What I Now Know about Berlin

Some tips from me to you.

Get the 100 bus from either Alexanderplatz or Zoo and ride it to the other station. It passes all of the major sites, so is known as a kind of makeshift tour bus. I would catch it at dusk as the lights go on and big things like Brandenburger Tor are looking pretty.

Berlin is best by bike. It is safe to ride, and there are great tracks. It is very flat, but quite sprawled so you get to so much more with a bike. That said, the trains are easy to use and come often.

The best boutique shopping is around Mitte, but they all open up after lunch, so no need to get there in the morning. Here's a great guide for vintage shopping. For boutiques and local designers in general, start by heading up Auguststr and then keep going east to Mulackstr.

Below: Murdered Jews of Europe memorial

Take a tour. There are some great tours around, such as Insider Tours, there are also free tours, tours of art and achitecture, tours of nightlife, tours of Cold War sites.

Don't forget to go West. It seems everything is in the East but the western side of things is at times just as interesting.

There are Sunday concerts often at Clärchens Ballhaus around midday and in the evening. It is worth popping in just to see the ballroom.

Go into courtyards, into big buildings and lanes. The best stuff is off the main street. On that matter, it is often hard to find entrances to buildings or find addresses when they are off the main drag, but persist because often the best things are in a building you have to be buzzed into or in a courtyard that is unmarked and hard to find.

The flea markets are fun in atmosphere but the shopping quality is all hype unless you love old trash and treasure items (um, that vintage typewriter won't fit in your suitcase); the second-hand boutique shopping is better.

You can get 360 degree views of the city from the top of the main cathedral dome, Berliner Dome. You won't have to wait three days to get in there and there will be few visitors blocking your view, as opposed to the Reichstag.

Below: contemporary artwork in Berlinische Galerie


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Anna Metcalfe is a content maker, word writer and editor of things.