You are crazy, my child. You must go to Berlin.
— Franz von Suppé, Austrian composer
With its complex history and central location within Europe, Berlin is an international hub of art, food, cinema, and music, infamous for its 24 hour social scene. It’s also become known as the vegan capital of Europe, something I was very excited about when I visited. The city has long been an example of a place full of cultural expression and freedom in the face of suppression. Darkness and light linger together here, in a harmonious balance which is rarely found. My sister and I visited Berlin on our whirlwind trip through Europe, (I saw cheap plane tickets on Jetradar and snatched one up for her birthday present!) and we felt that it was one of the most vibrant and liveable cities we’d ever been to. Here are some of the most unique, delicious, and intriguing places to explore when you visit Berlin.
Visit the Green Fairy at Absinthdepot
Berlin is still on the less expensive side for Europe, the people are friendly and welcoming and it’s a very easy city to navigate. If you’re planning on visiting multiple cities in Europe, you can take the train to Berlin or there are many inexpensive flights if you plan ahead.
The subway system goes everywhere and is not difficult to figure out. The city is very walkable, and they’ve made a point of making sure it’s well lit for walking at night. Interestingly, although the city has been unified since 1989, you can still clearly see the divide if you look down from Space at night. Most of the lamps have not been changed since the wall came down.
Berlin also has the cutest ‘little traffic light men’ I’ve ever seen.
Depending on what time of year you’re planning on going to Berlin, the weather may be drastically different. Whether it’s Winter or Summer weather you can expect some temperature changes between day and night, and it may rain, although there are more museums in Berlin than rainy days.
Since Berlin is on the inexpensive side, finding a large and comfortable Airbnb is easy to do. There are also many incredible hotels to choose from, both luxurious and more traditional. We stayed in the Kreuzberg neighborhood which was convenient to everything.
Cafe culture is alive and well in Berlin, although the computer was invented in Berlin you won’t find laptop zombies lurking in every corner. Start the day with brunch at Roamers. You’ll feel as though you’ve entered a kitchen of mythical German forest elves, and by the time you exit you’ll have made a new friend group of international bohemians.
In the mood for perogies? Tak Tak has mastered the Polish essentials. Perfect lunch stop.
Care for afternoon tea? Experience something new with a visit to a lush, hidden away Tajikistani tea house. Enjoy a mix of Persian and Russian cultures at Tadshikische Teestube.
Best trendy rooftop bar? Head to Monkey Bar for colorful concoctions, a lively scene, and panoramic views of the city, zoo monkeys included. Perfect for an afternoon bite to eat and a sundowner.
Fragrances Bar: In the evening, trust your senses and treat yourself to a one of a kind cocktail experience at Fragrances Bar inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Your nose will guide your way as you discover your next favorite drink by smelling a selection of luxurious perfumes, from Bulgari to Armani to Guerlain. The expert bartender will prepare a drink which tastes impossibly like your chosen scent. The presentation of each drink takes the full sensory world of Fragrances to another level. Ask your bartender to do a ‘scent horoscope’ reading based on your selection of perfume.
Absinthdepot: Pick up a few gifts at the Absinthe shop and bar. With over 300 varieties of absinthe available, you won’t be able to choose just one.
Voo Store: Beautiful store with a variety of both famous and lesser known designers, accessories, gifts, and even a coffee shop inside.
Other Nature: If you find mainstream sex shops to be unappealing, and want products that are healthy for you and the environment, this may be the shop for you. Other Nature is a feminist, queer, sex-positive, eco-friendly, and vegan sex shop. They’ll offer you tea and advice while you peruse the goods.
In the Mitte neighborhood you’ll find many unique clothing stores and galleries. Some of our favorites were Anuschka Hoevener, Adddress Fashion, Claudia Skoda, R.S.V.P. Papier in Mitte, and there is a giant MUJI store.
A trip to Berlin would not be complete without a few monsters crossing your path. See them on their best behaviour with a visit to Monsterkabinett. You’ll be taken on a wondrous journey amongst robots and creatures from another world. This dark alley home of both living and handcrafted nightmares is open year round. Check the schedule on the website for the most up to date tour times. Prepare to be haunted.
Whatever your interest, from spy history to dinosaurs to creepy medical equipment, Berlin has a world class museum for it. Although you might think of Berlin as gritty and urban, it’s also one of the greenest cities in the world, with more parks, gardens, and forested areas than any other city in Europe. It even has more bridges than Venice! As you stroll through the greenery within Tiergarten you’ll see many beautiful monuments and sculptures. Spend some time wandering quietly through the profound and somber Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Do you have plans to visit Berlin? Let me know in the comments below!