Berlin in summer is Berlin at its best. It’s one of those cities where locals will avoid venturing far because they know that few other cities will provide the same amount of open air entertainment. With over 100 lakes, many of which are suitable for swimming, there is no need to board planes and trains to the ocean, all it takes is a €2,60 S-bahn ticket or even just a bike ride. But it doesn’t stop there. Open-air parties happen every week, there are lots of outdoor restaurants and bars along the river, street festivals and so much more. Having lived here for over five years, I wanted to sum up six of my absolute favorite things to do in Berlin during summer.

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1. Wasserkutsche

As one of the highlights of our summer last year Kathi and I got to go on a 2 day trip around Berlin’s lakes and rivers on the uniquely cool houseboat that is Wasserkutsche (translates to water carriage). No boat licence is needed for this one, so you can bring all your friends and family for a lovely day out on the water, get a tan on the roof, take a nap in one of the 4 beds or get some water boiling for tea and coffee as you simply watch the world go by. The summer days and especially weekends get snatched quickly so best to book a few weeks in advance. More info can be found on the Wasserkutsche website.

wasserkutsche berlin

2. Dancing at Monbijou Park

It’s rare that something really is for everyone but this nightly open air dance spectacle, open to anyone who cares to shake a leg or just watch everyone else doing so, is truly great and entertaining. Be it for the colossal backdrop Berlin’s TV Tower to one and the Pergamon Museum to the other side, this set-up is amongst the most popular places to spend a warm summer’s night in. Tango, Salsa and other standard dances find a gracious audience here, the full program can be looked up here. And the cost? No cost, this one’s free, so grab a chilled bottle of wine for €9 and find a place on the steps, as often the tables fill up fast. If you haven’t eaten – the pizza here is amongst the best in the city.

tanz am amphietheater monbijoupark berlin

3. Stand-up paddle Yoga at Müggelsee

There is so much water in Berlin, it would be a shame to waste all of it on just swimming and boating. The newish trend of Stand-Up-Paddling is one of the options that are great to try out in calm lake water, so head to Strandbad Müggelsee and rent a board at the Nalani SUP Center. They even offer summer flat rates and other deals for those who just can’t get enough of SUP. If you love a bit of adventure, consider signing up to one of their 1 to 5 day Stand-Up-Paddle tours through Berlin’s lakelandia. We were tipped off by an insider that when asked in person the guy at the shop agrees to do sunrise tours where he brings hot coffee and buns and you get to have an impossibly romantic breakfast on the lake watching the sun go up.

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Unusual but a lovely little adventure are the SUP Yoga sessions, offered by Yve from Shankari Yoga where Yoga exercises are performed on the boards. The water surface is an added challenge but quite refreshing if you do fall in.

 

4. Sunday-Karaoke at Mauerpark

You can’t help but love this long-standing (ok 5 years, but still) tradition of summer Sundays in Prenzlauer Berg’s Mauerpark. From 3 to 6 Irish Joe Hatchiban and his Bearpit Karaoke bike come to set up shop and entertain half of Berlin with fun Karaoke classics. Anyone can sign up, cheers and claps are guaranteed for even the worst of singers. Great fun that is free, although donations are appreciated.

bearpit karaoke berlin mauerpark

5. Outdoor-Cinema

Many large cities offer this fantastic option – movies shown under the open sky while people either get comfortable on picnic blankets or camping chairs. Berlin has no less than 17 of those wonderful set-ups (see a full list here) with the one in Kreuzberg ranging as a favorite as all films are shown in their original version.

open air cinema berlin

6. Lakes

Last but most definitely not least, the one thing that can turn any old summer’s day in a memorable event – a day by the lake. And in Berlin you are spoilt for options. For an inner-city beach vibe, opt for Strandbad Plötzensee in Wedding or cycle over to Strandbad Orankesee (this lake is also perfect for anyone wanting to grab a few drinks and go skinny-dipping at midnight, as there is usually no one around). A bit further but worth the trip is Müggelsee, as here you can rent stand-up paddling boards and boats as well.

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For free of charge lake pleasures the highlights include but are not limited to Liebnitzsee, Sacrower See or my personal favorite – Schlachtensee. All those are free, clean and close to public transportation. Many times there will be at least one option to rent out boats, a highly romantic endeavour, especially during later hours in the day, when the bright sunshine has transformed into a mellow summer’s evening glow. Usually boat rentals sell beer and ice-cream for some added awesomeness.

boat ride lake berlin

* all photos by Katja Hentschel