Best things to do in Berlin that only locals know.
Berlin has been one of Europe’s coolest locations for years. It has attracted travellers and migrants from around the world, and it’s easy to see why.
Culturally, the city has been one of Europe’s powerhouses for hundreds of years. West Berlin during the Cold War was like nowhere else on earth, and attracted some of the period’s biggest musicians and artists. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city has maintained its status as an exciting place for cultural experimentation. Musically, it’s home to some of the best electronica in Europe, and some extremely desirable clubs. Its status as an international city has drawn inhabitants from all over the world, most notably one of Europe’s largest Turkish populations. And its role throughout European history is charted in the many museums throughout the city.
But for a real taste of Berlin, you need an opportunity to experience it like a local. That’s why we’re going to give you a list of some of the best activities that only locals know about.
Try Your Luck at One of the Many Flea Markets
Sunday flea markets have become something of an institution in the city. They’re generally pretty casual affairs, with stallholders setting up their wares while others simply dump everything on a blanket. You can find just about anything at these flea markets. They’re particularly good for antiques shopping, and also for anyone looking for old books or records. You’ve also got a good chance of picking up used bicycles, though the legality of the deal may come under question.
Explore Hidden Underground Bunkers
Berlin had a fairly turbulent history throughout the Twentieth Century. The Second World War in Europe ended when the Russians managed to fight through the city to the Reichstag, and much of Berlin was badly damaged in the process. The city then became one of the major frontiers between East and West when the Berlin Wall was erected in the Fifties. This troubled history means that there’s a huge number of cellars, bunkers and storage spaces left untouched beneath the city. The great part is, you can easily book tours to explore some of the more exciting underground architecture. The Berliner Unterwelten society organises tours, give them a look in if you’re keen on seeing some untouched parts of the city.
Dance til Dawn at One of the Many Clubs
Berlin’s clubs have a reputation as some of the best in the world, a title they surely deserve. Many of them are also fully twenty four hour, letting you have the time of your life at any time of day. A word of warning though, some of these clubs can be excessively exclusive. Some clubs hire doormen with instructions to only let in those they feel are cool enough to be there. If you’re considering queueing for three hours, only to be told you’re not hot enough to get in, you may want to consider any alternative options.
Try Some of the Best Turkish Food in Europe
Turks make up a large proportion of Berlin’s immigrant community, and they’ve brought their cuisine with them. The Landwehrkanal in Neukolln is home to a large Turkish market when you can get some of the freshest food in town. There are also tons of great Turkish eateries scattered throughout the city, offering everything from donner to tabbouleh and kaymac desserts. You can go for more upmarket dining experiences, or simply find a basic cafe with a reliable menu. Whatever your preference, there’s no shortage of amazing food waiting for you.
Explore Massive Green Spaces
Berlin has some fantastic parks, and if you find yourself there in Summer, you should definitely make the most out of them. The Tempelhoff is one of the biggest, and has quite a history to it. The park was used during the Berlin airlift, when planes were used to ensure West Berlin could survive in the face of a blockade. Today, the site has been turned into a large park with a number of great features to enjoy. It’s one of the best places in town to enjoy sunset. There are also plenty of other hidden parks located around the city. The Volkspark Wuhlheide is one of the least known, but also one of the best. Not far from the centre of town, this spacious park features some beautiful woodland, as well as a great recreation centre aimed at children.
Check the Remains of the Berlin Wall
The Eastside Gallery has long been the locals’ preferred spot for getting a look at what remains of the Berlin Wall. The Wall was one of the most enduring symbols of the Cold War, and its collapse in 1989 marked the dawning of a new era. While Potsdammer Platz is home to some impressive sections of the wall, Eastside Gallery is not only home to the wall, but also to some of the best art in the city. The remaining concrete slabs that made up the wall have been painted, and are now one of the most exciting spots in the city for art lovers.
Enjoy a Drink at the Christmas Markets
Germany’s Christmas markets have somehow managed to export themselves around the world. Today, you’re as likely to find a German Christmas market in Sheffield as in Berlin. But the fact remains that the original is still the best. If you find yourself in the city in the run up to Christmas, be sure to give them a look in. And don’t miss out on the Gluhwein. This German version of mulled wine is happily dished out at all the Christmas markets. Hot, sweet, and often with a shot of brandy thrown in, it’s the perfect way to keep out the Winter cold. While you’re at it, consider investing in a currywurst. One of the most famous of Berlin street foods, they are somewhat divisive. Essentially nothing more than a sausage dusted in garam masala curry powder, and served with ketchup, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. But if it ticks your boxes
, there’s no shortage of spots throughout the city to pick them up.
Take in a Film Al Fresco
Summers in Berlin tend to be pretty warm. As a result, it really is a city that knows how to enjoy itself in the heat. If you find yourself here in the Summer, be sure to rent a bicycle. They’re available at surprisingly low prices, and the city couldn’t be more suited to cycling. Many locals head straight to one of the many Freiluftkinos that run during the warmer months. These outdoors cinemas are set up in parks and open spaces around the city, and are the perfect diversion on a warm night.
These are just a few of the great activities to be enjoyed in this exciting city. Berlin remains an enduringly appealing city, and it’s easy to see why. Explore the city, try out a few of the above, and find out what all the fuss is about.
About The Author: Benetton William is a sportsman and freelance writer. Also he loves web-design, around six months ago he has created his own website. William can’t live without traveling, pets, sweet coffee and self-improvement.