Top 10 reasons why you should visit Berlin

Berlin, the capital of Germany, is a vibrant city brimming with multicultural communities and living a stylish, laid-back life. Boasting a long history and a very trendy contemporary art scene, there are countless things to do in Berlin. Have you made up your mind yet? If not, read on our top reasons to visit Berlin and get inspired!

Top reasons why you should visit Berlin now

The punk life at SO36 in Berlin

Top 10 reasons why you should visit Berlin now

**Guest post by Marcela Faé, blogger at Fotostrasse

Just a few days ago, I stumbled upon a bunch of posts about the city that I love, Berlin. “What to do?” and “where to go?” were the most common subjects, but what struck me was that the same old tips, the same old copy&paste of listicles about Berlin were used. Every post will suggest the same restaurants, the same clubs, the same places and the same landmarks.

With all this in mind, I’ve decided to show you an entirely different view of my city. Let me introduce you “Fotostrasse’s Guide to a better Berlin experience.”

Don Xuan Center

When I was just visiting Berlin, back in 2009, I was curious and surprised to see so many Vietnamese people around. So many restaurants, so many options for a good Pho… After a bit of time researching on Google, I found out that Vietnamese people are the largest community of non-Europeans living here. Most of them were invited as guest workers during the East-German regime, and some of them decided to stay and build a new life here.

Around 15 years ago, in the early 2000s, due to the increasing economic pressure, Don Xuan Center was built as a way to provide for this vast community. All the goods and services Vietnamese needed could be found there.

Since 2005, this shopping paradise for wholesale and retail is open to lovers of Southeast Asian food. If you’re looking for cheap toys, textiles, leather goods, authentic food and more, you should pay a visit.

Arkona Platz Flea Market

As a big fan of flea markets with little to no patience for big crowds of people in an enclosed space, I can guarantee that Arkona Platz holds one of the best flea markets in Berlin. A bit more towards the expensive side of flea markets – even though not even close to the abusive prices of MauerPark’s flea market – this place is a treasure trove.

From movie posters to furniture, from shoes and old lettering to toys and decor items for your home. Small, organized, easy to go and buy a large variety of things.

Best Burger in Town

Top reasons why you should visit Berlin now

I’m sick and tired of reading that Burgermeister or The Bird are the best burgers in town. And I get fed up when people try to mention White Trash as a viable option. The best hamburger you can find in Berlin is – and forever will be – Berlin Burger International.

I mean, the other options are not bad, ok? But Burgermeister is always filled with tourists because of some more-of-the-same listicle articles. And White Trash is good, but the service is so awful that can ruin the whole experience.

BBI is small, cozy and has some of the best (and largest) burgers you can imagine. All that with crazy and innovative flavors and textures that will blow your mind.

Go there and send me a message later thanking me.

A Concert at SO36

When you read that Berlin is all about techno, please close the tab. Berlin is a city historically connected to punk music.

The riots, the changes, the wall… all that brings up rage and will to change. The punk is as true to Berlin as techno. Both intersect in many points, but this is something for another post.

SO36 is the most famous spot for punk music. Think about SO36 as Berlin’s CBGBs. This place became the home of the punk rock movement since it was founded back in the 70s. David Bowie and Iggy Pop used to go there when they lived in Berlin.

I often go there to see some of my favorite bands playing, but SO36 is not only for punk lovers. They have dance parties, gay nights and much more.

….and a drinks later at Franken

Right in front of this iconic place, you can find my favorite bar in town: Franken Bar.

Cheap beer, nice music and the metal/rock environment that I love. But if you are not a big fan, you can always get a table outside and enjoy a fun night.

Franken Bar has been open for over 30 years in the same location but, legend has it, this place has been a bar for over 100 years. Since the site survived the war, you can still check some of the amazing wooden work inside. It is so lovely that Quentin Tarantino himself offered to buy the whole thing. And of course, received a big and fat “NO” in the face.

Explore the city where your heroes used to live and work

Berlin is the main inspiration for many famous music albums, movies, songs and much more. You can find a piece of many legends here, from Tilda Swinton biking around the wall of Berlin to Iggy Pop’s inspiration to write “The Passenger“.

But for me, the main character of this city is – and forever will be – David Bowie. Bowie lived and worked here in Berlin at the end of the 70s, and you can read all about his Berlin years on my post about it.

What are your favorite artists that had Berlin as a point of inspiration?

Explore some abandoned sites

Top reasons why you should travel to Berlin

One of the good things about Berlin’s past is the insane quantity of abandoned sites around the city. The gentrification is the worst enemy of those places, and each year there are less and fewer options, but if you know where to go, you can still have tons of fun.

In my blog, you can see a vast list of amazing sites, posts, and photos to get you inspired. Another cool site to check out to experience the charm of crumbling buildings and uncover the local hidden history is Abandoned Berlin.

Check the East and the West

One of the best things to do in Berlin is to seek the differences between the East and the West in the local architecture and culture. From iconic places that resemble Stalin’s Russia like Frankfurter Tor and Leipzig Strasse to the KDW and Kudamm and the rest of the capitalistic side of the wall.

Feel the history behind every street without ever setting a foot inside a museum. All you need is a bit of time to learn the history beforehand and good shoes to walk around.

Experience beers like no other place in the world

Top reasons why you should visit Berlin

Germans love their beer! Photo courtesy by Fotostrasse

Berlin loves its spätis! Ask any Berliner how they feel about them, and all of them will tell you the same: best thing in life.

Spätis is the short version of Spätkauf, which is almost the same as a convenience store or a kiosk. The main difference is the quantity and variety of beers.

Beers from north and south of Germany, Bavaria, Poland, Czech Republic, beers with lemonade, with grapefruit, wheat beer, dark beer, normal beer, non-alcoholic beer… Everything and from everywhere. And prices are usually from 50 cents to 2 euros.

Beer is cheaper than water in Berlin. And this fact says a lot about how is the relationship between Berliners and their beers.

Come and feel the best summer in Europe

I’m leaving this item to the last position because this will restrict a bit your travels. I’m a winter lover, I love cold weather and all that, but even so, I must say: Berlin is better in the summer.

If it is your first time, come during summer. If you’ve been here before but not from the end of May till mid-September, come again during summer. Summer, summer, summer.

Berlin has over 250 parks waiting for you to go, countless lakes and public swimming pools.

The bars set their tables outside; you can just go to the next späti and get ten beers for 10 euros and call it a super night with friends, open-air festivals, cinemas, parties, clubs and much more.

If you liked this post and you want more tips and content about Berlin, check out Marcela’s blog, you’ll love it.

 

Where to stay, the best hotels in Berlin

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin. Exclusive 5-star hotel located in Berlin’s Mitte, Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin treats its guests with a Michelin-awarded restaurant and a shopping enclave. Rooms are elegant and equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, while the hotel includes an indoor pool, a gym and a spa with Ayurveda treatments.
Click here for more details on booking availability and current offers.

Cosmo Hotel. Lovely boutique hotel in Berlin’s Mitte, Cosmo features spacious rooms with large floor-to-ceiling windows and great views of historical buildings. Rooms are equipped with satellite TV, a safe, minibar, and cooling system. Perfect for travelers interested in the city’s history, architecture and museums.
Click here for more details on booking availability and current offers.

The Mandala Hotel. A fantastic 5-star design hotel, Mandala Hotel features an exclusive spa with sauna, fitness lounge and beauty treatments, a Michelin-awarded restaurant, and free WiFi. Suites are also equipped with kitchen facilities, a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and luxury sets of linen and bedding.
Click here for more details on booking availability and current offers.

Monbijou Hotel. A fantastic and inexpensive choice of hotel in Berlin is the stylish, vintage-decorated Monbijou Hotel. The rooms feature flat-screen TV with satellite channels, iPod dock, free WiFi and a private bathroom. Among the hotel’s amenities, guests appreciate the bike rental service and the fitness center.
Click here for more details on booking availability and current offers.

Das Stue Hotel. Wonderful 5-star Berlin hotel, Das Stue delights its guests with a luxurious spa with a fitness center, massage treatments and a sauna, an indoor swimming pool, and a Michelin-awarded restaurant. Rooms feature a minibar, satellite TV and a bathroom with rain shower.
Click here for more details on booking availability and current offers.

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10 reasons why you should visit Berlin

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