Whether you’re after a fleamarket and a currywurst, an opera in an pre-war music hall or an afternoon at the photoautomat, Berlin has it all (with Absinthe on top).
Here are my ten top tips to get you started:
an abandoned theme park
Spree park closed to the public in 2002 and has become an urban myth like the Loch Ness Monster or a Nandos Black Card. The eerie park houses fallen dinosaurs and a squeaking Ferris Wheel turning defiantly in the breeze. There is strictly no entry: apparently there are guard dogs and security but don’t you want to sit in the Ghost Train anyway? If only for the sake of Instagram and an Amaro filter.
Photo by Phillipp Messenger
In the centre of Bebelplatz on the Under den Linden boulevard, is a memorial to the Nazi book burning ceremonies of 1933. It would be easy to miss this window in the ground, housing an empty library that could hold 20,000 books. A plaque nearby reads “That was only a prelude; where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people”. Heinrich Heine, Almansor
Most of the city is in a hungover Techno haze come Sunday and it’s the perfect time to browse the flea markets. There is a comprehensive list here. Whether you’re after a Prussian war coat, cheap sunglasses or a heist of taxidermy: you will find it. Follow this with a Berlin brunch; German for a 'never ending buffet'. Ahhhh....
a pool on a river
Assuming the weather is kind, Badeschiff is a dream day out. A fake beach: check. A bar: check. A swimming pool that appears to float on the River Spree. DOUBLE CHECK.
Random German holidaymaker included in the price
the memorial to the murdered jews of europe
One block south of the Brandenburg Gate lies the Holocaust Memorial; 2,711 concrete slabs formed on a sloping walkway. Incredibly moving and a stark reminder of the harrowing events in our not too distant history.
a deserted airport
Templehof; the deserted airport is now a haven for rollerbladers and lazy cyclists. Take a barbeque and a Berline Weisse for a long afternoon. After all, chowing on a sausage next to an unlit runway seems strangely apocalyptic.
the fifty faces gallery
In a run-down part of the city close to Hallesches Tor station is the tower block featuring 50 faces of famous people and local residents. Created by five graffiti artists to bring some much needed aesthetics into the neighbourhood, this is worth a look.
east side gallery
This is a must see before an integral part of history is ripped down to make way for top end hotels. It’s no wonder Berliners oppose gentrification. Painted with iconic images of peace and darker times, this remaining part of the wall is close to Warschauer Strasse and Ostbahnhof Stations.
This translates as "My God help me to survive this deadly love".
*This man is no longer my boyfriend.
a candlelit bar in Neukolln
An eclectic, multi-cultural neighbourhood, you must visit Neukolln before it becomes Hackney. Full of edgy charm, the bars along Weserstrasse are an understated mix of mismatched furniture and unfamiliar cocktails.
Day trip to a war time spy tower, anyone? On a hill made from the debris of Berlin, is a deserted radio tower where the Americans listened in on East Germany and the Soviets. Still cloaked in mystery, David Lynch tried (and failed) to buy this site a few years ago giving it immediate cult status. There are occasional tours of the site. Alternatively, you may find yourself breaking in. Bit more exciting that way isn’t it?
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