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In recent years, the German city of Berlin has become a red-hot destination for city lovers. Keep reading to find out what to wear in Berlin throughout the year!
What to Wear in Berlin
Written By: Stefania Guglielmi and Kerstin Lühe
What to Wear in Berlin: Style
Berlin is a young city. With the many universities, there are plenty of young people from all over the world. And because of the many nationalities and cultures, there are fashion influences from everywhere. Berlin is pretty easy-going when it comes to fashion, but you’ll always be fine wearing something classy.
In East Berlin, the styles are more mixed and hip, and in West Berlin, people wear more classy clothes. What I love about this city is how laid back and non-conformist it is when it comes to clothing. You can walk around with neon yellow pants or punk-inspired clothing and no one will look at you.
Therefore, feel free to dare and experiment with your clothing choices when planning what to wear in Berlin. When you walk around you can see all kinds of styles, from classy to super hip. Visit one of the many second-hand and vintage clothes shops to find some real treasures.
What to Wear in Berlin: Winter
Berlin in winter has a charm of its own. Visiting during this time is a great way to see all the sights and museums without the crowds and long lines. If you visit in December, you can enjoy the Christmas markets! The mulled wine, ice rinks, and Fashion Week in January are just a few more reasons why visiting Berlin in winter is an awesome idea.
Winter means shorter lines at museums and fewer tourists. However, the temperatures drop below freezing, so you’ll need to pack appropriately and come prepared. The weather can be anything: From sunny yet cold days to icy blizzards to rain to snow and muddy days. Most days there’s a strong, cold wind.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
What to Wear in Berlin: Winter Packing List
Dressing in layers is the key when planning what to wear in Berlin and its cold winter climate. It might be tempting to wear heavy turtleneck wool sweaters when it’s cold outside, but you’ll end up getting hot and stuffy when walking around or stepping inside a cafè or a shop.
Wearing thermal underwear as a base layer–in merino wool or synthetic material–is a smart choice. This first layer helps you feel warm, wicks away moisture, and repels odors.
Choose a patterned thermal long sleeve top to feel stylish all day long. I personally like base layers by Icebreaker and Smartwool.
Layering is a great strategy for winter! Learn about cold weather layering.
With temperatures dropping below zero in the winter months, bring a good coat to keep warm. The Dare2Be Fulfilled Down Parka Jacket, filled with 80% duck down, is a great choice: it’s water repellant, keeps you warm, and is affordable. For a more classic choice, opt for a long wool coat. Choose a neutral color so it matches your pants, shoes, and accessories.
The wind can be icy cold, so if you tend to feel cold on your thighs, choose a long coat or wear thermal underwear underneath your jeans or travel pants. You’re going to walk around a lot in Berlin!
In museums, shops, malls, and cafés, it’s warm. Wear something light under your coat like a nice sweater or a waterfall cardigan. Or try a wool dress with tights and long winter boots – this is a great look for what to wear in Berlin. When you take off your coat, you’ll still feel comfortable.
Want more coats? Here are our some tips on how to choose the best travel coat!
For footwear, boots are Berliners’ favorite choice for the winter. Warm boots are crucial! You can wear waterproof ankle boots underneath your jeans on muddy days. A woolen lining will keep your feet warm.
On dry days, try the combo of skinny jeans and tall boots. If you can find a tall waterproof boot with a wool lining that can handle snow and ice, you’re good to go! Good options include boots by Hunter and Timberland. (Forget high heels as a lot of streets are made of cobblestones.)
Before packing your favorite pair of leather boots, keep in mind that leather must be treated or it could be stained by the rain and snow.
For accessories, oversized or extra-long wool scarves are fashionable right now in Berlin. They are perfect to keep you warm and if you pull them up a little higher, your ears will stay warm, too. You can wrap them around your shoulders for an extra layer when you’re cold. With a neutral colored coat you can wear any color and pattern of scarf that you like! They can always serve as a blanket when you’re in a café, too.
Leather gloves are glamorous but choose something thicker if you get cold easily. Wear a warm beanie or a wool hat for a more glamorous look.
Don’t forget about keeping your feet warm. Invest in quality socks. Berlin is the right city for pulling off colored, patterned wool tights if you want to wear a skirt.
You’ll be walking a lot, so carry a comfortable bag, like a classy backpack or a crossbody purse. Having a small umbrella with you for snowy and rainy days is also a must.
Wear a rich and nutrient-dense skin cream during the day and have a lip balm with you at all times to protect you skin from the cold weather. Keep hand lotion in your purse to use after washing your hands to keep them soft.
Here are some tips for dry skin prevention on your winter travels!
Things to Do in Berlin in Winter
Christmas markets are a German thing. Berlin doesn’t just have one Christmas market, but more than 80 of them! Yes, that’s right!
You can spend a whole week visiting Christmas markets and still not see them all. You can usually find them from the end of November until Christmas Eve. Some of them are open until January.
The one at Alexanderplatz is the largest, while the most beautiful one is supposedly at Gendarmenmarkt. You can even find a Japan-themed Christmas market! So stroll through the different districts of Berlin and make sure you buy some Christmas gifts for your family at home and enjoy a glass of Gluehwein (mulled wine)!
If you go in the evening, it’s best to wear something warm with a fancy detail. You can always pep up your coat with a nice scarf, gloves, and a fancy beanie or hat. People stand in groups, chat, and sip on a cup of Gluehwein. It’s an easy way to get in touch with the locals.
Make sure you wear a crossbody purse with a zipper, as Christmas markets are a common hunting ground for pickpockets.
Stay safe with our favorite anti-theft travel bags!
What to Wear in Berlin: Spring
Berlin is beautiful in spring: The trees and flowers are blossoming, the birds are starting to sing, and everything turns lush green.
We have a nursery rhyme in Germany, which basically translates into: April doesn’t know what it wants– sunshine and rain and sometimes snow in between.
Check out these easy ways to update any wardrobe for spring!
When planning what to wear in Berlin, remember that the first days of spring are cold and it’s best to be prepared for winter-like weather. Around April, the first sunny and warm days are coming around, but there can still be plenty of rain. From mid-May to June it’s mostly sunny and warm days.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for spring travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer a Summer Dress for Spring
- How to Pack for Europe in Spring
What to Wear in Berlin: Spring Packing List
Layers are recommended for what to wear in Berlin in spring. Be sure you have a waterproof outer layer and a layer underneath that you can take off on warm and sunny days. Women love wearing black leather jackets and a cardigan underneath.
An umbrella is a must as it can rain anytime. Choose a small and lightweight one; you can always stow it in your bag when you don’t need it.
A must is also a scarf. I recommend a thin one that you can wear on cool days and take off on warm days. Any color will always match a black leather jacket. And don’t forget your sunglasses for sunny days!
You can always wear skinny jeans or lightweight pants with ankle boots or sneakers. At the moment, Berliners like to combine neutral colors in their clothing with colorful sneakers. Whatever you choose, make sure your shoes are comfortable, as you’ll be walking around a lot!
Not sure how to wear neutral colors? Find out here!
What to do in Berlin in spring
Spring is the perfect time for the flea markets along the rivers, the festivals are starting and you can visit one of the many farmers’ markets.
When the days are getting longer and warmer, Berliners love to take walks; you’ll find them in one of the many parks and along the rivers and lakes.
April is also the time the boats are starting their tours on the Spree river, so make sure to book one of those, I absolutely recommend it.
If you plan on visiting one of the museums: if possible, book your tickets in advance on the Internet! In spring, tourists are flocking to Berlin and you’ll have to stand in line waiting to get a ticket.
Spring is a great time for feminine clothing like ruffles, silk, and linen. Here are some great looks!
What to Wear in Berlin: Summer
Summers are hot and humid. During weekends and holidays, people flee the city and spend their time at the many lakes around Berlin to cool down. In the city, it makes more sense to go sightseeing in late afternoon or evening, when the air has cooled off.
But the best time in Berlin is the summer! In the evenings you see people coming from work and school meeting and sitting by the rivers, barbecuing, relaxing, and picnicking.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer
- Top Summer Dresses Perfect for Europe
- Lightweight Jackets for Easy Layers
- Best Walking Shoes for Europe’s Cobblestone Streets
What to Wear in Berlin: Summer Packing List
It’s time for your favorite summer dress! It’s hot, so anything that will keep you cool is fine. Lately maxi dresses are popular and look elegant. These are great to include pn your list of what to wear in Berlin.
Of course you can also dress in denim shorts or mini skirt and a shirt or tank top. Choose any color and prints you like; the women in Berlin love to wear the latest fashion from H&M and Zara.
Another great option for hot weather are rompers! See how to wear them in this post!
For shoes, choose comfy flats and sandals. Flip-flops are ok, but the women in Berlin tend to prefer nicer looking sandals.
When you go out at night, have a little summer evening dress ready and forget the high heels due to the cobblestone streets. Even in the evening the women prefer sandals. Remember to bring a lightweight cardigan for chilly evenings.
Bring your favorite bikini for swimming in the lakes and remember to bring a beach towel, too!
Do you prefer active vacations? Then these athletic bikini styles might be perfect for you!
Don’t forget sunscreen. Have a small bottle in your purse ready in case you need to re-apply. You’ll need it when you’re walking around and you’ll keep sweating it off. The same when you’re going to the lakes for swimming; sunscreen wears off with water and sweat, so re-apply every hour.
What to do in Berlin in summer
Berliners love to head out to the lakes in summer. The most popular ones are Wannsee and Mueggelsee.
In the evenings and after work they love to sit at the shores of the many rivers in Berlin, Bionade (fermented and carbonated beverage) in hand and just chat. Paul-Lincke-Ufer in Kreuzberg is a favorite place. They also love to barbecue and picnic there. Just pick any river that you come across.
Drive up to the beaches of the Baltic Sea; you can easily reach it by public bus. Or visit one of the many lakes of Brandenburg. I love Brandenburg, it’s so easy to find a lake with no other people and go skinny-dipping.
The museums are also a way to cool down, as it’s always cool inside.
Another option is one of the many Biergartens. Berliners love to meet here and have a chat. It’s very easy to get in touch with the locals here.
Packing for hot weather travel can be challenging! Here are some summer packing tips for women over 40!
What to Wear in Berlin: Fall
I love Berlin in fall. September/October is what we call Altweibersommer (roughly translated into old maiden’s summer), but basically it means a period of dry, warm weather in late fall.
It’s the time when summer fades and you enjoy the last warm days until the leaves start to change colors and the windy season starts.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for autumn travel:
- How to Layer Clothes
- Use a Summer Dress to Pack Light in Fall
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
What to Wear in Berlin: Fall Packing List
September days are warm, but start getting chilly towards end of October. November is a cold month; you can expect occasional rain and cold winds.
We love skinny jeans, long boots, big scarves, and warm jackets for what to wear in Berlin in fall. Around September, denim jackets or a blazer is perfect. If you’re visiting in October and November, choose a warmer jacket. Jackets with a hood are fashionable as they keep your head warm during strong winds or when it rains.
They are fun to wear and multi-purpose–see why we love a circle scarf for travel!
Of course you can also bring a short trench coat and wear a warm sweater underneath. If you keep your jacket in a neutral color, then you can choose whatever scarf you like. The women here love oversized scarves and loops.
The women in Berlin love wearing long boots in autumn. Make sure they’re waterproof, so you don’t have to worry if it rains. Leather boots are fine, too. They perfectly match with a pair of skinny jeans.
Ankle boots are so versatile, you can’t go wrong! Here are the best ankle boots for fall!
I recommend a purse for shopping days and crossbody purses for those long walks through the parks. That way you have your hands free. Also, bring an umbrella that’s small enough to put in your bag.
What to do in Berlin in fall
Spend the day at Airport Tempelhof! Yes, you read it right–it’s an airport. It used to be the place of the famous Airlift, but it’s now closed for flight transportation. Instead, Berliners now go there to run, cycle, and skate down the old runways. Plus, in fall you can watch people fly kites. On some days it’s a colorful parade of kites!
Or just stroll through one of the many parks in Berlin and watch the leaves change colors. Fall is the time of apple pies, pear pies, and plum pies. Make sure you eat at least one slice with cream on top!
Traveling for the first time? Here are some travel tips for women to stay safe!
Shopping in Berlin
Shopping is great in Berlin! Leave some space in your suitcase to bring home your finds. There are a lot of stores and there’s always a nice piece you’ll want to buy. And buying clothing items in Berlin is the perfect way of fitting in!
Berlin has several department stores and malls, with LP12 Mall of Berlin being one of the newest. The malls are a nice way of shopping and escaping very cold or hot weather.
Check out the nice little stores in Friedrichshain and Mitte. You can find plenty of second-hand stores there, as well as lots of shops from Berlin-based designers.
If you just need more fashionable clothes, head over to Primark, H&M, Zara, or New Yorker. Here you can find clothes with good quality at a bargain.
Shopping for your packing list before your trip? Check out TFG’s ultimate packing list!
Clothing for Nightlife in Berlin
When you’re planning what to wear in Berlin, don’t forget to pack something appropriate if you’ll be going to clubs. Berliners are big partiers. Parties are often followed by after parties, which means you might not return home until well past sunrise.
This calls for something casual, glamorous, but comfortable at the same time. Many girls wear black from head to toes but there isn’t a true dress code unless you want to enter the posh clubs. Denim is a classic choice, too. Pair it with a crop top and a faux fur vest for a look that won’t go unnoticed.
In winter, heels are a big no-no. Trust me, you don’t want to walk around Berlin with open-toe shoes in the colder months. Locals love boots and wear them for all occasions. Pack a cuter pair of boots with two inches of heels for the clubs and you’ll be ready to party until the morning light.
If you’re determined to travel with heels, here are the most comfy heels styles!
General Travel Tips for Berlin
- Berlin has plenty of museums and monuments and most of them are free of charge! Others offer free entry once a month or once a week or offer free entry for young people. So, check in advance if the museum you want to visit has a free entry day. Maybe you can find a way to work around your itinerary to see it for free.
- Always have some cash on you. A lot of cafés, taxis, ticket machines for public transportation, or parking ticket machines don’t accept credit cards. Shops do accept credit cards.
- For museums: Check online if they take credit cards, otherwise use cash.
- Berlin is full of history; take your time to see everything. Walk around, don’t take the taxi. However, use a taxi if you feel uncomfortable going back to the hotel at night, but the S-Bahn is safe and runs 24/7.
- The locals are easy-going, especially the young people. Most of them speak English and are happy to help if you have a question.
Getting Around Berlin
An easy way to explore Berlin is by walking and taking the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, and tram. The public transportation net in Berlin is extensive, so make sure you know where you want to go before you leave your hotel. I recommend downloading the free VBB app so you can check transport routes when you have wifi. The app works in English.
The famous “Hop on, Hop off” bus is one way to explore the city, but it’s much cheaper to buy a day ticket for public transportation and explore the city on your own.
If you take bus line 100 or 200, you can see all the most important sights of Berlin including Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, the Victory Column, the Opera, the University, the Red City Hall, the TV Tower, and Alexanderplatz.
Do you have any tips to add on what to wear in Berlin? Share in the comments!
Please note: Most of Europe’s budget airlines have this carryon bag allowance: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airline’s individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
For more tips, please read these Europe packing lists:
Suggested travel resources:
- Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring
- Lonely Planet Germany (Country Guide)
- Travel Shoes for Europe
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish outfits and travel tips for 9 countries.
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Author Bio: Kerstin is a freelance copywriter and dive instructor from Germany and has spent the last three years chasing the sun in Asia, North and South America. She loves diving, has a sweet tooth and is currently working on her copywriting business.
Author Bio: Stefania Guglielmi is an avid traveler who believes a little glamour and sustainable travel can go hand in hand. She loves coffee and never leaves for a trip without a hat and her favorite lipstick. You can read about her adventures at Every Steph and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.