Berlin. A city that sparkles and inherits visible artifacts from its history. A place that is large in its a-typical urban construction, allowing you to endlessly wander around on foot or by bike. This city has some treasures worth sharing and a vibe that is relaxed and worth exploring yourself. This blog offers some of the richness of this raw city. The rest is up to you. Enjoy! 🙂
Westside, eastside – what?
The division of the city in east and west was a result of historical events, dating back – after the second world war. It was then that what was left of Germany, was divided into four occupational zones run by the French, Americans, Britains and the Russians (or Sovjets at the time). Sooner or later it turned out that there was more and more political divide between the Sovjets and the other occupying powers, thus resulting in an east and west area. This was the case throughout the country as well as for the city of Berlin. It resulted in not only an ideological divide, but also a physical barrier by the introduction of the Berlin wall from 1961-1989. You can read more about the rise and the fall of the wall here.
Navigating through the city
The best way to travel through the city is most definitely by bike. It is pretty cyclist friendly – although for me as a Dutchie a bit odd to have a cyclist road on a sidewalk. All across the city you will find bike rental shops. Through some locals I found out about a reliable and the cheapest one in Berlin: for 5 euros per day you can rent a decent bike, as compared to minimum 12 euros per day at the other stores. The shop is located in Kreuzberg: a mixed neighbourhood with nice vibes.
With the loaded history of Germany as a whole, come many memorials and urban constructions that show a direct heritage. You can for instance notice while cycling through the city that there is a difference in terms of streets and buildings. My theory is that the wider the streets, the more likely that these were from East Berlin influenced by the former Sovjets. The more narrow the streets, you notice that the streets have a different architecture – this looks more like the Western urban construction.
Places to visit are:
- Berlin wall
- Part of the wall & memorial close to Mauerpark
- Brandenburger Tower
- Memorial to the murdered Jews in Europe
Parks and hipster places
The best time to travel to Berlin is during spring and summer. With the trees blossoming and the sun kissing your skin, the Berlin parks and cultural/ art communities are a must to pay a visit to. For instance:
- Mauerpark (great on Sunday with live music, flee market and foodtruck market)
- Holtzmarkt25 (nice for drinks and concerts; picture below)
- Treptower park
It has enriched the city’s cuisine that many immigrants and diverse cultures co-exist here. Whether you go for breakfast, coffee, cake, lunch or dinner: every neighbourhood in the city has its hidden tasty treasures. My tips in a random order:
- Factory girl (best breakfast and must try: Coco Anuja)
- Com Vietnam (dinner)
- Mauerpark foodtruck market (on Sunday!)
- Maria Bonita (sincerely best Mexican food, close to Mauerpark)
- The Juicery for smoothies (picture below)
- Biergarten (close to Treptower park, nice for drinks and live music)
‘It’s so big!’
Yes it is. And therefore you might have to choose where to spend time, especially when that is limited. So I would recommend to visit/ cycle past these neighbourhoods: