Sporting activities in Berlin

Whatever time of year you visit Berlin, there's plenty to keep you busy - it's a city on the move..

Spectators have the choice of watching Ice-Hockey, Basketball, or following the fate of Berlin's football team - BSC Hertha - in the company of surprisingly amiable crowds. And soccer fans shouldn't forget that in 2006 Berlin hosts the World Cup.

The National Pony and Trap Race takes place in south Berlin, at Marienfelde, and, in the east, Hoppegarten provides a traditional day at the races - that is when they're not parading elephants and camels to promote a local circus.

A winter visit? Although Berlin lies in the middle of a plain, an improbable five ski slopes are at your disposal, together with in- and outdoor skating rinks, in public squares and on the surrounding lakes.

Follow up with a trip to a sauna, like the palatially reconstructed oriental public baths in Neukölln, or the swimming bath. There are 33 indoor public pools in the city, including leisure centres like SEZ with a range of fun pools (currently looking for a new owner), and the massive 50 metre pool next to the Berlin Arena (Velodrom).

In the summer Berlin's city-wide cycle lane network (and, yes, you can easily hire a bike) lures you to the edge of the city, where you can wander down shady paths through forests like Grunewald, or visit lakes like the Wannsee or Müggelsee to idle away the time fishing, swimming, hiring a rowing or paddleboat for a few hours.

Golf and mini-golf, tennis and yoga, skate-boarding and martial arts, balloon rides and bungee-jumping - you take you pick. Or perhaps an attempt at one of the artificial climbing walls for the family album. And whether spectator or competitor, don't miss the Berlin Marathon in September.

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