We know. Resolutions are overwhelming - or worse - boring. But Berlin is a babe when it comes to taking care of all your needs - whether it's indulging or detoxing. So even if you don't have "travel more" on your list, here are a whole bunch of other reasons to tempt you into smashing those resolutions this year.
1. Stay fit
You'd be surprised how easy this can be. Tiergarten is Berlin's second biggest park and has both large boulevards and winding woody paths, perfect for a jog. The
biggest is the former Tempelhof airport, the site of the Berlin Airlift and the best tracks in the city for cycling, rollerblading and windsurfing. And if you're missing out on the beaches this summer, get those toes in the sandy shores of the idyllic Wannsee and jump in the lake for a swim.
© NEXT City Tours
If you can't be bothered to move at more than a walking pace, Berlin won't judge you. Kill two birds with one stone and walk the route of the old Berlin Wall. You can walk from one end of the city centre in 30 minutes. Or you can see all of it in a couple of hours with one of our Berlin free walking tours
2. Save money
Berlin will be kind to your wallet despite being a trendy capital. There are always street food options for 3 euros and under which would be on your to-do list anyway, like Doner and Currywurst (both with veggie and vegan variations, of course). Plus there are lots of things that you can do for free in the city - and look at that, we've already made a handy list
for you about that, too.
3. Eat healthily
Raw foods, organic foods, homemade & non-processed foods - Berlin does healthy that feels more like a treat than a sacrifice. Even drinking their beer is health(ier) than at home. Since the Middle Ages there has been a rule in Germany that you can't call it beer unless it only has the three basic ingredients. So there won't be any funky additives punishing your brain the morning after. [Disclaimer: drinking ten German beers will probably still give you a hangover.]
4. Give up drinking
Berlin is the party capital, but it's also the capital of "everything goes". That includes partying without drinking. The thing that will get you through the night is Club Mate – a refreshing mate ice tea, but not sweetened, and with heaps of caffeine to get you through til 8am. It's a socially acceptable staple. In fact it's so well-loved that people abroad will even bulk buy it online in crates so they can get their fix. They also have a summery grapefruit version.
5. Experience different cultures
So there's the obvious and not to be underestimated German side of things. Berlin is also half Turkish and proud. But then on any given outing you'll encounter cultures from all over the world – Korean, Sudanese, Argentinian... And we're not just talking about restaurants, here. There are international programmes and festivals for all the arts, including the Berlinale
in February and the internationales literaturfestival berlin
in September, which draw the world's most famous and controversial, along with a healthy up-and-coming artists. And then there's the Karneval der Kulturen in May which takes over the streets of Kreuzberg for parades, folk music and concerts.
6. Get some culture in you
You don't go looking for culture in this city - it finds you.
Most bars and cafes will have live music, but in June there's the unmissable Fete de la Musique: a casual music festival where anyone with an instrument comes out onto the street and plays. If you're there for the Long Night of Museums in August then grab your comfiest shoes and tick off as many museums as you can with just one ticket. And in case you hadn't realised already, graffiti counts as "serious culture".
7. Be spontaneous
Pick a neighbourhood - especially Preznlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshai or Neukölln - and stroll. This is where the heart of Berlin is, in stumbling across a tiny coffee shop, a local's hangout or a bar you've heard a million myths about. The areas around the Sunday flea markets
(like Mauerpark and Boxhagener Platz) are some of the best for brunching and gandering. And you'll never pay for a concert again when you discover Warschauer Str. underground station: there's almost always an impromptu concert by buskers.
8. Be more politically active
If a month goes by without a demo then you can't be in Berlin. If there's anything wrong in the world then the Berliners have something to say about it. Cinemas are constantly screening thought-provoking documentaries, there are morning coffee pre-protest meet-ups and activist stickers everywhere. With such a diverse bunch living here that's hardly surprising!
9. Learn a new skill
Berlin is open-hearted, so you'll notice that there are loads of free trials in anything from knitting to schwoof (whatever that is). Swing dancing sessions are particularly common. A standard at any festival is a workshop (photography, cheese-making, anything). Yoga classes can often be taken on a one-off basis. There are even sewing cafes. If you're in Berlin for more than a couple of days, why not get a feel for why floods of people are craving the energy of this city?
10. Up your eco
© Rosalee Edwards
When in Germany. You'll need about five minutes at a station's bin collection to figure out which one is right for your rubbish. But Berlin especially does green in a big way. There see tons of upcycling boutiques or stalls at flea markets (see districts in no. 7). Supermarkets without packaging pop-up "Five Mile" local produce stores are not unheard of. And your carbon footprint will be untraceable when you whizz around on the city's metro and trams as these are powered by 100% green energy.
Essentially what you can achieve in Berlin is endless. It's as if the city doesn't know the meaning of old-fashioned deprivation and discipline.