7 best places to see cherry blossom in Germany
With buds appearing on trees and flowers blooming in parks, baby animals popping up all over the place and the Easter holidays just around the corner, spring has to be one of the most joyful seasons in Germany - and nothing says spring quite like a blooming cherry tree.
Cherry blossoms: After winter, Germany starts blooming
For just a couple of weeks in April or May, blossom trees across the country push out a frothy mass of beautifully delicate, frilly and fragrant blooms, and walkers, photographers and general spring enthusiasts alike come to admire the show - which after a long German winter comes as a delightfully colourful, celebratory breath of fresh air.
Sakura trees in Germany
This is a tradition exported to Germany from Japan, where each year people make an event of the blooming of the cherry blossom trees (known as sakura in Japanese) by having an outdoor party to admire the flowers, a custom known as hanami.
Cherry blossoms for reunification
As is the case in other countries around the world, including the US and Brazil, many of Germany’s cherry trees were gifted by Japan. In 1990, a Japanese TV show on the Asahi Network asked viewers for donations to plant cherry trees in Germany - to instil “peace and rest” in the hearts of the newly reunited German citizens - and in total more than 140 million yen (1 million euros) was donated.
From death strips to blossom tree avenues
The first trees were planted in November 1990 at Glienicke Bridge - which was chosen because, as a crossing between East and West Germany, it was closed to most travellers from August 1961 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990. In total, 9.000 trees were planted in Berlin and Brandenburg as a result of the initiative, many of them in the former “death strips” between East and West and other significant locations. Each year they bloom again, as if to celebrate both the arrival of spring and the return of peace and unity to Germany.
When to see cherry blossom in Germany
All is dependent on the weather, so it’s not possible to predict exactly when the spectacular show will start, but a look at the buds on the trees in your neighbourhood should give you a good idea of when the time is close. Alternatively, you could consult a “blossom barometer” for a better guesstimate.
There are a number of locations in Germany where you can see masses of cherry blossom trees blooming all together. Here are some of our favourite - and most photogenic - places.
Cherry blossom in Berlin
Thanks to the generous cherry-tree-gifting of the Japanese, the German capital is awash with places to go and admire blossoms in the spring. Here are our picks of the crop:
One of the best - and most central - places to see cherry blossoms in Berlin is on the Landwehr canal, where 45 cherry trees bloom on the former border strip between Treptow and Neukölln. You can reach them via Görlitzer park.
Bornholmer Strasse cherry blossom
There’s an even longer stretch of cherry blossom trees in the vicinity of Bornholmer Strasse S-Bahn station. 215 trees form a cherry blossom avenue along the former death strip between the districts of Prenzlauerberg and Wedding. You’ll also find a plaque commemorating the Japanese sakura campaign along this stretch.
Hanami at Gardens of the World
Unfortunately, you do have to pay to view the blossoms at Gardens of the World in Marzahn, but the sight of the Japanese garden filled with 80 blooming cherry trees is surely worth it. In mid-April, a Cherry Blossom Festival takes place underneath the sakura.
Cherry blossoms at the Berlin Wall Trail (Mauerweg)
If you want to get a bit further out into nature, pay a visit to the Wall Trail (Mauerweg); a 160-kilometre path that follows the former border around West Berlin and contains the longest cherry blossom avenue in Berlin and Brandenburg. Between Lichterfelde-Süd and Teltow more than 1.000 cherry trees were planted as a result of the Japanese TV campaign, giving this stretch its name: TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenallee.
Image credit: Friedbert Fischer / shutterstock.com
A Hanami festival with picnics, traditional Japanese dishes, and cultural events takes place here each year.
Bonn cherry blossom
Bonn is not particularly renowned for being one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, but in spring things look a lot different. That’s because one of the most photographed cherry blossom avenues is right here in the former West German capital!
For a couple of weeks each spring, Heerstraẞe in the Nordstadt neighbourhood of Bonn is transformed into a “cherry blossom avenue”: the street is lined with cherry trees that, laden with blooms, lean towards each other in the centre of the road to create a stunning canopy of perfect pink. Its popularity means that Heerstraẞe tends to get very busy during blossom season, but it’s still well worth the visit.
Cherry blossom in Hamburg
Hamburg also plays host to a number of cherry trees that were gifted to the German city by the Japanese. Each year, hundreds of trees bloom pink to honour the special relationship between Hamburg and its Japanese community. A special Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival has taken place in the Hanseatic city every year since 1968.
The best place to walk under cherry blossom trees in Hamburg is Alsterpark, where the blooms form long avenues, perfect for a sunny afternoon stroll.
Cherry blossoms in Munich
Thanks to residents’ gardening efforts, isolated cherry trees bloom all over Munich in the springtime, but the best place to see many trees flowering together in the capital of Bavaria is either in the city’s famous Olympiapark or the Englischer Garten. The fluffy mass of flowers blooming in unison is sure to lift almost anyone's spirits.
Plant your own sakura tree
Want a pop of colour in your own neighbourhood? Why not plant your own sakura tree for your neighbours to enjoy? Cherry trees do well in the German climate, and the sight of the first buds in spring is a true joy to behold. Just make sure to get your landlord’s permission before planting anything in your garden!