“Spring is floating its blue banner//On the breezes again,” wrote the Romantic poet Eduard Mörike. Little did he know that today’s Berliners don’t even need a full banner; they’re more than happy to declare that spring has come with only the faintest hint of blue. And right away, it’s time to populate the city’s thousands of outdoor cafés.
As soon as the first rays of the sun hit the grey sludge, something truly magical happens: life seems to take place entirely outdoors and Berlin transforms into a city populated by the world’s most passionate outdoor coffee drinkers crowding into an impossible to navigate selection of cafés that have seemingly sprung up overnight. But not to worry: we’re happy guide you to some of the German capital’s most beautiful outdoor cafés. But beware: Berliners have a liberal definition of what constitutes spring weather and live by the motto that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. So, pack your sunglasses, but don’t forget a warm coat!
Just off the famous boulevard Kurfürstendamm and just a few minutes away from the Tiergarten lies a place that combines cozy outdoor serving in a picturesque garden with high culture: the café of the Berlin House of Literature (in German: Literaturhaus Berlin). The weather permitting, you can sit outside in the garden and enjoy a cool drink with your food; should the weather make sitting outside a not-quite-tempting prospect, there’s always a hot drink in the turn-of-the-century villa’s indoor conservatory or winter garden. And with one of Berlin’s premier cultural institutions right there, you might even learn something!
Of course, any and all outdoor activities in Berlin should start in the Tiergarten, the city’s famous green lung, one of Europe’s biggest and most beautiful public parks, and one of the most popular spots for tourists and locals alike. In addition to the many attraction in and around the park – the Victory Column, the Reichstag, and the more than 9,000 animals living in the park, to name a few – the Tiergarten is also home to one of Berlin’s cosiest cafés: the Café am Neuen See.
Since its opening in 1896, the café has provided sun worshippers with one of the city’s most beautiful beer gardens under the crowns of age-old trees and directly on the shores of the Tiergarten’s new lake (Neuer See). Should the weather ever be so that even the hardened locals decide to stay in, the café’s specialties made from seasonal and local ingredients served in its historical and rustic interior will make you almost grateful for the bad weather.
On the border of the vibrant boroughs Berlin-Mitte and Kreuzberg lies the Café am Engelbecken on the shores of a picturesque pond with 16 fountains modelled after their historical counterparts, turning it into an oasis right in the heart of the city. And the best: this is a prime spot to enjoy the sun, no matter the temperatures outside. Should you be lucky enough to visit the city on a warm day – or at least remembered to bring your coat – the café’s patio is the ideal place to relax, look out over the water, and take it easy. Should even your warmest coat not be enough, the cozy interior is perfect for warming up with a hot drink.