What “not to forget to do” when in Berlin… my style!
Ever since I started my blog I keep getting asked on travel advice. What to do in Berlin, Prague, Oxford… so I thought why not write a little series of “5 don’t forget to do when in…”. My style, of course! Let’s start with my current hometown – Berlin.
I have now lived in Berlin for a year and I LOVE living here!
But I didn’t always love Berlin.
Before I moved here last year in January I visited couple of times, mainly for business, hence I knew the Hauptbanhof (main train station) and a couple of conference rooms very well. And that was about it. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed. So when I got a job offer to move to Berlin, I was very skeptical. But everyone around me was telling me how amazing the city is and that they would move here straight away only if they could. And because I was heartbroken from a recent break up and felt that I need to “escape”, I took the job and moved to Berlin.
And within only couple of weeks I fell in love.
If you love art, music, amazing food, great coffee, quirky little shops,
hidden bars and enchanted bookshops… you will also fall in love with Berlin.
These are my five “don’t forget to do” when in Berlin tips
- Rent a bike
I know, it says it in every guidebook but, if you are like me, and only look at the pictures in your guidebooks, you may not think it’s a good idea. But it is!
Bike rentals are silly cheap (€10 for a full day) and the city really is at its best on a bike. Every time when I have some visitors, we hire bikes and cycle all around, we stop to listen to street music artists, to have beers and coffees and cakes. I love cycling through Mauer park on Sundays, when the market is there, and stopping to people watch and listen to music. Berlin is a big place so you can easily knock up 30k on a bike… which means you can have a lot of cake without feeling guilty. Ideal!
- Go to a market
You can buy even the things you wouldn’t dream about. The main flea market day is Sunday.
But there is a lot of markets also on Thursdays and Saturdays. Mauer park flea market is the big touristy one and I like going there every once in a while, when I am ready to meet the crowds. My favourite market is in Kreuzberg in Marheinekeplatz where you can buy literally everything, and I also love a great Turkish market, south off Kottbusser Tor, where you can buy fabric, buttons and everything else one needs for a little sewing adventure. Plus you can buy gorgeous baklava to munch on whilst shopping.
My all time favourite place is Markthalle 9 where you can find great fresh food handmade goods and where you can have a quick and super tasty lunch… it’s fantastic!
- Have a coffee
No, seriously though, you have to have a coffee in Berlin.There are so many little incredible cafes serving artisan coffee, that you would blame yourself if you forget to explore some of these. It is hard to say which one is the best.
One of my favourites is Espresso Lounge in Bergmannstrasse – they serve milchkaffee in a bowl, have daily newspaper (great for practicing my German) and it is only about 10 minutes from where we live. Perfect! Great coffee and “out of this world” cakes are in Barcomi’s. Last time I went there we ordered a small tasting platter of cakes but they made a mistake with our order so Jens and I ended up having four gigantic slices of cake between the two of us. Heaven! And I have to mention The Barn, supposedly it is the best coffee in Berlin. I love their coffee but really don’t like how busy it always is.
- Enjoy the parks
As soon as your bum is not freezing to the bench when you sit down on it, the beergardens open. And you really cannot leave Berlin without having a beer in a beergarden.
On sunny days Matthes and I love making sandwiches and taking a bottle of wine with us, renting a rowing boat and having a lunch in the middle of the river Spree in Treptower park. But our favourite park is Tempelhofer Freihet (an old airport). We live literally across the road so this is where we have our picnics and watch the sunset, where we run, relax and people watch. When the weather is good a guy comes with his coffee bike and makes nice coffees and hot chocolates. Yumm!
- See the wall
Of course I have to mention the wall, sorry!
Igrew up in communism (well, I was six when there was the Velvet revolution in Czech republic) and I think it’s very important “not to forget” the past.
My favourite part of the wall is the East Side Gallery, although be prepared, there will be a lot of people around if you come on a nice day in the main tourist season. The best time to come and visit is during the night. There is a Späti (corner shop which is open late) not too far away, where you can buy a bottle of beer which you can take with you and wonder along the wall whilst sipping on it, Berlin style.
Of course, there is loads more to do and see. If you want to know more, let me know and I will try to help with what I can :)
Also, if you are planning a trip to Berlin you should definitely check out Slow Travel Berlin website. It’s full of great tips and ideas on what to do in the city and around it!
Have you been to Berlin? What was your experience?
Is Berlin on your “wishlist” of places to visit?
P.S. Taking a picture in a photoatomat is a bit cliché but it is a MUST! (Especially after a night out :)
Categories: my TRAVELS and travel TIPS