Katja does. And I do too. I have this thing for summer. Big time. I fall for the smell of warm asphalt and embrace every sweat bead running down my neck. My favourite shoes are bare feet and my level of happiness correlates with the number of freckles in my face. German summers tend to be an emotional rollercoaster weather-wise, so whenever 30 degrees hit town, Berlin’s sun-saluters go crazy and refuse to be anywhere with a roof on top. To fight off this sudden melancholia that sometimes hits me when the days get shorter again and I see my beloved summer slowly fading, I decided to throw it a worthy finissage party and tell you all about 5 of my favourite things to do in Berlin summer. Here you go!
1. HAVE A PICNIC AT KORNERPARK BERLIN
While some people prefer a chair situation I’m all over hangouts on a blanket somewhere outside. Ideally there’s food involved, which magically turns the whole thing into a picnic. Classic summer trick. Since Berlin is full of beautiful parks and hidden green gems it seems like it’s just made for this. You either prep it all yourself or take it easy and rent out a picnic basket at Zitronencafe , a cafe located in “Kornerpark” in Neukolln, which to me is one of the most beautiful parks in Berlin. The former gravel pit now resembles a palace garden and is a truly a magical place full of fountains, palm and citrus trees. Sitting on the lush green grass, munching your “Stulle” (Berlin-slang for “Sandwich”) will make you feel like a full-on royal. The cafe within is located on the west side of the park and open from 10 am until 8pm, Monday-Sunday. Ordering a picnic basket is easy – you just walk in, choose from the small but tasty menu and they will assemble your basket. Breakfast is served all day long and is a reliable picnic option, as well as the nice variety of homemade cakes or their lunch specials. On weekends they serve brunch and have barbecues. The prices are very decent and the picnic basket only requires a deposit, no extra charge. On summer weekends they also do concerts in the park, which makes the atmosphere even more magical.
Kornerpark, Schierker Str. 8, 12051 Berlin-Neukolln
2. VISIT THE BEER GARDEN WILDER HASE IM NIRGENDWO
A beer garden (“Biergarten” in German) is a garden full of beer. Well… kind of. Originating in 19th century southern Germany, you now find these gastronomical outdoor venues all over the country, serving beer, drinks and local food. Mainly because having an ice-cold beer at a big wooden table, surrounded by old and new friends, lulled by the sun and whispering trees is a thing a lot of people like. My favourite one is a bit special, since it’s the first fully vegan beer garden and a real haven. The “Wilder Hase im Nirgendwo”, (the “wild rabbit in the nowhere”) is located right next to the world-famous “Berghain” techno club, and once you get past its massive, brooding neighbour it’s quite bright and colourful. Once you find it, well hidden around the right corner (facing the main entrance) of Berghain, a dreamy green get-away unfolds. The vibe is extremely relaxed and friendly and there’s space for everyone – be it on the sun deck, a hammock or one of the self-made benches and chairs. Have a beer or the house special, a homemade rose bowle, eat a pretzel with some darn good hummus and simply forget about Berlin’s busy streets. The garden is open all summer long from Thursday to Sunday from 5 pm on, with exceptions for bad weather. Make sure to check their Facebook page for changes and the daily menu.
Wilder Hase im Nirgendwo, Helsingforser Str. 10, 10243 Berlin-Friedrichshain
3. HAVE YOURSELF AN ICE CREAM-FUELLED WALK TO TEMPELHOFER FELD
Sticky ice cream hands accompanied many of our very first summer-experiences, so why not stick (haha) with it? Embrace the fact that you’re a grown-up and nobody can keep you away from eating five ice scoops in one sitting. Your mum won’t know. One of my Berlin favourites is Mos Eisley, which is located in Neukolln’s trending Schillerkiez, super close to the former airport “Tempelhofer Feld”. Their homemade ice-cream is full of high-quality products, that are sourced local if possible. The selection of flavours varies, since everything is freshly prepared every day. They do a great job with the classics but also go for more unusual combinations like whiskey-chocolate, apple pie or even a beer sorbet. They serve good vegan options as well – I highly recommend the crunchy peanut butter ice. Treat yourself and then take your sugar high out for a walk on the former landing strips to dream of far and exotic travels.
Mos Eisley, Herrfurthplatz 6, 12049 Berlin-Neukolln
Still hungry? Also check out Kathis hunt for the best ice-cream spots in town
4. RIDE YOUR BIKE TO A LAKE
I’m not the first one to tell you this but Berlin’s lake situation is pretty fabulous. So whether you are a Berliner or just visiting make use of it while it’s still warm. To step up the Berlin summer game do a bike tour to get there. The city and the area around it is meant to be discovered on bike and when you’re willing to invest just a bit of time (and potentially sweat) you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view and some real refreshment. My absolute favourite is Liepnitzsee, north-west from Berlin, but getting there via bike will take you a bit of time – around 2 hours if you start from S-Bahn Bernau. The crystal clear water and beautiful surrounding nature is worth the effort though. Bring enough water, friends and snacks and turn it into a full-day adventure. If you prefer to take it a bit more easy I recommend Plotzensee, located in the northern part of town. Getting there on bike only takes you around half an hour from the city centre. There’s a beach (Strandbad Plotzensee), but you can also just access for free from the other side and hop the small fence, like many people do during the hot days. For more bike tour inspiration check out komoot – their app also provides helpful step-by-step-directions. If you don’t have access to a bike yourself simply rent one – there are plenty of options, depending on where in the city you are located, for example Berlin and Bike.
5. PICK SOME FLOWERS & KEEP SUMMER CLOSE TO YOUR HEART
I am a a bit of a nostalgic, so whenever I’m travelling or really enjoy a certain moment I take little souvenirs with me to remember. And summer in Berlin is totally worth being remembered, especially during our heavily grey winters. So one day in August we rode our bikes to Rudow, a very village-like part of town south of Neukolln and forgot time, strolling through fields of wild flowers with scratched legs and the biggest smiles on our faces. So here’s my last advice: Go pick some flowers (be polite and don’t steal anyone’s roses) and keep them as a memory of your (hopefully) amazing summer in Berlin. Either dry or press them and assemble a nice little artwork, just for yourself and the summer in your heart.
All photos by Tabea Mathern