Berlin is one of those cities that evokes images with pretty much everybody. Be it for the large amount of history, for the fast amount of techno clubs, or for the general bohemian atmosphere, almost everybody states that they fall in love with Berlin (or at least all the people that visited me here in Berlin).
It is important to realize that Berlin is huge! (3.5 million people) and is spread out over a huge surface. This leads to various centers in the city, and depending on your own taste you will for sure find an area to your taste. So I’ll try to explain the various neighborhoods of Berlin in my very limited knowledge I gained while living here for the last 3 months. l
The “real” center of Berlin with all the touristic/historic highlights of the city. The Reichstag, Brandenburgertor, Holocaust monument etcetera are to be found in this area. The nightlife is pretty low, as it is mainly a working area, except for one area between Hackischermarkt, Oranienburgertor, Torstrasse, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz.
Public transport: Mitte is a pretty huge area, but most likely you will enter on Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstrasse, Oranienburger Strasse orHackischer Markt with the S-Bahn, or any of the U-Bahn stations in the square between these S-Bahn stations.
Prenzlauer Berg used to be in the Eastern part of Berlin, but managed to very quickly work it up and is now considered one of the most trending/yuppie neighborhoods of Berlin. The neighborhood is in my opinion the best place in town for brunch on Sunday (area Kollwitzplatz, personal favorite of mine is Anna Blume, when going here take at least 20 min waiting time into account).
Public transport: Prenzlauer Berg is slightly lower on S-Bahn stations, but has good tram connections from Alexanderplatz (M2, M4, M10) and good U-Bahn connections (Eberwalderstrasse and Senefelderplatz).
Friedrichshain is an interesting combination of yuppies with kids and the true alternative scene of Berlin. The biggest clubs of Berlin are located in this area (Ostkreuz, Warschauerstrasse, Ostbahnhof), together with the largest collection of unconventional upscale boutiques around Boxhagenerplatz (also really good second-furniture market on Sunday here).
Public transport: The best way in is probably through S-Bahn stations Warschauerstrasse, Ostkreuz and Ostbahnhof. Especially late in the evening and weekends it’s just a matter of following the crowds to end up at the clubs and bars.
Currently the most accessible alternative area in my opinion. For sure not one of the most alternative parts of town anymore, but still boasts its original anarchistic views, but combined with a huge amount of nice bars. The area is still home to a large group of immigrants, resulting in nice multicultural markets several times a week. Especially the Reichenbergerstrasse is good for a large collection of bars with different atmospheres and crowds.
Public transport: The main gateway to Kreuzberg is the U-Bahn station Kottbusser Tor, from where most items are pretty easily reachable by foot.
Charlottenburg is the former West Berlin, and is still considered one of the more upscale areas of town. It has a nice combination of old class (old ladies in fur jackets and little dogs with jackets) and a newer and younger crowd. It boasts a nice collection of stylish restaurants and boutiques in the area around Savignyplatz. In terms of real partying this is probably not the place to be, however, it is one of the better neighborhood for Saturday shopping and a glass of wine in a nice wine bar.
Public transport: The S-Bahn stations Savignyplatz and Charlottenburg are a good starting point. Additionally the U-Bahn U2 goes through Charlottenburg as well.
Originally I wanted to write an article about my ideal weekend/city trip in Berlin. However, when I started writing I realized that Berlin is simply too big to write just one article about this, and an introduction to the various neighborhoods might be smart starting point. Therefore the next article will truly be about the best places in each neighborhood to create the ultimate city trip Berlin!