Table of Contents Hide
- Why travel to Berlin?
- Berlin sights that everyone must see
- Eating & drinking: culinary diversity for everyone
- bars and clubs
- The most beautiful vantage points in Berlin
- Excursion tips for parks to relax in the countryside
- Activities & Tours
- The best markets & street food
- Great flea markets for the best bargains
- What makes Berlin so special?
- Funny facts & useful Berlin tips
Berlin is not only the capital of Germany but also a travel destination that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. I’m in Berlin several times a year and visit friends there.
That’s why I always look for insider tips from my co-authors and friends Chris and Dom, who both live in Berlin. Chris is even a real Berliner. That’s why I only travel sporadically as a tourist to visit the classic Berlin sights. And because I regularly get messages asking for my best tips for a city trip to Berlin, I have summarized all the important information and my Berlin insider tips here.
Check out Travel Diaries for the best travel blogs and tips!
I also went to some great places with my friends from The Dead Lovers ( a really cool band). Who better to guide you through the city than someone who has lived there for a very long time? As locals, Lula and Wayne will tell you their Berlin insider tips and favorite places in Berlin. There is also concentrated knowledge from Chris and Dom.
Have fun reading and visiting the capital Berlin.
Why travel to Berlin?
Berlin is one of the liveliest cities in the world. You can find traces of history everywhere: the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, bunkers, and old Nazi buildings or remnants of the GDR. You will never get bored in Berlin. Even if you have been to Berlin many times, you can discover something new with every visit.
By the way, you can find the classic sights in Berlin for your first visit to the capital here!
The capital’s calendar of events is thicker than a telephone book. Concerts, exhibitions, sporting events, theater, and shows. Every evening you are spoiled for choice.
At the very end of the article, you will also find many practical Berlin tips (accommodation, getting around, etc.)
Berlin insider tips from locals and beautiful places that not everyone knows!
In Berlin I have a few favorite places where I can be found every time, I visit Berlin. No top sights like the Brandenburg Gate, but probably almost as popular places by now.
Berlin sights that everyone must see
There are a few places that everyone visiting Berlin should see:
- East Side Gallery, the world’s largest outdoor gallery on the remains of the Wall
- Teufelsberg, the decaying old Allied listening station on Teufelsberg
- Mauerpark: There are flea markets and karaoke at the weekend
- Reichstag with a glass dome. German history is made here
- Berlin TV tower for the view
Eating & drinking: culinary diversity for everyone
Let’s start with the most important thing: food! Because when the stomach is well filled, nothing can go wrong.
In Berlin you are spoiled for choice when it comes to culinary delights. You will find countless possibilities in every neighborhood! Whether it’s breakfast, currywurst, burgers, Korean, Israeli, or Russian, nothing is too unusual. And you can get good Thai, Spanish, Italian and Japanese food on almost every corner anyway. Berlin really is a foodie paradise!
Market halls are also becoming increasingly popular in Berlin. The Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg with the always well-attended Streetfood Thursday has become a real institution! Alternatively, you should visit Street Food on the move in the inner courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei (Sundays from 12 p.m.).
Tips sorted by neighborhood:
- Breakfast: NEST
- Best Currywurst: Curry36 on Mehringdamm (also available at Bahnhof Zoo in Mitte)
- The best cheesecake in Berlin is available at Five Elephants in Kreuzberg, Reichenberger Str. 101 and in Mitte (Alte Schönhauser Str. 14, 10119).
- Meat dishes: Grill Royal (not cheap, but great quality)
- Fine dining and wine bar: friendship
- Dumplings: Momos
- Israeli, hummus, and falafel: Dada Falafel, upscale: Joseph (very nice in the courtyard in summer)
- My special tip : Tajik tea room, for an original tea ceremony, as you might know, it from the Soviet Union (and of course the wonderful country Tajikistan)
- Solar (club lounge with a view and chic restaurant)
- Breakfast: Café Anna Blume, Café Morgenrot
- Thai, it couldn’t be more authentic: Tossakan
- Meat dishes: butcher shop
- Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine: Nauta
- Hummus and Falafel: Canaan and Zula
- Best Currywurst: Konnopke’s Imbiss under the elevated train of the U2 (Prenzlauer Berg)
- Eat Russian: Pasternak
- Fish Factory: Oysters from France, for gourmets
- Prater beer garden in summer
- Breakfasts: Silo Coffee (delicious bowls), Shakespeare and Sons (bagels & English books), 44 Brekkie (delicious brioche), 1990 Vegan living
- Crepe and Galettes: Melt Cafe Creperie
- Best Pizza: Preferably at Il Ritrovo, “Punk Rock” Italians
- Cake: Aunt Benny
- Eating Russian: Potemkin (Schoeneberg)
- Best Snack: Oishii Hot Dog (Japanese style hot dogs, also vegan)
Charlottenburg and Schoeneberg
- Food with a view: NENI (25 hours bikini)
- KaDeWe: Delicatessen in the oyster bar, the truffle restaurant or sparkling in the champagne bar
Berlin Tip: This is the best burger shop
This is where opinions differ. While it was “The Bird” 5 years ago, there are now an incredible number of good burger shops in the city. Depending on which neighborhood you are in, there are suitable recommendations:
- Friedrichshain : Burgeramt; Krossener Str. 21-22, 10245
- Neukölln : Berlinburger International; Pannierstr. 5, 12047
- Prenzlauer Berg : The Bird ; Am Falkplatz 5, 10437 (quality has gone down, now very touristy) & Schillerburger; Kastanienallee 24, 10435 (also in Weissensee, Pankow and Friedrichshain!)
Are you in Berlin in the summer? Then off to one of those ice cream parlors
You can recognize particularly hip ice cream shops in Berlin by the fact that there is a long queue in front of them. Hokey Pokey in Prenzlauer Berg (Stargarder Straße 73) is one of them – and rightly so! If you are near the Mauerpark, stop by. There are tasty and unusual varieties. It’s worth queuing.
Not far from there you will find the Tribeca. This ice cream parlor offers vegan ice cream. You should especially try the Raw Chocolate variety.
Miss Frost has organic milk and vegan sorbet on the menu. For me the best ice cream in Neukölln! I tried chocolate ginger and strawberry basil. Delicious! There are always new variants to try out, otherwise, the hipsters would be bored. Located close to the Landwehr Canal and is ideal to visit in the summer.
I almost think I’ll have to publish a Berlin Food Guide soon. There are so many more tips!
Of course, I also asked locals for their tips here
Lula: There are a lot of very tasty Italians in town. If you like hearty food and eat meat, there are also a couple of really old Berlin restaurants on Meinekestraße in Berlin Charlottenburg where you can eat “home cooking”. There is also something like Eisbein (Zum Patzenhofer, for example).
Wayne: I’ve never really understood the link between price and quality. I have gone to many expensive restaurants over the years and have found the food to be extremely average. I also tried delicious food in small, inexpensive takeaways. They were often better.
But the best food I’ve ever tried in Berlin was at Cookies Cream. The menu is completely vegetarian and every dish I tried was outstanding. Unfortunately, my British genes mean I tend to be forgetful when it comes to drinking. But compared to the beer found in the UK, Berliner Bier is light years ahead.
your favorite food?
I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years, so my diet is restricted. There are many famous currywurst joints in the city, but obviously, they’re of no use to me. But there are also many quality snacks with falafel! When I first came to Berlin in the 90s it was a lot harder to find good vegetarian food, but it’s pretty easy now. Finding good food for vegetarians and vegans is now very easy because the options are huge and you can find good food on every corner. The cuisine has really gotten better in recent years.
bars and clubs
At the moment everyone is only talking about one bar: Bellboy Berlin. You have to go here, but you have to reserve a table in advance. On weekends currently up to several weeks before. We stayed here during the week and were lucky. The entrance next to the Hilton Hotel on Gendarmenmarkt is slightly hidden and unassuming. Everyone is dressed in a 1920s outfit, and the cocktails come in special containers. There are also dishes from the aromatic Fushion cuisine, which are particularly delicious.
The elevator, inspired by the Wes Anderson film Grand Budapest Hotel, takes you to a quiet place, which is not so quiet at all. I don’t want to reveal more. Going is mandatory.
“We absolutely have to go to the Wilde Renate” a friend said a few years ago when I was visiting again. Unfortunately, the Salon zur Wilden Renate is no longer an insider tip and British tourists in particular are queuing up. The outdoor area in the summer is great, the shots cheap.
Kater Blau at the Holzmarkt is another of these places that are now known beyond the borders of Berlin. I like the location on the Spree and the low prices. And the buildings in the neighborhood have cool street art as a bonus!
The Badeschiff is another institution. The pool is large, the location directly on the Spree and the view of the Molecule Man and the Mediaspree is special.
On the last Monday of every month, playing bingo in the Zum Starken August bar is particularly fun and merry . There’s Pfeffi with Schnapszahlen, funny prizes with Bingo and the final rounds in Super Mario Cart (Dom even won back then).
Tips from Lula and Wayne:
You can have a nice drink in the west of the city in the Puro Sky Lounge . Also in the Solar (Restaurant, Bar & Club) in Kreuzberg you can look over the city while you eat and drink. As a last resort and good for a very last nightcap, the Vagabund is said to be on Knesebeckstrasse in Berlin-Wilmersdorf . I think I was there too…
The most beautiful vantage points in Berlin
My tip: Teufelsberg, former US listening station
After all, the Teufelsberg rises 114 meters and is therefore actually the highest “mountain” in Berlin! The Allies once listened to the enemy’s plans here. Visit Teufelsberg to explore the ruins of the old listening post in Charlottenburg. The way up is not marked and leads through forest and vineyards.
The Teufelsberg is now open to everyone. You no longer need to be on a tour to get to the site.
You can still book tours here at Teufelsberg Berlin , for example . Two tours are currently offered, lasting 60 and 90 minutes.
- Address: Grunewald, radar station on Teufelsberg, Teufelsseechaussee 10, 14193 Berlin
- S-Bahn station Grunewald, exit Eichkampstraße. From here you have to plan about 30 minutes through forest and vineyards (not marked) to the entrance.
The hipsters of Neukölln all gather on the roof of the Neuköllner Arcaden to enjoy the atmosphere and the view over a drink. In addition to cocktails, there is also fusion cuisine, flea markets and DJs who provide the right music. Of course, all this is only available in summer.
Excursion tips for parks to relax in the countryside
Königssee: Only 5 minutes away from Kurfürstendamm!
Insider tip from Wayne: “There is a small hidden lake, just behind Romy Schneider’s old villa. Only 5 minutes from the end of Kurfürstendamm is the Königssee, which is beautiful in summer and winter. We have a sequence for the video for Shine there Filmed on and Lula had to pretend she was drowning in. She wasn’t really happy about going into the deep end, but I was the director and I insisted.
We sat there a few times on New Year’s Eve on a small wooden bench in the snow, sipped champagne, and watched the fireworks over the city. By the way, across the street lives a famous music mogul who years ago wanted to sign my old band, The Dostoyevskys, but then pulled out and dumped us.”
This place is guaranteed not to be in any travel guide!
Spree Park in Plänterwald
Spreepark Berlin was closed for a long time. As a result, many illegally entered the park grounds at night to photograph the dinosaurs, the Ferris wheel, and other abandoned rides. But now there are public tours again! I managed to be there right away. The former amusement park is definitely worth a visit.
CURRENT INFORMATION 2021: In August 2020, the major conversion to a new cultural park began, which is scheduled for completion in 2026. A new jetty at the “Eierhäuschen” restaurant is scheduled to open as early as 2022 and open artist studios will be integrated into the same building!
The old water rides will become hiking trails through the vegetation, the Merohalle will be converted into an event hall for concerts and theatre. And: The Ferris wheel should finally turn again in 2024! Find all current information here: Website Spreepark Berlin
Prussia Park – Thai Park
A bit of Thailand in the middle of Berlin
This tip could probably be in my favorite places in Berlin as well as in the insider tips from The Dead Lovers. We were together in Preussenpark during my last visit to Berlin.
At first glance, the Preussenpark is a completely normal park located in the Wilmersdorf district. But on Sundays there is a lot of activity here: That’s when the Preussenpark turns into the Thai Park! Thais (and other Asians) sit on small stools under colorful parasols and cook Thai and various Asian food as known from Southeast Asia.
For little money, you can fill your stomach here and then relax on the sunbathing lawn. Suitable drinks are also provided.
Tempelhofer Feld is larger than New York’s Central Park. Here you can go cycling, jogging, and longboarding, but also just lie in the grass and relax or meet up with friends for a barbecue. There’s plenty of room for everyone here, so you don’t step on anyone’s toes. The huge green spaces are ideal for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city.
One of the most beautiful places to experience the sunset in Berlin is the Tempelhofer Feld, if you enter the field from the Neuköllner corner. For me it is definitely at the top of my list of favorite places in Berlin. This is where I really am on EVERY visit to Berlin!
By the way: For more than 100 years, Tempelhofer Feld was an airfield in the middle of the city. A unique area together with the airport building. For many, it is still a symbol of the 1948/49 airlift, when Allied candy bombers supplied West Berlin with food every minute. To commemorate the “Hungerrake” stands at the entrance at the appropriately named “Platz der Luftbrücke”.
The former airport building, which I visited as part of a tour, is located directly on the field and is a listed building.
gardens of the World
A little outside you can satisfy your wanderlust in Marzahn-Hellersdorf and visit the Gardens of the World.
There is a cable car that goes over the whole area and the Kienberg. You can have a 360 view of prefabricated buildings on the cloud grove, see exotic plants and Balinese temples in the tropical hall and let yourself be enchanted in the many typical gardens (Chinese, Japanese, South African, Brazilian, English and many more). We particularly liked the Oriental Garden. For us one of the most unknown Berlin insider tips.
Here you will find all the information and tips for your visit
Where do the locals prefer to relax?
Lula: I really like walking in cemeteries. There are some beautiful and very old ones in Berlin. The Dorotheenstädter Friedhof is particularly impressive and my best of all insider tips. Created in 1762, celebrities such as Hegel, Brecht, and Heiner Müller reside here.
What is also really wonderfully relaxing is a cruise on the Spree in the sunshine (as long as it is not too hot).
Wayne: It might be an odd place to relax, but what takes the most stress out of me is my martial arts training. I joined a very special club called IMAG years ago when it was just around the corner from my apartment. They play loud music there and everyone is friendly.
Even though Sunday karaoke has long been a huge tourist event, especially in the summer, I still drop by with friends from time to time. It’s just fun, I like the music and the place. Joe Hatchiban created the event in 2009 and has been known as a sore thumb ever since. More information is available here: bearpitkaraoke.com
Apart from that, there are many small artists in the park – especially in summer – the famous flea market, you can play basketball and football or go sledding in winter.
Current information about the Mauerpark: The Mauerpark is also to be renovated and partially redesigned in 2022. For this purpose, individual construction sections will be closed from next year, but never the entire park! Citizen participation is currently taking place, in which wishes and comments from residents can be brought in. Beautiful!
Activities & Tours
Tempelhof Airport – Tour of the airport
Built-in the megalomania of the Nazis to become the largest building in Europe and thus one of the most spectacular buildings in the world, a visit to the closed airport is an absolute must as part of a tour.
I wasn’t bored for a second on the “Mythos Tempelhof Tour”. Many of the guides have worked at the airport themselves and know the building fairly well. Since the airport is a listed building, the runway must always be recognizable as such in the future. So don’t be surprised if the lines on the tar look like new.
The Mythos Tempelhof Tour takes you not only to the large check-in hall but also to the former restaurant, the American basketball hall, the underground air raid shelter, and even high up on the roof.
Book tickets for the “Tempelhof Myth” tour here on the official website
Information on Tempelhofer Feld and Tempelhof Airport
- Arrival by public transport:
Entrance Tempelhofer Feld from Neukölln with U8: Boddinstraße or Leinestraße. Ringbahn and S8 stop Tempelhof.
For airport buildings: U6 Paradestraße or Platz der Luftbrücke.
Explore the bunkers of Berlin on the Underworld Tour
Did you know that there are still underground bunkers in Berlin that you can visit as part of a tour? Even many locals don’t know these places. Be one step ahead of them and explore the underground world. I found it super exciting!
You can find more information about the tour in my article on the best things to do and tours in Berlin.
Bunker: Berlin Story Museum
You can watch the world’s most detailed documentary about Nazism and Hitler in a bunker from World War II. It is frightening to read again today and see how a then progressive and cultivated state has sunk into barbarism in a very short time. How people became enthusiastic about Hitler, the rapid radicalization in Germany, the world of the Nazis and insights into the Führerbunker. You can feel all of this up close in this bunker.
Well done and important exhibition that everyone should see. An absolute insider tip that far too few people know about, even if it is one of the more depressing experiences in Berlin. History is history and we all have to go through it.
Plan 2-3 hours for the visit. The audio guides are available in German and many other languages. Tickets are only available from Get your Guide.
Inside there is an absolute ban on photography. We stuck to it. Here you can explore a piece of German history away from the tourist crowds. In addition to the Holocaust memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe, another depressing place is in Berlin.
The best markets & street food
Kreuzberg: Market Hall Nine
The Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg is no longer an insider tip. Streetfood Thursday is so well-known that tourists arrive especially for it before the weekend. There is a smaller weekly market every day.
Wilmersdorf: Prussian Park “Thai Park”
A bit of Thailand in the middle of Berlin
At first glance, the Preussenpark is a normal park located in the Wilmersdorf district. But there is a lot of activity here on Sundays: That’s when the Preussenpark is transformed into the ” Thai Park “. Sit under colorful parasols and enjoy Thai and Asian food as it is known from Southeast Asia. And best of all: For little money, you get huge portions of really good and authentic food.
Prenzlauer Berg: street food on the move
A Sunday street market in the courtyards of the Kulturbrauerei am Prenzlauer Berg is an ideal way to start the day.
The market takes place on Sundays from 12 noon.
More information is available on the website
Great flea markets for the best bargains
There are many cool flea markets in Berlin, with perhaps the most well-known taking place on Sundays in Mauerpark. Like eBay, the time for incredible bargains is over as all the hipsters who go there know the prices of vintage Adidas tracksuits.
But at least you can still find things there that you might not find anywhere else. For example, there are often stands with GDR vintage furniture – only the prices are often crazy high.
What makes Berlin so special?
For me, Berlin is simply incredibly diverse in everything. Every time I come back here there is something new to discover. The number of architecturally worth-seeing buildings and of course historically important places seems limitless.
- I’ve always been fascinated by the Berlin Wall and you can still find some bits to share on your Instagram.
- Berlin has incredible architecture, whether classic, from the Nazi era or from the GDR. Even after more than 20 years in Berlin, I am still fascinated by it.
- I’ve always been fascinated by the history of Berlin and especially by the time when the wall was still standing. When I was able to record my first solo album at the famous Hansa Studios * I was so connected to the times. It was a very special feeling.
- But the best moment was when we were actually allowed to record in the old Meistersaal, which was actually closed to bands since U2 finished their Hoffnung Baby album there in the 90s. We had to get special permission from the owners of the building and although the space is very different now than when Bowie recorded Heroes, it was still an honor to be the first to record there in more than 20 years.
* David Bowie in particular (also with Iggy Pop) recorded many albums in the Hansa Studios.
A few final tips from Wayne for you to plan your trip:
- Don’t forget your camera to capture all the highlights!
- You definitely need comfortable shoes, as the sights are usually relatively far away.
- To all women: leave your high heels at home. You’ll only tear a ligament on the cobblestones.
- Berlin is not only a very open and cosmopolitan city but also the weather is extremely varied. It can be Siberian cold in winter and scorching hot in summer. You should pack appropriate clothing for both extremes, as sometimes both can occur on the same day.
- Language: waitresses often only speak English, and some prefer Spanish. A real adventure in the capital.
- Never dodge the subway, the next ticket inspector is never far away.
Funny facts & useful Berlin tips
How do you recognize a typical Berliner?
Lula’s Opinion: Berlin has an unbelievable pace. The people are straight forward, an original Berliner will smack you in the face with his dialect, which he doesn’t like at the moment. This type is typical, especially taxi drivers nagging and nagging you full of the ears. I like it.
But basically, the Berliners are a very warm people.
Wayne says people often complain that Berliners are rude or aggressive. But I’ve always found most people to be relatively friendly here – unless you’re stepping onto the bike path and getting in the way of a cyclist. Then you are immediately exposed to a torrent of insults.
When we were recording our album in San Diego, the whole band was walking down the little beach path. We stumbled around. When I turned around and realized we accidentally ended up on the bike lane and about 35 cyclists were patiently waiting for us to move. We apologized and everyone smiled as they passed. In Berlin, they would have driven through us cursing.
That only exists in Berlin
Wayne: Berlin is one of the few cities where you can see a naked woman on a busy street full of cafes and no one is staring. It also seems to be the last place on earth where nobody told the residents that the punk died.
If you don’t have that much time in Berlin, I have some tips for you:
- Tip: Berlin City Pass – 3 days of free entry and free travel! The best ticket for your first trip to Berlin: Free entry to many museums and exhibitions, free hop-on hop-off bus ride in the panorama bus, and visit to the Reichstag (roof terrace with glass dome without queuing). More information about the past
- TV tower Alex at Alexanderplatz without queuing
- Bike tour through Berlin along the former wall (details and tickets)
- Culinary through Kreuzberg (details and tickets)
- Sights: Check out the main highlights in Berlin
Read more tips for things to do in Berlin in this article.
Tips for accommodation in Berlin
I like to live where most of my Berlin friends live: Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin-Mitte, Friedrichshain, or Neukölln.
If you are in Berlin for the first time, I advise you to choose a centrally located accommodation so that you can see the sights of Berlin such as the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden, Checkpoint Charlie, Memorial Church, Kurfürstendamm, Alexanderplatz with the TV tower “Alex” and the Museum Island can be reached quickly.
Not exactly cheap but totally stylish is the 25h Hotel Bikini Berlin at the Memorial Church. The bar is great and the Neni restaurant also offers you great food.
What I think is great about the hotel: You can rent bicycles for free. Minis are also available to drive around.
Other cheap accommodations in Berlin that I recommend.
This is the best way to get to Berlin
For reasons of sustainability, I recommend that you do not travel to Berlin by plane. I only do this in extreme emergencies because my home (Heilbronn) is not ideally accessible by train or by car.
Despite the reference to the airports in Berlin. Unfortunately, my favorite airport Tegel (TXL) has meanwhile been closed and the capital’s airport BER, which is quite outside, has opened.
Find flights to Berlin
If you come from southern Germany, Austria or Switzerland, flying is the faster option (but not the environmentally friendly one).
I always check Skyscanner for the best flight connection. In this article, you will find my tips on how to find cheap flights.
How to get from the airport to the city in Berlin
There are two airports in Berlin: BER Airport (Berlin Brandenburg Airport) and Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport. Both airports are close together and are well connected to the public transport network. So you can get into town relatively quickly.
The distance from BER to Alexanderplatz is 27 kilometers.
The quickest way to get to the city center is by public transport from Terminal 5 and the S-Bahn
The S-Bahn line S9 offers a connection to the center and the main station of Berlin. The journey to Alexanderplatz takes 35 minutes. The price for a ticket (single ticket Berlin ABC, valid for 120 minutes) is €3.60 for adults and €2.60 for children. Download the BVG app to your cell phone. Thanks to this you will find the fastest connection and can use it to book your ticket.
There is also an airport express train from Terminals 1 and 2 to Ostkreuz, Gesundbrunnen and Hauptbahnhof.
You also have the option of getting to the center by bus (RE7 and RB14), depending on where you need to go.
Save money while sightseeing in Berlin
To save on admission to tours and sights, there is the Berlin Welcome Card. We recommend the Berlin Welcome Card All Inclusive. This includes a ticket for public transport in Berlin and Potsdam. Plus free entry to attractions and tours. Take a look at all the information: Berlin City Card: is it worth buying? (Comparison).
What do you have to see in Berlin, what tips do you have? Tell us your answer!
We look forward to your feedback. Thanks for your comment.