Bleak, dark Berlin winters tumble headlong into a glorious summer that you can bank on. If you’re lucky enough to be here during the summer, and you fancy some exploration, these day trips are easy.

  •  Grunewald – a massive expanse of beautiful parkland, a 30-minute train ride from the city (S-Bahn S7). Take your bike on the train and explore, or bring a picnic and enjoy the sylvan quiet.
  • Wannsee – 40 minutes by train from Berlin (S-Bahn S1), the lake here is great for swimming or boating, and a few little restaurants are dotted around its banks. Berlin comes here to sunbathe, or jog/cycle the perimeter.
  • Potsdam – a short 45-minute train ride away (S-7), and home to Sanssouci, Frederick the Great’s summer palace. Inside, a series of rooms take the over-stuffed and gilded style to its furthest extremes. A guided tour costs 12 euros (about £9.60) from April to October and 8 euros (£6.40) from November to March. After visiting, one comes to understand why the marriage of this flamboyant, rococo-loving prince-with-Daddy-issues might have failed to produce an heir.