Berlin’s best spots for the Cherry Blossom-season

Cherry Blossom in Berlin

What the cherry blossom season in Berlin has to do with the Cold War, how Japan was involved in planting the trees, and where to find the best spots for the pink sea of blossoms – all of this I will tell you in the following blog post.

Every year between mid of April and the begging of May, Berlin blazes in a pink sea of cherry blossoms. The time mostly depends on the weather and how early in the year it is getting warm. In general, the trees bloom between two and three weeks.

💡 Information about cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms (also Japanese cherry) or in Japanese called “sakura” (桜 ) is the white or pink flower of the ornamental cherry tree and of particular importance in Japan. The blossom of the tree is considered to be the national flower of the country. In Japan, it describes the attributes of beauty, departure, and caducity. In Japanese, it is combined in the non-translatable word mono no aware” (物の哀れ) that describes the bittersweetness of a fading moment of transcendent beauty. The cherry blossom season in Japan markers the peak of the Japanese calendar and the beginning of spring.
The Japanese cherry is only used as an ornamental tree in contrast to cherry trees that are planted for the actual fruit.
A present from Japan

Germany received the cherry blossom trees in 1990 as a gift from Japan. East and West Germany celebrated their reunification on the 3rd of October. Therefore, the Japanese TV broadcast TV Asahi started fundraising for the planting of some cherry blossom trees. They received enough money for more than 9,000 trees, most of them were brought to Berlin.

Exchange of spies during the Cold War

The first trees were planted at the Glienicker Bridge in November 1990. The bridge links Potsdam (former East Germany) with (West) Berlin and was especially important during the Cold War since the USA and the Soviet Union used it to exchange their spies. Until today, the bridge is painted in two different shades of green and markers the borderline (nowadays it is just the borderline between two different federal states). The GDR (German Democratic Republic, East Germany), as well as the FDR (Federal Republic of Germany, West Germany), painted both around half of the bridge. The part of West Berlin is in a darker green shade. Not only because East Germany chose a slightly lighter green but also because West Germany started painting the bridge a few years earlier and therefore, the weather conditions stained the bridge.

The longest cherry blossom alley of Berlin

More than 1,000 trees seaming the TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenallee (cherry blossom alley) on the wall trail (Mauerweg) between former West-Berlin and the GDR (German Democratic Republic, East Germany). The alley is more than 100 metres (109 yards) long. Usually, there is also the Hanami Festival. Hanami (花見) is Japanese and means literally translated “flower viewing”. It describes the Japanese tradition of visiting the first cherry blossoms in spring and enjoying their beauty. In Berlin, the festival offers a picnic, Japanese food, and a cultural programme.

❗️ Cherry blossom ticker
The city of Teltow in Brandenburg has its own cherry blossom ticker (Kirschblütenticker) to check if the blossoms are already blooming at the TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenalle, the longest cherry blossom alley of Berlin. The ticker is in form of a photo gallery with a current photo of the bud of a flower, renewed every second day during the season. You can check out the ticker here (the homepage is in German).
Cherry blossom meets German history

The cherry blossom trees are mainly planted along the wall trail (the former location of the Berlin Wall) and also marker some Historian places in Berlin. A lot of trees are under the bridge “Bösebrücke” which was the first open borderline between East and West Berlin on the 9th of November 1989, the day of the fall of the wall.

🚌 Where to find cherry blossom trees
📍 TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenallee (Borderline between Berlin-Lichterfelde and Teltow):
Take the S25 or S26 to the S-Bahn station Lichterfelde-Süd, from there you follow the Holtheimer Weg. After around 550 metres (601 yards) you should reach the cherry blossom trees.
📍 Under the bridge Bösebrücke” at Bornholmer Straße (Prenzlauer Berg/Gesundbrunnen):
The Mauerweg with its cherry blossom trees runs directly under the bridge of the S-Bahn station Bornholmer Straße (S1, S2, S25, S26, S8, S85).
📍 Volkspark am Weinberg or also called Weinbergpark (Mitte):
You can reach the Weinbergpark in around 5 minutes by foot from the U-Bahn station Rosenthaler Platz (U8).
📍 Zionskirchstraße (Mitte):
The Zionskirchstraße is just another 5 minutes walk from the Weinbergpark. If you follow the street in the direction of the same-named church you will find an alley of cherry blossom in the middle of the city.
📍 Schwedter Straße at Mauerpark (Prenzlauer Berg):
The Schwedter Straße on the Mauerpark lays between the U-Bahn station Bernauer Straße (U8) and Eberswalder Straße (U2).
📍 Strausberger Platz (Friedrichshain):
The cherry blossom trees are directly at the U-Bahn station Strausberger Platz (U5).
📍 Gärten der Welt (Marzahn):
Gärten der Welt (literally translated Gardens of the World) offer 22 different garden installations. The park costs an entrance fee and is best reachable with the U5 to the U-Bahn station Kienberg – Gärten der Welt.
Click here to visit the official page and to get more information.
There are a few more spots in and around Berlin, especially at the Mauerweg (Wall Trial) where you can find more cherry blossom trees. These are the more famous spots.
The public transport of Berlin is called BVG, click here to find more train connections.

You have read the blog post Berlin’s best spots for the Cherry Blossom-season on My Travel Journal-Blog.

Why do volunteering

This article might be a bit different from my other ones – today I want to talk about voluntary work (ergo working without getting paid) and why it can be a great opportunity for you. (Just to clarify I’m more talking about clubs, associations and societies – not about an official gap year). In this blog post, I want to share my personal experiences with you. And I would like to introduce you to my student association AEGEE – at least this part is about travelling, I promise.

Discussion about cultural differences in Russia at my student summer exchange 2018 in Saint Petersburg.

First of all, volunteering can involve a lot of different fields and you can join it in all kind of life circumstances. The definition is more or less to work and give your time for free – like a community service. But to be honest, yes it is especially an interesting topic if you are younger and still in your status of education like school, university or in an apprenticeship (but latter makes it harder to find the time, I know, I have been there as well). But in general, there is no age limit – especially not in the terms of getting older.

A lot of people link voluntary work with social work and yes this can be involved, but there are also plenty of other ways to volunteer especially in sports, cultural or economical ways. It can be a schools club or an initiative of your neighbourhood – the only important point is that it supports your interests – after all, you invest your time for free. Some organisations also offer volunteer work in other countries – this way you are actually able to combine your interest in working for a project with travelling. Even though, the interest in supporting the chosen project should be the main impulse. It probably also depends on how strong voluntary work is supported in your country. Actually, I heard from friends that in the Netherlands joining a student club is obligatory.

Moderating the 5th anniversary show of my radio club couchFM (Berlin)

I grow up in Germany where I feel the whole system of voluntary work especially in school is not that strongly supported. In school, we only had a very little choice in different clubs, I was part of the art club, Computer club and later of the pupil’s magazine. But I think for me the really important voluntary work started when I began studying. Lucky me, we had some student associations which presented themselves on our welcome event of my major – theatre and media science. This is how I joined the radio club of my university in my first semester. A few years later, I also became a member of AEGEE when I started my master studies in Berlin.

The flag of my student association AEGEE-Berlin at a summer event

What is AEGEE?
I want to gain the chance to actually tell you something about my student association of AEGEE – because it could be interesting for you (in case you live in Europe) – especially since you seem to love travelling. AEGEE is a student’s forum and the shortcut of Association des Etats Généraux des Éstudiants de l’Europe – or easier we are one of the biggest interdisciplinary student organisations of Europe. We strive for a democratic, diverse and borderless Europe. This is also the reason why AEGEE has locals who are not part of the European Union. We are non-governmental, politically independent, and a non-profit organisation. Our network includes around 10,000 members from over 160 cities in around 40 countries – from the Canary Islands until Siberia. To me, AEGEE supports especially the political and cultural exchange between young people and empower them to take an active part in society.    
For more information visit aegee.org

Craziest experience with AEGEE  

Until today I travelled to ten different countries with AEGEE where I took part in different activities and sessions around topics like history and local culture, arts, political discussions, project and self-development. One of my favourite memories is first when I travelled as a delegate to the Agora – our member’s meeting where all the locals of AEGEE come together (which means approx. 700 people from different countries) – to discuss five days about the future of AEGEE and Europe. But also to spend some time with friends you found in the past years in AEGEE and explore the city together (the location of the Agora changes with every meeting). You can read about my time as a delegate in the article on the right side.


Second, another special experience with AEGEE was when I decided to become the main organiser of a two weeks exchange in Berlin with 35 people from all over Europe. The exchange was actually part of the Summer University (SU), one of the biggest and oldest projects of AEGEE, it started in 1988. The main idea of the SU and why it was founded is to promote European integration by doing cultural exchanges and to explore the multicultural dimensions of Europe. But also to find a place to discuss and meet new people from all over Europe. One main rule of AEGEE is to make all of our events affordable for all of our members which gave us a fixed financial frame. It is a really important rule but made it even harder for us to organise the summer exchange in the way we imagined it. Every participant pays only 14 EUR (~16.75 US$) a night, therefore we offer the accommodation, two meals a day, the whole programme, all sessions and the rides during the event (we went to a lake, on a day trip to Potsdam and for three days to Dresden). At some point, it was really challenging for us but in the end, we created the best exchange possible – and I think our participants really enjoyed their time in Germany. 

What can Voluntary work do for you?

I believe volunteering is more than just about to brighten up your CV (but this is actually a nice side effect). In the student associations I joined, I actually got a lot of responsibility and the opportunity to lead my own projects. It is always your own choice how much work and time you want and can bring in but I really enjoyed to use all the opportunities I got – and even to work in a leading position. It is a lot about reaching your own goals, being creative or more open-minded, working with a team, trying new things and ideas without being afraid to fail (and lose your job). There were so many different sections I was able to try out. Another good point is that I actually met a lot of great people – because all of us are care for the same or similar topics it is so much easier to find common interests.

Therefore, I hope I could convince you to give it a try – search for pupil’s clubs in your school, join student associations, take a look for regional projects around your home town or even international projects you can join.

Or maybe you are already volunteering or have other interesting thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Carnival of Cultures

Berlin is a really multicultural city. And this is exactly what the citizens celebrate at the “Karneval der Kulturen” (translated in English it would be “Carnival of Cultures”), every May in Kreuzberg. The highlight of the festival is the big parade on Sunday. 

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Karneval der Kulturen in Kreuzberg

“Karneval der Kulturen” (Carnival of Cultures) is a big urban festival with an open programme for free for four days in Berlin-Kreuzberg. At the festival are different stalls with all kinds of different food and drinks from all over the world and of course also clothes, toys, music instruments, jewellers and other beautiful treasures. The festival has also a green area and many stages, where several artists and musician present their art.

Empanada from a Uruguayan stall

I really liked the little stalls with different food. I was happy to find an Uruguayan stall with Empanadas and Alfajores. Unfortunately, all Alfajores were already sold out, but I was lucky and could catch an Empanada con Carne (with meat). I was in South America one year ago. That was when I first tried Empanadas (and Alfajores) and felt a little bit in love with this dish. Empanadas are baked or fried pastries. They are filled with different meat, vegetables, cheese or others.

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Empanada and Tartes

When I told the stallholders that I travelled to Uruguay on my own a half year ago, they looked really surprised or even a bit sceptical (perhaps because I’m small and blond). Even more, when I told them I took the bus from Colonia del Sacramento (it’s a small city in southwestern Uruguay, only one hour with the ferry from Buenos Aires when you cross the Río de la Plata) to Montevideo. The man looked at me and asked all the time “For sure?”
By the way, the Empanada from Karneval der Kulturen was tasty but not as good as in South America. 

Many guests visit the Carnival of Cultures
Key chains and dreamcatcher
Colourful pants, bags and scarves
Bohemian cakes
The end of the festival was at midnight

Different stalls

The stallholders at the Karneval der Kulturen sell much different DSCN7168stuff. They have pretty and exotic clothes but also accessories like necklaces and bracelets. There was also a tent with a fortune-teller. One man tried to sell me a flute, it was really pretty and handmade. But I’m afraid I’m not such a good musician. Once I wanted to learn guitar, so I bought the cheapest guitar on the internet I could find (If I remember right, I paid around 33 Dollars), but my passion went away so I never learned how to play. But I really liked his beautiful rattles.

 
 
 
 
 

Large parade in the streets of Berlin

One of the highlights is the big parade on Sunday. About 1,3 million people come together. Dance groups, musicians and other artists celebrate and dance through the streets of Kreuzberg (from Hermannplatz to Yorckstraße/Möckernstraße) and turn them into the biggest stage of Berlin. This year the parade started at 2.30pm and ends at circa 09.30pm and had over 70 groups. The audience can join the parade and celebrate with them. I did this with my friends. To be honest, it wasn’t my favourite music (a lot of Techno music, it’s really common in Germany to dance to electronic music and Techno), but the atmosphere was great and the people really happy and also kind of crazy (and perhaps some a little bit drunk). But the streets were full of dancing people, and this was a really cool feeling. All streets were closed for traffic. It felt like a huge party, and the whole city was part of it.  

Food Market in Berlin

I love to taste new dishes from foreign countries or eat some meals I already know from my last vacation (it remembers good times there). That’s why I was really happy when I hear about the food market at the “Görlitzer Bahnhof” in Berlin.

Arepas

From Switzerland to Peru …

In Berlin, you have the opportunity to choose between different food markets. I was with a friend at the “Markthalle Neun” (Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, Berlin-Kreuzberg) nearby the “Görtlitzer Bahnhof” (U1) and wanted to taste some foreign dishes. The market opens every Thursday between 17.00 – 22.00 o’clock (5pm-10pm). You can find all kinds of different food from all over the world. From Switzerland to Peru, from Vietnam to Italy, you can choose between different stalls with dishes from special countries. 

Summer rolls

Our first dish was summer rolls from Vietnam. It’s rice paper filled with tofu, pepper, cucumber, rice noodles, Chinese cabbage and fresh herbs with peanut-hoisin sauce. It was really tasty. My friend bought something like Samosa filled with meat from an African stall. 

The location of the food market: Markthalle Neun
"Summer Rolls"
Kimshi, a typical dish from Korea
Little delicious cakes
My desert: Mousse au Chocolat in a fluffy waffle

Naan bread + Sandwich = Naanwich

It was really hard to decide what to eat because there were so many creative dishes which looked so delicious. In the end, we decided to eat a “Naanwich”, the word combines Naan bread (typical Indian bread) and of course the word sandwich. So you will already guess that it’s Indian food. You could choose between meat (12 hours cooked pork) and tikka cheese (paneer) combined with salad, different vegetables, coriander and mint yoghurt sauce rolled in bread. Not easy to eat, but it was really good (actually, I really love Indian food).

Fluffy waffles filled with Mousse au Chocolat

My friend decided to taste some of the wines they offered. I wanted to save my money for a desert. I forgot the name of the dish, but it was kind of a special waffle (very fluffy) rolled until it looked like an ice-cream wafer and filled with Mousse au Chocolat. You could, of course, choose between different fillings like Baileys, strawberry, banana, Nutella or just very common with sugar and cinnamon. The evening was very nice, why we will come again and after the closing hours, we went into the next bar to drink a beer. 

Official page: Markthalle Neun

Good to know about Germany

You plan to visit Germany? Then you opened the right blog post. Here you find some “Insider” news, tips, help and other good-to-know-stuff about my home country. 

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Brandenburger Tor

Germany has a size of over 350,000 square kilometres and more than 80 million inhabitants. Our capital is Berlin, and of course, we speak German and pay with the Euro. Our head of government is a woman. Our country has a big historical background (and not everything was good), especially the Second World War is still an important subject in Germany and we were divided into two countries (with a wall between which even divided Berlin into two parts). The German reunification was on the 3rd of October 1990, it is our national holiday. We are less than half per cent of the world…

Shops are closed on Sundays: It’s cheaper to buy food in the supermarket and cook an own meal than go out to a restaurant. However, if you go to restaurants or clubs it is important to give the waiter tip (around 10%, in bars most time we just round the sum up) for his good service. But when the waiter was impolite or the service bad you do not need to give tip. If you want to buy food in the supermarket you should know that all shops and supermarkets are usually closed on Sundays. There are some exceptions on special days or special little shops. But the stuff will be more expensive there. If you need it anyway, you could be lucky at a petrol station or at shops in the train stations. Some bigger cities also have some markets, which are open on Sundays. One special attention for tourists in Bavaria (Munich, Nuremberg, castle Neuschwanstein) and Saarland: Supermarkets close here a little bit earlier, at the latest 8pm.

Extra money for plastic and beer bottles: In Germany, we have a deposit for most bottles. You recognise it through a little sign on the bottle, which shows a can and a bottle with a returning arrow. Most plastic bottles, but also cans and beer bottles have deposit. Most big glass bottles with alcohol (wine or spirits) are non-returnable bottles. Plastic bottles and cans have a 0.25 Euro deposit, beer bottles (glass) only 0.08 Euro. After you emptied the bottle you can bring it back to the supermarket and get your money back. This deposit system is part of the environmental protection of Germany and should help the recycling system. Furthermore, many homeless people in Germany collect bottles with a deposit from public parks.

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Bundestag

Public transport: Compared to many other countries, Germany has expensive public transport. Especially the local transport could be very expensive (price reduction for single tickets only for kids under 14 years). When you want to travel across the country you can use planes, trains (for long-distance travels, it’s cheaper to buy the tickets at least three days before – Deutsche Bahn or sometimes cheaper here), busses (f.e. FlixbusPostbus or Eurolines) or also take a ride with the car (f.e. Blablacar). The last one is a good decision when you want to travel spontaneously. There are different portals you can use and ask foreigners to take them for less money with you.

No speed limit: One cliche about Germans is, that German men love their cars more than their wives. I think this could be discussed. But true is we love to drive really fast. That’s why Germany doesn’t have a speed limit on highways.

Clean tap water: Our tap water in Germany is very clean. So you don’t have to buy water in the supermarket and can just use the tap to refill your bottle. Many people buy their water anyway in the supermarket. One reason will be that sparkling water is really in common here (but you can also buy water without carbonic acid).

Age Limits: Germany produces a lot of wine and beer. The age limit to taste this alcohol is 16 years. For any other alcohol or driving cars, you have to be 18 years old. With 18 you’re at your full age in Germany. But for some clubs and every casino you have to be 21 years old anyway.

Japanese Christmas Market in Berlin

In Japan live about 2 per cent Christians. So for sure, it would not be the first country you would associate with Christmas. But this fact doesn’t keep Berlin from organising a Japanese Christmas market. What you can find there? Please scroll down …

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At the weekend of the second advent I had visited the Japanese Christmas market together with my flatmates (Sometimes we’re kind of Asia nerds). The market was in a big hall in Alt-Treptow in Berlin. The first look wasn’t really Christmassy (neither the second). There were a lot of different booths with typical Japanese stuff like soft toys, pictures, little action figures and accessories. You found hand-made kimonos and self-made art. The vendors were different people from Germany or Japan, who came to the market to present and sell special things.

Beautiful kimonos
Japanese art
Try sumo wrestling
Thuna-Don and Zenzai
Korokke (related to croquette)
Yakitori (chicken)
Gyoza
And of course, there were many different booths with Japanese food. In Germany is a big trend to eat vegan, so there were also a lot of possibilities to have dishes without animal products. Of course, they had a lot of meals with rice like Japanese Curry or Thuna Don. The last one is a rice bowl with marinated tuna Sashimi. Other little things were Yakitori (chicken) or different crepes with Salmond-Teriyaki, Kimchi-Cheese or Matcha-Atzuki. They also sell kind of Hot Dogs with specific food like Kimchi, Wasabi and Teriyaki. Okonomiyaki reminded me of a big pancake, I think you could compare it with each other. Of course, you could eat typical food like Sushi and Japanese soap. They also sell Zenzai. It’s a sweet red bean soup. 

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My Gyoza

It was really hard to choose only one dish from the big offer. I decided to try Gyoza. It’s thinly rolled pieces of pastry filled with meat (pork) or vegetables (vegetarian). If you know the German “Maulentaschen” you will know, what I mean. You eat it with soya sauce. It was really delicious, but I waited for one hour to get them because the food needs a lot of time and many people wanted to eat them. But I was lucky because the seller gave me one Gyoza more. Thanks to the hospitable Japanese.

Click here to find more blog post about different Christmas markets in Berlin

Christmas Markets at Alexanderplatz

Two other famous Christmas markets are the one at Alexanderplatz and just a few metres from there at Rotes Rathaus. I will tell you where you find a rink for ice skating, real snow, which doesn’t depend on the weather and meet Santa Clause.

What is a Christmas Market? Christmas markets are street markets during the weeks of Advent. These kind of markets are really typical for Germany, but also Austria, South Tyrol (Northern Italy) and some eastern regions in France. The history goes back to the Late Middle Ages of German-Speaking parts in Europe. Christmas markets have a lot of different stalls which sell all kinds of things, also typical Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), candied almonds, a variety of sausages (“Bratwurst”) and hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”).
 
Alexanderplatz is the most famous square in Berlin with its TV tower and named after the Russian Tsar Alexander I. No wonder that it also hosts three different Christmas markets around the area. The one directly on the actual square is full of different booths (more than 100) – and our favourite food (which you can find on basically every Christmas market) are German sausages, French crêpes and sugared almonds.
 
 
Right next to the World Time Clock is a Christmas pyramid designed with over 5,000 lights. Not only is it Europe’s biggest one but actually is also accessible to enjoy your hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”) inside. But also the small fireplaces around the pyramid offer a bit of warmth in Germany’s cold winters.  But the highlight is the snow which falls down from the pyramid every full hour. And this snow will fall no matter if it’s cold enough or not (the snow is foam).
 
Besides the pyramid is traditionally a big children’s carousel located. In the stalls around are even more Christmas themed articles – a lot of them handcrafted. 
 
The "World Time Clock" in front of the Christmas Pyramid at the Alexanderplatz
Snow and the Television Tower in the background
Snow at the Christmas pyramid
Alexanderplatz
 
If you follow the square in the direction of the TV tower (Western part of the Alexanderplatz) you will reach the next Christmas market at the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall). The famous red building is the town hall of Berlin, the home of the mayor and partial even open to the public. 
 
This Christmas market offers a 50m high Ferris wheel (it is actually the same you can find at the Octoberfest in Munich) and a skating rink around the fountain (Neptunbrunnen) for ice skating. Three times a day Santa Clause is flying over this fountain in his slide and of course with his reindeers. Furthermore, here you can taste a special menu of Berlin – warm green cabbage (usually served with sausages). Another particular dish they sell is Lángos from Hungary, as well as roasted apples, homemade baked bread from the medieval bakery and hot mead (honey wine). 
 
Different decorations and lights
A big wheel at the Christmas market of Rothes Rathaus
... fried apples
 

The third Christmas market is more like an amusement park right behind the shopping mall Alexa. 

 

City-Christmas Market at Gedächntniskirche

The next Christmas market I visited was the one around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at the Breitscheidplatz in Charlottenburg. The Christmas market is right next to the famous shopping street of Kurfürstendamm. You can reach it by subway getting out at “Zoologischer Garten” or “Kurfürstendamm”.

What is a Christmas Market? Christmas markets are street markets during the weeks of Advent. These kind of markets are really typical for Germany, but also Austria, South Tyrol (Northern Italy) and some eastern regions in France. The history goes back to the Late Middle Ages of German-Speaking parts in Europe. Christmas markets have a lot of different stalls which sell all kinds of things, also typical Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), candied almonds, a variety of sausages (“Bratwurst”) and hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”).

One of the most famous churches in Berlin is the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche at the Kurfürstendamm in Charlottenburg. The original church was built in 1890 but was damaged in a bombing raid during the Second World War. Nowadays the church is an important landmark of (former) West-Berlin.

I really enjoyed the mood of the Christmas market there, because of the thousand beautiful lights in the trees and on the stalls as well as a carpet of lights above the heads of the visitors. A popular photo setting is also the huge Christmas baubles decorated with even more lights. Really typical for the markets in Berlin are the big Christmas pyramids with candles and figures from the nativity scene.

The Christmas market is way bigger then it seems at first glance because the stalls are spread all over the square and some even continue along die Kurfürstendamm. Usually, it even has a pop-up-restaurant with traditional German cuisine.

The entry of the "City Weihnachtsmarkt"
"Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche" (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) is in the thick of the market
The Christmas Pyramid
 
A big Christmas ball ornament

Click here to find more blog post about different Christmas markets in Berlin

Winterworld Market at Potsdamer Platz

Berlin has over 50 Christmas markets, one of them is the “Winterworld” at Potsdamer Platz. Potsdamer Platz is one of the most famous places for tourists to visit in Berlin because it is close to the Brandenburger Gate and therefore to the former Berlin Wall. It also offers one of the first traffic lights in Europe (1924), two huge malls, and the Sony Centre nearby. In the Christmas season, there is a huge market – or actually two because they are separated. You can reach the markets really easy with trains and the subway (the station names are also “Potsdamer Platz”).

What is a Christmas Market? Christmas markets are street markets during the weeks of Advent. These kind of markets are really typical for Germany, but also Austria, South Tyrol (Northern Italy) and some eastern regions in France. The history goes back to the Late Middle Ages of German-Speaking parts in Europe. Christmas markets have a lot of different stalls which sell all kinds of things, also typical Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), candied almonds, a variety of sausages (“Bratwurst”) and hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”).

The Christmas market has a large toboggan run out of ice (however, it costs money per ride). You can also try ice stock sport and ice-skate a small rink. An Austrian cabin (“Salzburger Schmankerl’ Hüttn”) offers a variety of typical food from our neighbour country. Beside “Obazda” (savoury cheese spread – also typical for Bavaria), “Brettljause” (a wood plate with different meat and sausages), goulash, “Kasnocken” (as the German version of “Käsespätzle” – spaetzles with cheese), also sweet dishes as “Kaiserschmarrn” (sugared and cut-up pancake, typical with raisins), Sacher cake and apple strudel.

My favourite Christmas sweets – Schneeballen (Snownballs)
Snowballs

One of my favourite candies at the market at Potsdamer Platz was “Schneeballen” (means snowballs). I didn’t know the dish before. It is like a really large and round cake with chocolate glazing and filled with different topics. I had one with white chocolate and filled with nougat. I don’t want to make too many covered advertising, though it was really tasty.

A toboggan run out of ice
 
 
Inside the shopping mall
"Schneeballen" - snowballs, out of chocolate
 

Besides all the food Potsdamer Platz is also a good opportunity to go shopping. A large shopping mall is full of golden lights and decoration, in my opinion, it’s a little kitschy (but hey, it’s Christmas). Also really kitschy is a big colourful Christmas tree with tonnes of lights in front of the Theatre of Potsdamer Platz. Last but not least, the stallholders also sell different things as clothes, Christmas decorations, lights or handmade woollen hats.

Click here to find more blog post about different Christmas markets in Berlin

Christmas Market at the Charlottenburg Palace

Berlin has over 50 Christmas markets, one of them is at the Charlottenburg Palace. Charlottenburg is one of the most expensive districts in Berlin, however, in my opinion also one of the fancier ones. It has different Christmas markets, the one in front of the castle is reachable by a ten minutes walk from the train station “Westend” or there is also a bus stop right in front.

What is a Christmas Market? Christmas markets are street markets during the weeks of Advent. These kind of markets are really typical for Germany, but also Austria, South Tyrol (Northern Italy) and some eastern regions in France. The history goes back to the Late Middle Ages of German-Speaking parts in Europe. Christmas markets have a lot of different stalls which sell all kinds of things, also typical Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), candied almonds, a variety of sausages (“Bratwurst”) and hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”).

The Christmas market is really large and has one little section especially for children with different carousels, a little roller coaster and a special train.

However, the market has also a lot of different stalls where the (international) holders sell Christmas decorations, candles, accessories as well as arts and crafts. You will also find an offer of a  variety of food. Germany is really famous for its large selection of sausages, you should give it a try. Though, the market offers even more particular Christmas dishes as German gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”), bread from a wood stove, of course, hot mulled wine and pan-fried mushrooms.

Beside a Christmas pyramid, the market has also a crib and of course a castle, which will be illuminated the whole night in different colours.

 
A Crib which reports the story of Christmas
 
 
Christmas decorations
Christmas pyramid
The castle of Charlottenburg
The castle of Charlottenburg

Click here to find more blog post about different Christmas markets in Berlin