Berlin, often termed as ‘Poor but Sexy’ has an amazing aura about it. It’s one of the coolest cities you’ll visit with it’s wild nightlife, grungy fashion, incredible history and beautiful architecture. It’s a city that embraces all sorts of alternative and eclectic lifestyles. Definitely a must visit for the young and dynamic.
Let me start by telling you where we stayed in Berlin since so many of you who followed my Instagram stories wanted to know. We stayed at the One80 Degree Hostel in Alexanderplatz which is one of the most liveliest areas in all of Berlin. I would highly recommend staying here if you’re backpacking. The One80 Degree was probably the most fanciest Hostel we stayed in on the entire trip! It had the most swankiest interiors, was priced very reasonably and each room had it’s own en-suite bathroom which is a big win in my books for any hostel! The best part of staying here was that it was close to the shopping districts, the pubs, clubs, restaurants and the train and underground stations which made things very convenient.
I spent 5 days in this beautiful city last month AND celebrated my 24th birthday here and here’s why you should visit too!
- Street Art in all forms: Street art is probably the first thing you’ll notice once you enter the city of Berlin. From Graffiti to Street Performers, you’ll find art in almost every form on these streets. We saw a musician making music with waste items like garbage bins and utensils, it was unimaginable! We also saw so many street performers juggling crystal balls, walking on tight ropes and doing the unthinkable. It made me realize that art is not subjected only to paintings and sculptures. Take a walk around Alexanderplatz one evening and you’ll know what I mean! There are live musicians in every corner, and surrounding them are crowds of people swaying and dancing to their beats. The vibe is contagious! Similarly, Graffiti is seen all around the city, on buildings, walls and even chalk paintings on the roads and pavements.
- Beer Culture: Drinking in Public areas is completely legal in Berlin, which again brings me to my first point- Grab a couple of Beers from a local super market and enjoy them while watching all the street performers! This is something we did every night that we were in Berlin. Of course, we’d wake up with terrible hangovers the next day, but it was all worth it. Also, did I mention that Beers are cheaper than Water here? Oh yeah, you can have the best brands of beer at dirt cheap prices. I personally don’t drink beers too much, but I pretty much drank 2-3 cans of Jack and Cola every night by the fountains in Alexanderplatz. Cheap thrills, I tell you!
- Flea Markets: Berlin is famous for it’s Flea markets where you’ll find all sorts of vintage items. Vintage Army Jackets, Old Photographs from the World War, Type writers, Polaroid Cameras, you name it! It’s a Vintage Paradise. You’ll also find a bunch of Art that you can purchase from local artists.
If shopping is not something you fancy, the flea markets also have lots of Food trucks and food stalls. We visited the Mauerpark Flea Market which comes alive every Sunday. We explored the market and bought a couple of knick knacks and then headed to the lawn where we spread out a blanket, bought some beers and snacks and enjoyed a picnic amidst some amazing live music by local performers. This Flea market gets extremely crowded during the late afternoons because of the Karaoke and live music so make sure you go there nice and early and reserve your spot on the lawn.
- Nightlife: Berlin is known for it’s nightlife and unhinged partying scene. There are rave parties happening every weekend in cool locations like abandoned buildings or industrial warehouses! I know, very awesome. The techno scene in Berlin is mind blowing. There are clubs that host 48 hour parties that begin on the weekend and end Monday morning. Pretty cool way to start off the week huh? If commercial music is more your scene, then head to Matrix, where you can dance the night away to your favorite tunes. I will warn you, it’s pretty tough to get into. The easiest way to get into clubs in Berlin is to book a pub crawl which is something we did. It was great fun because we met a lot of people, drank the night away with them and went to 4 pubs/clubs in one night! Also, free shots! Unfortunately, we didn’t take pictures that night, guess we were too busy having fun.
- Food: Berlin is a foodie’s paradise. Because of it’s diverse culture, Berlin is home to a number of cuisines. Turkish, being one of the most popular ones, Doner Kebab is something you’ll see on every street in Berlin. For me personally, I could not get enough of the CurryWurst! I was OBSESSED. I would buy it from the street vendors and eat it for literally every meal. Most of our meals were had at Street joints but since I turned 24 in Berlin, I took my friends out for lunch that day to this Burger joint called Burgermeister which had some of the most delicious, juicy burgers I’d had in a long time, so yeah, that’s a place I’d recommend if you’re in Berlin. Great, now I’m salivating, so enough food talk.
- Day-trips: Since Berlin is an Urban Jungle, we wanted a little time away from the city, so we took a day-trip to Potsdam which is on the outskirts of Berlin. It was such a beautiful place and just 20 minutes by train from Alexanderplatz!
We rented bicycles right outside the Potsdam train station, which cost us about 10 euros for the entire day and we explored the city on bikes. It was a wonderful experience riding as if we were locals.
We rode past the old Dutch Quarter and discovered a beautiful lake where people were boating. So on impulse, we rented a boat for an hour and explored the town by boat. The Jack and Cola came in handy here as well! Drinking and driving is definitely illegal but no one said anything about drinking and boating! 😛
We also fed a few ducks some leftover bread and it felt so nice to see them all flocking to our boat. If you plan on doing a day trip in Berlin, I would highly recommend checking out Potsdam. It’s truly a very beautiful town.
- History: I don’t need to tell you about the Rich history that Berlin has had throughout the years. Take a free walking tour to explore Berlin’s historical sites on foot. The one we did was Sandeman’s New Europe Walking Tour which was very fun and informative. We saw and learnt so much about how Berlin was a part of the World War and how Hitler operated. It’s an eye opening experience that you must do when in Berlin. The walking tour took us to the East Side Wall, Check-point Charlie, The Jewish Memorial and we even got to see the spot where Hitler killed himself. It made me appreciate life so much more and left me on quite a somber note.
- Architecture: Last, but not the least, the architecture in Berlin is Captivating! The Berliner Dom, Konzerthaus Berlin and Branderburg Tor are magnificent examples of the same. On our first day in Berlin, we sat on the lawn in front of the Berliner Dom and admired it’s beauty for hours! That’s how bewitching it was. My phone memory was full with all the images I captured of the architecture here in Berlin.
This trip will always remain close to my heart because it’s the first trip I paid for with my own money, and Berlin is the first international location I celebrated by birthday in. If you’re in your 20s, early or late, add this quirky, eclectic city to your bucket list and you’ll find that there’s so much to see in this world and we have only seen a tiny bit of it. There’s a little bit for everyone in Berlin!