Teeming with musuems, grand opera, art galleries, quirky boutiques and restaurants to suit all tastes – Berlin is a fascinating city. Splendia spoke to Nele Hansen, a true Berliner, to give us some great recommendations on making the most out of a stay in the German capital.
West meets East, creative melting pot and Currywurst
What do you love most about living in Berlin?
The unique sensation that you are in the middle of something that is about to happen! People gather to watch a play in a Neukölln district basement, visit art exhibitions in small galleries or enjoy a different concert every night. There are parks to visit and lots of independent shops selling unique design pieces. The city’s cafés are perfect for catching up with friends.
What is your favourite part of the city?
One of my favourite spots is the area around the Paul-Lincke-Ufer. Walk along the canal and then enjoy a drink at café Edelweiss in Görlitzer Park. Try a Berliner Weisse – a traditional beer with a fruit syrup flavour – in one of the many river cafés, such as the Freischwimmer.
What are the must-see sights and landmarks when visiting Berlin?
The Reichstag of the German Parliament is a definite must. Old and new combine – it originally opened in 1894 and then was later re-designed by architect Norman Foster. Climb the winding staircase inside the huge glass copula to the terrace and take in panoramic views of the city.
Another must-see is the famous Brandenburg Gate. Built in 1791 as the gateway between West and East Berlin, it later became the symbol of German and European reunification.
Museumsinsel – Museum Island – is home to five world-class museums – you can spend all day long wandering round the outstanding exhibits.
Visit Alexanderplatz and see the famous Weltzeituhr world clock and the TV tower. The tallest structure in Germany, it’s home to a revolving restaurant and a viewing platform with fantastic views.
Describe the perfect day in your city.
I would start the day with a run along the famous East Side Gallery, home to remains of the Berlin Wall, then have breakfast with friends in one of the idyllic cafes in district Prenzlauerberg, such as Café Hüftengold in Oderbergstraße. Here you can enjoy delicious German bread, cheese and marmalades as well as fresh juices and extra-large Café lattes!
Then I would head to the Boxhagener Platz flea market and bargain for hidden gems! Have a Currywurst – fried sausage with a ketchup and curry sauce – then go to one of Berlin’s festivals. The Karneval der Kulturen (carnival of cultures) is a vibrant festival where you can discover the music, cuisine and costumes of different cultures.
Summer evenings are perfect for meeting up with friends and watching a film at an open-air cinema, such as the Freiluftkino Friedrichshain. Take a blanket, wine and food and enjoy the fantastic outdoor atmosphere. When night falls, swing back into the 1930s in Clärchens Ballhaus with vibrant Swing music. Clärchens has a beautiful antique ballroom dating back to 1913 and holds classical concerts on Sundays.
Finally, tell us about a great hidden gem in Berlin.
The Villa Liebermann at Lake Wannsee once belonged to the German painter Max Liebermann. Flowers fill the garden outside whilst a selection of his works is on display inside. Sit on the terrace and enjoy cakes from Café Max and picturesque views of the lake.