We know what you might be thinking – Berlin, romantic?! Surely, we mean Paris or Venice?
How could the city of industrial warehouses, underground nightclubs, 24/7 raves, and naughty hotels, whose signature dish is a sausage (hello???!!) be considered a romantic place to visit?
Well, when you look closely enough, the German capital has plenty of areas that are perfect for lovebirds who are looking to celebrate their relationship. Picturesque walkways along canals, candlelit dinners that take place high above the glistening lights of the city, and snug piano bars for enjoying a singsong and fine wine, Berlin becomes whatever the visitor makes of it.
So, whether you’ve been married for years, or you are in the honeymoon stage, or perhaps you’re single and want to indulge in some self-love (anything goes), these places are perfect for when you want to experience some romantic time in Berlin.
To maximize your enjoyment of all these experiences, it's definitely worth investing in a Visit Berlin WelcomeCard before you arrive. It will give you unlimited access to the metro for 6 days and discounts on various attractions.
1. A Berlin Horizontal tour
We’ve wasted hours of travel time in the past just by walking from A to B. This often ends up with us getting lost or one of us complaining about sore feet (not talking about anyone in particular…side glare to Stef…). This is why when we first heard of the Berlin Horizontal tour, it felt like an opportunity too good to pass up.
The tour involves you climbing into a bed that is hitched onto the back of a rickshaw and then sped through the Berlin streets. Crazy right? It’s an hour-long experience and helped us check off so many sights that we had on our list (which would have taken us half a day to see otherwise). You can choose from two routes: between the Hackescher Markt and Alexanderplatz or between the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz.
We did feel a bit silly at first, after all, we’re tucked up together in a bed that is being dragged around the streets of one of Europe’s busiest cities. Who wouldn’t laugh at that? So, don’t be surprised if you get the odd local who gives you a raised eyebrow. But after five minutes, you learn to just enjoy it and have fun.
The tour is perfect for couples or pairs of two looking to save time and energy, snuggle up and let the sights of Berlin wash over them.
2. A dinner cruise at sunset
What could be more romantic than a candlelit dinner on the water? It’s the kind of stuff you see in the most romantic of movies or read about in romance novels. The Capital Dinner Cruise at sunset brings that fantasy to life.
Boarding at the Mercedes Platz, this 2.5-hour cruise sails along the River Spree, taking you around the Reichstag building, to Museum Island, and Berliner Fernsehturm.
You’ll start with a welcome drink, either beer or wine, before sitting down to enjoy a delicious 4-course meal. The staff are beyond lovely and make the experience feel incredibly special. The food is quintessentially German, with the likes of Swabian potato salad and glazed salmon appearing on the menu.
The boat itself is rather small, with crowds no bigger than 72 being hosted on it at any one time. This helps make the experience feel much quieter and more intimate than if we were in a busy restaurant or bar.
3. Get VIP Seats at the Friedrichstadt-Palast
Billed as the most ‘modern show palace in Europe’, the Friedrichstadt-Palast is a must-see for lovers of theatre, performance and music.
Settled in the centre of Berlin, the Palast is the beating heart of German culture and art. The building has stood there since 1865. It has since transformed from a market hall to a circus before finally being reincarnated as the theatre we know today.
We enjoyed a performance of The Wyld whilst we were there. It was an epic experience filled with insane cabaret, extravagant dance routines, immaculate outfits and soulful singing. Oh, and there were plenty of smokin’ hot shirtless male dancers as well… not that we noticed (cough cough!).
Check out what is playing before you head off on your trip and book yourself a ticket. Some shows can sell out quickly so if you have a feeling something will be in high demand, don’t leave it until the last minute.
To really treat yourself, book yourself into the VIP Wall Sky Lounge seats, where you’ll be given champagne and the best view of the stage, all the while sitting back in the designer leather armchairs.
4. Romantic dinner with a classical music concert
We love a good old fashioned classical music concert for a date night in Germany. This is, after all, is the country that gave us the likes of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Strauss, Wagner and many more.
What better setting for it than the rococo-style Charlottenburg Palace, where you can also have a 3-course meal and a tour of the palace before the concert? Greeted on arrival by the Master of Ceremonies and his jester all dressed up, we were guided to our table and were treated to an experience so authentically Italian, we could have well been in Rome. The food included delicious prizes like beef carpaccio and homemade tiramisu.
After the meal, the MC led the guests to the main concert hall of the palace and introduced the musicians. Everyone was dressed up in Baroque fashion – the women in dramatic puffed out dresses and the men in gowns with elaborate curly backcombed wigs. Talk about theatrics!
The music was a mix of popular Italian Baroque ranging from Vivaldi to Corelli, with a few more modern gems like Puccini thrown in. The musicians and opera singers were incredible. The entire experience made for a perfect date night.
5. Get a drink at the Van Gogh Cocktail and Piano Bar
Fancy a showtune? Or some cool jazz? Perhaps a standard from the old American songbook? Then you'll love the Van Gogh Cocktail and Piano Bar, tucked away in the Charlottenburg neighborhood.
The Van Gogh bar’s warm and cosy ambience is perfect for snuggling up with a loved one whilst sipping on a cocktail. Every evening, a fabulous piano player tickles the ivories to beloved hits, underscoring the tenderest of moments that partners can share.
We stumbled upon it by chance whilst escaping a heavy rainstorm on our last evening – such a cliché, right? We were shown to our table by a lovely waiter who made us delicious Manhattan drinks. The bar is decorated with Van Gogh paintings, so appreciators of art will instantly feel right at home. The sunset orange hue of the lights added to the relaxing atmosphere.
It’s the kind of place you would expect to find in a film noir flick, where a couple can pour their hearts out to each other in the most somber of expressions.
6. Dine at the highest restaurant in Germany
Care to eat whilst spinning hundreds of feet in the air above a massive urban city? Trust us! It’s way more romantic than it sounds.
The Berlin TV Tower is a globally recognised landmark, much like the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building. So, it needs to be a must-add to your travel to-do list.
However, what some people don’t know is that you can also dine inside. We recommend booking a table in advance. Although they do take walk-ins (as long as you’ve paid to visit the observation desk), you may need to wait a while at the bar before a table opens up.
Standing 1,207 ft (368m) in the air, the Berliner Fernsehturm is one of the tallest buildings in the EU and lets you see around the city for miles. What is most unique about this dining experience is the ever-so-slight, not-even-that-noticeable, not-nauseating-at-all, rotation of the restaurant, so your view is constantly changing.
The sights are utterly breathtaking, and regardless of whether you go by day or night, you are guaranteed to be awestruck by the beauty of the city from up above, while dining on delicious fare, perhaps accompanied by some fine wine.
Advice for LGBTQ travelers to Berlin
The activities we present in this romantic guide to Berlin were experienced by us as a gay couple travelling in Berlin. If you book any of these activities, you can be sure you will be welcomed as a gay couple. This is one very gay friendly city, which you can read more about it in our gay travel guide to Berlin. Also, be sure to check out our interview with local boy Marcel about gay life in Berlin.
7. Indulge yourself at the Liquidrom Spa
What’s the point of going on holidays if you aren’t going to treat yourself? The Liquidrom Spa provides a fabulous wellness experience for couples who want a peaceful afternoon for themselves.
The centrepiece is the dimmed Cuppola Hall with a pool of warm saltwater. It has underwater music playing, which along with the therapeutic colour and lighting effects, creates an atmosphere of complete tranquillity.
They also have four nude saunas, including one infused with different aromas. Personally, we liked the Kelo Herbal sauna the most, built from Finnish woods.
Massage addicts will love the variety of spa treatments available, including our favourite, the Balinese Herbal Pouch, which is filled with coconut, herbs and spices. We recommend the full body massage as it helps relieve all the stress and tension that gets built up in your body.
This is the place to be indulged and get cosy with your partner!
8. Evening walk through the iconic Brandenburg Gate
They say every street you walk down is coated with history. Truer words could not be spoken of the square surrounding the Brandenburg Gate. It is the site where the Berlin Wall once stood, which separated the East and West side of Berlin for nearly 30 years. When the wall came tumbling down, the Brandenburg Gate began to be looked at as a symbol for reunification.
It wasn't until 1989 when this famous landmark was reopened and restored to its former glory. The towering archways are as intimidating as they are stunning – and when lit up at night, bathe the Plaza in a gloriously romantic glow. Ideal for taking an evening stroll after dinner!
The East Side Gallery on Mühlenstrasse in the Kreuzberg area is another focal point for memories of the former Berlin Wall and an additional part of the city we enjoyed walking through together. It is a colourful 1.3km (0.8 miles) memorial with intricate graffiti and 105 paintings by artists from all around the world, making it one of the largest and longest-lasting open-air galleries in the world.
9. Visit the fairytale castle of Pfaueninsel
Tucked away on Peacock Island (yes that’s right, there is a Peacock Island in Berlin!) is a castle that looks like it fell right out of the pages of a storybook. In German, it's called Schloss Pfaueninsel, since pfau is German for peacock and Pfaueninsel means Peacock Island.
To visit, you’ll need to take the ferry and sail across the River Havel. You’ll notice the brilliantly white walls of the castle before you even dock on the island. Then, when you disembark, you’ll notice the inhabitants are a parade of peacocks. How is this even real? We kept asking ourselves.
For just a €3 entrance fee we got to explore the castle interior. You can choose to do it as a tour or have a nose around for yourself. Every room holds a kind of magic. From the ever so quaint King and Queen’s bedroom to the impressive ballroom to the incredible chandelier that hangs in the dining room, you will feel as if you have crossed into a whole other time period.
For the icing on the cake, have a romantic picnic with your partner on the island while peacocks show off their plumage around you.
10. Walk along the canals of Tegel
For when you are in-between tours or you on a budget, nothing fills a wonderful afternoon like a stroll along a canal. It’s free. The sights are beautiful. And it offers a respite from the madness of the rest of the city.
Pick up a coffee and cake at the Sechserbruecke Café and soak in the views of the glistening river waters and surrounding greenery in Berlin's Tegel neighborhood, which has houses built right on the edges of Lake Tegel.
We’re big fans of people watching. As we walked hand-in-hand, we picked out so many fascinating things to look at. We spotted men pattering around on the decks of their boats who exchanged friendly waves as we passed. We imagined the lives of those who lived in the small houses that sat facing the river. We smiled at couples and families who were also out enjoying the beautiful summer weather.
It felt like one of the calmest spots Berlin had to offer in an otherwise fast-paced, poundingly loud and vibrant city.
Happy travels are safe travels
For more inspiration:
- Gay travelers won't want to miss our guide to Berlin's fabulous gay neighborhood
- If it's your first visit, check out the best gay tours of Berlin
- Make sure you find out how to get to the city center from Berlin Brandenburg Airport
- Find out what it's like to grow up gay in Germany in our interview with a Berlin local
- Don't miss out on our gay guide to Cologne, another fabulously gay city in Germany