4.15.2011

Gypsy*Guide - Berlin, Germany

When I travel to a new city I normally find it very difficult to know what are the places I should be checking out, where should I eat, what should I do and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. Sure there are a gazillion guides out there, but that is exactly the problem, the overload of information! I'd love for someone (a cool chick! :) with similar interests to just tell me what are the truly worthwhile places to see, so that is exactly what I've decided to do! I've asked some of my favorite bloggie friends around the world to share the highlights of their cities with us! They will give a lil' peek into the best of the best and recommend some sights and restaurants where they would take their best friends or family visiting from out of town. In the next few weeks I'll post a new city guide to look forward to every week and hopefully we can all get inspired and start dreaming up our next vacations. I'm very excited for this new project and cannot wait to see what my girls will come up with. I've got the travel bug already! :)

But first it's my turn to share my Berlin with you. Enjoy!
Putting together a Berlin guide is an almost impossible and daunting task. I have had a love hate relationship with the city for five years now and it took moving away to realize how many things I love about this truly unique and inspiring city (I'm back now :). One of the charms of Berlin is it's cultural diversity. You'll find something to do on any given days and there are some megacool hangout places to serve all kinds of people and interests from polished, minimalistic, vintage, grunge to gothic. How could I even try to introduce you to everything I think there's worth checking out? Impossible. Instead I decided to just write about some of my personal must sees, the places I normally take my friends when they are visiting. Thanks to Berlin Unlike I put together a slideshow below with an extended list of favorites, so just click on the individual slides that you'd like to know more about!

And now a little bit about my absolute must sees. Let's start with the basics.

Berlin might seem big on maps, but in reality it's not that big at all. My number one tip for you is to rent a bike and wheel around instead of walking or using the public transport. You'll get everywhere much quicker and will enjoy it a ton, believe me!

Those touristy places you cannot leave without seeing
Every city has a lot of those, but Berlin probably even more. Confession: When I'm traveling and discovering new places I usually focus on doing things the locals would do rather than spending my time in churches and museums. Of course there are exceptions, but if you're looking for a highly cultural guide to Berlin, I'm afraid you need to look elsewhere. (this D*S city guide has some great museum/art recommendations)

With that said there is one artsy thing every visitor MUST SEE in Berlin and that is the remains of the Berlin Wall. It's called the East Side Gallery and stretches 1.3km long. The wall is decorated with the work of artists from all over the world, it's a really interesting and worthwhile trip down on memory lane.

 The Museum Island, Unter den Linden, the Brandenburger Gate, the Reichstag and the Holocaust Memorial are basically a hop and a throw away from each other so you can definitely conquer these in one afternoon. Once you've seen them you can tap yourself in the back and move on to some more fun stuff! If you do want to indulge in some cultural delicacies I suggest you visit the Pergamon Museum on the Museum Island.
 Fun Stuff
If the weather is nice all of the city has one thing in mind. PARKS! There is an abundance of nice city parks with cool bars and cafes. Some of my favorites are the Mauerpark (only on Sundays, but then it's the place to be), Volkspark Friedrichshain (with an open air cinema playing movies in English) and the Gorlitzer Park. Just chill like the locals! :)

Something very touristy but very fun is taking a boat trip on the Spree. Drink a beer (or better a Berliner Weisse) on board while you take in most of the citie's sites! Loved it.

My single favorite thing to do on a warm day in Berlin is to chill on the Badeschiff. It's basically a big swimming pool floating on the river with a cool sandy beachbar, live DJs, delicious cocktails and great parties at night! In the winter they cover it up to establish a sauna world. Sweet! (but be prepared that everyone will be naked)
One of our favorite sporty activities with AC is skating. While there is a megacool place outside of the city (Europe's biggest skate park in a forest) it might be a bit tricky to get there, so instead you could try it on the Tempelhof Airport. That's right! Skating on the landing strip! The airport closed a few years ago and since than it's a huge park dedicated to sports and leisure (and it's even in the city center, kinda). 

Shopping
On Sundays all the shops close and the whole city fled to the flea markets. The best known ones are the one in the Mauerpark and the one on the Arkonaplatz but there are many smaller ones too.  Next to the flea markets Berlin is also famous for vintage shopping. While I'm still in the discovery phase I can recommend Colours, Garage and Garments for some serious treasure hunting! :)

Where to Eat
I thought I'd be in trouble recommending good restaurants, but then I wrote down a list of places I love and well, let's just say I definitely couldn't write about all of them! (they are included on the slideshow though). Some of the highlights are Freischwimmer for Sunday brunch, Chipps for breakfast on any other days, Cookies & Cream for a divine vegetarian dinner at a hip location, Contadino for a real Italian meal (AC's favorite restaurant. The guy is Italian so he knows what he's talking about.  :) Plus once he called me  from there that Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino were sitting at the table next to him), White Trash for an eclectic, international crowd and yummy food, Kauf Dich Glucklich for waffles and Cafe an Neuen See for a nice atmosphere and a simple pizza dinner. Phew. Bon Appetite! :D

Where to Dance the Night Away 
For a couple of pre party beers I can highly recommend the Prater,  or one of my personal favorites the Club der Visionare (just opposite the Freischwimmer).  For a more fashionable, upscale experience (read dress up and drink up with the girls :) visit the Puro Sky Lounge or Solar (with the best view of Berlin!).  Berlin is the capital of techno and minimal, so if that's your genre you'll find your heaven here, if no (like me) it is a bit more challenging but certainly not impossible! Berghain is one of the most famous techno clubs in the world, it's epic, it's unparaleled, a real experience, but certainly not for the faint of heart! For a less adventurous experience you can check out Weekend or Watergate or try something totally different but equally fun at the Claerchen Ballhaus (a retro ballroom with mixed music and a very mixed crowd).

Last but not least, if I could choose I'd definitely not come in the winter. Berlin is at its best in the summer and without the open air places, without being able to ride the bike, it's just not the same! 

I hope you enjoyed this little guide of mine and do let me know if you think I've left something important out! ;) I'd love to discover new places in the city!

Next week, we're going to.... MIAMI! ;)

Do you live in a big (touristy) city that you love and would like to introduce to us? Do you have a blog with a steady and loyal readership? Shoot me an email with your bloglink and the city that you'd like to write about and you could be the next guest writer for Gypsy*Guides! ;)

Image Credit: the Berlin print in the first collage via Design*Sponge, Letter and Stamp via Zeldona @ Mellowmint, the last two pictures are via Berlin Unlike, the rest is my own

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33 comments:

Diana Mieczan said...

What a great guide...I loved reading it! Fantastic job:) Have a sunny weekend. Kisses

Valeria said...

I never been to Berlin but I think it's a great city! Valeria

http://luggageandhighheels.blogspot.com

ilene @ muchloveilly said...

such a great guide! i just need to get on a plane to visit it now!!

scarlet's walk said...

i want to go to berlin!

I ♥ Fashion UK said...

travelled around europe last summer and stopped in berlin for a couple of days, such an amazing city! great blog :)

http://ilovefashionuk.blogspot.com/

Leah said...

I love this idea. I look forward to travelling soon and want to make the most of each city I visit so thanks for the Berlin breakdown!

xo L.

Liesl @ FabulousFashions4SensibleStyle said...

I feel as though I just traveled to Berlin with you...what a lovely rundown and some great tips! I haven't been there in some time, but do plan on going back! Love all the pictures and it looks like you had a lovely time!

Liesl :)

travelkate said...

This is such a great idea! I will definitely be bookmarking this post for the next time I find myself in Berlin! Look forward to this whole series!

Gina Michele said...

Berlin looks amazing!
You're going to have a great time in Miami! It's beautiful there. I look forward to seeing your pics =)

♥ Gina Michele
CrochetClouds

Cristi said...

some years ago i went to Berlin and I appreciated very much a night club named 25, is it still opened??
anyway....amazing post!!!!

Steffys Pros and Cons said...

i'm sold...i wanna visit berlin like now!

<3 steffy
Steffys Pros and Cons

Hadas -I am your fashion mannequin said...

I have been to Berlin not a long time ago! it is amazing

xoxo

vivacious blonde said...

Love this post!! Berlin is such a unique city and you captured it perfectly in your beautiful pics! You should totally come down to Savannah! There is nothing like the SULTRY SOUTH !
xxx

melifaif said...

This is so fabulous!!! I love that art wall....can't wait to read up on all of your picked cities!!! Thanks for doing this...

Heidi said...

This makes me want to go to Berlin so much! Thanks for being so honest in your reviews.

Meisha.Style said...

this is great! thank you!

Monica Whitney said...

OH. No. Now I need to add Berlin to my "must see cities before I die".

http://asktheduplex.blogspot.com/

Caroline said...

LOVE this new feature! I'm an avid traveler and I don't care to see all of the typical churches, museums, etc. that most guidebooks and sites will try to sell you on. Plus, I find that as a 20something woman, I want to hear about a city from a relatable perspective. I can't wait to see the post on Miami as I'll be moving there in a few short months!

Heidi said...

Thanks for sharing this very well review on the city of Berlin! I have always wanted to visit Germany and will definitely keep these places to see in mind. The flea markets and vintage shops sound the most exciting. We don't have any vintage stores where I live! :(

Jo said...

Thank you, how helpful! I've always wanted to visit Germany, and now I'll have a wee guide!

x
www.lostinthehaze.com

Monica said...

Great idea! Looks like Berlin is another place on my bucket list!

Mila said...

Oh wow,looks amazing!

Shoe said...

This is an amazing guide! Thanks for all the effort you put into putting it together... and now I want to visit Berlin even more (I've never been)!

katrina said...

oh gabby, your lifestyle is my dream! by the way, love the way you styled your posts -- they have that magazine look to them -- great job!

fashionwise said...

I would love to go there !!!
so close (I'm from Belgium) but still so far away (Don't have the time) !!


http://v-fashionwise.blogspot.com/

viviane / hippiebohoreloaded. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
viviane / hippiebohoreloaded. said...

really great, my dear!
for vintage and bargain hunting, Prenzelauer Berg and the Hacksche Höfe district seem to be the best places. For bargainous vintage boots, just check out Stiefelkombinat on Prenzelauer Berg, they do have some real crazy hippie stuff in their 2 stores!
Berlin is really a nice place but I do have to say that the better 70's bargains I made came from London. I don't know what it is, maybe it has got something to do with the late 60's boutique movement there or because the clothes are more my personal taste? Not sure :)

Berlin Hair Baby said...

BRILLIANT!! Just shared on twitter - not only great content but also love how you edited you photos and clickable links...xox

South Beach Mom said...

Welcome to Miami. I grew up in South Beach and now live in Davie. My sister lives in Miami. It's a cultural experience for my kids when we visit with my sister. Have a great time!

Kristina said...

Ahh, lovely guide to Berlin. Love the city so much, especially the flea markets and Clärchens Ballhaus :)
Oh and I would love to write a feature about Bern if you would like me to :) Let me know!
Have a lovely day!

Bronwyn said...

I love seeing people's "maps" of their cities! Thanks so much!

windeater.blogspot.com

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Sarah said...

Ahh, lovely guide to Berlin. Love the city so much, especially the flea markets and Clärchens Ballhaus :) Oh and I would love to write a feature about Bern if you would like me to :) Let me know! Have a lovely day!

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