A large city with many districts, Berlin has a lot to offer. It is difficult to know where to start, what sights to see, where to eat, where to drink and of course where to let your hair down. A little research can go along way in the lead up to your trip, finding places that tickle your interest, seeking advice from past visitors, reading blog posts or talking to fellow Berliners. As far as spontaneity goes, you have to know where to begin your adventurous endeavours to ensure you get the most out of your trip. We chose to go against the grain and let our feet find the way. Here I share with you an alternative must see and most do in Berlin, the places that we loved and would return to in a heartbeat!
One cannot visit Berlin without tasting the famous fast food delicacy that is Currywurst. Whether you are an avid meat eater, vegetarian fanatic or militant vegan, there is a German Bratwurst that caters for all. Lathered in the famous curry ketchup and tangy curry powder, this dish is usually served with french fries. We stopped by Curry At The Wall, located in the Mitte district by the Topography of Terror Museum. The Vegan friendly signage and the low €3 price caught our eye and we couldn’t resist. Made from seitan, wheat, water and herbs, this protein packed meat-free alternative satisfied our culturally curious tastebuds. We washed our German delicacy down with a cup of homemade Glühwein, a little disappointing in taste yet still resonated that of mulled wine.
When wandering the streets of Berlin, on many a Straße you will stumble across a Photoautomat. The project began in 2004 with the sole aim of resurrecting the life and soul of the 60’s in the form of analogue photobooths. Enjoyed by Berlin hipsters and tourists alike, these €2 a go black and white snapshots not only capture moments in time but create long lasting physical prints (reaching a lifespan of up to 100 years to be exact). With no digital instruction or warning before each shot is taken, the spontaneity and sheer excitement is enhanced further by the 5 minute long processing. Still seeped in wetting agent on delivery, the analogue print becomes a souvenir more valued and precious than any old iPhone snap.
Sunday Street Food Market in Prenzlauer Burg
Formerly part of East Berlin and located Northeast of Mitte, the Prenzlauer Burg district is home to historic buildings, quirky cafes and Berlin’s ever growing art scene. Amongst the picturesque neighbourhoods and beautiful scenic outdoor parks, flea markets and street food vendors emerge every Sunday. Maeurpark is known for enticing hip Berliners and tourists on the Sabbath day to bargain with bric-a-brac, second-hand clothing and hidden treasures. Only a street or two apart, there lies a street food market in the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei. What once was a brewery, the complex is now the home of entertainment offering live music, Art events and shows.
The food trucks are surrounded by a variety of outdoor seating, many sheltered, others positioned around open fires. On offer you will find BBQ burgers, middle-eastern wraps, asian cuisine, cider & beer, wholesome smoothies and an assortment of sweet treats. We stumbled across NorVegan, a Vegan & Gluten Free cake stand that offered large slices of cakes and brownies. We opted for a slice of the Carrot Cake and the Cacao & Peanut Butter Brownie. Indulgent, rich and incredibly moorish, our €3 was well and truly spent. We washed the treats down with a hot glass of Glühwein, sat by an open log fire and admired the smell of the food stalls that surrounded us.
A Drink At Berlin’s Oldest Restaurant
Dating back to the early 13th century, the Zur Letzen Instanz is Berlin’s oldest Restaurant located in central Mitte. Serving food since 1621, this eatery has apparently catered for the likes of Napoleon and Beethoven. Known for its traditional carnivorous German cuisine, we opted for half a beer and a pit stop to write postcards. The rustic interior was laden with historic prints, century old tankards and a 200-year old tiled stove. A cosy insight into Berlin’s yesteryears and a great excuse to sample yet more of Germany’s fine beer.
East Side Gallery
A visit to Berlin is incomplete without seeing the wall art at the East Side Gallery. The preserved stretch of wall runs for 1.3km showcasing 118 Artists works originating from 21 different countries. Each piece is a comment on the political activity that followed the reunification of East to West in 1989 as well as commemorating the lives of the victims who failed to successfully escape over the wall. The pieces were all repainted in 2009 by the same Artists, many of which are still fenced off due to vandalism by the public.
Exploring Prenzlauer Burg
As far as falling in love goes, we couldn’t get enough of Prenzlauer Burg. The beautiful architecture, quirky shops, and wonderful coffee, we couldn’t resist raving about this district. We spent most of our time wandering the streets either side of the main Danziger Straße, passing by vintage toy stores, book shops, unique coffee houses and of course a diverse array of restaurants. We stopped at the Cafe Moma for a soya flat white and chai latte, admiring the setting sun from the window, planning our evening ahead. It was by far my favourite district in Berlin therefore it was such a shame we did not get to enjoy the buzzing nightlife and sample one of the many Vegan restaurants.
Here were my alternative must see and must do in Berlin, what are yours?