Christmas Eve or 24 December is when Germans celebrate Christmas, so the afternoon and evening of the 24th is when the city is on lockdown. This is the time to visit family, bake Christmas cookies, decorate the tree, have a Traditional Christmas dinner with goose, and sit around the tree while waiting for the candles to burn down. Once the candles are burnt out, it’s time to go to bed.
If you are arriving in Berlin on Christmas Day, fear not because there will be open restaurants and places to eat on 25 December, which they refer to as the “First Christmas Day” and the 26th is the “2nd Christmas Day.”
Christmas Day is like a normal Sunday – shops are closed but restaurants and some museums are open, and the transport is not as often as on weekdays, i.e. the train might come every 10 minutes instead of every 5 minutes. This is a list of Museums that are open on Christmas and New Years. Please be sure to open on Google Chrome so that it is automatically translated to English. December 26 is also considered like a Sunday.
When looking for a place to eat during the holidays, you can go to hotel restaurants (but try calling for a reservation to be sure), walk around your neighborhood, or go to a WeihnachtsMarkt or Christmas Market.
See here what Christmas Markets will be open on the first and second Christmas Day (25/26 December)
Subways and suburban trains will run on Sunday schedule on 25 & 26 December, which means that it wont be as often as weekdays.
The only lines which will have no or very little service are bus lines serving destinations like business parks or major industrial areas.
Very important information about how to get around Berlin using public transport.
MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS
These should be open on 25 & 26 December, or at least the 26th – but don’t expect it to be a low day, so it’s still best to book or buy tickets ahead, and also to check here if the museum you plan to visit is open. It doesn’t hurt to check the website of each place you plan to visit for their possibly shorter holiday schedule. Everything is online in Germany.
No stores will be open on 25-26th of December but if you need some emergency supplies like groceries, then the safest bet would be to go to those at major railway stations. If arriving on 25 December, best to bring essentials.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE
When visiting Berlin or any other foreign country that speaks a foreign language, it’s very important to learn the phrase “I’m so sorry, do you speak English” in the local tongue, because it is very rude to start speaking to a local in English and assuming that they will understand you.
Head on to my next post to learn how to say your very first German phrase.