Since I live in the western part of Poland, I had a lot of opportunities to go to Berlin. Although I have always loved traveling, discovering the capital of Germany has never seemed to me anything particularly exciting. Finally, I come from Świnoujście, where I had close contact with German culture for over half my life.
That’s why I was spending there maximum one day to all trips to Berlin, following the beaten track, just like all other tourists. And because of this, you can never 100% admire this city! It seemed to me that Berlin is only the Brandenburg Gate and a few other characteristic places.
However, reading the accounts of other people, I still had the feeling that I never managed to get to know the true spirit of the city, which people from all over the world praise so much. The coolest capital in Europe, I still couldn’t understand why!
Last weekend in Berlin changed everything – I fell in love again. A little differently than in Madrid, Florence or other big city, but still. I decided to follow a completely different path than usual and get to know authentic places that you won’t read about in the standard guide. I have a great weakness for big cities, which are amazing energy.
Streets covered with colorful street art, yellow subway cars and a sense of real freedom – Berlin is an inspiring place where you can be 100% yourself!
How to prepare for the trip?
- Take a lot of cash with you – you can’t pay by card anywhere in Berlin (even in restaurants!),
- Remember that a full-day metro ticket is valid until 3 am every day, not 24 hours – that’s why it doesn’t pay to buy it in the evening,
- You don’t have to hide with beer / wine on the street – in Berlin you can drink alcohol in public places!
- And add to the music playlist the Berlin Calling album by Paul Kalkbrenner and the song Heroes by David Bowie – these gentlemen accompanied me on headphones throughout my stay in Berlin!
We will start from the end. If I can give you some advice straight from the heart, be sure to go to the sunset to…
Klunkerkranich – the best rooftop bar in Berlin
This place is simply insane! Klunkerkranich is a bar located on the roof of a shopping centre in the Neukölln district. It isn’t particularly marked, so it’s a little hard to find.
There is a truly unique view of Berlin. Perhaps it’s so close to me that it resembles Madrid with its telecommunications tower, viewed from the wonderful Parque de Siete Tetas.
This atmospheric bar has a very interesting, hipster decor. It’s full of original, artistic objects. In addition to the outdoor space, there are also two closed rooms – in one there was a concert with live music, and in the second one, a dj party was starting up. Berlin is probably one of those cities that come to life at night (although it is usually a feature of Southern countries!).
Admission to the bar is paid – it costs 5 euros, but it’s really worth the price! Don’t forget about cash – you can’t pay by card either.
RAW Gelände – the best place in Berlin
A very alternative place, where trains used to be repaired, and now serves as a kind of … playground for adults! Seriously.
In this quite large space you will find many different attractions. Walls covered with colourful street art and original stickers, skate park, climbing wall, bars, cafes, lively clubs at night, and on Sunday, a really noteworthy flea market (Flohmarkt).
The RAW Gelände is right after the U1 Warschauer Strase subway station in the hipster district of Friedrichshain, where I’ll definitely spend much more time during my next visit.
Once one of the poorest districts in Berlin, and now a very hipster, artistic, multicultural place where there are many interesting eateries, cafes, restaurants and of course street art! You can read more about this district in my gastro guide to Berlin. One thing is certain – if your stomach starts to grunt, make sure you are near Kreuzberg.
East Side Gallery
I associate the Berlin Wall with David Bowie and his song Heroes, among others.
The artist once lived in West Berlin and it was there that he wrote one of his most famous songs Heroes, which tells about a couple in love meeting next to the Berlin Wall. In 1987 he played the song on the stage, which was set right next to the wall, so that people living in the eastern part of the city could hear the concert. Apparently, this would later motivate them to act!
A East Side Gallery is a fragment of the Berlin Wall, which is currently the world’s largest outdoor gallery. Murals began to appear just after the fall of the wall, when more than 100 artists from 21 different countries decided to turn the tool of power into a symbol of joy and freedom.
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