What to Wear & What to Pack for Berlin, Germany: Your Ultimate Berlin Packing List

Are you wondering what to pack for Berlin? I’ve lived in Berlin since 2015, and in Germany since 2011, so I know what kind of weather to expect, what to wear in Berlin, and what to pack for Berlin and a trip to Germany. This Berlin packing list will help make sure you pack everything you need.

I’ve created this guide to what to pack for Berlin to help you plan your trip to Germany’s vibrant capital city. You’ll find tips for what to wear in Berlin during different seasons, packing advice for women and men, luggage suggestions, and tons more tips for what to pack when traveling to Germany.

Where to stay in Berlin

Berlin has lots of great neighborhoods for you to stay in and explore. If you’re visiting Berlin for the first time, it might be best for you stay somewhere central. Many of the attractions are in Mitte or easily connected to Mitte by transport, so you should stay somewhere in that region. Here are a few hotels we recommend.

For a more detailed look at the different neighborhoods and our recommendations, check out our guide to where to stay in Berlin.

Berlin Brandenburg Gate - Berlin packing list
Here’s your Berlin packing list

Packing for Berlin: What luggage should you bring?

I’m a backpack traveler for many reasons: It keeps my hands free, it’s easier to manage up and down stairs, and I don’t have to worry about wheels getting stuck in cobblestone streets all over Europe. Even in a modern city like Berlin, you’ll still find lots of cobblestone streets, which aren’t so suitcase friendly.

However, backpacks aren’t for everyone. If you prefer traveling with a suitcase, or you have back problems or another physical issue that makes suitcases more ideal, I have some suitcase recommendations as well.

Backpack recommendations for your trip to Berlin

Over the years, I’ve tried many different travel backpacks. Here are the ones I’ve really liked that I’d recommend to you.

REI Trail 40L backpack

Ali wearing the REI backpack - Berlin packing list
I’ve used this REI backpack for many years of travel

I’ve had this backpack for many years, and I love it. It’s comfortable on my back, the hip belt offers good support and weight distribution, and it has several pockets for organization. I’ve been able to take this backpack as carry on without any problems for several years on several different airlines.

REI makes a women’s version and a men’s version.

Tortuga Setout 35L backpack

Tortuga 35L Setout women's backpack packed up - Berlin packing list
The Tortuga 35L Setout women’s backpack has lots of the benefits of a suitcase

The Tortuga Setout backpack opens wide like a suitcase, which can be great for finding what you’re looking for. It has a laptop sleeve plus lots of other great pockets, always a big plus for me. And since it’s shaped a little differently from a traditional backpack, I’m able to fit roughly the same amount of stuff in this 35L as I can in a 40L backpack.

Tortuga makes a women’s version and a men’s version.

Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40L backpack

My husband, Andy, has the Osprey Farpoint 40L backpack, and it has held up well through many years and many trips. Different compartments help him organize his things, and the straps are comfortable even when carrying the bag for a long time. Though it does meet the carry on size limits for most airlines, the straps can be stowed away if you do need to check it.

Osprey has the Farpoint for men and the Farview for women.

Suitcase recommendations for your trip to Berlin

Briggs & Riley and Travelpro are two quality luggage brands I would recommend if you’re buying a suitcase for your trip. They each make several different types, and it all depends on your preferences for things like hard case vs soft case, two wheels vs four wheels.

Before buying a suitcase, there are some things you should consider and look at closely.

Many suitcases will be labeled by the manufacturer as “carry on” but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate. Airlines measure the suitcase including the wheels and handle, while the manufacturer usually lists the size of the case itself without wheels and handle. An extra inch or two could put your bag over the airline’s limit, so be sure to look for the full measurements.

Suitcases tend to be heavier than backpacks when empty. Since many airlines have a weight limit for carry on luggage, this digs into your allowance. It’s best to go for the lightest possible suitcase that meets your other needs so you have more weight allowance left for the stuff you’re packing.

Search for Briggs & Riley suitcases here and Travelpro suitcases here.

Day packs for exploring Berlin

You’re going to spend lots of time wandering around the city taking in the sights and soaking up the atmosphere. A day pack is perfect for holding all the things you want to have with you throughout the day.

Stuff Bags

REI stuff bag - what to pack for Berlin
This is the old version of the REI Stuff bag. The new one looks even better!

I love using a stuff bag for a daypack because it folds up into itself, so it takes up almost no room in my luggage. It means I can pack it in my main bag so I have something to use for day trips or wandering around the city, but I don’t have to lug an extra bag around with me all the time.

Stuff bags are a great option for shopping in Berlin since one-time use plastic bags are almost nonexistent, and reusable shopping bags come with a cost. Grocery stores, clothing stores, and many others will expect you to have your own bags, though you can buy them at check out. Having a stuff bag works well for this.

We own this one from REI and this one from Osprey, and they’re both great. The REI stuff bag is made from thicker material, but the Osprey one folds up smaller.

What’s the weather like in Berlin?

Berliner Dom on a gorgeous spring day
The Berlin Cathedral on a gorgeous spring day

What you pack for Berlin will depend heavily on the time of year you visit because the weather changes greatly from one season to the next. Remember we’re in the northern part of Europe here, so summers are usually mild and winters can be rather harsh. Berlin’s latitude is 52.5N, which falls roughly halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, so it’s a lot farther north than many people realize.

What to pack for Berlin in September will be different from what to pack for Berlin in December. Always check the weather forecast a few days before your trip, because reality can vary greatly from the averages. But here’s an overview of what you can expect at different times of the year.

Berlin weather in winter

snowy road in Berlin - what to pack for Berlin in winter
It doesn’t snow a ton in Berlin, but it definitely gets cold

Winter in Berlin can be long, cold, and gloomy. I always feel like winter starts in November, a solid month or so before the calendar says so. Temperatures drop, days become shorter, and the sky is more than likely covered in a layer of clouds that seems to stick around for several months.

Despite the averages listed below, there always seems to be at least a week or two when the high is around 20F.

Average high and low temperatures in Berlin:
December: 39F/31F
January: 37F/29F
February: 40F/29F

>>Visiting Berlin in late November or in December? Be sure to check out our guide to Berlin Christmas markets.

Berlin weather in summer

Berlin Thai Park - what to pack for Berlin in summer
There’s nothing like Berlin in summer

Summer in Berlin is a glorious thing. Temperatures range from mild to hot, days are long, the sun is out almost every day, and locals know this is their short window to enjoy the fantastic weather. Air conditioning is rare here (though you might have decent luck finding it in a hotel) so sometimes everything seems hotter than it is.

Even though the average highs are in the 70s, there’s almost always a few weeks when the high is anywhere from 85F to 95F.

Average high and low temperatures in Berlin:
June: 72F/54F
July: 76F/58F
August: 75F/58F

Berlin weather in spring and fall

cherry blossoms in Berlin in spring
If you travel to Berlin in the spring, you might get to see the cherry blossoms

Spring and fall can be all over the place in Berlin. It can feel like winter in November or March, and this year we even got a small amount of snow in May. It didn’t stick to the ground, but it was still quite disturbing to see. You could have a warm, sunny day in April or October. Basically, if you visit Berlin in autumn or spring, you need to be prepared for a wide range of temperatures.

Average high and low temperatures in Berlin:
March: 48F/34F
April: 57F/40F
May: 67F/49F

September: 67F/51F
October: 57F/44F
November: 46F/37F

What to wear in Berlin

what to wear in Berlin - person dressed as Darth Vader
Dress how you want to in Berlin. Seriously. No, this photo was NOT taken on Halloween.

So much advice about what to wear in Europe advises you to dress up a little more than you would at home. While this might be true in places like Paris or Milan, it is not the case in Berlin.

Anything goes in Berlin. You can be who you want to be, and dress how you want to dress. I have literally seen people walking around wearing fuzzy slippers. More than once.

In fact, there are parts of the city where you might really stick out of you’re too dressed up. Certain clubs are ruthless about who they let in based on clothing, and if you’re dressed for a NYC club, you won’t get in.

For the most part, I’d recommend dressing for comfort. You’re here to see the city, and you’re likely to do a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend walking around in sweats, touristy looking clothes, or dressing trashy.

Are you traveling to other cities in Germany on your trip? You could get away with dressing a little nicer in some of the other big cities like Munich and Hamburg. But in general, Germany isn’t a fancy dress kind of place.

What to pack for Berlin

clothing being packed into a suitcase - Berlin packing list
Plan your Berlin packing list

The things you pack for a trip to Berlin will vary by season. While many items are the same no matter when you travel, like toiletries and electronics (recommendations following the clothing section), here’s a look at what kind of clothing you should include on your Berlin packing list for different times of the year.

Clothing: What to pack for Berlin in summer

trees over a path - what to pack for Berlin in summer
Summer in Berlin is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors

Summers in Berlin run from mild to hot, though it’s usually only truly hot for 2 or 3 weeks total.

Short sleeved shirts: Pack one for each day of your trip, plus or minus, depending on how open you are to re-wearing a shirt occasionally.

Long sleeved shirt: One should be enough. Since it does occasionally dip below acceptable summer temperatures, it’s good to have one long sleeved option to throw on over your short sleeved shirt.

Pants: Pack a couple of pairs of jeans, leggings, or other casual light weight pants. Summer is *usually* mild enough to not need shorts.

Shorts: That said, it’s worth packing a pair of shorts, or even two pairs, if those high temperatures hit while you’re here.

Skirts/dresses: If you’re a skirt or dress person, pack a few casual ones to wear instead of a pair of pants. But chances are, you won’t need anything fancy for a trip to Berlin.

Light jacket: I find that a light jacket or a sweatshirt is good for any trip, any season, in case of a few cooler days or on an air conditioned train or bus.

Underwear: Pack one pair of underwear for each day of your trip, plus an extra. One pair of socks per day should also be fine. Ladies, pack 2 or 3 bras for a one week trip. I love ExOfficio because they’re quick dry, which is great for travel.

Sleepwear: Pajamas, t-shirt and shorts, leggings…you know what you’re comfortable sleeping in.

Bathing suit: Optional – this depends on what you plan on doing in Berlin. There are lots of lakes in and around Berlin, and it is a nice option on a hot day.

Shoes: Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes plus one other pair of shoes depending on your itinerary. Flip flops or sandals or other casual shoes will work. Leave the high heels at home.

Clothing: What to pack for Berlin in winter

 Ali and Andy enjoying Christmas markets - what to pack for Berlin in December
Bundle up and enjoy the Christmas markets in Berlin

Winters in Berlin are cold, so pack accordingly.

Short sleeved shirts: Pack a few short sleeved shirts that work for layering.

Long sleeved shirts: Long sleeved shirts that can be layered over short sleeved shirts will help keep you warm.

Sweaters: Especially if you don’t deal well with cold, windy weather, sweaters will keep the chill off. Try to avoid bulky ones that take up too much space in your bag though.

Pants: Pack a couple of pairs of jeans, or other casual pants.

Skirts/dresses: If you’re a skirt or dress person, pack a few casual ones to wear instead of a pair of pants. Layer with leggings to keep yourself a little warmer. Especially in the winter, you won’t need anything fancy for a trip to Berlin.

Winter coat: A good winter coat is essential for protecting yourself from the cold Berlin air.

Hat, gloves, scarf: You’re probably going to spend a decent amount of time outside walking from one sight to another, so cover up with a good set of gloves plus a hat and scarf. These are essential for your winter Berlin packing list.

Underwear: Pack one pair of underwear for each day of your trip, plus an extra. One pair of socks per day should also be fine. Ladies, pack 2 or 3 bras for a one week trip. I love ExOfficio because they’re quick dry, which is great for travel.

Thermals: You probably don’t need these for normal sightseeing days, but if you go to Berlin in December for Christmas markets, you could spend several hours outside. Layering thermals or leggings under your jeans will help keep you warm.

Sleepwear: Pajamas, t-shirt and shorts, leggings…you know what you’re comfortable sleeping in.

Shoes: Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes plus one other pair of shoes depending on your itinerary. Boots could be a good choice for winter weather, just make sure they’re comfortable for walking and already broken in before your trip.

What should be on your Berlin packing list all year long

Many things you’ll need to pack for Berlin will be the same no matter what time of year you visit.

Toiletries

solid toiletries for your Berlin packing list
Try adding some solid toiletries to your Berlin packing list

Hotels will often have shampoo, shower gel, and a few other things, but I find I much prefer to travel with my own toiletries.

Shampoo and conditioner: Stay under the liquids limit by putting some of your own shampoo and conditioner into these GoToob refillable bottles. Or try solid alternatives. Check out my favorite solid shampoo and solid conditioner on Amazon.

Shower gel or bar soap: Bar soap won’t add to your liquids limit.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss: Keep those teeth clean!

Contact solution and case: If you wear contacts, I also recommend bringing glasses as a backup.

Lotion: The water in Berlin is hard and can dry your skin.

Deodorant: Everyone appreciates it when you don’t stink. Why not try this 100% natural deodorant?

Razor: If you have shaving needs, add a razor to your Berlin packing list.

Nail clippers and nail file: Leave the nail scissors at home since some security agents might confiscate them.

Brush and hair elastics: I usually prefer to have my hair up when I’m walking around all day.

Makeup: Pack your must-have makeup items, but don’t bring too much.

Sunscreen: Important if you’re spending lots of time outside in the summer, probably less important in the winter when we never see the sun. Did you know they make solid sunscreen? I love this one.

First aid items

Germany has everything you need, but it’s always good to have a few first aid items on hand in case you need them.

Headache/Pain meds: Bring some of your Tylenol or Advil from home. You can find their equivalents (Paracetamol is Tylenol, Ibuprofen is Advil) at any pharmacy, but you’ll get a lot fewer of them, and they’re more expensive per pill than in the US.

Bandaids: Again, you can get these at any pharmacy or drug store, but if you need one, it’s better to have it already.

Wound cream: Also good to have on hand for immediate use if you actually need it.

Immodium: Hopefully you won’t need this, but sometimes travel can lead to an upset digestive system.

Prescription medications: If you have any prescriptions you take regularly, bring more than you need for your trip. It’s also good to have proof of your prescriptions. At a minimum this means your name is on the bottle, but for certain medications, a letter from your doctor is better.

Tiger balm: If you’ve never tried Tiger Balm, I highly recommend it. It’s great for headaches, itchy bug bites, and all sorts of other things you’d never imagine one balm could cure.

Bug repellent: In the summer months, you could easily encounter mosquitoes. Check out this solid bug repellent I’ve started using.

Forgot something at home? The word for pharmacy in German is Apotheke, and they can sell you over the counter things like Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Immodium, wound cream, bandaids, etc. Common drug stores are DM and Rossman, and they have toiletries, makeup, razors, condoms, bandaids, contact solution, etc.

Electronics

camera Kindle passport - what to pack when traveling to Germany
I always pack my camera and my Kindle

Camera and accessories: If you really love photography and prefer a camera to a smart phone, make sure you pack your camera. If it’s a DSLR, bring whichever lenses you want to use on your trip to Berlin. I love my Canon Rebel DSLR.

Kindle: Great for bringing as many books as you want to read on the plane and on long train rides.

Smart phone: This works well for photos if you don’t want to bring a camera. Get a local sim card, and you can do lots of things digitally, like transport tickets.

Laptop and/or tablet: I often travel with my laptop because I work from the road, but for a vacation to Berlin, you might not need it. Consider leaving it at home or packing an iPad or other tablet to use instead. Or skip altogether because you can do a lot on your phone.

Chargers, cords, batteries: Make sure you pack any chargers, cords, and batteries you need for your electronics.

Plug adapters: Most of mainland Europe, including Germany, uses a two pronged electrical outlet. You’ll need a plug adapter to make your devices fit. You do NOT need a voltage converter unless you’re traveling with a hair dryer, curling iron, or hair straightener. Even then, consider buying a dual voltage hair appliance before your trip because it’ll work better.

Documents

passport for Berlin packing list
You won’t even get on the flight to Berlin if you don’t have your passport

Passport: You won’t get far without your passport. US citizens do not need a tourist visa to visit Germany, but if you carry a passport from somewhere else, please check the embassy website for requirements.

Note: Starting in 2022, US citizens will be required to obtain a visa waiver in order to enter any country in the Schengen Zone, which includes Germany. Read here for more info.

Scan a copy of your passport and email it to yourself and email it to your emergency contact at home. It’s also good to print out a few copies to have with you: one in your luggage, and one you keep with you at all times. Hopefully you’ll never need these backups, but you’ll be grateful to have them if your passport gets lots or stolen.

It’s also good to get a passport holder to protect your passport. It’s an important document, and it’s best to keep it safe from bending, water damage, etc.

Travel insurance: It’s always good to have travel insurance because you never know when something could go wrong. If you need to go to a doctor or the hospital in Berlin, the charges are much more affordable than in the US, but travel insurance that covers medical issues is still worth it. Even more so if something major happens to you. We recommend World Nomads insurance for travel.

Credit and debit cards: While plastic isn’t as universally accepted as it is in the US, it’s still good to travel with these. Make sure you have the phone numbers of your credit card companies and banks, that way if your cards get lost or stolen, you call them to have your cards canceled and replaced.

Driver’s license: There is no reason to rent a car in Berlin, but if you plan on traveling outside the city, a car rental might be a good idea, depending on what your plans are. As a tourist, your US driver’s license will work here.

Confirmation info: Almost everything is digital these days, but sometimes hard copies are still useful. At the very least, have the name and address of your hotel printed out in case you’re unable to access your email. It’s often good to have print outs of tour bookings as well.

Other essential items to add to your Berlin packing list

Umbrella: Any time of year can bring rain to Berlin, so packing a light weight travel umbrella is a good idea. A rain jacket is also useful, sometimes more useful than an umbrella since often the rain is just a drizzle.

Sunglasses: You can leave these at home if you’re coming to Berlin in the winter, but summers are sunny and you’ll be happy to have your sunglasses.

Water bottle: The tap water in Berlin is safe to drink, so refilling your own water bottle will save you a little money each day. And it’s better for the environment. These are collapsible, so they’ll take up less space in your bag.

Tissues: It’s always good to have a travel pack of tissues on hand.

Sleep mask and ear plugs: If you’re a light sleeper or you’re staying in hostels, a sleep mask and ear plus will come in handy. Even if you’re staying in a hotel, if it’s summer, beware that the sun comes up really early, so a sleep mask might help you avoid waking up at 4:30am with the sun.

Helpful apps for a trip to Berlin

Berlin Sbahn - apps for Berlin packing list
Apps that help you get around the city can be really helpful for a trip to Berlin

Google Maps: Great for not getting lost while exploring Berlin.

Google Translate: If you don’t speak German, this is helpful for signs and menus you don’t understand.

BVG: Public transport is pretty good in Berlin, and this will help you plan your routes. You can also buy tickets in the app, but you have to load in your bank info.

Deutsche Bahn: For travel throughout Germany, Deutsche Bahn is excellent. The train network is extensive, and you can get almost anywhere. Buy your tickets in the app, too. The app works in English, making things even easier for visitors.

FlixBus: If you plan on using FlixBus (or FlixTrain) to save money on your trip to Berlin, or all over Europe, the FlixBus app is a handy one to have.

Airline app: This will make it easier to check in for your flights and show your boarding pass.

WhatsApp: Makes it easy to keep in touch and message people while you’re here without getting charged international texting fees.

Book a tour for your trip to Berlin

Berlin Travel Resources

I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this Berlin packing list helps. But there are lots more tips on the site!

Check out this long list of the best things to do in Berlin. It’s full of activities, attractions, and more. Also, go see some castles, and if you’re planning a longer trip, here are some fantastic day trips from Berlin.

Here’s what you should know before coming to Berlin. From practical tips to quirky facts about the city, it’s all in there.

You’re probably going to be using public transport to get around Berlin. Read this handy guide to Berlin’s public transport system and how to get around Berlin.

Visiting Berlin? Don’t forget travel insurance!

It’s always a good idea to travel to Berlin with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here is reasonably safe, but you never know when something could happen. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or become a victim to theft.

We recommend World Nomads insurance for travel. Travel insurance helps you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.