For years, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from family, friends and fellow bloggers who have traveled or lived in Berlin. Having not made it to the hip city myself until last month, I now realize what all the fuss is about. Berlin is a quintessential avant-garde city that suits all different personality types and interest levels. Here are five boho tips to make your days in Berlin memorable.
1) Tour the City by Bike
Europe in general is more bike friendly than most places in the United States and other countries but in Berlin, biking is the preferred mode of transportation. Almost everyone owns or rents a bike and while the subway and tram are also available, bikes seem to speak to the heart of Berlin the most. If you plan on living in the city for an extended amount of time, try picking up a vintage bike at one of the local fleas. For tourists, there is a bike rental system with stations scattered throughout the city.
2) Think Outside the Box
One of the benefits of Berlin is that compared to other Western European cities, it’s much less expensive. I took advantage of the few people I knew in Berlin to give me tips on where to eat and I’m pretty happy with the result. This popular local spot called Kauf dich Gluklich had exactly the quirky element I was hoping to find. Located in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, everything inside the restaurant is for sale, from vintage accessories to actual pieces of furniture. I chose to stick strictly to the food.
3) Experience the Alternative Side of Berlin
A trip to Berlin is not complete without taking a walk down alternative lane. For years, the city has been a hub for artists, architects and other creative types particularly for the unique and edgy flair that Berlin embodies. I opted for a bit of a crash course into the street art scene and signed up for a bike tour, which I found both affordable and highly enlightening. Our tour started with a look at several “squats” and ended in Kreuzberg, a neighborhood with a street art-heavy culture.
4) Sing & Shop at the Local Flea
In true Berlin fashion, flea markets are not hard to find. One of the newer fleas takes place every Sunday at Mauerpark. I arrived on the early side, around 10am and the space was already buzzing with locals on the hunt for vintage items, second-hand bikes and inexpensive clothes. I wandered aimlessly through the park for about an hour just taking in the sights and sounds of the city. If you arrive later in the afternoon, a live karaoke party breaks out. It’s the perfect place to release your inner diva.
5) Walk along the Open Air Galleries
While Berlin museums generally have a small entrance fee, there are endless opportunities to see inspiring art and design for free. The Berlin Wall’s East Side Gallery is of course a tourist trap but it’s such an important historic site that skipping this would be a mistake. Now covered with more than 100 colorful wall paintings, what used to be the wall dividing East Berlin from West Berlin is now a positive symbol of the city. Other wall paintings and graffiti work can be seen on almost any street, especially in Kreuzberg.