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10 Things to Do in Berlin in January

If you wanted to take advantage of the winter vacations to come to Berlin, let me tell you that this city has a lot of plans during this month for you to have a great time despite the cold. Good food, festivals, culture and much more is waiting for you, let's get started!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Berlin in January

Brandenburg Gate | ©Jorge Bueno

Berlin is a city full of things to see and do at any time of the year. It is true that in January temperatures are always close to zero degrees, but the German capital has managed to adapt to the cold.

With a whole series of festivals and fairs, the remnants of Christmas, the sales at its best and dozens of cultural offerings, Berlin is an ideal destination for all cold lovers who want to know a unique city full of art and tradition. In this article, I will tell you some of the best things to do in Berlin during January.

1. Hurry up the last Christmas markets

Gendarmenmarkt, in its Christmas market| ©Jorge Franganillo
Gendarmenmarkt, in its Christmas market| ©Jorge Franganillo

If you were left with the desire to experience Christmas in Berlin, do not worry because if you come to the capital during the month of January, you still have time to enjoy the last remnants of these dates so marked because until the first week of January there are still open Christmas markets.

You may no longer make sense to buy ornaments or Christmas decorations, but do not forget that the interesting thing about these markets in Berlin is that they are full of typical food and drink stalls. I assure you that with the cold it can get in Berlin during this month, there is nothing nicer than going to buy a nice mulled wine and some gingerbread and cinnamon sweets to help you deal with the weather.

Plus, you'll be able to take advantage of seeing the most emblematic areas of the center still with the decorations and the homey spirit of Christmas.

Details of interest

  • Price: it depends on your consumption, but the entrance is free and free access.
  • Location: there are several important markets per city such as Spandau, Gendarmenmarkt, Potsdamer Platz and Charlottenburg.
  • Date: Christmas markets last until the first week of January.

Book a guided tour of Berlin

2. Experience the luxury of the Semper Opera in Dresden

Opera House in Semper| ©Nicolas Vollmer
Opera House in Semper| ©Nicolas Vollmer

Germany is one of the countries in Europe where opera has had more weight and importance throughout history and, if you happen to be a lover of this genre and come to Berlin in January, you are in luck. Every year, during the second half of the month, is celebrated in the Semperoper in Dresden a day of opera and dance to which all Berliners are invited.

I'm not going to lie, it is not a cheap event, but if you want to enjoy the opera, it is certainly the best time. You will be able to see both classic German operas, as well as attend the dancing that usually takes place in the courtyard of the opera house. Put on your best clothes and go to live a dreamy night in the purest Beethoven style.

Details of interest

  • Price: can range between 40€ and 70€, depending on the work.
  • Location: the opera is located at Theaterplatz 2, near Herzogin station.
  • Date: the dance and opera days usually take place in the second half of January.

3. Take advantage of the Green Week to taste local products

Eisbein, typical German food| ©Joselu Blanco
Eisbein, typical German food| ©Joselu Blanco

If you like to try new flavors and you are of the opinion that the best way to get to know a place is to try its gastronomy, in January you can enjoy Berlin like a child, since every year during the last week of the month the so-called Green Week is organized, a national event where all the most important agricultural products of the year are exhibited.

Through hundreds of exhibitors, you can meet and taste typical products, taste regional wines, learn about the latest samples of gardening and see first hand the raw material with which the typical German dishes are made.

A different way of getting to know Berlin, full of flavor and new proposals. Not in vain, this is one of the most important food fairs in the world. All the more reason for you to go and give your palate a treat.

Details of interest

  • Price: admission is free.
  • Location: you can reach the Kaiserdamm by subway. The fair is located at Theodor-Heuss-Platz.
  • Date: it is usually organized in the last week of January.

Book a gastronomic tour of Berlin

4. Come to the Fashion Festival in Berlin

Bebelplatz, Berlin| ©Martin aka Maha
Bebelplatz, Berlin| ©Martin aka Maha

Berlin knows how to perfectly take advantage of its climate during the year and that is why in January they gather a good part of the most important events to do inside the halls of events and festivals and, without a doubt, one of them is the Fashion Week. A week dedicated to fashion and the latest trends that takes place every year in Berlin during the third week of January and brings together the latest in the world of fashion and glamor.

And whether you are a lover of clothes or simply because you want to witness an international event, I recommend that, if you are in Berlin at this time, you pass to know the festival and attend some of the iconic catwalks. The event is usually organized in the fairgrounds of Berlin, the Bebelplatz and is free access, so you have no excuse to see with your own eyes what will be worn next season.

Interesting details

  • Price: access is free of charge.
  • Location: at the Bebelplatz fairgrounds, Bebelplatz, 10117.
  • Date: organized in the third week of January.

5. Tour the city from a sightseeing bus and take shelter from the cold

Sightseeing Bus, Berlin| ©Emilio Labrador
Sightseeing Bus, Berlin| ©Emilio Labrador

If you are in Berlin for a few days, you can take advantage of the low season to visit some of the most characteristic and touristic places of the city. However, with the low temperatures you may find it a bit unpleasant to be moving from one place to another. For these moments, I recommend you to take one of the tourist buses in Berlin.

In this way, you can travel for two hours through the city center comfortably and heated, making different stops to get to know the main monuments and take the desired photos. With this type of plan, you will be able to see in one morning the most essential areas to get a general idea of the city. Without a doubt a comfortable and safe way and, in addition, if you come in January, without so many queues of people. A real luxury!

Interesting details

  • Price: tourist buses usually cost around 30€.
  • Location: it depends on the company but all of them usually leave from the city center.
  • Date: they are especially recommended for the winter months like January to take shelter from the cold.

Book a place on a sightseeing bus in Berlin

6. Participate in the New Year's race

Brandenburg Gate| ©Giuseppe Milo
Brandenburg Gate| ©Giuseppe Milo

If you have decided to travel and welcome the year in another part of the world, Berlin is one of the ideal cities as it has scheduled for these days several important events. In particular, on January 1, every year there is an official race that goes from the Brandenburg Gate through all the most important points of the center of Berlin.

This race has a distance of 4 kilometers, which makes it a fairly affordable event for both runners and amateurs or even children. It is an event that brings together families and the entire German community to welcome the new year in a healthy and different way. If you like to do sport and want to participate in a traditional event, you can register without having to book or pay anything, just show up with comfortable clothes and enjoy the route.

Details of interest

  • Price: it is free.
  • Place: the race starts at the Brandenburg Gate and has a distance of 4 kilometers.
  • Date: the morning of January 1st.

7. Treat yourself to a comforting feast to cope with the cold

Ständige Vertretung| ©Alexander
Ständige Vertretung| ©Alexander

Berlin is a fascinating city with a great tradition that goes back centuries. A clear sign of this is its great culinary offer. German cuisine is one of the most famous in Europe and if anything characterizes it is for being abundant and comforting. If you come to Berlin in January you will notice that it gets dark in the city very early and temperatures drop.

I can't think of a better excuse than the cold and the night to take refuge in one of the typical German taverns and try some of the most emblematic dishes of this area. From the famous Frankfurt sausages, to its particular knuckle and Kartofell. Hearty dishes that will make you warm up quickly accompanied by a good craft wheat beer, a real feast!

Interesting details

  • Price: it depends on the place and the consumption but a dinner in Berlin is usually between 20€ and 40€.
  • Place: the center of Berlin has several typical places like the Thomas Eck or the Ständige Vertretung.
  • Date: you can feast any day of the month, especially when it is colder.

Book a beer tour in Berlin

8. Take shelter from the cold in Berlin's spas

Badeschiff| ©Lukas Koster
Badeschiff| ©Lukas Koster

To travel to Berlin in January you should take into account some of the most important tips to avoid any incident, and one of them is to be able to deal with the cold. The German capital is quite harsh during the winter due to its location and that is why it is convenient to make plans and interior so that it does not become an unpleasant trip. Fortunately the Berliners know a good solution to this problem; the spas.

Specifically in Badeschiff, a famous enclosure in the river Spree, which in summer has an artificial pools for public bathing, and becomes every winter in a spa in the center of the city to which hundreds of people come in search of warmth and relaxation. It is an enclosure in the shape of a barge that is covered and filled with hot water. An ideal plan to face the weather and, while you're at it, relax.

Details of interest

  • Price: tickets cost around 5€.
  • Location: the spa is located on the river Spree at Eichenstrasse 4.
  • Date: it is open throughout the winter but it is ideal to do so in January when temperatures are the lowest of the year.

9. Have fun with a ride on the ice rink

Ice Rink at Potsdamer Platz| ©Nico Paix
Ice Rink at Potsdamer Platz| ©Nico Paix

When the cold weather arrives in the cities, what could be more appealing than sliding on the ice rink? Berlin, like many other European cities, every year during the winter season deploys several ice rinks in its most important neighborhoods, for residents and tourists to enjoy a pleasant walk.

These rinks are usually installed during the month of November and remain open until the end of January, taking advantage of the colder months for people to enjoy this appropriate sport. Best of all, these slopes are free of charge and admission is free. In January, moreover, there are usually not many people, so you can take an hour-long skating tour, enjoying the Berlin atmosphere.

Interesting details

  • Price: the rinks are free of charge.
  • Location: there are several ice rinks scattered around the city, but one of the most important is the one at Potsdamer Platz.
  • Date: the ice rinks are open throughout the month of January.

10. Treat yourself during the January sales

KaDeWe, Berlin| ©Rob Faulkner
KaDeWe, Berlin| ©Rob Faulkner

After ending the year full of expenses due to the arrival of Christmas, January is presented as a month of start and offers and there is no better proof of this than the famous January sales that occur in much of Europe and, therefore, in one of the most important capitals. Throughout the month, the city of Berlin begins to boast all kinds of offers both in local businesses and in top brands.

If you are in Berlin in January, you can not miss the opportunity to go to Ku ́ Damm, one of the most important shopping avenues of the city in search of some bargain. Berlin is one of the most expensive capitals of the continent, so being able to take some clothes, accessories or caprice with up to 75% discount is a great idea.

If you are going to try your luck during a morning in Ku'damm, I recommend you to go to KaDeWe, a huge shopping mall considered the largest in Europe with up to 6 floors of stores.

Interesting details

  • Price: it depends on what you want to buy, but keep in mind that they will be discounted prices so you can find real bargains.
  • Location: one of the most recommended avenues for shopping in sales is Kurfürstendamm, better known as Ku'Damm.
  • Date: January sales usually start the first week of January and last the whole month.

The temperature in Berlin in January

Berlin, January| ©Mitch Altman
Berlin, January| ©Mitch Altman

You will notice as soon as you arrive in Berlin that in January there is a lot of activity and plans to do in the city. However, you should not forget that you are in the middle of winter. Temperatures throughout the country are usually quite low, hovering between 5º and -2º degrees.

With weather like this, my recommendation is that you go with good warm clothes and boots to be able to walk around the city and try to find indoor plans such as festivals, concerts, exhibitions, tour buses, spas and winter events.

Berlin is a city that welcomes its visitors with open arms. January is a month as good as any other and full of panoramas that will make you have a great time, are you going to miss it?