By Tom Burton
One of the best decisions you will make this year will be heading to Berlin this winter to experience some of the Christmas festivities and consume as much glühwein and gingerbread as possible.
Be prepared for alpine conditions. It’s highly likely it will have snowed in Berlin by December. The temperature usually drops to around 35 degrees (2degC) during the winter, but has been known to drop further to 25-15 degrees (-6 to -8 C).Whist the 2014-15 winter is not shaping up to be too arctic, it never hurts to be prepared. As the great Sherlock Holmes said, ‘presume nothing’ – especially when it comes to Berlin’s weather.
If you are going to come on a bike tour with us (and we think you should!) consider that we will not be moving very quickly like they do in the Tour de France, so you should bring as many warm clothes as possible for this. On the Segways, you create your own wind as you glide through the city, so take our recommendations that much more to heart.
Layers are best. We recommend a long sleeve under t-shirt and some long johns to start with. The under t-shirt should be thin to fit comfortably under the top layers. Under-layers made from technical fabrics are even better as they stop you getting too sweaty (which is good when cycling or on the Segways). If you are on a budget Uniqlo make some really decent ‘Heat Tech’ under layers for under €10 per piece. The long johns may not be required but bring them any way as they take up very little space in your suitcase.
Once you have the under layers sorted, think about what you want to put on top. Bring a couple of regular long sleeve t shirts or shirts and warm jumper or two depending on how long your stay is. A warm coat is essential. Bare in mind that it can be foggy here and the air in Berlin can be wet during the winter. It’s a kind of cold that really penetrates the bones compared to perhaps the colds of Canada or the Alps which are usually quite dry. If you aren’t planning on spending long periods of time outside, a woollen coat will probably be fine, but if you like wandering around for a few hours taking in the sites by foot or coming on one of our tours, something waterproof will be much better. Even if it isn’t actually raining your clothes can get damp quite quickly without realising it. At least bring a thin water proof over coat or umbrella just in case.
For the bottoms, regular trousers, jeans or leggings over your long johns are fine, and again if you’re planning on being outside and cycling a lot, bring some waterproof over trousers just in case.
You should bring some suitable foot wear that will keep your feet warm in the snow. Boots are best, waterproof hiking boots are great for exploring the city but if you are more fashion conscious some leather boots or warm high-top trainers are also great. Some nice thick socks will make your feet feel even more special!
Last of all, don’t forget a warm hat, some gloves and a scarf or neck warmer!
Remember, you can always take off what you don’t wear, so it’s better to have too many layers than too few.