THE AWESOME AND REVOLUTIONARY WEBSITE Airbnb allows pretty much anyone with a web connection to rent out their home to visiting tourists, and it manages to do it more or less without the creep factor (unlike, say, a rental notice on Craigslist). I personally prefer Airbnb because it offers a homey feel when you’re traveling, which is usually much needed after spending day after day in stale and homogenous hotel rooms or hostel dormitories.

When I’m looking through the site, I usually can’t afford to stay at the nicer spots, but it’s a fun exercise in wishful thinking — especially when some people are willing to rent out their private islands. Here are some of the best ones I’ve found in Berlin — some in the “yeah, I could maybe swing that” category, and others in the “not in a million years” category.


Penthouse in Prenzlauerberg

I’ve never even been in a penthouse, let alone one that’s made of sunshine. This one sits in the city center, with views of Alexanderplatz, and it has an absolutely gorgeous rooftop garden. It’s the type of apartment that a down-on-his-luck writer has in virtually every sitcom and movie, but in real life, is usually reserved for rather successful businessmen. We writers just ain’t that lucky, so we have to live out our fantasies through our stories.


Dream Home in Kreuzberg

Occasionally you read the name that an owner has given their place and you think, “Okay, that’s a little bit much.” Dream Home is an exception. I mean, Jesus. It’s also in Kreuzberg, it has a view of the canal right across the street, and it has an awesome no-rail stairway that’s existence in America would be completely impossible thanks to litigation culture. It also has a balcony, it’s not too expensive, it has a canoe available, and, oh hey, kids stay free. It legitimately annoys me that some people have their shit enough together to own a home like this.


Loft in Kreuzberg

I’m resigned by now to the fact that I’m probably never going to live la vie boheme. Berlin has been establishing itself lately as one of the main cultural centers of Europe, however, and much of this centers around the artsy neighborhood of Kreuzberg. So any of the places available in Kreuzberg are basically going to be top on my list, because I not only want to live la vie boheme, but I want to be the first to live it with money. This loft was one of my favorites: overlooking a garden with absolutely crazy amounts of space that I was not aware was possible in major cities anymore.


Salon in Mitte

Some of the spots you find on Airbnb are less places to crash for the night, and more places to hold an event. I’ve never wanted to become a vulture capitalist, but this room might make me switch careers from impoverished travel writer to robber baron. It looks like it’s made entirely of mahogany and burnt leather, and I bet it smells like pipe smoke. It reminds me of the line from New Girl: “When I put my hands on this desk, I feel sexually proficient for the first time in my life.”


“BlissRoom” in Prenzlauerberg

Any place called “BlissRoom” can’t be that bad. I took a single look at this and thought, “This has to be owned by a yoga instructor.” Turns out, no, it’s owned by a Healing Practitioner and Massage Therapist, but it underscores my point: People working in the relaxing arts are the best decorators. Also in Prenzlauerberg, which is right by the city center, this one (unlike many on this list) is actually pretty cheap, and is totally a place I could end up crashing. So this is in the realm of potential wish-fulfillment.


Pension Berlin in Kreuzberg

We’re going with one that has less of a “sunshine and daydreams” decorating vibe to it for this one. For this one, we’ve got artists. In their reception area, they’ve got ever-changing “exhibitions” – which is what I’m going to start calling my fridge magnets – and they’ve got their own private cinema downstairs. Yes please. On top of all that, the home’s electricity is entirely green. So it’s got that going for it, which is nice.


Apartment in Mitte

I really don’t know what it is about this one that I love – maybe it’s the mini-pillows shaped like Mac OS icons, maybe it’s that the bulletin board in the kitchen has a drinking game on it, or maybe it’s because its decorating style seems to switch between “trendy” and “I’m on a boat,” but this is absolutely where I’m gonna try and crash the next time I’m in Berlin.


Flat in Kreuzberg

I did not think I’d be including a place based solely off of their kitchen table, but this is a gigantic slab of concrete that has the stove built into it, and can seat ten people. I want to sit around that table over an elaborate meal with all of my friends before going out. The rest of the place looks cool as well, but it’s on the list for the awesome kitchen table.


Castle Kreuzberg

You remember that time you said, “Hey, I hope I never sleep on a hammock in a goddamn castle?” Yeah, me neither. This one’s back up in the “pricey” range at $637 a night, but seriously guys: There’s a hammock, and it’s in a castle. It also has a private park.


“Undiscovered Art” in Prenzlauer Berg

I’m a sucker for closed-in porches on cobblestone streets in trendy parts of Berlin. This is right across from the “Kulturbrauerei,” or “Culture Brewery,” which has a bunch of theaters and clubs. And I’d like to point out that for whatever reason, German architects seem to have figured out how to make literally any room in any building absolutely flooded with light. Get back on your game, America, I’m tired of living in the dark.


Nomads Apartment in Mitte

Like the castle, this is a pricey one, but it features a punching bag. Right in the middle of everything. That should be a feature in literally every living room in every household. It would solve so many problems. That said, it’s in the city center, it has an absolutely gorgeous view from the balcony, and it has pictures featuring swear words over the beds. I’ll take it.


Garden Penthouse in Wilmersdorf

This is a longer-term stay: The minimum is 15 nights, which, trust me, once you see the price tag, will be plenty of time. It’s two floors though, and the top floor has a wrap-around balcony with views of south Berlin. The security deposit alone is significantly more than the entire budget of my upcoming visit to Europe, but hey, if my being poor means someone else is rich enough to crash at this place that is literally more expensive in a month than my apartment is for two years, then I’ll take it.


6 Room Apartment by Brandenburg Gate

While the price tag initially looks a little steep on this one ($849 a night), it actually houses 16 people and is right near Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and Alexanderplatz. So it’s incredibly affordable (if you’ve got a big enough crew rolling with you), and it’s a pretty nice place that appears to have used literally all of the white marble in Germany.


Luxury Penthouse in Mitte

Yet another awesome penthouse with a communal building rooftop, and its very own blue bar. This is the most affordable penthouse we’ve listed so far, at only $396 a night for up to 6 people.


House in Tempelhof

This house gets on the list for a single reason: It includes a sauna. It does not appear that anyone has stayed here yet (and it might have something to do with the fact that under “bed type” instead of saying “Twin” or “Queen,” it just says, “Real”), but honestly, my dream day of travel involves walking around the city all day, returning home, sitting in the sauna, and then hydrating and going out for the night. So I’ll sleep on a “Real” bed if it means I get to do that.


Modern Apartment in Kreuzberg

My first thought when I looked at this one was, “Oh god, I want that bookshelf.” A lot of messing around on Airbnb is basically just looking at bookcase porn. But this place looks incredible, and it’s one of those rare places that has nothing but glowing reviews.


Luxury Apartment at Potsdamer Platz

This place is actually in the Sony Center in the heart of Berlin, and the views are absolutely incredible. It’s super trendy and has a kitchen that’s got more chrome than pretty much any non-restaurant kitchen I’ve ever seen, and it’s actually reasonably affordable if you bring enough people with you.