Expect below-freezing temperatures. Expect the hotel maid to constantly leave your window open, so you're always going back to a cold room. Expect the hot wine you drink at the Christmas markets to be stronger than you realise (hic!).
|Snowstorms: atmospheric but hard on the camera|
Berlin is probably best known as a party destination, and a summer one. But the winter months have their own charm.
The streets are festooned with lights and oversized decorations. There are hot sausages and chocolate-covered apples to ward off the chill, cosy cafes where you can while away the evenings with giant cups of hot chocolate and slabs of apple cake. Snowy parks in which you can walk off some of the indulgences.
|Berlin street scene, winter|
The museums of Berlin are also outstanding – you can visit the temple of Pergammon or the Ishtar gate at one museum, them traipse down the street for a superb collection of 19th century painting.
Costs are reasonable in Berlin, too. You can find a perfectly nice ensuite room for less than 40 euros a night, and eating and drinking are very cheap. I recommend basing yourself in the residential streets of City West – it's close enough to everything to be practical, but far enough from the tourist centre and the nightlife districts to be quiet. The neighbourhood also hosts a wide variety of good, untouristy places to eat and drink.
Berlin in winter... pack your mittens and go!