

Christmas shopping in KaDeWe


Since you are in Kurfürstendamm, you should visit KaDeWe (short for Kaufhaus des Westens; or Department Store of the West). More than a hundred years old and eight-storeys-high, this luxurious department store is the second largest in Europe and the most famous for its Holiday decoration in Berlin. If you want to shop in a real Christmas winter wonderland, this is the place to visit. It has everything one could ever need, from luxury products to thrifty buys, high street brands and world-famous labels to local crafts and design.

There is also a great selection of food outlets and cuisines to choose from and, if you’re good boys and girls, you can meet Santa Claus who is around from the beginning of December until Christmas.

 

Exterior of the KaDeWe shopping centre in Berlin, Germany at daytime with snow on the groupnd and people passing by

 

Christmas markets in Berlin


There is no better way to spend the festive season than visiting traditional Christmas markets in Berlin. The history of these markets goes back to the Middle Ages and Germans are certainly proud of this tradition. There are numerous Holiday markets in Berlin during December, so we’re going to focus on the most popular ones, starting with two very central Christmas markets and fairs near the Television Tower.

You simply should not miss the traditional Christmas market at Alexander Platz. It not only offers well known German sweets and snacks, and the indispensable Glühwein (mulled wine), but also an enchanting Christmas funfair. If you travel with children, make sure to take them to Alex where they can try the carousels and run around the stalls while you peruse the craft stalls for some gifts to take home.

 

the christmas market at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, with festive lights and Christmas decorations at night while people explore the stalls

 

Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall) is just a few minutes’ walks away from Alexander Platz near the Medieval St. Mary’s Church. The market revisits the historical moments of the 1900s as the stalls are covered with the old pictures of the houses that were located in this very area of the city. Moreover, instead of modern Christmas music, they offer a classic organ grinder to set the perfect traditional atmosphere of the festive season. You will find traditional arts and crafts, food, snacks and drinks, and you can take a ride on a sixty-meter-high Ferris wheel to view the winter wonderland scene of city from above. If you feel cold, just put on ice skates (you can rent a pair) and join young and old skating in the ice rink.

 

People shopping and browsing at Christmas market at Charlottenburg in Berlin at night with the palace illuminated in white, green, and pink lighting in the background

 

The next Christmas market on our list takes place in the most beautiful surroundings: the Charlottenburg Palace. The castle and its park are beautifully lit-up, making for an enchanting backdrop to the market. The market offers traditional German and international delicacies, arts and crafts, Christmas music and a warm and welcoming atmosphere for its visitors. It is open on December 25 and 26, too.

 

Berlin Free Walking Tours


Christmas markets are a definite must on the things to do in Berlin at Christmas list; there’s plenty of them throughout the capital so you are bound to happen upon at least a couple as you explore the city. As mentioned above, these are cultural traditions steeped in history and heritage, so a great way to learn more about them is on one or more free walking tours in Berlin with local guides who will be delighted to tell you more about them.

You can always take a free walking tour, even if it’s snowy and a bit cold outside. These tours are the best ways to learn about Berlin in a short period of time, and since you are constantly moving and being amazed by new information, you won’t even feel the cold – especially if you pick up some delicious hot chocolate or mulled wine along the way. Also, your tour guide will give you great local insider tips on how to spend your afternoon and evening, where to eat, and where the best Christmas parties and nightlife is happening!

There are quite a few Berlin city tours you can choose from, such as the General historical free tour, the Third Reich tour, the Cold War tour and the Alternative tour. Whichever you decide to take, make sure to book your free tour online in advance on FREETOUR.com or the Free Tour app, especially during the busy Christmas holiday and new year period.

 

Ice skating in Berlin


If you like to enjoy your vacation actively, you might want to try one of the many ice skate rinks of Berlin. The large mobile ice rink at Potsdamer Platz, for example, provides a nice, professional and free ice-skating opportunity for winter sports lovers. The more than 500 square meters Winter World is open until January 6th, and if you have your own ice skates with you, you can skate here for free. If, like most people, you don’t bring a pair of ice skates with you while travelling, fear not; you can also rent them for a small fee.

 

Ice skating rink in Alexanderplatz from above, illuminated in purple and orange with skaters on the ice and crowds of people watching

 

Another very popular ice-skating rink in Berlin is the ring-shaped rink around Neptunbrunnen (Neptune Fountain) near Alexanderplatz. It is about 600 square meters and opens until the end of December. The skating fun is accompanied by charming Christmas melodies and the lighting of the surrounding Christmas market.

Charlottenburg is home to the biggest ice-skating rink in Berlin, the Horst-Dohm Ice Stadium. It is not exactly in the city center, but you can take the metro to Charlottenburg and enjoy the large indoor and outdoor ice where you can practice skating in racing lanes or comfortably skate in the rinks. The stadium is open from October until the end of February.

 

Christmas in the Botanical Garden


Take a magical walk through the festively lit Botanical Garden from November 15th to January 6th. You will find thirty individual light installations along the two kilometres trail of beautiful garden. The trees on the trail are adorned with fairy lights to make you feel you entered a magical festive wonderland. Millions of colorful fairy lights will make the Botanical Gardens a truly unique and unforgettable winter experience in Berlin.

The Garden is a charming place all year long, but none of the seasons offers such an exquisite spectacle as this special, shimmering kingdom of winter that welcomes its visitors in the Holiday season.

 

Kurfurstendamm in Berlin at Christmas

 

One list is certainly not enough to mention all the festive places and activities on offer in Berlin at Christmas. However, one thing is certain. The German capital is a perfect place to spend the Holiday season. Berliners celebrate not only Christmas but also the entire Advent season and adorn their beloved city with glittering fairy lights, captivating ornaments and dazzling Christmas decorations. The abundant Christmas markets, traditional foods and drinks, fun Christmas activities and the vibrant and cheerful mood of the celebrating city only add to the already compelling atmosphere of Berlin. Why wait?! Book your ticket to the sparkling winter wonderland of Europe and let those warm, fuzzy feelings that only Christmas magic can bring take over you.