Time after time I have my wonderful flock of friends coming to visit me in Berlin: so the usual spots like the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz and Checkpoint Charlie can get a bit drab after the tenth or twentieth visit. Last weekend being no exception, I decided or rather was inspired to share some great places that aren't so
touristy for those in a similar situation as I or for anyone coming to Berlin for the first time. So here's 6 off the tourist track places to visit in Berlin.
Mauerpark is great, on a Sunday it’s filled with a mix of couples, families and tourists. This is also where the world-famous karaoke takes place. If you get there early enough you’ll be able to get a seat and watch people take to the stage, or as it's known, ‘the bear pit’. But it’s not just about the singing at Mauerpark, there is also a famous flea market where you can buy just about anything, as well as some lovely food stalls where you can eat just about anything!
Visit the Urban Spree
Situated next to Warschauer Str in Fredrichsain, this is a little gem of a place. One of the last squatted places in the 1990’s after the wall came down, it’s an East Berlin stalemate. Now it has a nightclub, Cassiopeia, a vegan restaurant Emmapea, a climbing wall and tower, an open-air cinema and a nice bar. Oh, and BurgerAMT have a food truck there too, so while you are relaxing under the trees after a day of sightseeing, you can enjoy a delicious burger and some sweet potato fries!
Go on a bunker tour
The bunkers at Gesudbrunnen are a labyrinth of history and are waiting to be seen! They offer five tours: the first is ‘Dark Worlds’ – WW2 bombing raids through the eyes of civilians. The second is called “From Flak Towers to Mountains of Debris’ – Explore the ruins of WW2 fortresses. The third is ‘ Subways and Bunkers in the Cold War’ – Prepare for a nuclear war with the people of West Berlin, the fourth tour is ‘ Under the Berlin Wall’ – Hear the stories of the people who tunneled to freedom. And finally, the fifth tour is called ‘The Fichtebunker Time Capsule’ – Discover 130 years of history under one roof. All are very interesting and are worth going on! It should be noted that you’ll need to wear sturdy shoes, and might need a flashlight too! Perfect for history buffs!
Take a trip to Potsdam!
Leave Berlin for a day and wander around this beautiful place. Filled with parks and lovely castles, it’s worth a look. Here you can see the Russian Town name ‘Alexandrowka’, which was named after the Tsarina at the time. The Neue Palace in Sanssouci Park which miraculously escaped bombing in WW2, the Nikolaikircge, which was built in 1830 by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the same guy who built the Berliner Dom (another worthwhile thing to see in Berlin!)
Take in an exhibition at the KulturForum
Hidden behind Potsdamer Platz, and not far from Ku’Dam, this is a lovely spot to see some wonderful art. They have some wonderful exhibitions. Most recently they had Mario Testino’s “In Your face” exhibition on show, he chose Berlin to be the first place for this to be exhibited in Europe!
Walk the Wall
Before you step into Mauerpark, you can walk the wall on Bernauer Str. With famous photos on the side of the buildings Here you’ll see where the wall ran from 1961 until it was taken down in 1989. A great way to hear harrowing tales of loved ones and unsung heroes is hopping on a free Cold War tour
so you can really get the most out of the experience.
By Emma Lawrence