Berlin’s metropolitan area has nearly 6 million residents representing more than 180 different nations. It’s a city brimming with culture and politics. Not to mention the place is drop-dead gorgeous for those who know where to look — about one-third of the city’s area is either a garden, forest, park, river or lake. And Berlin’s popularity is gaining. In 2015, Berlin was the third most visited city in Europe, losing only to London and Paris (but coming in ahead of Rome and Barcelona).
Editor’s note: These spots are taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.
1. Experience Berlin’s street art.
Banksy, Os Gemeos, Obey, Blu are some of the names you can find around here…
2. Spend a day visiting the museum island.
3. Stroll through the Gardens of Gärten der Welt.
Gärten der Welt in Marzahn has 21 hectares of land with nine regional gardens, each representing the history and culture of the country. China, Morocco, Japan, Bali, and Korea are just some of the nationalities represented through the landscaping. Besides all the national gardens, the park has gardens dedicated to religions such as Christianity and the tropical garden that is filled with plants you can only find in South America or South East Asia. The park’s visitor numbers are increasing annually and this is not a place to enjoy with the masses. Make sure you check it out before it is overrun. Once a year they host the cherry blossom day. Check their calendar to see when it will happen next, it’s spectacular.
4. Go to a punk show.
Berlin is the birthplace for techno but the punk rock side it is just too awesome to miss it. SO36, Ramones Museum, Køpi 137, Cassiopeia, Core Tex are some of the places you can find some punk rock.
5. Visit the eight windmills of Berlin.
Did you know that Berlin has eight working windmills inside its perimeter? My favorite is Britzer Muhle. We discovered this amazing place completely unintentionally when our crew were taking the bikes for a long tour over to Brandenburg. Once I was at Buckower Damm, I saw this weird shaped thing on the corner of my eye and I had to stop my bike. In the distance I saw Britzer Muhle and after a quick Google search, found out that there are another seven windmills in Berlin. Some of the windmills are much closer to the city center and there is one really close to Gärten der Welt. Britzer Muhle is open for tours Fridays to Sundays from 11am to 4pm.
6. Shop in Dong Xuan Center.
The Dong Xuan Center is a one-of-a-kind Asian market. It’s packed with seemingly endless whacky products. It’s the center of the East-Berlin Asian community. Don’t visit without a large shopping bag or rucksack. Even if you’re not planning to spend money in weird and useless stuff, you will.
7. Admire the gothic architecture at Berlin Cathedral Church.
8. View some of the street art originally along the Berlin Wall at East Side Gallery.
East Side GalleryBerlin, GermanyIf you go to one part of the Berlin Wall, you MUST go here. This section features the best artwork and murals to be found along the wall. If you are into photography, you will love it. #art #berlin #history #free #gallery
9. Take a moment at The Garden of Exile.
The Garden of Exile stands outside the Jewish Museum Berlin. The garden represents the experience of European Jewish exiles, driven from their home during World War II. Standing in between the rows of forty-nine concrete container columns is a claustrophobic, disorienting experience, where you are aware that logically, escape is very close but physically, you feel as if you are trapped forever.
10. Get to know David Bowie’s favorite and famous spots.
His Berlin apartment is on Haupstrasse 155 in Schöneberg, the studio where Heroes was recorded is on Potsdamer Platz and so on.
11. Book a tour at Reichstag Building.
Reichstag BuildingBerlin, GermanyOne of my two must-do things in Berlin! Book your free tour online in advance as they fill up. If you going when it’s cold, bundle up because the top, glassy dome of the building is open air and you won’t want to miss walking up and around it. They also point out Angela Merkel’s office to you. #politics #government #free #history
12. Stand at the base of the Berlin Wall Memorial.
13. Learn of the rich history of Sammlung Boros.
Sammlung BorosBerlin, GermanyAlso known as “Boros Bunker” in English, this is one of my top 5 spots in Berlin you can’t miss! Like the Reichstag, go online and book a tour (only way to access it) in advance otherwise it’ll sell out. World class art collection – with Ai Wei Wei – in an old Nazi bunker that sheltered thousands of Germans during the war. You can actually see bullet holes on the outside of the building and spots where the toilets used to be inside the building. The family that now owns the building and art collection live in the penthouse apartment here. Really, really cool!!’ Cost is 12 Euros, I believe. #nazi #germany #berlin #art #gallery #history #war
14. Enjoy an evening at The Berlin Philharmonic.
The Berliner Philharmonic plays for everybody that wants to listen every Tuesday at 1pm. The concert is performed by the wonderful students of the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. It is by far the nicest thing to do over your lunch break in Berlin. Get there early is you’re trying to attend to one of the events during the summer. For security reasons, the number of visitors to the lunch concerts is limited to 1,500.
15. Have a lazy afternoon by one of the many lakes, pools or man-made beaches.
Freibad JungfernheideBerlin, GermanySince it’s such a big city, it’s surprising how many lakes and public pools there are in Berlin. This lake is very easy to access off the metro and still in the city limits. Great place to cool off on a hot day whenever there is one 😳 #swimming #berlin
16. Time travel in East Berlin.
There are so many great spots in East Berlin that will transport you to the cold war era. Two of my favorites are Karl-Marx-Allee and Leipzigerstrasse. Walking down both avenues is like going back to the 70s and 80s in Berlin. Karl-Marx-Allee is known as Stalin’s Bathroom because the architecture covered in tiles, just like in your bathroom. Take the U5 or the tram on the east side and emerge yourself in history for free. Grab a beer on the way and walk through iconic places, used for movie sets for the like of “The life of others” and “Goodbye Lenin”. Take a long walk following The Spree from Elsenbrücke towards the TV Tower. You’ll see this on the horizon. You’ll note scenery from “Run Lola Run” and the new series “Sense8.”