Berlin Travel Tips
As a vibrant, cosmopolitan and constantly evolving city, Germany’s capital should be on the bucketlist of anyone visiting Germany. Since it is almost impossible to see everything Berlin has to offer, we will give you some tips on things to do, as well as some suggestions on how to get around and where to eat.
Seasons You can visit Berlin all year round. During winter, you will get the chance to visit multiple museums, art galleries and exhibitions, to sip coffee and watch people in hip cafés, or to relax by becoming part of the german Saunakultur, breaking a sweat in spas such as Vabali or Liquidrom. When visiting Berlin in December, you are going to enjoy the many christmas markets- from traditional markets at the Schloss Charlottenburg or Gendarmenmarkt to vegan, scandinavian and even asian christmas markets- you will be able to try out a great deal of different cuisines! In summer however, the city blossoms and becomes a very lively place; Berliners love sitting outside in restaurants and bars, swimming in the many lakes around Berlin and Potsdam, and the numerous festivals and street parades such as Karneval der Kulturen attract thousands of tourists every summer. Apart from the obvious tourist attractions, such as the Brandenburg Gate or the Bundestag (which are definately worth visiting), we have gathered some suggestions to make your visit to Berlin exciting and entertaining.
It is no secret that Berlin hasn’t had a very good record with airports, but the Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport closed in 2008, is now a great place for watching amazing sunsets and enjoying outdoor activities on the former runways -such as inline skating, longboarding or kite boarding. The Tempelhofer Feld was historically used for military practice in Berlin, was later turned into the Tempelhof Airport in the 1920s, and has served as a recreational area ever since 2008. Open every season of the year between sunrise and sunset, the Tempelhofer Feld is a hotspot for people of all age groups, having picnics, flying their kites, or growing vegetables and fruits in the community urban gardening area.
The Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg is one of Berlin’s many historical places; between 1961 and 1989, it was the border strip of the Berlin wall and the whole area was impassible. After the reunification, it was converted into a recreational area which, after some renovations, opened in 1994. Since then, it has become a place for numerous acitivities and events, such as the big Mauerpark flea market, karaoke on sunday afternoons or street food markets. Berliners as well as tourists love to spend their sundays at Mauerpark, having barbecues, strolling in the park, hunting for old vinyls and enjoying a beer from the Späti. If you dare to step down into the amphitheatre for karaoke on sundays, you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands of people listening to you singing, but don’t worry- you can also just take a seat on the hills, enjoy your streetfood and listen to other incredible artists and performers. The Mauerpark is one of the few places in Berlin where barbecueing is still permitted, so enjoy your bratwurst (or vegan sausages!)
Waterfall and Monument in Victoria Park
Did you know that you can visit a waterfall in the middle of Berlin? Located in the heart of Victoria Park, you will find the hill Kreuzberg was named after. In the 19th century, Friedrich Wilhelm the third erected the Prussian National Monument for the Liberation Wars on top of the Kreuzberg, dedicated to soldiers and citizen who fought in the Liberation Wars. The monument is made of cast iron and it slightly resembles the spire tops of gothic churches, and while the path up the hill might be steep, you’ll have a great view over the Kreuzberg area! Fun fact: Since Berlin used to be a wine-growing region, the Kreuzberg had vineyards up until the 18th century. In 1968, this tradtion was revived, so you now can aquire the Kreuz-Neroberger white wine in return for a donation. For beer lovers, the adjoining Bergmann Kiez will cater your needs with many bars and beergardens.
City Spree Cruise
Although it seems like a very touristic thing to do, the city spree cruise gives you a great overview of the most important political and historical areas and buildings of Berlin, while you can sit back and relax on deck of one of the boats. If you’re only in Berlin for a short period of time, the Spree cruise is definately worth it. You can choose from several providers, and just book your tour online. Depending on how long you want your tour to be, you can choose between an hour or up to three hour cruises; there are even hop on- and hop off boats available, if you have a little more time and want to explore Berlin at your own pace. The journey usually includes the Berlin Cathedral, the Museum Island, the government district with the Reichstag, the Central Station, the Chancellor’s Office (also referred to as the washing machine because of its cubicle form and round windows) and the House of World Cultures. If you’re only in Berlin for a short period of time, the Spree cruise is definately worth checking out to see all of Berlin’s touristic highlights in one day.
Don’t miss out on music, drinks and incredible sunsets while you’re in Berlin! Located on top of a car park in Neukölln, this rooftop/roof garden bar is the place to go for Berliners and tourists alike. While you can enjoy breakfast as well as drinks and live music on deck in summer, you are also able to visit Berlin’s highest christmas market in December and party the night away in their new inside area. The Klunkerkranich, which is a made up name and loosely translates into bling-crane, hosts many electronic/soul/funk music DJs and bands, as well as film nights and literary readings. http://klunkerkranich.org/
Where to eat
As a very big and multicultural city, Berlin’s cuisine is as diverse as the Berliners. Apart from the obvious Döner (kebab), you will find whatever you can dream of in restaurants, at markets and street food stands. Located in Kreuzberg, Markthalle 9 is a market hall which sells fresh and organic produce on weekdays, as well as hosting events such as street food thursdays, breakfast markets, international food festivals and workshops all year round. Check out the calendar on their website to see what they have planned during your stay: https://markthalleneun.de/
Apart from Markthalle 9, there are many food festivals happening in Berlin, especially in summer. Be it a Kebab Festival, Berlin Food Week, Wine Summer in the Botanical gardens or more alternative events such as the Paleo Festival or the International Green Week, where farmers from all over the world present agricultural produce and other goods, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about nutrition/the food industry- you’ll be able to try plenty of different things, which makes food hopping in Berlin a unique experience.