Berlin's hottest summer tips
Make the most of Berlin's long summer days with our sizzling suggestions for things to see, do and visit....
Walking on water (almost)
Wind your way through Berlin's waterways on a stand-up paddle board, a nifty cross between surfing and canoeing.
Absolute beginners can take a short course at the famous Spree-side Badeschiff, while adventurous types might prefer to hire their own inflatable board: simply stash it in a rucksack and pump it up when needed.
When the weather's super-sultry, nothing's nicer than a refreshing plunge in one of Berlin's many beautiful lakes - especially if you dare to dip naked, just as nature intended.
In theory, clothing is always optional, but you might prefer to head to the designated nude bathing areas at Plötzensee, Wannsee and Müggelsee. Or perhaps take a short hike through Grunewald forest to the lovely Teufelsee, where fellow naturists abound.
Picnic in style
Picnicking just isn't the same without one of those big old-fashioned hampers, and luckily, several of Berlin's nicest foodstores and restaurants can provide everything you need for a classic al fresco feast.
Whether you hire a fully equipped basket to fill with your own food, or opt for one that's pre-packed with goodies, haul your hamper to a suitable spot then enjoy the perfect picnic.
Picnic Berlin: Tempelhofer Feld; entrance Oderstraße, Höhe Hausnummer 22, 12051 Berlin (image above, right).
10€ to hire a foodless hamper for two complete with cutlery, crockery, and even a newspaper and game of mini-boules.
Filled hampers for two (vegan and vegetarian options available) from 25€-30€. Larger groups also catered for.
Proviant: Wühlischstrstraße 39a 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain (image above, centre).
Picnic baskets for 2-4 people, filled with Mediterranean and regional specialities. Prices vary, and a 50€ deposit is required for the hamper.
Kien-du: Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 89, 10585 Berlin-Charlottenburg (image above, left).
Something a little different: Thai specialities for 2 or more people from 26€. Vegetarian options also available. Fully equipped picnic basket provided for deposit of 20€.
Hafenküche: Zur Alten Flussbadeanstalt 5, 10317 Berlin-Lichtenberg
Various hampers (including breakfast and vegetarian options) from 28€ for 2 people. 40€ deposit per basket, 24 hour notice required.
Swing into summer at the Strandbar Monbijou
Strut your stuff the old-fashioned way at the Monbijou 'beach bar', where the sounds of swing, tango and mambo lure couples to the dancefloor.
The first dance is free, enthusiastic spectators are always welcome, and a magical setting is provided by the adjacent Spree River, Bode-Museum and distant Fernsehturm.
(Tip: combine a Sunday visit with a free classical concert at the Bode-Museum, below).
Strandbar Mitte: Monbijoustraße 3, 10117 Berlin. Beach bar open from 10am daily. Evening dance sessions cost 5€.
Classical music in a classical setting - on summery Sundays, the beautiful Bode-Museum forms the backdrop for a series of open air concerts. The perfect way to relax on a warm evening, and best of all, the performances are absolutely free.
Concerts at the Bode-Museum: Am Kupfergruben, 10117 Berlin. Concerts take place each Sunday from 19 July - 23 August 2015, at 8.30pm (except for last concert, which starts at 8pm).
A public transport mini-cruise
Every day, the F10 ferry crosses Wannsee lake to Kladow, a 20-minute trip that costs nothing more than a standard A-B ticket (it's part of Berlin's official transport network).
En route, you'll pass the islands of Schwanenwerder and Pfaueninsel, swish past sandy Wannsee beach, and enjoy far-reaching views of the Havel River.
And even if the functional ferry can't exactly be compared to a pleasure boat (there are no outside decks and you'll need to take your own snacks and drinks), it's still a near-perfect bargain summer excursion.
F10 Ferry from Wannsee to Kladow - the Wannsee landing is a just a short, signposted walk from Wannsee S-Bahn station.
Summer timetable: hourly service Mon-Fri from 6am-7pm; Sat 7am-7pm; Sun and public holidays 10am-6pm.
Winter timetable: Mon-Fri 6am-6pm; Sat &am-7pm; Sun and public holidays 10am-4pm.
Cool movies: open air cinemas
Catch a movie under the stars at one of Berlin's seasonal 'Freiluftkinos'.
The open-air cinemas generally operate from May to September, and for those whose German isn't up to scratch, the Freiluftkino Kreuzberg - tucked into the garden courtyard of a historic hospital turned arts centre - is most likely to feature movies in English or with English subtitles. (Need to check? 'OV' stands for original version and 'OmU' for original with subtitles).
Freiluftkino Kreuzberg: Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin. Entry: €7, Screenings daily from 9.30pm.
Kino Zukunft: Laskerstraße 5 / Markgrafendamm, 10245 Berlin-Ostkreuz. Entry: €6.50, Screenings daily from 9.30 / 9.45pm, with some late night specials.
Other open air cinemas offering some movies in English include:
Freilichtkino Friedrichshain: Volkspark Friedrichshain, Ernst Zinna Weg 1, 10249 Berlin. Entry: €7. Screenings daily from 9pm.
Freiluftkino Insel: Revaler Straße 99, 10245 Berlin. Entry €8, Screenings: Sun-Tue & Thu from 9.30pm
Sit and sip outside a Späti
Thirsty? Join the locals at a humble 'Spätkauf', the late-night convenience stores you'll find all over Berlin.
Far cheaper than a bar, most 'Spätis' provide pavement chairs and tables where you can sit and guzzle your purchases. A perfect people-watching opportunity, and ready source of after-hours booze.
Frolic in the fountains at a Wasserspielplatz
Cheeky animals squirt refreshing jets of water and giant fountains provide a super-cooling shower .... in theory, Berlin's charming Wasserspielplätze (water playgrounds) are custom-built for kids, but on sizzling summer days no one will mind if grown-ups find them irresistible, too.
Plänterwald: Dammweg 12437 Berlin Treptow.
Berlin's largest water playground (top) features on-off fountains, squirty statues and paddling pools.
Wasserspielplatz at the Volkspark Friedrichshain: Am Friedrichshain 1, 10249 Berlin.
Just a short distance from the park's famous fairytale fountain, elephants, penguins and seals spray jets of cooling water.
Forckenbeckplatz playground: Forckenbeckplatz 1, 10249 Berlin.
A couple more water-spraying elephants!
Weinbergsweg Park: Weinbergsweg 11, 10119 Berlin.
Paddling pools and geometric forms squirting water.
Sprühplansche Marzahn West: Geraer Ring 32, 12689.
A Thai street food extravaganza
Warm weekends mark the start of Preußen Park's fabulous Thai food market, an unofficial gathering of open air 'stalls' offering a vast array of authentic, home-cooked fare.
Treat yourself to some of Berlin's best (and cheapest) oriental food, all served up in a colourful, carnival atmosphere.
Combine a visit to this oriental picnic with traditional German tippling at the wine festival in nearby Rüdesheimer Platz, (below).
'Thai Park' / Preußen Park: Brandenburgische Straße 10707 Berlin.
Opening times: spring/summer weekends from midday until about 7pm
Berlin's open air wine bar
It's a 'wine garden' rather than a beer garden; a summer celebration of German vino held in one of the city's prettiest (though least-known) squares.
Bottles are sold from a wooden booth, and food is provided by visitors themselves. All in all, a corking summer highlight.
Rheingauer Weinbrunnen (Rhine region wine festival): Rüdesheimer Platz, 14197 Berlin. Early May to late September (dates vary slightly from year to year). Open daily from 3pm - 9.30pm.
Break out the barbie
Berliners love to barbecue, and visitors, too, can easily get in on the burger-flipping action.
Simply head to a supermarket for food supplies and a cheap, disposable barbie, then make your way to an official 'Grillen' point.
It's not permitted to grill just anywhere in Berlin, but many of the city's most popular green spaces include designated cooking areas.
Follow the scent of frying sausages, or check out the list of official barbecue sites here.
Berlin by the water
Whatever the weather, a stroll along Kreuzkölln's canalside Paul-Lincke-Ufer is a great way to experience Berlin's hippest, liveliest district. But in warm summer months, the grassy embankments literally take on a life of their own as locals throng here to relax by the water.
Famously, too, the picturesque Admiralbrücke serves as an open air gathering point for musicians and an impromptu party crowd. Grab a few beers, find a free spot and experience Berlin at its laid-back best.