Berlin in December is like a snow-globe come to life, where each flake seems to sprinkle an extra touch of magic over the city’s historic streets and grand boulevards. As the heart of Germany embraces winter’s embrace, the German capital twinkles under the festive lights, echoing stories of its rich past while celebrating the season’s jubilant present.
From the shimmering Gendarmenmarkt to the iconic Brandenburg Gate, the city offers a mesmerizing journey, making December in Berlin an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply in search of a winter wonderland, Berlin has something for everyone. So, wrap up warm, let the festive air fill your senses, and dive into a world where history meets holiday cheer in the most enchanting way.
Major December Events in Berlin
Christmas Markets and Festivities
Like most European cities, when you’re in Berlin during December, you can’t miss the festive atmosphere of the Christmas markets throughout the entire city. There are over 100 of these markets spread across Berlin, headlined by the popular and centrally-located Christmas Market on Gendarmenmarkt.
Other popular Christmas Markets in Berlin include:
Christmas Market in Spandau
Berlin’s largest and most traditional market transforms historic Spandau Old Town into a festive fairyland.
Christmas Fair on Landsberger Allee
A lively urban affair that combines modern holiday delights with the nostalgic charm of vintage carousels.
Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz
At the heart of Berlin, this market offers a mesmerizing ice rink and the iconic World Clock backdrop, immersing you in the city’s historic pulse.
Christmas Market on Breitscheidplatz
Nestled near the iconic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, this market dazzles with its unique blend of festive lights, crafts, and a romantic ice rink.
In addition to the traditional Christmas markets, take a stroll through the Christmas Garden Berlin, where illuminated installations take over the Berlin Botanic Garden all December long.
If you’re up for something thrilling, don’t miss the festivities of the Christmas Circus, featuring acrobatics and breathtaking performances.
One more must-visit event is Christmas at the Tierpark (Weihnachten Im Tierpark) when the zoo gleams with festive lights. Even some of the animals come out to play.
New Year’s Celebrations
For New Year’s Eve, Berlin hosts one of Germany’s biggest celebrations, with more than a million people gathering around the Brandenburg Gate. The night sky lights up with spectacular fireworks, and live music keeps the energy high till the wee hours.
Activities to Do in Berlin in December
In December, Berlin turns into a festive wonderland. One of the most popular outdoor activities is ice skating. You can find several ice rinks throughout the city where you can strap on your skates and glide over the ice.
Another favorite activity is exploring the numerous Christmas markets that pop up across the city. Here, you can indulge in delicious food, warm drinks, and shop for unique gifts while enjoying the lively atmosphere.
Attractions and Shows
For the true Berlin experience, don’t miss the Roncalli Christmas Circus at Tempodrom, which offers both awe-inspiring acts and festive fun.
Or, for a more intimate experience, watch for choral performances at Berlin Cathedral or Charlottenburg Palace.
Must-Visit Places in Berlin in December
Historic Sights To See
In December, Berlin’s historic sites light up with a festive atmosphere. You definitely don’t want to miss visiting the Gendarmenmarkt and Brandenburg Gate. Gendarmenmarkt hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the capital city, while the iconic Brandenburg Gate shines bright with festive lights. Take a stroll along the Berlin Wall remnants that split West Berlin and East Berlin as well as the West from East Germany. On your stroll, definitely visit the vibrant East Side Gallery, where you can explore artwork on the wall. Don’t forget to wander around Potsdamer Platz – this winter wonderland transforms into a buzzing Christmas market with an ice-skating rink!
Berlin’s Beautiful Gardens
Though the city may be cold in December, vibrant gardens in Berlin still offer a stunning display of nature. Bundle up and head to Berlin Botanical Garden – it’s all done up during the holidays. While there, explore the tropical greenhouse that’s filled with exotic plants.
You’ll also want to visit the Tiergarten, the city’s main park. It offers winding paths, serene lakes, and lovely sculptures – a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city. You’ll also find plenty of decorations, namely at the Berlin Zoological Garden.
Art and Museums
Berlin’s art scene and museums are not to be missed during your December visit. The Pergamon Museum is a must-see, displaying world-famous antiquities, such as the Pergamon Altar and the famous Ishtar Gate. When you’re ready to warm up indoors, check out exhibitions and installations at a variety of galleries. From contemporary art to rich history, you’ll find it all in Berlin. So bundle up, grab your best art appreciating buddy, and hit the scene – you won’t be disappointed!
Food and Drink Specialties in December
Traditional German Cuisine
In December, you’ll find some classic German dishes that’ll warm you up and make your mouth water. One of the must-tries is Roast Goose. It’s a traditional dish often served around Christmas, and many restaurants in Berlin will have it on their menu. The crisp, juicy goose is typically served with dumplings, red cabbage, and gravy, making it the perfect comfort meal for chilly December days.
Of course, you can’t visit Berlin without trying the famous Currywurst. Although it’s available all year round, it makes for an excellent quick and tasty snack while you’re exploring the city’s Christmas markets. Grab one from a street vendor and enjoy the delightful combination of steamed, then fried pork sausage, sliced and topped with a spicy curry ketchup.
Some other must-try foods at Berlin Christmas markets include:
Kartoffelpuffer (Potato Pancakes): These crispy potato treats are often served with apple sauce.
Schmalzkuchen: Small, deep-fried dough balls dusted with powdered sugar. Basically, they are bite-sized doughnuts popular in Northern Germany.
Berliner Pfannkuchen: Commonly known as just “Berliner,” these are jam-filled doughnuts without a central hole. They’re particularly popular during New Year’s festivities but can be spotted at Christmas markets.
Baumkuchen: Known as “tree cake,” this is a layered cake that, when sliced, resembles the rings of a tree. It’s a cherished German treat during the festive season.
As you wander through the magical Berlin Christmas markets, you’ll come across some delicious, warming beverages that are synonymous with the festive season. One of the most popular is Mulled Wine (Glühwein in German). This aromatic, spiced red wine is typically served hot, and its enticing smell fills the air at markets, beckoning you to cozy up with a cup in hand.
In addition to mulled wine, keep an eye out for other hot drinks like the non-alcoholic Kinderpunsch or the more potent Feuerzangenbowle, which involves a rum-soaked sugarloaf set ablaze and dripped into a bowl of mulled wine. These festive beverages will warm you up from the inside out on those cold December days in Berlin.
And, of course, any hot chocolate you drink in Berlin is going to be German chocolate. Just something to keep in mind.
Weather in December in Berlin
Let’s cut right to it: Berlin can be pretty darn cold in December. In fact, it’s the coldest month of the year for the city. So when you’re out and about hopping from one spot to another, make sure you’re bundled up. Wearing layers is the way to go because you’ll find that the transport facilities are often well-heated – you don’t want to be sweating under your oversized coat while waiting for your next connection.
Also, keep an eye out for potential transit delays due to weather issues or ice on the tracks. If you’re using public transport, winter slowdowns can be a problem.
While you might be hoping for a winter wonderland while in Berlin, snowfall can be a bit unpredictable. Most of the time, you’ll experience rain rather than snow.
Get ready to bundle up as temperatures during December usually hover around 3°C (37°F) for a high and hit lows at around -1°C (30°F). That said, daytime tends to be slightly warmer at around 4.2°C (39.56°F), while nights can drop to -0.5°C (31.1°F).
Berlin sees about 51 mm of precipitation in December, with around 16 rainy days during the month. It doesn’t always snow, but you might have a better chance of catching some flakes at nighttime when the temps start to drop. But that’s just perfect for walking around Christmas markets in the evenings.
Days are pretty short in Berlin during December. Still, there’s time enough to explore the city and its cozy Christmas markets, which are typically open well into the evening.
In December, Berlin’s charm doesn’t fade away but gets even brighter with winter activities like the beautiful Christmas markets that light the city. So embrace the chill, ready for public transport, and let yourself be dazzled by the Winter Wonderland that the city transforms into during this festive season.