“It was magical, this snow globe world” – Sarah Addison Allen
When I told local Berliners that it was going to be my first winter in Germany (and really, in life), they reacted by saying things like,
“It’s so horrible! It’s SO cold!”
“You’re going to hate it! It’s so dark and your nose is going to freeze off!”
“Haha, that’s going to be funny. Your first winter and you chose Berlin?! Silly girl.”
They had me terrified, and yes, it is pretty dark here. However if you think of it like a Batman comic book then it becomes kind of cool and edgy.
and fairly magical, too
Yes, it’s also pretty cold, but what I’ve come to realize is the cold isn’t so bad. With the right clothing and layering, it’s just fine.
Besides, if I had left, I would have missed all of this amazing, delicious, incredibleness that is the German winter. Here are 15 reasons why you’ll want to visit Germany in the winter, too:
1) Glühwein (Mulled Wine)
This warm, perfectly-spiced, amaretto-induced wine is addictive. It might have crack in it (note: probably not).
Also pictured is the Christmas market in Aachen, Germany. Famous for gingerbread and my personal favorite of the 13 or so I toured.
2) Berlin Kreuzberg
The first major snow of the season in Berlin was magical. The skies turned blue, the kids grabbed their sleds, and good vibes were felt all around.
There is so much to do in Berlin, regardless of the season and the weather, that I’ve made it my home for the past four years. This quirky and gritty city is like an onion with endless layers. Here’s a guide to help you plan a fantastic trip here.
3) Christmas Markets
I didn’t know how I’d feel about Christmas markets, because I’m usually team Grinch, but they turned out to be really festive, fun, and quite delicious as well.
4) Enchanted winter forests
Taken in the Swabian Alps the day after Christmas in the village of Kolbingen.
The southwestern part of Germany is absolutely magical, famous for the Black Forest and its many castles. Here’s a listing of the best day trips and castles from Stuttgart.
5) Dazzling Light Displays
Germany does Christmas right. Pictured here is the Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral.
Most major cities in Germany will have beautiful Christmas lights displays at the bigger Christmas markets, but be sure to check out the one at the Botanischer Garten in Berlin as well!
6) An Awesome Ice Rink
At Zeche Zollverein, an old coal mine that has been turned into a UNESCO World Heritage site, museum, and event venue, each winter there’s a long ice rink and delicious restaurant.
7) A White Christmas
If you grew up somewhere without winter like I did, then you’ve never had a white Christmas. Finally experiencing one was something really special.
8) Frozen Lakes
Pictured in the background is a very cool church in Berlin – one that was clearly bombed, with the mark still left behind and worked into the architecture. A must-see in Kreuzberg.
9) Beautiful Cathedrals
The church in my neighborhood coated in snow. Stunning.
10) Living Traditions
There must be thousands of Christmas markets all throughout Germany, and each has its own special theme, focal point, and beauty.
11) City Life in the Winter
Perfect in every season, but particularly cool (see what I did there?) in the snow.
12) The Berlin Treehouse
A former dump, bordering the old Berlin wall, and a symbol of Berlin’s counterculture, the treehouse is a sight in the winter.
When the wall fell, Osman Kalin who built this inventive abode was threatened with eviction (the building wasn’t exactly up to code, and the land wasn’t exactly his), but thanks to the neighboring church deciding to give him the land, and the rallying neighborhood protesters, he still lives there today.
Visit this Christmas market in Aachen for the best gingerbread in Germany.
14) These Guys
In case you haven’t guessed yet, I can’t get enough of my neighborhood in Berlin. This statue of firemen at Mariannenplatz in Kreuzberg is a favorite of mine.
15) These Little Balls of Magic
Aren’t they lovely?
I’m glad I didn’t listen to everyone who told me to run, not walk, away from the winter in Germany. It has been snowy, beautiful, and honestly tons of fun.
If you’re considering visiting Germany in the winter, but aren’t sure if you should, then let me make it an easy choice for you: do it.
Where are your favorite winter wonderlands?