Ich liebe Berlin and I know I’m not the only one. Whether it’s your first time to the city or you’re fifteenth, there is always a new side of the Berlin awaiting discovery, and old places and spaces that will call you back.
There is so much more to the city than Checkpoint Charlie and based on my numerous visits over the years, I’d like to share with you my favourite spots and things to do in this Sunshine and Gin Quick Guide to Berlin. So pour a beer, grab a pretzel and read away!
- So your first tip? Pack some comfortable shoes. As with most cities the best way to see and learn more about your destination is to take a walk or even better – do a free walking tour. I’ve done this tour twice and it’s an easy pace and will take you to some of Berlin’s most iconic and interesting sites including the must see: The Brandenburg Gate, The Berlin Wall, Berliner Fernsehturm (The TV Tower) and The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
- It’s no secret that there is a thriving Street Art culture in Berlin. Originating in the 1960’s as a way for Berliner’s to express their opinions on the division of their city and their hopes for unity, the streets and buildings of Berlin remain a canvas for many of the world’s most prolific street and graffiti artists. If you’re interested in exploring this side of the city check out Alternative City Tours or Alternative Berlin. You’ll see some amazing artwork and visit some areas where many tourists may never step foot.
- You absolutely cannot miss The East Side Gallery. A beautiful monument to the fall of the wall it consists of beautiful murals painted onto a remaining part of the wall – a true celebration of reunification and freedom.
- The DDR Museum was one of my favourite museums in Berlin. It’s very interactive and shows you what life was like in the GDR nad more specifically East Berlin plus it’s only 7 Euros to go!
- Be sure to visit the Reichtag to walk up the beautiful glass dome and get your art and cultural history fix at Museum Island.
- Kreuzberg is on of Berlin’s most colourful neighbourhoods. It is the bohemian epicenter of Berlin and home to hundreds of cafes, bars, clubs, kebab joints ans street art to enjoy. Whilst you’re there take a night walk from Kreuzberg to Friedrichstein across the Oberbaum Bridge (formerly a boundary between East and West) and stop to play a guessing game of rock, paper, scissors…you’ll understand what I mean when you’re there. Friedrichstein is another one of Berlin’s most fashionable and fun areas and a great spot to stay for young people.
- Whilst you might be hungover from a night at one of Berlin’s epic clubs (yes warehouse raves are as insane as they sound), grab yourself a currywurst and go for a stroll along Kurfürstendamm or Friedrichstrasse.
- Love to shop? Berlin has plenty of areas to spend your pennies! A few to try include Potsdamer Platz, Alexanderplatz and Oranienstrasse.
- For nature lovers, there is of course beautiful Tiergarten Park which is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. As a backpacker I absolutely loved wandering through the park with a pretzel in hand, pondering life and which hostel I should book for the night (for the record I went with St Christopher’s which had a fun bar and breakfast included).
- My final tip is to jump on the S-bahn, the U-bahn or one of the trams when your feet get tired. They will take you everywhere you need to go and offer a great opportunity too people watch…and who doesn’t love that?
All in all, there is simply too much to see, do and experience in Berlin it is hard to put it into a definite list. But hopefully this has given you some ideas for when (not if!) you visit this amazing city…