The ultimative guide for the Berlin Festival of Lights

JUAN MARTINEZ

October 10, 2016

The ultimative guide for the Berlin Festival of Lights

Before the Autumm starts, Berlin’s most famous sights become a canvas for beautiful light and video projections. This is the Festival of Lights in Berlin!

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 2020

The Berlin Festival of Lights is one of these events that I never missed since I have been living in this city. It is not only a display of creativity and colors, but simply a wonderful getaway if you are visiting the German capital or you live here and got a free evening.

2020 has been a rollercoaster for all of us. Still, the Festival of Lights is scheduled to light up Berlin from 11 to 20 September 2020 and welcome the winter.

Festival-of-Lights-St. Hedwig Cathedral
St. Hedwig Cathedral during the festival

What is the festival about?

The Berlin Festival of Lights is an open-air light art gallery with over 90 wonderful works of art in 86 locations all over Berlin. It starts daily from 8pm until midnight and even though this year the program looks very similar to last year’s, there is still a lot to see.

Landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate, the TV Tower or the Berlin Cathedral will be the main canvases for this year’s festival and I was super excited to take my camera out and explore of these locations and enjoy this year’s expectacle.

See the map of this year’s locations

NOTE: According to the official website of the Festival of Lights, if many people are at specific locations of the illuminations neglecting the social distance control, they will temporarily switch off the projection until crowds disperse a litte bit.

Postdamer Platz at night
Postdamer Platz is a good spot to start a night tour

Where to go?

Even though the Berlin Festival of Lights covers large parts of the city center, there are a few special places, that you simply can’t miss during a visit to this fest.

After visiting this festival more than 5 times in a row, I realized that if you want to get the best glimpse of the festival and at the same time explore Berlin at night, a route in Mitte will be the best for it.

map Berlin Festival of Lights best attractions
my recommendation if you want to see the Festival of Lights in one night
  • Location: Berlin Mitte
  • Closest Station to Start: Either Postdamer Platz or Alexanderplatz
  • Length: 5 km in 2,5 hours
  • Level of fitness: Simple

Starting either at Postdamer Platz or Alexanderplatz, this route will cover Berlin’s main attractions and the most beautiful art exhibitions at the Festival of Lights. This is also a route that you can easily cover using a bicycle, renting an electric scooter by booking one of the many LightBikeTaxis available for the festival.

NOTE: Bike rentals and electric scooters are available almost everywhere in the city. This is the best and cheapest option if you want to see the most of the Festival of Lights, but would prefer to not walk from place to place.

This year’s Festival of Lights wants people also to interact more. There are several events and social media giveaways every night. There are also some Light Walking Tours, where experts about Berlin’s culture and history will tell you about the city, as well show you the key attractions.

Also, like each year, the official website of the Festival of Lights opened a photo competition. With a top price of 1000 EUR, this could be also your opportunity to show your creativity photographing.

Read more: Which are the best weekend getaways from Berlin

Lights-Festival-Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s most iconic landmark

Key attractions at the Festival of Lights 2020

  • Nikolaiviertel
  • View of the television tower
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Humbolt University
  • Hotel de Rome
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Postdamer Platz
View of the Brandenburg Gate at the Festival of Lights
View of the Brandenburg Gate at the Festival of Lights

Where to eat at the Festival?

Food options in this part of Mitte are quite limited. Most restaurants are closed when the Festival of Lights starts and other fancier options might require a reservation in advance.

Fast food options are also extremely limited in the area surrounding the Brandenburg Gate, and if you want to grab a proper bite and have several options, Alexanderplatz or Postdamer Platz are your best options.

Read more: Why do Germans drink so much sparkling water?

Postdamer Platz-LightsFestival
Restaurants and shops are still open at Postdamer Platz

Tip: Burgermeister Postdamer Platz:
Berlin’s most famous Burger chain opened a new restaurant at Postdamer Platz mid 2020. With burgers starting at 4,90 EUR and the best chili-cheese-fries in the city (in my opinion), this is the best bet in this area

Furthermore, Berlin’s outdoor drinking culture is present during the festival. You will see several stands selling beers, cocktails and hot wine around the main attractions, and it is absolutely not a problem to walk around with a bottle of beer in the hand while exploring Berlin.

However, take into consideration, that there is not a single späti (Berlin’s famous late night shops offering beer starting 60 cents) around this part of Mitte. Most locals usually buy some drinks closer to their homes and drink it along the way while exploring Berlin.

Read more: How to travel in Berlin with under 30 EUR a day?

Berliner Dom - FestivalofLights
Berliner Dom in Berlin

This year is different, but the Festival of Lights is still as present as always. With dozens of locations, many activities to try out and a city happy to welcome you, a visit to this festival is definitely an experience that you won’t forget. Now

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