Ring out the old, bring in the new! That New Year’s hangover should be more or less a thing of the past by now, and so is the old year. There’s no point dwelling in old memories, it’s time to take a look to the future: twelve exciting months await us in the German capital! Berlin is still one of the world’s top travel destinations and that is partly due to the amazing range of major events that take place here throughout the year. Winter, spring, summer, or fall – you choose the date, Berlin delivers. So get ready to plan an unforgettable trip to Berlin, cause here is a selection of essential events in Berlin 2018:
Fashion, fun, and business
Lifestyle, fashion, food, or travels – Berlin’s manifold trade shows offer something for everyone. And other than most bigger fairs, the ones in Berlin usually put special emphasis on making it an experience for the public, too – and not only for professional visitors. Most major cities have a fashion week, but Berlin’s got two: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, or in short: MBFW, has a spring edition (January 16 – 19) and a fall edition (July 3 – 7), and both have numerous runway shows open to the public. The world’s biggest get-together of the food, agriculture, and gardening industries takes place from January 19 through 28: International Green Week 2018. A month later the exhibition grounds at Berlin Radio Tower are swamped with travel bugs: ITB, the world’s leading travel trade show (March 7 – 11) hosts a special partner “country” this year: German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern presents itself as a underrated yet very fascinating travel destination. E-gaming is not only a hobby shared by billions around the globe, it’s even going to be an olympic sport from 2022 on. Since it’s an important industry, too, Berlin International Games Week (April 22 – 29) has slowly gained a lot of attention. And since we’re talking about consumer electronics already: IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited (August 31 – September 5) has all the newest gadgets, toys, and innovations the world needs. Some 250,000 visitors and almost 1,500 exhibitors make this one of the biggest trade shows in the world.
With a vast number of museums and theatres, cinemas and opera houses, stages, shows, and concert halls (not to mention live music venues and independent art galleries) the cultural sector of the German capital has no equal. As if this ‘regular’ program was not enough, special festivals, exhibitions, and events make for exceptional highlights in the cultural calendar. And the world watches – as with Berlin International Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, which hosts world-famous celebrities on the red carpet and half a million movie buffs on cinema chairs between February 15 and 25. Art in the age of media and futurology are being explored every year at transmediale (January 31 – February 4) before in March the focus is on contemporary music at MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues (March 16 – 25). All the world might be a stage, but still the stage is the world. Some of the best theatre companies get together in Berlin during Theatertreffen (May 4 – 20). The many art galleries in town look forward to two very special dates this year: Gallery Weekend on April 27 – 29 and of course the grand Berlin Art Week (September 12 – 16). And isn’t it going to be one artsy summer! Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art is back after a break last year and will make Berlin the art capital of Europe for three months from June 9 through September 9. Not a counter-event but a more underground approach makes 48 Hours Neukölln (June 22 – 24) one of the most charming art festivals there are. Ready for a night at the museum? Your chance: Long Night of the Museums (August 18). Also save the date for International Literature Festival Berlin (September 5 – 15). October 2018 has been proclaimed the European Month of Photography and we sure may look forward to some amazing special exhibitions in that context.
By the way, the European Commission has made 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage – Berlin and surrounding state Brandenburg are packed with older and younger historic buildings and attractions, and there will be some fascinating exhibitions and events waiting to be explored by you.
A good sport
Sure, these next few weeks all eyes will be on South Korea where the Winter Olympics are being held this year. But on April 8, the sports season will be officially opened in the German capital as well, with traditional Half Marathon. Bicycle racing is both mass sports and pro sports, and Velothon on May 13 unites the two in one big race on the streets of Berlin. A few days later, the most important match in German Football will be held at Berlin Olympic Stadium: the DFB cup final (May 19). In summer there will be numerous opportunities to watch Germans go crazy at one of the many public viewing events for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The 2018 Athletics EC will be held in Berlin (August 7 – 12), make sure not to miss this amazing event. And we’re all waiting for that world record to be broken on September 16, for the world’s fastest Marathon in Berlin.
I know it’s hard to imagine, but summer will be back in Berlin at some point. And when it’s all hot and sunny then, the most fun thing to do is to visit one of the many street and music festivals. The opening event for the season is traditionally MyFest on workers’ day (May 1) in the area surrounding Kreuzberg’s Oranienstraße. Many say the most beautiful of all summer festivals in Berlin is Karneval der Kulturen (“Carnival of the Cultures”) on May 18 – 21, with tens of thousands of colorfully dressed-up people roaming the streets of Kreuzberg in one grand parade. Summer officially starts on June 21 with live music for free on every corner: Fête de la musique. July is the queerest month in town, with two lgbtiq* festivals within 8 days: Europe’s largest Lesbian and Gay Festival on and around Nollendorfplatz (July 21 – 22) and a week later the annual Christopher Street Day Parade (July 28). Karl-Marx-Allee in Friedrichshain turns into the world’s longest biergarten from August 3 through 5 for Berlin International Beer Festival. Famous bands and living legends await you at the German spin-off of Lollapalooza Festival (September 8 – 9). And even though summer has to come to an end at some point, there are still some highlights – in the true sense of the word: Festival of Lights illuminate famous buildings and attractions artfully for two weeks in October. And before that winter blues gets you, make sure to visit one of the many shows during Jazzfest Berlin (November 1 – 4).
And keep in mind: This is only a selection of events, there’s something big happening almost every day and many amazing events haven’t even been announced yet. Here on your Berlin blog we’ll make sure to keep you updated on awesome events and special dates regularly, so stay tuned for an unforgettable year in the German capital!
Picture: Datei: #87164262 | Urheber: pixelklex – fotolia
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.