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Berlin: Festival of Lights shines October 10-21, 2012

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The Berliner Dom and Alexanderplatz all lit up during the 2008 Festival of Lights. Photo: AnBerlin
The Berliner Dom and Alexanderplatz all lit up during the 2008 Festival of Lights. Photo: AnBerlin

In this northern European capital, the days are getting noticeably shorter, the nights are tinged with chill. But before winter sets in for good, Berlin wraps itself in a special glow – this year’s Berlin Festival of Lights runs from October 10-21, 2012.

Even locals embrace the opportunity to see their city’s beloved sights in a different light. The dramatic color effects on monuments such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom, and this year, for the first time, the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche have everyone pulling out their cameras, flipping to night settings to capture the best shot.

Organized tours

The city offers daily organized bus, boat, and bus AND boat tours, ranging from €13-35 per person. You can find full information about departure times, locations, and prices here.

The Brandenburg Gate gets lit. Photo: Daniel Kokavecz

Of most interest to Cheapos might be the following options:

+ “LightWalking” German-language guided tours with Katrin Pollok of Berlin-Sehenswert, daily at 6:30 or 8 p.m., duration 1.5 hours, €8. Reservations required.

+ For the more athletically inclined, 10k of “LightSightRunning” with Mike’s SightRunning, daily at 7:15 p.m., €7. Reservations required.

+ Scoring the list of illuminations available here, then snagging the 100 bus and checking off most of them (at your pace, hop-on-hop-off, if you choose). Daily, every 10 minutes from many different locations, €2.40 for tickets valid 120 minutes (or “free” if you already have a day pass).

Your light shots?

Have you visited Berlin during the Festival of Lights? Link to your photographs in the comments section!

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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