Our Guide to Berlin NeighbourhoodsMar 23, 2017 10:00 am
Planning a trip, but don’t know which Berlin neighbourhoods to visit? Wonder no more with our handy neighbourhood guide!
Berlin is a huge city, roughly four times the size of Paris, but the efficient public transport system makes getting around easy (and even easier with the Berlin Travelcard). In each of its 12 neighbourhoods you can discover a part of Berlin’s fascinating history. Here are our highlights of some of the most popular areas for visitors.
The majority of Berlin’s unmissable landmarks are in the old city centre, Mitte. Here you will find the iconic Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), the TV Tower (Berliner Fernsehturm) and Museum Island (Museumsinsel), which is where the majority of the city’s museums are located. Note that most of Berlin’s museums are closed on Mondays.
There’s plenty of other things to do here, too. If great shopping is what you’re after, Hackescher Markt and Alexanderplatz are the places to go. Or if you want to watch the world go by, take a seat in the Tiergarten Park near the Brandenburg Gate.
If you’re only visiting Berlin for a short time and want to visit the main tourist attractions, stay in or near this area.
Technically two neighbourhoods, this arty area of Berlin has a strong Turkish community. The restaurants offer a great mix of German and Mediterranean cuisine and are very popular for weekend brunch. While you’re in the area, visit the East Side Gallery, a large section of the Berlin Wall decorated with over 100 paintings. Nearby, a former factory, the Aufbau Haus, is now a centre of culture with artists’ workshops, coffee shops and more. On Saturdays there are usually exhibitions and performances too.
To experience the life of a local, take a stroll along the Landwehr Canal and embrace the markets, cafes and bars along the embankment. You can grab a spot on the Urbanhafen grassy embankment and chat to some of the locals on sunny days, or whittle away a few hours people-watching in one of the bars such as the Ankerklause Bar.
This is a perfect area to stay in if you’re looking for an arty vibe or want to be near to some of Berlin’s best clubs.
To the west of Mitte, these two Berlin neighbourhoods have merged into one district. Charlottenburg is brimming with places to shop, from independent bookstores to designer shops on Kurfürstendamm (known locally as Ku’damm).
The Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg) is a must-see in this area. It is the largest royal palace in Berlin with a stunning baroque garden. There are also several museums around the palace where you can get a real understanding of its history.
Close to the Berliner U-Bahn Museum is the Olympic Stadium (Olympiastadion) which was built for Berlin’s hosting of the Olympic Games in 1936. You can visit the stadium by yourself or book a guided tour to learn about its history.
A sought-after place to live and work, Pankow is a cross between Mitte and Kreuzberg. Also known as Prenzlauer Berg, this area has an abundance of restaurants, cafes and designer boutiques. It’s a great area to stay in if you want to live among locals, rather than tourists.
Although it may not be buzzing with tourists, there’s still plenty to see in Pankow. The Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer) is highly recommended for those interested in its history. Note that the Visitor Information Centre is closed on Mondays.
The Schönhausen Palace (Schloss Schönhausen), built as the summer residence of Queen Elizabeth Christine, was used by the East German government between 1949 and 1990. After experiencing the beautiful architecture and decorated rooms, you can explore the stunning Schlosspark baroque gardens with its fountain, ancient trees and well-kept flower beds.
This area of Berlin is steeped in history. Those famous words by John F. Kennedy – “Ich bin ein Berliner” – were said at the impressive Schöneberg Town Hall (Rathaus Schöneberg). Fun fact: many Germans thought Kennedy was hilarious because ‘Berliner’ means doughnut in many parts of the country. The exception is Berlin, where they are known as Pfannkuchen. The town hall building was completed in 1914 and you can still see the scars of many bullet holes.
Continuing your exploration of the history of East and West Berlin, the Marienfelde Refugee Centre Museum (Erinnerungsstätte Notaufnahmelager Marienfelde) offers you the chance to find out about the flight and emigration of the people who left East Germany for West Germany.
This area offers some great choices for retail therapy, from a weekend flea market at the Schöneberg Town Hall to the largest department store in mainland Europe, KaDeWe, on Tauentzien.
Berlin has plenty to offer at every turn and we hope this guide of these popular Berlin neighbourhoods inspires you to explore this wonderful city. Have a great trip!