This is Berlin's one and only hostelboat, which means you can actually stay overnight on a boat on the River Spree for reasonable and have superb views over the river. I recommend it because it is something different, but apart from this, it's a very cosy place with very helpful people. Rooms are nice and have all attached bath. It is next to what's left of the wall and in general a cool place.
You can get off one of the main station, which is Ostbahnhof and walk along the wall, which enables you to admire the numerous murals, or you can get off the tube stations Warschauerstrasse or Schlesische Strasse, which are a bit closer;
The Bilderbuch Café is a lovely café in Schoeneberg. Its unique furniture and delicious breakfast are very well known (and loved) among Berliners. Go to the back of the café, where you will find a huge place that will remind you of some ancient castle's library. The walls are full with bookcases. If you take a book or a board game from the shelves you might happily want to spend a whole day there! Also there are regular readings, concerts and discussions. Check www.cafe-bilderbuch.de for further information. There is a huge breakfast buffet on sundays that is worth a try, too!
Cafe Bilderbuch Akazienstrasse 28 10823 Berlin 030/ 78706057 metro: Eisenacher straße bus 148, 187, 348
Very cool, reasonably priced boutique hotel in the Bleibtreustrasse just off the Ku'damm. Handy for the sights and the S-Bahn, lots of bars and restaurants in the vicinity
Bleibtreustrasse, www.bleibtreu.com, nearest S-Bahn station is Savignyplatz, bus stop on route from Tegel airport is called Bleibtreustrasse
Ice cream cafe and art gallery. Marvellous organic ice cream from Devon. Run by lovely ex-pat Galina and Kirstin. Easy, friendly ambience in centre of Bohemian East Berlin. Art works change every month. Great to sit and chill out. B&B possible too, with English-speaking flat owner.
Zionskirchstrasse 75, Berlin 10119; Nearest metro: Senefelderplatz; Tel: (004930) 44038577
See the "last built European Boulevard" by taking a walk eastwards from the astonishing Alexanderplatz. Take a look at the Cinema International with its fabulous lobby. By passing the Strausberger Platz you will enter Karl-Marx-Allee with its splendid and opulent façades (built in the early 1950s by socialist workers using war ruins). It was east Berlin's pride and aorta and, now again, there are nice cafes, art galleries and the street's sheer monumentality will take your breath.
Karl-Marx-Allee; nearest U-Bahn: Alexanderplatz or Strausberger Platz (U5)
This place has definitely the best coffee in town and the breakfast is fantastic. They also do delicious lunch and dinner, with a daily changing menu, that never disappoints. There is a great welcoming unpretentious atmosphere and it is somewhere to just lounge for a few hours (using their free wireless internet), or book a table for dinner and cocktails.
Stargarder Strasse 3, Ubahn Schoenhauser Allee www.fellas-berlin.de
It's a museum that tells the story of Checkpoint Charlie and those who tried to cross the wall in the bad old days of the divided city. The stories of those divided by the wall are really moving, and the tales of those who made it across the divide are astounding in their ingenuity. I spent hours here, even though it's just a small building, as there is just so much to take in.
A wonderful chance to enjoy a decandent (and cheap) brunch buffet and latte macchiatos at several restaurants and cafes. As a plus you can observe Berliners shopping at one of the nicest food markets in town, hipster mothers and their even hipper children have been spotted queuing next to the foreign minister and the atmosphere is good fun, with wurst stands and soup bars as well as fresh produce and cut flowers.
Walk up Kollwitzstrasse from Senefelder Platz U-Bahn stop, also walking distance from Eberswalder U-Bahn
Week12End is a club on the 12th floor of an office block in Alexander Platz. The line-up is ultra hip, mostly minimal techno, the crowd are the beautiful people, and the view is absolutely extraordinary, from Karl Marx Allee in the east, right round to the Museum Insel and beyond, you can sit in the window seats and take in the city with a beer and some ponding music. Be a local and a tourist simultaneously. Opens at 11pm but doesn't get going until half midnight, Thursday-Saturday. Cover charge approximately €8-10.
Alexanderplatz 5, take the lift to the 12th floor
Vegetarian fast food cafe in Kreuzberg, selling 29 different veggie burgers, gorgeous chips (fried with skins still on) and salad, plus tofu curry wurst and a variety of other vegan treats, topped off with lovely juices or beers. 7 euros buys you a burger, chips, salad and a drink. The staff were very friendly (and speak good english when your German lapses) and it stays open until 1am at the weekends.
wienerstresse 19, berlin 10999; www.yellow-sunshine.com/
Not a name that really sticks out, but this is the hive of the Kreuzburg area. On a cold day in February its numerous cafes and geek shoppers are a welcome from the intense cold. In the summer walk down and see numerous musical acts. Not a place to be seen but a place to just be.
U-Bahn Moritz Platz right slap bang in the middle
Be amazed and inspired seeing true-life stories of escapes from the former East Germany. As a New Zealander living in Berlin the last two years, my first stop for visiting friends is always the House at Checkpoint Charlie. Located right by the old Berlin Wall in central Berlin, you can easily spend three hours in complete awe seeing a huge range of stories, photos and more about escapes from the former East Germany. Don't miss it! They also have a great section on European human rights activists
A fascinating look into Berlin's tumultuous recent history and its glorious past. The tour takes in all the major landmarks, but what makes it extra special are the superb guides - they are knowledgeable, approachable, friendly and full of interesting anecdotes. They take you off the beaten track, revealing much of what made Berlin such a vast metropolis. You visit hitler's bunker, the largest remaining stretch of the Wall that still stands, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and the dizzying TV tower. You will never learn so much in 5 hours as you will by taking one of these tours. They are good value, perfectly paced and laden with enough facts to make up for the times you fell asleep during history lessons at school.
Their leaflets are dotted around all Hotel & Hostel lobbies in the City Centre. Just turn up at the meeting point at the correct time, pay around 10 euros and off you go.
Cheap and cheerful accommodation in central location, with English-speaking staff and a lively basement bar mainly filled with backpacking tourists. The rooms range from cheap-as-chips shared dormitories to affordable, stylish apartments with roof terrace
A great site for renting an apartment in Berlin. Reasonably priced, clean and spacious flats in great locations all over the city. I sorted everything out before my trip by email, in English, and paid by credit card when I arrived. A good alternative to staying in a hotel.
The budget airlines (Ryanair, Easyjet) use Schönefeld airport, in the south-east. Take the S-Bahn into the centre of town, or the Airport Express from the same station. It’s cheap, fast, and - since this is Germany - punctual. Don’t take a taxi from Schönefeld airport to the city centre: it’s a long way.
Some airlines (like Air Berlin) arrive at Tegel airport. From here take the X9 bus to Zoologischer Garten.
The place where Germany’s Prominenten - in other words, its politicians, celebs and beautiful people - go to be seen. The food isn’t bad and they serve you a decent schnitzel. Close to Galerie Lafyette, Berlin’s chi-chi shopping centre.
Französische Strasse 47; Nearest U-Bahn: Französische Strasse; tel: 030 20387110
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