Although there is an array of posh, high-end, designer stores in Berlin it’s really the bustling flea markets and antique markets that need your attention in the city.Set back from the main streets is Hackescher Markt. It’s a wonderful area for those who are attracted to a great mix of indie fashion and boutique shops to have a browse around soaking up the trendy and lively atmosphere. There’s also plenty of places to eat and drink around. Charlottenburg has a similar vibe.
Boghagener Platz is a real treasure. This flea market is more unusual; locals gather to sell items of theirs that they’ve collected or that they simply want to get rid of. Worth a rummage around and a great chance to get chatting to Berlin natives.
Similarly, there is also Moritzplatz; a great mixture of second hand books, clothes, records and trinkets at very low prices.If you fancy a more up-to-date shopping spree head to Potsdamer Platz Arcades. This three storey shopping mall in the centre of New Berlin is host to many different types of stores, cafes and restaurants.
Galeria Kaufhof is the Harrods of Berlin. There are chains spread all across Germany and it’s a huge shopping complex with numerous clothes shops, toy shops, electronics, a food court and much more.
If you come away with nothing else from Berlin then you must come away saying you tried currywurst. Although it may not look like – or sound like – the most appetising meal it’s the staple of Berlin and actually quite tasty, but not for the faint-hearted. It’s a fast-food dish that was originally created in Germany and is essentially a hot pork sausage cut into slices and served with warm curry ketchup, and sometimes served with chips.
The great thing about eating out in Berlin is that it generally won’t break the bank. As well as a great place to shop, Hackescher Markt is brilliant for eateries with great character, as is Kastanienalle; boasting bohemian charm and flavour.
Burgermeister is a restaurant and bar interestingly situated underneath the metro tracks in a converted victorian public toilet and boasts the greatest burgers and a comfortable, laid-back and friendly atmosphere. For an up-market dining experience City West and Schonenberg districts are definitely worth tucking your napkin under your chin for.
Berlin is an extremely exciting city for nightlife and is home to some of the hippest and diverse night time scenes. In the Eastern part of the city are the two districts most famed for their after-dark offerings; Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Mitte.
In Kreuzberg is the Weekend Club which is popular for its techno and house music, it’s wild nights and packed out dance floor. KingKongKlub is a quirky and funky venue with a diverse array of music and entertainment happening on different nights.
Mitte is one of the most touristy areas for nightlife in Berlin but this isn’t a bad thing; it means that lots of great spots have sprung up in the district. A busy bar come club in Mitte worth visiting is Aufsturz. There is an over-whelming range of beers and a club room in the back with live music most evenings. In Prenzlauer Berg there’s an intimate bar called Becketts Kopf with expertly made cocktails, there also Duncker; a venue located in a neo-Gothic church with indie music at the weekends and goth parties on Mondays. Both are worth checking out.
Things to do
Check point Charlie
This is the nickname of the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point that was between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. It’s now on display in the Allied Museum and a reconstruction of the guard house has been built where Checkpoint Charlie once stood. Nearby is the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie; another museum with exhibitions, a gallery and a library.
This stunning structure, in the west of the city centre, was once a city gate and is one of the most iconic landmarks of Berlin. It’s the only gate still standing out of a series of others through which Berlin was entered. It was restored to it’s current beauty and decadence in 2000 after suffering extensive damage during World War II.
This is Berlin’s largest forested area and is absolutely perfect for an afternoon of picnicking, wandering and basking in the tranquility. You can get to Grunewald easily via S-bahn and while there you can travel around the park on a bike or even on horseback.