Berlin consists of 12 neighbourhoods, each with an entirely different feel to it. Personal taste is an important factor when picking your favourite ones and in the short time I visited I honestly didn’t really get a good sense of everything Berlin has to offer.
But here’s what I found in the little time I had:
Friedrichshain – Kreuzberg
Our guide Claas warns us before we get off the train into Kreuzberg. ‘You might see a lot of people with beer in their hands. Don’t worry, they’re hipsters. A lot of the cool kids in this area in the West of Berlin feel that the law doesn’t have to be that strictly followed. They have strong opinions on what is right and what not. A beer-bicycle? That is right. A McDonalds, that is so wrong.
After the Second World War, a lot of the parties in Berlin moved to the center of the city again. Most buildings in the West, such as banks, were abandoned… and soon were found to be the perfect place for the more underground club scene.
Become more and more popular over the years, Kreuzberg is now one of the most expensive parts of Berlin to live in. So a lot of people have decided to pack their stuff up again and move to other neighbourhoods. It is said to become near to un-affordable in the next 5 years for most people to live in this area.
But the funny thing is, the reason why everything became so expensive is mostly blamed on the tourists. They came with 10 million a year (that is 20 per minute!) to ‘their’ Berlin and started living in ‘their’ houses.
A lot of people seem to have forgotten they came here as a tourist themselves back in the days, our guide points out. Of most people you meet in Berlin, maybe 1 out of 10 are originally from Berlin. Claas is of course, a true Berliner (he tells us at least five more times during our walk).
Looking for secret clubs? Try and find the photo boots, they usually mark the cool spots for you!
As we walk into the direction of the Berlin Wall, Claas tells us about the current development in this area. Big clusters of media companies pop up behind the wall and seem to take over this area of frozen history that every one knows so well. They even plan on breaking down part of the wall because of the redevelopment of the area, something that many people are against.
Berliners like to keep their city as it was, but change is coming and its showing in more and more places.
I think the fear of change can best be felt in the club scene, which is well know in Berlin. Because of the city’s lack of a harbour and of industry, it is said that creativity is so high over here.
I’ve never seen a city with so many colours and so much art. Especially in this neighbourhood, I couldn’t stop looking around. It is a very popular place among young people, so it’s not strange there are heaps of bars and clubs around.
One of the most interesting places we got to visit in this part of town, was the Kater Holzig and Kater Schmaus restaurant. We weren’t allowed to take any photos (although we secretly tried, being bloggers and all that), but if you’re in Berlin in the next 12 weeks, I would recommend you pay this place a visit.
Part club, part restaurant, part flea market and a total artist hang-out, this place is buzzing with creativity. Unfortunately, due to development in the area, this place will have to go soon and that is such a shame! Berlin is a place that just breathes art and I really think that by taking away all these spots in the city will take away a little of Berlins soul at the same time…
The most central place in Berlin is one of the best places to start when you’re looking to explore a lot of Berlin. You can find all the popular tourist destinations here (we just had a quick look at the Brandenburg Gate), but there are also lots of more less-know places to explore.
While walking aroung, we arrived at the so called ‘Hackesche Höfe’, a courtyard complex right next to the Hackescher Market. The complex consists of eight interconnected courtyards, that you can enter through a main entrance at number 40 Rosenthaler Straße.
The complex was designed in the Jugendstil style by August Endel, but the thing I found most interesting, it the world of difference you can find just one alley next to it. It’s full of street art, a bar and just has a totally different atmosphere. Loved it!
Pankow (Prenzlauer Berg, Weißensee)
The Mauerpark (‘Wall Park’) is a public park in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district. At the park on Sundays, you can find a flea market, that is popular with both locals and tourists. I can definitely recommend this market for the vintage lovers among you.
After strolling along the market, I climbed up the hill next to the park, where you can still see some remains of the Berlin Wall (see photo of me below)
Berlin’s history is still very much alive in the city, but the people are not afraid to look forward too
Planning your trip to Berlin
Because of the popularity of Berlin, any true secret spots are rare, if not impossible to find. German philosopher Karl Scheffler once said ‘Berlin is doomed to always become and never be’ and during our walk I can see why he said that.
While most places are crowded with people, it seems like everything in this city is just temporarily there for some reason. It is a city that constantly changes and will probably never grow up. But if you love that, it might be just the perfect place for you.
I suggest you really take your time exploring Berlin and to get a day card for the public transport, as Berlin is a huge city. Pay a visit to the Berlin Tourist Board to find out more about this intriguing city.
If you want to see all my Youth HotSpots in one place, I’ll be adding them to my account on the website of the German Tourism board, so check it out!
Thanks Berlin, you’ve been great – but I really have to come back soon to see more of you!
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Have you ever been to Berlin? What was your favourite neighbourhood and the best Youth Hotspot you found?
I visited Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin on invitation of the German Tourism Board. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Looking for other cool places to visit in Germany? We can recommend:
- One Day in Stuttgart
- One Day in Gengenbach
- One Day in Freiburg
- One Day in Bremen
- One Day in Hamburg
- One Day in Magdeburg
- Transromanica Road Trip