City Break


Walking around the Brandenburg Gate and taking photos in front of the Reichstag or under the Fernsehturm, the famous tower in Alexander Platz, are typical activities for a traditional tourist visiting Berlin. Of course, they are icons of the city, but I will help you dig a little deeper to discover things beyond the usual tourist attractions. You will discover things and places that will never cease to amaze you with their undergound culture, their quirks, their hidden gems and their secrets. Balanced between urban and green spaces, secret escapes, hidden art and culture await you here. Are you ready? Here are my 20 moves.

1 Bats and dinosaurs One of the main reasons to visit the Spandau Citadel is the encounter with bats. The vaults of the fortress are home to over 11,000 different species that you can even feed. The Citadel staff accepted their presence willingly, even creating an observation area and guided tours for visitors. Looking for other oddities? Discover Spreepark, an old abandoned amusement park. It housed games, rides, and even some life-sized dinosaur statues. Although the park is closed to the public, it is sometimes possible to book guided tours on weekends, or … (but it is illegal) to visit it alone, as many locals and tourists do.

2 Strolling along the river Head towards the S-Bahnhof Bellevue and descend towards the Spree. From here, a nice walk along the river awaits you to East Berlin, dotted with famous buildings including Schloss Bellevue, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the Volksbuhne, the Kanzleramt and the Museum Island which boasts a set of five museums. And then the Berliner Dom towards the Nikolaiviertel. neighborhood known as the “old Berlin”, as it was the first residential area ever built in the capital (around 1200 BC). Walking through its medieval streets, you will meet the famous Nikolaikirche, the Gründungsbrunnen, the Ephraim-Palais and the Knoblauchhaus.

3 A market not to be missed In the Kreuzberg district you will find the historic Markthalle Neun, opened in 1891, a true triumph of regional and affordable food. Among the stops: the “Street Food Thursday”, or a traditional German breakfast at the “Breakfast Market” every third Sunday of the month, or treat yourself to a dessert at the “Naschmarkt”

4 Spandauer Zitadelle Located between the Havel River and the Spree River, the Spandauer Zitadelle is a very well preserved ancient fortress, built in 1197 to protect the city of Spandau. The citadel is now used for cultural purposes and serves as a museum and venue for various outdoor events (some things not to be missed are the annual Citadel Music festival in May and the medieval “Easter Knight Spectacular” festival during Easter.

5 Eight courtyards Explore the historic Hackesche Höfe Berlin is full of hidden gems, but these eight beautifully restored courtyards in Mitte are little oases away from the busy streets, Great place for shopping in boutiques or for a coffee in one of the many trendy cafes. main attraction, the Chamäleon Variety Theater which currently hosts the spectacular Out Of Chaos acrobatic show

6 Are you looking for a little treasure? Every Sunday, the stalls of the Mauerpark (near the Gesundbrunnen metro station) await you. Vintage clothing, vinyls, semi-precious jewels, knick-knacks and an infinity of collectible bric-brac In the afternoon, those who want to sing can perform at the Bearpit Karaoke, where everyone gathers in elisalarante performances.

7 Robot & Company At 39 Rosenthaler Strasse, in the second courtyard of Haus Schwarzenberg, in the heart of the Mitte district, there is a surrealist underground world. Monsterkabinett inhabited by an assortment of mechanical robotic monsters, assembled like computer-controlled art and sound installation. thrilling. Brrrrr …

8 Food and atmosphere At 47 Grolmanstrasse 47, in the Charlottenburg area, is Diener Tattersallun, a small restaurant with a Brechtian atmosphere where time seems to have stopped. Frequented by artists and bohemians, few tables, soft lights, old prints and yellowed photos on the walls. The menu is in German only. The house specialty (and my favorites) are the königsberger klopse, veal meatballs in lemon glaze and capers. served with potatoes and beets, really delicious. Better to book a corner table, to enjoy, in addition to the food, the somewhat decadent atmosphere of the Berlin of yesteryear.

9 Bauhaus overdose
For those who, like me, love the BauHaus Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin style in Niederkirchnerstraße 7, at the corner of Stresemannstr. 110. The building, inaugurated in 1881 as a museum of applied arts, was designed by Martin Gropius (grandson of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus movement). These days it hosts Walking Through Walls, an exhibition marking the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the most symbolic events of the 20th century, questioning the experience of vulnerability and anxiety caused by the structures of power that thrive in the confinement and segregation. The exhibition, which covers a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation and performance, brings together 28 renowned international artists, including Marina Abramović and Ulay, Jose Dávila, Dora García, Zahrah Al Ghamdi.
10 Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design presents the history and effects of Bauhaus style and impact, and is considered the largest collection in the world on the history and impact of the Bauhaus. You will find an important collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures by Bauhaus masters and students, including works by Klee and Kandinsky.The museum is still undergoing renovation and has therefore moved temporarily to number 1 Knesebeckstrasse, where it has been enriched with a well-stocked gift shop.
11 Craving for dessert? Welcome to chocolate heaven! At 10 Mohrenstrasse, Fassbender & Rausch awaits you with the delicacies that Heinrich Fassbender began to produce back in 1863. Unquestionably the best chocolates and truffles in Berlin, even chosen by the Royal Court as official sweets.
12 For her: Berlin look A fashion-souvenir touch for girls? In many shops in the center you can find the colorful dirndl dress inspired by the traditional costume of the upper classes, common in the southern part of Germany. Embroidered, romantic and elegant. Probably, you will never wear it back home, on the contrary you will say ‘but what came to my mind …’ but … Halloween is upon us!
13 Stand by Me Tucked away in the abundant greenery of Berlin’s Tiergarten it is a romantic surprise. Just off the main path are two trees on whose trunks the lyrics of Ben E King’s beautiful Stand By Me song are engraved. But go ahead and you will discover other trees with the chants of the song. Who engraved them is still a mystery, perhaps a great sentimental in the mood for an unusual declaration of love.
14 Romantic escape from the city Gardens are everywhere, but the one at Charlottenburg Bahn Landwirtschaft, at 29 Rönnestraße, is truly special. You enter through an anonymous gate that opens the doors to fragrant gardens with an idyllic and rural atmosphere as well as old school pubs, all without leaving the city. Another destination is Pfaueninsel, the Island of the peacock ‘which hosts an idyllic white castle and lush parks frequented by peacocks. The island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is easily accessible from the city center via the S-Bahn to Wannsee, then bus and ferry.
15 Due stop in one of the historic (and otherwise) coffee houses Literaturhaus, through its magnificent Wintergartensi garden, leads to the severe but very elegant coffee lounge. In its series of large rooms, serious graduate students support themselves with cups of cappuccino as they ponder their texts. But after 5pm the candles start flashing and a crowd of chic Berliners pour in to take their places. Lots of art on the walls, great service and an unmissable apple strudel, with hot cream and vanilla ice cream, a Berlin must . Cafe Savigny, in the elegant Savigny neighborhood, the Prinzessinnengärten Cafe, where nine years ago, a group of volunteers decided to turn a 60-year-old deserted desert in the middle of Kreuzberg’s busy Moritzplatz into a green oasis and offer a delicious coffee biological. Finally the Café Einstein Stammhaus, whose parquet floors, elegant waiters, marble tables and leather sofas lead us to certain Viennese atmospheres, like a relic of pre-war Berlin.

16 The smallest nightclub in Berlin Berlin’s cult nightclub is the mega club Berghain, a former powerhouse. Here the most famous DJs alternate and the music booms until dawn. Long queues to enter so often you give up also because (for those few who know it, but now you are there too …) just around the corner there is the smallest disco in Berlin, a real secret place without queues or bouncers. The teledisko is a “club” inside a telephone booth in the nearby and freezing RAW Gelände; between the stretch of graffitied urban buildings there is a gilded telephone booth, which also serves as a disco.

17 The hidden gallery It has no website or official Facebook page: it’s a hidden hangout, a clandestine space that hosts cult galleries, indie concerts and alternative performances. Tucked away among the 1970s-inspired buildings at Kottbusser Tor, this secret club can be found by looking for the door covered in stickers and a sign reading “Schatz EV Schulaufgabenzirkel”; from here, take the stairs to the second floor. Oh I forgot to whisper your name and address: West Germany Skalitzer Straße 133 in the Kreuzber area. Good hunting!

18 1920s Welcome to the Ballhaus Berlin, Chausseestraße 102, where the “wild twenties” of the Weimar days blend harmoniously with the spirit and style of today, as if it were a window into the past, It hosts a wide range of events and is the perfect place to wear dance shoes and spend an evening of partying as if it were 1920. The main attraction is the Tischtelefonen which is placed on the tables to allow guests to flirt with each other while remaining seated.

19 The top beer? Located in a quiet part of Mitte, Eschenbräu, the favorite brewery of real Berliners. 20 specialties with extravagant names like Amber Rocket and Wedding Crossover.
20 Winter tip If you decide to go to Berlin during the winter, you must visit one of the many wonderful Christmas markets. My suggestion is a walk in the market of the historic Schloss Charlottenburg, one of the most traditional and best supplied. It offers some delicious “Glühwein”, a warm “Bratwurst” and traditional “Reibekuchen” in an absolutely extraordinary setting.